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Alternatives to Casablanca III - Page 2

post #31 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul GS View Post

In fairness, I have seen numerous people speak highly of the new Integra, and stating that it is a decent improvement over its prior versions (I think Roger or Kal my have also stated this). If this is the case, then all the comments from people referring to the old version should also be taken with a reasonably sized grain of salt.

Well the converse is also true. His references are to a Casablanca III but he makes no mention of it being the HD model. Also, as the Casablanca III can be fitted with a wide range of dacs, you really need to know what dacs the machine is using. A Casablanca HD, running Xtreme dacs is a lot different from a CBII running Superior I cards or even Superior II cards or god forbid, Standard dacs.
post #32 of 234
Bulldogger: i will be interested in your perspective once you can do an a/b of Dirac vs No Dirac on your CB III.

I am neither a CB basher nor an Integra fan boy. BUT I am a HUGE time-domain digital room correction fan and in all but a very few rooms, the difference it will make dwarfs any other system component change. I have 10 years experience selling such systems and in 99% of the rooms i was in, that was the case (hundreds and hundreds of rooms).
post #33 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Halcro had issues when updating the SSP-100 to full res (non LPCM) data streams able to carry 1080P24. Those that had older boxes upgraded were plagued with problems while those, like myself, who got a brand new unit had far less issues. Melding old hardware with new hardware and software is liable for some incompatibilities...

I do recall the issues with the Halcro all those years ago and I admit it is deflating to be experiencing similar problems today with my CBIIIHD, especially that old HDMI bugbear of LPCM soundtracks!

Although things aren't perfect with my unit, it's SQ is a huge leap from the old CBIII and with the promised Dirac & DSP update I have no regrets keeping my old box around .

At least now there are many more options around for HDMI processors than when you had your Halcro

Sean
post #34 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Well the converse is also true. His references are to a Casablanca III but he makes no mention of it being the HD model. Also, as the Casablanca III can be fitted with a wide range of dacs, you really need to know what dacs the machine is using. A Casablanca HD, running Xtreme dacs is a lot different from a CBII running Superior I cards or even Superior II cards or god forbid, Standard dacs.

Fit a CBIII HD with the equivalent of 4 dCS 4 piece stacks and my position does not change. DRC in most rooms is the single most significant enhancement a buyer can implement (after proper room treatment and speaker placement). This is not speculation -- it is based upon 10 years of history and hundreds of customers who would tell you the same thing. You may be part of the 1% where that is not the case.

And Dirac and Audyssey and Trinnov and TacT are light years ahead of what I was doing.
post #35 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

Fit a CBIII HD with the equivalent of 4 dCS 4 piece stacks and my position does not change. DRC in most rooms is the single most significant enhancement a buyer can implement (after proper room treatment and speaker placement). This is not speculation -- it is based upon 10 years of history and hundreds of customers who would tell you the same thing. You may be part of the 1% where that is not the case.

And Dirac and Audyssey and Trinnov and TacT are light years ahead of what I was doing.

I am not opposed to room correction, digital amps, solar power or electric cars. Those are all technologies that I am sure at some future point I will own. However, many of the older room correction systems, just were not that great and were not the "game changers," they were touted to be. Lyngdorf is the first correction system that caught my attention in the Mcintosh MX150 as worthwhile improvement. If you had sold solar panels 10 years, ago, my response would be the same, not impressed.

The TS started this thread to ask about dacs and whether some are equal to the Xtreme dac. As good at they are they are no match for the dCS stack you were using. Your position is that a Casablanca feeding a dCS stack, thousands of dollars of external dac, was bettered by an Onkyo reciever because it had room correction. Maybe you could just recommend the model that you used and the TS can evaluate if he can save thousands of dollars by buying a mass market receiver? I believe you will stand alone on that assessment.

Have you seen the Harman study on room correction? It rang true as soon as I discovered which corrections systems were which on the chart. Lyngdorf did well as I concluded. As I have maintained for years, some of the corrections systems, one you list, did no better than no room correction or actually worsened the room.

Room correction is becoming an effective tool but I believe your are totally wrong if you think that it can make an vastly inferior mass market receiver actually better than a Casablanca.
post #36 of 234
Thread Starter 
I decided to settle the matter with my own ears. I ordered the Integra today.
I'll compare it to the CBIII without and with room correction and report on my experiences in this thread.
If the CBIII wins out, as many posters here believe, I'll keep upgrading it and use the Integra in my living room system (which is mid-fi at the best of times). If the Integra wins out then I'll sell the CBIII.
As I posted originally, I am interested to know if a modern mass marketed DAC of today beats 10-year old high-end DAC technology. Since the issue of room correction came up, I'll be interested in trying that feature of the Integra too.
post #37 of 234
I wanna know the results on this.
post #38 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

I believe you will stand alone on that assessment.

I already don't stand alone. Others have heard exactly what I have heard. If your room has spectacular frequency response (that is every speaker has close to identical response), zippo bass ringing, etc, then you don't need room correction. Most folks do

Quote:


Have you seen the Harman study on room correction?

I have read it.

Quote:


I believe your are totally wrong if you think that it can make an vastly inferior mass market receiver actually better than a Casablanca.

In your room, I may be wrong but in the 100's of rooms in which I installed systems, I was right. And that is clearly the case in my room (which I am fairly confident you have not heard)
post #39 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by moosik View Post

I decided to settle the matter with my own ears. I ordered the Integra today.
I'll compare it to the CBIII without and with room correction and report on my experiences in this thread.
If the CBIII wins out, as many posters here believe, I'll keep upgrading it and use the Integra in my living room system (which is mid-fi at the best of times). If the Integra wins out then I'll sell the CBIII.
As I posted originally, I am interested to know if a modern mass marketed DAC of today beats 10-year old high-end DAC technology. Since the issue of room correction came up, I'll be interested in trying that feature of the Integra too.

The outcome will be highly dependent on how much you room will benefit for room correction. To get an idea of issues you may have be having with the room you could play around with REW (Room EQ Wizard - a powerfull free room analysis tool) a bit. REW is a bit initmidating and this is not for the faint of heart, but if you have som time on your hands this could be fun to do. This will also allow you to measure the room pre and post correction with the Integra.
post #40 of 234
Thread Starter 
edorr, thanks for the suggestions about experimenting with REW. I'll try to do that.

Even before I get into room correction, I'm really curious to compare the DACs in an uncorrected room.
post #41 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

I already don't stand alone. Others have heard exactly what I have heard. If your room has spectacular frequency response (that is every speaker has close to identical response), zippo bass ringing, etc, then you don't need room correction. Most folks do



I have read it.



In your room, I may be wrong but in the 100's of rooms in which I installed systems, I was right. And that is clearly the case in my room (which I am fairly confident you have not heard)

Ok, bear with me here and keep and open mind. Looking at the Harman study, I actually see ,"classic," results. You have a control, no room correction and several independent variables, the various room correction systems. If room correction were universally effective for the various systems, all would beat the null hypothesis, which is no difference. You also have wide anecdotal reports that two brands are effective room correction technologies. However, this is the "classic," part, when you blind test and eliminate the ability of the experimental group to know which independent variable is which, some of the room corrections beat the null hypothesis and show they provide improvements while others do not. Wouldn't you expect all the systems if anecdotal reports were correct to ALL at least beat the null hypothesis, better than no difference? That they all do not screams, classic placebo effect.

I think some more blind testing is in order before everyone excepts anecdotal reports on room correction technologies and the possibility of placebo. Isn't room correction touted as a scientific perspective? If so it should be able to easily withstand "blind," scrutiny. Some seem to while others do not.
post #42 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by moosik View Post

edorr, thanks for the suggestions about experimenting with REW. I'll try to do that.

Even before I get into room correction, I'm really curious to compare the DACs in an uncorrected room.

You really need to compare against a Casablanca HD to have a true idea of how the Integra 80.3 compares. Reports are that the sound quality is significantly improved over the CBIII non-HD. Still if the Integra is better than the older CBIII Non-HD with an Xtreme dac that would be great sound.

How are you going to compare? Without a Casablanca HD, you can't compare the new high-rez codecs in both machines? I guess you could test with CD and see which dacs sound the best. That should give you and indication of what kind of sound, well partially without the other improvements of the HD models, to expect.

If the Integra sounds good, I would even worry about if the Casablanca HD could sound better still. Just keep the Integra if you are satisfied with the sound quality. That's all that really matters.
post #43 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

I think some more blind testing is in order before everyone excepts anecdotal reports on room correction technologies and the possibility of placebo. Isn't room correction touted as a scientific perspective? If so it should be able to easily withstand "blind," scrutiny. Some seem to while others do not.

I was not in the Harmon test. But of the three correction systems of which I have fair knowledge, all have bypass modes. Correction on/correction off. A third party can operate the switch so the test becomes blind. In the many rooms I have heard these systems (again, with a couple of exceptions) a person would have to be almost completely deaf to not only not hear the difference, but to easily identify preference. NOT ALL ROOMS need correction. BUT MOST DO. And some need it much more than others. And for reasons I don't completely understand, the differences are far easier to hear in two channel over muti-channel.

Maybe the Harmon test room was one where correction was not as important.

What I find so interesting about this conversation (not necessarily with just Bulldogger) is that "audiophiles" will wax enthusiastic over changes, for example, in power cords (which typically have no measurements to back up the claims). But introduce a reasonably scientific and very measurable change (DRC) that can easily, in most cases, be heard blind and you would think it is being recommended that we all worship the Anti Christ!

The good news is that if digital room correction is, in your opinion, not ready for prime-time, you don't have to use it --- but I will!!
post #44 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

However, this is the "classic," part, when you blind test and eliminate the ability of the experimental group to know which independent variable is which, some of the room corrections beat the null hypothesis and show they provide improvements while others do not.

The most useful outcome of this blind test was that it helped narrow down which factors (tilt, smoothness) were prefered by listeners. This means you don't necessarily have to buy the brands that did well in that test, just look for room correction systems (Lyngdorf, Dirac, etc) that have a similar approach.
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

And for reasons I don't completely understand, the differences are far easier to hear in two channel over muti-channel.

You're not alone. Harman has tested things like room correction and loudspeakers using multichannel, stereo and mono set-ups. Results (e.g., speaker rankings) stayed the same across all three set-ups, but took the most number of trials with multichannel, fewer trials with stereo, and the least number of trials in mono. To reach the same results. Apparently the fewer speakers used, the easier it was to hear differences.
post #45 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

The most useful outcome of this blind test was that it helped narrow down which factors (tilt, smoothness) were prefered by listeners. This means you don't necessarily have to buy the brands that did well in that test, j

That implies Sanjay that they all did something. Had they all beat the null then I would agree. We would be discussing which ones worked better solely. However when some did not help at all, that's a different discussion. In the discussion now is whether room correction helps at all. The answer according to this study is that some work while others don't work or actually worsen the situation. Not many want to acknowledge that. It means that some of these claims of room correction are not supported by science.
post #46 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

I was not in the Harmon test. But of the three correction systems of which I have fair knowledge, all have bypass modes. Correction on/correction off. A third party can operate the switch so the test becomes blind. In the many rooms I have heard these systems (again, with a couple of exceptions) a person would have to be almost completely deaf to not only not hear the difference, but to easily identify preference. prime-time, you don't have to use it --- but I will!!

Well you stole my arguement. That's the same thing people say about cables.
post #47 of 234
[quote=audioguy;21899690]What I find so interesting about this conversation (not necessarily with just Bulldogger) is that "audiophiles" will wax enthusiastic over changes, for example, in power cords (which typically have no measurements to back up the claims). But introduce a reasonably scientific and very measurable change (DRC) that can easily, in most cases, be heard blind and you would think it is being recommended that we all worship the Anti Christ!



WRONG Audiophile ! I don't currently use ANY HIGH END CABLES. Best stuff I have is Bluejeans HDMI cables. Well I admit to paying 25.00 for a Straightwire digital cable. My speaker cables are about 1.00 a foot power cord cable I bought from Home Depot. What I see is that some can't accept that their "holy of holies" room correction does not always work. Just can't be supported by blind test. Again, I am not against room correction. Mcintosh is employing it very effectively. Some of the other stuff worshipped around here could not beat the null hypthosis, and looks like palcebo effect. I know that my be hard to accept but if that test were discussing drug effects that is the conclusion that would be reached. Some experimental variables didnt' even beat the null hypothesis yet reports are they they work and work well? What's going on there???!!! There is typically one explanation for that. You blinded the experimental group and then some of the room correction technologies show NO improvements?? Come on?? If that's not placebo then I don't know what it is?
post #48 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

WRONG Audiophile ! I don't currently use ANY HIGH END CABLES. Best stuff I have is Bluejeans HDMI cables.

Well we have that in common.
post #49 of 234
Thread Starter 
Bulldogger, in comparing CBIII and Integra 80.3 I intend to focus on the DAC performance of a CD, not on video processing.

For me, spending big money on audio equipment is worth it when I can hear HUGE differences between pieces of audio gear. If the difference is subtle but costs many thousands of dollars, I do not go for it. My reasoning is that there is no end to the pursuit of audio Nirvana. There will always be something that sounds just a tiny bit better (whether psychoacoustic placebo or not). And so, I am guided by the law of diminishing return.

I also take comfort in knowing that while differences between pieces of audio gear seem important in A/B tests, once I settle on a piece of equipment, I forget about these comparisons and just enjoy my music collection. I realize that for some people this is impossible, but not for me.

It happens to me in other areas of shopping too. For example, my wife and I were shopping for new track lighting on the weekend. I was suddenly introduced to a world of lighting devices ranging from $100 to $2000. At the end, we settled on a very pleasing $250 track which looked almost as good as another $1700 track that we liked. Once the new track is installed, I will totally forget the many very expensive other tracks I've seen.

I remember the day I decided to purchase the CBIII. My DAC at the time came from the Oppo player (971H if I remember correctly). The CBIII Xtreme sound was a shocker in comparison. I had no problem paying the $4000 price tag for it, because I knew that I'd get excellent sound for years to come.

5 years later, I face the option of either upgrading the Theta to HD (and maybe Dirac, and maybe new DACs later) or getting a newer processor that is priced far lower (and which offers room correction as an option, to boot). I insist on maintaing at least as good a sound as my current Xtreme DAC. Any better sound would be a great bonus. HDMI switching is convenient. Room correction is something I'll try and decide if I like.

Suppose that the Integra sounds just as good as the (non-HD) CBIII. Then it's a no brainer for me - I'll stick with the Integra. Even if the new power supply in the CBIII HD mod would make the unit sound better, I cannot imagine that it would be the kind of difference that warrants $4K expense. I expect the kind of difference that you get when you mod a piece of good equipment or change a cable - a slight improvement in clarity or punch.

I must admit that the ongoing conversation with Audioguy about the merits of room correction got me interested. I am excited to try the on/off setting that will let me hear differences with my own ears, and let me form my own opinions. But for me to give up on the Casablanca would require that the Integra in 2-channel mode without room correction sounds just at good or better than the 10-year old Xtreme DACs.

I promise to report all my (admittedly subjective) results here.
post #50 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by moosik View Post

For me, spending big money on audio equipment is worth it when I can hear HUGE differences between pieces of audio gear. If the difference is subtle but costs many thousands of dollars, I do not go for it. My reasoning is that there is no end to the pursuit of audio Nirvana. There will always be something that sounds just a tiny bit better (whether psychoacoustic placebo or not). And so, I am guided by the law of diminishing return.

Amen to that !!

Quote:


I also take comfort in knowing that while differences between pieces of audio gear seem important in A/B tests, once I settle on a piece of equipment, I forget about these comparisons and just enjoy my music collection. I realize that for some people this is impossible, but not for me.

Me neither -- but only because I finally ran out of money trying it the other way !!

Quote:


Suppose that the Integra sounds just as good as the (non-HD) CBIII. Then it's a no brainer for me - I'll stick with the Integra.

I did not try that (without using room correction) so your findings should be interesting
post #51 of 234
[quote=moosik;21900790]



I also take comfort in knowing that while differences between pieces of audio gear seem important in A/B tests, once I settle on a piece of equipment, I forget about these comparisons and just enjoy my music collection. I realize that for some people this is impossible, but not for me.

Im with ya there!


It happens to me in other areas of shopping too. For example, my wife and I were shopping for new track lighting on the weekend. I was suddenly introduced to a world of lighting devices ranging from $100 to $2000. At the end, we settled on a very pleasing $250 track which looked almost as good as another $1700 track that we liked. Once the new track is installed, I will totally forget the many very expensive other tracks I've seen.

Ive gotten better with this too



It sounds like your on the right track here!

keep us posted,

bob
post #52 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

The answer according to this study is that some work while others don't work or actually worsen the situation. Not many want to acknowledge that. It means that some of these claims of room correction are not supported by science.

True, which makes this test a good counterpoint to those who argue that some room correction (any room correction) is better than nothing. Apparently, some can be worse than doing nothing. My only point earlier was that the test helped explain why some room corrections fared better than others, by pointing to the factors that mattered. This means you're not stuck having to buy the brand that did best in the comparison and can look for similar factors from other room correction manufacturers.
post #53 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by moosik View Post

Bulldogger, in comparing CBIII and Integra 80.3 I intend to focus on the DAC performance of a CD, not on video processing. .....




I promise to report all my (admittedly subjective) results here.

I can't wait!
post #54 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post


It sounds like your on the right track here!

I think, for him, he is on the right track.
A decent receiver may be the better option for allot of people.
Moosik says,
"I'd like it to be simple and widely available."
That doesn't sound like the Casablanca to me!

There is allot to be said for owning gear from a mass marketed company where you have access to a wide range of customer support.
Until last month, he was under the impression that Theta Digital was no longer in business.

"Theta used to have upgrade components, but it appears that the company is no longer operational.
In any case, I would like to move to something simpler (the Theta is really way too complicated for my needs)."

Not to sound mean spirited but, IMO it is entirely likely that he may set-up an Integra where it sounds better then his CB-III/Xtreme Dac since it is possible that he may never have had his system with the CB-III set-up optimally.
I just do not believe we can take much away from whatever the results of Moosik's experiment.

While a member of AVS for quite sometime, may not have realized that this part of the forum was here and he's pretty much been on his own.

Quotes above are from his own short thread in the AMPs, Receivers, and Processors forum, "Upgrading from Theta Casablanca 3 - Where next?"

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1398603
post #55 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbrother52 View Post

I think, for him, he is on the right track.
A decent receiver may be the better option for allot of people.
Moosik says,
"I'd like it to be simple and widely available."
That doesn't sound like the Casablanca to me!





http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1398603

I really don't think this gentleman is trying to sell anyone on his concept in fact I think he's had it with the endless upgrades of the casablanca( been there done that) using something like the integra may or may not be a good alternative to him(keyword is "Him"). But we will soon find out.
post #56 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post

I really don't think this gentleman is trying to sell anyone on his concept in fact I think he's had it with the endless upgrades of the casablanca( been there done that) using something like the integra may or may not be a good alternative to him(keyword is "Him"). But we will soon find out.

"Endless" upgradeability is why allot of people buy the Casablanca in the first place and the whole idea behind it's marketing.

I personally do not consider 3 upgrades from the original model over the course of 15 years excessive though.
Some may I suppose, that is for each individual to decide for themselves.
post #57 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbrother52 View Post

"Endless" upgradeability is why allot of people buy the Casablanca in the first place and the whole idea behind it's marketing.

I personally do not consider 3 upgrades from the original model over the course of 15 years excessive though.
Some may I suppose, that is for each individual to decide for themselves.

You seem to be very protective of the casablanca, hey I love my mcintosh!

This guy is just looking for alternatives so he doesn't have to spend thousands every time a new format comes out.

Let's get back on topic
post #58 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post

You seem to be very protective of the casablanca, hey I love my mcintosh!

This guy is just looking for alternatives so he doesn't have to spend thousands every time a new format comes out.

Let's get back on topic

I'm sorry if that is the way you see it, but perhaps I am

Many things can be said of the Casablanca, both good and bad.

But the one thing that you cannot put it down for is living up to what it is supposed to be, and that is, "endlessly" upgradeable
post #59 of 234
Thread Starter 
[quote=bigbrother52;21904015]
Not to sound mean spirited but, IMO it is entirely likely that he may set-up an Integra where it sounds better then his CB-III/Xtreme Dac since it is possible that he may never have had his system with the CB-III set-up optimally.
I just do not believe we can take much away from whatever the results of Moosik's experiment.

Bigbrother52, why are you not curious about the results of my experiment? Why do you decide apriori that if CBIII loses out it's probably because I got it wrong somehow? If you lived close to me, I would invite you over to run the test together. In all honesty, I have no idea which DAC will win out. It's very possible that I will find out that CBIII continues to reign supreme when I compare it to the Integra. (In that case, would you question my Integra not being setup properly?) If that happens, I'll spend the money on the HD upgrade.

On a related note ... I know some "Apple fanboys" for whom the company Apple can do no wrong. When I complain to them that every file copy has to go through iTunes, they provide me with long explanations why this is a desirable feature. Of course, if Apple eliminated iTunes, they would then argue just as vehemently that this is the way to go. I don't find such defensive attitude productive.

If I stay with CBIII, my projected list of expenses in the next few years is:
$4000 - HD upgrade (must have)
$3500? - Dirac (if I want it)
$6000? - New and improved DAC (if I want it)

Just think about it ... $13.5K in upgrades for technology that keeps changing all the time (video processing, room correction, and DACs). We are not talking about mature technologies here, like amplifiers. Before spending $13.5K, $7.5K, or even $4K, I'd like to verify that a less-pricey processor alternative with (what I consider) very good sound does not exist. This is why I need to compare the two machines with my own ears, rather than conclude from the start that "if it's Theta then it must be better". Frankly, if Samsung came out with a miracle processor tomorrow and it sounded as good as CBIII, I wouldn't think twice about buying it (but I don't believe that Samsung will do that).

Again, I do not wish to discredit Theta in any way. I've used the CBIII for years now and have been extremely pleased with the sound. Bigbrother52, I'm sure that you are enjoying your HD CBIII very much. Still, I think it's a valid question to ask whether the 10-year old Xtreme DAC compares favourably with current DACs in the top end of mass-marketed receivers. If these newer receivers have caught up with the Xtreme sound, then I agree with other posterss who said that many people would enjoy them.

Participation on this thread has made me much more curious about the results.
post #60 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post


You seem to be very protective of the casablanca, hey I love my mcintosh!

This guy is just looking for alternatives so he doesn't have to spend thousands every time a new format comes out.

Let's get back on topic

You have to do the exact same thing. With the dacs in his unit it's likely the Mcintosh MX134 was for sale at the time it was new which was replaced by the MX135 no HDMI or high Rez codec support on either. The MX150 is the current model. That's at least 35000.00 of expenditures. The MX150 is not HDMI 1.4 so you'll have to buy yet another processor to pass 3D. That's going to approach 50k easy. He only paid 4k so to get current he will have to spend at least as much as you have to purchase the Mcintosh processor. People compare the Mac processors to Denon all of the time with the same sort of value assessment as he's doing now.
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