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post #61 of 106 Old 08-20-2011, 05:00 PM
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We tried to get our hands on DEQX to compare but after some contact with the company, they went cold on us.

On speaker selection and ARCOS, it does use the anechoic performance of the speaker as to not force it to do unnatural things. That said, as Roger mentioned, you can set it to an unknown speaker and it still tries to do its own thing. We are about to do precisely that, optimizing our Wisdom speakers with it. Will report our experience soon.

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post #62 of 106 Old 08-20-2011, 05:54 PM
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BTW, ARCOS asks about screen material and somehow takes this into account too. None of the other products do that...

In any case it's good to know that ARCOS does allow selecting "other" as a speaker choice. I need this since I use Magnepan 20.1s for stereo listening (placed on the side of the screen), wheras my Synthesis One fronts are all behind my Stewart Cinewide AT screen.
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post #63 of 106 Old 08-20-2011, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

On speaker selection and ARCOS, it does use the anechoic performance of the speaker as to not force it to do unnatural things.

Hear hear! I'm happy to hear I was not wrong
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post #64 of 106 Old 08-20-2011, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Hear hear! I'm happy to hear I was not wrong

My apologies for FUDing.

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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

On speaker selection and ARCOS, it does use the anechoic performance of the speaker as to not force it to do unnatural things.

That's pretty vague. You'd think Harman could do a better job of explaining about this in their lit, especially as it might imply added value to the end user. OTOH, they did a pretty good job of hiding BassQ from the planet, too.
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post #65 of 106 Old 08-20-2011, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

That's pretty vague. You'd think Harman could do a better job of explaining about this in their lit, especially as it might imply added value to the end user. OTOH, they did a pretty good job of hiding BassQ from the planet, too.

They do in dealer training. I gave the shorthand version . It is part of the Flyod/Alan presentation. They show examples of what should not be corrected with specific measurements of example speakers.

I agree on BassQ. It is a hidden gem.

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post #66 of 106 Old 08-20-2011, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

My apologies for FUDing.

That's pretty vague. You'd think Harman could do a better job of explaining about this in their lit, especially as it might imply added value to the end user. OTOH, they did a pretty good job of hiding BassQ from the planet, too.

They've got some of the best minds in research, development, engineering, and design...

...and some of the worst in marketing, sales, distribution, and the executive office.

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post #67 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

That's pretty vague. You'd think Harman could do a better job of explaining about this in their lit, especially as it might imply added value to the end user. OTOH, they did a pretty good job of hiding BassQ from the planet, too.

I agree - there's a ton of hidden secrets. Not even Harman Tech support knows it until you're persistent and ask them do dig out the info. Apparently a lot is secret too, like the SAM2LF-SAM1HF crossover frequency, which is one thing tech support would not reveal to me saying it is a trade secret (apparently they want me to use the Synthesis passive crossover or an SDEC solution and want me to stay away from 3rd party crossover solutions). Funny thing is that three months later the crossover frequency was publicized in newly released marketing material. (Possibly accidentally? I doubt it was in any way related to my request).
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post #68 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

They do in dealer training. I gave the shorthand version . It is part of the Flyod/Alan presentation. They show examples of what should not be corrected with specific measurements of example speakers.

I am sure there are many things that should not attempt to be corrected in a room EQ system. Like a room mode or an SBIR cancellation notch, or a response error that appears in only one mic position. One would think the room EQ would be smart enough to determine those things as part of its evaluation, and I'm sure that is true for ARCOS. That being the case, what specific sorts of insight does ARCOS gain from having access to the anechoic responses of the subject speakers?
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post #69 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Apparently a lot is secret too, like the SAM2LF-SAM1HF crossover frequency, which is one thing tech support would not reveal to me saying it is a trade secret.

It's not much of a trade secret if you can walk up to it and measure it with a voltmeter and a sine wave generator.
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post #70 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

That being the case, what specific sorts of insight does ARCOS gain from having access to the anechoic responses of the subject speakers?

From what I recall, one example that was given was the natural frequency response roll off a speaker due to the way it is designed. That pushing it to do more will result in lots of distortion.

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post #71 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

It's not much of a trade secret if you can walk up to it and measure it with a voltmeter and a sine wave generator.

That requires that I have the passive crossover or SDEC at hand, which I don't. I have the speakers, but not the crossovers or SDEC (yet). But, yes, you're right. It's not a showstopper. I could have purchased one of the $500 passive crossovers and used it for reference. If Harman thinks it's a secret, that's their prerogative.
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post #72 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

We tried to get our hands on DEQX to compare but after some contact with the company, they went cold on us.

I had a bit of the same experience. The support was "cold". Granted, this was way back in late 2005 when the product still was in its baby steps... (I did actually purchase a unit, but came to the conclusion that it's better in the hands of a speaker designer than system calibrator/end user).
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post #73 of 106 Old 08-21-2011, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

From what I recall, one example that was given was the natural frequency response roll off a speaker due to the way it is designed. That pushing it to do more will result in lots of distortion.

Thanks to super sleuth Sanjay , what appears to be a good answer to my question comes from a 1999 Harman paper:

Quote:


The JBL Synthesis home theater systems incorporate all of the required characteristics for successful equalization. The dedicated digital controller has 95 individually-configurable parametric filters distributed among the 5.1 channels. In the laboratory, based on high-resolution spatially-averaged anechoic measurements, some filters are preset to address small residual problems in the speakers themselves. The equalizer has helped to create better speakers. Once the system is installed in the customer's home, a trained installer arrives with a custom measurement system to adapt the system to match the room at low frequencies. The system employs five microphones connected to a multiplexer, coupled to a laptop computer which, in turn, is coupled to the digital processor. In a carefully controlled sequence, the appropriate test signals are sent through each of the channels, the measurements are compared to predetermined target functions, and a set of filters is automatically designed that will allow the system performance to approach the target with minimum error. Built into the system are safeguards that attempt to prevent it from trying to equalize the unequalizable. Manual override is always an option, so human intervention can modify a bad decision by the computer, or accommodate customer preferences in spectral balance.

Assuming that is what is going on in ARCOS when the user inputs the Synthesis models, it is clearly a cut above the "uninformed" room EQ modes we normally see. BTW, the rest of that paper is quite good. Harman updated the paper to remove some of that info and talk more about bass EQ and SFM. Both papers are worth reading. Which is what I should have been doing instead of spouting off here.
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post #74 of 106 Old 08-22-2011, 11:46 AM
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Why, that sounds suspiciously like what Chris Neumann did to my little One Array system in the Two Jims Theatre. I'm guessing ARCOS might improve on that.

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post #75 of 106 Old 08-23-2011, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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This has become an interesting thread! I am against auto eq as well, because it can dó more harm than good if it is just eq'ing blind.

But apart from knowing the response of each speaker, what does ARCOS do besides eq'ing for a predefined target curve? Knowing amps and processor should not matter, as these must be expected to be flat.

And do you know if the target curve depends on the speaker, or has JBL designed all synthesis speakers to match the same response?

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post #76 of 106 Old 08-23-2011, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post


But apart from knowing the response of each speaker, what does ARCOS do besides eq'ing for a predefined target curve? Knowing amps and processor should not matter, as these must be expected to be flat.

Here "expected" is the operative word. It's not so much that it needs to tell one Synthesis® amp from another, but it at least needs to know it's a Synthesis® amp with predictable parameters. One could drop in a bevy of tube amps, which wouldn't be "expected" or predictable in the same sense.

Even among the Synthesis® amps, however, knowing if a channel is driven by a single amp module from an S5160 or by a bridged S800 would make a difference. If nothing else, trying to run an S1S-EX sub with less that 160W or trying to run a SAM1HF with 800W might get a warning from the software.

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post #77 of 106 Old 08-23-2011, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by filecat13 View Post
Here "expected" is the operative word. It's not so much that it needs to tell one Synthesis® amp from another, but it at least needs to know it's a Synthesis® amp with predictable parameters. One could drop in a bevy of tube amps, which wouldn't be "expected" or predictable in the same sense.

Even among the Synthesis® amps, however, knowing if a channel is driven by a single amp module from an S5160 or by a bridged S800 would make a difference. If nothing else, trying to run an S1S-EX sub with less that 160W or trying to run a SAM1HF with 800W might get a warning from the software.
Okay, of course if you're going in the extremes and taking tube amps and underpowered amps into account, then you're right. But unless the Synthesis amps are constructed incorrectly, they should not alter the freq response at all.

What parameters are you talking about?

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post #78 of 106 Old 08-24-2011, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post

But apart from knowing the response of each speaker, what does ARCOS do besides eq'ing for a predefined target curve?

It first uses Sound Field Management to get the bass as consistent as possible across all seats, then equalizes all channels to a predefined target curve, and finally uses AutoCurveSum to optimize the splice between the mains and sub (listed as "main-to-sub smoothing" in the YouTube video).

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post #79 of 106 Old 08-26-2011, 04:57 PM
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Does the "other speaker" option on ARCOS also support bi-amped speakers? If so, does the 4500 have the capability to bi-amp more than 3 speakers (I would guess so)?

(Just wondering if I can run a bi-amped Synthesis SAM1HF/SAM2LF setup and additionally configure a pair of bi-amped Maggies for stereo listening. AFAIK, the 4500 has enough outputs, is it 20? So I guess it only comes down to whether the "other" speaker option allows bi-amping and configuring crossovers).
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post #80 of 106 Old 08-26-2011, 06:45 PM
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We have all 7 of our speakers bi-amped. Combined with our subs, we have 20 channels running concurrently. We just expanded it to eq another system with 20 other speakers that are also bi-amped for a combined total of 40. The latter though, is through custom software developed for us so not sure if that is a generic capability. Doing so in the baseline system with non-JBL speakers, is probably standard but let me check.

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post #81 of 106 Old 08-26-2011, 07:46 PM
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OK, got the answer. If you are using SDEC-4500 (20-channel system), you can indeed set the speaker to Other and have it be bi-amped. Indeed, that is the way it works by default.

But here is thing, when you do that, it makes no assumptions about the crossover point! Your installer/designer needs to be familiar with the underlying London Architect on which ARCOS is based on and set the appropriate filters. This is not hard at all but does require the person know how to operate that (we do that routinely since we also hand program the DSPs for many applications outside of home theater).

Second and important related note: the ARCOS system is designed to push the JBL speakers, hard. It knows that they can take a lot of punishment. If you select other, the same aggressive logic is there by default. This means that it is very possible to damage your speakers and indeed, I hear many stories of dealers substituting other speakers, getting a great EQ out of ARCOS, only to have the amps/speakers blown at full dynamic range.

So again, this is easy to fix in the London Architect by setting appropriate limiters. Hate to see you cook your Maggies so please be sure to keep these things in mind as you go down this journey .

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post #82 of 106 Old 08-27-2011, 08:05 AM
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Amir, thank you for your very informative answers! Now I just need to find a way to get hold of the equipment I need for my journey

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Second and important related note: the ARCOS system is designed to push the JBL speakers, hard. It knows that they can take a lot of punishment.

I understand that, and that's exactly what piques my interest in ARCOS: It's an optimized solution.

That said, I'm wondering if JBL has plans to make ARCOS work with the upcoming MP-20? Clearly the integration and strength all lies in the ARCOS software and possibly the MP-20 could replace the SDEC-4500 at the end of the day. The question is if the MP-20 is flexible enough and allows configuring multiple crossovers for bi-amping, etc...
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post #83 of 106 Old 08-27-2011, 06:59 PM
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I'm wondering if JBL has plans to make ARCOS work with the upcoming MP-20?
What other room correction would Harman have in the MP-20?

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post #84 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

What other room correction would Harman have in the MP-20?

Since ARCOS is for dealers only, you'd think the MP-20 will have a different room correction system with calibration software and microphone equipment available to everybody like it is with TacT and other competitors.

If the MP-20 requires dealer installation, it surely will limit the market. AFAIK the MC-12 did not require dealer installation?!
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post #85 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 10:35 AM
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Or, I guess, the release of the MP-20 may result in that ARCOS will be available to the end user... I better sit back and wait
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post #86 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Since ARCOS is for dealers only, you'd think the MP-20 will have a different room correction system with calibration software and microphone equipment available to everybody like it is with TacT and other competitors.

You're confusing Harman's room correction (ARCOS software) with the JBL Synthesis calibration kit (hardware). ARCOS will eventually be all Harman gear, from high end Lex and Levinson pre-pros to H/K receivers, while the JBL Synthesis calibration kit is only sold to dealers and calibrators who have gone through training to use that kit. Naturally, the version of ARCOS on a Mark Levinson pre-amp will be different than the version on a $499 Harman/Kardon receiver.

Audyssey did the same thing, having different levels of the same room correction on various pre-pros and receivers. Plus they had an Audyssey Pro microphone kit that was only sold to trained/certified Audyssey Pro calibrators. If you wanted to go beyond the consumer level Audyssey on your receiver, you hired an Audyssey calibrator.
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AFAIK the MC-12 did not require dealer installation?!

The MP-20 won't be any different than what I do with my MC-12: plug in 4 mics, push a button and walk away. Of course it won't be the same level as a full-on Synthesis calibration.

MP-20 owners can always hire an ARCOS certified calibrator to get Synthesis level calibration (8 mics, higher resolution measurements, more correction filters, manual tweaking, etc). Whether that will still require an SDEC unit or whether the filters can be dumped into the pre-pro (a la Audyssey Pro) remains to be seen/announced.

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post #87 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

You're confusing Harman's room correction (ARCOS software) with the JBL Synthesis calibration kit (hardware). ARCOS will eventually be all Harman gear, from high end Lex and Levinson pre-pros to H/K receivers, while the JBL Synthesis calibration kit is only sold to dealers and calibrators who have gone through training to use that kit. Naturally, the version of ARCOS on a Mark Levinson pre-amp will be different than the version on a $499 Harman/Kardon receiver.

So you're saying that the ARCOS shipped with the MP-20 will be stripped of the Synthesis speaker selections and all those optimizations?

The "JBL Synthesis calibration kit (hardware)" is just that: Hardware for the SDEC-series. Of course this is not needed for the MP-20.

All the magic is done in ARCOS, and I thought this software is only available to dealers. Am I wrong?

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The MP-20 won't be any different than what I do with my MC-12: plug in 4 mics, push a button and walk away. Of course it won't be the same level as a full-on Synthesis calibration.

Sure, the number (and quality) of microphones offered to the consumer is a limiting factor, but apart from that, will the ARCOS consumer software be crippled too? That remains to be seen, I guess...

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MP-20 owners can always hire an ARCOS certified calibrator to get Synthesis level calibration (8 mics, higher resolution measurements, more correction filters, manual tweaking, etc). Whether that will still require an SDEC unit or whether the filters can be dumped into the pre-pro (a la Audyssey Pro) remains to be seen/announced.

Pure speculation...
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post #88 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

You're confusing Harman's room correction (ARCOS software) with the JBL Synthesis calibration kit (hardware). ARCOS will eventually be all Harman gear, from high end Lex and Levinson pre-pros to H/K receivers, while the JBL Synthesis calibration kit is only sold to dealers and calibrators who have gone through training to use that kit. Naturally, the version of ARCOS on a Mark Levinson pre-amp will be different than the version on a $499 Harman/Kardon receiver.

So you're saying that the ARCOS shipped with the MP-20 will be stripped of the Synthesis speaker selections and all those optimizations?

The "JBL Synthesis calibration kit (hardware)" is just that: Hardware for the SDEC-series. Of course this is not needed for the MP-20.

All the magic is done in ARCOS, and I thought this software is only available to dealers. Am I wrong?

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The MP-20 won't be any different than what I do with my MC-12: plug in 4 mics, push a button and walk away. Of course it won't be the same level as a full-on Synthesis calibration.

Sure, the number (and quality) of microphones offered to the consumer is a limiting factor, but apart from that, is the ARCOS software crippled too. That remains to be seen, I guess...

Does the MC-12 use an external PC too? If not, then I'm hoping this improves in the MP-20. Of course everybody expects to be able to view curves and tweak things like in TacT (and Meridian?)

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

MP-20 owners can always hire an ARCOS certified calibrator to get Synthesis level calibration (8 mics, higher resolution measurements, more correction filters, manual tweaking, etc). Whether that will still require an SDEC unit or whether the filters can be dumped into the pre-pro (a la Audyssey Pro) remains to be seen/announced.

Pure speculation... But I guess you're right that the current ARCOS 8-mic measurement kit can be used for configuring the MP-20 too.
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post #89 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 09:29 PM
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Peter

Until Harman releases the products that contain ARCOS, it's all guesswork. Even those who've been to Northridge to preview it won't know all the ins and outs until it hits the market.

To give it some perspective, the two units in my "old" SDEC4000 cost more than an MC-12, and they needed an SDP-5 (MC-8) or SDP-40 (MC-12) to even be useful. That was nearly a third of the cost of some Synthesis® systems, and that was before paying a pro calibrator a couple of $k to bring the JBL DACS out to do the calibration.

ARCOS will cut the cost and simplify the process, but it will not suddenly flatten the product to a one-size-fits-all commodity. Harman will guard its margins and parcel out the feature set in order not to cannibalize high margin products and services with low-margin consumer goods. Still, it will be a step forward at all levels, and the consumer/enthusiast will have to decide where the ROI is on an individual basis.

At one point, I just made the commitment to spend what I had to to get the best I could. I didn't ask if I could get the TOL calibration by buying a $10K system. I knew that if I wanted the TOL calibration to a) be available and b) have meaning, I needed to get the system it was designed to work with.

The MP-20 looks to be a fantastic product, but if I get one (or its JBL Synthesis® counterpart) I still fully expect to use my SDEC4000 with it to do the really heavy lifting, including setting the crossovers, the xo slopes, the PEQ, the response curves, and the dynamic output to the amps. I'd be really, really surprised if an MC-20 was prepared to do all that.

For one thing, I doubt that it can handle providing the active crossovers and slopes for bi-, tri- or quad-amping passive speakers. Most speakers, even high end, will already have built-in crossovers that would be a bear to defeat.

What I can afford, when I can afford it...
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post #90 of 106 Old 08-29-2011, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

So you're saying that the ARCOS shipped with the MP-20 will be stripped of the Synthesis speaker selections and all those optimizations?

Posted a year ago in this forum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptruce View Post

I did manage to contact JBL Synthesis and the tech rep, David Glass was able to get some info out the one of the engineers...

>>In actuality what you need are (1) multiple subwoofer placed properly with Sound Field Management of the multiple subwoofers to get the lowest seat to seat variation; (2) EQ correction of room modes in the global subwoofer signal; (3) EQ correction in the LCR speakers, as there is significant energy in the room over the crossover even at 80hz standard where the LCR are acting down to at least 60, or perhaps lower hz (I have seen 50 or even 40 where they have an impact); (4) and an all-pass (phase) filter to get the proper summation of all the LCR with the Subwoofers. Currently only one product does this, the JBL Synthesis SDEC4500, but most of this will be included in the next generation Lexicon Processor, though with a reduction of measurement resolution, and less filters for room correction.<<

Make of that last sentence what you will.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

All the magic is done in ARCOS, and I thought this software is only available to dealers. Am I wrong?

Think of ARCOS as you would Audyssey. It's room correction, nothing more. There is the pro version currently available to Synthesis dealers & calibrators. There will be slightly lesser version on pre-pros and even lesser versions on receivers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Sure, the number (and quality) of microphones offered to the consumer is a limiting factor, but apart from that, is the ARCOS software crippled too.

David Glass' comment confirms they won't be the same, though I don't know what your particular definition of "crippled" is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Does the MC-12 use an external PC too? If not, then I'm hoping this improves in the MP-20. Of course everybody expects to be able to view curves and tweak things like in TacT (and Meridian?)

The MC-12 doesn't use an external PC, doesn't let you view curves, doesn't let you tweak things manually. If those things are important to you, then you really ought to consider a TacT or Meridian, rather than relying on the MP-20 to give you those features.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Pure speculation...

Not really.

Sanjay
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