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Ayre DX-5 bluray player - Page 38

post #1111 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

Just got my new DX-5.
Please allow a few questions:

-With some, but not all, dts-HD tracks or MLP tracks of DVD-A, there are audible clicks at playback. Reproducible with the affected discs. The clicks are not present when playing compressed audio from the same disc. Any idea?

The unit is great, but I'm confused a bit on the issues.
Thanks for any comments

Hello Werner,

Just going through the issues you were having in more detail. The fact that this happens at the same point in the same discs would indicate to me that there is a defect in the disc. Would it be possible to purchase or borrow one of these titles in Germany ans see if another copy still has the same problem? If not, it must surely be a defect in the original disc. If another copy has the same problem, then we will purchase a copy from amazon.de to see if the problem occurs with other samples of the DX-5. If not, perhaps the laser lens needs to be cleaned, or in the worst case, the transport replaced on your machine. If so, then we can work with Oppo to see if there is a bug in the current firmware. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
post #1112 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

Just got my new DX-5.
Please allow a few questions:
-Playback of dts-CDs as 5.1 is possible through AES output, but not through HDMI Audio out, here I get a 2.0 downmix only.

The unit is great, but I'm confused a bit on the issues.
Thanks for any comments

Hello Werner,

I think this is he last thing we need to check on. I really don't know the answer to this. DTS surround CD's are fairly rare these days, but I am pretty sure that we have one at the factory (Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East?) that we can check this issue with. Please give us a few days as we are extremely busy at the moment. Thanks for your patience.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
post #1113 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

-Playback of dts-CDs as 5.1 is possible through AES output, but not through HDMI Audio out, here I get a 2.0 downmix only.
You mean that the DTS bitstream is passing through the AES, and you'd like the bitstream to also come out of the HDMI? If so, that requires two things: 1) the player's HDMI audio output has to be set for bitstream instead of PCM (same as you apparently did for the S/PDIF output), and 2) the device that is receiving the HDMI signal is DTS 5.1 capable. If it is not, the EDID will instruct the player to send stereo PCM.

What do you have the HDMI output connected to?
post #1114 of 1423
Hello Charles,

sorry for taking so much of your time, but I also appreciate your comments. It's just as simple: Having spent such a huge amount of money (please compare the price of a new Oppo 105, also using latest Sabre DACs and many more features the DX-5 is not able to provide, that equals roughly the price of a mere DX-5 upgrade kit!), I want to be sure that all functions that the DX-5 offers work properly.

- For the dts CDs, no problem with that. I'm not using audio output of HDMI A/V, only the separate audio-only HDMI. Obviously, the DX-5 is not able to convert 5.1 dts-CD correctly to 5.1 PCM here, and bitstream output is not possible for this output. But through a separate connection with AES, it works perfectly using bitstream output there. And yes, the Allman brothers disc would be an example to run a test with. But again, no issue here.

- For the USB input, I'm currently building up my download music library. Through every of the three inputs, the DX-5 plays simple mp3 files (transferred from an USB thumb device for test) correctly, but FLAC files (one of the most common formats for hires downloads) do not show up in the playlist and therefore cannot be played, although the file directory name is recognized. To my knowledge, the Oppo 83 is able to read this format. I could also try with a Primare BD-32, which is also based on Oppo OEM, and it worked. So I'm not sure what's the reason for the DX-5 to reject FLAC files.

- For the clicks with some bluray discs, no issue here! I realized that the affected disc allowed to select either "dts-HD master" or "24/96 5.1 LPCM". Only for the latter tracks, which is the default audio setting on that disc, I can here the clicks, not for the dts-HD track. So I'm not sure whats the reason, but again no problem, I just need to select the correct audio setup. seems indeed to be a problem with the disc itself.

- So the most important support you can provide, besides the FLAC issue, is on the decision for or against the upgrade. For me, currently, the decision point is: Will there be an audible improvement on CD/DVD/SACD playback through analog balanced output? You may argue, it depends on the rest of my audio setup, but please assume that the equipment I use may be able to detect significant differences.
But, given the investments you already realized in the current version of the DX-5, related to its power supply, DAC and analog output stages, it's hard to believe that there are really huge improvements possible from that point.
I'd like to hear more details on what you feel are the real improvements, not from a theoretical view, but just from a listeners perspective.

Best

Werner
post #1115 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

You mean that the DTS bitstream is passing through the AES, and you'd like the bitstream to also come out of the HDMI? If so, that requires two things: 1) the player's HDMI audio output has to be set for bitstream instead of PCM (same as you apparently did for the S/PDIF output), and 2) the device that is receiving the HDMI signal is DTS 5.1 capable. If it is not, the EDID will instruct the player to send stereo PCM.

What do you have the HDMI output connected to?

A GREAT and hearty greeting to Mr. Roger Dressler, father of Dolby Surround and later Dolby Digital! Thank you much for following this thread -- it is truly an honor. Everyone, please tip you hats to the man that has made surround-sound a reality! Now retired from his job at Dolby Labs, but still enjoying life and his wonderful home theater, I believe in the Pacific Northwest.

Regarding point #1, we deliberately chose to have the Audio-Only HDMI output of the Ayre DX-5 to decode ALL compressed audio formats to PCM before transmission. The decoding can be done either by the player or the processor, but we chose to have the player decode everything as this would allow any SSP (or even three or four ordinary stereo DACs) to play back all of the latest formats, even if the processor wasn't the latest, greatest model.

There is an option in the On-Screen Setup Menu to choose whether the HDMI Audio signal is set to PCM, Bitstream, or Off. This ONLY affects the HDMI A/V Output. It is recommended to NOT use this output for the audio, but only for the video signal. The HDMI Audio Only output has lower jitter and higher sound quality than the combination A/V output, but on this output, ALL signals (except DSD) are always decoded to PCM.

We will run some tests later this week with our DTS CD-Audio disc to see how the player handles these signals. It has been so many years since I did the design that I have forgotten how we set up the player's firmware to handle this situation. Nobody at the factory owns a surround-sound processor, as we all listen to our movies in HT-2.0 sound using the analog outputs. However we do have a surround-sound receiver at work where we can test this feature an let you know how it is supposed to operate. Sorry for the ambiguity, but to my knowledge, this is the first inquiry we have had regarding a DTS Audio-only CD. Thank you for your patience.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
post #1116 of 1423
@Werner,

I just checked one of my few dts CDs. The HDMI AV output (set to bitstream output for movie watching) then gives a normal 5.1 channel signal to my Marantz AV pre. The analog output of the DX5 give a normal stereo signal to my ML326S, I assume it is a 2.0 downmix, which sounds fine. I think, Roger made the point and the DX5 works fine with dts CDs.
Edit: I had never tested my dts CDs on the DX5 before. Good to know that they play fine through the anlog outputs!
post #1117 of 1423
Hello Ingo,

Thank you very much for testing this for all of us! The behavior you described is pretty much what I would expect. The only question left in my mind is what will the HDMI Audio-Only output send? Will it send a decoded 5.1 channel PCM signal, or will it send a downmixed digital version of what is being sent to the two-channel analog outputs? I suspect the latter, which would be consistent with what Werner reported, but I will need to do some further investigation before I can give a definitive answer, as I really can't recall how we set this up...Sorry!

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
post #1118 of 1423
Of course, I forgot. So the HDMI Audio output delivers a 2.0 signal to my AV pre, just tested it. So we have 5.1 through HDMI AV ( bitstream ) and 2.0 through HDMI Audio ( no selections possible ) from a dts surround CD.

Happy easter!

Ingo
post #1119 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by IngoT View Post

Of course, I forgot. So the HDMI Audio output delivers a 2.0 signal to my AV pre, just tested it. So we have 5.1 through HDMI AV ( bitstream ) and 2.0 through HDMI Audio ( no selections possible ) from a dts surround CD.

Hello Ingo,

There are some "secret" commands you can try out. These are in addition to the LFE Mixdown mode described on pages 47-48 of the owner's manual. My memory is not so good, so these may not be correct. I will double check tomorrow.

To force the HDMI Audio output to 7.1 channels, with the unit in Standby, press "Setup -0 - 0 - 7 - 1".
To force the HDMI Audio output to 5.1 channels, with the unit in Standby, press "Setup -0 - 0 - 5 - 1".
To force the HDMI Audio output to 2.0 channels, with the unit ins Standby, press "Setup -0 - 0 - 2 - 0".
To force the HDMI Audio output to mono with the right channel as source for both channels, with the unit is Standby, press "Setup -0 - 0 - 0 - 2".
To force the HDMI Audio output to mono with the left channel as source for both channels, with the unit is Standby, press "Setup -0 - 0 - 0 - 1".
To restore normal (automatic) operation, with the unit is Standby, press "Setup -0 - 0 - 0 - 0".

The reason for the mono modes is that some Japanese discs are made with Japanese in the left channel and English in the right channel.
The reason to force certain modes is that some discs are not compliant with the standards. For example there are some Mercury 3 channel SACD's that show up only as stereo and the center channel is missing. Also there are some Chesky surround discs with 6 channels that may not play properly. So we added some modes to "force" the output to a specific mode.
The reason for the reset mode is obvious!

EDIT: I cannot remember now if these changes affect the HDMI Audio Only output or just the analog outputs. The documentation is at work and it will be one more day before I can check on this.

Good luck. Let us know how your experiments turn out.

Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
Edited by Charles Hansen - 3/31/13 at 7:10pm
post #1120 of 1423
The DX-5 becomes an object of scientific interest...:-). Will "setup 0000" only affect the HDMI Audio Only output or reset the entire unit? Don't want to lose my other settings..
post #1121 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by IngoT View Post

The DX-5 becomes an object of scientific interest...:-). Will "setup 0000" only affect the HDMI Audio Only output or reset the entire unit? Don't want to lose my other settings..

Hello Ingo,

First of all, we tested the unit at the factory and it exhibited the exact same behavior as your testing showed. The reason is that when we added the second HDMI transmitter chip for audio only, we HAVE to tell it how many channels we are sending. So what we used for logic was if it was a BD, we assumed it was 7.1 channels, if it was a DVD, we assumed 5.1 channels and if it was a CD, we assumed 2.0 channels.

Right away our Japanese distributor complained about the situation with certain Japanese discs with mono soundtracks of one language in one channel and a different language in the other channel. This is why we added the "Force to Mono" Left or Right modes. While we were adding modes, we just decided to add all of the other "Force to" modes we could think of --- just in case.

We have sold hundreds of DX-5's and this is the very first time that we have had a complaint regarding the DTS surround CD. It is easily corrected by using the secret "Force to 5.1" command. If it is really a problem we could probably figure out a way to automate that by monitoring the "DTS" indicator also, although we would rather not do so now as we have so many things on our plate at the moment.

To answer your question, the "Setup 0 - 0 - 0 - 0" command ONLY resets the HDMI Audio "Force to ..." commands and also the analog audio "LFE Mixdown" mode. None of your other settings will be affected.

Thank you for your interest.
Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
post #1122 of 1423
Hello Charles,

thanks for the clarifications on the audio-only HDMI output. As I posted in #1114, it also works well with the AES.
But your "secret command" raises the question if there are other such options that may be of interest, but are not mentioned in the manual. The dts, for me, is an example that the suspicion that the DX-5 does anything wrong might have been avoided if it was mentioned in a special section in the manual (Btw, there are complete "miscellaneous menues" in my preamp that are accessible only on request).
I understand that you may argue not to confuse the owners, but I guess buyers of such sophisticated device may be interested in any additional options.

But again, as I posted before, additional comments from your side on the upgrade kit would be helpful. You mentined "dramatic improvements", but what should I expect sonically, in the real-life setting? I'd really be interested to get some more advice to decide if the upgrade will be worth its price.
Maybe you didn't see my previous post.

Thanks so much

Werner
post #1123 of 1423
Dear Werner,

Please accept my apologies for the late reply to your post. I didn't see it until I was reviewing the thread just now, apparently because I was replying to Roger Dressler's post at the same time that you were making your post. I will address the issues you raised point-by-point. Please be sure to let me know if there is anything I have overlooked or not fully explained.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

sorry for taking so much of your time, but I also appreciate your comments. It's just as simple: Having spent such a huge amount of money (please compare the price of a new Oppo 105, also using latest Sabre DACs and many more features the DX-5 is not able to provide, that equals roughly the price of a mere DX-5 upgrade kit!), I want to be sure that all functions that the DX-5 offers work properly.

There are no apologies necessary. You purchased a very expensive unit, and you both deserve and should expect a commensurate level of customer support. It is true that (for better or worse), video is still a rapidly changing field. As explained earlier, the quick introduction of 3D took us by surprise, as we were led to believe by Oppo that it was at least a year (if not two) later than it turned out to be. The other thing that seems to be happening very rapidly is a change from disc playback to streaming playback. The capabilities of the DX-5 are quite limited in this regard, and each new generation of video player seems to have more and more and more streaming capabilities.

However, the Ayre DX-5 is designed to offer the highest level of performance possible. There is currently no streaming technology that can equal the performance of disc playback, and it is in this regard that the DX-5 excels. The DX-5 is aimed at the customer who desires the highest level of playback quality possible, both for video and audio, and it still fulfills this. There is no other player in the world that can match its performance in either realm. As streaming technology continues to improve, the quality level provided will become "good enough" for more and more customers. But for the perfectionist who is ONLY satisfied with the very best, the DX-5 is still the way to go.

[Sidenote: All of this is very clearly shown in great detail on a fascinating thread that I just read here at the AVS Forum: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1459687/argo-itunes-vs-vudu-vs-blu-ray]

As a designer I an not terribly interested in making the video streaming machine with the highest picture quality. The audio equivalent would be making the best surround sound processor -- until Blu-ray came out, you were essentially listening to five channels of low-bit rate MP3. Who cares what the best MP3 player is? It would be like asking who could make the fastest race car that ran from crude oil. What is the point? If one cares about performance, there is no reason to start with an inherently flawed medium.

That is precisely why I was not that concerned when the BDP-83 was replaced by the '93 so quickly. Yes, it added 3D capability, but that is, by and large, just a gimmick. Even the former editor of Home Theater magazine, Shane Buettner, who was a staunch supporter of 3D when it was launched changed his tune when he reviewed the DX-5. He said that it had such superior picture quality and sound quality to any other player, that he only pulled a 3D capable player out maybe once a month. I asked what else he liked in 3D besides the obvious candidate of "Avatar". Perhaps "Up"? I asked, having seen it in 3D in the theater? He emphatically replied, "NO!" which surprised me greatly. When I asked him why he said that what was more important about the picture quality in "Up" than the 3D was the vivid brightness of the colors. I am sure that there have been improvements in this area in the few years since we had this conversation, but he said that since with 3D one essentially only had half the total brightness, that the colors that were so fantastically vivid when viewed in 2D lost their "pop" and "impact" when viewed in 3D. He much preferred watching this film in 2D than in 3D.

And the Marvell chip is the direct descendant of the Genesis Microchip deinterlacing chip, infamous for its "macro-blocking" problems in areas of deep black. I didn't trust it. Maybe they have fixed it, but at that time it was so new that I was MUCH more comfortable using the DVDO chip. The team of ex-Apple engineers that founded DVDO are some of the brightest minds on the planet. I KNEW that their chip could be relied on to give the best possible performance when fed a high quality signal (eg, BD or DVD) and I didn't really care if streaming video looked better on the Marvell chip. Even today as it is clear that the mass market is moving towards a model of streaming, that same team is working on a new generation of chips. There is no doubt in my mind that they will out-perform anything on the planet. They are simply the best in the world at what they do, and they always have been.

As I said near the beginning of this thread, nearly 40 pages ago, if you want exceptional value for an incredible price, by all means purchase the Oppo. The Ayre is aimed at a different customer. It is aimed at the customer who wants the very best sound quality and picture quality available -- period. No concessions made for features of questionable value and no gimmicks, just pure simple performance. That has not changed since its introduction. It still stands at the very top of the pyramid -- nothing can compare when only performance is concerned.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

- For the dts CDs, no problem with that. I'm not using audio output of HDMI A/V, only the separate audio-only HDMI. Obviously, the DX-5 is not able to convert 5.1 dts-CD correctly to 5.1 PCM here, and bitstream output is not possible for this output. But through a separate connection with AES, it works perfectly using bitstream output there. And yes, the Allman brothers disc would be an example to run a test with. But again, no issue here.

I hadn't seen your post before, but I have explained how you can "force" the HDMI Audio Only output to the correct setting for the DTS CD's by using the "Setup - 0 - 0 - 5 - 1" command. To restore normal operation press "Setup - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0"
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

- For the USB input, I'm currently building up my download music library. Through every of the three inputs, the DX-5 plays simple mp3 files (transferred from an USB thumb device for test) correctly, but FLAC files (one of the most common formats for hires downloads) do not show up in the playlist and therefore cannot be played, although the file directory name is recognized. To my knowledge, the Oppo 83 is able to read this format. I could also try with a Primare BD-32, which is also based on Oppo OEM, and it worked. So I'm not sure what's the reason for the DX-5 to reject FLAC files.

I believe that you have said that you are using a Windows machine. First of all, Windows 8 is VERY buggy. The USB port will NOT handle the "feedback pipeline" required for asynchronous operation. Microsoft is aware of the problem. In fact they have already developed a fix for it. (Apparently there is a conflict between the keyboard driver and the audio driver.) Microsoft has decided NOT to release this fix though. Apparently they are waiting until Service Pack 1 is to be released. When Win 8 was launched it was rushed to market in time for the "holiday selling season". At that time there were over 1200 known problems! Now that number is down to around 500 known problems... However, this ONLY occurs if you are using Class 1 USB Audio (limited to 96 kHz). If you install the latest version of the Ayre supplied driver (now called "Streamlength 1.26" instead of "Thesycon 1.26", and available for free from the Ayre website) it will correct the problem and play with the Ayre USB Audio players with no problems. Using the stock Win 8 USB driver will result in many "clicks" and "pops" and "dropouts". It is virtually unlistenable.

So if you are using Win 8, you MUST install the Streamlength driver for proper operation, even if you are only listening to 44 and 48 kHz audio files.

Secondly, it sounds as if the music player you have chosen is not a very capable one. We have tried many players during the development of the QB-9 and since. For Windows, we still only recommend one of two. For a "Cadillac" of programs the best choice is J.River Media Center. They are up to version 19 now. With this program, you can rip ALL of your media, including DVD and Blu-Ray -- everything under the sun except SACD (although it IS capable of playing back downloaded SACD files). For all of its power it is RELATIVELY easy to use, but still can be a bit overwhelming. The setup instructions on our website are somewhat out of date now as they are several versions old now, although they can get you started. Also J.River has a FANTASTIC user's forum and Wikipedia that will help you set everything up. The biggest disadvantage is that it is $50. However it is the ONLY program in the world that will performed networked UPnP Audio properly with ALL hardware (DLNA also), and it has more features that you can shake a stick at. They have a 30-day free trial. I strongly recommend trying that program out to see if it fits your idea of what you are looking for in a music player.

The only other player we have found the deserves recommendation is Foobar. It's main weaknesses are that it handles NO video whatsoever and that many of its capabilities are only available through the work of third-party add-on modules. But if you are willing to spend some time learning it (again there is a strong and active user community), it can do virtually everything IN THE WORLD OF AUDIO that J.River can do -- and it is free. In my opinion and experience, there are NO other programs worth investing your time and/or money on. Between the free trial of J.River and the completely free aspect of Foobar, I would pick one of those. Then you should be able to solve the playback problems you are describing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

- For the clicks with some bluray discs, no issue here! I realized that the affected disc allowed to select either "dts-HD master" or "24/96 5.1 LPCM". Only for the latter tracks, which is the default audio setting on that disc, I can here the clicks, not for the dts-HD track. So I'm not sure whats the reason, but again no problem, I just need to select the correct audio setup. seems indeed to be a problem with the disc itself.

I am glad that you have been able to narrow down the problem. As I suspected it appears to be a problem with that particular copy of the disc -- perhaps a pressing defect or perhaps some dust or other damage. In the (nowadays very rare) cases where a disc has been improperly authored, Oppo has been very helpful in tracking things down and offering updated firmware that solves the problems. But as noted before, this hasn't happened for over a year now, so I suspect that the BD authoring software has become much more mature and stable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post


- So the most important support you can provide, besides the FLAC issue, is on the decision for or against the upgrade. For me, currently, the decision point is: Will there be an audible improvement on CD/DVD/SACD playback through analog balanced output? You may argue, it depends on the rest of my audio setup, but please assume that the equipment I use may be able to detect significant differences.
But, given the investments you already realized in the current version of the DX-5, related to its power supply, DAC and analog output stages, it's hard to believe that there are really huge improvements possible from that point.
I'd like to hear more details on what you feel are the real improvements, not from a theoretical view, but just from a listeners perspective.

Again, these improvements ONLY AFFECT THE TWO CHANNEL ANALOG AUDIO OUTPUTS. But they do affect the sound quality from both any silver disc and also the USB Audio Only input. These differences are massive. If you are using the two channel capabilities, either to listen to music or because your theater system is an HT2.0 (as is my personal one), you will absolutely want to buy the upgrade. I am confident that you can work with Sun Audio to have the upgrade performed for the difference in price, just as we are doing for recent purchasers of the units here in the US. I cannot swear to this as I have not spoken to them directly about it, but we will be sending kits with two modified PCBs and one new PCB. There need to almost completely disassemble the unit to install these boards, but Philipp is literally more knowledgeable than most high-end audio designers I have met. I would have NO reservations whatsoever about having him perform the upgrades.

It may be some time before we can supply these unfortunately, please refer to this post on another forum: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/12/121817.html

This explains the difficulties we are facing with supplying the upgrades in more detail. But in the meantime you will be able to use your player and have outstanding performance. If you choose to upgrade your unit (and it is completely up to you), the only change is the the sound quality of the twp-channel analog audio output and to add the capability to play DSD over PCM through the USB Audio Only input. The price increase in the US is right at 10%. It may be different in Germany due to changes in the exchange rate and so forth. But I feel confident that Sun Audio will be reasonable and also perform the update for the difference in prices between the new and old versions. The only disadvantage is that you will probably be without your unit for a week or so while the update is performed. But compared to living without the DX-5 for several months while waiting for the new model to be delivered, it is probably not such a bad tradeoff. And then you will also be in a perfect position to let others know if I am full of baloney with my claims or if you agree that the improvement is massive! smile.gif

Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.

Kind regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
www.ayre.com
post #1124 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

Hello Charles,

thanks for the clarifications on the audio-only HDMI output. As I posted in #1114, it also works well with the AES.
But your "secret command" raises the question if there are other such options that may be of interest, but are not mentioned in the manual. The dts, for me, is an example that the suspicion that the DX-5 does anything wrong might have been avoided if it was mentioned in a special section in the manual (Btw, there are complete "miscellaneous menues" in my preamp that are accessible only on request).
I understand that you may argue not to confuse the owners, but I guess buyers of such sophisticated device may be interested in any additional options.

But again, as I posted before, additional comments from your side on the upgrade kit would be helpful. You mentined "dramatic improvements", but what should I expect sonically, in the real-life setting? I'd really be interested to get some more advice to decide if the upgrade will be worth its price.
Maybe you didn't see my previous post.

Thanks so much

Werner

Dear Werner,

The user manual currently stands at 124 pages! Yet that is a short as I felt that we could make it and still have it contain everything. The reason that these "secret" codes are not in the manual is that they did not exist when the manual was written. It was only after we started shipping the units to Japan and they explained that in Japan it is very common to purchase a BD RECORDER and record movies from the NKK television system that we had to add that feature. Apparently the picture is in 1080p, but the sound is in MONO, with the left channel in Japanese and the right channel in English. So they had t have a way to select one channel and send it to both speakers. Normally this function is performed by the BD recorder. But Japanese owners of the DX-5 wanted to watch movies they had recorded over the TV system with their DX-5, so we added this capability. And as I explained, we simply added some other capabilities JUST IN CASE they were needed, if only for trouble-shooting purposes. Now I am glad that we did so, as there is a simple solution to playing back DTS multi-channel CD's without having to upgrade the firmware! smile.gif

When there is a small change in rarely used functions in the firmware, we don't want to have to throw away all of the manuals we have printed and print some more, ESPECIALLY as you are the first person who has made this request in three years! But I am glad that we have a "secret" solution that solves this unforeseen problem.

As far as the sound quality, it is difficult to describe. I am not a reviewer, so I perhaps I don't have the language to describe it properly. But the sound is MUCH smoother and more analog-like, yet has much more detail and clarity at the same time. The bass is more powerful and stronger, yet is not bloated or boomy. It is simply more properly in proportion with the rest of the music. The entire presentation is more coherent from the extreme low frequencies to the extreme high frequencies, and it is more enjoyable, involving, and compelling.. As I said, I was not at all unhappy with the sound before, and I wasn't even sure that an improvement was even possible. But I was EXTREMELY surprised at the extent of the improvements. Far, FAR beyond anything that I even dreamed was possible. If you use the DX-5 to listen to two-channel anything (music or movies) using the analog outputs, I cannot recommend this upgrade strongly enough. It would be like buying a new preamplifier that costs three or four times as much as your present preamplifier -- just massively better in every way conceivable, and with no downsides or drawbacks, and at roughly the cost of a good power cable. I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
post #1125 of 1423
Dear Charles,

ok, I guess I'm going for the upgrade when it becomes available, you set the expectations to a really high level. Be sure, I will send a fair balanced review when the upggrade is done. the only thing I hope is that the price is not as high as projected by the dealer I purchased the DX-5 (he told me, "will be around 2,000 $"). I truly agree with most of your comments regarding quality aspects, but I would never recommend anyone to buy the DX-5 for the better picture quality alone. To be honest, the differences are small, to any other 500 $ player, at least for BD (maybe DVD upscaling is another aspect). Audio is another story, indeed.

But please allow a final question on FLAC files. I don't know if I'm completely wrong here, but I'm simply talking about playing downloaded music files through an USB stick, just for test purposes, without having my Win7 PC connected. Any other player I tried was able to detect and play the files, either mp3 or even 96/24 FLAC, but the Ayre only plays mp3 files (as I tried so far, I did not test any other ALAC, wmv, etc, etc), but not FLAC downloads.
I only want to know if the DX-5 should be able to play these files, taken from the USB thumb device, or not. I'm not talking of the music library, selecting the best media player.

Kind regards
Werner
post #1126 of 1423
Hello Charles,

I had asked Philip to order an upgrade kit several weeks ago, do you have an idea when we will receive it?


Allow me some comments on the 3D situation. I have absolutely no problem with the DX-5 as a 2D-only unit, I was aware of 3D upcoming when I bought the DX-5. So I am using a simple Panasonic 110 (as well as an additional "region-free" 2D-BD player) to handle my 3D BDs. Currently I own 32 3D-BDs and I absolutely like the visual performance of AVATAR (of course..), HUGO CABRET, UP, FINDING NEMO, BRAVE, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, and many more. Even the newer post-conversions (namely TITANIC and THE AVENGERS) perform overwhelming. I must admit that 3D never really works on a TV set, but simply needs the sheer size of a HT screen. Last year during a hifi show in Bonn (nearby cologne where I live) a friend and me stumbled into a 3D presentation of a Mitsubishi HC7800 beamer and where both overwhelmed by the picture quality. My friend then bought an entire home theater (and has a QB-9 DSD on his to-buy-list) and I replaced my JVC D-ILA 750 by a new Sony VPL-VW95ES. Nowadays, these units come with two individual and independent picture calibrations: one for 2D and one for 3D, the latter done through the glasses. So no color issues anymore, brightness has improved too (the new Sony was brighter in 3D than my old JVC was in 2D, having 1000 hours on its bulb) and with specialized glasses from Monster, crosstalk is reduced to practically zero. Now it is even better than in the cinema, where I saw THE HOBBIT in a terrible 2K 48fps/3D presentation and have high hopes that the upcoming 3D BD will look better at my home. However I can confirm that the 2D picture quality of the DX-5 is visibly better than that of the Panasonic, giving less noise, a better contrast, deeper blacks, more vivid colors, and a more "quiet" picture. So for 2D BDs, the AYRE remains the first choice. However I think Oppo should review the firmware, as certain BDs (here: TOTAL REKALL (the remake), BOARDWALK EMPIRE) don't work properly.

Best regards and again thanks for your support

Ingo
post #1127 of 1423
@Charles and Ingo:
Just to edit your posts on the dts-CD and "secret commands":
I also tried the commands, and all I can say, it does not change anything, I cannot see any effect. A 5.1 dts-CD still gives 2.0 output through HDMI audio out. Interestingly, the unit is switched on from stand-by upon "setup-0-0-5-1", but nothing happens upon "setup-0-0-0-0".
Don't want to get the discussion started again here (also because I'm the only single person who has adressed this!), just to be correct. So from what I can see, in the unlikely event that anyone else besides me wants to listen to a 5.1 dts-CD with the DX-5, one should use the AES output, it works fine with that stuff.
And a final comment: There are a few interesting, and good quality discs out in this format (like Dave Grusin's West Side Story, or the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over), but this is a very personal view, of course.

Best
Werner
post #1128 of 1423
I can confirm this behavior. Regardless of initial setup commands, as soon as the DX5 is switched on, I see a 5.1 channel layout on the display of my AV preamp and the orange LED on the DX5 glows. In any case, when I then insert my "dts surround" CD ( Telarc CD 83430), the layout changes to 2.0.
post #1129 of 1423
Dear Ingo and Werner,

I will investigate the situations you have been experiencing, both with at the Ayre factory and with Oppo.

Ingo, can you be more specific about the titles. At Amazon.de, there are three different versions of "Total Recall" besides the original one. With "Boardwalk Empire" there are the first and second seasons, both with either a regular version and a limited edition. Please let me know exactly which versions you have so that Oppo can test them.

Thank you for your patience.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
post #1130 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by wernerleitmann View Post

Dear Charles,

ok, I guess I'm going for the upgrade when it becomes available, you set the expectations to a really high level. Be sure, I will send a fair balanced review when the upggrade is done. the only thing I hope is that the price is not as high as projected by the dealer I purchased the DX-5 (he told me, "will be around 2,000 $"). I truly agree with most of your comments regarding quality aspects, but I would never recommend anyone to buy the DX-5 for the better picture quality alone. To be honest, the differences are small, to any other 500 $ player, at least for BD (maybe DVD upscaling is another aspect). Audio is another story, indeed.

But please allow a final question on FLAC files. I don't know if I'm completely wrong here, but I'm simply talking about playing downloaded music files through an USB stick, just for test purposes, without having my Win7 PC connected. Any other player I tried was able to detect and play the files, either mp3 or even 96/24 FLAC, but the Ayre only plays mp3 files (as I tried so far, I did not test any other ALAC, wmv, etc, etc), but not FLAC downloads.
I only want to know if the DX-5 should be able to play these files, taken from the USB thumb device, or not. I'm not talking of the music library, selecting the best media player.

Kind regards
Werner

Dear Werner,

1) The dealer does not do the upgrade work. Sun Audio, the distributor does. I will contact them directly to see if I can arrange for a more reasonable price for the upgrade.

2) Regarding the picture quality, please refer to Ingo's post. The differences are not at all obvious with a quick "A-B" comparison. The best way it to watch extended sections (ten or twenty minutes) of a film with which you are very familiar. When I brought the original D-1 (long out of production) to the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater for review, both the Editor and the Reviewer were there. We compared it to the original Pioneer universal player as at $6000, that was the most expensive player they had available. What would happen was very interesting. We would compare clips from the animated movie "Dinosaur". I really don't like this movie at all -- it is just a children's movie! Whenever we would play a clip on the Pioneer we would all say "That looks really good -- not quite as good as the Ayre but very, very close." Then when we switched to the Ayre, we would all say, "That looks just a little bit better. There is a tiny bit less noise, and the motion seems a little bit smoother and more natural. But it is not a big difference."

However, the true test was that after comparing clips for over three hours straight from the same silly movie (Dinosaur), I pointed out to them that every time we watched the Pioneer, we would only watch it for two or three minutes before everyone wanted to switch to the Ayre. Then when the Ayre was playing, every time we watched it, we would forget that we were only comparing clips and we would become totally engrossed in the movie and what was about to happen! Would the baby dinosaur live or die? What would happen when the big "bad" dinosaurs came? In a way it was stupid, because we had already watched the same section four times in a row and we KNEW exactly what was going to happen. But on a subliminal level, the Ayre would "suck" your attention in to the movie completely -- every time we watched a clip, we would keep watching for at least 30 minutes before someone would finally say,"Oh, we've been watching too long, we had better switch back to the Pioneer."

I think the best way to approach it is NOT to try to look for small differences in the picture quality. Instead, just watch a long section of the film, at least 10 or 20 minutes. Then watch on the other player. You will find that with the Ayre, you will NOT want to stop. With any other player, you will want to switch after only a few minutes. This is not because you have already just seen the clip, because it doesn't matter which order you choose for the comparison. If you watch it on the other player first and then switch to the Ayre, you will still want to watch it again. But if you watch it on the Ayre first, you will find that after just a few minutes you will want to stop watching on the other player.

It took me a long time to understand what was causing this, but I finally figured it out. It takes a long time to explain, but if you are curious I can write about it more.

3) The "normal" front and rear ports do NOT support FLAC. You can find the information about which formats are supported (both audio and video) at:

http://wiki.oppodigital.com/index.php?title=BDP-83_Media_Files_FAQ

Apparently FLAC was not widely used when the BDP-83 was being developed. This is not very important though, because the sound quality will be MUCH better when using the "USB Audio Input", with the type B connector on the rear panel. You will have to plug your USB stick into a computer and then connect the computer to the DX-5. The reason it sounds better is because it uses the "asynchronous isochronous" transfer mode. The jitter is MUCH lower with this mode. As noted in a previous post, the other USB inputs should only be used for firmware updates or viewing photographs or similar. There is no point to pay so much money for a player capable of such high sound quality and then use the standard inputs as you will not achieve the sound quality that you paid for. This is explained in our white paper at:

http://www.ayre.com/pdf/Ayre_USB_DAC_White_Paper.pdf

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustic, Inc.
www.ayre.com
post #1131 of 1423
Hi Charles,

Firstly, thanks for being so active and supportive on this forum - it really says something about Ayre as a company that looks after it's customers.

Will users of a DX-5 obtain the same sound quality streaming music from an external HD using Ethernet connection or external HD using USB connection?

Cheers
Mark
post #1132 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by IngoT View Post

I can confirm this behavior. Regardless of initial setup commands, as soon as the DX5 is switched on, I see a 5.1 channel layout on the display of my AV preamp and the orange LED on the DX5 glows. In any case, when I then insert my "dts surround" CD ( Telarc CD 83430), the layout changes to 2.0.

Dear Ingo and Werner,

Please accept my apologies, as I gave slightly incorrect instructions. ANY changes to the audio outputs (LFE Mixdown, as explained in the manual, or any of the "secret" commands) can be cleared (returned to normal) in one of two ways:

1) Press "Setup - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0"

2) Place the unit in "Standby"

Therefore you should NOT use the "secret" commands while the unit is in "Standby", as they will be cleared (returned to normal operation) as the player is powered on.

Instead, use the "secret" commands at anytime AFTER the player has been taken OUT of "Standby". You can use the "secret" command before inserting the disc, after inserting the disc, or even while the disc is playing. Please try this and see if it allows the HDMI Audio Only output to send all 5.1 channels to the SSP. Please accept my apologies for the mistaken instructions.

Regarding the two "problem" discs, I will contact Oppo as soon as you can confirm exactly which version is causing the problem. Thank you for your kind assistance and your patience.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
post #1133 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hoepfl View Post

Will users of a DX-5 obtain the same sound quality streaming music from an external HD using Ethernet connection or external HD using USB connection?

Dear Mark,

If you connect an external hard drive to a PC (Apple, Windows, or Linux) and connect the USB output of the PC to the USB Audio input ("B" connector on the rear panel), you will enjoy unparallelled audio performance. This is because the unit is operating in "asynchronous isochronous" USB mode, whereby the master audio clock in the DX-5 that is only a few cm from the DAC chip itself is in charge of the timing of everything in the system. (Also true when playing back any disc in the tray of the DX-5, video or audio.)

On the other hand if you connect a thumb drive or USB hard drive with its own power supply directly to one of the "A" type USB connectors on the front or rear panels of the DX-5, it will operate in "bulk transfer" USB mode and the jitter will be much higher and the sound quality not as good.

The same is true if you connect a sound source to the ethernet connection on the rear panel. Until recently, ALL ethernet music player software was TERRIBLE. Very poor user interface, very difficult to set up, many incompatibility problems -- we could NEVER recommend this. However in the last year or so, J.River has added DLNA ethernet capability to their software program ($50). This solves all of the problems in one fell swoop. It has an excellent user interface, is compatible with virtually all hardware, and is RELATIVELY easy to set up (although still much more difficult than USB).

However, the sound quality will not be as good as using either a disc in the DX-5 or the USB Audio Only input. The timing of the master clock path is an unknown and the jitter is likely to be higher. However, we have never tried this configuration and do not know how much difference there will be in sound quality. If you are interested, you are welcome to try it. Please refer to the Oppo Wiki page:

http://wiki.oppodigital.com/index.php?title=BDP-83_Media_Files_FAQ

where it details what files, containers, and codecs are supported by DLNA (ethernet using J.River) for both video and audio to see if it will support your intended usage. I am sure that the picture quality will be superb, as all of the changes made to the DX-5 to improve the picture quality will be "in play" (active). But I suspect that there will be some degree of loss of sound quality -- I just cannot predict what level it will be. It may range from barely noticeable to dramatic. If you get a chance to try it out, please let us know of your results!

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

PS -- I haven't forgotten about your tonearm question! I strongly suspect something with the Vandy subs -- either the external crossover box or the internal switching power-supply amps, but I WILL get back to you on this as soon as I can. Thanks again for your patience!
post #1134 of 1423
Thanks Charles, will give this a try!

PS Thanks, I know you are working on the other mystery!
post #1135 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by IngoT View Post

Hello Charles,

I had asked Philip to order an upgrade kit several weeks ago, do you have an idea when we will receive it?

I think Oppo should review the firmware, as certain BDs (here: TOTAL REKALL (the remake), BOARDWALK EMPIRE) don't work properly.

Best regards and again thanks for your support

Ingo

Hello Ingo,

For information on the situation with the shipping of the upgrade kits, please refer to this post on another forum:

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/12/121817.html

I asked the folks at Oppo about thes discs and here is their (VERY QUICK!!) reply:

"If the discs do not play, it is often a simple matter of clearing the persistent storage (Device Setup - Persistent Storage - Erase BD-Video Data) in order to get the discs to play. So far we have not had an issue of discs not loading that would require a firmware update. The new "Total Recall" disc has an audio dropout issue if the player is set to output the Dolby TrueHD bitstream via HDMI. If the player is set to use analog audio output or decode to LPCM, there is no dropout. This issue is caused by the older Dolby MAT SDK implemented in the MT8520 chip. Dolby and Oppo are pushing MTK to provide an update, but so far we have not been successful due to the MT8520 being a discontinued product. I am not aware of any issue with Boardwalk Empire. If you find out more details please let me know.


On the Ayre DX-5, the HDMI Audio Only output is derived from the PCM (or DSD for SACD discs) signals sent to the DAC chips. Therefore there should be no problem with "Total Recall" if you are using the HDMI A/V output set to LPCM, the HDMI Audio Only output, or the two-channel analog audio signals. There will only be a problem if you are using the HDMI A/V output set to "Bitstream".

For both discs, please verify which exact version (as noted in a previous post, there are at least two versions of both discs you noted, and also what the exact problem is -- audio, video, description of the symptoms, where it happens, what settings you are using, et cetera. More information is better than less information. Thanks for your help with this. I am always amazed at how quickly Oppo responds to requests from us! smile.gif

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
post #1136 of 1423
Hi Charles,

thanks to you and Oppo for the response.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE: I have these BDs:

http://www.amazon.de/Boardwalk-Empire-Staffel-1-Blu-ray/dp/B007AQ1LJ6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364977882&sr=8-2

(All other ones are simple packaging variations). When I watched the first disc, I was able to play the first episode from the menu. When I access the second episode from the menu the DX-5 freezes. So I have watched the entire season 1 through old Sony player BDP-S1e player. Haven't tested the behavior of season 2 yet, but I will do this at home this evening and inform you.

TOTAL RECALL (http://www.amazon.de/Total-Recall-Extended-Directors-Blu-ray/dp/B00AQZ6G7K/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1364978682&sr=1-3) is a special case. I already knew what oppo told you, it spread around in various forums already. In fact I received a newly mastered replacement disc from Sony for free. Sony claimed it to be error-free but it showed the same problems with the DX-5 as the first disc did. Haven't tested the PCM workaround yet. However, both discs played fine on my Panasonic 110 player (I have four players in use, so I'm redundant in case of bad discs wink.gif)

I had forgotten to mention the minor problem with SKYFALL (http://www.amazon.de/James-Bond-007-Skyfall-Blu-ray/dp/B009YELWVY/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1364978805&sr=1-2). The disc menu freezes and I had to use the skip forward button to come to the end of the animated menu, where the menu buttons needed to access the disc contents show up. However the movie itsself (boring mad.gif) played fine.

Thanks for your help and best regards from Cologne

Ingo
post #1137 of 1423
Hello Charles,

sorry that I'm coming up with another issue, now regarding BD regional codes.
Several BDs are code-free or "ABC", so I had no problem yet. But now, a BD designated as region 2 (which is correct for Europe) was rejected by my DX-5, a message appeared "This disc can only be played in a region 2 BD player". To further explain, the BD is "David Gilmour-Remember that night", my cheap LG player plays the disc flawlessly.

I tried to find out what region code my DX-5 is, but, unlike with any other BD player I've seen, there is no sticker or any print on the rear of the unit, or the packaging, where I can see a region code.
The serial number of my unit is 19DO212.

Charles, please help - because if I'd have got a region 1 player by error, I will have problems with several discs over time.
Is there a way to make the player code-free?

Many thanks
Werner
post #1138 of 1423
BOARDWALK EMPIRE Season2 works fine.
post #1139 of 1423
Dear Ingo,

Thank you for the information. This is very helpful.
EDIT: I have forwarded this to Oppo, so we will see what they say.

Dear Werner,

Please check your PM.

Best regards,
Charles Hansne
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
Edited by Charles Hansen - 4/3/13 at 1:32pm
post #1140 of 1423
Dear Ingo,

I have received a reply from Oppo. Basically "Total Recall" is completely messed up. Even the replacement version is a disaster. However, the problem should be confined to the Dolby TrueHD bitstream output. If you are using the PCM output, it should be fine. There are three different ways to use the PCM output:

1) Use the HDMI A/V output and change the audio output in the setup menu to PCM. This is not recommended as it won't sound as good as the HDMI Audio-Only output.

2) Use the HDMI Audio-Only output. As noted in a previous post, these signals are decoded by the player and sent to the multi-channel DACs for the D/A conversion in the Oppo. We remove all of the stock analog circuitry, but use those (already decoded) PCM signals as the source for the HDMI Audio-Only output. As recommended in the manual, this is the best output to use for multi-channel audio. Then set the HDMI A/V Output so that the audio is turned "Off". Then there will be less "noise" and interference with the picture.

3) Use the analog audio outputs. This will be a two-channel mixdown of the PCM signal and is probably NOT what you are interested in listening to, but it should not have any problems with the soundtrack.

~~~~~~~~~~

Regarding the "Boardwalk Empire", they have not experienced any problems with this disc to date. They requested that you try two experiments:

a) Be sure that the failure is reliably reproducible 100% of the time.

b) See if clearing the persistent memory makes ANY difference whatsoever.

And finally they would like to know the firmware revision you are using.

Thank you for your kind assistance.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
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