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The official "Theta" thread - Page 195

post #5821 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleanor D View Post

I understand (from experience) that coax is limited to two channels. But is there any advantage whatsoever to using coax for two channel? Searching this and other forums leads me to believe that HDMI is (in the parlance of my profession) "weakly dominant" over coax. That is HDMI is never worse and sometimes better. Is this correct?

HDMI is generally considered the crapiest interface for transmitting audio. It may be since Theta implemented HDMI recently and their coax digital input is old that on the CBIII HDMI is equivalent or even better. This would not be because of inherent superiority of HDMI (it is worse), but because of implementation on the CBIII.
post #5822 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleanor D View Post

I understand (from experience) that coax is limited to two channels. But is there any advantage whatsoever to using coax for two channel?...

Depends on what you hear in your system. In my system, using Oppo 93 and Illuminati coax cable versus PS Audio HDMI cable (each of these cables might have retailed more than the Oppo player itself :-)), using Matrix setting with only main L/R speakers on (no subwoofer), I do hear a difference, in favor of Coax.

The difference is subtle and I wouldn't want to subject myself to blind testing comparison. The only reason I could pick it up is that the Theta CBIII HD allows me to do instantaneous A/B comparison. Through HDMI, sound is a touch brighter, voice has a touch less "body"; through Coax, sound is warmer and more full bodied. So subtle the difference that it could all be supra-tentorial imagination :-).

If I have to give a "scientific" guess, it would be how jitter is handled through HDMI vs. Coax, but bottom line is for 2 channel stereo, I prefer Coax connection.
post #5823 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post

Depends on what you hear in your system. In my system, using Oppo 93 and Illuminati coax cable versus PS Audio HDMI cable (each of these cables might have retailed more than the Oppo player itself :-)), using Matrix setting with only main L/R speakers on (no subwoofer), I do hear a difference, in favor of Coax.

The difference is subtle and I wouldn't want to subject myself to blind testing comparison. The only reason I could pick it up is that the Theta CBIII HD allows me to do instantaneous A/B comparison. Through HDMI, sound is a touch brighter, voice has a touch less "body"; through Coax, sound is warmer and more full bodied. So subtle the difference that it could all be supra-tentorial imagination :-).

If I have to give a "scientific" guess, it would be how jitter is handled through HDMI vs. Coax, but bottom line is for 2 channel stereo, I prefer Coax connection.

Time to experiment. Fortunately, my wife has golden ears and is a willing test subject. She affords me something close to ABX testing. (If you are wondering, Eleanor is our dog.)
post #5824 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post

Depends on what you hear in your system. In my system, using Oppo 93 and Illuminati coax cable versus PS Audio HDMI cable (each of these cables might have retailed more than the Oppo player itself :-)), using Matrix setting with only main L/R speakers on (no subwoofer), I do hear a difference, in favor of Coax.

The difference is subtle and I wouldn't want to subject myself to blind testing comparison. The only reason I could pick it up is that the Theta CBIII HD allows me to do instantaneous A/B comparison. Through HDMI, sound is a touch brighter, voice has a touch less "body"; through Coax, sound is warmer and more full bodied. So subtle the difference that it could all be supra-tentorial imagination :-).

If I have to give a "scientific" guess, it would be how jitter is handled through HDMI vs. Coax, but bottom line is for 2 channel stereo, I prefer Coax connection.

If it is that close, this bodes well for HDMI on the CBIV, because of Jitterjail II which if I understand correctly is specifically targeting jitter over HDMI, which Jitterjail I does not touch at all.
post #5825 of 6787
Well I am very worried about my CB. frown.gif As one or two of you know I had a bit of an accident while loading the new firmware. I thought/hoped this had been fixed with another file from John and my CB does indeed now show version 4.31. But during the process I have lost sound. Everything else appears to work and it even detects and shows that it has detected Multichannel LPCM for example. But I have no sound. When I switch inputs I get a couple of pops in rapid succession. I am so annoyed (with myself) it isn't funny.
Edited by stevekale - 10/25/13 at 1:05pm
post #5826 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Well I am very worried about my CB. frown.gif As one or two of you know I had a bit of an accident while loading the new firmware. I thought/hoped this had been fixed with another file from John and my CB does indeed now show version 4.31. But during the process I have lost sound. Everything else appears to work and it even detects and shows that it has detected Multichannel LPCM for example. But I have no sound. When I switch inputs I get a couple of pops in rapid succession. I am so annoyed (with myself) it isn't funny.

Go back into the Setup Menu. You probably lost the speaker setup and have to setup speakers, crossovers, etc again. That's all it is I bet.
post #5827 of 6787
Had a chance to compare HDMI versus coax in my setup, playing well recorded classical CDs. Neither my wife nor I could hear any obvious differences. Indeed, as I switched randomly between the two inputs (often "switching" to the same input), my wife could not reliably tell whether I had switched or not. My source is an Oppo 105 (overkill for digital, I know).
post #5828 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

HDMI is generally considered the crapiest interface for transmitting audio. It may be since Theta implemented HDMI recently and their coax digital input is old that on the CBIII HDMI is equivalent or even better. This would not be because of inherent superiority of HDMI (it is worse), but because of implementation on the CBIII.
Or perhaps, Theta's HDMI implementation, like Classe's which has very low tested jitter with the same MDS board Theta uses, has lower jitter. In such a case there would be less jitter between the inputs and less of an audible difference. The age of the implementation of coax input is irrelevant if it was done correctly in the first place as the technology itself has been around awhile. Originally the assumption was that the Six Shooter would provide better sound, because of the HDMI jitter. Even that did not prove true and most sold their Six Shooters. That would tend to counter the argument that HDMI jitter on Theta's HDMI implementation is inferior as it proved superior to the stand alone players like the Marantz UD9004 $6k player via analog outs. One has to almost conclude that HDMI jitter is not the most significant factor here.

With the new upgrade, the sound is going to be greatly improved. However, even here, I'm sure you would agree, it will not be possible to conclude that it is because of less jitter as too many things have been changed and there is not way to test the impact of each change.
post #5829 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

For two channel there is a view expressed here that the newer componentry in the CB III HD in relation to HDMI leads to sonic improvements over the use of the existing coax (although personally I'm hard-pressed to hear any difference). Also, currently only the HDMI connection will accept the higher sample rates.
No one found HDMI to sound better. Most just found it not to be worse, basically little or no difference. However I have not seen a single report that HDMI was better. HDMI may use newer components but I think this is a case where newer is not necessarily better but perhaps equal.
post #5830 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post


For my audio server I have taken the newer version of the Juli@ card, the XTe version, and replaced the two crystals and related capacitors and resistors with a Fidelity Audio Micro Clock 2 (£139, it just sits on the part with the ESI sticker). These clocks will be powered independently of the motherboard. For the power supply, as stage one I am going to use an external brick to generate 19V and then clean this to low noise, low ripple 12V with 2 input caps (as above), a Fidelity Audio Spower HC regulator and an output cap (as above). The parts for this cost under £100. The 12V generated by this will feed the Micro Clock directly and the PicoPSU for the mobo. It will also power a little modified Velleman 1A PSU PCB I dropped in to provide very clean 5V to my SSD independent of the PicoPSU. The latter cost about £9 and couldn't have been simpler to put together.

It has been the experience of many others that most if not almost all of the gains from a better PSU for an audio server can be had by sending clean 12V to a PicoPSU. (Note also that the Bryston BDP has a very basic mobo/PSU which generates the required voltages other than 12V onboard.) My next stage will be to drop in a toroidal transformer, rectifier and choke plus perhaps a few film caps and avoid the brick altogether (cost - less than £50). Now that's not a multi-rail linear ATX power supply but my bet (based on experience of others) is that it is a case of rapidly diminishing returns past this point.
The problem that I see it that you can do things to help with audio for USB and SPDIF but not much for HDMI with a server. Steve stopped having issues with audio over HDMI when he switched to a dedicated GPU instead of the MOB HDMI out. I believe the major problem that the Casablanca is having with audio sourced from a computer via HDMI is the very high jitter. Since the AMD GPU seems to work fine, I can only conclude that is has less jitter than the MOB HDMI out. If you had the option to use the AMD GPU, you would not need the new firmware in the first place. My understanding it that the purpose of the new firmware is to help with playback when the jitter is very high from a PC. I have attempted to get information from these companies, the ones that make MOBs and GPU, about the jitter measurements but no one knows or cares. Being a trained experimenter, I just hate making assumptions but jitter would seem to be only logical factor. Some of these companies are making efforts to shield the audio components on their MOB. I am not sure if this is shielding only for the analog components on the board or also the digital. I believe the most logical way to get improvement for HDMI jitter is to have someone produce or offer mods for a dedicated GPU card that somehow has better clocks, sort of an HDMI Juli card.
post #5831 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

If it is that close, this bodes well for HDMI on the CBIV, because of Jitterjail II which if I understand correctly is specifically targeting jitter over HDMI, which Jitterjail I does not touch at all.
Without knowing the before and after jitter measurements, there is no way to conclude if it is the jitter reduction or better engineering with a more elegantly designed PR3/digital in card. Without testing the jitter differences alone, there is also no way to conclude that it's jitter reduction improving the sound. Something simple like jitter reduction and Jitter Jail II makes for good marketing but we just don't know without being able to independently parse out each variable and test.
post #5832 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Go back into the Setup Menu. You probably lost the speaker setup and have to setup speakers, crossovers, etc again. That's all it is I bet.

Nope - all is as before
post #5833 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Without knowing the before and after jitter measurements, there is no way to conclude if it is the jitter reduction or better engineering with a more elegantly designed PR3/digital in card. Without testing the jitter differences alone, there is also no way to conclude that it's jitter reduction improving the sound. Something simple like jitter reduction and Jitter Jail II makes for good marketing but we just don't know without being able to independently parse out each variable and test.

So how would one go about testing this?
post #5834 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

The problem that I see it that you can do things to help with audio for USB and SPDIF but not much for HDMI with a server. Steve stopped having issues with audio over HDMI when he switched to a dedicated GPU instead of the MOB HDMI out. I believe the major problem that the Casablanca is having with audio sourced from a computer via HDMI is the very high jitter. Since the AMD GPU seems to work fine, I can only conclude that is has less jitter than the MOB HDMI out. If you had the option to use the AMD GPU, you would not need the new firmware in the first place. My understanding it that the purpose of the new firmware is to help with playback when the jitter is very high from a PC. I have attempted to get information from these companies, the ones that make MOBs and GPU, about the jitter measurements but no one knows or cares. Being a trained experimenter, I just hate making assumptions but jitter would seem to be only logical factor. Some of these companies are making efforts to shield the audio components on their MOB. I am not sure if this is shielding only for the analog components on the board or also the digital. I believe the most logical way to get improvement for HDMI jitter is to have someone produce or offer mods for a dedicated GPU card that somehow has better clocks, sort of an HDMI Juli card.

No, the issue the CB has with HDMI is EDID. For two channel it "works fine". Even though my CB seems dead sound wise I will try connecting the server to see if the EDID issue is gone. That says nothing about jitter though. You have the horse before the cart there. The aim of the new firmware is to deal with a few things, including EDID for multichannel over HDMI. If the CB's EDID were working properly you won't need a noisy video card.

As for improving the jitter from a mobo over HDMI, you can upgrade a mobo's clocks, give the mobo better power etc etc. That will also help all other forms of audio out from the mobo.
post #5835 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

No, the issue the CB has with HDMI is EDID. For two channel it "works fine". Even though my CB seems dead sound wise I will try connecting the server to see if the EDID issue is gone. That says nothing about jitter though. You have the horse before the cart there. The aim of the new firmware is to deal with a few things, including EDID for multichannel over HDMI. If the CB's EDID were working properly you won't need a noisy video card.

As for improving the jitter from a mobo over HDMI, you can upgrade a mobo's clocks, give the mobo better power etc etc. That will also help all other forms of audio out from the mobo.
Well I try to keep the horse before the cart, the other way does not work too well smile.gif . There is an issue with the jitter from PCs I am told that is not a factor with blu-ray players. The video card Steve uses is silent. Who does clock upgrades for MOBs?
post #5836 of 6787
With ver 4.31 I'm assured (if you don't stuff up the installation...) the CB's EDID issue is solved. (It should not have been an issue to begin with but Theta didn't envisage computers as source devices when they built and tested the HDMI upgrade.)

Noisy as in electronic noise - they're designed for speed and computational power not low noise. Quite a few people do mobo clock upgrades but it becomes very "made to order" as each motherboard is different. But again you're facing the old conundrum of whether to battle jitter at source or deal with it at destination. Hence it would be interesting to learn more facts about Jitter Jail II rather all the speculation.
post #5837 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by 777BigAnt777 View Post

So how would one go about testing this?
The only way would have been to implement Jitter Jail II into the P2 card. That would allow you to test with and without the improved jitter reduction. The other way is to actually have the numbers for jitter on the P2 card vs the P3 card. That is why I like to see independent reviews of these products. None of the high-end companies seem to be interested in releasing jitter measurement. Amir has a good article on the topic. http://www.madronadigital.com/Library/DigitalAudioJitter.html Once we see the method that Theta is using to reduce jitter, we may have a clue as to how well it works. There have been test on mass market products for jitter. If those companies are using a similar method to reduce jitter it may be a clue as to how much it may help for Theta.
post #5838 of 6787
You can only really test jitter in a full source-to-analogue-audio chain.
post #5839 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

With ver 4.31 I'm assured (if you don't stuff up the installation...) the CB's EDID issue is solved. (It should not have been an issue to begin with but Theta didn't envisage computers as source devices when they built and tested the HDMI upgrade.)

Noisy as in electronic noise - they're designed for speed and computational power not low noise. Quite a few people do mobo clock upgrades but it becomes very "made to order" as each motherboard is different. But again you're facing the old conundrum of whether to battle jitter at source or deal with it at destination. Hence it would be interesting to learn more facts about Jitter Jail II rather all the speculation.
Without any noise figures, I have no way to see or form an opinion. I don't know if speed and computational power increase noise either. If you are able to get measurements of GPU vs MOB, I would appreciate a link. From the old Stereophile test, jitter at the source would appear to always need to be addressed.
post #5840 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

You can only really test jitter in a full source-to-analogue-audio chain.
Yes. But you can test the full chain with and without any sort of jitter reducing approaches to see how much the approach works.
post #5841 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by 777BigAnt777 View Post

So how would one go about testing this?

It will be very hard if not impossible to measure the isolated impact of Jitterjail II (why would you care anyway?) Assuming the p3 card it will sound better, I would just kick back and enjoy.

One way to very subjectively assess the isolated impact of Jitterjail II is this. You "baseline" SQ is subjective listening of the same track over HDMI and coax in a CBIII, let's say they are the same, or you give the coax a 100 and the HDMI a 95. Now you play back the same track over HDMI and coax on a CB IV (don't use Dirac now). Both signals now run through the new DSP engine, and the only difference is the HDMI runs through Jitterjail II (which is a synchronous jitter reduction chip, without buffering) while (presumably!) the coax runs through Jitterjail I. If the performance gap has narrowed (or if the HDMI now sounds better, where previously it was the same), the difference be attributed entirely to Jitterjail II. Completely subjective but at least very practically achievable, with very minimal effort.
post #5842 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Yes. But you can test the full chain with and without any sort of jitter reducing approaches to see how much the approach works.

Only is there is a way to switch jitterjail II on and off. If that is the case I would just use my ears to assess what it does for SQ.
post #5843 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Without any noise figures, I have no way to see or form an opinion. I don't know if speed and computational power increase noise either. If you are able to get measurements of GPU vs MOB, I would appreciate a link. From the old Stereophile test, jitter at the source would appear to always need to be addressed.

I don't but this is pointless discussion. Get your chosen mobo or video card, upgrade the clocks/crystals and let us know how you get on.

At least now one doesn't have to have an HDMI video card to get multichannel to work with the CB.

I will grant you that a separate HDMI video card does have certain advantages in the "mod" arena. It will likely be easier to access the clocks and there may well be others who have tackled the job before you. I will say that while upgrading the clocks on the Juli@ is a relatively easy task, it is a pain in the proverbial to remove the old crystals without damaging the traces/pads on the card. I had to repair mine.

What we would all like to see is a mobo designed for critical audio use. I suspect we will wait a long while.
post #5844 of 6787
For what it's worth, I can confirm that ver 4.31 solves the EDID issue. The CB now presents itself to an attached computer as a multichannel capable device. Playing multichannel audio over a mobo's HDMI port is now fine.

If only I could now get some sound from any source... If this has to go back to Theta to get DACs or such like repaired then it will come back with PR3...
post #5845 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

For what it's worth, I can confirm that ver 4.31 solves the EDID issue. The CB now presents itself to an attached computer as a multichannel capable device. Playing multichannel audio over a mobo's HDMI port is now fine.

If only I could now get some sound from any source... If this has to go back to Theta to get DACs or such like repaired then it will come back with PR3...

Botched firmware upgrades don't destroy hardware....
post #5846 of 6787
The upgrade from 4.30 to 4.31 is meant to be able to be done with the quicker Recover Front Panel procedure. When I was doing this it wasn't working properly and so I was trying several times in a row. I then accidentally clicked on Upgrade in TDD when the CB was on. This sent the CB on a horrible sequence of power on, pop, off, pop etc. John then sent me a full firmware file to be used via Upgrade and this is what got me to ver 4.31 but somewhere along the line I lost audio - both in the 4.30 version and 4.31 versions. I would appear to have full functionality otherwise (including video switching). So I am at a loss and won't be trying much of anything until I hear from John.
post #5847 of 6787
Could HDMI switches, Hdmi splitters, and or video processors such as Lumagen Radiance introduce Jitter in the chain?
post #5848 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

The upgrade from 4.30 to 4.31 is meant to be able to be done with the quicker Recover Front Panel procedure. When I was doing this it wasn't working properly and so I was trying several times in a row. I then accidentally clicked on Upgrade in TDD when the CB was on. This sent the CB on a horrible sequence of power on, pop, off, pop etc. John then sent me a full firmware file to be used via Upgrade and this is what got me to ver 4.31 but somewhere along the line I lost audio - both in the 4.30 version and 4.31 versions. I would appear to have full functionality otherwise (including video switching). So I am at a loss and won't be trying much of anything until I hear from John.

Have you turned of the Casablanca "OFF FROM FRONT PANEL BUTTON" and turned the rear power switch off for "AT LEAST TWO MINUTES"?

This is the only way to assure a FULL RESET
post #5849 of 6787
Recently, my right channel has sometimes not been coming on. I've determined that it's not the amp or the cables. Hard reset of theta usually fixes it. Anyone else had similar issues with a channel or two acting strange?
post #5850 of 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by LJG View Post

Could HDMI switches, Hdmi splitters, and or video processors such as Lumagen Radiance introduce Jitter in the chain?

I believe jitter is cumulative and even the length of cable in-between boxes can cause even more jitter

Active switches, Cat 5/6, and fiber solutions can be chained together in combination, but can significantly increase jitter, adversely affecting the signal quality.

On the other hand, I know that certain HDMI switches have been engineered to IMPROVE HDMI signal quality, probably certain splitters as well.
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