Need Audio processor (SPDIF, XLR, decoders, volume control) and HTPC (HDMI I/O, input Switching) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-02-2013, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks,

I'm setting up a 7.2ch home-theater with All active monitors (with built-in amps and only XLR input)...
The speakers are Neumann KH310 (3 way tri-amped) for L/C/R and for the surrounds - possibly Genelec 8030 or Neumann KH120 and a couple of DIY dual-opposed 12" subs.

I'm looking for recommendations on HT processors similar to the Marantz AV7701 or AV8801.

The main criteria:
1. All basic A/V processor, DAC, EQ, Room corrections functions found on the above processors - but it'd be nice if it doesn't have so many legacy inputs for audio or video - essentially a sleeker / simpler / cheaper processor with a few HDMI inputs and 7.2 XLR outputs and a bare minimum of other inputs

2. The additional key feature I would like is the ability to connect a USB hard disk (upto 4TB) directly to the processor and be able to read common formats of lossy/lossless video and audio files and directly with built in media player and codecs - without first having to use a PC/laptop and connect it through HDMI.

3. If the processor has an Ethernet port or built-in WIFI - to be used for updating all firm ware, media player software, codecs, DAC algorithms etc...but in addition it would be nice if it can be directly used to browse the internet or stream videos or if possible even download videos... or play games...with a built in SSD with OS (similar to chromebook) to include Browser (chrome)

Following are nice to have features:

1. Blue-tooth for pairing a phone

2. Front HDMI input with Mobile-HighDef Link

3. Multicard reader - to just plug in an SD card or something and browse photos, or listen to music or watch videos recorded from a smart phone...

4. optional accessories: wireless HT keyboard and mouse, mic & web-cam?


I'm guessing what I'm describing may not exist as a manufactured product - as it is basically a hybrid Home-theater PC and an A/V Processor... or a hybrid of a streaming device and audio processor...

If such a product doesn't already exist - how hard would it be to put together one as a DIY?
I know a HTPC is not hard to put together - its the adding the Video-pass-through and Audio-processor with balanced output features to it that becomes hard....

What will I need to start with on this DIY?

specifically... would I be able to add the high-quality A/V processor features to a HTPC - or should I look at the problem from the other direction trying to somehow adding the USB reader/browsing/media-player, video-audio codec/ features to a A/V processor?

Does it makes sense to future proof the design by separating the processing into 3 different modules that can be readily swapped out -
1. Input processor - to handle the USB hard drive or Blutooth or Ethernet/wife web browser and other firmware functions - which separates the inputs signal into audio and video and sends the digital video to the connected video processor and the audio to the connected Audio processor
2. Video-processor - receives only the video data from the input processor decodes and/or passes through the video to the connected Display device (HDMI) and the audio to the connected Audio processor
3. Audio processor - receives only the audio input (via optical-SPDIF-digital coax or HDMI input) from the input processor and does all the audio decoding converts, digital to Analog, EQ and passes the output to balanced XLR terminals
Not sure if my thinking is headed in the right direction...

Looking for help from members of this esteemed forum...

Thanks in advance for all responses...
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-02-2013, 06:13 AM
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The Integra DHC-80.3 might be worth a look:
- product page
- eBrochure (PDF)
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-02-2013, 09:44 PM
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Integra DCH 60.5.
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-02-2013, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Products

How good is the Integra DHC60.5 at everything it says it does?

The Integra DHC60.5 does seem to have most of what I'm looking for.
DHC80.3 seems to lack the 4K Pass-through which is present on the 60.5.

btw: which are the websites to get a good deal on an Integra and where will I find a DHC60.5 that accepts 220V/50Hz AC?

I'd like to know if the DHC can read USB hard disk with movie files directly connected to it?

I know the DLNA could be used to read hard-disks connected to a PC - but if I can connect 1 or 2 portable USB hard disk directly and be able to watch movies or listen to music directly without going through a PC or the network - it will be quite nice...

I could live without having the Multicard reader, wireless HT keyboard and mouse, mic & web-cam etc...


but the main thing is all my movies (mpg, avi, mkv, etc) and music (mp3, flac, wav) are on portable hard-disks in various lossy and lossless formats.. would be nice to be able to do these without using an external PC...
and also when needed stream music/videos or play games from the internet, check email or download content (preferably with a light browser, rather than with built-in apps) - basically a thin-client netbook/chromebook type functionality built-in

Is this going to be possible in a single manufactured device or am I being too wishful...
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-03-2013, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Folks... I now realize I will have to go with a 2 box solution...

Box 1: Input processor and Video processor in one - basically a HTPC - which I'm willing to build as DIY - using sleek/thin cabinets...
In this case - the questions are:
1. Are there video-cards that I can add to the HTPC so that it can take multiple HDMI inputs such as from a set-top box and gaming device?
2. Are there graphics cards that do the same things as those on the A/V processors? specifically 1080p upscaling, 2k or 4k upscaling, 4k pass through etc?
3. Are there PC motherboards that give out Digital Audio coax output? If not what kind of sound-card will I need? What sound processing/decoding functionality will it have that will complement or be redundant to the ones on the Audio processor?

Box 2: Audio processor
This one is quite simple - just has to take a digital audio input from the input/video processor (via SPDIF), decode the audio into its various channels, convert to analog, do bass management, Eq, room correction, volume control etc and send the balanced line level output to XLR. It would be nice if it had 9.2 or 11.2 channels so as to allow for future upgrades... 1 or 2 RCA or 3.5mm analog inputs would be optional
Does such an Audio processor exist in the pro or consumer world?

Is the above idea feasible?
Where do I start for the above?
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-07-2013, 11:22 AM
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It's seems like my arrangement might work for you. I have a full blown HTPC with a high end sound card for various reasons but I had an S/Pdif coax installed on the motherboard. Also my Onkyo TX-NR929 has 9 built in amps and 11.2 pre-outs so I have no need for the dubious benefits of XLR.
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-17-2013, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Patrick,

What high-end sound card have you used?

What is the configuration of your HTPC?

If you were to do it again - a DIY - HTPC - what configuration would you select?

Thanks
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-19-2013, 09:00 AM
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My sound card is an ESI Juli@ XTE. My HTPC suits my situation and yours is likely different.
With that said I will recommend the company I bought it from with one proviso, that you mention that I recommended them. It's a personal thing, we had words, which has nothing otherwise to do with the company. They will give you many options and guide you along the way. They will sell you a turnkey HTPC, or build to your specs or sell you the parts and guide you through the build. Their only business is quality HTPCs. They are Assassin HTPC in Indiana, USA. They have their company website and their very helpful forum. One of the brothers appears prominently on the HTPC forum on AVS.

With that said, they are highly recommended, even if they didn't expect this from me.
Good luck.

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post #9 of 10 Old 10-19-2013, 09:04 AM
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BTW, I'm equally impressed with my Onkyo TX-NR929.

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post #10 of 10 Old 10-19-2013, 09:20 AM
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BTW2, if the goal is high end audio and high end video in the home, your component, connection and format requirements seem excessive and convoluted. IOTH, you're at a professional or musician level then you might want to peruse a different forum.

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