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How to replace your home theater pre-pro with a HTPC! - Page 2

post #31 of 166
One of the big problems with HTPC solutions in a D-BOX theater is that current D-BOX solutions require the standard coax/optical audio output to decode the D-BOX coding. So you need your BluRay source to be able to simultaneously output coax/optical and HDMI audio. Conventional wisdom is that this is not possible without elaborate hacking because of Windows limitations. Does the equipment described in this thread have all the same limitations?
post #32 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by turls View Post

One of the big problems with HTPC solutions in a D-BOX theater is that current D-BOX solutions require the standard coax/optical audio output to decode the D-BOX coding. So you need your BluRay source to be able to simultaneously output coax/optical and HDMI audio. Conventional wisdom is that this is not possible without elaborate hacking because of Windows limitations. Does the equipment described in this thread have all the same limitations?

I don't think so - using a digital output card on the PC (like the Lynx AES16 which has 16 channels of digital output) you can send one signal to the DBOX decoder and the rest to the audio system.
post #33 of 166
Great post and article Nyal.

I've had a Lynx Two-B soundcard for many years as well as a completely silent HTPC (HFX chassis with pipes). I considered going down this route several years ago, but J. River didn't have the same options then as it has today. So it was abandoned. I think a receiver/processor is a necessary evil. My Lynx Two-B soundcard connected straight to power amps sounds more transparent and open then anything I've tried. Clearly better then a Bryston preamp I had and also a little better then the DEQX HDP-4 which I've also tried. I've learned that an active preamp doesn't sound as transparent as a soundcard/DAC with volume control or a passive attenuator. At least not anyone I've tried.

Today I'm using a Marantz AV-7005 processor, but I'm not totally happy with it's sound quality though I use this setup mostly for movies, concerts and TV (I've another setup for stereo). I've looked at other processors, but they seem to either be too expensive (like Bryston, Datasat etc.) or they not good enough when it comes to sound quality. And many will some day be outdated since few are built modulars. So I've thought about using the Lynx card again and came over this thread.

The problem for me is what is already has been mentioned. External sources or in my case one source, the set up box for TV. I believe I did try using digital input on my Lynx card ones and it didn't work properly and I remember I had pops. It's really sad that someone haven't come up with a good solution for this. Something like a switch for external devices connected to a PC. I see in my case perhaps only one possibillity and that's using a TV card in the HTPC. But then I either need to get the TV bit to work within J.River, which I'm uncertain will work here in Norway, or J.River needs to function as universal correction program for other softwares (like bidule and console). I don't know if the latter is possible.

If I could get this to work I will not only get better sound quality, but also have more money in my pocket from selling my Marantz. smile.gif
post #34 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

Your 'Dirac Live black box' should be feasible.

How many inputs do you need? If 7.1 then you could theoretically use a Lynx Aurora 8 interface which is 8 in, 8 out and something like a Lynx LT-USB. They also do a 16 in, 16 out though that is beyond Dirac's current channel processing abilities.

Also look at RME and Echo.

I would abandon the 'using a laptop' idea and build yourself a small format PC like the one I built (passively cooled and so silent).

I started looking into this for my system - which is actually 5.2. After comparing options, the Echo AF12 would probably be my best option (but the gold standard would be the Lynx Aurora 8 and LT-USB, but the capabilities of the Aurora would be overkill unless I wanted to move more into Nyal's direction with a PC-based replacement for the pre-pro in my opinion). if I went the Echo route I could put more money into building the HTPC because I'd save well over $1K, and my only use for this would be to be a high-quality A/D/A between my pre-pro, the PC running Dirac, and an amp. The Echo supports both WASAPI and ASIO (which I'd use with ASIO4ALL) - assumedly the Dirac software will "know" to interface with the Echo or Lynx given the protocol. It's FireWire, but since I wouldn't be using a laptop that's less of an issue with a PCI slot available for a FireWire card.

While I actually have a Precision 380 Dell workstation (w/FireWire) that could theoretically be used as a dedicated Dirac Live box (3.8 Ghz Pentium IV chip, 8 GB RAM onboard, and it will supposedly support Windows 7 32-bit if not 64), it probably makes more sense overall to custom-build a PC to take account of the more advanced chipset and multi-core/thread processors toward the future, as well as other devices that my old workstation probably won't support, such as USB 3.0, e-SATA etc.

Pity Dirac's so new that there really isn't a support forum for it per se, or a much of a base of users beyond the Datasat guys.

Of course, if an AP20 suddenly became available I might leap at it smile.gif ....as my Denon 4311 pre/pro can handle the bass management and the audio/video processing side (or JRiver, if it offered any advantages for my Mythos ST, CS-8080 and ULS-15 subs over bass management with my 4311, but that's WAY outside of my current knowledge base). Alternatively if the DL2/3 goes live I'd probably be on the 'bleeding edge' LOL....
Edited by sdrucker - 7/30/13 at 5:36pm
post #35 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

I started looking into this for my system - which is actually 5.2. After comparing options, the Echo AF12 would probably be my best option (but the gold standard would be the Lynx Aurora 8 and LT-USB, but the capabilities of the Aurora would be overkill unless I wanted to move more into Nigel's direction with a PC-based replacement for the pre-pro in my opinion). if I went the Echo route I could put more money into building the HTPC because I'd save well over $1K, and my only use for this would be to be a high-quality A/D/A between my pre-pro, the PC running Dirac, and an amp. The Echo supports both WASAPI and ASIO (which I'd use with ASIO4ALL) - assumedly the Dirac software will "know" to interface with the Echo or Lynx given the protocol. It's FireWire, but since I wouldn't be using a laptop that's less of an issue with a PCI slot available for a FireWire card.

While I actually have a Precision 380 Dell workstation (w/FireWire) that could theoretically be used as a dedicated Dirac Live box (3.8 Ghz Pentium IV chip, 8 GB RAM onboard, and it will supposedly support Windows 7 32-bit if not 64), it probably makes more sense overall to custom-build a PC to take account of the more advanced chipset and multi-core/thread processors toward the future, as well as other devices that my old workstation probably won't support, such as USB 3.0, e-SATA etc.

Pity Dirac's so new that there really isn't a support forum for it per se, or a much of a base of users beyond the Datasat guys.

Of course, if an AP20 suddenly became available I might leap at it smile.gif ....as my Denon 4311 pre/pro can handle the bass management and the audio/video processing side (or JRiver, if it offered any advantages by handling actively on the PC side, but that's WAY outside of my knowledge base?). Or if the DL2/3 goes live LOL....

Who is Nigel? wink.gif
post #36 of 166
^^ Typo corrected smile.gif. I have the bad habit of thinking of "Nigel" instead of "Nyal" occasionally.
Edited by sdrucker - 7/30/13 at 5:33pm
post #37 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

^^ Typo corrected smile.gif. I have the bad habit of thinking of "Nigel" instead of "Nyal" occasionally.
NP, it isn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last smile.gif
post #38 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

NP, it isn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last smile.gif

BTW, I see that JRiver is in beta for the Mac ("audio only" for now).

I'd almost be tempted to try using a Mac Mini as my development box. I can also apply passive cooling, it may possibly be cheaper than the machines I priced out @ Assassin's website, plus there's the Core Audio standard. I'm only interested at the moment in using this for audio processing, as I've already got a Lumagen and handle the video switching elsewhere. And with powered Mythos STs and center, the JRiver capability to work with adjustable crossover slopes as per your article is intriguing. But having a Mac OSX approach, vs. Windows 7/8 (either with a Mac using Boot Camp or on a native Windows box) depends on how the JRiver Mac software develops. Dirac's already in both Windows and Mac format.

Something else: JRiver's MC 19 beta for Windows has an Adaptive Volume component that will allegedly work with "all media" (although as you point out, Nyal, it's on the video settings) that is a little like what Audyssey does with RLO and DEQ. They call it Night Mode and Peak Level Normalization.

At the end of the day, between JRiver, PC processing, and Dirac's capabilities, the computer world may well be moving into more capable - and more frequently updated - pre/pro-like capacities than what the consumer audio world has an interest in doing for economic reasons.

However, that handling of external inputs looks like the killer. I don't know if anybody working with Dirac and JRiver together has gotten it to work in a stable manner, using external inputs into the A/D external sound card, from the reading I've done here and on the JRiver or Gearslutz forum.

I'll be curious how (or if) you can get your HTPC to work with Dirac and JRiver together, needless to say!
Edited by sdrucker - 8/6/13 at 11:47am
post #39 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

I'll be curious how (or if) you can get your HTPC to work with Dirac and JRiver together, needless to say!

Worked like a charm on my CAPS 2.0 with WIndows 7. Just select Dirac as (virtual) output device in Jriver, and actual output device in Jriver. Switching to CAPS 3 with Windows 8 never got it to work properly. Not a JRiver + Dirac issue. Just a Dirac issue in my estimation - it does not work with Foobar either. Dirac confirmed they run on Windows 8, but I asked on computeaudiophile if anyone is running it on Windows 8 and no affirmative response yet.
post #40 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Worked like a charm on my CAPS 2.0 with WIndows 7. Just select Dirac as (virtual) output device in Jriver, and actual output device in Jriver. Switching to CAPS 3 with Windows 8 never got it to work properly. Not a JRiver + Dirac issue. Just a Dirac issue in my estimation - it does not work with Foobar either. Dirac confirmed they run on Windows 8, but I asked on computeaudiophile if anyone is running it on Windows 8 and no affirmative response yet.

That's what I remember reading on computeraudiophile when I did some Google-fu. Were you able to get your Lynx MC card to work in the CAPS 2.0 system and Windows 7? I was planning to use the Echo AF12 card but if can get Lynx components for the right price I'd go that route, either in a Windows 7 system or possibly OSX.

It seems like I have some backreading on your adventures to go through there smile.gif, along with Dirac/JRiver on both Windows and OSX.

On the bright side, if the external input approach works, my Denon's already going to export audio @ 24/96 with Audyssey off, thanks to AL24...I hope.
post #41 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

That's what I remember reading on computeraudiophile when I did some Google-fu. Were you able to get your Lynx MC card to work in the CAPS 2.0 system and Windows 7? I was planning to use the Echo AF12 card but if can get Lynx components for the right price I'd go that route.

It seems like I have some backreading on your adventures to go through there smile.gif, along with Dirac/JRiver on both Windows and OSX.

On the bright side, if the external input approach works, my Denon's already going to export audio @ 24/96 with Audyssey off, thanks to AL24...I hope.

My caps 2.0 does not have a second expansion slot, so this only houses the USB card, I could rip the lynx card out of my CAPS 3.0, the USB card out of my CAPS 2.0 and swap them out, but I am a bit tired of troubleshooting computers. So my Lynx card is not working properly in my CAPS 3.0 and neither is Dirac. Bottom line, I'm almost $6K in the hole (CAPS 3.0 + Lynx + Battery Power + Dirac and some other software), and have nothing to show for. Not happy!

However, an interesting alternative presented itself. MSB just released the (Universal Media Player) UMT plus.

http://www.msbtech.com/products/universalPlus.php?Page=platinumHome

This is basically an Oppo based digital transport with proprietary I2S link into MSB DACs AND it sports 3x S/PDIF and 1xAES/EBU outs, sending out MCH audio at FULL RESOLUTION! So I can use this as a streamer, replacing my CAPS 3.0 / USB server, and as a MCH transport into my Trinnov, replacing my Modded Oppo. While there are a few functional limitations relative to the HTPC route, I expect this machine to sound better (far better clocking, and cleaner power from a $6K external powersupply which I already own for my DAC) than ANY (lynx based) HTPC.

My buying criteria is how steaming of 2 channel into I2S Pro will compare to CAPS3 server over USB. If its equivalent or better, my spanking new server will go up on audiogon - I'll sell the Lynx card separately. If you are willing to wait until I have had time to evaluate this machine, and I go this route, I can cut you a killer deal on the Lynx card.
post #42 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

My caps 2.0 does not have a second expansion slot, so this only houses the USB card, I could rip the lynx card out of my CAPS 3.0, the USB card out of my CAPS 2.0 and swap them out, but I am a bit tired of troubleshooting computers. So my Lynx card is not working properly in my CAPS 3.0 and neither is Dirac. Bottom line, I'm almost $6K in the hole (CAPS 3.0 + Lynx + Battery Power + Dirac and some other software), and have nothing to show for. Not happy!

However, an interesting alternative presented itself. MSB just released the (Universal Media Player) UMT plus.

http://www.msbtech.com/products/universalPlus.php?Page=platinumHome

This is basically an Oppo based digital transport with proprietary I2S link into MSB DACs AND it sports 3x S/PDIF and 1xAES/EBU outs, sending out MCH audio at FULL RESOLUTION! So I can use this as a streamer, replacing my CAPS 3.0 / USB server, and as a MCH transport into my Trinnov, replacing my Modded Oppo. While there are a few functional limitations relative to the HTPC route, I expect this machine to sound better (far better clocking, and cleaner power from a $6K external powersupply which I already own for my DAC) than ANY (lynx based) HTPC.

My buying criteria is how steaming of 2 channel into I2S Pro will compare to CAPS3 server over USB. If its equivalent or better, my spanking new server will go up on audiogon - I'll sell the Lynx card separately. If you are willing to wait until I have had time to evaluate this machine, and I go this route, I can cut you a killer deal on the Lynx card.

I may take you up on that if you can get the I2S Pro to work....BTW, it struck me that if you wanted to replicate (in a much cheaper way) what the Datasat RS20 is doing, and/or have some of the functionality of Audyssey or other pre/pro systems that you'd miss otherwise, you'd actually want to route the full-range signal from the source to Dirac RCS FIRST, then have JRiver process the results from Dirac and apply bass management, adaptive volume (kind of/sort of like Audyssey's RLO and DEQ), and then route the output to your sound card->amps. You'd have to do some external accessment with something like OmniMic or (my preference) REW to identify crossovers. I'd probably use what I currently have in Audyssey as a starting point and tweak from there.

Whether it all works without creating results that are unstable and/or infuriating in terms of latency is a different manner.

It also makes you appreciate why it's taken so long for a DL2/3 to get anywhere near the market.
Edited by sdrucker - 8/7/13 at 3:35pm
post #43 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

I may take you up on that if you can get the I2S Pro to work....

Getting it to work won't be the issue. The DAC and transport are from the same manufacturer and fully tested. The issue is will it sound as good as running USB from the CAPS 3.0
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

BTW, it struck me that if you wanted to replicate (in a much cheaper way) what the Datasat RS20 is doing, and/or have some of the functionality of Audyssey or other pre/pro systems that you'd miss otherwise, you'd actually want to route the full-range signal from the source to Dirac RCS FIRST, then have JRiver process the results from Dirac and apply bass management, adaptive volume (kind of/sort of like Audyssey's RLO and DEQ), and then route the output to your sound card->amps. You'd have to do some external accessment with something like OmniMic or (my preference) REW to identify crossovers. I'd probably use what I currently have in Audyssey as a starting point and tweak from there.

No. You would never run Dirac before bass management in Jriver (not even sure how you could do this). Dirac EQ's time and phase aligns the channels. You cannot do this first and then split up the channels in high pass / low pass with bass management. Dirac always comes last in the processing chain.

I personally don't apply bass management because I don't have subs (my mains have 2x 15" active woofer on each channel). I route my 0.1 channel to the mains, which can be done in Jriver. If I ditch the HTPC with Dirac, I do this in the Trinnov DRC dedicated box.
post #44 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Getting it to work won't be the issue. The DAC and transport are from the same manufacturer and fully tested. The issue is will it sound as good as running USB from the CAPS 3.0
No. You would never run Dirac before bass management in Jriver (not even sure how you could do this). Dirac EQ's time and phase aligns the channels. You cannot do this first and then split up the channels in high pass / low pass with bass management. Dirac always comes last in the processing chain.

That's what I thought at first, but then I read this:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1444649/official-datasat-rs20i-thread-setup-tips-questions-general-info-etc/810

...which led me to think the bass management could be applied "after". But after reading the post above it from Carl Huff, you're right (and my original thought) is the bass management is applied first.

In consumer Audyssey systems, BTW, it's possible to generate filters and then raise the crossover, using the applied filters (but it's not advised to lower the crossovers). In theory you could do, say, a 40 Hz crossover on mains and then raise the crossover with no loss in generality to 80 Hz after the calibration. So it's not so off the wall. The other direction (bass management->Dirac) is actually more intuitive. This assumes subs - I've got two HSU ULS-15s and a 5.2 system.

Actually I could handle bass management in my Denon (if I get the analog output form that "pre-pro" device to feed into the "black box"), so it's much easier to have the bass management first and then apply Dirac. Only thing is if I stayed in Windows, whether you could then link into JRiver and use the adaptive volume/volume leveler, but I can live without that since it's probably not possible to make it work without having everything go through the computer, audio and video, even in the new v19 beta that supposedly can apply it to all media.

This is a thought experiment right now, so I honestly could be wrong about much of this working altogether. FWIW I pinged Dirac to see what they thought about the "black box" idea, and if WIndows or Mac made more sense if it could work.

I should probably move this into the HTPC sub-forum at this point...
Edited by sdrucker - 8/7/13 at 5:53pm
post #45 of 166
I've been following this thread for a few weeks now to see where it was going as this is something I would like to do myself, but after seeing the problems Edorr is having I sort of backed away.
Then the other day stumbled upon these (below) and its got me back in the hunt for something to replace my getting long in the tooth AVR.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/529-acourate-digital-room-and-loudspeaker-correction-software-walkthrough/


http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/539-exasound-e28-multichannel-usb-dac-review/

I thought I would post them here to see if they would help someone not aware of this yet.

The exasound usb dac's will work perfectly for my two computer setup with out having to do a lot of reconfiguring to get surround to work.

Now all I have to do is research me a graphic card to do the video conversion.
post #46 of 166
Thread Starter 
Well my HTPC solution is working great. One server for both 2 channnel and multichannel. 12 channels of output, works at 24/192 with crossovers and other EQ no issues. HTPC mobo HDMI out to Lumagen to projector. Looks as good as an Oppo.

I am not running Dirac btw.

A client I have is also running a silicon dust cable card tuner and reporting great results.

Only things I am having some issues with are the computer crashing on hibernate (not sure what this is related to) and the Metric Halo which occasionally needs a reboot.
post #47 of 166
I am currently building my home theater PC and I am mostly done with it at this point. I was originally going to upgrade my Casablanca to the newest version but decided against it because of the slowness of Theta to get anything to you and the unpredictability of things I cannot control.

Last night we watch Insidious and it was fabulous (very creepy and much better than I expected). Absolutely no difference in picture quality than my Blu Ray player and the sound is better. We have also watched Oblivion (which I consider a stellar example of fine home theater mixing) as well as Avatar 3D, The Great Gatsby and Erased. So far not one issue with anything.

I am awaiting my custom built Exasound e28 which should be here in a week or two. I am using JRiver without any issues and playing all my movies directly from ISO format. I use JRemote on my Ipad for remote control. JRiver is NOT at all as easy to use as perhaps PowerDVD and TotalMedia Theater, but, it gives you all the power of a true Datasat styled feature set. But you better be ready to learn, it's not for the computer illiterate. But if you want total power, control and flexability then it's just what you will want and need.

I have Dirac room correction but currently only using it in Stereo mode until my new DAC arrives. I am having no issues with the software and it definitely makes an improved difference in my system. I will be comparing it to the Datasat RS20i when my new DAC arrives. I absolutely believe that it will beat this Datasat especially with the improved DAC quality. My wife instantly told me she could hear the difference in the sound with the filters turned on and turned off (and so could I). I find Dirac works with JRiver just perfectly for me at the moment. I will see how it works after the DAC arrives and I go from bitstreaming, to decoding within JRiver and sending directly to the DAC instead of to my Meridian 861.

I would say some of this might be overwhelming to some people but I am fortunate enough to be a computer engineer so I find this quite satisfying and simplistic approach, especially versus the amount of money that it costs to allow others to do it for me. I can tell you though, the datasat is a great unit and I am listening to it in my room. It's quite amazing, but I do believe I will beat its performance and have 100% control over the upgrades, the timeless of when they happen and the ability to quickly fix my own issues without relying on a torn apart home theater while I wait for weeks for a unit to be fixed (and I stare at a bunch of disconnected cables and sit in fear that my unit will come back scratched or broken even worse). I have a Meridian 861 that I will keep in the rack ready to use at any moment my HTPC breaks down, I can just use my Blu Ray player into the 861 until I can repair my HTPC.

I would say the Datasat is about as good as you can get (or a trinnov unit) if you are not up to the game of stabalizing your own theater PC and capable of troubleshooting the possible quirks you might see. Keep in mind, the datasat has some quirky issues too, especially when trying to setup the Dirac (not Dirac's fault because it works flawlessly on my PC doing the same things). Once you get passed those few quirks though this unit is amazing. I highly recommend it for people who want a true movie theater experience but don't want to hassle with figuring it all out on your own.

As far as inputs go, I don't use any so I can't comment on that and it seems to be a big deal for many people. However, I am certain it can be done, it's just finding the right information. Unfortunately since I do not run my TV etc. through my unit and have no intentions of doing that, I won't be taking the time to figure it out.

I will keep everyone posted of my results as I go along with the new DAC and Dirac combination with JRiver.
post #48 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro2be View Post

I am currently building my home theater PC and I am mostly done with it at this point. I was originally going to upgrade my Casablanca to the newest version but decided against it because of the slowness of Theta to get anything to you and the unpredictability of things I cannot control.

Last night we watch Insidious and it was fabulous (very creepy and much better than I expected). Absolutely no difference in picture quality than my Blu Ray player and the sound is better. We have also watched Oblivion (which I consider a stellar example of fine home theater mixing) as well as Avatar 3D, The Great Gatsby and Erased. So far not one issue with anything.

I am awaiting my custom built Exasound e28 which should be here in a week or two. I am using JRiver without any issues and playing all my movies directly from ISO format. I use JRemote on my Ipad for remote control. JRiver is NOT at all as easy to use as perhaps PowerDVD and TotalMedia Theater, but, it gives you all the power of a true Datasat styled feature set. But you better be ready to learn, it's not for the computer illiterate. But if you want total power, control and flexability then it's just what you will want and need.

I have Dirac room correction but currently only using it in Stereo mode until my new DAC arrives. I am having no issues with the software and it definitely makes an improved difference in my system. I will be comparing it to the Datasat RS20i when my new DAC arrives. I absolutely believe that it will beat this Datasat especially with the improved DAC quality. My wife instantly told me she could hear the difference in the sound with the filters turned on and turned off (and so could I). I find Dirac works with JRiver just perfectly for me at the moment. I will see how it works after the DAC arrives and I go from bitstreaming, to decoding within JRiver and sending directly to the DAC instead of to my Meridian 861.

I would say some of this might be overwhelming to some people but I am fortunate enough to be a computer engineer so I find this quite satisfying and simplistic approach, especially versus the amount of money that it costs to allow others to do it for me. I can tell you though, the datasat is a great unit and I am listening to it in my room. It's quite amazing, but I do believe I will beat its performance and have 100% control over the upgrades, the timeless of when they happen and the ability to quickly fix my own issues without relying on a torn apart home theater while I wait for weeks for a unit to be fixed (and I stare at a bunch of disconnected cables and sit in fear that my unit will come back scratched or broken even worse). I have a Meridian 861 that I will keep in the rack ready to use at any moment my HTPC breaks down, I can just use my Blu Ray player into the 861 until I can repair my HTPC.

I would say the Datasat is about as good as you can get (or a trinnov unit) if you are not up to the game of stabalizing your own theater PC and capable of troubleshooting the possible quirks you might see. Keep in mind, the datasat has some quirky issues too, especially when trying to setup the Dirac (not Dirac's fault because it works flawlessly on my PC doing the same things). Once you get passed those few quirks though this unit is amazing. I highly recommend it for people who want a true movie theater experience but don't want to hassle with figuring it all out on your own.

As far as inputs go, I don't use any so I can't comment on that and it seems to be a big deal for many people. However, I am certain it can be done, it's just finding the right information. Unfortunately since I do not run my TV etc. through my unit and have no intentions of doing that, I won't be taking the time to figure it out.

I will keep everyone posted of my results as I go along with the new DAC and Dirac combination with JRiver.

Smart move. I fully expect an HTPC running Jriver and Dirac and an outboard MCH DAC (exasound) will beat the crap out of all SSPs south of $20K (and probably quite a few north) sonically, for a fraction of the price. Throw in a gaming HDMI video card, and video will probably beat any BR player as well. The only downside of this setup is you need a certain amount of luck for it to just work after you have pieced it all together. Without luck, the project can turn into a highly aggravating exercise in endless troubleshooting. I was in the no luck camp (despite being highly computer literate, tech savvy and patient - this is NOT a lack of competency issue). It appears you are hitting the price/performance jackpot. Congrats!
post #49 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro2be View Post


I am awaiting my custom built Exasound e28 which should be here in a week or two. I am using JRiver without any issues and playing all my movies directly from ISO format.
I use JRemote on my Ipad for remote control.
I will keep everyone posted of my results as I go along with the new DAC and Dirac combination with JRiver.

You now have my attention, would you care elaborate on the "Custom Built Exasound e28" as I have yet to order one? It was just something I was starting to look into so I thought I would share.
Actually my plans are to run a pair of Exasound DAC's their e28 for surround and the e20 for my 2 channel setup, which are in the same room. Like you, I to use JRiver with JRemote on my ipad but I will use a two computer setup to deliver my music.
I use JPlay with its streamer mode that provides outstanding sound for my two channel setup. That's one of the reasons I was considering the Exasound it should be easy to integrate the two DAC's with their drivers. I haven't contacted them to confirm this as of yet as this is all still in the planning sages.
I have the two computers here and assembled, the audioPc is working perfectly, just getting all the extra hardware together to complete the HTPC/ControlPc built.
And yes please keep us posted on your results .

I just need to do some research on which gaming card to use for the graphics, Ive heard that a few out there will work better than using a Lumagen in-line. I can't confirm this but will keep you guys posted as I come upon any information.

Nyal Mellor
I hope we haven't hijacked your thread, if you would like we could move this to its own thread.
post #50 of 166
How do you implement satellite TV into a set-up with an HTPC running Jriver as the processor? I have not found a way to use Directv for example. Sure you can do a cable tuner, if you use cable, but not for the encrypted channels.
post #51 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

How do you implement satellite TV into a set-up with an HTPC running Jriver as the processor? I have not found a way to use Directv for example. Sure you can do a cable tuner, if you use cable, but not for the encrypted channels.

To my knowledge, it can't be done.
post #52 of 166
Nyal,

Assuming that you use JRiver to watch your movies now, if you do, can you confirm for me one thing please? When you play a movie and then change chapters, does your video stutter for a few seconds before it catches up and smoothly plays back with the audio?

In MadVR, there is a setting to tell the video to wait until the buffer is full before it plays again. However it isn't listening to this command on my system at the moment but haven't spent anytime troubleshooting it yet. This is currently the only issue/annoyance I have with the entire system and really it's not that big of a deal but would love to see if you could let me know how your chapter changing playback behaves.

My custom exasound e28 has XLR mini outputs and upgraded clock. I had to have all new cables made as well to go with the custom upgrade. Because I refuse to use adapters.

I am not sure how or if they can utilize multiple units at once, because this is something that I told the owner I was interested in (running two e28's for 16 channels). The owner told me that currently he has no driver for multiple units but if the need absolutely came up he would write a driver for it (or have a driver written for it).

You might get different results when speaking with him though.
post #53 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro2be View Post

Nyal,

Assuming that you use JRiver to watch your movies now, if you do, can you confirm for me one thing please? When you play a movie and then change chapters, does your video stutter for a few seconds before it catches up and smoothly plays back with the audio?

In MadVR, there is a setting to tell the video to wait until the buffer is full before it plays again. However it isn't listening to this command on my system at the moment but haven't spent anytime troubleshooting it yet. This is currently the only issue/annoyance I have with the entire system and really it's not that big of a deal but would love to see if you could let me know how your chapter changing playback behaves.

My custom exasound e28 has XLR mini outputs and upgraded clock. I had to have all new cables made as well to go with the custom upgrade. Because I refuse to use adapters.

I am not sure how or if they can utilize multiple units at once, because this is something that I told the owner I was interested in (running two e28's for 16 channels). The owner told me that currently he has no driver for multiple units but if the need absolutely came up he would write a driver for it (or have a driver written for it).

You might get different results when speaking with him though.

No stuttering...I am running Red October HQ with some MADVR setting tweaks. I have not posted my settings yet but will at some point.

I do not think you would be able to run multiple ExaSounds because of the USB driver as you say. It would be cool if a custom driver was written but I think the possibility is low because there aren't that many people need > 8 channels.
post #54 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

No stuttering...I am running Red October HQ with some MADVR setting tweaks. I have not posted my settings yet but will at some point.

I do not think you would be able to run multiple ExaSounds because of the USB driver as you say. It would be cool if a custom driver was written but I think the possibility is low because there aren't that many people need > 8 channels.

Thanks Nyal,

I ended up through much troubleshooting finding that the issue seems to be with the Audio. If I set the Audio output to -> null output, then the video is flawless. It doesn't matter what I choose or what sound card I choose after that, the video stutters after a chapter change. I have tried updating all drivers and it does the same thing with 3 different sound cards. I am awaiting my exasound e28 to see if it does it with that. If it still does, I will try PowerDVD to see if it's doing it in that application.

What do you use for 3D playback since JRiver can't support it? I was thinking of buying PowerDVD 13 Ultra for that feature.

On a positive note, I was able to get Dirac Live to work flawlessly for me for Stereo. I can't test multi-channel until the DAC arrives, can hardly wait!
post #55 of 166
Quote:
Originally posted by Maestro2be.

I will keep everyone posted of my results as I go along with the new DAC and Dirac combination with JRiver.

I'm very interested to know your thoughts on the JRiver / Dirac combo vs the Datasat.

Do you have any thoughts or comments thus far?
post #56 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

...
I do not think you would be able to run multiple ExaSounds because of the USB driver as you say. It would be cool if a custom driver was written but I think the possibility is low because there aren't that many people need > 8 channels.
Count me as one that would want >8

My setup requires 15 channels (active XO - biamped 7.2 + tactile)

Following this thread closely, as I would like to play with Dirac in the short term (8ch HDMI into current pre-pro with DRC bypassed) and then weigh the option of eliminating the Pre.

The big challenge is post-DAC volume control. Is no one worried about doing volume control pre-DAC?
post #57 of 166
The exasound does volume control.
post #58 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonFo View Post

Count me as one that would want >8

My setup requires 15 channels (active XO - biamped 7.2 + tactile)

Following this thread closely, as I would like to play with Dirac in the short term (8ch HDMI into current pre-pro with DRC bypassed) and then weigh the option of eliminating the Pre.

The big challenge is post-DAC volume control. Is no one worried about doing volume control pre-DAC?

Pre-DAC volume control is not ideal but JRiver's volume control is 64 bit and then gets dithered down to whatever bit depth your soundcard supports. It sounds pretty transparent to me, and I feel it is 'good enough' for movie watching. For 2 channel I'm using the new asynchronous XS-1 USB card into my DEQX HDP-4, and this is clearly a step above Lynx + Metric Halo via AES or Lynx + DEQX via AES input.
post #59 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

For 2 channel I'm using the new asynchronous XS-1 USB card into my DEQX HDP-4, and this is clearly a step above Lynx + Metric Halo via AES or Lynx + DEQX via AES input.
Can you link to the USB card you have in mind?
How do you experience the difference compared to using Lynx with AES/EBU?
post #60 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omholt View Post

Can you link to the USB card you have in mind?
How do you experience the difference compared to using Lynx with AES/EBU?

DEQX XS-1 Asynchronous USB card.

The USB card is better in every way compared to the AES input, and even notably better than a very good outboard USB/SPDIF converter (an AudioPhilleo). I hear more detail, less grain, more solidity in the sound.
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