Originally Posted by Kwikas
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?
I sure do. It is better in every way. I have now had them all for months and there is no comparison. I have now completely removed my Meridian 861 (it's collecting dust). My Theta Casablanca is no hooked up to a video game computer and I no longer have a Datasat (returned it). It was the coolest of all the units, but not worth it's money to me. For many people, this will be the best they can get if you're not prepared (or knowledgeable enough to build your own system and troubleshoot every issue you will have).
There is no doubt it is superior in every way to all the processors listed above. I had them all hooked up in the same room for many months (not minutes or days). The exasound is so smooth and non-harsh compared to all of them it's night and day. I can literally turn up the volume to the point that my ears cannot take any more volume from just pure decibels of sound.
Even my wife said the exasound is better than all of them.
I am using JRiver 19 with Dirac and the Exasound e28 with upgraded clock. There are only a few issues that I have/had with this setup:
1. I am screwed/limited to only 8 channels and I doubt the manufacturer cares enough about 9+ channels to actually setup a driver to use more than one (I have asked many times and I don't get a promising answer, more of an avoiding answer) which makes me believe it will never happen. That gave me serious heartburn for months but finally had to move on and live with it the way it is (for now).
2. He claimed that this DAC worked with Dirac and it was seriously misleading and not quite truthful. In fact it took him months to come up with a solution for me. The DAC would playback through Dirac as a playback device but you couldn't use it as an output device during the recording playback/tone generation process of the room calibration. So this meant getting a totally separate sound card system just for the calibration process and then applying the results to a completely different playback system (the exasound DAC). This pissed me off for months and I pushed and complained and fought until a solution was forced to be found on his part. It's a clunky solution and still misleading but it supposedly works (I still haven't tried it from frustration of how much time I have spent doing his work for him). Therefore I am applying a Dirac filter that was created using an RME Hammerfall DSP Multiface 2 from my recording studio machine. I really don't care if the results are the same or just as good recording/calibrating from one sound card and then playing out through the DAC. I wasn't told I would have to go through all of this to get finished results and it amounted to months of frustration, troubleshooting and waiting.
Computer wise I never had any issues that I wasn't able to troubleshoot very quickly. JRiver took a bit of time to setup and comprehend all the amazing features. It's literally a Datasat in software format. Only once mastered, seemed more powerful and much better of a solution beyond a doubt.
3. 3D movies are an issue for several reasons. First off JRiver doesn't play 3D movies. So I purchased TotalMedia Theater 6 and integrated the 2 of them (so JRiver opened TMT6 when accessing a 3D movie). Problem here is, TMT6 doesn't work at all with ASIO drivers. So that is a fail also.
All in all, I am ok with the few issues I have had at this point. I have learned an incredible amount of information and also able to prove in every way it's a more superior solution to all the above listed. I have owned a meridian for 9 years, Theta for 7 and the Datasat was setup by the manufacturer. And yet the exasound is the clear winner in sound. But in total ease of use, it is the hardest of all solutions as the others require almost no knowledge in comparison. Simply do some speaker calibrations (or better yet pay someone to do it for you) and then pop in a Blu Ray and all is done.
If I had to do this all over again, I would do it all over again and choose the exasound. Now I just need to nag and nag and nag the creator of the exasound to get me a driver that works with two of them at once. The biggest issue he gave me was that being asynchronous and so powerful at maximum resolution there is really no more bandwidth available for a second one on the USB bus. I said well USB 3 has much more to spare (this is a USB 2 interface). I also mentioned you could have one use the USB 2 interface on the board/card and then USB 3 for the other. since they use separate busses.
Hope that helps.