Classé Sigma SSP MKII with 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos Announced - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 63 Old 02-08-2017, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Classé Sigma SSP MKII with 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos Announced

With the Sigma SSP MKII, Classé adds 4K UHD and 3D immersive audio support to its compact 8-channel pre/pro. Click the link for more info: http://www.avsforum.com/classe-sigma...mos-announced/
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post #2 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 05:52 AM
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6k for 5.1.2?? Didn't know the Dolby and DTS license fees are THAT high

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post #3 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 06:25 AM
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intriguing...

I'm sure the Classé has the sound I'm looking for, and I don't want to go beyond 5.1.2 - but I'm not sure how to handle SACD with no 5.1 analog inputs and no support for DSD. Conversion to PCM is just not acceptable.

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That is a beautiful electronic device, but I don't see why it has to be so expensive.

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post #5 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auronihilist View Post
That is a beautiful electronic device, but I don't see why it has to be so expensive.
It's certainly NOT the hardware components...
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post #6 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 09:22 AM
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Yes! Another $5,000 - $20,000 boutique-brand-feature-neutered pre pro that people have already convinced themselves "sounds better" than the lowly peasant-brands that are a fraction of the cost.

I'm jacked.

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post #7 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
Audiophool marketing works

If I could accept no DSD processing, the Anthem AVM 60 is 11.2 channel at approximately half the cost in Canada. And I know that Anthems sound good too: I'm looking to replace an Anthem AVM 20.
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post #8 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 11:26 AM
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Unfortunately the SSP800 that is now discontinued, sounds significantly better for movies and music than the current iteration. I owned the 800 and have listened to the new model; no contest for music listening.

Back in the day, it was the boutique brands that had access to all the toys and were able to buy the premium parts, in turn charging a small fortune for retail. With the advent of technology, all the parts are now sourced from the same suppliers and hence internet direct companies have access and sell it at a fraction of the cost. Take the Emotiva XMC-1 for example with Burr Brown DACs that once were reserved for the likes of Mark Levinson (I currently own both of these as well). If I was a die hard Classe fan, I would opt for a used SSP800 (~$3000) and enjoy the heck out of my music collection.
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post #9 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 12:44 PM
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Surround sound processors don't have to be expensive. You can subcontract all the work to an OEM who will do all the heavy lifting. Provided that you believe that pretty much everything sounds the same, this is a valid way to build and buy products for a low cost that is accessible to people like myself.

Classé went in a different direction with the SSP-800 and the Sigma SSP. With the exception of the HDMI board, everything else is designed and built by Classé. That takes years of work in terms of circuit and software design. We think that it is a better way of doing things, and it really shows when you sit down and listen to one.

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Originally Posted by auronihilist View Post
That is a beautiful electronic device, but I don't see why it has to be so expensive.
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post #10 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Patrick Butler View Post
Surround sound processors don't have to be expensive. You can subcontract all the work to an OEM who will do all the heavy lifting. Provided that you believe that pretty much everything sounds the same, this is a valid way to build and buy products for a low cost that is accessible to people like myself.

Classé went in a different direction with the SSP-800 and the Sigma SSP. With the exception of the HDMI board, everything else is designed and built by Classé. That takes years of work in terms of circuit and software design. We think that it is a better way of doing things, and it really shows when you sit down and listen to one.

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So you honestly want people to believe Classé products sound "better? What does "better" even mean in this context? No need to obsess over things humans can't perceive anyway. Better spend "years of work in terms of circuit and software design" on a good automated speaker setup routine/room EQ. That would actually make a huge audible difference.
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post #11 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 01:34 PM
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Hi markus767,

If there is "no need to obsess over things humans can't perceive anyway", why bother having a conversation? Not to make too fine a point, but I've never found these types of conversations productive or particularly satisfying.

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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
So you honestly want people to believe Classé products sound "better? What does "better" even mean in this context? No need to obsess over things humans can't perceive anyway. Better spend "years of work in terms of circuit and software design" on a good automated speaker setup routine/room EQ. That would actually make a huge audible difference.
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post #12 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post
So you honestly want people to believe Classé products sound "better? What does "better" even mean in this context? No need to obsess over things humans can't perceive anyway. Better spend "years of work in terms of circuit and software design" on a good automated speaker setup routine/room EQ. That would actually make a huge audible difference.
I envy you. I wished I could perceive/hear everything the same. That would have saved me beaucoup bucks. Unfortunately, via empirical experience, my ears tell me otherwise. I really wanted my Emotiva amps to sound like Classe or Pass Labs, but I gave up after my ears could no longer stand it.
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post #13 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 06:35 PM
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This is the exact same thing i mentioned on another thread, people automatically think 20-30 grand processors sound better but this is far from the truth.

The Acurus ACT 4 to me sounded much better then the higher costing Processors (15-30K) and it was built firstly as a high end pre-amp focusing on the analog output . Reporting this opinion on the threads is a dangerous matter as some members who are fanatic to one brand or support it either in a business way or through ownership will shoot you down.

Im not a big believer in Room correction devices and prefer the old school setup procedure. Get the Room done right and do as much less EQ as possible. The only time i prefer EQing anything in the room is with subwoofers.

With processors sounding crap but relying heavily on Room EQ their is no substitute. Gone are the days where companies focus on SQ and getting Processor to sound good by focusing on its analog output and then working on the bells and whistles. Its no surprising that many highly regarded studios don't use Room Correction. At most some may employ a Analog EQ.

With Room correction you lose something and gain something at the same time. In my opinion its not worth it unless the room is in a bad shape and can not be fixed due to design constrained or WAF Factors.
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post #14 of 63 Old 02-09-2017, 11:05 PM
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The kinda of person who will buy this product is probably not a home theater enthusiast. They are probably a music lover first and movies are secondary.
The value of a product is subjective. Believe it or not there are people who believe spending any type on money on surround sound is a stupid idea. Sound coming from your TV is MORE than enough for them.

The each his own.

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Hi kevon27,

The product was designed to appeal to those who are home theater enthusiasts, but don't want to compromise their stereo setup in order to enjoy movies. That's why the processor operates in a differential mode input through output for the front left and right channels. Classé makes purely stereo products for those not interested in surround sound.

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The kinda of person who will buy this product is probably not a home theater enthusiast. They are probably a music lover first and movies are secondary.
The value of a product is subjective. Believe it or not there are people who believe spending any type on money on surround sound is a stupid idea. Sound coming from your TV is MORE than enough for them.

The each his own.

Now where is my tax return checks? I got to go blow money on stuff I really don't need and will end up selling on Craigslist in about a year to facilitate another purchase I don't need.
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post #16 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 05:13 AM
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Hi kevon27,

The product was designed to appeal to those who are home theater enthusiasts, but don't want to compromise their stereo setup in order to enjoy movies. That's why the processor operates in a differential mode input through output for the front left and right channels. Classé makes purely stereo products for those not interested in surround sound.

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Patrick
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They cant be serious, 5.1.2 is laughable in 2017. This is definitely not targeted at serious home theatre setups. 5.1.4 / 7.1.2 is the absolute minimum for a home theatre today, and anyone even half serious is going 7.1.4.


I would have considered the Sigma but it will be excluded by me and many others because it simply doesn't compete, looks like the Arcam pre pro will be the one to get for high end setups.


Does anyone know of any reason why Classé would release such a sub standard product?
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post #17 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 05:21 AM
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Hi Steve Martin 2,

There is definitely some truth to what you wrote. However, there are many customers who own legacy systems who will never install height channels. Just isn't going to happen. There are also people like me with small theaters, for whom 7 channels is unnecessary, but 5.1.2 is viable. Personally, I would have rather shipped a product with 7.1.4 capabilities, but that's not going to happen with a 2U product that was designed to be upgradable. Luckily, there are lots of options in the market for consumers who need something else.

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They cant be serious, 5.1.2 is laughable in 2017. This is definitely not targeted at serious home theatre setups. 5.1.4 / 7.1.2 is the absolute minimum for a home theatre today, and anyone even half serious is going 7.1.4.


I would have considered the Sigma but it will be excluded by me and many others because it simply doesn't compete, looks like the Arcam pre pro will be the one to get for high end setups.


Does anyone know of any reason why Classé would release such a sub standard product?
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post #18 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Butler View Post
Hi Steve Martin 2,

There is definitely some truth to what you wrote. However, there are many customers who own legacy systems who will never install height channels. Just isn't going to happen. There are also people like me with small theaters, for whom 7 channels is unnecessary, but 5.1.2 is viable. Personally, I would have rather shipped a product with 7.1.4 capabilities, but that's not going to happen with a 2U product that was designed to be upgradable. Luckily, there are lots of options in the market for consumers who need something else.

Regards,

Patrick
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I think one could add one more argument to this, and that is 'how many BD/UHD movies out there carries more than 8 channels?'

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post #19 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 06:24 AM
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Compared to DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD, there are relatively few films with Atmos or DTS:X. That said- I get it. I've heard properly calibrated systems with up to 25 channels (not including subs) and the Atmos experience was thrilling, and I wanted to own that room.

Like everything in life, product design is a series of choices, each of which comes with its own price. That price is paid either in feature set (does it have the right features, and for whom?) or bill of materials (each feature has a cost, and could you have used that money somewhere else in the design more effectively?)

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I think one could add one more argument to this, and that is 'how many BD/UHD movies out there carries more than 8 channels?'
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post #20 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Martin 2 View Post
They cant be serious, 5.1.2 is laughable in 2017. This is definitely not targeted at serious home theatre setups. 5.1.4 / 7.1.2 is the absolute minimum for a home theatre today, and anyone even half serious is going 7.1.4.

I would have considered the Sigma but it will be excluded by me and many others because it simply doesn't compete, looks like the Arcam pre pro will be the one to get for high end setups.

Does anyone know of any reason why Classé would release such a sub standard product?
Who ever said this device is aimed at dedicated home theater setups? Certainly not me in the article I posted. It's utility comes from compact size, high-quality balanced 2-channel capability, and flexible configuration for 8 channels including proper parametric EQ. Also, it'll never appeal to the price/performance ratio crowd, so that's not even a discussion.

The funny thing about critical comments regarding products such as these is that they come from both directions. If I use a Classé system to review a $500 pair of bookshelf speakers, suddenly people want to give credit to the electronics if it's a positive review, the implication being that they can't achieve the same level of performance unless they also spend as much on electronics. Then there are the folks who insist that even electronics that have better specs don't actually sound better because the threshold for what humans can hear is the limiting factor. It's kind of a no-win situation given how difficult it is to "prove" anything in an online discussion, even if you go down the road of a properly executed double-blind test.

Ultimately, it's the nature of the beast when it comes to online comments that people attempt to be snarky, clever, and critical. It's all good, that's practically the lifeblood of any community. But it ignores the fact that different people's needs vary, as do their financial means. This is a system that's the right choice for someone, but it's not a mass-market product.
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post #21 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 06:33 AM
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But the arguments also indicates that if the time to market (regarding upgrades) are too long, one easily run into 'too little, too late' pains. The technological development pace could be challenging.

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But the arguments also indicates that if the time to market (regarding upgrades) are too long, one easily run into 'too little, too late' pains.
Or else you work to carve out new market segments. And take different approaches. Do you think that the fact Sonos ignores HDMI and high-res audio and DTS in its AV solutions is "too little, too late?" Or is that company's focus on ease-of-use and aesthetics schooling its competitors on what needs to be done to succeed in today's market, even if you could describe the technologies that Sonos supports as being inadequate or even fundamentally obsolete?

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Compared to DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD, there are relatively few films with Atmos or DTS:X. That said- I get it. I've heard properly calibrated systems with up to 25 channels (not including subs) and the Atmos experience was thrilling, and I wanted to own that room.

Like everything in life, product design is a series of choices, each of which comes with its own price. That price is paid either in feature set (does it have the right features, and for whom?) or bill of materials (each feature has a cost, and could you have used that money somewhere else in the design more effectively?)

Regards,

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Patrick, my original post may have been a bit harsh, I suppose I was reflecting my extreme disappointment as this was one product I had anxiously been waiting for, as it would have satisfied both my 2 ch and multi ch requirements. I just don't understand why if Classé consider atmos / dts x worthwhile, that they would not provide the full package. I consider Classé to be a quality 'aspirational' product, and I am disappointed that I now have to rule it out.


As for movies with 11 ch, from memory there were approx. 45 titles on 4k Ultra HD with (mostly) atmos available in 2016, however over 250 titles will be released to 4k Ultra HD in 2017, the majority will most likely offer 11 ch atmos or DTS X. Its a crying shame that the Sigma will now be excluded by the majority of early adopters to this format. 2 ch music fans would not necessarily be considered early adopters, however a significant portion of home theatre fans are, and spending a not inconsiderable amount of money on a 5.1.2 system for home theatre would be waste. I seriously hope Classé can offer a higher spec version of the Sigma SSD that includes 7.1.4 and possibly even HDMI 2.1


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Or else you work to carve out new market segments. And take different approaches. Do you think that the fact Sonos ignores HDMI and high-res audio and DTS in its AV solutions is "too little, too late?" Or is that company's focus on ease-of-use and aesthetics schooling its competitors on what needs to be done to succeed in today's market, even if you could describe the technologies that Sonos supports as being inadequate or even fundamentally obsolete?
I believe Classé's strategic intent would be to retain their position as a front runner on the technological and performance side of things opposed to Sonus who goes after the mainstream market that are not concerned with peak performance but rather user friendly products that just works (which by the way is a desired achievement on its own). Sonus doesn't need to be first or implement the latest and greatest to stay in front in their customer segment. For some (i.e. myself) 'sufficient is good enough' simply is not an option. I am more into the 'if in doubt, double it' and 'too much is not enough' camp.

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post #25 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 12:01 PM
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I'm still curious though if the Classé company listens to their products blind rather than sighted. The trouble in a sighted test of course is the cognitive biases influencing the listening test results.

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Good question. I'd say that Classé's approach is to design a better engineered product. Specifically, find all the places that distortion can be created in a component (or picked up from outside sources) and engineer solutions that reduce said distortion. Do they listen? Sure, and it's all sighted. However, it's the measurements that govern design choices. Dave Nauber (President of Classé) is an engineer, and the company marches to the beat of that drummer.

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I'm still curious though if the Classé company listens to their products blind rather than sighted. The trouble in a sighted test of course is the cognitive biases influencing the listening test results.
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post #27 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 02:34 PM
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Hi Steve Martin 2,

For what it's worth, I didn't find your post to be harsh.

The Sigma SSP was conceived and designed for a very specific niche. The original decision to use a chassis that is 2U high would come at the expense of enough space to do 7.1.4 processing with the attendant outputs.

The Delta Series SSP-800 replacement will have a vastly expanded feature set with a much higher price tag when it arrives some time in the future (TBD.)

Regarding Atmos soundtracks, it is my understanding that they are not channel based like we are used to with Dolby True-HD (5.1, 7.1.) Because the system is object based, the more speakers you use (up to 24 at listener level and 10 in the ceiling, but with a minimum of 5.1.2) the more precisely you can place an audio object within that 3D soundstage.

Regarding a 2.1 HDMI product, Classé makes the Sigma 2200i. Think of it as a 200W stereo integrated with HDMI.

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Patrick, my original post may have been a bit harsh, I suppose I was reflecting my extreme disappointment as this was one product I had anxiously been waiting for, as it would have satisfied both my 2 ch and multi ch requirements. I just don't understand why if Classé consider atmos / dts x worthwhile, that they would not provide the full package. I consider Classé to be a quality 'aspirational' product, and I am disappointed that I now have to rule it out.


As for movies with 11 ch, from memory there were approx. 45 titles on 4k Ultra HD with (mostly) atmos available in 2016, however over 250 titles will be released to 4k Ultra HD in 2017, the majority will most likely offer 11 ch atmos or DTS X. Its a crying shame that the Sigma will now be excluded by the majority of early adopters to this format. 2 ch music fans would not necessarily be considered early adopters, however a significant portion of home theatre fans are, and spending a not inconsiderable amount of money on a 5.1.2 system for home theatre would be waste. I seriously hope Classé can offer a higher spec version of the Sigma SSD that includes 7.1.4 and possibly even HDMI 2.1


Regards
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post #28 of 63 Old 02-10-2017, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Patrick Butler View Post
Hi kevon27,

The product was designed to appeal to those who are home theater enthusiasts, but don't want to compromise their stereo setup in order to enjoy movies. That's why the processor operates in a differential mode input through output for the front left and right channels. Classé makes purely stereo products for those not interested in surround sound.

Regards,

Patrick
B&W Group North America
I definitely respect/appreciate this design decision. I'd love to evaluate the 2ch performance with this approach.
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post #29 of 63 Old 02-11-2017, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
I definitely respect/appreciate this design decision. I'd love to evaluate the 2ch performance with this approach.
Same here, since the 2ch. is a fully balanced design and not only a line receiver/driver on the I/O side. I look forward to a contest where it is going toe to toe with my current preamp.

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post #30 of 63 Old 02-11-2017, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Martin 2 View Post
They cant be serious, 5.1.2 is laughable in 2017. This is definitely not targeted at serious home theatre setups. 5.1.4 / 7.1.2 is the absolute minimum for a home theatre today, and anyone even half serious is going 7.1.4.


I would have considered the Sigma but it will be excluded by me and many others because it simply doesn't compete, looks like the Arcam pre pro will be the one to get for high end setups.


Does anyone know of any reason why Classé would release such a sub standard product?
It certainly was not built for HT enthusiasts. You are correct in that 7.x.4 is an absolute minimum. And I would argue with the poster who suggested room correction was not important. Certainly room treatment, speaker placement (where that is an option) and PEQ's can get you part of the way there, but processes like DiracLive do a LOT more than any PEQ is capable of (I can do both with my processor).

I am really not sure who the target market is for this product!!

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