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Best Surround Processor Currently Available? - Page 3

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 #61 of 817
The Anti-mode is quite an amazing piece. An audio buddy has a very similar set-up as mine with the same speakers, Mcintosh XR200s and he uses a Mcintosh MC402 amp. I use Mcintosh MC501s. A couple of weeks back we inserted my Theta Gen VIII S3 dac into his system. I was skeptical that there would be a huge improvement. There was a huge improvement. I typically go to considerable extremes to treat my room and to have proper seating placement. I'm not so sure I would benefit as greatly from the product. However, for the typical enthusiast, I would say the product represents the greatest value in audio, I have ever witnessed. It's amazing the effect it had when inserted into his system. Personally, I am recommending it to all of my audio buddies.

I voted other for processor. While I am a long time Theta user and plan to continue to be so because of the price of upgrades, sound quality and ability to integrate with the Gen VIII dac, if I were buying now however it would be Meridian. I have not heard the 861v6 but have quite a bit of experience with Meridian processors and about three days "hands on" with the 861v4. A couple of Casablanca owners have switched to Meridian 861v6 citing better sound than a CB3 with Xtreme dacs. I'm still not sure that the reason for the better sound ut I suspect is because the older firmware was limiting the Casablanca to 48/16. It could be different with the latest firmware which is almost certainly 24 bit. Still, Theta needs to catch up with new dacs and processing to be able to compete with what Meridian is currently doing. I see continued improvement on the part of Meridian and promise on the part of Theta. Meridian, has always been a "power house," in the development of digital products. They are currently making the kind of improvements I like to see in a truly audiophile oriented processor. Is it perfect? No. I'd like to see more sophisticated room correction. I"m not that impressed with what I heard in the 861v4. It's OK. room correction. Anti-mode, however, has changed the game in that department for 500 bucks a channel and it's so damn easy to use.
Edited by Bulldogger - 2/27/13 at 6:31am
post #62 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkad View Post

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

Krell's future is a bit uncertain in my opinion. It was a consideration (The 707) but they have me worried. Not sure if they are a company that will be around long term. I could be wrong about as it's just my opinion. Their dealer network is not what it used to be and that's usually a sign.
post #63 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Noah, I think Nick is talking about the Datasat platform (hardware), not Dirac room correction (software). So even if you take away Dirac as a feature, he seems to feel that the RS20i has lots of processing capability (raw DSP horsepower). And "processing" might not mean surround processing specifically. However, if he is talking about some other processing, then (like you) I too would be curious to know what it is. After all, having lots of processing ability on tap isn't beneficial unless you do something interesting or unique with it.

Sure enough; what say you, Nick?
post #64 of 817
Yes, I just mean as Sdurani states. The way it handles various codecs, steering etc. I have never been a fan of dts neo 6 until I used it on this. To me, it sounds way better than pl2x on the crm4. Whereas the crm4 using neo6 sounds really flat.


Can not wait to hear the pl2 encodings on the rs20i.

Also the stereo performance for music, be it a digital source or analogue, IMO, is better sounding than that of the trinnov mc when used as a preamp.

I thought I would miss the quad bypass of the crm4 as that is what I used when listening to ambient music etc. but with the rs20i plain stereo sounds amazingly spacial, massive sound stage and beautifully detailed and controlled. The dacs, IMO, are on a par with that of my linn klimax control that I had for a while.

Also, when I had the crm4 with trinnov and my linn akurate ds I preferred the sound via the linn dacs, ie, the analogue outs. But with the datasat I like to use the coax using the datasat dacs. Taking into account the increased jitter on this route the sound quality is quite a lot better.
post #65 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by djnickuk View Post

I have never been a fan of dts neo 6 until I used it on this.
That wouldn't be due to "processing ability", since it is the same Neo:6 licensed to other gear, even the lowest priced receivers (unless you believe that DTS reserves a special version of Neo:6 that they only license to the RS20i). Keep in mind that Neo:6 technology is over a dozen years old, so it doesn't need a lot of DSP horsepower to run.
post #66 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

No, not the only thing at all

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

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

Ultimate, I have to hear for myself, though I've tried twice already...

I've heard DataSat RS20i twice, both at trade show demos, I was not impressed by either demo unfortunately. In the first demo I didn't think the loudspeakers were up to much, and the subs sounded boomy despite the room correction. In the second demo I know the speakers well and they can sound very good, and so it must have been either the room acoustics or the room correction, neither of which was doing anything positive. But I keep an open mind, and I don't think one can rely too much on trade show demos.

Seems Dirac is flavor of the month around here! I would hope it is better than Audyssey. I would not let that thing near a 'high performance' system.
post #67 of 817
Yeah.. I'm not getting the DIRAC thing either. I'm in the market for room correction and Trinnov will be my choice - in part because it is mature and well documented excellence yet the DIRAC thread seems like a disaster of bugs and issues in doing the simplest things. Too beta and not necessarily from some great pedigree either.
post #68 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Yeah.. I'm not getting the DIRAC thing either. I'm in the market for room correction and Trinnov will be my choice - in part because it is mature and well documented excellence yet the DIRAC thread seems like a disaster of bugs and issues in doing the simplest things. Too beta and not necessarily from some great pedigree either.

Kind of my thinking, but was willing to give it a shot - but between the two demos Tony and I saw, and Nyal's comments of his two demos, seems kind of hard to get blown away with this $18k box. Still remain open minded, but the door is closing...

Trinnov is very interesting to me, though I hope they expand their licensing since I'm not in the market for a $40k ADA, or even $15k for room correction device. I don't understand what Trinnov's consumer/prosumer go-to-market strategy is yet...
Edited by thrang - 2/27/13 at 3:16pm
post #69 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I'm not getting the DIRAC thing either.
Nothing to get. It's room correction, nothing more complicated than that. It was one of the main differentiators when Datasat originally decided to market their commercial cinema processor to consumers. Since then, Dirac has released a software version for HTPCs and ATI has licensed it for their Theta and B&K brands.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I'm in the market for room correction and Trinnov will be my choice - in part because it is mature and well documented excellence yet the DIRAC thread seems like a disaster of bugs and issues in doing the simplest things.
Let's not conflate Dirac room correction with the hardware it is implemented in. That would be like reading the Sherwood 972 thread and calling Trinnov a "disaster of bugs".
post #70 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

In the second demo I know the speakers well and they can sound very good, and so it must have been either the room acoustics or the room correction, neither of which was doing anything positive. But I keep an open mind...
Nyal, since I'm following your HTPC project, have you considered trying the software-only version of the Dirac Live suite?
post #71 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

Kind of my thinking, but was willing to give it a shot - but between the two demos Tony and I saw, and Nyal's comments of his two demos, seems kind of hard to get blown away with this $18k box. Still remain open minded, but the door is closing...

Trinnov is very interesting to me, though I hope they expand their licensing since I'm not in the market for a $40k ADA, or even $15k for room correction along. I don't understand what Trinnov's consumer/prosumer go-to-market strategy is yet...

If you are in the market for a high end pre-pro and have $$$ for a ADA, Trinnov MC or DataSat I'd look very carefully at your room acoustics before dropping the money. I would guess most people would see a more substantial sound quality improvement for the same or less money by adding / redoing acoustic treatment, adding more subs and using a parametric EQ for the <100Hz issues. If you've already addressed all these areas to the best of your ability and funds then by all means go ahead. I've seen plenty of 'high end theaters' with very nice equipment but crappy speaker placement, no / ineffective acoustic treatment and Audyssey switched on. Heck in one of them we even swapped out a Classe SSP for a Marantz pre-pro, took an Audyssey 'pro' box out of the system, took DOWN acoustic treatment, put in a sub EQ and relocated all the surround speakers. I kind of shot myself in the foot with that one because that was meant to be phase 1, and phase 2 was redoing the acoustic treatment. We never got around to phase 2 because the guy was so happy with the improvement...

Being fair to the DataSat I don't think any room correction algorithm could have made those demos better. Speakers and room acoustics. Those are the two things that make the most difference. Yes everything else makes a difference but you should invest the majority of your funds in those two areas.
post #72 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Nyal, since I'm following your HTPC project, have you considered trying the software-only version of the Dirac Live suite?

Yes I will be trying it out, that's one of the main reasons I did the HTPC project. Acourate, Dirac and AudioLense are on the list to try out.

The HTPC is built and is running well in 2 channel mode with Jriver. It sounds just as good if not slightly better than my Mac Mini running Pure Music which is an encouraging starting point.

I'm waiting on a custom AES digital cable to go between the Lynx and a Metric Halo LIO8 (I hate soldering DB25s so I got someone else to make it for me) before I can get it working in multi-channel. It was more straightforward to get JRiver up and running with blu-ray playing and decoding at high resolution than I would have thought and the DSP flexibility in JRiver is quite amazing. I'm pretty excited to see what it sounds like.
post #73 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

If you are in the market for a high end pre-pro and have $$$ for a ADA, Trinnov MC or DataSat I'd look very carefully at your room acoustics before dropping the money. I would guess most people would see a more substantial sound quality improvement for the same or less money by adding / redoing acoustic treatment, adding more subs and using a parametric EQ for the <100Hz issues. If you've already addressed all these areas to the best of your ability and funds then by all means go ahead.

You make a valid point. My room is pretty well treated (not optimally but it's effective). Speakers and subs are well positioned. Using 3 Triad Platinum LCR's up front behind an AT screen. Perhaps additional subs and room correction <80hz - 100hz is all that is needed for my situation.
post #74 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

Yes I will be trying it out, that's one of the main reasons I did the HTPC project. Acourate, Dirac and AudioLense are on the list to try out.

The HTPC is built and is running well in 2 channel mode with Jriver. It sounds just as good if not slightly better than my Mac Mini running Pure Music which is an encouraging starting point.
That is encouraging. 2-channel mode should be enough to make comparisons between the various room correction suites (probably easier to hear differences than in multi-channel mode).
post #75 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Nothing to get. It's room correction, nothing more complicated than that. It was one of the main differentiators when Datasat originally decided to market their commercial cinema processor to consumers. Since then, Dirac has released a software version for HTPCs and ATI has licensed it for their Theta and B&K brands.

Fair enough but see below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Let's not conflate Dirac room correction with the hardware it is implemented in. That would be like reading the Sherwood 972 thread and calling Trinnov a "disaster of bugs".

I think conflating is in order here as the thread is about SSPs and the Datasat piece is on the only SSP with DIRAC. So, though DIRAC may be competent, the Datasat SSP implementation appears to be very, very beta.
post #76 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think it is less about he processor and more about whether it contrains room correction. A processor is a processor is a processor.

I have to respectfully disagree with you on both points.
post #77 of 817
I disagree, Dirac does exactly what it is supposed to do in both the Datasat and otherwise. The initial runtime that is used for the Datasat may be more problematic to get running properly on a PC, but it's not worse than ADA software with Windows 7.

My opinion is that Trinnov is a more powerful tool, but that doesn't mean that Dirac doesn't perform. Dirac provides extremely consistent results, this is invaluable for a commercial cinema vendor (Datasat) or Theta , a company that has a notoriously difficult processor to setup. Dirac isn't beta at all, the 1.0 runtime is just clunky.

My top processor is still the ADA Cinema Reference, after that RS20i and Rhapsody/TEQ are equal. If I could get the RS20i with Trinnov it would be equal to the Reference, of course it would probably be 60k instead of 40k.

Dan
post #78 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Yeah.. I'm not getting the DIRAC thing either. I'm in the market for room correction and Trinnov will be my choice - in part because it is mature and well documented excellence yet the DIRAC thread seems like a disaster of bugs and issues in doing the simplest things. Too beta and not necessarily from some great pedigree either.

What Dirac thread is that?
post #79 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think conflating is in order here as the thread is about SSPs and the Datasat piece is on the only SSP with DIRAC.
You have a point, though I hope it is a temporary exclusive and that Theta and B&K roll out their implementations some time soon. The more exposure people have to Dirac, the more they can report on its strengths and weaknesses.
post #80 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post

No offense to Meridian Folks as I have no experience or have heard any of their gear but I did just visit their website.

Wow, maybe it's me but I have never seen high-end products that has so much non-information on a website. I learned more about the Land Rover that sports Meridian products than I did HT.

So is this V8 fully current with the rest of the market in terms of decoding etc? I see an HDMI switcher so it must be? What version of HDMI is supported? I am sure it is is awesome and sounds great but at a glance from the site it is hard to tell and appears dated.

Rick

As a Meridian owner, let me apologize for the site. They relaunched the site a week or two ago and those responsible have been sacked.... Well, they should be! The old site was all business and word is that Meridian will fix it soon.... Which in Meridian years, is at least one. Kidding aside, Meridian is better at AV processors, than website development, much better.
post #81 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think conflating is in order here as the thread is about SSPs and the Datasat piece is on the only SSP with DIRAC. So, though DIRAC may be competent, the Datasat SSP implementation appears to be very, very beta.
And you are taking a few hacks (no offense to the others who are setting up themsleves, I am probably the biggest hack), like me who have had troubles setting up as the norm? DataSat has specifically stated that they would prefer a qualified dealers to do to the install, but still welcome the end users the ability to setup them selves. I am positive if you bought the dirac kit for setup that it would go a lot smoother now they have these things rolling out of the factory.

Not to mention the fact that once you are setup, you are good to go anytime with the time it takes the startup of Dirac on the laptop.
post #82 of 817
I consider myself as an RS20i (and subsequently Dirac) 'hack' and take no offence at that apt description. After some simple and rather basic problems at the very start of my use of Dirac I however now have no problems whatsoever in its use and its application on the RS20i. I can't comment on whether its better than Trinnov in room correction outcomes or whether it is harder or easier to use but it has certainly proven to be easy to use by me now.

By all the available information Trinnov does offer more than Dirac. I hope the proposed further enhancements to Dirac (that are also hopefully able to be used in the RS20i) come to fruition and which could start to bridge that difference with Trinnov.

If anyone gave me any one of SSPs listed and said this is the only unit I could use I reckon I would still be very happy. I know everyone wants to get the best possible choice for their circumstances but life is a compromise. Unless you have the money to buy all of them then you have got to determine what is important for your needs (eg. get one of the 'cheaper' SSPs and use the remaining money for other aspects of your HT or perhaps buy one of the more expensive ones with the extra functions/SQ etc because that is right for your current set up etc). I am enjoying reading this thread because of the great range of alternative perspectives being provided in an open and constructive environment (with quick correction of any misconceptions!).
post #83 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by JapanDave View Post

And you are taking a few hacks (no offense to the others who are setting up themsleves, I am probably the biggest hack), like me who have had troubles setting up as the norm? DataSat has specifically stated that they would prefer a qualified dealers to do to the install, but still welcome the end users the ability to setup them selves. I am positive if you bought the dirac kit for setup that it would go a lot smoother now they have these things rolling out of the factory.

Not to mention the fact that once you are setup, you are good to go anytime with the time it takes the startup of Dirac on the laptop.

I was surprised that Tony and Thrangs demos of the Datasat (by an authorized dealer) did not go well. If a dealer can't put together a compelling demo of this type of unit, it gives some of us end users pause. And being in this game a long time, hearing about new (but currently standard) features down the road is also a red flag in my book.

It may be good technology, but has yet to mature in the SSP implementation. In my mind, the Trinnov pieces make more sense as everything you need is already there.
post #84 of 817
Hi All

I am seriously thinking of going for the Datasat RS20i. For the last 12 years I have been using Lexicon processors from the DC2 through to the last MC12HD processor. I am now considering an upgrade (MC12's power supply blew up) and the Datasat has caught my eye. My question is to all those who have bought the Datasat and the question is from your experience is there anything major that you feel the Datasat lacks in terms of sound quality or configurability compared to other processors that you have used in the past. I know that the Datasat has only 1 HDMI out and 4 in and I can live with that. Is there anything glaringly obvious that raises concerns?

Thanks

Yagnesh
post #85 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I was surprised that Tony and Thrangs demos of the Datasat (by an authorized dealer) did not go well. If a dealer can't put together a compelling demo of this type of unit, it gives some of us end users pause. And being in this game a long time, hearing about new (but currently standard) features down the road is also a red flag in my book.

It may be good technology, but has yet to mature in the SSP implementation. In my mind, the Trinnov pieces make more sense as everything you need is already there.

More specifically, two different authorized dealers in the NYC market. You'd think they would make sure they were bulletproof setups.
post #86 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

More specifically, two different authorized dealers in the NYC market. You'd think they would make sure they were bulletproof setups.

Wow.. To my point, to an outsider, that seems more of an indictment of the Datasat than the hapless dealers.
post #87 of 817
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Wow.. To my point, to an outsider, that seems more of an indictment of the Datasat than the hapless dealers.

In both cases the dealer claimed Datasat was there so I'm not sure what happened after they certified the setup. Possible something was changed later but who knows. I'm giving Datasat the benefit of the doubt here.
post #88 of 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

In both cases the dealer claimed Datasat was there so I'm not sure what happened after they certified the setup. Possible something was changed later but who knows. I'm giving Datasat the benefit of the doubt here.

Same here Tony, but I'm not sure what's left to turn this assessment around - hopefully there will some new avenues to experience the device and get a good demo on what it's like to own and use/configure the product soon.
post #89 of 817
Maybe it's my age or being in this game for a while, but this 'get out the product before the software is competent' is an immediate turn off for me. I don't mind overly complicated software (meaning I don't mind plodding along til I get things right if the software is not the problem) but this buying expensive gear, putting in the time, effort and frustration only to find out there needs to be a firmware release to get to where I want to go, is game over for me despite what the buzz is.

This is not the new normal for me and I discarded this piece a year ago.
post #90 of 817
Two different authorized dealers and two competent dealers are two different things.

And what the heck is a "certified setup" ?

Dan and I have spent more time working with both devices then any dealer in the USA.

We know what they can do and what they cannot do. Dan got them to re write parts of the software.

We have hundreds of hours A-B ing these devices.

They really do need to be setup by people who know what they are doing and have had a lot of experience using them.

Personally I would never want to demo these products at a show. Way to many unknowns, things that are out of your control, and

really no way to properly configure and setup a presentation properly.

And there is not a software program made that is 100% competent out there.

Find a dealer that has a showroom who you feel can represent your environment as close as possible and get a good demo.
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