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Best Surround Processor Currently Available? - Page 16

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 #451 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by VGI View Post

The Casablanca 3 HD is by far the best sounding Pre Pro there is.. More important its the only truly upgradable machine and has kept this upgrade path for over 18 years.
I've always been curious about this. If you start from the very first CB sold 18 years ago, and have it updated it to today's version, how much of the hardware from the first unit remains?

Quote:
There are no Prepro's that allow you to do what casablana allows. For instance you can have an input for 2 Channel full Range no crossovers and another input for 2 channel full range with sub. These are single button push controls.
The SSP-800 does that. Single button, too.

Quote:
You can have a multi channel input for instance from DVD/Bluray with Crossovers set and lets say the sub set equal to normal listening. Then you can have another input for the same DVD/Bluray with the Sub/Subs set for any DB you want so with a single button push you can have the subs set low for night or quiet listening.
Yup, the SSP-800 does that too. wink.gif

And I heartily agree that these capabilities are very desirable.

Oh, and the SSP-800 has had manual EQ since day 1. That was the tipping point for me. The only auto EQ I would have would be Dirac.
post #452 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt_Trinnov View Post

This was my thought for a solution calling for shortest path that includes DRC.  The Oppo>Trinnov/DRC>Amps>Speakers  serves this philosophy well. I think it works because of the combination of  64bit floating point processing, with the user deciding just how much and what kind of correction is done.  When I approach mastering studios with the same concept, they always insert DRC in bypass first, then see if it changes anything. If it does, it's gone. Same process could be used here.  If one inserts another device in the chain, and it's in bypass, can you hear it?  

Switching into PURE mode has always sounded clear and clean over all other sound modes, digital is digital. Today I'm using a onkyo 3007. I'm thinking upgrading, well spending more money would have more meaning at this point, since I believe less is better. I'm thinking of going OPPO BDP-105 straight to the amps with full range speakers and sub. The onkyo sounds very good, the pure mode is clearly better. I'm hoping that this highend gear would sound as good as the 3007 in pure mode, AND in ALL sound modes.

I have not to old highend stereo hardware that just sounds great to me, and I would just love to have that very clear clean sound in 7.2
I believe the weak link is the onkyo, but it is a good avr, It seems to me the surround processor / hub / avr is were the problems are. To remove it from the chain may be the way to go..
post #453 of 817
I may not need an SSP once I have my Trinnov installed.

Removing the SSP from the chain would be a significant layer removed from the audio chain.

Player--> Trinnov --> Amplifier.

Perhaps the best SSP is no SSP!smile.gif
post #454 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Lexicon who? They're out.

For now.... I did happen speak to an Engineer at the Harmon Group, and he mentioned that he could not mention anything, but to give it some more time. I didn't ask how much time - sorry :-)

Dave
post #455 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thezaks View Post

For now.... I did happen speak to an Engineer at the Harmon Group, and he mentioned that he could not mention anything, but to give it some more time. I didn't ask how much time - sorry :-)

Dave

They've been saying that for 8 years. Usually a pile of crap from these guys.
post #456 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thezaks View Post

For now.... I did happen speak to an Engineer at the Harmon Group, and he mentioned that he could not mention anything, but to give it some more time. I didn't ask how much time - sorry :-)

Dave

I got the same story over a year ago from them... who knows.
post #457 of 817
Nothing is better in the market than DATASAT, it's the best.

If you have the budget don't think other brands, because they are only there for those who cannot afford Datasat. The other day i almost laugh when a person from Ada told me the Ada with Trinnov was much much better. Oh well is that so?.... LOL Maybe because the price is higher...LOL
post #458 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

Nothing is better in the market than DATASAT, it's the best.

If you have the budget don't think other brands, because they are only there for those who cannot afford Datasat. The other day i almost laugh when a person from Ada told me the Ada with Trinnov was much much better. Oh well is that so?.... LOL Maybe because the price is higher...LOL

I'm not yet convinced.  Perhaps more LOL's would do it.

post #459 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

I'm not yet convinced.  Perhaps more LOL's would do it.

Ahahahahaha...I am not here to convince you, it's a fact.

Datasat is Cinema Sound, the rest is only a copy, this is the pure truth. I talk against me. I am making a new system, based on Krell or Classe, i didn't choosed well yet, but only because Datasat is more expensive, otherwise i wouldn't look back...
Edited by MV_Cinema - 9/3/13 at 5:54pm
post #460 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

Nothing is better in the market than DATASAT, it's the best.

If you have the budget don't think other brands, because they are only there for those who cannot afford Datasat. The other day i almost laugh when a person from Ada told me the Ada with Trinnov was much much better. Oh well is that so?.... LOL Maybe because the price is higher...LOL

Have you ever actually compared the two on the same system, in the same room? If not, you're not qualified to make the statement you did, and neither is anyone who dares to make a similar statement based off anything but an actual head-to-head comparison.

I have compared them on the same system in the same room, and although the words "much, much better" do not apply, ADA Reference is in fact better at producing an enveloping surround field, and does have the ability to do analog pass through- the RS20i runs everything through the DSP for better or worse.

"Best" is subjective, and I'll venture to say that I personally have more experience with these two particular processors (as a pair) than anyone- considering I helped develop the final user firmware for the RS20i and I have the second Reference that was produced in our Demo theater- and I wouldn't say that one is much better than the other.

Both processors sound good, both have pros and both have cons, NEITHER unit is even close to perfect. I'd be willing to have either piece in my personal system- and I wouldn't be completely happy with either of them...

what about vinyl playback?

what about the ability to apply compressors/limiters to output channels?

the RS20i has seen more frequent feature additions, but until very, very recently you were limited to 12 of the 16 channels for Dirac; the Reference has had full Trinnov capabilities on all 16 channels from day one.

Obviously there are those that would espouse the Theta Casablanca III HD as the "best" and they, too would be incorrect, but no more incorrect than anyone else.

At $20,000+ for a surround processor- there are equally good/bad options- it is quite literally up to personal taste.

Disparagement of one device or another by anyone- especially a dealer or manufacturer's representative shows nothing but unprofessionalism and ignorance.

Dan
post #461 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

Have you ever actually compared the two on the same system, in the same room? If not, you're not qualified to make the statement you did, and neither is anyone who dares to make a similar statement based off anything but an actual head-to-head comparison.

I have compared them on the same system in the same room, and although the words "much, much better" do not apply, ADA Reference is in fact better at producing an enveloping surround field, and does have the ability to do analog pass through- the RS20i runs everything through the DSP for better or worse.

"Best" is subjective, and I'll venture to say that I personally have more experience with these two particular processors (as a pair) than anyone- considering I helped develop the final user firmware for the RS20i and I have the second Reference that was produced in our Demo theater- and I wouldn't say that one is much better than the other.

Both processors sound good, both have pros and both have cons, NEITHER unit is even close to perfect. I'd be willing to have either piece in my personal system- and I wouldn't be completely happy with either of them...

what about vinyl playback?

what about the ability to apply compressors/limiters to output channels?

the RS20i has seen more frequent feature additions, but until very, very recently you were limited to 12 of the 16 channels for Dirac; the Reference has had full Trinnov capabilities on all 16 channels from day one.

Obviously there are those that would espouse the Theta Casablanca III HD as the "best" and they, too would be incorrect, but no more incorrect than anyone else.

At $20,000+ for a surround processor- there are equally good/bad options- it is quite literally up to personal taste.

Disparagement of one device or another by anyone- especially a dealer or manufacturer's representative shows nothing but unprofessionalism and ignorance.

Dan

Ok, let's say the Ada is better (a little). Does that little justifies the fact it costs $40000, against the $18000 for the Datasat? eek.gif
post #462 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

Ok, let's say the Ada is better (a little). Does that little justifies the fact it costs $40000, against the $18000 for the Datasat? eek.gif

A better question is how much better is the ADA $40k Reference vs ADA Mach IV+ external Trinnov?
post #463 of 817
how much "better" are Wilson Alexandrias than Arial Acoustic 20TV2s? is that price difference commensurate?

At this level, differences between products are on the level of <5% but differences in cost are exponential. If the consumer hears the difference, and in their mind the difference is worth the money- then the cost is justified. Just ask Bruce.

And I can speak for myself when I say that yes, even at dealer-cost, the difference in expenditure between the two units was justified.


And i would have either one in my personal system in a heartbeat, but again, neither would make me completely happy.


Everything is a compromise.

Dan
post #464 of 817
In my opinion they would be rated like this:
Cinema Reference MIV
Rhapsody/TEQ
RS20i

Less than 5% difference between them all.

And as soon as Theta implements Dirac, they really deserve to be in there as well.

Dan

My ratings are based entirely on my opinion that Trinnov>Dirac.

Without Trinnov and Dirac, the RS20i sounds better than anything short of CBIII/GenVIII combo.
post #465 of 817
Dan, it is fair to assume that the new msb UMT transport into a trinnov mc12, digital out into a stack of audiophile grade dacs will trounce all of these options. Not cheap of course.....
post #466 of 817
That's NOT a surround processor- as excellent as I'm sure that will be. You can't compare them based purely on that. Trust me, if there were options from folks like MSB or Trinnov directly, they would certainly be mentioned- and even then, there are some drawbacks: there are no user-set limiters for Trinnov, you cannot feather a compressor into a limiter at max-volume just before driver distortion/nonlinearity.

At the very edge of performance, how do you keep the user from destroying their own system? Maybe users never reach that point, but shouldn't someone set ip the system to ensure that can't happen?

Dan
post #467 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post


Ahahahahaha...I am not here to convince you, it's a fact.

Datasat is Cinema Sound, the rest is only a copy, this is the pure truth. I talk against me. I am making a new system, based on Krell or Classe, i didn't choosed well yet, but only because Datasat is more expensive, otherwise i wouldn't look back...

 

Perhaps from a consumer perspective, Trinnov's long term involvement in DCI is easy to overlook.  Unlike Datasat, whos cinema heritage was acquired through the purchase of DTS's commercial cinema business (and having to change the name as a condition of sale), Trinnov has been providing ongoing core research and development for digital cinema/DCI in the area of 3D audio.  In particular, Trinnov participated in the European EDCINE - DCI implementation group as lead acoustical consultants. Trinnov entered the commercial cinema market as an early adopter of specific DCI audio solutions. Trinnov has over 500 commercial DCI cinema installs, as well as placements in dubbing stages.  As well, Trinnov is also widely used in broadcast and music studios, etc. 

 

So I guess you could say there is more then one option for consumers looking for cutting edge cinema processing at home.  Having said that, Datasat will decode your DTS and Dolby formats, which Trinnov currently will not.  But then Datasat relies on Dirac licensing for DRC, whereas Trinnov provides a proprietary DRC as well as 3D remapping, which is the only 3D solution available that doesn't rely on specific speaker positions.  

 

Indeed, interesting times for the home theater enthusiast looking for the very best! And the forum is a great place to learn about the many choices available. 

 

Cheers,

post #468 of 817
It is not exactly plug and play, but if you program volume control of the trinnov over rs232 with iRule, the chances of blowing up your system are the same as with any processor. I would agree this signal path is a bit too adventurous for most though. You can trim a lot of the cost by using an oppo with vanity board and the trinnov dacs and still have Ada reference performance (but less ease of use). I believe this is what jeff (bland) is planning to do.
post #469 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by VGI View Post

The Casablanca 3 HD is by far the best sounding Pre .....The Bass Management and 12 individual environment setups Ask me why i am so passionate.. Of course i am a Theta Dealer. The Worlds Largest in fact

There are no Prepro's that allow you to do what casablana allows. For instance you can have an input for 2 Channel full Range no crossovers and another input for 2 channel full range with sub. These are single button push controls. This is why people that understand Casablanca would never leave the brand.

You can have a multi channel input for instance from DVD/Bluray with Crossovers set and lets say the sub set equal to normal listening. Then you can have another input for the same DVD/Bluray with the Sub/Subs set for any DB you want so with a single button push you can have the subs set low for night or quiet listening. This incredible flexibility and changeable Dacs makes Casablanca the most amazing world class Pre Pro ever. CRaig

My SSP-800 can do all that smile.gif
post #470 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by wse View Post

My SSP-800 can do all that smile.gif

I really liked the ssp-800. What cinched the deal for me in favor of theta was the ability to have 3 or more separately programmable subs. Left stereo sub, right stereo sub, and additional subs for just the very low frequencies. Play subs in stereo or with the same signal etc.

I'm not sure the classe can do that , but I am not an owner so may be wrong. Perhaps you can do that by programming one of the "aux" outputs?
post #471 of 817
Do any of you guys know which of the high end units have the ability to set active xovers aside from the Datasat??
post #472 of 817
The Cinema Reference has that ability as well- through the Trinnov side.

Dan
post #473 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

I really liked the ssp-800. What cinched the deal for me in favor of theta was the ability to have 3 or more separately programmable subs. Left stereo sub, right stereo sub, and additional subs for just the very low frequencies. Play subs in stereo or with the same signal etc.

I'm not sure the classe can do that , but I am not an owner so may be wrong. Perhaps you can do that by programming one of the "aux" outputs?
The SSP cannot do that. The options for 3 subs are one each for L/C/R, or all three carrying the same audio, with adjustable EQ, delay, and gain for each.
post #474 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

Nothing is better in the market than DATASAT, it's the best.

If you have the budget don't think other brands, because they are only there for those who cannot afford Datasat. The other day i almost laugh when a person from Ada told me the Ada with Trinnov was much much better. Oh well is that so?.... LOL Maybe because the price is higher...LOL

I had holes burning in my pocket wanting to buy the Datasat. Just didn't have much luck on a positive audition. That said, can't agree with your statement. Had no issue with the price. I passed.. (for now).
post #475 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

I really liked the ssp-800. What cinched the deal for me in favor of theta was the ability to have 3 or more separately programmable subs. Left stereo sub, right stereo sub, and additional subs for just the very low frequencies. Play subs in stereo or with the same signal etc.

I'm not sure the classe can do that , but I am not an owner so may be wrong. Perhaps you can do that by programming one of the "aux" outputs?

McIntosh MX151 can do that. Biamped stereo subs plus dedicate lfe sub.
post #476 of 817
hi everyone

i m glad that i have a chance to audit datasat combo for one n a half hour , and i feel its totally cinema sound ,powerful dynamic ,detail everything's fine ,just a little rough for my own favor , i will prefer something more like theta /meridian that have more hifi sound .especially for bluray concert . and of course the result or style will affected by the speaker style very much . so i guess there's nothing win or lose here , the only matter would be ur taste n how u mix n match your system sound .
post #477 of 817
The datsat mith mark levinson and dynaudio confidence sounds way more musical that the in your face meridian and very comparable to the Theta, sorry!
post #478 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post

The datsat mith mark levinson and dynaudio confidence sounds way more musical that the in your face meridian and very comparable to the Theta, sorry!

That is why this is the $20K hang out...
post #479 of 817
Well I figured I would jump back in here again now that I have a brand new Datasat here to compete with my Meridian 861 and Theta Casablanca 2. I won't even discuss how it compares to the Theta because I will be flamed for 2 huge reasons:

1. I don't have extreme DAC's, this will get everyone saying it's not fair comparison.
2. It's not the HDMI version 3 HD, again another thing that will get claims that it's 10000 times better and I am missing out.

Just know that it doesn't compete without those options, or at an extremely higher cost the GEN DAC route. And because Theta is the only company who refuses to let me test the unit in my home, giving me the "oh just buy it, trust me it's the best there ever was" I think I will pass. I would love to hear it, but I won't pay the full price to demo it.

Just before I begin the story, let me state that I have all ATC Active SCM20-2's in my home with a ATC Active C5 center channel. I then have 15" subs powered by McIntosh Amps.

When the Datasat was brought in I had huge high hopes for it. I had been in the mood to buy a new processor to upgrade from my Meridian V2.81 (which has no room correction) that I have owned for all these years (around 10). I was mostly interested in what the additional 8 bits could give to me informationally speaking (16 to 24 bit).

The Datasat rep got right to work on my room (and let me state right now, he was extremely knowledgeable and super nice/friendly to me and my wife). A very positive experience for us on that aspect.

He tested it for problematic frequencies for a good hour but told me that my room is unusually good. There was only one issue at 80HZ which was accentuating a slightly higher frequency. I sat beside him the entire day of setup and he showed me everything he was doing and the results. Immediately I began to think to myself, awesome, I don't need room correction.

After he finished testing the room we hooked up the unit and began to do the speaker calibration levels etc. (not DIRAC RC). After we finished with this, I said ok it's time to compare to my Meridian because my Meridian has no room correction and I wanted to hear them side by side with no advantages so I could hear the difference when comparing basically apples to apples (someone will find a reason to say this isn't apples to apples).

He had previously told me it will destroy the Meridian and so I had high hopes. He said ok what do you want to listen to? I said Diana Krall, love scenes. I chose this disc for two reasons:

1. It is STANDARD DTS Core, not DTS-MA. This way, my Meridian could take full advantage of the signal it received, just as the Datasat would. It is a 1998 recording and sounds amazing.
2. I am extremely familiar with the disc, and have used it as a reference since the day it was released. So I know what to listen for.

Well, when he played it in the Datasat, my wife sitting right beside me says "it sounds good". We listened to a few songs and then was time to switch to Meridian. The second we hit play, my wife and I both looked at each other and she says to me, hmm, it sounds exactly the same. We tried to find things that are different but we couldn't. So we kept switching back and forth between the two units and never could we hear a difference between them. (someone will say, well then you're not a critical listener or wax in my ears or something else completely stupid to question my ability to hear things. The real issue is, it wasn't there. They sounded the same, end of story).

After 1 hour of this he says, what do you think? I said, it sounds the same. Exactly the same. You could see the look of defeat there, but unfortunately there was no questioning it. There was nothing he could say because he was in the same room, hearing the same thing I was.

So, I said ok now let's do the Dirac Live setup and go from there. We were kicked out of our room for a few hours while he setup everything. I watched from a distance as he moved the microphone around the room calibrating and letting Dirac take measurements of the signals/sounds. He began to show me on his laptop how it works, and what was happening etc. Low and behold a few hours later he was done and it was time to begin testing the difference between the Meridian and the Datasat.

At this point I expected my Meridian to be so far away from the same result that the upgrade would prove to be worth every penny. The problem is this didn't happen right away. At this point, we have installed a direct HDMI cable into the Datasat but my poor Meridian was stuck with 1 single ended SPDIF Coax. So now the Datasat has an enormous advantage of pure DTS-MA 24 bit information, compared to my Meridian at 16 bit 48K at best. We tested the differences with Movies at this point WITHOUT DIRAC LIVE TURNED ON: (I wanted to hear the difference jumping from 16/48 to 24/96).

1. Jurrasic Park 1 T-Rex scenes
2. Oblivion - this is absolutely a reference for home theater sound. It is unreal how good this is and I am glad I bought it a few days before he arrived.
3. Iron Man and X-Men

When we played the same movies back and forth between units, there was a very tiny tiny tiny difference in over all ambience in favor of the Datasat. I expected to hear much more, but was constantly reminded how amazing my 861 was and why I have never upgraded for so long.

Now was the moment to turn on Dirac Live and compare them. The instant second he turned it on, I noticed the voices seemed almost impossible to hear. So he went back and recalibrated it and the fronts were a little to hot (loud). After this balance again we got back to work/testing. We started testing Jurassic park and I noticed I could take much more volume with much less of that "scared" feeling that makes you think "oh ****, this is going to hurt". I also noticed the Bass was tighter and definitely had an improved sound quality to it.

We then switched to Oblivion and it was just pure bliss. The biggest difference was that now, the holes of sound I always felt I had were completely gone. It sounded like 100% of my room was full of sound and ambience. Exactly what I would want and expect. We switched back to my Meridian and it no longer could compare to that size of ambience and soundstage presence. You truly felt englufed in the middle of the movie instead of feeling like the movie was just a bunch of loud noises around you and a huge wall of sound somewhere up in the front, along the plane that your speakers are on.

This is when I realized that I had no idea that room correction had a second and more important role. To me this was the most important since I needed no room correction for bad frequencies etc. I realized, oh ****, that thing is not only cleaning up the sound, balancing frequencies, BUT IT'S BRINGING THE SWEET SPOT TO MY SOFA!!

That was a revolation for me. A true learning experience. And so to finish this up and sum it all up, I didn't really hear any difference at all to justify the money until the Dirac was completely correct and projecting the movie/music experience to my seat. It had always been about 3 feet in front of my seated position prior to this with my Meridian (however you don't really notice this, until AFTER you hear what the room correction can do for you).

So for me, the room correction is a worthy investment and will completely change your listening experience/enjoyment. I can't speak for each person's room, but in mine it made an enormous difference to me and my wife.

Dirac Live definitely seems worth it's price and one day I know Theta will offer it to us Casablanca owners and users should be pretty happy with it. At this point, the only additional thing it has done for me is peaked my interest into "hmm, I wonder how the McIntosh 150-151 would sound using RoomPerfect....". For now, I will be returning to my Meridian 861 as I can't justify 20,000.00 for this one feature that I can buy on my computer for 1000.00 and run it into my system. Additionally, 20,000.00 opens up a lot of other possibilities (Theta upgrade with Dirac, McIntosh with RP, Adding a Trinnov after my source and eliminating my 861).
post #480 of 817
Thread Starter 
That was great feedback Maestro. Do you still plan to have an in home audition of the MX151? If so, would love to hear your overall feedback. It's not common to listen to all the top dogs in the same room using your existing gear (speakers, amp, etc).

Nice job.

Tony
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