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The official "Theta" thread - Page 142

post #4231 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Just wanted to get on the record sharing my extremely positive experience with Theta Customer support (in particular John Baloff). I have been asking these guys some questions over the last few months, including questions about long discontinued products (analog volume control), and very unconventional configuration options. They have always responded prompty and professionally, without any consideration of their own commercial interest (obviously I have not been spending much on Theta gear lately). Most recently, I asked for pricing on some feet for my Six Shooter and CBIII that I am trying to sell, and they send me two sets free of charge without me even asking for it.
The CBIII and Six Shooter has been a dear friend of mine over the last few years, and the six shooter to this days remains some of the best money I ever spend on audio (I just sold it for $700). The CBIII is an amazingly versatile piece of technology, and the build quality is unsurpassed. Without the stupid HDMI licensing restriction I would in fact have probably held onto my CBIII, get it upgraded with a digi out card and use it with 3 external DACs.

Same here. John was responsive to my questions on MC LPCM and also asked how my full band HDMI video was looking. I've also asked some questions about what buffering and reclocking of HDMI the CB III HD does which he has forwarded to the tech team. Great support!
post #4232 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

The end of the thread discusses guys modifying the 93 with Dr Lee's LPSU and others.

Right. I might have even found Dr. Lee's PS in this very same thread, as I googled Oppo 93 and linear power supply. It looks sort of familiar now.
post #4233 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

The end of the thread discusses guys modifying the 93 with Dr Lee's LPSU and others.
I'd be more inclined to buy a new version of the Compli-blu than to mod myself. Not because of any performance difference of one over the other but because of support. Theta give you a new chasis, modifies the boards, and you get a David Reich designed power supply. I hope we see a new version at CEDIA or CES.
post #4234 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Just wanted to get on the record sharing my extremely positive experience with Theta Customer support (in particular John Baloff). I have been asking these guys some questions over the last few months, including questions about long discontinued products (analog volume control), and very unconventional configuration options. They have always responded prompty and professionally, without any consideration of their own commercial interest (obviously I have not been spending much on Theta gear lately). Most recently, I asked for pricing on some feet for my Six Shooter and CBIII that I am trying to sell, and they send me two sets free of charge without me even asking for it.
The CBIII and Six Shooter has been a dear friend of mine over the last few years, and the six shooter to this days remains some of the best money I ever spend on audio (I just sold it for $700). The CBIII is an amazingly versatile piece of technology, and the build quality is unsurpassed. Without the stupid HDMI licensing restriction I would in fact have probably held onto my CBIII, get it upgraded with a digi out card and use it with 3 external DACs.
John is first rate. NO company I have ever called has more knowledgeable tech support and he is also an audiophile as well.
post #4235 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

I'd be more inclined to buy a new version of the Compli-blu than to mod myself. Not because of any performance difference of one over the other but because of support. Theta give you a new chasis, modifies the boards, and you get a David Reich designed power supply. I hope we see a new version at CEDIA or CES.

That would be a lot more convenient, but keep in mind the Dr. Lee mod can be had for $300, so the DIY route gets you a player for $800. It a Compli Blu based on the Oppo 93 can be had with discount for say $2400, that would be 3x. If the Compli Blu 93 sounds materially better, this would be worth the $$$. It would also be interesting to stick the 4 x S/PDIF digi out board in a Compli Blu 93, provided it will still fit (it probably will), and see how it compares sonically to a DIY modded player. Of course, no Theta warranty on that one....
post #4236 of 6796
Hey guys,

I'm seeing used CB3 HD's popping up on various boards for pennies on the dollar. I know some of this is due to the new DACs coming, and the room correction to be available soon. Does the CB3 HD, with the current extreme dac, pass 196Khz or above in a 7.1 or MC configuration? Any tech info that describes how Theta currently passes Multi-channel, and how this may differ when the DAC upgrades pop up? Additionally, is there any more data on the Dirac option (filters, spectrum, etc.,)

In general, I'm curious what the current CB3 HDs drawbacks are in comparison to other hi-end gear, and if these "issues" are only fixed with the upcoming upgrades.

Thanks all,

Stieger
post #4237 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stieger View Post

Hey guys,
I'm seeing used CB3 HD's popping up on various boards for pennies on the dollar. I know some of this is due to the new DACs coming, and the room correction to be available soon. Does the CB3 HD, with the current extreme dac, pass 196Khz or above in a 7.1 or MC configuration? Any tech info that describes how Theta currently passes Multi-channel, and how this may differ when the DAC upgrades pop up? Additionally, is there any more data on the Dirac option (filters, spectrum, etc.,)
In general, I'm curious what the current CB3 HDs drawbacks are in comparison to other hi-end gear, and if these "issues" are only fixed with the upcoming upgrades.
Thanks all,
Stieger

That would include mine. If you want to get on board, now is the time to buy a dirt cheap bare bones chassis with minimum DAC cards needed to make it work in HD configuration, and move up the foodchain when new technology comes out.

It is my understanding the new upgrade will have a new DSP engine that processes at 96/24 natively. I am not aware of any processors that do native 196/24 DSP processesing, and besides, there is no 196/24 multi channel content available. Only 196/24 content I am aware of is 2 channel. The new DAC cards will probaby support 192/24 in a 2 channel application, 196/24 may also be send to a digi out card and a Gen VIII DAC. It would be interesting to know if you have a 2 channel 192/24 source and are applying Dirac room correction and using bass management if this happens in 192/24 or 96/24. Not sure - I would guess 96/24.

Keep in mind that most of these resolution "issues" are the not really issues in the majority of cases. 48/24 is where most of the content is. The only real issue Theta has in my opinion is the Xtreme card is 10+ years old and needs to be upgraded, and Dirac live needs to come to fruition for Theta to be competitive. If your current model processor is offered for 40%-50% of MSRP on audiogon as good as new and people are not scooping them up in a day, your current model is obviously not a competitive product offering at MSRP. This is a problem Theta needs to solve with technology upgrades in my opinion.
post #4238 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

I'd be more inclined to buy a new version of the Compli-blu than to mod myself. Not because of any performance difference of one over the other but because of support. Theta give you a new chasis, modifies the boards, and you get a David Reich designed power supply. I hope we see a new version at CEDIA or CES.

They'd have to do a lot more than what the Compli Blu did to the Oppo 83 to get me interested. Linear PSU - ok, fine but that's not worth the price differential. They didn't even touch the digital stage. Now if the really worked on the digital side of things much like Edorr's card then you'd be talking. I have a question with Theta at the moment trying to understand better what re-clocking was introduced to the CB's HDMI stage but it would appear a lot more can be done at the source. To get me interested they'd have to redo the main power supplies, reclock and redo the entire digital side of things including the DSD->PCM conversion. If they have to dump the entire analogue out board then so be it. (I'm about to unplug the power to my analogue board tomorrow.) It would have to be a lot better than a multi-channel MSB UMT. I'd love to see a modified 93 together with a digital in board on the CB that can accept 6-8 channels of high-bit LPCM from a single source.
Edited by stevekale - 8/23/12 at 2:03pm
post #4239 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

This is a problem Theta needs to solve with technology upgrades in my opinion.

I have no doubt they will. The question will be whether it comes at sensible prices.
post #4240 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

I have no doubt they will. The question will be whether it comes at sensible prices.

If they can delivery the new DAC at 5K per 4 channels and it trounces other DACs on the market, AND deliver Dirac live and a native 96/24 DSP engine for another 5K they would be competitive. Pricing for Dirac + DSP will be in the 5K range, and I cannot imagine the new DAC will be more expensive than 5K. I would be more concerned about ability to deliver the technology in a reasonable timeframe than pricing. This is not trivial R&D and there are a lot of moving parts they do not fully control.
post #4241 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

They'd have to do a lot more than what the Compli Blu did to the Oppo 83 to get me interested. Linear PSU - ok, fine but that's not worth the price differential. They didn't even touch the digital stage. Now if the really worked on the digital side of things much like Edorr's card then you'd be talking. I have a question with Theta at the moment trying to understand better what re-clocking was introduced to the CB's HDMI stage but it would appear a lot more can be done at the source. To get me interested they'd have to redo the main power supplies, reclock and redo the entire digital side of things including the DSD->PCM conversion. If they have to dump the entire analogue out board then so be it. (I'm about to unplug the power to my analogue board tomorrow.) It would have to be a lot better than a multi-channel MSB UMT. I'd love to see a modified 93 together with a digital in board on the CB that can accept 6-8 channels of high-bit LPCM from a single source.

Not a chance Theta or any other manufacturer will get you a digi out board like the vanity93. They would be violating their HDMI license and in court / out of business in a heartbeat. I think an individual can legally mod their own player, but a manufacturer cannot do this legally.

If you want to drastically redesign an Oppo 93 and stick with HDMI you would get something like the Ayre universal player that was / is based on the 83 and sold / sells for 10K.
post #4242 of 6796
Edorr, lighten up on the beer!!@@ Its 192-24, not 196-24. HA!

I've posted here some time ago that I've been told that the new DSP will run at 192-24, but if you engage Dirac, then it will run for that at 96-24 cause that is what Dirac runs at!
And that the latest digital out card (the one I have) will pass a full 192-24 out!
post #4243 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Edorr, lighten up on the beer!!@@ Its 192-24, not 196-24. HA!
I've posted here some time ago that I've been told that the new DSP will run at 192-24, but if you engage Dirac, then it will run for that at 96-24 cause that is what Dirac runs at!
And that the latest digital out card (the one I have) will pass a full 192-24 out!

That is more or less what I expected. Some DSP engines do in fact run at 192/24, but the advanced DRC systems (including Trinnov) are restricted to 96/24. For me this is now a real bottleneck, because my modded Oppo can output SACD converted to PCM at 176/24, but I need to run it at 88/24 because of the Trinnov 96/24 restriction.
post #4244 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

If they can delivery the new DAC at 5K per 4 channels and it trounces other DACs on the market, AND deliver Dirac live and a native 96/24 DSP engine for another 5K they would be competitive. Pricing for Dirac + DSP will be in the 5K range, and I cannot imagine the new DAC will be more expensive than 5K. I would be more concerned about ability to deliver the technology in a reasonable timeframe than pricing. This is not trivial R&D and there are a lot of moving parts they do not fully control.

$5k per 4 channels is over-the-top pricing. Spending $10k every few years isn't an upgrade path but a replacement.
Quote:
Not a chance Theta or any other manufacturer will get you a digi out board like the vanity93. They would be violating their HDMI license and in court / out of business in a heartbeat.

So don't use HDMI. Provide the Digi-in board, a natural corollary to their digi-out board.

Or they could stick with HDMI, not throttle it down and do a proper job with the clocks and DSD->LPCM conversion. In any event, the sort of upgrade to the 83 they did for the Compli Blu isn't worth more than $1000 - it's largely available now as an Oppo 95. Theta state they did chassis adjustments (as did the 93->95), analog LPSU (as did 93->95), not sure I care about RS-232 and the other adjustments. Personally I would prefer they delivered a multi-channel BDP-1 at similar pricing to the current BDP-1. Their Compli customer base has already been eroded by Bryston.
Edited by stevekale - 8/24/12 at 12:27am
post #4245 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

$5k per 4 channels is over-the-top pricing.

Check the title of the forum ...... If $1,250 per channel gets you the current state of the art "DACs in a SSP" it it s screaming bargain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Spending $10k every few years isn't an upgrade path but a replacement.

You are "upgrading" the CBIII by "replacing" the DACs. When all is said an done and you look at your new CBIII HD / Dirac / New DACs all that is left is the chassis. The current used value of just a CBIII chassis is $1,500 - $ 2,000, so that is more or less the value of upgradebility at this point in time. However, if Theta gets this new platform together and a market for brand new CBIII develops that value will go up dramatically. Owning Theta has always been a bit like option trading. As a matter of facts, Theta options are down. There is a CBIII HD with XTreme card listed for $8,500, which is less than MSRP for just the upgrade and the Xtreme card, so this seller is giving away the chassis for free. There is a CBIII HD with 2 x Xtreme cards for $10,000. Same thing - chassis for free.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

So don't use HDMI. Provide the Digi-in board, a natural corollary to their digi-out board.

Who exactly would buy this board, when it is not possible to legally manufacture a player that can feed it? Besides, if you have a 4 x S/PDIF source, you don't need a SSP anymore, and are much better off going straight into something like the Trinnov.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Or they could stick with HDMI, not throttle it down and do a proper job with the clocks and DSD->LPCM conversion.

From what I gather, Theta is actually doing a very good job with its HDMI processing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

In any event, the sort of upgrade to the 83 they did for the Compli Blu isn't worth more than $1000 - it's largely available now as an Oppo 95. Theta state they did chassis adjustments (as did the 93->95), analog LPSU (as did 93->95), not sure I care about RS-232 and the other adjustments.

Being ahead of the curve, or even on the curve is very hard for a niche manufacturer in a product category like universal players. If the HDMI from the compli sounded better than the 83 - as owners assure us it does, the Linear PS musy have fed the digital board.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Personally I would prefer they delivered a multi-channel BDP-1 at similar pricing to the current BDP-1.

Not sure how many are interesting in ripping their BR discs, but a MCH media server appears to be an emerging market.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Their Compli customer base has already been eroded by Bryston.

Not really. Bryston is a completely different application. Oppo is eating the Theta's Universal players' lunch, and not just Theta's. Best thing they can do is build a new Compli based on the 93.
Edited by edorr - 8/24/12 at 6:20am
post #4246 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Check the title of the forum ...... If $1,250 per channel gets you the current state of the art "DACs in a SSP" it it s screaming bargain.
You are "upgrading" the CBIII by "replacing" the DACs. When all is said an done and you look at your new CBIII HD / Dirac / New DACs all that is left is the chassis. The current used value of just a CBIII chassis is $1,500 - $ 2,000, so that is more or less the value of upgradebility at this point in time. However, if Theta gets this new platform together and a market for brand new CBIII develops that value will go up dramatically. Owning Theta has always been a bit like option trading. As a matter of facts, Theta options are down. There is a CBIII HD with XTreme card listed for $8,500, which is less than MSRP for just the upgrade and the Xtreme card, so this seller is giving away the chassis for free. There is a CBIII HD with 2 x Xtreme cards for $10,000. Same thing - chassis for free.
Who exactly would buy this board, when it is not possible to legally manufacture a player that can feed it? Besides, if you have a 4 x S/PDIF source, you don't need a SSP anymore, and are much better off going straight into something like the Trinnov.
From what I gather, Theta is actually doing a very good job with its HDMI processing.
Being ahead of the curve, or even on the curve is very hard for a niche manufacturer in a product category like universal players. If the HDMI from the compli sounded better than the 83 - as owners assure us it does, the Linear PS musy have fed the digital board.
Not sure how many are interesting in ripping their BR discs, but a MCH media server appears to be an emerging market.
Not really. Bryston is a completely different application. Oppo is eating the Theta's Universal players' lunch, and not just Theta's. Best thing they can do is build a new Compli based on the 93.

I've owned my Casablanca from the early days of the unit. I've also had it upgraded numerous times and now have an HD with Xtreme Dacs unit and appreciate all that the current ownership has done to make the unit HD compatible. That said if the pricing for a new DAC configuration is anywhere close to $1250 per channel then my days of upgrading are over. If on the other hand Theta gives a hefty allowance to current owners upgrading and/or exchanging older DACs then I'll reconsider.
post #4247 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

That would include mine. If you want to get on board, now is the time to buy a dirt cheap bare bones chassis with minimum DAC cards needed to make it work in HD configuration, and move up the foodchain when new technology comes out.
It is my understanding the new upgrade will have a new DSP engine that processes at 96/24 natively. I am not aware of any processors that do native 196/24 DSP processesing, and besides, there is no 196/24 multi channel content availableon.
That's the direction everything is going. No, the board is not out yet but I expect to see MDS offer such a board. That's what Theta will use. Dirac Live is a separate issue and will be limited to 24/96.
post #4248 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stieger View Post

Hey guys,
I'm seeing used CB3 HD's popping up on various boards for pennies on the dollar. I know some of this is due to the new DACs coming, and the room correction to be available soon. Does the CB3 HD, with the current extreme dac, pass 196Khz or above in a 7.1 or MC configuration? Any tech info that describes how Theta currently passes Multi-channel, and how this may differ when the DAC upgrades pop up? Additionally, is there any more data on the Dirac option (filters, spectrum, etc.,)
In general, I'm curious what the current CB3 HDs drawbacks are in comparison to other hi-end gear, and if these "issues" are only fixed with the upcoming upgrades.
Thanks all,
Stieger
It may seem like a new situation but it is not. I purchased my first Casablanca II with warranty in 2005 for 3k. The age of the electronics and obsolence are the major factors. I'd contact Dirac about options. I believe the Dirac is ready with their processing and you could get some accurate answers.
post #4249 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by P Ross View Post

I've owned my Casablanca from the early days of the unit. I've also had it upgraded numerous times and now have an HD with Xtreme Dacs unit and appreciate all that the current ownership has done to make the unit HD compatible. That said if the pricing for a new DAC configuration is anywhere close to $1250 per channel then my days of upgrading are over. If on the other hand Theta gives a hefty allowance to current owners upgrading and/or exchanging older DACs then I'll reconsider.
Very expensive dac cards are going to be a tough sell. It is sometimes difficult to communicate this sort of thing with to these companies. Look at the cost of the dacs in the Xtreme card, 30.00 each. With 8 on each four channel card that's 240.00 just for those chips. Theta is not doing that anymore. I think for example the the Gen VIII uses stereo dacs that replace the two dacs once needed to run dual differential. So let's say you moved from two chips that cost 60.00 bucks for two per channel to a stereo chip that can do the same thing and cost a total of 12.00, that brings the cost way down.You can now build an Xtreme dac for a total, retail pricing, of 48.00 vs the 240.00. Building cards by hand is just too labor intensive. I believe you could produce a replacement for the Xtreme card at a much lower price. Price is not set by cost of manufacture however but by what the market will bear, and supply and demand.
post #4250 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

I'd love to see a modified 93 together with a digital in board on the CB that can accept 6-8 channels of high-bit LPCM from a single source.
As Edorr wrote, Theta can not mod/hack HDMI with the board that Edorr has for the Oppo. They would face legal action. Shawn Fogg's version worked in several players besides Oppo and that one likely will as well. Datasat has the right idea with the digital in connection. You can use a modified Oppo to input into such a processor or a Media server based upon something like Jriver with a Lynx AES16e with digital out for all channels. Additionally a digital in for all channels would allow you to upgrade room correction as technology advances. You could use the digital in as processor loop with another company''s box that specializes in this tech looped in like what was once done for analog EQ.

The main value of pre-pros for me now is post-processing like DD PLL2x and DTS Neo that the media servers do not offer. The Casablanca has much more advanced crossover slopes and flexibility as well. These factors keep me interested in the next upgrade. I see some sort of post-processing in Jriver Media Center but I seriously doubt it is a capable as what DD and DTS, companies that specialize in this sort of thing, offer.
post #4251 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by P Ross View Post

I've owned my Casablanca from the early days of the unit. I've also had it upgraded numerous times and now have an HD with Xtreme Dacs unit and appreciate all that the current ownership has done to make the unit HD compatible. That said if the pricing for a new DAC configuration is anywhere close to $1250 per channel then my days of upgrading are over. If on the other hand Theta gives a hefty allowance to current owners upgrading and/or exchanging older DACs then I'll reconsider.

I doubt very much the new DAC cards will by below 5K MSRP. The thing to do for Theta would be to offer original owners of old cards a trade in value for their cards. May be something like 2K for an Xtreme. If you bought your CBIII with Xtreme card used this is of course not going to happen.
post #4252 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

If you bought your CBIII with Xtreme card used this is of course not going to happen.
Why would you assume that?? If you owned a Casablanca 1 you could use it as a trade in for the current upgrade when it first started. CBIs were sold just because of the trade-in value of I believe 5k. Theta didn't ask if you were the original owner. The upgrade from the CBII to the CBIII was the same for everyone regardless of who was the original owner. You've never gotten anything upgraded by Theta. Some companies have those policies but Theta does not appear to have them.
post #4253 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Check the title of the forum ......

$10k is the new $20k
post #4254 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

As Edorr wrote, Theta can not mod/hack HDMI with the board that Edorr has for the Oppo. They would face legal action.


Let me be clearer as to what I meant. The Compli Blu did not touch the digital section of the 83. If you read through the list of modifications to the 83 in the Compli Blu (and kudos to Theta and others for being transparent) and put them side by side with the 93 to 95 modifications they're strikingly similar. Both sets are directed at the analogue section. Now take a look at the Vanity 93. Forget for a moment the fact that they chose to utilise SPDIFx8. They take the LPCM or DSD stream as the case may be and right as it comes off the drive and control it from there. Buffered and reclocked, DSD->LPCM at 176k etc etc. I understand there's no technical reason why this then can't be fed down an HDMI cable. Keep the HDCP and keep the license etc. Also, take a look at Dr Lee's mods. (It can be a bit painful and almost impossible to read his blog via Google translate.) Main power supply - ok. But the clock modification also sounds interesting, replacing the TCXOs with much lower noise OCXOs. I profess to know little about this stuff but I am doing a lot of reading.

I didn't buy an expensive CB III HD with Xtreme dacs that may well be upgraded to Xtreme to be told to run analogue out of a Oppo 93/95/compli 95. So I would like to see Theta Digital (or someone else) focus more on the digital transport. If this is misguided I would like to hear why. I understand there's a multi-channel version of the MSB UMT in the works. That would be interesting.

BTW this is also why I asked Theta about what they're doing to an inbound HDMI signal to get over the (supposed) issues with HDMI.

As for edorr's comment re ripping audio collections, yes admittedly there are some who aren't interested in this but I would say that increasingly people do in fact want to get rid of the piles of disks. iTunes has encouraged a different user interface. Browse by cover art, hit play, enjoy. Faster searching of content. Favourites. Compilations. Rip your collection and these benefits are within grasp of audiophiles also. I don't get a that much of a kick out of wading through a bunch of discs trying to find the album I want so that I can place the silver disc in the tray. Dumping nearly 400 DVDs into a storage unit was fantastic. At this point I am not going to rip my BDs but I am in the process of ripping my CD collection as well (it already is on my computer but I am redoing it all lossless) with a view to picking up a BDP-1 or similar around Xmas time. I keep hoping there's a MC equivalent out by then so that my SACDs can be done as well.

I can see how there might be some hesitancy in producing a multichannel BDP-1; a manufacturer would be open to criticism that they're encouraging ripping of SACDs. But studios need to (and will) get over the fact that SACD as a medium is on its last legs, not necessarily because people don't want multi-channel audio content but because the format failed to distribute effectively/efficiently for the market it was targeted at. Design an effective DRM for MC audio and deliver content by download and I would predict quite a revival.
Edited by stevekale - 8/25/12 at 12:23am
post #4255 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Why would you assume that?? If you owned a Casablanca 1 you could use it as a trade in for the current upgrade when it first started. CBIs were sold just because of the trade-in value of I believe 5k. Theta didn't ask if you were the original owner. The upgrade from the CBII to the CBIII was the same for everyone regardless of who was the original owner. You've never gotten anything upgraded by Theta. Some companies have those policies but Theta does not appear to have them.

It was cheaper for me to purchase a used CB II with Xtreme DACs and use that to upgrade to the CB III HD than to upgrade my CB I (which sits in storage - I'm unsure it's worth much if anything). I might have thought about that a little differently had I known about the new DSP and DACs.
post #4256 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Why would you assume that?? If you owned a Casablanca 1 you could use it as a trade in for the current upgrade when it first started. CBIs were sold just because of the trade-in value of I believe 5k. Theta didn't ask if you were the original owner. The upgrade from the CBII to the CBIII was the same for everyone regardless of who was the original owner. You've never gotten anything upgraded by Theta. Some companies have those policies but Theta does not appear to have them.

I could be dead wrong. We'll see.

I don't think Theta's upgrade policy makes a lot of commercial sense for them (it works great for wheeler dealers like myself) and here is why.

If anything can be traded in or upgraded this is huge disincentive for anyone to buy anything new. The idea behind upgradeability is protection of your investments. Let's say I buy a new CBIII HD with 2x Xtreme card brand new for 23K. If Theta treats me exactly the same as the guy buying the same processor currently listed for $10,800 on Audiogon what is the point? Why would anyone buy new? There is no investment protection. The trade-in policy becomes just a backdoor discount program.

As a result of this generous policy, their largest dealer is buying up used chassis', either for current upgrade, or he will keep them in storage until Dirac + new cards come out and then get them upgraded at dealer price with full trade in discount, and sells them himself on audiogon. That is a totally screwed up business model, because it canbalizes new sales for Theta.

The harts of the problem is a new Theta CBIII is just too expensive at current MSRP (obviously, since they are not flying off the shelf for 50% of MSRP on audiogon). So lets say the new CBIII + Dirac + new cards will be competitive again at 20-25K. What they should do is drastically cut price of the current model (i.e. CBIII + Xtreme), and offer a 100% trade in credit to new original owners (i.e. that bought new at reduced price). Original owners that bought at inflated curent prices are the real losers here, but Theta can thrown them a bone too by offering a generous trade in, say 50% of what they paid for their CBIII. Owners of 2nd hand units would get a lower "discount". With this model, Theta would regain some control of their channel. Of course, it all starts and ends with having stellar technology, so understandably they focus on engineering. However, at some point they are going to have to address the marketing side of things.

Just throwing this out as food for thought. I never ran a high end audio company myself so as I said I could be dead wrong.
post #4257 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I could be dead wrong. We'll see.
I don't think Theta's upgrade policy makes a lot of commercial sense for them (it works great for wheeler dealers like myself) and here is why.
If anything can be traded in or upgraded this is huge disincentive for anyone to buy anything new. The idea behind upgradeability is protection of your investments. Let's say I buy a new CBIII HD with 2x Xtreme card brand new for 23K. If Theta treats me exactly the same as the guy buying the same processor currently listed for $10,800 on Audiogon what is the point? Why would anyone buy new? There is no investment protection. The trade-in policy becomes just a backdoor discount program.
As a result of this generous policy, their largest dealer is buying up used chassis', either for current upgrade, or he will keep them in storage until Dirac + new cards come out and then get them upgraded at dealer price with full trade in discount, and sells them himself on audiogon. That is a totally screwed up business model, because it canbalizes new sales for Theta.
The harts of the problem is a new Theta CBIII is just too expensive at current MSRP (obviously, since they are not flying off the shelf for 50% of MSRP on audiogon). So lets say the new CBIII + Dirac + new cards will be competitive again at 20-25K. What they should do is drastically cut price of the current model (i.e. CBIII + Xtreme), and offer a 100% trade in credit to new original owners (i.e. that bought new at reduced price). Original owners that bought at inflated curent prices are the real losers here, but Theta can thrown them a bone too by offering a generous trade in, say 50% of what they paid for their CBIII. Owners of 2nd hand units would get a lower "discount". With this model, Theta would regain some control of their channel. Of course, it all starts and ends with having stellar technology, so understandably they focus on engineering. However, at some point they are going to have to address the marketing side of things.
Just throwing this out as food for thought. I never ran a high end audio company myself so as I said I could be dead wrong.
Well it has never made sense to you which is why you don't buy new products for the most part. I seem to recall you predicting Theta's demise which much the same type of logic. BUT, here were are with Theta developing new products and the Casablanca owners waiting for the next upgrade of the Casablanca wink.gif.

The price of any upgradeable processor has to be more expensive for it to work. The model does not work in lower priced units which is why you see limited upgradeability with those models. Let's say the Casablanca or Merdian 861 cost 10k for the sake of discusssion. There will be development cost to create any new tech for either platform. The last upgrade retailed for 5k. In such a scenario you'd then be complaining that the cost of the upgrade is half the price of what the processor cost new.

I wonder if the trade-in program was VGI's idea? biggrin.gif. If it was he had a plan to exploit Theta that they might not have anticipated. That program should only apply to original owners I agree.

Anyone who buys anything new is buying at an inflated price. New cars are a great example. I haven't bought a new car in 20 years. However there are many who enjoy new cars. There will always be those who want to buy new electronics. I believe now that there will also be a percentage willing to pay more for products not made in China

Your model, Chinese amps combined with mostly used components gives you an extremely high performance to cost ratio. However if everyone supported your model, there would be no high-end end. This is a business after all. Good luck with depending on companies making razor thin profits or the Chinese producting cutting edge products as neither has the motivation.

What Theta needs are some lower cost products to maintain the brand. I agree that the current model is flawed but not for the same reasons. Theta once offer a lower cost amp, the Interpid, and a lower priced processor the Casanova. They need to add products like those back into the line.

No one has to buy Theta. There are a multitude of companies producing mass market, Chinese made products that offer great performance to cost. As you found with the ADA, there still are not lower priced units that can match the Casablanca. I know it can be done. California Audio Labs not only matched the Casablanca, they outperformed it for half the cost. They however went of of business. The last 10 years I ahve searched for another company that coud do so. NO luck so far.
Edited by Bulldogger - 8/25/12 at 9:29am
post #4258 of 6796
I couldnt agree more! I had this exact biz model discussion this morning. Is PM with a dealer. Seems to me ATI is obviously aware of their largest dealer buying up used CBs, then getting them upgraded and reselling - seems the only logical sense given the warranty is the same irrespective of "how" you obtained it. I'd guess ATI knows - but getting units out in the current rendition isn't a bad thing, creates some level of current customer base. I'm curious if ATI/Theta are breaking even on the upgrade, and if they see it as a long term investment to start making "real money" once the dealers have sold the "magic number" of HD models into the market. Improbably going to buy that unit on audiogon. Heck, I get the warranty and two D2 dacs at a great price...

Stieger
post #4259 of 6796
Providing the same upgrade plan for second-hand purchasers and from-new owners makes a huge amount of sense. It helps support the value of the product for all. A first time buyer cares a lot about resale if there's a chance down the road that they may want to sell. What would your resale value be if the guy buying couldn't upgrade it? How much is the CB you are selling now worth if a buyer couldn't upgrade it? And why should Theta care? Such a policy encourages upgrades and keeps everyone happier. It's one of the things I really like about the company.
post #4260 of 6796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Your model, Chinese amps combined with mostly used components gives you an extremely high performance to cost ratio. However if everyone supported your model, there would be no high-end end.

Stuff I bought brand new over the last two years: Marantz ud9004, PS Audio Bridge, PS Audio MKII upgrade, Oppo 93, Trinnov ST2 Pro, 2 x PS audio P5, Empirical Audio Offramp 5, Oppo digi out board, Salk Center Channel, 2 x Mojo audio power cable. Total outlay: More than my car. If everyone spend as much on new audio gear as I did the industry would do better than Apple computer. Of course, I also bought a lot of fully depreciated stuff (speakers, amps, cables and .... a CBIII), but if something new comes out on the leading edge I'll buy it new. The reason I have not written Theta any checks is simply because they were late with the upgrade and when it came out I had gone another direction. I have been a big advocate and cheerleader on the forums for all this new stuff (PS audio, Offramp5, Digi out mod, Trinnov), and would happily do the same for Theta.

I'll go further than that; if I had been 100% sure Theta would have shipped Dirac live and new DACs this summer, I would have waited it out and tried Dirac before Trinnov. I love the idea of a single box with decoding, switching, bass management, and DRC and top of the line D/A conversion. I would have gotten a digi out card for my two channel and keep the Perfectwave MKII, or may be even go the GenVIII route. Bottom line: I have zero brand loyalty, try to get the best stuff I can afford, if need be new, if available used.

Don't get me wrong. I love the build if the CBIII (makes the ADA look like a toy processor), loved my Six Shooter, am very impressed with customer servcies. and the only reason I raised some questions about the trade in program is because I think it hurts them commercially.
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