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The official "Theta" thread - Page 133

post #3961 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post

I hope Theta takes these issues into consideration when they integrate Dirac. The Dirac upgrade cannot hurt the current tremendous sound quality, and Theta must realize some of their clients are not normal (honestly is anyone spending this much for a processor, in this economy, considered normal? rolleyes.gif), but a bunch of nit picking type A detail freaks who cry foul at the slightest hint of perceived midrange "alteration," rightly or wrongly! :-)
I believe that Dirac has actually taken your considerations into account. My understanding is that you can tackle the big room modes in the bass while at the same time leaving that other parts of the frequency range untouched. Some may enjoy being able to alter the sound to their personal taste more of a priority. Whatever the case, you will be able to do it. This is what I wanted for years. That is, purely digital correction without all those additional A/D conversion, that can be targeted at a specific range.I am unwilling to do it otherwise.

It might be wise for you demo to include at least one curve where the mids and highs are not altered so that you can see how much the correction is changing the sound. This might enable you to address your concerns.

I would also note that Tyree99 is in California wink.gif . He is a real "old school" audiophile dealer that will have a Casablanca HD with Dirac, at some points the new Theta amps, AND currently has a sampling of great tube electronics includings tube amps, Vandersteen speakers, etc. Norm is "right at home," discussing tube electronics and cables. I would suggest speaking with him about hearing the CB3HD with Dirac at his location and all of the rest of the goodies. If you speak with him, you'll quickly feel at home and understand he's a person of ,"like mind," as yourself and many other audiophiles.
post #3962 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by javry View Post


personally BD, I think disks of any kind are just on their way out -.
In my quest to build my library, I am quickly discovering that high-rez downloads are very limited. However the source of disc with greater than 16/44 is more abundant than one might realize. Remember Dual Disc? Those are on Ebay in abundance, many are cheap, They are sources of high-rez recordings that I have not seen anywhere else. Of course there is DVD Audio, many of which are also low cost on ebay though others are not. All but forgotten are the few DAD recordings from Chesky and Classic Records, also on ebay, that are a source of high-rez material. Steve mentioned, "Snow Patrol." I see two Dual Disc by Snow Patrol for 6 or 7 dollars on ebay, if he does not already have them.
Edited by Bulldogger - 6/9/12 at 8:08am
post #3963 of 6796
That is the one SACD I now have here, purchased used on Amazon. Some more (new) are on their way from the US. I have to admit I have never heard of Dual Disc... frown.gif

PS: how are you ripping your SACD collection when a DSD stream over coax is prohibited?
Edited by stevekale - 6/9/12 at 7:30am
post #3964 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

That is the one SACD I now have here, purchased used on Amazon. Some more (new) are on their way from the US. I have to admit I have never heard of Dual Disc... frown.gif
PS: how are you ripping your SACD collection when a DSD stream over coax is prohibited?
Check ebay on the Dual Disc. I am not doing DSD over coax. That is not possible.I did not say I was ripping SACD. I don't think that's wise to be saying. I am editing that post.
post #3965 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

That is the one SACD I now have here, purchased used on Amazon. Some more (new) are on their way from the US. I have to admit I have never heard of Dual Disc... frown.gif
PS: how are you ripping your SACD collection when a DSD stream over coax is prohibited?

If you Google "SACD ripping" you will find some interesting info. But the process appears to be a royal pain!
post #3966 of 6796
Yes it doesn't look like fun but I guess that's the only way to get owned disks onto something like a BDP-1 alongside your owned CDs.

I don't think it will be long before Apple begins to offer lossless tracks on iTunes (hopefully their HD video offering will point the way). The recording studios must be close to almost pushing for it because as more and more music is downloaded rather than sold on CD the unit cost of bricks and mortar distribution rises rapidly. At some point they have to jump to digital distribution. On the other hand, I think mainstream distribution of high-res audio is likely a long way away and so presents an interesting opportunity for direct distribution by a pool of studios. Why they don't tackle the Apple cannibalisation threat with an aggressive approach from the other end (high quality end) is beyond me.

Back to Theta, I do think there is an opportunity for Theta in the "server" or "file playing" space but the field is littered with copyright potholes.
post #3967 of 6796
My experience with the amazing Wisdom speakers + Audyssey tells me also that the operator is extremely important in room correction technology. In other words, room correction might not be the one-button-by-amateurs set-and-forget technology that I have hoped it to be. I would speculate the reason for this is that room correction (all frequency) + bass management (low frequency integration) go hand in hand, and at the least "correct" bass management needs the hands of a pro.

First a word about the Wisdom setup at THE Show at Newport Beach: it is by far one of the most impressive sound systems that I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. The hallmark of the system is out of this world HOLOGRAPHIC imaging, as long as you sit in the dead center sweet spot, and tremendous dynamics, no doubt aided by the 2 huge subwoofers behind the screen. I have to keep rubbing my eyes because the singer is just right there in front of me like a ghost, like nothing I've heard before and even more shocking than the German MBL speakers, and solo piano seems to come from a grand behind the curtain. It was wicked.
At any rate, two things about these speakers took me by surprise (anyone here please correct my information as needed):
1. It uses room correction AND bass management by the (seemingly) much maligned Audyssey technology.
2. These planar magnetic speakers are not dipolar, unlike my beloved Magepan 3.5 (still have) and Apogee Diva (gone). The rear waves are blocked off. Perhaps this is why the soundstage, while huge and wide, is not as deep as I expect.
This is a demo that anyone who cares about sound should listen to once in his life IMHO; the sound here could change your life. wink.gif That said, no system is perfect - don't get me wrong I would have these speakers in a heart beat if they don't cost 100+k, and if the huge Wisdom has any weakness at all, it is that they are not as airy/fast/detailed as the best of the breed of dipolar plannar speakers could be. The soundstage as mentioned is not as deep as it is wide; very good, but not the best.

Enough about the Wisdom, how it's related to current Dirac and Theta discussion is that, to my very big surprise, they use Audyssey room correction and bass management. But... unlike the tipped up Audyssey sound that I've read about here and there, the sound achieved by Wisdom + Audyssey is about as perfect as could be, as far as subjective frequency balance is concerned. Meaning, Audyssey in the right implementation and the right hands has no weakness, it seems. The operator I think is critical and this is why I have so much interest in hearing Carl's KAD DL2/Datasat/Dirac system at his place (as opposed to audio show). This is Dirac set up by a seasoned pro, IOW probably about as good as could be.
Edited by cannga - 6/9/12 at 11:46pm
post #3968 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post


BTW the Oppo remote is very close to being the ugliest I have ever seen - quite a contrast between that and the unit itself and its packaging.

Aside from being ugly, would you say it is functional?
post #3969 of 6796
Well I haven't used it that much but to the extent I have it works as expected. So I guess it is functional. But it's as if the design department couldn't be bothered with the remote. Makes me want to hide it away in a drawer somewhere.
post #3970 of 6796
OT I know but does the Bryston BDP-1 play high-res multi-channel audio or just stereo?
post #3971 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

OT I know but does the Bryston BDP-1 play high-res multi-channel audio or just stereo?

Only redbook and hi rez PCM stereo. But its stereo sounds even much better than the Maranrtz UD9004 I once had, and the Theta Compli Blu I now have, used as music transports.

Sometimes on stereo music I may use the CB3 HD to play stereo into multi-channel Dolby Pro Logic 2x.
post #3972 of 6796
This is where I think Theta has to go by EO 2013 to remain relevant. Within 2 years, the disk and its appuratus will be outrun by servers, streamers, USBs, and iPOD docks. So the path for audio appears to be pretty well set IMO. I still wonder how its video counterpart will fair on the same platform and how they will converge. That path is just not clear to me but it will be interesting to see what Theta does about it.

400


Here's the full review
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/439-musical-fidelity-m1-clic-universal-music-controller-review/
post #3973 of 6796
Apple have shown the way for both video and audio - and, most importantly, they've cracked the copyright/permissioning issue. The issue for us is that they are targeting the mass market and so, while the user interface is awesome, the quality is average. It also requires a computer (although that ought to not be such a big deal). In my view, everyone else is going to get crowded out if they don't get their act together. The risk to us is that they are crowded out and high-quality content simply disappears as it becomes uneconomic to deliver.
post #3974 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post

Dan thanks for clarifying. BD, I think you understand my concern well. As an audiophile - hopefully in the good sense of the word - with a very open mind, I welcome Theta's adventure into room correction signal processing, but can't help a certain degree of angst. Over many years of experimenting and $$$, if I have to name one parameter that I have tried to achieve in my system, it is "transparency." To me this means a feeling of intimacy to the artist without any veiling, to hear the details of voice and instruments. I know better than to use the dreaded expression "reproducing original event," so that's NOT the point here. And of course I am not implying that this is the right approach, merely that it is mine. In my photography hobby, there is a similar quality which I call "clarity." The implication is the same, no veiling, and it is the reason I like to use primes much more than zooms.
When I've tried cheap/bad signal processing devices so far ("bad" to be changed soon with hopefully my audition of Carl's KAD DL2/Dirac system), I have always been struck by the alteration of the midrange. Sound becomes warmer and more spacious, but details and intimacy are lost. Worse, in some cases the voice sounds different; not better, just different. And regardless of "which" voice is right or wrong, this bothers me greatly. What I hope for in Dirac and Theta, is a system that will allow me to have it all: full, spacious sound without sacrificing details of voice and instruments. I want to hear the bombs *and* the guitar strings being struck and no alteration of singer's voice.
I hope Theta takes these issues into consideration when they integrate Dirac. The Dirac upgrade cannot hurt the current tremendous sound quality, and Theta must realize some of their clients are not normal (honestly is anyone spending this much for a processor, in this economy, considered normal? rolleyes.gif), but a bunch of nit picking type A detail freaks who cry foul at the slightest hint of perceived midrange "alteration," rightly or wrongly! :-)

I definitely agree with everything you mentioned. I've used Audyssey in Marantz and Onkyo processors and have not been at all impressed. It takes the life out of movies and music. I agree that it provides a warmer, but less transparent and less dynamic sound. Personally, I don't mind a little warmer, but it just robs the life out of it. The Auto EQ in the Arcam AVR600 and AV888, while perhaps a bit more transparent, were also disappointing. I've heard better things about the Room Perfect that McIntosh uses, and perhaps Dirac will be better as well.

Dave
post #3975 of 6796
As I try to come up the learning curve on high-res audio, I found this interesting article. Probably nothing new to you guys but I thought I would post it anyway.

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue60/dsd.htm

The article led me to another (basic) question regarding the Theta CB and SACD content. Is my Oppo SACD player sending DSD to the Theta for decoding/DAC or does the player convet DSD to PCM for delivery to the Theta?

Also, it would appear to be a shame that the Bryston doesn't play DSD files...
post #3976 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

As I try to come up the learning curve on high-res audio, I found this interesting article. Probably nothing new to you guys but I thought I would post it anyway.
http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue60/dsd.htm
The article led me to another (basic) question regarding the Theta CB and SACD content. Is my Oppo SACD player sending DSD to the Theta for decoding/DAC or does the player convet DSD to PCM for delivery to the Theta?
Also, it would appear to be a shame that the Bryston doesn't play DSD files...

The oppo is capable of sending dsd direct to the theta and as dsd converted to PCM at 88/24. Since the cbIII can only process PCM, that is how you set it up with a cbIII. Some "mid-fi" processors are capable of processing native dsd (onkyo, denon, pioneer), but none of the high end processors can. I once has an onkyo processor and found it to sound a lot better in native dsd mode (using Sony xa5400 sacd player). In analog players I also always use dsd direct mode. Keep in mind though that dsp operates in PCM, so in dsd direct mode you have no access to bass management, room correction, or delay settings.

Some two channel dacs are capable of processing native dsd (dcs and a few others), but this is relatively rare.

There are four sources of digital dsd content
1. Dsd direct out from sacd players (HDMI onli)
2. Dsd files stored on hard drives from ripped sacd
3. Dsd downloads
4. Analog (vinyl) archived in dsd through a/d conversion.

All four are a small niche, and it is my solid conviction dsd will never become mainstream.
post #3977 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Since the cbIII can only process PCM, that is how you set it up with a cbIII.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Keep in mind though that dsp operates in PCM, so in dsd direct mode you have no access to bass management, room correction, or delay settings.

Ok go it. Thanks very much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

There are four sources of digital dsd content
1. Dsd direct out from sacd players (HDMI onli)
2. Dsd files stored on hard drives from ripped sacd
3. Dsd downloads
4. Analog (vinyl) archived in dsd through a/d conversion.
All four are a small niche, and it is my solid conviction dsd will never become mainstream.

It was 3. that, after reading the article, had piqued my interest. (On 2, from what I've read, people have a whole lot of "fun" peeling the DSD stream off the disk and then more "fun" trying to convert it to acceptable PCM.)
post #3978 of 6796
BTW has anyone used a Mac Mini connected to a CB III HD via HDMI to manage and play a catalogue of movie ISOs? Any suggestions on a catalogue manager for the ISOs? (I know I could rip them to iTunes compatible formats and use that but would prefer to keep them as full ISOs.)

Or suggestions on managing an ISO library via USB drive into the Oppo (if indeed possible)?
Edited by stevekale - 6/13/12 at 10:48am
post #3979 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

As I try to come up the learning curve on high-res audio, I found this interesting article. Probably nothing new to you guys but I thought I would post it anyway.
http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue60/dsd.htm
The article led me to another (basic) question regarding the Theta CB and SACD content. Is my Oppo SACD player sending DSD to the Theta for decoding/DAC or does the player convet DSD to PCM for delivery to the Theta?
Also, it would appear to be a shame that the Bryston doesn't play DSD files...

The oppo is capable of sending dsd direct to the theta and as dsd converted to PCM at 88/24. Since the cbIII can only process PCM, that is how you set it up with a cbIII. Some "mid-fi" processors are capable of processing native dsd (onkyo, denon, pioneer), but none of the high end processors can. I once has an onkyo processor and found it to sound a lot better in native dsd mode (using Sony xa5400 sacd player). In analog players I also always use dsd direct mode. Keep in mind though that dsp operates in PCM, so in dsd direct mode you have no access to bass management, room correction, or delay settings.

Some two channel dacs are capable of processing native dsd (dcs and a few others), but this is relatively rare.

There are four sources of digital dsd content
1. Dsd direct out from sacd players (HDMI onli)
2. Dsd files stored on hard drives from ripped sacd
3. Dsd downloads
4. Analog (vinyl) archived in dsd through a/d conversion.

All four are a small niche, and it is my solid conviction dsd will never become mainstream.

I agree with the last statement. The article was good reading though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr

Keep in mind though that dsp operates in PCM, so in dsd direct mode you have no access to bass management, room correction, or delay settings.

I assume this would also apply to Dirac Live?
post #3980 of 6796
The CD3 HD with Dirac Live, like the current CB3 HD, digitally processes PCM and will not recognize DSD. Why would Dirac Live do all the programming to work with DSD when no high end SSPs can process native DSD?mad.gif
post #3981 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

The CD3 HD with Dirac Live, like the current CB3 HD, digitally processes PCM and will not recognize DSD. Why would Dirac Live do all the programming to work with DSD when no high end SSPs can process native DSD?mad.gif

Some studios do all their mastering in dsd. I can see they would want to have access to eq and bass management in dsd, which they currently don't. This pro audio technology could then trickle down to high consumer market. Don't hold your breath though. From what I understand building a dsp engine in dsd would be immensely complex, and this would always remain a very small niche market.
post #3982 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Some studios do all their mastering in dsd.
They do their mastering in a made up format called "DSD Wide", which is 8-bit PCM, since they cannot process native 1-bit DSD.
post #3983 of 6796
BTW, as I try to answer my own question above (post 3978) this looks rather interesting:

http://xbmc.org/about/
post #3984 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by thezaks View Post

I definitely agree with everything you mentioned. I've used Audyssey in Marantz and Onkyo processors and have not been at all impressed. It takes the life out of movies and music. I agree that it provides a warmer, but less transparent and less dynamic sound. Personally, I don't mind a little warmer, but it just robs the life out of it. The Auto EQ in the Arcam AVR600 and AV888, while perhaps a bit more transparent, were also disappointing. I've heard better things about the Room Perfect that McIntosh uses, and perhaps Dirac will be better as well.
Dave

Sure - "transparency/immediacy" is a trait that is costly to attain and easily lost, not infrequently when bass is increased. Sometimes I wonder if the result of the Harmon study (the one about the tilted up low frequency range sounding better) would be different had a subset of "audiophiles" been used? (Sanjay do you know? Who were subjects of that study?)

Regardless, I have high hope and expectation for Dirac, if what Bulldogger wrote about Dirac holds up. Even if the room correction function doesn't work out, I wouldn't mind playing around with the equalizer function. The balance of different recordings varies so much that one has to think there has always been room for an equalizer in audio. Strange days indeed when I run my Linn Sondek/Koetsu Rosewood through the Theta! cool.gif
post #3985 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post

Sure - "transparency/immediacy" is a trait that is costly to attain and easily lost, not infrequently when bass is increased. Sometimes I wonder if the result of the Harmon study (the one about the tilted up low frequency range sounding better) would be different had a subset of "audiophiles" been used? (Sanjay do you know? Who were subjects of that study?)
Regardless, I have high hope and expectation for Dirac, if what Bulldogger wrote about Dirac holds up. Even if the room correction function doesn't work out, I wouldn't mind playing around with the equalizer function. The balance of different recordings varies so much that one has to think there has always been room for an equalizer in audio. Strange days indeed when I run my Linn Sondek/Koetsu Rosewood through the Theta! cool.gif

In my humble experience the 'digital' sound often attributed to room correction solutions can be traced to the measurement microphone used to take measurements that generated the filters. In most cases the measurement microphone bundled with room correction products was an after thought that was tossed into the box well after the algorithm had been debugged. And as a rule it is a 'cheapy', coming from one of three Pacific rim OEM houses. It is a well established fact that cheap measurement microphones are not omnidirectional above 6.5kHz. It is that region above 6.5kHz that is the 'air' in recordings.

During the measurement phase the microphone is placed in a static position pointing to the center channel and then a test tone is sequenced thru the channels and captured by software. When measurements are taken with a lousy microphone you get lousy results! Because that microphone is directional in the upper bands the highs from those loudspeakers furthest off axis will be reported upon with decreasing accuracy. When the room correction algorithm operates on that data the resulting filters are scewed as well.

Better measurement microphones such as the Audix TM1, Earthworks M23 or M30 have a true omnidirectional quality out thru 18kHz. When using those microphones off axis loudspeakers are properly documented and the resulting filters are different! In every case where I have tested, swapping out a cheapy measurement microphone for a quality one made an audible difference in the results.

It's the age old story repeated one more time, "garbage in equals garbage out".
_____________
Best Regards,
Carl Huff
post #3986 of 6796
I'd like to report a big improvement in Theta's response to repair problems. I had my Casablanca III updated to HD status. Mine was one of the first orders in during 1/11. I also ordered a Gen 8 at that time and got the required digi-out card to allow setup. My Casablanca came back around March or April and my Gen 8 came around June or so.

At first everything was great, until suddenly it wasn't. mad.gif I would get intermittent popping noises out of just the right front speaker. Once the popping started, the only way to get rid of it was to turn the system off overnight. We started with the usual at home diagnostics. It almost certainly couldn't be an upstream component because it would start with any of four separate source components. It almost certainly couldn't be downstream because everything was fine if I ran my CD transport directly into the Gen 8. It might have been specific to the XLR digital input of the Casablanca, but when I reconnected the XLR out of the transport into the Gen 8, the problem again disappeared.

I tried to get help from Theta through my dealer, Craig, but Theta essentially ignored the problem for several long months. Finally in January, John Baloff started to take the problem seriously. At Craig's urging, Theta sent me a brand new Casablanca as a loaner unit while they worked on the problem. At least part of the problem was a failure of the digi-out card, which is what I had suspected from day one. As part of the process, I upgraded to the new digi-out card, and Theta was very accommodating on the upgrade.

I am happy to report that I have had the unit back for around a month now and everything is working perfectly again. biggrin.gif
post #3987 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by mccaff View Post

I'd like to report a big improvement in Theta's response to repair problems. I had my Casablanca III updated to HD status. Mine was one of the first orders in during 1/11. I also ordered a Gen 8 at that time and got the required digi-out card to allow setup. My Casablanca came back around March or April and my Gen 8 came around June or so.
At first everything was great, until suddenly it wasn't. mad.gif I would get intermittent popping noises out of just the right front speaker. Once the popping started, the only way to get rid of it was to turn the system off overnight. We started with the usual at home diagnostics. It almost certainly couldn't be an upstream component because it would start with any of four separate source components. It almost certainly couldn't be downstream because everything was fine if I ran my CD transport directly into the Gen 8. It might have been specific to the XLR digital input of the Casablanca, but when I reconnected the XLR out of the transport into the Gen 8, the problem again disappeared.
I tried to get help from Theta through my dealer, Craig, but Theta essentially ignored the problem for several long months. Finally in January, John Baloff started to take the problem seriously. At Craig's urging, Theta sent me a brand new Casablanca as a loaner unit while they worked on the problem. At least part of the problem was a failure of the digi-out card, which is what I had suspected from day one. As part of the process, I upgraded to the new digi-out card, and Theta was very accommodating on the upgrade.
I am happy to report that I have had the unit back for around a month now and everything is working perfectly again. biggrin.gif

Steve, Thank you for the kind words !! Because of the intermittent situation and it only doing it sometimes once a week, it was tough to find this problem. I am so glad we were able to get you back to 100% and I am glad you are enjoying your Cb3HD with Gen VIII S3..

Enjoy

Craig
post #3988 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post

Sometimes I wonder if the result of the Harmon study (the one about the tilted up low frequency range sounding better) would be different had a subset of "audiophiles" been used? (Sanjay do you know? Who were subjects of that study?)
Harman has done double blind testing on groups ranging from students to stereo dealers to audio reviewers to trained listeners, etc. Turned out they generally have the same preferences (e.g., ranked speakers in the same order). The main difference was that trained listeners required the least number of trials, followed by stereo dealers. So while preferences remained consistent across different demographics, some groups were more sensative than others. Which is why they tend to stick with trained listeners, to save on time and money (same results, just quicker). And that's what they used as subjects for the room correction study.
post #3989 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by VGI View Post

Steve, Thank you for the kind words !! Because of the intermittent situation and it only doing it sometimes once a week, it was tough to find this problem. I am so glad we were able to get you back to 100% and I am glad you are enjoying your Cb3HD with Gen VIII S3..
Enjoy
Craig


Me, too! Luv my CB3 HD plus Gen VIII Series 3!!!@@@tongue.gif

When my Gen VIII acted up several months ago, got it to Theta and had it back repaired within about 2 weeks or so.
post #3990 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Harman has done double blind testing on groups ranging from students to stereo dealers to audio reviewers to trained listeners, etc. Turned out they generally have the same preferences (e.g., ranked speakers in the same order). The main difference was that trained listeners required the least number of trials, followed by stereo dealers. So while preferences remained consistent across different demographics, some groups were more sensative than others. Which is why they tend to stick with trained listeners, to save on time and money (same results, just quicker). And that's what they used as subjects for the room correction study.

Thanks Sanjay. (As expected) the pro's have their bases very well covered.
Edited by cannga - 6/15/12 at 9:11pm
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