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Best Surround Processor Currently Available? - Page 2

Poll Results: Best Multi-Channel processor currently on the market?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 11% (23)
    Classe SSP800
  • 10% (21)
    Bryton SP3
  • 1% (3)
    ADA Mach IV
  • 13% (27)
    ADA Mach IV+Trinnov
  • 20% (42)
    Datasat RS20i
  • 15% (32)
    Theta CB3 HDMI + Extreme Dacs
  • 5% (12)
    Krell Evolution 707
  • 11% (24)
    Mcintosh MX151
  • 7% (15)
    JBL Synthesis with SDEC 4500
  • 14% (31)
    Other (comment on your answer)
207 Total Votes  
post #31 of 817
I guess everyone who voted has heard every processor listed. rolleyes.gif
post #32 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I guess everyone who voted has heard every processor listed. rolleyes.gif

Good question! What does "best" mean? Does it mean "sounds best", "works best", "integrates best". The result will also depend on who installed the unit. JBL Synthesis addresses the problem by not giving customers access to the calibration equipment. A Synthesis system has to be calibrated by a certified Synthesis technician whereas many of the other systems can be DIY calibrated by customers/dealers and the result may be suboptimal if mistakes are made... cool.gif
post #33 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nielsen View Post

Good question! What does "best" mean? Does it mean "sounds best", "works best", "integrates best". The result will also depend on who installed the unit. JBL Synthesis addresses the problem by not giving customers access to the calibration equipment. A Synthesis system has to be calibrated by a certified Synthesis technician whereas many of the other systems can be DIY calibrated by customers/dealers and the result may be suboptimal if mistakes are made... cool.gif

Those that vote may have their own reasons why they voted on a specific processor. Everyone has the option to elaborate on their choice... Every processor has it's pros and cons but I'm pretty sure most have some fairly common goals. Audio quality being the more popular I'm sure.
post #34 of 817
For me 'best' is simply defined by what I would put into my own system. Anything worth having, in my opinion, would require an expert installation rather than DIY.
post #35 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Any example of a multichannel dac? I assume usb based...

Plenty of pro models. DAD, PrismSound, Lynx, Forssell, Metric Halo, Mytek, etc
post #36 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Rick - I did move from the Classe but it was not because I was unhappy with it. I thought it was a great piece but after 4 years, I just wanted to try something new to spark up the hobby again for me.

I have a Bryston on the way which I plan to test with anti-mode and Trinnov (independently of course). I'm keeping my options open with the Datasat but to be honest, my last two auditions did not go very well. It seems the Datatsat may be too complex rolleyes.gif for even some of the dealers but that's another story I will reserve for another thread once I make a final decision.

I was with Tony on the two demos, as I was keen on the possibilities of Datasat as well, but I concur; we haven't been blown away yet.

Hopefully some different options arise to get a proper demo. I frankly do love the Marantz 8801 and Mac amps driving my 11 channels of Diamond, but am always keeping an ear open for genuinely better options if they exist.
post #37 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

For me 'best' is simply defined by what I would put into my own system. Anything worth having, in my opinion, would require an expert installation rather than DIY.

If it requires expert installation and ongoing attention from the dealer, I would never purchase it. I am CONSTANTLY making minor changes to my system (it's part of the disease). I sure don't want to have to rely on someone else's availability (and the expense to go with it) each time I make one of those changes. As a result, I have learned to calibrate my PJ (with the assistance of CalMan) and make changes to my Control4 system so that I am not dependent on anyone else.

But your way probably makes sense for most people.
post #38 of 817
Most of us are probably voting for what we know, which usually translates into what we own, so it's hard to say how much usefulness you'll get out of this. It's part brand loyalty, part self justification, part popularity contest, and part ignorance since we don't know a lot of the alternatives.

I only know four of them, and of course selected the Synthesis® because it's what I ended up with.

I'd be curious as to who's heard all--or at least most of them--in their current iterations, in similar situations, with proper set up and calibration. When I flew to Memphis to audition the Synthesis® system I bought from the dealer, even it wasn't set up correctly, but it had a lot of promise. How many other systems suffer from poor installation, poor calibration (if any), bad set up???

What would be cool is if we could take a tour of proper in home installations that reflect our physical requirements, but that's not going to happen. Unless, oh wait, there's a unicorn and a rainbow, and the unicorn will ride the rainbow to all the best installations in the land...

Good luck.
post #39 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

The Datsat piece would probably be first since I have now fallen in love with DiracLive on my server. Incredible. Now if it we're $12,000 vs $20,000, I might be able to get there someday!!.

Took you long enough. biggrin.gif

I hope Roger Dressler does not mind me saying this, but he is coming to Japan in March and hopefully will be able to stop over at my theater. I would love to hear his opinion on my setup with the RS20i. Unfortunately it won't be finished by the time he gets here, but I am sure he will be able to experience at least a 95% finished product and give his thoughts.

But my vote is with the RS20i, better than anything I have experienced so far.
post #40 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by JapanDave View Post

But my vote is with the RS20i, better than anything I have experienced so far.

What solutions with room correction did you try/audition before the RS-20i? (TacT, Synthesis, Trinnov, ....)
post #41 of 817
There are 12 votes for the Datasat at this point... are there actually 12 owners here, or do we have some Chicago-style voting going on? smile.gif
post #42 of 817
I have had all the pros upto the datasat into my room. I went for the Datasat for a few reasons. First is its processing ability. It's just mind blowing. Even without Dirac.

Second, their hq is only an hour drive from me. This to me means a lot!

Their upgrade path is just outstanding as is their customer support.

Auro3d to be added with a firmware update, quite soon I believe as their main disti, Genesis is now installing speakers for this! Which will make it the most advanced processor on the market.

Ada / trinnov mc combo is also very good, but I really wanted a one box solution and didnt fancy the £48000 ( which is $72000 ) retail price here in uk for the Ada reference. For that price it would need to be able to replace my mrs, cook, clean and moan at me. Haha

All the others I have not heard.
post #43 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by djnickuk View Post


Auro3d to be added with a firmware update, quite soon I believe as their main disti, Genesis is now installing speakers for this! Which will make it the most advanced processor on the market.

Where are you hearing that? I don't believe that's been validated by Datasat at all.
post #44 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

There are 12 votes for the Datasat at this point... are there actually 12 owners here, or do we have some Chicago-style voting going on? smile.gif

My kind of town....

I think Al Capone is counting the ballots so I'm sure it's legit...biggrin.gif
post #45 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I guess everyone who voted has heard every processor listed. rolleyes.gif
I think it is less about he processor and more about whether it contrains room correction. A processor is a processor is a processor. They're pretty boiler plate at this point at a certain price threshold but room correction is the modifier that makes the 'you are their' feeling in soundtracks it and makes it more acheivable at home. I've been to CEDIA a number of times over the years (I've heard Trinnov) and room correction or use of DSPs gives an over advantage any standalone SSP.
post #46 of 817
Datasat will not validate anything about something before its a def cert, as unlike some other companies they do not wish to be burnt just incase things go south.

But this was all hinted over on AVF last week.

Got some other super exciting news about the RS20i today.... But I can not say what unfortunatly. I'm just happy to be a customer of such a customer based company.
post #47 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by djnickuk View Post

I went for the Datasat for a few reasons. First is its processing ability. It's just mind blowing. Even without Dirac.

That's interesting; what processing is Dirac actually doing - aren't DPL and DTS decoders standard chips?
post #48 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Where are you hearing that? I don't believe that's been validated by Datasat at all.
The AP-20 (progenitor of the RS20i) is already sold by Barco as part of their Auro3D cinema system. And since Auro have made no secret of their desire to be a consumer delivery format, it only makes sense that they would put the decoding in the RS20i, too.
post #49 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by JapanDave View Post

I hope Roger Dressler does not mind me saying this, but he is coming to Japan in March and hopefully will be able to stop over at my theater. I would love to hear his opinion on my setup with the RS20i. Unfortunately it won't be finished by the time he gets here, but I am sure he will be able to experience at least a 95% finished product and give his thoughts.
Have thoughts; will travel. wink.gif

Looking forward to it!
post #50 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by djnickuk View Post

Got some other super exciting news about the RS20i today.... But I can not say what unfortunatly. I'm just happy to be a customer of such a customer based company.

Stop teasing us Nick - it just makes me all itchy to know what is potentially happening!
post #51 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by djnickuk View Post

I went for the Datasat for a few reasons. First is its processing ability. It's just mind blowing. Even without Dirac.

That's interesting; what processing is Dirac actually doing - aren't DPL and DTS decoders standard chips?
Noah, I think Nick is talking about the Datasat platform (hardware), not Dirac room correction (software). So even if you take away Dirac as a feature, he seems to feel that the RS20i has lots of processing capability (raw DSP horsepower). And "processing" might not mean surround processing specifically. However, if he is talking about some other processing, then (like you) I too would be curious to know what it is. After all, having lots of processing ability on tap isn't beneficial unless you do something interesting or unique with it.
post #52 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

After all, having lots of processing ability on tap isn't beneficial unless you do something interesting or unique with it.

This is sort of the crux of things, or perhaps more broadly, what does $20k get you?

We'll all have different reasons - for me, I need to know
- the native sound quality is remarkably better than the $3-6k range of processors out there.
- that Dirac Live is remarkably better than Audeyssy Pro
- that Datasat is in this for the long haul (and this is a tough question to have a secure answer, but it's important. Developing a qualified dealer channel is difficult, getting mindshare amongst all the established players and the marketplace is not easy - do they pull out in 12-18 months? Are they investing in the channel adequately? The two demo's I've heard were far from rock solid setups, (though I reserve final judgment...)
- that the upgradability is real and will not hose you. The few devices in the past that claimed upgradability either never fulfilled that promise, or were unnecessarily expensive (how much was the Theta HDMI upgrade? $5-7k? Not sure...) I know the True HD card, with other performance enhancements is coming free of chrage, and that's great, though that's one that had to be there just to get to feature parity with the competition and that cost was probably baked in.
- that one will be able to own and run Dirac Live and not need a PhD to get it right.

Anyway, I'm not here to poo poo the RS20 - conversely, I've already invested quite a bit of time to demo it, with Tony, and hope give it another shot if the right opportunity arises It is intriguing. I know for some people, $15-20k is like $1500-$2000, so these questions are probably not of keep interest. But my philosophy is regardless of what I can afford, it has be worth it.

BTW, there are no published performance specs on the Datasat?
post #53 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Not currently considering Krell S1200 which is why I didn't include it but I'm open to suggestions outside my list which is why I included "other".

Any specific reason for not considering the Krell S-1200? Supposed to be a descendant of the 707, and should be on par with the Classe SSP-800 you had and the Bryston SP3 you are about to get. Just curious, as I'm debating between the Krell, Bryston and Classe myself (although I am much more driven by 2 channel and multi-channel music than movies).
post #54 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

There are 12 votes for the Datasat at this point... are there actually 12 owners here, or do we have some Chicago-style voting going on? smile.gif

My sort of thinking. I'm interested in the votes of those that tried at least two different *room correction* capable units (Datasat, TacT, Meridian, Trinnov, Synthesis,...). If the Datasat is the first/only unit with room correction you've tried, your vote does not count because comparing a unit with room correction to one without is like comparing apples to oranges IMHO biggrin.gif
post #55 of 817
Do people here believe the room correction algorithms are the only thing separating these processors?

Room correction should be the icing on the cake of a good theater, not the starting point. 99% of people will see a better sound quality return from a 5K processor and 12K of room treatment than a 17K processor with Dirac. If your room isn't basically flat in the bass with low modal ringing and no speaker boundary interference nulls then you should be treating first, not room correcting. I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but apart from Japan Dave I haven't seen many acoustical measurements!
post #56 of 817
We use an ADA Cinema Reference with Trinnov in our main showroom. Datasat is installed in our other system.

Both systems do a very good job. Decisions should be made based on what you fine more satisfying to you.

At these price levels that is how your decision should be made; not by asking for a vote as to what some one else s opinion is.

Trying to justify a purchase based on the number of "likes" is just plain weird.

Jim
post #57 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbm007 View Post

We use an ADA Cinema Reference with Trinnov in our main showroom. Datasat is installed in our other system.

Both systems do a very good job. Decisions should be made based on what you fine more satisfying to you.

At these price levels that is how your decision should be made; not by asking for a vote as to what some one else s opinion is.

Trying to justify a purchase based on the number of "likes" is just plain weird.

Jim

My decision would not be based on results from this poll but I am interested in feedback from other members. Isn't that part of the fun of this forum?

...and relax with the "weird" wink.gif
Edited by adidino - 2/26/13 at 5:46pm
post #58 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

Do people here believe the room correction algorithms are the only thing separating these processors?

Room correction should be the icing on the cake of a good theater, not the starting point. 99% of people will see a better sound quality return from a 5K processor and 12K of room treatment than a 17K processor with Dirac. If your room isn't basically flat in the bass with low modal ringing and no speaker boundary interference nulls then you should be treating first, not room correcting. I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but apart from Japan Dave I haven't seen many acoustical measurements!

No, not the only thing at all

But I think it's a fairly important factor. Most people do not or cannot have properly acoustically treated spaces, and I have been in my fair share of dedicated theaters that have issues as well.

I'm aware that room correction is not superior to proper acoustical design and treatment of a room. But for the vast majority that don't have that kind of space, good room correction can help mitigate many issues. So to determine if Dirwc Live is appreciably better or just similar to Audyssey Pro, for example, can help many of us develop some context.

Ultimate, I have to hear for myself, though I've tried twice already...
post #59 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

This is sort of the crux of things, or perhaps more broadly, what does $20k get you?

We'll all have different reasons - for me, I need to know
- the native sound quality is remarkably better than the $3-6k range of processors out there.
- that Dirac Live is remarkably better than Audeyssy Pro

I am using the 2 channel version of DiracLive in my PC music server. Until tomorrow, I am going through my Integra (with Audyssey off) for listening. I can then turn off DiracLive and turn on Audyssey (Pro) and compare. I am only listening in 2 channel. While there may be differences, they are not HUGE (or too use your expression "remarkably better"). I have just begun doing the comparison so I will be doing a lot more listening.

While I am in no position to say that one SSP is better than the other, what I can experientially state is that once the movie starts, detecting difference in two SSP's, both running some form of time based room correction, is orders of magnitude more difficult than hearing differences in two well built stereo preamps. There are SO many variables: steering algorithms; speaker distance calculations; exact trim settings for each speaker; crossover type, etc.

I have said this numerous times before. I am not looking for another SSP with a better room correction algorithm , or marginally better DACs. I want something transformational -- like the demonstrated but terminated Lexicon processor. When someone can provide that kind of differentiation, I will be all over it (unless it is astronomically priced).
post #60 of 817
Nyal,

You might want to look at this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1366849/datasat-rs20i-beta-test-and-comparison-with-ada-rhapsody-trinnov-teq-12

I posted a "few" measurements there.

Dan
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