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The official "Theta" thread - Page 170

post #5071 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

The CBIII HD will only downsample HDCP encrypted material which is mostly movies. The Gen VIII sound better at 48/16 with movies than the Casablanca at 48/24 which makes it not completely irrelevant but almost. For stuff like 24/96 unencrypted material from HD tracks, there will be NO downsampling via the digi outs.

True for movies, However for MCH SACD you will take a hit in SQ when downsampling the 88/24 to 48/16 (as proven by Steve's foray into a server based source for SACD rips to be able to play at full resolution).
post #5072 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

True for movies, However for MCH SACD you will take a hit in SQ when downsampling the 88/24 to 48/16 (as proven by Steve's foray into a server based source for SACD rips to be able to play at full resolution).

Not necessarily so!

The hit is the Oppo (or Oppo modded Theta) player converting SACD to 88-24 PCM into the CB3 HD (in my case, with attached Gen VIII Series 3 DAC). Just sounds rather flat treble, mediocre micro and macro dynamics.

On the other hand, if I took two channel SACD from the Oppo/Theta (converted to 88-24 PCM by the player) via HDMI into my Lumagen Radiance XE, and then out digital coaxial into the CB3 HD, sounds quite good (as BB52 has done).

And now, as I am demoing with my Dell 8500 XPS, HDMI out, into the CB3 HD for ripped multi-channel (and even two channel) SACD ISOs, converted by JRiver to 176-24, sounds very nice.
post #5073 of 6787
Lots of variiables. My only point was that all else being equal, music from the same high rez source will sound audibly better at 88/24 than at 48/16.
post #5074 of 6787
I'm interested in the Theta Digital Casablanca 3 HD with Premium DACs. I just had a few questions:

1) Are there any HDMI issues with the unit? Does it work well with 3D?
2) Does the audio lock on to the signal quickly when skipping commercials or hitting replay with DirecTV?
3) Do the DACs seamlessly playback 24/192 and 24/176 audio tracks via coaxial input? I plan on feeding the Theta hi-resolution material and want to ensure that the unit can properly decode the tracks and can seamlessly transition from 16/44 to 24/192 to 24/96, etc.

The reason I ask is that other high-end processors that I have owned have at one time or another experienced issues described above and it can become very frustrating.

Thanks
post #5075 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by akopperl View Post

I'm interested in the Theta Digital Casablanca 3 HD with Premium DACs. I just had a few questions:

1) Are there any HDMI issues with the unit? Does it work well with 3D?
2) Does the audio lock on to the signal quickly when skipping commercials or hitting replay with DirecTV?
3) Do the DACs seamlessly playback 24/192 and 24/176 audio tracks via coaxial input? I plan on feeding the Theta hi-resolution material and want to ensure that the unit can properly decode the tracks and can seamlessly transition from 16/44 to 24/192 to 24/96, etc.

The reason I ask is that other high-end processors that I have owned have at one time or another experienced issues described above and it can become very frustrating.

Thanks


1) Are there any HDMI issues with the unit? Does it work well with 3D?

I am not doing 3D, only 2D. I did use the CB3 HD HDMI out for awhile, but for some time now I simply have each of my HDMI components connected direct to my Lumagen Radiance XE video processor, with HDMI out Radiance XE into CB3 HD - except Theta Compli Blu 3D, with two HDMI outs, has one direct to CB3 HD and one direct to Radiance XE.

HDMI works fine for me with the CB3 HD.


2) Does the audio lock on to the signal quickly when skipping commercials or hitting replay with DirecTV?

Works really good and quick. However, on occasion, one can lose the audio, and have two either turn off and on standby from the front, or turn off from back and then back on. Again, this is occasional. You can blame DirecTV, DISH, their cheap chips in their units which really often aren't up to spec, its gonna happen a bit even with the best.



3) Do the DACs seamlessly playback 24/192 and 24/176 audio tracks via coaxial input? I plan on feeding the Theta hi-resolution material and want to ensure that the unit can properly decode the tracks and can seamlessly transition from 16/44 to 24/192 to 24/96, etc.

Yes via HDMI. Via digital coaxial, will only play up to and including 96-24. Keep in mind the DSP of the CB3 HD is at 48k. The SSP upgrade coming hopefully later this year will have the DSP run at 192-24, or 96-24 when using Dirac Live. Of course, it will be extra $$ to purchase the DSP upgrade and/or the Dirac Live upgrade.

I have had my CB3 HD (upgrade) for more than 2 years now and am very, very satisfied.
post #5076 of 6787
Thank you for the reply.

It seems that the unit's software is reliable which is a plus. It is a shame that it cannot process 192/24 via digital coaxial input. I was hoping to use the Theta as a one-box solution for everything - home theater audio/video, two-channel dac and two-channel analog preamp.
post #5077 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by akopperl View Post

Thank you for the reply.

It seems that the unit's software is reliable which is a plus. It is a shame that it cannot process 192/24 via digital coaxial input. I was hoping to use the Theta as a one-box solution for everything - home theater audio/video, two-channel dac and two-channel analog preamp.

The new SSP upgrade coming out will have all new digital inputs, the latest technology, and will handle everything whether by HDMI or digital coaxial.

Remember, the current digital board (not the HDMI board) dates back many years to the original Casablanca 1!!! So what you want is coming hopefully in the near future!tongue.gif
post #5078 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by akopperl View Post

Thank you for the reply.

It seems that the unit's software is reliable which is a plus. It is a shame that it cannot process 192/24 via digital coaxial input. I was hoping to use the Theta as a one-box solution for everything - home theater audio/video, two-channel dac and two-channel analog preamp.

I pretty much agree with everything that Steve said.

The CB-IIIHD has been available since the first week of Jan. 2011 with very few real problems having been reported thus far.
Some of these were solved immediately, the rest of the known problems were pretty much dealt with during the past year with the latest software release.
In fact, along with the latest software release, a considerable increase of sound quality over HDMI has also been reported.
As far as I know, only a handful of units were produced that required a return to the factory, and the problems those particular units experienced were discussed in this thread in great detail.

Depending on your timeline for buying a CB-IIIHD and whether it'll be bought new or used will effect that additional charge Steve referred to for the new processor upgrade for the Casablanca.

It was announced some time ago that the processor upgrade will be a "running change".

In other words, if you buy a new CB-IIIHD "after" the new processing card is released, then your new CB-IIIHD will already include the new cards and have the new higher resolution capability when it is built.

Although, it still will not have Dirac Live capability without an additional fee as the Dirac Live card will be an option that simply plugs into the newer model of processing card....when it becomes available.
post #5079 of 6787
My Casablanca III HD has suddenly decided not to play 2-channel, PCM, from my SACD player (coaxial) - it won't get a "lock" or rather loses the lock with the Oppo as soon as the source material starts to play. Nothing has changed with the Oppo settings. It will play CDs over a coaxial connection (PCM via S/PDIF). Ideas? It's doing my head in.
post #5080 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

My Casablanca III HD has suddenly decided not to play 2-channel, PCM, from my SACD player (coaxial) - it won't get a "lock" or rather loses the lock with the Oppo as soon as the source material starts to play. Nothing has changed with the Oppo settings. It will play CDs over a coaxial connection (PCM via S/PDIF). Ideas? It's doing my head in.

First rule out the CB by exchanging the CD transport and the Oppo coax inputs. If the problem follows the Oppo then you know it is in that unit. The fact that the CD transport is functioning indicates that if there is a CB problem it is isolated to a specific coax input, probably the input buffer amp.

If the problem follows the Oppo then check the audio output settings (I know you said nothing's changed but you never can be too sure). If you don't find anything that jumps out you can try and reset to factory default. The fact that the Oppo starts out with a lock indication and then looses the lock points to an audio format setting like the maximum output sample rate being too high for the CB.

Good Luck
post #5081 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

My Casablanca III HD has suddenly decided not to play 2-channel, PCM, from my SACD player (coaxial) - it won't get a "lock" or rather loses the lock with the Oppo as soon as the source material starts to play. Nothing has changed with the Oppo settings. It will play CDs over a coaxial connection (PCM via S/PDIF). Ideas? It's doing my head in.

The Oppo/Theta players only pass SACD over HDMI, you get silence when you try digital coaxial for this. This is nothing new.
post #5082 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

The Oppo/Theta players only pass SACD over HDMI, you get silence when you try digital coaxial for this. This is nothing new.

Yes. Forgive me. I just came back online to delete the dumbest post ever. I was trouble-shooting a JRiver issue (no sound into the CB) and grabbed a disc to test the input I was using - it was a SACD and when I slotted in a CD I stupidly thought I was having issues with the SACD and not anything else. Anyway, uber embarrassment all round...eek.gif

All is working
post #5083 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

The new SSP upgrade coming out will have all new digital inputs, the latest technology, and will handle everything whether by HDMI or digital coaxial.

Remember, the current digital board (not the HDMI board) dates back many years to the original Casablanca 1!!! So what you want is coming hopefully in the near future!tongue.gif

Does the Theta perform well as a two-channel preamp using analog direct? I was thinking I could use a separate dac for 192/24 tracks until they upgrade the digital board. How would you classify Theta's sound - warm, detailed, bright, etc.?

Thanks
post #5084 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Yes. Forgive me. I just came back online to delete the dumbest post ever. I was trouble-shooting a JRiver issue (no sound into the CB) and grabbed a disc to test the input I was using - it was a SACD and when I slotted in a CD I stupidly thought I was having issues with the SACD and not anything else. Anyway, uber embarrassment all round...eek.gif

All is working

You should try listening to audio over HDMI into the CB instead of Coax. Massive improvement in quality if the rest of your system can realize the improvement. I'm referencing the 95, not sure which model you have.
post #5085 of 6787
Its been some years since I used the then CB2 as an analog preamp, as in 2006 I upgraded to the CB3 with Six Shooter (and in 2011, upgraded to CB3 HD and took Six Shooter out of system), because the Six Shooter was a noticeable improvement over using the on board stereo analog direct.

Just use a program like dBPoweramp to make a 96-24 file copy from your 192-24 file for the time being, pending the CB3 HD DSP upgrade.
And when you can, do your hi rez audio over HDMI.
post #5086 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Its been some years since I used the then CB2 as an analog preamp, as in 2006 I upgraded to the CB3 with Six Shooter (and in 2011, upgraded to CB3 HD and took Six Shooter out of system), because the Six Shooter was a noticeable improvement over using the on board stereo analog direct.

Just use a program like dBPoweramp to make a 96-24 file copy from your 192-24 file for the time being, pending the CB3 HD DSP upgrade.
And when you can, do your hi rez audio over HDMI.


Yep- same path I took exactly. That Six Shooter really is a stellar piece of equipment. However, the fact that the new HD no longer needs it is a testament to the improved sonic performance of the latest CB III. dBPoweramp does a great job, I use that for some files / formats and Exact Audio Copy for others. Waiting waiting waiting for that DSP upgrade... rolleyes.gif

On an unrelated note.. I was just on agon and some yahoo is selling his practically new CBIII HD... plus a "free" six shooter included.. CBIII HD only has two superior dacs.. No extreme Dac. Really?? who would drop that coin on a CBIII HD and NOT have at least one extreme DAC card for L/R/C? That's like ordering a new Ferrari 430 and slapping on a set of cheapo tires. Anyway, seller decided to opt for the Krell system instead (shrug). Its a shame when someone gets so close to sonic excellence and purposefull shoots themselves in the foot by de-optimizing the front stage performance of the CBIII HD. tongue.gif
post #5087 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

True for movies, However for MCH SACD you will take a hit in SQ when downsampling the 88/24 to 48/16 (as proven by Steve's foray into a server based source for SACD rips to be able to play at full resolution).
Not with Jriver. NO HDCP encryption and no down-sampling. If you use a blue ray player and output over HDMI, yes it will down-sample.
post #5088 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Lots of variiables. My only point was that all else being equal, music from the same high rez source will sound audibly better at 88/24 than at 48/16.
You have a valid point. It will absolutely sound better not downsampled. It's just that there are a few methods that allow you to avoid the down-sampling.
post #5089 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by k_lewis View Post

You should try listening to audio over HDMI into the CB instead of Coax. Massive improvement in quality if the rest of your system can realize the improvement. I'm referencing the 95, not sure which model you have.

I use HDMI with my Oppo 103. With my audio server, I use coax SPDIF via the Juli@ card for stereo and HDMI from the motherboard for multichannel.
post #5090 of 6787
I'm interested as to what mode you guys use for playing multi-channel audio? I have a number of DVD-A discs that I have ripped to my audio server and play via the HDMI out as above.
post #5091 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

I'm interested as to what mode you guys use for playing multi-channel audio? I have a number of DVD-A discs that I have ripped to my audio server and play via the HDMI out as above.
If you have 5.1 speakers, the only choice would be stereo, but that would be a little pointless.

If you have 7.1 speakers, one choice is PLIIx, which spreads the 2 surrounds to the 4 speakers in a manner consistent with the mix. That's what I use, but not in a CB3. Maybe it has some other options.
Edited by Roger Dressler - 6/16/13 at 4:22pm
post #5092 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

I'm interested as to what mode you guys use for playing multi-channel audio? I have a number of DVD-A discs that I have ripped to my audio server and play via the HDMI out as above.[/quote

If its multi-channel format DVD-Audio over HDMI, or a PC using a program like JRiver to play ripped DVD-Audio multi-channel FLAC or WAV files, then the CB3 HD will show on the front display that its receiving "Multi-Channel" PCM and this mode will apply regardless of what you have preset the audio mode to.

Now if its two channel only, then you might want to use DPL2x or DTS Neo6 or Matrix mode. Really its what you like best in your system.
post #5093 of 6787
I am using JRiver playing ripped DVD-A multi-channel tracks (not ISO). The tracks have been extracted, metadata added and converted to ALAC. When using an input set to a multi-channel modeI I was expecting to see the CB III HD display (as Steve notes) Receiving MultiChannel PCM. That is, exactly as if I had connected a multi-channel SACD. But I do not. It simply continues to use whatever mode is selected.

(I have a 5.1 setup and the source material is 5.1.)
post #5094 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

I am using JRiver playing ripped DVD-A multi-channel tracks (not ISO). The tracks have been extracted, metadata added and converted to ALAC. When using an input set to a multi-channel modeI I was expecting to see the CB III HD display (as Steve notes) Receiving MultiChannel PCM. That is, exactly as if I had connected a multi-channel SACD. But I do not. It simply continues to use whatever mode is selected.

(I have a 5.1 setup and the source material is 5.1.)

I had the same issue setting JRiver to source # of channels. When I set JRiver to 5.1 channels (my setup), my CB3 HD display showed multi-channel PCM coming in. HA!
post #5095 of 6787
Thanks. I will give it a go. At the moment Zoneswitch doesn't work which is annoying.
post #5096 of 6787
Where are you making these changes in JRiver - in DSP Studio? If that's the case you're not getting bit perfect sound aren't you? Also, how does the CB III HD appear in JRiver? For HDMI I am using WASAPI but I don't see anything that remotely resembles the CB III HD as a "device". I do see various Realtek options, various options relating to the Juli@ card I have installed, HSR5 (Intel(R) Display Audio) and Default. I tried Default and HSR5 but in both instances I don't get sound unless I use the DSP Studio to output only 2 channels.
post #5097 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Where are you making these changes in JRiver - in DSP Studio? If that's the case you're not getting bit perfect sound aren't you? Also, how does the CB III HD appear in JRiver? For HDMI I am using WASAPI but I don't see anything that remotely resembles the CB III HD as a "device". I do see various Realtek options, various options relating to the Juli@ card I have installed, HSR5 (Intel(R) Display Audio) and Default. I tried Default and HSR5 but in both instances I don't get sound unless I use the DSP Studio to output only 2 channels.
Your GPU for HDMI is likely not capable of 5.1/24/96 or maybe even 5.1/24-48. The one in my laptop is not. What are you using? Can you add something like a Radeon HD 7750? That would solve your problem. It solved mine for my PC.
post #5098 of 6787
This is my current motherboard which would appear to support high definition multi-channel audio.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/desktop-board-dh61ag.html

I have realised this doesn't provide a good platform for high quality linear power. Like the Bryston BDP-1/2 it does a lot of voltage management on the mobo itself (in this case 19V down to 12V/5V/3.3V). Therefore I have purchased this one and will couple it with a Haswell 4570T low TDP chip and multi-rail linear power supply.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z87E-ITX/?cat=Specifications

Can someone remind me with what name does the CB III identifies itself to a connected computer when doing a firmware upgrade? Annoyingly, "Casablanca" doesn't appear as a connected device on my audio server.
Edited by stevekale - 6/17/13 at 11:58pm
post #5099 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

This is my current motherboard which would appear to support high definition multi-channel audio.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/desktop-board-dh61ag.html

I have realised this doesn't provide a good platform for high quality linear power. Like the Bryston BDP-1/2 it does a lot of voltage management on the mobo itself (in this case 19V down to 12V/5V/3.3V). Therefore I have purchased this one and will couple it with a Haswell 4570T low TDP chip and multi-rail linear power supply.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z87E-ITX/?cat=Specifications

Can someone remind me with what name does the CB III identifies itself to a connected computer when doing a firmware upgrade? Annoyingly, "Casablanca" doesn't appear as a connected device on my audio server.
Yes, your hardware looks fine. I hoped it was a simple issue. My MOB used a Realtek chip which would no work with high-rez even though the specs said it should. What it actually did was support the higher resolutions like 24/96 and 24/192 in two channel over coax. However for multi-channel it was limited to 48khz. The Radeon GPU solved that in my case.

The Asrock MOB looks like a good selection. Where are you sourcing your linear power supply? That looks like the way to go.

I realize you may already know this but the USB input on the Casablanca does not support firmware updates if that's what you happen to be using. You still have to use a DB9 port and USB to serial converter. Firmware on the Casablanca would be my only guess as to why you are not getting things to work.
post #5100 of 6787
I think I know what the issue is but I don't have time to look at it this evening. Hopefully tomorrow night. I think it's a setting in that can be managed in Control Panel -> Sound. Fingers crossed. I hate Windows.

Yes I searched long and hard for something that met my requirements: mSATA so I could have the operating system on a card, PCIe obviously, mini-ITX form factor, ATX power input in the right place so that it didn't get obstructed by cooling pipes, low power etc etc. Then ASRock announced this board. Looks cool too. I'm waiting for the Haswell 4570T processor. Not the cheapest setup but 35 TDP.

On linear power supply, well that's a painful process and still not entirely over. When I started out I really didn't get it all - hence the screw up with the single voltage input board. Now I think I understand things a lot better. I was exploring options with Paul Hynes but then he got hopelessly behind in his business (and a full ATX supply from him would be very expensive). I then looked at picoPSU being fed by a 12V linear rail. Then I finally went back a full circle to an old friend who I'm not going to mention here again. I haven't got the PSU yet but I think I can source all I need.

I'm also having some fun learning my way around the Juli@ XTe card. I've solved how to jumper off a direct connection for SPDIF out bypassing the breakout cable. I need to figure out how to power it independently of the mobo - something Bryston should have done albeit then they'd have to have a more complex LPM. The Bryston really is a very, very basic build - admittedly done well. It is incredibly easy to build one of similar spec. It's a bit harder if you want ATX linear power and direct powering of SSD and Juli@ etc.

Yes I realise that re the CB and that's how I did the last upgrade. I also realise this is a Theta thread. Hence...

My main question is what to look for in terms of device name in Windows on the PC for the CB. I seem to remember that when I got the serial connection working the CB presented itself with an odd/obscure device name but I can't recall exactly what. I'm expecting the Casablanca to appear as a device in the ASIO window of JRiver but maybe it only sees the Realtec as the device. Not sure.
Edited by stevekale - 6/19/13 at 10:58pm
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