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Best Surround Processor Currently Available? - Page 17

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 #481 of 817
I sure do plan on listening to the McIntosh in home as well but the date had to be cancelled due to conflicts. I will also be building a home theater machine and using Dirac Live on it to compare as well. I am a computer engineer and after seeing the Datasat, I firmly believe I could build a replica of that and get the same or better results (especially using outboard high level DAC's). I would then also have much more flexibility to upgrade and be in complete control of when/how that happens.

But the pure beautiful look of the MX151 has me drooling. I also want to hear it playing the movie that you all talked about in the MX-151 thread where the door knocks and little girls sounded as if they were right there talking to you. Creepy and awesomeness!!

Maestro2be
post #482 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

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
post #483 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

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.

To me, that is a big deal. I love the idea and the sounds of stereo subs, especially when I play around at 60-100 hz crossovers, in my very large room. Theta and Mx151 provide that ability. Sounds like classe does not. Does the datasat or the ADA also provide that ability?
post #484 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

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

Agree, very nice job.

Maestro - the first part of your experiment very much matches my own experience over 10+ years. Whenever I have switched multi channel processors, the sound difference has always been subtle. Usually present, but Sometimes in audible. In my earlier days, I switched from a B&k to a parasound halo c2 and I was often left wondering what I gained for the extra dollars even with highly resolving speakers (Martin Logan summits).

More recently I upgraded from the parasound halo to a theta cb3hd (playing out to mbl 111 speakers). and while the difference is more than what you observed between meridian/datasat, it was NOT night and day difference (initially). Where the differences became more apparent were in the extreme crossover, slope and signal control that theta and other higher end processors provide for those willing and able to experiment extensively and play around. Now, when I swap out my better-tuned theta versus the best tuned parasound, I hear a lot of difference. Potentially, you may experience the same with a better tuned datasat. A 20 year old, well made leather couch is always hard to beat in comfort smile.gif

Thankfully, theta is kind enough to make sure that my cb3hd is often in the workshop, allowing me to hear that difference very often smile.gif. In fact, much like a Ferrari, theta is missing the opportunity to market how frequently it needs to be sent back to the mother ship for "checks". For that reason, the venerable old parasound has a permanent place in my rack (and my heart).

A second reason I am very grateful to theta these days is the delays in Dirac implementation. As a result, I have invested thousands of dollars in diffusers and absorbers and thick carpets and cross over points etc, and my room has never sounded better. With the instant gratification of Dirac, I would not have had the pleasure of stuffing my room with all this crap, not to mention the constant opportunities to annoy my wife as yet more absorbers and diffusers and room installers keep showing up. Getting Dirac now, or in 2017, will be quite disappointing actually sort of like coming to the end of a good movie.

On a separate note, Amplifiers, I have almost given up trying to hear differences. To my ears, all well made amps with similar power and thd sound very similar, bordering on identical. Cables...(I'll stop there)
post #485 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

To me, that is a big deal. I love the idea and the sounds of stereo subs, especially when I play around at 60-100 hz crossovers, in my very large room. Theta and Mx151 provide that ability. Sounds like classe does not. Does the datasat or the ADA also provide that ability?

The Datasat will allow you to run mono subs, L/R front SUBS, front / back subs, LR Front / back and LR FRONT / LRback.
post #486 of 817
Impressive. Sounds like theta and datasat and mx151 are on par there
post #487 of 817
I think where the Datasat steps ahead is channel count. With 16 channels currently available you can run full neo x with 4 subs. Soon there will be an 8 channel expansion card giving it 24 channels so one can still run an 11.1 system all activity biamped or add more side speakers etc.

Not to mention that Auro 3D will soon be added to the Datasats capabilities.
post #488 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

Impressive. Sounds like theta and datasat and mx151 are on par there

Ha!
post #489 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Ha!

Hey Jeff,

You may want to check out the official Theta thread, as you've been recently mentioned there - seems like you've been missed smile.gif They've been waiting for 2 years for Dirac Live, and some folks are getting anxious...

Dave
post #490 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

McIntosh MX151 can do that. Biamped stereo subs plus dedicate lfe sub.
I think that is slightly different from what adanny was describing. He wants to run L/R subs with a third sub that covers only the bass the L/R subs cannot reproduce. At minimum it involves another set of filters to set the LPF for the ULF sub, and ideally another set of HPF's for the L/R subs to complement the ULF sub. This in addition to a means to derive a different bass signal for that third sub.

I'd assume LFE would exist in all 3 subs.
post #491 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

To me, that is a big deal. I love the idea and the sounds of stereo subs, especially when I play around at 60-100 hz crossovers, in my very large room. Theta and Mx151 provide that ability. Sounds like classe does not. Does the datasat or the ADA also provide that ability?
I do not think the MX151 does what you originally described. Perhaps I misunderstand exactly what you want to do. Got a diagram?
post #492 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I do not think the MX151 does what you originally described. Perhaps I misunderstand exactly what you want to do. Got a diagram?

Roger,

There is a subwoofer biamp feature which allows you to assign aux ports 1 and 2 to the left and right speakers as stereo subs. This configuration treats the subs + the mains as a full range biamped speaker. In addition, you can add another subwoofer via the sub out port for dedicated LFE duties.

Details on this configuration can be found in the first few pages of the owner's thread.
Edited by adidino - 9/5/13 at 8:17pm
post #493 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Roger,

There is a subwoofer biamp feature which allows you to assign aux ports 1 and 2 to the left and right speakers as stereo subs. This configuration treats the subs + the mains as a full range biamped speaker. In addition, you can add another subwoofer via the sub out port for dedicated LFE duties.

Details on this configuration can be found in the first few pages of the owner's thread.

Correct. I am running stereo subs now (bi-amped with the mains). I don't have a third sub,so my LFE passes through these subs, but I could add one and pass just LFE through the subwoofer channel and have all other channels' bass energy route through the aux stereo subs
post #494 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Roger,

There is a subwoofer biamp feature which allows you to assign aux ports 1 and 2 to the left and right speakers as stereo subs. This configuration treats the subs + the mains as a full range biamped speaker. In addition, you can add another subwoofer via the sub out port for dedicated LFE duties.

Details on this configuration can be found in the first few pages of the owner's thread.
I understand. I'm just saying that this is not what adanny described as being necessary and supplied by the Theta. I'm not actually sure the Theta can do what he describes, either, but that may be my lack of understanding his exact needs. Hence my request for clarification/diagram.

For refresher:
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.
adanny, when you say "for just the very low frequencies" our McIntosh users interpret that to mean the LFE channel. I took it to be the lower frequencies of all the channels. Could you clarify?
Edited by Roger Dressler - 9/5/13 at 11:48pm
post #495 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

There is a subwoofer biamp feature which allows you to assign aux ports 1 and 2 to the left and right speakers as stereo subs. This configuration treats the subs + the mains as a full range biamped speaker. In addition, you can add another subwoofer via the sub out port for dedicated LFE duties.
My 12-year-old Lex has the same feature: left subwoofer output, right subwoofer output, dedicated LFE subwoofer output. The left and right subs can be run as true stereo or dual mono. Ran my subs in stereo for years, with the subs placed directly at my sides to emphasize the stereo bass effect.

BTW, adanny made it seem like he was asking for a second set of bass management crossover to split the contents going to the subwoofers (i.e., a separate output to play back frequencies below his stereo subs).
post #496 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I do not think the MX151 does what you originally described. Perhaps I misunderstand exactly what you want to do. Got a diagram?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I understand. I'm just saying that this is not what adanny described as being necessary and supplied by the Theta. I'm not actually sure the Theta can do what he describes, either, but that may be my lack of understanding his exact needs. Hence my request for clarification/diagram.

For refresher:
adanny, when you say "for just the very low frequencies" our McIntosh users interpret that to mean the LFE channel. I took it to be the lower frequencies of all the channels. Could you clarify?

I meant the LFE channel. I will check whether the Theta can do low frequencies of all channels but I haven't tried to do that
post #497 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

My 12-year-old Lex has the same feature: left subwoofer output, right subwoofer output, dedicated LFE subwoofer output. The left and right subs can be run as true stereo or dual mono. Ran my subs in stereo for years, with the subs placed directly at my sides to emphasize the stereo bass effect.

BTW, adanny made it seem like he was asking for a second set of bass management crossover to split the contents going to the subwoofers (i.e., a separate output to play back frequencies below his stereo subs).

Apologies if i misled. I meant, a separate set of subs Just for the LFE channels. I currently have two subs (f212s) playing in stereo sitting next to my mains. I have just ordered two more subs (from mark seatn) which will sit in the back of the room For a total of 4 subs. The rear subs will receive the LFE signal. I had not thought about sending the rear subs LFE, plus low frequencies of all channels.

For those of you that have played around with multiple subs in configurations such as these, what has been your experience? Theoretically, subs in stereo should result in better spatial resolution but a less flat room response. All subs receiving the same signal should yield a flatter room response. I have not tested that yet
post #498 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

For those of you that have played around with multiple subs in configurations such as these, what has been your experience? Theoretically, subs in stereo should result in better spatial resolution but a less flat room response. All subs receiving the same signal should yield a flatter room response. I have not tested that yet
It is as you describe: stereo bass sounds more spacious, multi-mono bass makes it easier to get a smoother response.

Mono bass (even from multiple subs) tends to have that thumping in-your-chest feel, while stereo bass feels like it's all around you (like the bass you hear at live events). So, stereo bass isn't about directionality, since low frequencies aren't localizable, but more about externalization. It's not to everyone's tastes, since most people find it kinda phasey sounding.

There are some caveats to hearing the effect. The content itself has to have truly decorrelated low frequencies, not summed to mono (like 99% of the recordings out there), which is hard to find short of some good recordings by John Eargle on the Delos label. Also, the lower in frequency you go, the wider apart the speakers need to be in order to hear stereo. Placing the subs directly to the sides of the listening position puts them 180° apart, which is as wide apart as it gets, while placing them forward or rearward of the listening position makes that angle smaller.

For those wanting to delve deeper into it, check out the following papers:

Stereo_Bass_AESpaper.pdf 911k .pdf file

Stereo-Bass_Griesinger.pdf 148k .pdf file

In both cases, first read the conclusion of the paper (will take 30 seconds), then go back to the begining. Makes it much easier to get a grip on the explanation.
post #499 of 817
WHat is the difference between PLIIz, DTS NEOx and Trinnov 2-D and 3-D remapping?
post #500 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

It is as you describe: stereo bass sounds more spacious, multi-mono bass makes it easier to get a smoother response.

Mono bass (even from multiple subs) tends to have that thumping in-your-chest feel, while stereo bass feels like it's all around you (like the bass you hear at live events). So, stereo bass isn't about directionality, since low frequencies aren't localizable, but more about externalization. It's not to everyone's tastes, since most people find it kinda phasey sounding.

There are some caveats to hearing the effect. The content itself has to have truly decorrelated low frequencies, not summed to mono (like 99% of the recordings out there), which is hard to find short of some good recordings by John Eargle on the Delos label. Also, the lower in frequency you go, the wider apart the speakers need to be in order to hear stereo. Placing the subs directly to the sides of the listening position puts them 180° apart, which is as wide apart as it gets, while placing them forward or rearward of the listening position makes that angle smaller.

For those wanting to delve deeper into it, check out the following papers:

Stereo_Bass_AESpaper.pdf 911k .pdf file

Stereo-Bass_Griesinger.pdf 148k .pdf file

In both cases, first read the conclusion of the paper (will take 30 seconds), then go back to the begining. Makes it much easier to get a grip on the explanation.

Excellent papers, sanjay (i think thats your name?). Thanks a lot for posting. i really enjoyed reading them this morning.

Building on what you say above, here is what I took away:
1. Can we spatially locate low frequencies? Unambiguously YES. Pretty clear qualitative and quantitative evidence that stereo subs can be "detected" by the human ear. To quote the AES paper "binaural detection by humans in the octave 45-90 Hz is physiologically possible". I was unaware that the evidence is scientific and compelling, yet so few audiophiles are aware of this or bother with stereo subs?

2. So fine, we can detect stereo subs. But is it more pleasant or real sounding? Pretty clearly YES as well. Author quotes the AES Banff conference in 2004 and his research with 6 experienced audio and music professionals. Both music/movie ambience was inevitably and reproducibly viewed by experts and larger audiences to be "more life like, natural, integrated with high frequency components..." when played binaurally through stereo subs. This appears to be a contradiction of your summary that most people find it less pleasant and phasey sounding? Am I missing something?

3. The bigger impact of stereo subs is not spatial localization of individual low frequencies but, as you say, externalization and the sensation of a concert/opera hall like sound. Both papers unequivocally state this. For higher frequencies, BTW, this is exactly why I bought MBL speakers. Delighted to see/hear that a similar spatially filling sound can also be achieved/created for 45-90 Hz by stereo subs.

4. Where should Subs in stereo be placed? Answer: Sides of the room and ideally the main speakers should on the long wall in a rectangle room. The latter point is counter intuitive to what most experts and laymen believe, or do in practice i.e. most of us place our main speakers (and our subs) on the short wall. Interetingly, again, MBL has always recommended that where possible place main L/R speakers on the long wall, symmetrically. In practice, this is sometimes hard. A practical solution of placing two subs in the front corners (same wall as L/R mains, but wider than them) or 4 subs, one in each corner, slightly assymetrically appears to be a practical and still audibly pleasant compromise.

5. Is there sufficient low frquency, stereo signal recorded? Yes. Plenty of low frequency stereo signal below 90 Hz recorded in stereo is already available, which higher end processors should decode in stereo. This also is in contradiction to your statement above, sdurani?

6. LFE below ~40 Hz does not need to be in Stereo.

7. How should 2 Subs be connected? Left sub should get L + SL + C + LFE signal. Right sub should get R + SR + C + LFE signal

8. How should 4 subs be connected? The paper does not talk about this. I wish it did. I would hypothesize that the rear two subs should mirror the signal of the front two subs. Ie Left Front and Left Rear Subs should get the same signal and vice versa. This is because the critical signal from 45-90 Hz is not to allow pinpoint sound localization but an overall enveloping, externalized and concert like sound and not just a thumping that presents exactly the same sound pressure to both ears at the seating place.

9. Finally, do Stereo subs create other problems especially by not making the room response as flat as an equal number of mono subs would? Frankly, I could not get a clear resonse from the papers but I also did not read them as critically and slowly as I should have (or would have in my younger days!).

Sdurani - you state what my original hypothesis was i.e. Mono subs would make the room response flatter than an equal number of stereo subs - thereby presenting us with a tradeoff. Do we want a flatter response from mono subs or the spatial envelopment of stereo subs? I quote one line from the AES paper which says: "use of two (or even number of) subwoofers resulted in less pronounced resonance effects from room modes and supports "positional EQ" of the listening space." Unfortunately, he does not clearly state which provides better positional or connectional EQ: 2 subs in mono or two subs in stereo?

In summary, I would say that any high end AV system MUST:
1. Connect 2 or 4 (or even number of) subs. This is of course old news
2. A high end processor must be able to run the subs in Stereo, as described above, for the 45-90 Hz frequencies. The listener will be rewarded with a spatially richer, concert like sound that is more pleasant than mono LF sound.
3. try to connect your mains on the long wall of a rectangle room, and your 2 subs in middle of the short wall i.e. on either side of the listener. (BTW - very nice pictures in the AES paper). Square rooms suck and must be avoided at all costs. Sitting in the dead middle of a rectangle room must alsoi be avoided.
4. if executing point # 3 is difficult, pretty good (nearly equal) results can also be achieved by placing 2 subs in the front two corners or 4 in the 4 corners, slightly assymetrically.
5. There may be atradeoff involved in that stereo subs will present a flatter room response than a single sub but perhaps not as flat as an equal number of mono subs. (This point remains unclear in my mind). in any event, the spatial advantages of stereo subs trump whatever little room node flattening advantages mono subs present. This last point is unequivocal from these papers.

Thanks again for posting the papers. Loved them. Hope Ive summarized them accurately and hopfeully usefully for others

adanny
post #501 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

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?
That's tough. After the next hardware upgrade, I don't think there will be anything. Perhaps some could be using the very first dac cards in their units? The next hardware upgrade will have a new SPDIF input board, and new dsp chips all on one board. That's going to free slots on the Casablanca for other stuff.
post #502 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

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?

To expand a bit on what Bulldogger already described, one older board will still remain after the forthcoming upgrade.
Only the Analog Input Card remains basically unchanged from the original CB-I.

Otherwise, as Bulldogger was saying, with the next upgrade everything else will have been changed out entirely by the time a unit becomes a CB-IIIHD, right down to the original chassis being replaced, which was smaller in the CB-I but could still be used right up to the CB-III upgrade, if the unit wasn't to have Extreme DAC cards and the original power supply didn't need to be replaced.
Even the front panel buttons and seals were improved over time and changed out, along with the front panel display itself. As was even smaller details, like improvements to ribbon wire, and even they've been changed out.


So basically, the CB-IIIHD is so different from the CB-I that not only will every part have been changed, with the exception of the Analog Input Card, but a CB-IIIHD would not even fit into a CB-I
post #503 of 817
I have pair of avantgarde acoustics speakers and a 11.2 channel total setup with massive JL audio fathom 212 subs.

I use a Pass Labs Class A amplifier

Despite the high price of my gear, the integra 80.3 audyssey setup sounds simply amazing for a preamp less than $3000.

Most of the audio "high end" gear is now technically either inferior or only marginally better with advancements in dacs over the last 10 yrs.

meridian, parasound, and other brands mentioned simply do not offer the value offered by other brands unless you just want a audiophile brandname.

This is reflected by the HUGE slowdown in most audiophile brands in offering movie codes like dts master audio ... Which sounds stunning... The "audiophile" brands are simply a decade or more LATE and are not competitive lately.
post #504 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

I have pair of avantgarde acoustics speakers and a 11.2 channel total setup with massive JL audio fathom 212 subs.

I use a Pass Labs Class A amplifier

Despite the high price of my gear, the integra 80.3 audyssey setup sounds simply amazing for a preamp less than $3000.

Most of the audio "high end" gear is now technically either inferior or only marginally better with advancements in dacs over the last 10 yrs.

meridian, parasound, and other brands mentioned simply do not offer the value offered by other brands unless you just want a audiophile brandname.

This is reflected by the HUGE slowdown in most audiophile brands in offering movie codes like dts master audio ... Which sounds stunning... The "audiophile" brands are simply a decade or more LATE and are not competitive lately.

I used to own the 80.3 - nice unit. The Marantz 8801, which I also owned, is better.

The McIntosh 151, which I currently own, is appreciably better than that.

I'm never going to argue the value proposition, just intrinsic qualitative experiences. Lyngdorf's Room Perfect does a far better job than Audyssey Pro XT32. I'm sure other's here appreciate Trinnov or Dirac over Audyssey.

I don't understand your last sentence.
post #505 of 817
Some brands simply stopped putting out new pre-amps and processors and appear to have given up on the surround processor / HDMI rat-race.

In a few years when surround mode "x" and more channels are available, a $2000-3000 pre-amp can be replaced after a quick sale. When the next HDMI option for 4K projectors arrives, you can be fairly certain that Integra or Marantz won't take a decade to come out with a replacement.

All things considered, I just don't think it is reasonable to consider a unit such as the Integra 80.3 anything short of miraculous given what it does for the price. Don't forget that the home integration (IP controllable features) is fairly simple as well.

The differences between "high-end" and medium end consumer products like Marantz and Integra have narrowed dramatically.

I have 11 channels and 6 subwoofers so I can appreciate the need for room correction and multichannel pre-amps but I draw the line at an item that will be marginally better and obsolete very rapidly... or even worse: incompatible.
post #506 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

Some brands simply stopped putting out new pre-amps and processors and appear to have given up on the surround processor / HDMI rat-race.

In a few years when surround mode "x" and more channels are available, a $2000-3000 pre-amp can be replaced after a quick sale. When the next HDMI option for 4K projectors arrives, you can be fairly certain that Integra or Marantz won't take a decade to come out with a replacement.

All things considered, I just don't think it is reasonable to consider a unit such as the Integra 80.3 anything short of miraculous given what it does for the price. Don't forget that the home integration (IP controllable features) is fairly simple as well.

The differences between "high-end" and medium end consumer products like Marantz and Integra have narrowed dramatically.

I have 11 channels and 6 subwoofers so I can appreciate the need for room correction and multichannel pre-amps but I draw the line at an item that will be marginally better and obsolete very rapidly... or even worse: incompatible.

I think you've missed the point of this thread - its not "the best value surround processor currently available", just :"the best surround processor currently available" I don't think anyone here would argue products like the Integra and the Marantz aren't super values for what they provide - as I noted, I owned both, and had an 11.x setup with all 800 series Diamond's as part of the 8801 setup.

But being the best value doesn't make them the best-sounding units either, which I think is a huge part of this thread's criteria.

I had an opportunity to listen to the 151 for a week in home, no obligation - a dealer loaner. Like you, I felt that it couldn't be "better" than my 8801, and, if anything, the in-home demo was going to validate that the differences, if any, were so small that it would confirm my beliefs. Fast forward - the 8801 is gone, three sets of Diamond speakers are gone, and I am much happier with the experience of a 7.x setup and the 151. I was that blown away by the intrinsic quality of the McIntosh sound, and the benefits of Room Perfect were undeniable. The 151 supports all current needs, including IP and serial control, and greater set-up flexibility. When 4k becomes mainstream, and I have more than two 4k sources, then I'd likely purchase a future/forthcoming 4k Lumagen VP to handle corrections and switching and not worry about 4k in my processor, whatever it is. When true, discrete greater than seven-channel mixes become a reality, that might be a time to reconsider a different processor, but as my experience taught me, more isn't automatically better when it comes to sound channels if they are not discretely mixed.

Nothing is perfect or forever, and we both likely will have new gear, including processor, in 2-3 years. (the Datasat owners are investing in the idea of upgrading the same chassis, so I'll exclude them for the moment).

If people are fortunate enough, they will indulge to seek their best in areas that they are passionate about - in this case, the best home theater surround processor. Cars would be analogous.. They all do they same fundamental things, with the same minimum safety standards, and there's probably ample tech and wizardry in a mid-range $40-50k car, so why buy a $100k car? Yes, there's more tech, more engineering, better quality components, better styling, more power. Yet one still cannot argue value - cars shed dollars more rapidly than a cat loses hair, so it's not "smart" to spend that much. But when I drive my new 650 convertible, it's not about the value, it's about the experience (which is exhilarating!!)
post #507 of 817
I don't doubt that the megabuck units like Datasat, Meridian, ADA, Theta, etc are all terrific and worth every penny spent by those who selected them (at least in their mind) for their home theaters, here's what I keep coming back to when I start thinking about upgrading: Just a couple of years ago producers of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival presumably had carte-blanche to select a surround processor for their main listening venue, yet despite the availability of the aforementioned brands they selected the affordable though already "dated" JBL Synthesis AV-1, aka the Lexicon MC-4. Now it soothes my pocketbook as well as my ego to remember that event and consider that if the AV-1 was good enough for the industry pros at Cannes it's good enough for my far more modest venue. That does not mean I think that (as said dated) AV-1 is the best SSP available by any means. But after reading about some of the high-priced auditons described here I just can't thinking that that the "installed and calibrated by professional technician" demos kinda remind me of the old high-end stereo store trick of tweaking the volume control to sell more expensive speakers/amps/preamp, etc. Yeah there's a lot more involved and certainly more impressive technology than a volume control, but even so I wonder whether a rather minor and probably subjective "improvement" is really worth >$20,000. That is a question each buyer has to answer for themselves of course, which explains why we don't all buy the same equipment.
post #508 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

I don't doubt that the megabuck units like Datasat, Meridian, ADA, Theta, etc are all terrific and worth every penny spent by those who selected them (at least in their mind) for their home theaters, here's what I keep coming back to when I start thinking about upgrading: Just a couple of years ago producers of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival presumably had carte-blanche to select a surround processor for their main listening venue, yet despite the availability of the aforementioned brands they selected the affordable though already "dated" JBL Synthesis AV-1, aka the Lexicon MC-4. Now it soothes my pocketbook as well as my ego to remember that event and consider that if the AV-1 was good enough for the industry pros at Cannes it's good enough for my far more modest venue. That does not mean I think that (as said dated) AV-1 is the best SSP available by any means. But after reading about some of the high-priced auditons described here I just can't thinking that that the "installed and calibrated by professional technician" demos kinda remind me of the old high-end stereo store trick of tweaking the volume control to sell more expensive speakers/amps/preamp, etc. Yeah there's a lot more involved and certainly more impressive technology than a volume control, but even so I wonder whether a rather minor and probably subjective "improvement" is really worth >$20,000. That is a question each buyer has to answer for themselves of course, which explains why we don't all buy the same equipment.
If you've ever been to these film festivals (I have), they have a number of theaters scattered all over the local venue. From movie houses, to auditoriums, to conference centers, bars, etc. In fact, in speaking for Telluride and Sundance, many theaters don't even have subs or a full array of surrounds. Many lesser theaters have folding chairs in disarray. There are many make shift theater houses all over the city to show as many movies at once as possible. They do the best they can but remember, these are typically indie films and the soundtracks are little part of the story and are treated poorly.
post #509 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

...I just can't thinking (sic) that that the "installed and calibrated by professional technician" demos kinda remind me of the old high-end stereo store trick of tweaking the volume control to sell more expensive speakers/amps/preamp, etc. Yeah there's a lot more involved and certainly more impressive technology than a volume control, but even so I wonder whether a rather minor and probably subjective "improvement"....

False analogy and the improvements are neither minor nor subjective, IME.

 

Value, as always, is in the eye of the beholder.

post #510 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

False analogy and the improvements are neither minor nor subjective, IME.

Value, as always, is in the eye of the beholder.

I was thinking the same. Quite significant improvements can be achieved by moving up the processor foodchain, admittedly at significant cost. Not any different from any luxury good, some of which in fact offer zero performance advantage and are 100% prestige (think expensive watches).

Obsolescence because of lacking compatibility with new video protocols is a total non issue, as the value of the video switching ability of an audio processor is about the $100 it cost to get a monoprice HDMI switcher to do the video switching for you.
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