Originally Posted by Bulldogger
How could the Trinnov win on hardware? Are the dacs and associated hardware, like volume control, clocks, op-amps upgradeable? Digital outputs upgradeable? Digital inputs upgradeable? Theta wins hands down on hardware upgradeability. Dirac is steadily improving as well, so. Make the argument that it doesn't matter for something. The idea that the Trinnov is more flexible on hardware upgrades is outlandish.
Trinnov is a PC. My HTPC can outperform the Trinnov. If Trinnov sold the software, you would not even need to pay 30k for an overpriced HTPC. From a hardware standpoint, it's a rip-off.
I know you and Steve have been going at it for a while now and I have been standing back and watching this and it really saddens me. You were such good friends and over some Audio differences this is no longer. I am really hoping you and Steve can get past this and move on as this whole thing is over what Steve thinks is good/great product and your love of Theta etc.
Now you do know my position with Theta very well and that I will defend the Gen VIII and the Casablanca till the bitter end. These products make up a huge portion of my income and as you know I have nurtured and helped keep them alive for so many years. With over 550 CB's under my management you don't really think I want to hurt Theta ? My Gen VIII's are much fewer but as you know I was the biggest Gen VIII fan in the world. Just in case you forgot when the Gen VIII was being developed I was on the Beta team and had the first unit when Mary Cardas who was running Theta at the time sent me Serial # 1..
I still to this day remember plugging it in and moving the XLR cables from my CB to the Gen VIII and I think I was using a Compli at the time and playing a disc (I think it was Tracy Chapman) and my Jaw hit the ground. I invited friends over and the same reaction. The CB had D2 cards and the Gen VIII Smoked it by a long shot. I took the unit the following week to a few clients homes to let them listen compared to their CB's and every one of them said order me one. One client asked to to call Mary and ask her if he could buy the demo unit as he didn't want me to leave with it. YES Kevin this machine proved that when implemented correctly a DAC/Pre can be life changing and over the following years we A/B compared the Gen VIII to everything. Ie. Berkeley and DCS and so many others and not one ever stacked up to the Gen VIII..
So with that said let's catch up to today. Morris/Dave (Theta) took the Dac chips from the Gen VIII as you know and built the D3 Dac Card and in designing this card realized the Volume controls which are built onto the Dac Cards needed to be better than what's in the Gen VIII because the Gen VIII's volume design is older yet great but they felt they could do it better. They designed a new volume circuit which is more dynamic and better than that of the Gen VIII and this made it onto the D3 card. So what does this mean ? The D3 card in Theory could or should be better than the Gen VIII but of course the Isolated power supply and chassis design of the Gen VIII are wonderful and when closely listened against each other which I myself and dozens of people have A/B compared, almost everyone chose the D3 in their CB over the Gen VIII.
Now for the 2 Channel user it would make no sense to have a CB so a Gen VIII is a perfect solution for that person and I today only have one better solution than the Gen VIII for 2 channel listeners and that's Trinnov's Amethyst. Now of course this is going to introduce the conversation into how this section of the thread started and your comment about Trinnov being a PC.
Kevin, it may use a PC type chassis and an Intel CPU but its not PC. It doesn't need a Keyboard or Monitor. It doesn't require windows updates or PC like reboots or anything like that. It uses a custom Linux Operating system like almost every piece of equipment on the planet. IE. Routers, iPhones, Mac Computers, your car's entertainment system and almost everything that is in our lives which is computerized today is Linux Based.
So what does this all mean ?
Look at who Trinnov is? Financially secure French based Engineering company producing commercial and residential based Audio Products for the Movie Theaters, Recording industry and live performance venues as well. They may possibly have more engineers working at Trinnov than many of the USA based audio companies combined. Their software and hardware is hands down the most flexible, upgradable , dynamic and more important musically capable products I have heard in a very long time.
Using a chassis that they chose was smart and it's not a sealed solution. Their chassis opens easily and the HDMI card along with other hardware can be removed and easily upgraded. Many Trinnov users have upgraded their HDMI cards themselves with no issues.
Kevin, I have a lot at stake speaking openly about these products when I have supported Theta since they started and kept them running in the years they were hanging on by a thread. Morris has done amazing things with the Theta brand and he is continuing. He is of course working the commercial space as Datasat and BGW have a huge footing there for him but he is fully committed to the Growth of the Casablanca and yes there will be a Casablanca V. It will be the same chassis but most likely have the the ability for a third 6 channel card giving the machine an 18 channel potential. It's still going to be a hardware based Pre Pro the same as every single Receiver (Denon,Yamaha,Marantz, Onkyo etc) and pre pro on the planet EXCEPT for Trinnov.
Is this a bad thing ? Not really. The CB with its modular Dac Architecture is sweet as we all know and sounds amazing but its a hardware based solution. We have all had hardware based solutions for our audio since the beginning of time and yes finally someone has broken free of the pack and created something different. I know you're struggling with the concept that an Intel based software oriented machine could be equal or better maybe than a high end hardware solution but in this case your incorrect. The Trinnov has lots of hardware and is not just software. The Dacs and Logic boards and most of the components inside are Trinnovs but that allows them to be flexible and upgradable as well. Look at a 5 year old iPhone. Fully Software upgradable with the latest OS and loads of new features with the press of a button. Trinnov has the same concept.
Room Correction - Most people know what room correction can do on this forum and most people who have had the opportunity to play with Dirac have experienced room correction that works really well. Before Dirac I had very little hope for high quality correction with resolution that I could stand on a high end system. Dirac changed that for me and then came Trinnov. Trinnov's room correction for me is what feels like the first time I heard Dirac against Audyssey. Trinnov's correction and ability to mic the room in 3d makes the rest seem kind of silly. They are the room correction masters. Actually when you look at how they started and what they have done all these years, its all about calibrations, accuracy, listening to rooms in 3d and doing things like no other.
Kevin, I write this long winded message to you today to clarify some things and most important I want to make sure the people reading these threads get the truth. No one loves Theta more than me, trust me on that for many reasons. This doesn't mean I cant also love Trinnov which I do very much. I now have many many of my friends and clients who have moved from Theta to Trinnov and not a single one has said they miss their Theta. Every single one has said it sounds better across the board and to the point some even have bought 2 Trinnov's for the same house. (Thank you Rob).. He owned Theta's forever and now is a Trinnov fan.
Lets keep this simple - For the critical listener who doesn't need high channel count and wants an amazing hardware based Pre Pro with a long time proven record of upgrades and amazing dacs and is not so concerned about Best in class Room Correction and Software upgradability the Casablanca / Gen VIII is absolutely amazing. For the person who's looking for a more software based future proof solution with Native Roon Streaming and incredible setup flexibility and high channel count options Trinnov owns it.
I am very proud to be working closely with both companies and I can tell you the support from Trinnov is fantastic. Don't get me wrong John Baloff at Theta is world class himself but Trinnov's Support is amazing and Jon Herron and his USA staff is awesome. Yes by the way, Trinnov USA exists and they are building a facility in CT and they have USA based support and service and they are not taking this market lightly.
Kevin I hope you and Steve can be friends again and I hope you realize Trinnov is a serious player and its not just a PC. If you ever get the chance to listen to an Amethyst (This is Trinnov's 2.2 channel version of the Altitude ) and compare it to your Gen VIII you may have a little eye opener.
Thank you for reading -