Originally Posted by JonFo
Well, who would have thought there'd be two of us pondering very similar configs.
I'm also going for a full 16 or 24 channel Trinnov setup to put behind my current Denon AVP-A1 processor, but with an eye towards an 8802 w/Atmos in 2015.
While I too want to minimize A/D/A steps, I can say that I've happily lived with that for years, as my current speaker processor, a DBX DriveRack 4800, drives my speakers and is pretty transparent. The benefits of near-perfect speaker tuning i'm sure outweigh any minor loss of detail. But most null-tests of these things (they run at 24/96) shows them to be transparent. I'm pretty sure the Trinnov's are equally good if not better.
So to answer your questions: I'd go for models with balanced interconnects (XLR), as that makes integrating with pro stuff easier and minimizes extraneous cabling issues.
I hope that someday, CE vendors will adopt multi channel digital outs such as MADI, so we can do all this downstream processing with fewer D/A cycles. But I'm sure some legal reasons exists why this can't be done.
HDCP has a lot to do with it WRT HDMI; that and the tiny market for such things. The consumer world's pre/pros are aimed at folks that want flexibility in what amps they use, so analog output is all that's needed as almost all dedicated amps use RCA or XLR inputs.
My understanding is that you can get by with RCA/XLR cables for short runs (under 6 feet as per a comment by Curt @ Trinnov on one of the threads on the $20K forum), or unbalanced RCA. It's the longer runs where balanced interconnects may have benefit, and given the value of the EQ vs. the additional conversion, the A/D/A issues are also IMO more secondary for most folks with conventional speakers and sources. But in the Trinnov world, you have also the flexibility of DB25 I/O, which is much more efficient than the individual channel interconnects. I wish some non-esoteric amps and higher end consumer AVRs or pre/pros had that feature, honestly.
As for your choice of what Trinnov solution to get if you want to go that route, it's all about the time value of money, I suppose. Picking up the 8802 is advantageous, as you can swap the pre/pro as new tech and connectivity choices (not necessarily codec related) occur, every few years. But the Altitude as your pre/pro, which is going to be more expensive than their Magnitude or MC you'd use with the 8802, offers the potential for an AIO all-digital solution, and software based upgrades - as well as support for a larger number of potential channels to make full use of consumer Atmos (24.1.10 at the limit) than what DSP based, 1st gen Atmos is currently set up to do. Pay up front or pay "later".
Well, we'll know more after CEDIA where it all nets out.
Bottom line: if you're going to be happy with a 7.1.4 configuration for Atmos, and are willing to wait for Auro or UHD, the Altitude has less potential value to a buyer than an 8802 or the Denon X5100 or 7200, even if you have the, um, resources to buy it.