Originally Posted by cannga
Were you ever into 2 channel audiophile music and stereo, or did this aspect and era pass you by? I seem to detect some misunderstanding of Theta's history and its mission here.
Theta has always been a high-end audiophile company (in the non-snobbish sense of the word to indicate its history); its competitors is not what you are using, but the likes of Meridian. These companies don't compete based on number of channels, but SOTA quality of sound. Owners actually judge these units with 2 channel music as a critical criteria, a finer point that I think you might have missed. If you have doubt, just look at typical speakers and systems of owners in Theta thread; they have very little in common with speakers seen with "cutting edge" 27.5 channels SSP. Not to imply it is "better" for everyone, but it is for sure, for a different "crowd."
Perhaps if you think of the beautiful Porsche 911 Turbo every time you think of Theta, then you won't be asking these silly questions. Porsche's sole mission is to kill the likes of Ferrari
at less cost, it doesn't care how many seats the Lexus SUV has. Porsche = Theta, Meridian = Ferrari, or something to that effect :-); all iconic, and never an outright winner.
Theta's success is that it's a $12k stereo + hometheater preamp competing with 25k products
on sound quality, with spectacular results. To that end, I think the opposite from you: and that is..... *KISS*
, keep cost down (it's always about the money), stay with 7.1 as primary goal, concentrate on sound quality alone, let other companies be pioneers with bells and whistles as they may go the way of 3D Video, and never worry about the number of seats of the Lexus SUV ;-). Number of channels in the Theta being the key? Not quite.
There is no doubt the Theta has loyal owners and is a competent piece. This forum is proof enough. The owners have fine, top shelf speaker systems. I have no doubt their systems are excellent sounding.
When I was a kid, I liked 2 channel and had a decent system for a 16 year old (I always had a job). But during my later years of study, I worked at Sears part time in the TV department and they had a home theater set up, laser disc player and Top Gun! I quickly bought into it all despite my meager wages. Loved 5.1 Dolby Surround and have had a system since. It captivated and amazed me.
As you're aware, I have a Porsche Turbo S and when I get into the cockpit, it's simply speed I'm thinking!
But your analogy does have some value as Porsche unlike other exotics is a daily driver, a formidable race car, rarely has any mechanical issues, is cheap to repair and compared to more expensive exotics like Lamborghini and Ferrari is faster and a magnificent track car for a fraction of the price. It is 'KISS' to a fault. Though Ferrari and Lambo are wonderful cars, Porsche was my fit and I can pile to kids in the back seat - can't do that in the others. That said, I'd love to have Ash's garage as the 358, to me, is the most beautiful car in the world and I hope to have one some day.
I know the Theta is a good sounding processor that really has it's following to folks that have nice 2 channel systems that like to do home theater as well. And I am aware there are folks who use Theta in excellent, dedicated theaters (Ash, Lon). However, most users here choose rooms that are treated acoustically for 2 channel, compromise their center channel buy putting it below a screen or, unfortunately, use a flat screen monitor. I'd like a nice 2 channel system but I'm of the believe, it requires a separate room. I can't imagine a nice 2 channel system with a perf screen and baffle wall.. but an ideal theater can not be without such in my opinion.
My biggest hang up with Theta was their HDMI disaster. Blu ray was on the market nearly 5 years before they added HDMI and that cemented my preconceived notion that the CB is for folks who really do home theater as a secondary thing as who'd put up with that ****? I could never buy a piece and wonder if, as technology moves forward, they would wait until the new technology is fading to finally add it (e.g. as HDMI is new on the CB, now it is already dated as version 2.0 is here). I would hope the new Theta will be HDMI 2.0.
But that is history and now the piece has HDMI and a new update coming. Myself, having built an ideal room and ideal 7.1 set up, now sees that 7.1 one is going away as a limitation in getting the best surround experience. Today's technology that is found in Trinnov and DIRAC allows for more precision surround sound with the advantage of more speakers to better flesh out the surround environment. Adding more speakers in the context of new algorithms and equipment allows for more definition, spatial accuracy and resolution of the effects. I've got a great set up that gives an excellent 7.1 experience, but I'm confident after my readings, the advancement of technology, and trips to CEDIA that 3d audio is here, ready and better.
I made a comment regarding potentially buying a new Theta above since I am going to use Trinnov and at least 9 or 11 channels in my own room. There are new modes and post processing algorithms I'd like to employ that may or may not make it to Trinnov (though it is fully upgradeable and Curt Hoyt says it is possible Trinnov may add such). That is where my reference to the Theta comes in. It appears to have a unique new digital output card that IF the new THETA CB-IV employs Neo X post processing, Auro 3D decoding, (like DATASAT will employ) AND ability to output 13.1 channels, it may make sense for me to own to put in front of my Trinnov as a decoder and source switcher (wouldn't even the DACs). It's a new product for ATI, why not aim high and truly make it ground breaking and directly compete with the DATASAT?
My years of teasing the Theta guys was really the HDMI thing - which was a cornucopia of ammo and the fact that despite it's celebrated greatness, rarely did anyone other than a long time owners here ever buy one new. To me, folks just held on to it because of the economics, drank the Kool-Aid that HDMI and lossless audio really wasn't that desirable or because they believed the repeated lies from the manufacturer that HDMI was about ready to be employed. Even when other great (and not so great processors) were decoding and post processing DTS MA and TRUE HD, they celebrated the 6 shooter - a device essentially designed to bypass the CB DACS and post processing, The six shooter was another expensive band aid that gave me a lot of ammo. When Steve bragged how great the Onkyo was... welI... I didn't think I'd ever stop laughing.
This is a home theater site and I understand most Theta owners' systems excel at 2 channel rather than a great home theater experience... and that is fine. But it's not my thing.