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Best Surround Processor Currently Available? - Page 18

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 #511 of 817
Quote:
Have you tried DIRAC? $600 is a lot to spend just for music from the computer?

That's peanuts or chump change in this forum
post #512 of 817
Didn't know if this had been posted anywhere in this section, but here is Kal's review of Trinnov:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-62
post #513 of 817
How come people here are comparing a Mcintosh MX-151 to a Datasat? Is this for real or is this a joke?

Datasat is another league...maybe Mcintosh is good or better for music, but nothing else...
post #514 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

How come people here are comparing a Mcintosh MX-151 to a Datasat? Is this for real or is this a joke?

Datasat is another league...maybe Mcintosh is good or better for music, but nothing else...

Based on the two bad Datasat demos received at authorized dealers, I could use your vernacular and agree that the Datasat is in another league - the minors. But that would be very bad of me to show such poor form...

Unless you've spent a lot of time listening to the 151, it is uninformed to be so dismissive. Honestly, I know the demos of the Datasat weren't right, so the jury is still out in my mind, but there was no where else to go and listen at the time, and there was no way I was going to invest based on what I heard - and what we experienced from a dealer knowledge perspective.
post #515 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

Based on the two bad Datasat demos received at authorized dealers, I could use your vernacular and agree that the Datasat is in another league - the minors. But that would be very bad of me to show such poor form...

Unless you've spent a lot of time listening to the 151, it is uninformed to be so dismissive. Honestly, I know the demos of the Datasat weren't right, so the jury is still out in my mind, but there was no where else to go and listen at the time, and there was no way I was going to invest based on what I heard - and what we experienced from a dealer knowledge perspective.

I am sure you didn't heard the proper Demo. Some Dealers should have fines by the Distributor for doing such a mess... But believe me, Datasat is something very special... wink.gif
post #516 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

How come people here are comparing a Mcintosh MX-151 to a Datasat? Is this for real or is this a joke?

Datasat is another league...maybe Mcintosh is good or better for music, but nothing else...

Not sure where that statement comes from but I have to disagree. I'm with Thrang on this one.

Datasat demoes from authorized dealers were not impressive. I'm sure they were configuration issues but the bottom line two dealers couldn't make it happen.

To proclaim the McIntosh is good for music and not much else is an oblivious statement.
post #517 of 817
Actually it is the opposite. The 151's strong point is movies as the signal path stays in the digital domain. It is a very impressive piece with Lyngdorf. In music it is quite good, but it does not have a true analog signal path as everything is converted back to digital...so one can do better if movies aren't the priority. The 151 is far from a joke including its price.
post #518 of 817
Don't get me wrong guys, I'm a sound nut like most here and have spent more than probabaly most here. Current room + equip is around $300k which is fairly hardcore by most standards. I have a hydronic heated floor to avoid wind noise and a house built more or less on bedrock....

The discussion about the mcIntosh processor has peaked my interest certainly and certainly would love to set it up in my room one day as a test run.

I find that may day-to-day usage of my home theater experience is not a search for illusive perfection as much as it once was. I find i do better spending half as much and upgrading more frequently when it comes to pre-pro's.

Even audyssey will likely do better with each new iteration of their technology. I have found very good results with with my main/sub combination for music playback with audyssey.

Movies effects have been amazingly enhanced by:
1.blu ray surround formats
2.room acoustics planning and tuning
3. Subwoofer eq
4. Tons of channels with extras powered by audyssey matrixing.
5. The rest of Room eq for other speakers besides subs

Honestly in my view the available room solutions all do a pretty decent job now for mains/subs. They are each +\- a bit in capabilities. My view of overall room EQ is that I i barely notice equalization differences etc on the surround speakers much less the "height" channels which are barely noticable anyway.

Having heard a discreet multichannel 20 channel THX demo long ago. i can promise you that more surround channels make more of a "suspension of reality" difference than ANYTHING datastat can do with existing dts soundtracks.

I would personally start saving up for a DD "atmos" speakers/system now as opposed to buying a fancy DTS rig such as what datasat provides no matter how perfect it supposedly sounds. The fact that it doesnt play dolby HD signals is basically silliness. Do They want to punish movie producers or do they want to punish the guy that buys a $20000 processor?

Anyway I'm rambling... Bottom line I would need emperical evidence or an avalanche of positive opinions before spending $20000+ on the "best" processor/room correction available. Room corrections isnt magic and there is most certainly a point of extreme diminshing returns in price/performance value. I get nervous when a room correction newcomers throw out very new/pricey products that are "unique" or "high end" for manufacturers like mcintosh to differentiate themselves.
post #519 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

Don't get me wrong guys, I'm a sound nut like most here and have spent more than probabaly most here. Current room + equip is around $300k which is fairly hardcore by most standards. I have a hydronic heated floor to avoid wind noise and a house built more or less on bedrock....

The discussion about the mcIntosh processor has peaked my interest certainly and certainly would love to set it up in my room one day as a test run.

I find that may day-to-day usage of my home theater experience is not a search for illusive perfection as much as it once was. I find i do better spending half as much and upgrading more frequently when it comes to pre-pro's.

Even audyssey will likely do better with each new iteration of their technology. I have found very good results with with my main/sub combination for music playback with audyssey.

Movies effects have been amazingly enhanced by:
1.blu ray surround formats
2.room acoustics planning and tuning
3. Subwoofer eq
4. Tons of channels with extras powered by audyssey matrixing.
5. The rest of Room eq for other speakers besides subs

Honestly in my view the available room solutions all do a pretty decent job now for mains/subs. They are each +\- a bit in capabilities. My view of overall room EQ is that I i barely notice equalization differences etc on the surround speakers much less the "height" channels which are barely noticable anyway.

Having heard a discreet multichannel 20 channel THX demo long ago. i can promise you that more surround channels make more of a "suspension of reality" difference than ANYTHING datastat can do with existing dts soundtracks.

I would personally start saving up for a DD "atmos" speakers/system now as opposed to buying a fancy DTS rig such as what datasat provides no matter how perfect it supposedly sounds. The fact that it doesnt play dolby HD signals is basically silliness. Do They want to punish movie producers or do they want to punish the guy that buys a $20000 processor?

Anyway I'm rambling... Bottom line I would need emperical evidence or an avalanche of positive opinions before spending $20000+ on the "best" processor/room correction available. Room corrections isnt magic and there is most certainly a point of extreme diminshing returns in price/performance value. I get nervous when a room correction newcomers throw out very new/pricey products that are "unique" or "high end" for manufacturers like mcintosh to differentiate themselves.

You need to do some better homework!

The DataSat RS20i has had ALL dolby codecs since the new dsp card was made available from April. And it will soon get the Auro 3D upgrade likely by end of year!

The height channels on the rs20i whether using pl2z or NEO x are way more than barely noticeable. Jurassic park in neo x is the best I have ever heard it. The heights make the rain sound like it is Falling from all around. And once the auro update is available there will be back heights to make it even more immersive.

And I am still yet to get Dirac up and running on mine, the sound is just sublime. Whether listening to classical two channel music ( better than my old linn klimax system ) or listening to the latest bombastic Hollywood release. Never ceases to make my jaw drop every time.
post #520 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post


Anyway I'm rambling... Bottom line I would need emperical evidence or an avalanche of positive opinions before spending $20000+ on the "best" processor/room correction available. Room corrections isnt magic and there is most certainly a point of extreme diminshing returns in price/performance value. I get nervous when a room correction newcomers throw out very new/pricey products that are "unique" or "high end" for manufacturers like mcintosh to differentiate themselves.

You'll find plenty folks on the record that DRC transformed their system and that Dirac and Trinnov are leaders of the pack. As with all things audio, complete consensus you'll never get.
post #521 of 817
Yeah... This is a tough time to buy audio now. With Auro, Atmos, and Neo X either coming (or not) or so few recordings available with the encoding (I think Expendables 2 is the only Neo X release), it's a tough decision. Sort of in between formats right now.

Clearly room correction and set ups greater than 7.1 are the wave of the next generation of reference theaters... but when will these discrete codecs come to home theater?? Until then Dirac Live and Trinnov processing are the leaders.

The Datasat is clearly the most future proof and highest quality SSP to date. It looks very updatable and will likely to be the first to have the new codecs when they come in the next few years.

Then you have Trinnov processing that is incredibly excellent backed by a well respected company. Clearly a leader if not the leader in the field for room correction. It does it's own thing to add channels to the mix.

My thinking is with all of this uncertainty and essentially no software for these new formats, the Trinnov is the good bet for reference room correction. Firstly, no HDMI to contend with so none of the HDMI related issues with hand shakes or needing to pass future formats (4K). As a piece that essentially post processes the signal, it seems like the right piece today as the inout can be digitally fed either from a modded BD player or a piece like the Theta via its forthcoming PRC card. Then again, you can use any run of the mill SSP and feed the MC by analog if you have to have an SSP. As having a movie only room, I really don't see a need,

If you look to the future, it looks like at least 9.1 speakers is the next wave (though I am likely going to go 13.1). The Trinnov like the Datasat can handle up to 16 channels of output but if you want more (or actively cross things over, you would even need more channels of output). Ideally, if you want to be future proof, you'd want a piece that could input more than 8 channels. The MC can't but the next model up can. Then you could go crazy and actively crossover any number of speakers AND accept a potential 13.1 input from a future Atmos or Auro.

I think adding speakers now is a good move and using a piece like the Trinnov or Datasat is the best way. They can apply their magic to 5.1 and 7.1 recordings. In the future, Ideally you could add an SSP in front of the Trinnov if the Trinnov is not decoding these formats (though Curt said it is certainly feasible and possible Trinnov would provide decoding of these if they become accepted formats). Then you could decode these in that SSP, send digitally to the Trinnov and have the best of both wolds! Then again, like the players of today decode TRUE HD and DTS MA, tomorrows could decode a potential Atmos or Auro codec - then no need for an SSP.

Very cool stuff!
post #522 of 817
Have Atmos said as yet as to whether it's going to be available for home use?

I think DTS MDA will be out in the home before Atmos.
post #523 of 817
Forget Atmos at home IMO. Auro is here now and technically is a much better match for the home. Also forget 13.1 layouts for home unless you are also giving up on Bluray!
post #524 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceenhad View Post

Forget Atmos at home IMO. Auro is here now and technically is a much better match for the home. Also forget 13.1 layouts for home unless you are also giving up on Bluray!

Hi Neil,

I like the idea of 3 fronts, 3 sides, 2 rears and two up high up front. The Trinnov (and Datasat can do that.

Tell me about Auro... I read about your sweet set up and it seemed like you had gear from Barco and a decoder. What is Auro? Is it discrete and over 8 channels? Do you need specialty mixes on Blu Ray?

Thanks!
post #525 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

They can apply their magic to 5.1 and 7.1 recordings.

I believe Trinnov can map up to 7 input channels to any number of output channels (up to 32), but as far as I know Datasat is limited to the number of input channels given it by whatever format it uses.
post #526 of 817
@thebland thanks for your comments. If you are really interested in this then a nice trip to London should be on your list since you cant experience it anywhere else right now.

Auro is a sound codec in the same sense as DTS-MA etc. it needs a dedicated decoder to process the data stream from 5.1 to 11 or even 13.1. You can check it on the auro website which has a couple of good white papers.

The big advantage of Auro is that it is channel based not object based. That means the decoder does not need specific information on each speaker to direct sound correctly. It also, critically, does not rely on the existence of pre created meta data to define the spatial position of sounds. Thus it is relatively straight forward to create an upmix from x to y channels in real time with convincing results.

Auro is designed to extend the traditional 5.1 layout rather than replace it. That makes it easy to add to existing systems (a huge advantage commercially and domestically) and the upmixer allows all of those speakers to be usefully employed for all types of content and sources such as sports from your cable box etc.

It is important to understand that this is not exactly what Trinnov does. A decoder outputs data to specific channels as defined by the standards for the given format. Consider the classic ITU 5.1 as a well known example layout that DTS and Dolby surround codecs are mapped to. Similarly Auro has a number of standard layouts based on channel count that would be ideally matched in the playback space but is even more difficult to achieve than a simple 5.1!

Spatial remapping in Trinnov seeks to map the physical layout in the room to an idealised layout so the output from the decoder is played back in close to ideal conditions. Same will be true for 3d sound where I expect the benefits of spatial remapping to be felt even more keenly.

For sure the future at the high end combines 3d physical layout and decoding with spatial remapping. This is bleeding edge now but the 3d part at least will be mainstream as quickly as Cedia next week.
post #527 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceenhad View Post

@thebland thanks for your comments. If you are really interested in this then a nice trip to London should be on your list since you cant experience it anywhere else right now.

Auro is a sound codec in the same sense as DTS-MA etc. it needs a dedicated decoder to process the data stream from 5.1 to 11 or even 13.1. You can check it on the auro website which has a couple of good white papers.

The big advantage of Auro is that it is channel based not object based. That means the decoder does not need specific information on each speaker to direct sound correctly. It also, critically, does not rely on the existence of pre created meta data to define the spatial position of sounds. Thus it is relatively straight forward to create an upmix from x to y channels in real time with convincing results.

Auro is designed to extend the traditional 5.1 layout rather than replace it. That makes it easy to add to existing systems (a huge advantage commercially and domestically) and the upmixer allows all of those speakers to be usefully employed for all types of content and sources such as sports from your cable box etc.

It is important to understand that this is not exactly what Trinnov does. A decoder outputs data to specific channels as defined by the standards for the given format. Consider the classic ITU 5.1 as a well known example layout that DTS and Dolby surround codecs are mapped to. Similarly Auro has a number of standard layouts based on channel count that would be ideally matched in the playback space but is even more difficult to achieve than a simple 5.1!

Spatial remapping in Trinnov seeks to map the physical layout in the room to an idealised layout so the output from the decoder is played back in close to ideal conditions. Same will be true for 3d sound where I expect the benefits of spatial remapping to be felt even more keenly.

For sure the future at the high end combines 3d physical layout and decoding with spatial remapping. This is bleeding edge now but the 3d part at least will be mainstream as quickly as CEDIA next week.

You, know it could happen that I come out. We've been talking about going to London. You'll be the first person I look up if I get there. Thanks for the invite!

I checked out the website. So, the Auro is a a decoder that uses a DTS or TRUE HD encoding and post processes it ( in PCM)? So, the Auro chip is built into the player and or receiver and improves the typical 5.1 and 7.1 recordings. Correct?

In laying out a new speaker set up, I am thinking 3 LCRs, 2 Front heights, 2 side fronts, 2 sets of sides and a set of rears. I've been consulting with Curt and in looking at my room, this would be the best way to make the most of Trinnov processing. Now, my planned speaker layout doesn't exactly match the speaker set up that Auro recommends, but can the Trinnov be programmed to 'place' the speakers in the more ideal Auro positions to best take advantage of what Auro does? Or would this be redundant in the context of using Trinnov?

Thanks!
post #528 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceenhad View Post

The big advantage of Auro is that it is channel based not object based. That means the decoder does not need specific information on each speaker to direct sound correctly. It also, critically, does not rely on the existence of pre created meta data to define the spatial position of sounds. Thus it is relatively straight forward to create an upmix from x to y channels in real time with convincing results.

Auro is designed to extend the traditional 5.1 layout rather than replace it. That makes it easy to add to existing systems (a huge advantage commercially and domestically) and the upmixer allows all of those speakers to be usefully employed for all types of content and sources such as sports from your cable box etc.
The "big advantage" you describe can be said of any surround processing: not object based, does not need speaker position information, doesn't rely on meta data, creates upmix in real time, extends 5.1 layout rather than replace it, allows all speakers to be used for all types of content and sources.

The main difference is number of channels: Auro outputs 13.1, while Neo:X currently outputs 11.1 and PLIIz outputs 9.1. But every other "huge advantage" you mentioned above has been in surround processing for almost two decades.
post #529 of 817
It is important to note with respect to Auro, that although it does incorporate an upmix algorithm to expand 5.1 or 7.1 up to 11.1 (similar in concept to DTS Neo:X, Dolby ProLogic IIzx, Audssey DSX, etc.), it is also a codec that permits native 11.1 mixes. In other words, a film mixed in Auro for theatrical release has a native 11.1 mix, that is then encoded using the Auro codec for distribution on the Digital Cinema masters. That mix plays back in standard 5.1, unless the cinema has an Auro decoder in which case the content is decoded and played out as 11.1.

Although there are no commercial Auro decoders for home theatre as yet, conceptually the codec would work the same way with home video formats.
post #530 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post


I checked out the website. So, the Auro is a a decoder that uses a DTS or TRUE HD encoding and post processes it ( in PCM)? So, the Auro chip is built into the player and or receiver and improves the typical 5.1 and 7.1 recordings. Correct?

In laying out a new speaker set up, I am thinking 3 LCRs, 2 Front heights, 2 side fronts, 2 sets of sides and a set of rears. I've been consulting with Curt and in looking at my room, this would be the best way to make the most of Trinnov processing. Now, my planned speaker layout doesn't exactly match the speaker set up that Auro recommends, but can the Trinnov be programmed to 'place' the speakers in the more ideal Auro positions to best take advantage of what Auro does? Or would this be redundant in the context of using Trinnov?

Thanks!

I think this where a little bit of confusion still remains. Auro is a technology suite for audio encoding, decoding and post processing. Thus you can get Auro 9.1 encodes on Bluray or you can use Auro post processing to upmix other formats.

Whilst I am sure the usual pedants will rush to state this in another way, the auro layouts need all round height channels to be included. For best effect and max support with other formats a 15 channel layout is best. This will also work superbly with Trinnov. You could front wide but this would add 4 channels (standard and height to maintain the Trinnov sound field). Would depend on the room if this interesting for you or not.

Expect several announcements on home Auro products at Cedia next week.
post #531 of 817
Ok, if Mcintosh owner's want to compare their MX-151 to Datasat that's fine for me, try to convince yourselfs that you have a comparable machine, actually it will make you feel better.biggrin.gif

The MX151 is more of a High End consumer product, and comparable to Denon AVP-A1HD for example. Datasat is made for dedicated Home Theaters, for people who take their hobbie more seriosly. Please stop confusing brands that do HIFI to brands who aim to get the "Perfect Home Theater"... it's so simple!
post #532 of 817
Thread Starter 
Our Martian?
post #533 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceenhad View Post

I think this where a little bit of confusion still remains. Auro is a technology suite for audio encoding, decoding and post processing. Thus you can get Auro 9.1 encodes on Bluray or you can use Auro post processing to upmix other formats.

Whilst I am sure the usual pedants will rush to state this in another way, the auro layouts need all round height channels to be included. For best effect and max support with other formats a 15 channel layout is best. This will also work superbly with Trinnov. You could front wide but this would add 4 channels (standard and height to maintain the Trinnov sound field). Would depend on the room if this interesting for you or not.

Expect several announcements on home Auro products at Cedia next week.

Thanks. That would require some modification in my room to add rear heights but if that ends up being the standard, it could be done... and then I would be 15 channels.

I hope we don't get into a format war with all these codecs (Auro, Atmos, etc). If Auro gets placement into BD players, I can still incorporate it with my Trinnov processing as I assume it will be in the LPCM output from a modded Oppo (when it incorporates such). But discrete 9.1 soundtracks will require another solution for me. Should be fun to see where it goes.

Looking forward to learning more. The audio world has been in somewhat of a steady state since the inception of Blu Ray. With multi channel options now and room correction, it is good to see things moving. The Datasat is certainly the new bread of SSPs... I've been using a more crude version of room correction for years, but wow what a turn for the best in the technology! Many of us incorporated room correction as a requirement for a reference theater years back and with this new technology, it looks like its becoming mainstream now.

Thanks!
post #534 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Our Martian?

Doug Windsor comes to mind?
post #535 of 817
What's the price on that Auro decoder?
It isn't stand alone, correct?

That ICE system contains both a RS20i abd the Auro decoder, yes?

Dan
post #536 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

What's the price on that Auro decoder?
It isn't stand alone, correct?

That ICE system contains both a RS20i abd the Auro decoder, yes?

Dan

Dan, From a thread over at AVforums.

"This room is again powered of the wonderful RS20i along with Barcos beta Auro 3D decoder / up mixer. This room runs a full 15.4 Pro Audio Technologies horn loaded speaker system. With their respective matching ICE powered DSP pro audio amps. The projector was also something super special and super expensive being Barcos DCI 4K special line projector. On a 4m Stewart Directors Choice DC100 2.0 screen the picture was just breath taking, so pin sharp. Def no need for 3d picture here. But it's the sound, that to me I'm interested in.".

Sounds like quite a set up! There's a big thread there and I thought I may've read that that the Auro decoder amy've been in the AP-24... Neil will likely chime in.! A reason to travel to England!
post #537 of 817
I think even the Denon AVP-A1HD is better than Mcintosh MX-151, for movies...
post #538 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I hope we don't get into a format war with all these codecs (Auro, Atmos, etc).
To me, a format war occurs when incompatible formats compete, like VHS/Beta, where you needed 2 different players. Audio codecs do not present that sort of choice for the user. We already have the ability to decode several audio formats in the same AV system.
Quote:
If Auro gets placement into BD players, I can still incorporate it with my Trinnov processing as I assume it will be in the LPCM output from a modded Oppo (when it incorporates such). But discrete 9.1 soundtracks will require another solution for me.
The reason that Auro can be used on BD is that it folds down to a 5.1 PCM channel soundtrack, so it is technically compliant. That is what will come out the BD player, as I doubt you will see 9.1 Auro decoding there.

When it comes to Atmos or MDA on BD, they will be carried inside TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstreams into the AV processor for full decoding. A processor with Auro, Atmos, and MDA will handle whatever the disc offers, seamlessly. No format war. smile.gif
post #539 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MV_Cinema View Post

I think even the Denon AVP-A1HD is better than Mcintosh MX-151, for movies...


Based on what?
post #540 of 817
If he means based on the Denon being more hardware upgradeable than the 151...then maybe. If he means based on sound quality..then he has not compared both. Not only is the 151's build quality/hardware better (though not hardware upgradeable)...without Lyngdorf the Denon doesn't stand a chance.

I used to be the one looking for the most upgradeable processor around, ie the future Lexicon MP-20, the most available card slots, ability to add many more channels etc, the most upgradeable sound processing algorithms... Then I came to the realization that the sound quality was the most important factor of all. In my system the McIntoch was the answer. It would be nice to have both though. Maybe the next MX?

The MX151 is not a HIFI piece and to say so is ridiculous, especially if you actually heard one in a high end theater with exceptional speakers. It is a sleeper that happens to street at half the price of the Datasat. The sound quality the best I have personally heard...for movies. Huge sound stage, seamless surround field, very transparent yet smooth and completely not fatiguing. Quality full sound even at moderately low volume (with McIntosh amps). The best dialog intelligibility with a naturalness that I have not quite heard in another processor. This is what I find impressive. Not that often heard hyper-exaggerated sound that will impress friends for ten minute demos.
Edited by G-Rex - 9/23/13 at 2:35pm
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