**miniDSP DDRC-88A Official Thread**8-channel AI/AO Dirac Live in a box - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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**miniDSP DDRC-88A Official Thread**8-channel AI/AO Dirac Live in a box

Guys,

This is a dedicated thread on the new MiniDSP product called DDRC-88A home theater in a box for those who are interested in Dirac Live Room Equalization solution. Only applicable with existing pre/pro/receivers that have an 8-channel analogue output to separate amps.

What is Dirac Live?
Spoiler!


Details of the DDRC-88A are available here: http://www.minidsp.com/products/dirac-series/ddrc-88a

Wiring diagram hookup for the DDRC-88A:

Owner's manual is available.


Cost is under a grand USD - not including shipping.
  • AVScience (forum sponsor) is a MiniDSP dealer in US. See details in post number 4,002 by Mike.
  • For European AVS members, contact Homestudio with details provided by Keith Barnes in post number 522.
  • For UK AVS members, contact Kalibrate with details provided by Keith Barnes in post number 593.

Again this is an external box solution for:
  1. those who have external amps to drive speakers; or
  2. those who have active speakers.
If you have a receiver with internal amps, sorry it's not going to help much.


The DDRC-88A has both balanced and un-balanced inputs via Phoenix terminal blocks. A solution for those with XLR pre-outs has been given by miniDSP in their forum thread post number 17019. MiniDSP recommends to:
  • buy a short XLR patch cable;
  • Cut it in the middle;
  • Use the XLR male to bare stripped wire for the DDRC OUT. You just "screw" the bare stripped wire to the pluggin phoenix connector we provide in the package (see user manual); and
  • Use the XLR female to bare stripped wire for the DDRC IN.
AVS member Jerry has provided step-by-step details for XLR cable connection in post number 729. Thanks Jerry!


Analogue input and output connection details.
  1. MiniDSP has confirmed that it's possible to have a mixture of balanced and unbalanced signals. One has to take care of the gain structure - see 2nd post for additional information.
  2. On the analogue input side; use either the balanced or the unbalanced connection - not both on a per channel input basis.
  3. It is also possible to have unbalanced input and balanced output or the other way around.
  4. On the output side, both the the balanced and unbalanced terminals are active; i.e. 'hot'. So both can be used at the same time.


Features:
  • Bypass of the DDRC-88A is available. Good for those who like their current flavor of room correction such as Audyssey, ARC, YPAO, PEQ, etc.
  • Correction is adjustable for start and end frequency as well as tilting to a custom house curve. I.e. One can start from 20Hz up to 1kHz with a 10dB tilt and no correction below 20Hz or above 1kHz.
  • Can store up to 4 presets of adjustable room curves. Dirac Live has single seat positioning (often referred to as the money seat) or a wider sofa seating positioning measurement options. The single and sofa seat + 2 more can be saved into the presets. This would allow some flexibility in tuning the sound depending on listening situation. I.e. having family/friends over vs. critical listening by yourself.

Current issues:
  1. Has a maximum of 7.1 channels.
  2. If you have height/wides/ceiling speakers, this may not be the right solution for you as it goes beyond 8 channels. Will have to get a 2nd unit to cover for the additional channels. Details to be worked out.
  3. Sampling resolution is capped at 48kHz, might be a disappointment for those with multi-channel hi-rez files. I.e. 192kHz/24bit.
  4. Have to use MiniDSP's microphone for in room acoustical measurement with Dirac. Model number UMIK-1. Post number 18,754 in miniDSP forum explains the reasons for this.
  5. No remote trigger to start or IR code for ON/OFF operation. There could be a potential issue when the unit losses power - may cause a thump to the downstream speaker. Suggested to leave the unit on all the time and this may not please some.
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Last edited by steveting99; Today at 06:59 AM. Reason: additional text for clarity
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post #2 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Datasheet technical details.

Gain Structure (important!)
Why does it matter?
Wanyne A. Pflughaupt explains in detail what gain structure is about and mixing of pro gear with commercial home gear.
Spoiler!


What are maximum input voltages for the DDRC-88A?


Spoiler!


What are the maximum output voltages for the DDRC-88A?


Spoiler!


Sample rate and resolution of A-->D then D-->A conversion: 48kHz/24-bits

Signal processing delay: about 13ms (based on this article by MiniDSP and post number 17,992 in the MiniDSP forum). If in the bypass mode, the latency will be very minimal in the order of few ms (e.g. 1~2ms) for the IO and buffering.

Power supply requirements: 12VDC@2A (24W)

Volume dial provided on face plate. Volume control is in the digital domain (32 bits). Will need to determine how far down the volume can be lowered before information is lost in the original signal(s).

No remote supplied! BYO. **Eidt: AVS member Jerry has provided a step-by-step guide to program the Harmony remote for the DDRC-88A in post number 915.**




For those with multiple sub setups, there could be some issues with how Dirac handles time alignment.
  • Follow Jerry's guide using the signal path: single LFE channel out of your pre/pro/receiver/AVR ---> DDRC-88A sub input channel ---> DDRC-88A sub output channel ---> an external box solution (such as the 2x4) ---> to individual subs LFE input.
  • This would have multiple A/D conversions, but the intent is to initially get multiple subs time aligned first before applying Dirac Live filters to a single sub channel.
  • Further clarification from miniDSP is required on how intends to integrate multiple subs. 1st step is to choose custom system under system configuration. Select sub for the appropriate channel.
  • MiniDSP has confirmed that "..the Subwoofer check box does change the sweep signal and does change the way the filter is being calculated. It's recommended to make sure the signal is treated correctly." See post number 17568 in miniDSP forum.
Scott Wilkinson got in touch with Dirac CEO about the required internet connection for the DDRC-88A in post number 124 of LA Home Theater GtG. Mathias reply verbatim:
"We use the server access both for a license check and for computing a certain part of the overall filter. The part that's done at the server concerns the time-domain correction, and, yes, that's done on the server to prevent piracy. This means that the first time you make a filter for a certain measurement set, you need to access the server. But if you then just want to change the target response, the server does not need to be accessed again. The time-domain correction does not change from a target change."

For those who have bought a calibrated UMIK-1 mic from Cross Spectrum Labs, MiniDSP has confirmed that the 90 deg calibration file can be used for carrying out Dirac setup and measurements! **Edit: MiniDSP has confirmed that the sensitivity factor is not required by Dirac Live in post number 17534 in the miniDSP forum.**

Firmware updates that MiniDSP has advised:
23-Jan-2015: Bug fixes for levels issues, clearing presets and master volume in post number 17,599 of MiniDSP forum. This has been fixed on 2-Feb-2015. See post number 1664 and the subsequent post by Markus.
15-Apr-2015. New version of Dirac Live Calibration Tools with firmware update. Details of bug fixes and user interface improvements given in post number 3,567 by Jerry.
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Last edited by steveting99; 04-25-2015 at 07:01 AM. Reason: additional text for clarity. Firmware update. Up-date for gain structure (with flowchart). New version for DLCT.
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post #3 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Multi-channel amps that can be used with DDRC-88A.

Crown CT-8150. Fanless design. Balanced inputs=YES (via Phoenix type). Unbalanced inputs=YES (via Phoenix type). No Remote Trigger, but has AUTO standby + deep sleep toggle - need to check if this is the same. Amp type=Class D. Energy efficient, small form factor and lighter weight. Power rating=8x125W into 8 ohms. Support for 4 ohm loads. THD=0.05%. Sensitivity=1.4V. Signal to noise ratio=110dB. (+1 to Skylinestar for this rec)
Cost (MRSP): $2,500 (approx.)
Link: http://www.crownaudio.com/row/comtech-drivecore.html
Availability from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/CT8150-Amplifi...s=crown+ct8150
Review by Andrew Robinson here: http://www.arccinema.com/crown-ct815...ore-amplifier/

Emotiva XPA-7. Fanless design. Balanced inputs=YES (via XLR). Unbalanced inputs=YES (via RCA). Remote Trigger=12VDC. Amp type=Class A/B. Power rating=7x200W into 8 ohms. Support for 4 ohm loads. THD=0.02%. Sensitivity=1.4V. Signal to noise ratio 117dB.
Cost (MRSP): $1,599
Link: https://emotiva.com/products/amplifiers/xpa-7

Behringer NU4-6000 iNuke. Uses active cooling with fans. Balanced inputs=YES (via XLR). Unbalanced inputs=YES(via professional 1/4" TS/TRS plug). No Remote Trigger. Amp type=Class D. Power rating=4x440W into 8 ohms (will need two of these units to go with one DDRC-88A but still lower cost than most multi-channel amps). Support for 4 ohm loads. Note: Uses professional Neutrik SpeakON power terminals and connectors. THD=0.2%. Sensitivity=0.775V. Signal to noise ratio 100dB.
Cost (MRSP): $525
Link: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/NU4-6000.aspx
Availability from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-NU4-...inuke+nu4-6000

Yamaha MX-A5000. Fanless design. Balanced inputs=YES (via XLR). Unbalanced inputs=YES (via RCA). Remote Trigger=12VDC. Amp type=Class A/B. Power rating=11x150W into 8 ohms. This will do the full Atmos speaker setup of 7.1.4/9.1.2. Support for 4 ohm loads on European models - need to check if USA models are the same. THD=0.06%. Sensitivity=1.3V. Signal to noise ratio 116dB.
Cost (MRSP): $2,999.95
Link: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio...a5000_black_u/
Available from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-MX-A500...amaha+mx-a5000

NAD M27. Fanless design. Balanced inputs=YES (via XLR). Unbalanced inputs=YES (via RCA). Remote Trigger=12VDC. Amp type=Class D using Hypex nCore, energy efficient, small form factor and lighter weight. Power rating=7x180W into 8 ohms. Support for 4 ohm loads. THD=0.005%. Sensitivity=1.3V. Signal to noise ratio 120dB.
Cost(MRSP): $3,999.99!! Expensive...
Link: http://nadelectronics.com/products/m...ower-Amplifier
Available from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/NAD-Electronic...ywords=NAD+M27

Outlaw Audio Model 7200/7125/7075 series (the last three digits represent watts). Fanless design. Balanced inputs=NO. Only Unbalanced inputs via RCA available. Will have to step up to the higher end and more expensive balanced amps (Model 7700/7900) for balanced inputs. Remote Trigger=12VDC. Amp type=Class AB (need to confirm). Power rating for the top end Model 7200=7x200W into 8 ohms. Support for 4 ohm loads. THD=0.05%. Sensitivity=1.43V. Signal to noise ratio 119dB. Note that only 115VAC is available and Outlaw Audio does not ship international.
Cost(MSRP): $1,499 (Currently on sale)
Link: http://outlawaudio.com/products/7200.html

Parasound ZoneMaster Model 1250. Fanless design. Balanced inputs=NO. Only Unbalanced inputs via RCA available. Remote Trigger=12VDC (Overall + individual channels). Amp type=Class AB for input and Class D for output. Energy efficient, small form factor and lighter weight. Power rating=12x50W into 8 ohms. Can be bridged into 6x160W into 8 Ohms. Support for 4 ohm loads. Note: Uses phoenix power terminals and connectors. THD=1%. Sensitivity=0.7V. Signal to noise ratio 112dB.
Cost(MSRP): $2,495 ..(Not cheap)
Link: http://www.parasound.com/nc/1250.php
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Last edited by steveting99; 01-23-2015 at 05:58 AM. Reason: Amplifier rec added
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post #4 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Useful posts in the thread.
  • Jerry's guide for using MiniDSP 4x2 to Time-Align Multiple Subs with Audyssey in post number 383. Thanks Jerry!
  • Jerry's guide on How to Use a Harmony Remote to Learn DDRC-88A Remote Commands in post number 915. +1 to Jerry!
  • Jerry's comparison of Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live in post number 1,807. REW ETC graphs on left channel with before and after Dirac Live in post number 1,632.
  • Jerry's idea on fine tuning Dirac Live in post number 3,277.
  • Setup for initial configuration of the DDRC-88A given by Markus in post number 611. Thanks Markus!
  • Implementing a subsonic filter on the sub channel by Markus in post number 2,946. Cool idea by Markus to protect sub woofers from over excursion! Thanks again Markus!
  • Suggested Harmon curve in post number 3,042 by Markus.
  • Keith Barnes first report on the DDRC-88A in post number 2,042.


Subjective listening impressions by owners.Current owners list of DDRC-88A complied by Jerry in post number 2,341.
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Last edited by steveting99; 04-25-2015 at 07:02 AM. Reason: Harmony remote guide for DDRC-88A, owner's list and impressions
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post #5 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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External links, reviews and get-together on the DDRC-888A.

Dirac Live white paper.

Flavio on Dirac Live's graphs... how accurate? in the Computer Audiophile forum.

LA Home Theater meet report at Rayjr place by Scott Wilkinson.

House curves explained by Wanyne A. Pflughaupt over in Home Theater Shack forum. "...a house curve is perceived flat response as opposed to measured flat response..."

Up-coming review of the DDRC-88A by imagic.

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Last edited by steveting99; 04-03-2015 at 08:26 PM. Reason: external links, reviews and GtG
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post #6 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post
The DDRC-88A has both balanced and un-balanced inputs via Phoenix terminal blocks. Will need a solution for those with XLR and pre-outs.
This is a possible solution http://www.amazon.com/Hosa-PHX-206F-.../dp/B003D83OWC
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Just make your own. I am doing that now. I buy 10' XLR male to XLR female. Cut in two and you have a cable to run from prepro to MiniDSP and a cable to run from MiniDSP to amp.

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^ Gooddoc,

Thanks for the link! Will wait for others to chime in and confirm it's doable and will include your link in an edited post.

This MiniDSP in a box has put a spanner the home theater works for me. I've always heard great things about Dirac Live and never thought it could be available at a price that's semi-affordable to enthusiasts.

Now re-thinking about the whole process again.

Planning on getting one?

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Just make your own. I am doing that now. I buy 10' XLR male to XLR female. Cut in two and you have a cable to run from prepro to MiniDSP and a cable to run from MiniDSP to amp.
Yea, you can do that. But then you have essentially made those cables into one trick ponies and connecting and disconnecting is a big hassle for 8 channels. Will save a few bucks in the short term though, so it's all about priorities .
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Guys,


Current issues:
  1. Does a maximum of 7.1 channels. I.e. No Atmos, Auro 3D, etc.
  2. If you have height/wides/ceiling speakers, this is not the right solution for you.
  3. Sampling resolution is capped at 48kHz, might be a disappointment for those with multi-channel hi-rez files. I.e. 192kHz/24bit.
Why could you not run Audyssey to set speaker distance and levels, then turn off and run 5.1 or 7.1 through the MiniDSP and have the ceiling speakers run direct to the amps. Then everything except for the ceiling speakers would be EQed by Dirac.
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^ Gooddoc,

Thanks for the link! Will wait for others to chime in and confirm it's doable and will include your link in an edited post.

This MiniDSP in a box has put a spanner the home theater works for me. I've always heard great things about Dirac Live and never thought it could be available at a price that's semi-affordable to enthusiasts.

Now re-thinking about the whole process again.

Planning on getting one?
Maybe. But I give it 6-9 months tops and I predict we'll see a 13 channel version. That's a definite buy.
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I think this unit from MiniDSP will be a great option for anyone wanting DIRAC room correction.
You will be able to have the same room correction as the DataSat and Theta units, but with an external box.
I really like this idea, as I can change my pre/pro or receiver..and my room correction can stay the same.
Good going MiniDSP...keep innovating.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post
Current issues:
  1. Does a maximum of 7.1 channels. I.e. No Atmos, Auro 3D, etc.
  2. If you have height/wides/ceiling speakers, this is not the right solution for you.
  3. Sampling resolution is capped at 48kHz, might be a disappointment for those with multi-channel hi-rez files. I.e. 192kHz/24bit.
It can be used in an Atmos 5.1.2 setup.

What are those high resolution formats good for? Torture bats?
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
Yea, you can do that. But then you have essentially made those cables into one trick ponies and connecting and disconnecting is a big hassle for 8 channels. Will save a few bucks in the short term though, so it's all about priorities .
One half of my cable looks just like your picture, except for gold plated connections on XLR side and longer, so no more one trick than what you linked to. Also, not sure that connector will fit the MiniDSP. The Phoenix connections on my amps (looks like your link) will not fit the Phoenix connections on my MiniDSP10x10HD's and the connections on the new Dirac unit look to be exactly the same as what is used on the 10x10HD.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post

Current issues:
  1. Does a maximum of 7.1 channels. I.e. No Atmos, Auro 3D, etc.
  2. If you have height/wides/ceiling speakers, this is not the right solution for you.
I don't see these as issues.

#1 "Does a maximum of 7.1 channels. I.e. No Atmos, Auro 3D, etc."
#2 "If you have height/wides/ceiling speakers, this is not the right solution for you."

Here is the answer.....use 2 DDRC-88A this gives you 16 channels of correction...if you read the instructions..they say that you can custom configure the speaker input/output. I am guessing that the box does not care what the configuration is, as long as you configure it correctly.
This is the exact same principle that the JBL Synthesis system uses with there SDEC units.
Need more channels....add another unit...at least these are not $9K like the SDEC's

Just my $.02
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Other than more channels for speakers, the unit could use a second sub output, for those of us that use multiple subs. Especially when front and back of room.
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post #17 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 07:52 AM
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Very exciting to see something like this at a reasonable price point.

Finally we can apply Dirac to decoded atmos tracks!

As mentioned before, I wonder about the possibility of adding a second minidsp unit for 16 channel processing, Out of a 7.4.4 setup I would put 5.2.0 on the first unit, and 2.2.4 on the second (that being the back surround and height surrounds + 2 extra subs). Could it be as simple as loading the same "target curve" on the 2 units to get all 16 channels processed the same?

One other question, which only time / testing will answer: how will this unit effect lipsync, I wonder how much latency will be introduced by the Dirac filters, and what happens if that lag exceeds the AVRs adjustment range? I think 500ms or so is a common range. If the video arrives first we need a way to "speed up" the audio, I think most AVRs are 0ms - 500ms delay ..... what if 0ms isn't fast enough to sync with the video.

Am I overthinking this ?

Can't wait for some user reviews when this starts shipping.
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post #18 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
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Other than more channels for speakers, the unit could use a second sub output, for those of us that use multiple subs. Especially when front and back of room.
You have 8 sub outputs if you want.

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post #19 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 08:27 AM
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Delay concerns me to. Especially if not all of the channels go through the Dirac unit, like I was talking about above. My system would be pretty messy.

Prepro to Dirac unit for five speakers and one sub. (Could other subs be placed on unused channels?)
Dirac unit to two MiniDSP10x10HD's for LCR and subs. (LCR signal gets split into three separate channels for active 3-way LCR's.)
Dirac to amps for left/right surrounds. (I could run these two channels through 10x10HD so that it had the same delay as LCR and subs.)
10x10HD to amps.
Prepro direct to amps for Atmos speakers.

With Atmos speakers having the short route of direct from prepro to amps, delay on Atmos speakers, most likely would be slightly different. Also the adjustment in a prepro is for delay of audio and I am concerned that I might need delay of video.

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post #20 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
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You have 8 sub outputs if you want.

RayJr
I would need a lot more channels. I run six subs. Now if the other channels could be used. I could do the following, since my subs are group of three up front and group of three in the back.

Run five speakers and the two sub outs from prepro through DDRC-88A.
Run four Atmos speakers direct to subs.

Still worried about delay, since the LCR have to go through a couple MiniDSP10x10HD's. If this works, it sounds tempting. I have some questions into MiniDSP.

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post #21 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 09:23 AM
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post #22 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
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Still worried about delay, since the LCR have to go through a couple MiniDSP10x10HD's. If this works, it sounds tempting. I have some questions into MiniDSP.
With my projector my lip sync is set to 125ms delay for audio currently. As you said, we may need "video delay". My understanding: if the Dirac adds over 125ms delay to the audio I will not be able to compensate via the AVR. In other words, my lipsync would be set to 0ms, but the video could still potentially be faster than the audio.

That's my only real concern, and will keep me from buying on day one, hope my worries are unfounded. Interested to hear what Minidsp has to say.
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post #23 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:04 AM
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I'll just reiterate that my concerns are the same as many others.

1) Can I use two of these units for an Atmos setup?
2) If #1 is done, will it enable the use of 4 subs?
3) How much delay is introduced?

Otherwise, I'm very interested in this. Dirac has been great on my computer for 2.1 listening.

Edit: One more question: Is the auditorium option available on this unit?

Last edited by Tin_Can; 12-08-2014 at 10:42 AM.
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post #24 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:18 AM
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I am not worried about delay, if just using Dirac. I doubt that this device alone would add too much delay. My concern is if using Dirac on the base speakers and sub and direct for Atmos speakers. Even worse in my case, if I run everything except for Atmos speakers through the DDRC-88A and a MiniDSP10x10HD.

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post #25 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tin_Can View Post
I'll just reiterate that my concerns are the same as many others.

1) Can I use two of these units for an Atmos setup?
2) If #1 is done, will it enable the use of 4 sub's?


Otherwise, I'm very interested in this. Dirac has been great on my computer for 2.1 listening.
Don't see why not. You’d connect, for example, Unit 1 to the 7 listener level channels and Unit 2 to the overheads. Then run two calibration runs, one for each unit. The apply your single target curve to both units. Sounds straightforward enough unless I am missing something.

I would ass-u-me that when miniDSP were testing this unit they took account of any delay that it introduces and compared that to the lipsync in their test systems and found no problems.
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post #26 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
I am not worried about delay, if just using Dirac. I doubt that this device alone would add too much delay.
Quite. One would assume that miniDSp have tested this unit and found no issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
My concern is if using Dirac on the base speakers and sub and direct for Atmos speakers. Even worse in my case, if I run everything except for Atmos speakers through the DDRC-88A and a MiniDSP10x10HD.
If the delay is a known quantity then it can easily be added manually by adjusting the distance settings of the non-Dirac channels. Or use two DD88s - that is the route I am drawn towards even though it doubles the cost.
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post #27 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:44 AM
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How will you align multiple subs without purchasing additional hardware? I don't think the latency will exceed 16ms like the other Dirac unit.
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post #28 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
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Don't see why not. You’d connect, for example, Unit 1 to the 7 listener level channels and Unit 2 to the overheads. Then run two calibration runs, one for each unit. The apply your single target curve to both units. Sounds straightforward enough unless I am missing something.
I wonder if the target curve is stored on the computer and is available to load into the second unit. It may be difficult to exactly match the target curve of the two units, if done manually.
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post #29 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:48 AM
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I wonder if the target curve is stored on the computer and is available to load into the second unit. It may be difficult to exactly match the target curve of the two units, if done manually.
It's saved as a plain text file and can be loaded again.
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post #30 of 4077 Old 12-08-2014, 10:50 AM
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^^ Great, thank you.
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