Intel CPU/software based Trinnov Processor vs SHARC/DSP based Theater Processors - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Intel CPU/software based Trinnov Processor vs SHARC/DSP based Theater Processors

I figured this discussion should move from the Theta thread to this more neutral ground, where it will hopefully diffuse tension and rekindle member relations. This topic is no doubt an interesting one and the many thoughts that have been discussed on that thread have been on my mind since the Trinnov was released.

Trinnov Intel CPU i3/i7 software based processors have some obvious advantages of being able to handle large amounts of speakers and discrete channels with speaker remapping. They have an exceptional amount of software upgradeability/flexibility. While SHARC/DSP processors are easier to implement from a hardware/firmware standpoint, but have a limited amount of discrete speaker flexibility options, no speaker remapping, as well as a bit less flexibility with hardware upgradeability, which apply to many processors such as the current McIntosh MX160/Lyndorf MP-50 and somewhat to the Datasats. Theta has the luxury of being a SHARC based processor with incredible build quality, is very upgradeable, but unfortunately these upgrades occur at a fairly slow rate. Then there are the Storm processors, with some upgradeability, with much higher speaker number counts, but many of which are matrixed beyond the current SHARC/DSP limitations.

Not only hardware, but room correction and the processor’s software plays a role in the final results of sound quality, seamless sound field creation, and the sonic characteristics/signature of each unit. Some will argue the differences are feature and they all sound the same. Many will say they sound different be it a processor with Trinnov room correction, DIRAC, or Room Perfect.

The audiophiles will argue their high end SHARC/DSP based processors will have better build quality, power supplies, isolation and DACS which in theory should produce a better signal to noise ratio and better sound and that a PC based processor is just that an overpriced PC. The CPU crew will argue software trumps all and it’s the sound that matters not the hardware, and their sound is the best they heard.

Please discuss in an amicable and respectful way the pros and cons of each as well as your personal experiences relative to your various owned or auditioned processors. Myself, I have been on the fence to jump into the Trinnov craze or wait for the newer 18 discrete channel SHARC/DSP processors that should be coming soon enough. Buying a souped up, and not particularly powerful semi-converted PC for huge $ has held me back thus far, but who knows for how long.

As Steve called this a Cylons vs Audiophiles, very witty and fitting! However, this need not be a war. Things got a bit out of hand on the Theta thread. So let’s leave that war to the excellent Sci-Fi series and have a great discussion.

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post #2 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 06:45 AM
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I was reading through the Theta thread and the ill words between Bulldogger and Steve (and I thought I was always the catalyst )?!

The odd thing about the disagreement was that the Theta, like almost every other SSP on the market is constrained to 12 - 14 speakers. If you want to double that (or more), the Theta isn't even an option?! So regardless of whether it is a PC or a solid state SSP, it's immaterial.

Steve B's configuration is impossible in the Theta. So I see no reason to argue.

Most guys in that thread have had their same or upgraded units for 20 years or more... It's all they know - so, they believe nothing better exists and you'll never move them. Like yelling at a wall.

Both are good sounding - just completely different applications.

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #3 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post
I was reading through the Theta thread and the ill words between Bulldogger and Steve (and I thought I was always the catalyst )?!

The odd thing about the disagreement was that the Theta, like almost every other SSP on the market is constrained to 12 - 14 speakers. If you want to double that (or more), the Theta isn't even an option?! So regardless of whether it is a PC or a solid state SSP, it's immaterial.

Steve B's configuration is impossible in the Theta. So I see no reason to argue.

Most guys in that thread have had their same or upgraded units for 20 years or more... It's all they know - so, they believe nothing better exists and you'll never move them. Like yelling at a wall.

Both are good sounding - just completely different applications.

That may be true, but soon enough, DSP/SHARC based processors will offer higher speaker count options. Then decisions get a bit more difficult. For now, Trinnov sits alone on high count speaker processors available. Storm appears to be a hybrid option.... high speaker count, but highly matrixed. Soon higher counts will come with more discrete ability, which is why I think a continued discussion will be enlightening.

One thing I see that is becoming a trend... buy an uber expensive Trinnov processor that has a huge amount of Channel capability. Then owners of small-ish to medium sized theaters feel the need to add a large amount of speakers into that space. Perhaps this is to help justify the purchase, or perhaps it helps create the seamless soundfield that they are after? Who knows, but with some, it appears that the Trinnov drive them to make a large # of additional height layer speaker additions. Is this necessary? Would they be better off using a lesser # of speakers, that perfectly matching the bed layer? Difficult to say, every room, seating layout and system is different, but this is a thought that has crossed my mind. My theater is 24’ x 24’ with a very large cubic volume (tall ceiling). I could fit a huge # of speakers, yet I choose to lower that # and match my bed layer exactly. The question arises, can adding too many speakers per a given cubic volume of space begin to have a detrimental impact on sound quality or the the steering impact of spatial sound effects or is more the better in all scenarios to create the seamless effect?

Am I still interested in the Trinnov? Yes, but not for installing an unnecessarily large # of speakers into my theater. I rather not have the purchase of a Trinnov influence me in that way. The appearance of infinitely ugradeable surround sound codecs (I.e, DTS:X Pro) and speaker remapping I find particularly interesting. I really am not going to go too much beyond a 9.6.2. With high end speakers, that image well and have a huge soundstage, I really don’t see the point (at least for now). This is why I consider Trinnov, with an eye on future processors as well.

The question I have always asked is, how can a PC based system sound as good as a purpose built high end audio piece of gear? If it does solely based on incredible software, then I am truly impressed. When looking at the hardware itself, it is nothing special. This was part of Bulldogger’s concern.

I would love to have the flexibility, expandability and features of a Trinnov, and the build quality of a CB or McIntosh processor, but that does not exist. It does seem that many here, with some of the best theaters on the forum are very happy with their Trinnov processors. I have also spoken with many owners via PM that love the processor, which is reassuring. However, to play devil’s advocate, I have also spoken with an individual who has found inconsistent data when measuring the Trinnov’s room eq results when comparing repetition of the eq procedure. Was it an error or anomaly in the procedure, a bad mic, or something more?

So wait to see what McIntosh/Lyngdorf comes up with for their next generation processor with a potential of 18 discrete channels plus a likely array of additional matrixed channels (like the Storm) or jump ship to the Trinnov with the uneasy feeling that I have just spent as much as a car for a variant of a PC? Tough call.

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post #4 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
I figured this discussion should move from the Theta thread to this more neutral ground, where it will hopefully diffuse tension and rekindle member relations. This topic is no doubt an interesting one and the many thoughts that have been discussed on that thread have been on my mind since the Trinnov was released.

Trinnov Intel CPU i3/i7 software based processors have some obvious advantages of being able to handle large amounts of speakers and discrete channels with speaker remapping. They have an exceptional amount of software upgradeability/flexibility. While SHARC/DSP processors are easier to implement from a hardware/firmware standpoint, but have a limited amount of discrete speaker flexibility options, no speaker remapping, as well as a bit less flexibility with hardware upgradeability, which apply to many processors such as the current McIntosh MX160/Lyndorf MP-50 and somewhat to the Datasats. Theta has the luxury of being a SHARC based processor with incredible build quality, is very upgradeable, but unfortunately these upgrades occur at a fairly slow rate. Then there are the Storm processors, with some upgradeability, with much higher speaker number counts, but many of which are matrixed beyond the current SHARC/DSP limitations.

Not only hardware, but room correction and the processor’s software plays a role in the final results of sound quality, seamless sound field creation, and the sonic characteristics/signature of each unit. Some will argue the differences are feature and they all sound the same. Many will say they sound different be it a processor with Trinnov room correction, DIRAC, or Room Perfect.

The audiophiles will argue their high end SHARC/DSP based processors will have better build quality, power supplies, isolation and DACS which in theory should produce a better signal to noise ratio and better sound and that a PC based processor is just that an overpriced PC. The CPU crew will argue software trumps all and it’s the sound that matters not the hardware, and their sound is the best they heard.

Please discuss in an amicable and respectful way the pros and cons of each as well as your personal experiences relative to your various owned or auditioned processors. Myself, I have been on the fence to jump into the Trinnov craze or wait for the newer 18 discrete channel SHARC/DSP processors that should be coming soon enough. Buying a souped up, and not particularly powerful semi-converted PC for huge $ has held me back thus far, but who knows for how long.

As Steve called this a Cylons vs Audiophiles, very witty and fitting! However, this need not be a war. Not mentioning any names, but things got a bit out of hand on the Theta thread. So let’s leave that war to the excellent Sci-Fi series and have a great discussion.

Will be great to monitor discussion about the many other options to the Trinnov for those that want to venture beyond the 16 channel limit many current processors offer. I'll have to follow the discussions , see what are the variables surrounding the various options for future consideration down the road. Definitely going with my X8500H Denon now, but will be ready for any eventuality, I have speaker wires ran for every conceivable format up to 11.4.13 , I do believe I'm covered. Will have to be 9.3.6 for now though, options beyond this are few and quite expensive. I'm sure many competitive options will develop within the next year or so, appreciate the heads up on these alternatives.

Dedicated Theater: Sony VPL VW 885ES , Panamorph DCR & ISCO III L Anamorphic Lens, Draper TecVision XT1800X Screen, 2.40:1 134" diagonal curved , Denon AVR-X8500 , 9.2.6 Atmos, Panasonic UB900, Oppo 203, Lumagen Pro 4440 , (3) Paradigm CI Elite E7-L+C+R fronts, , (2) CI Pro P80-IW Rear, (2) Paradigm SA-ADP In-wall Surround, (6) SIG-1.5R-30 v.3 In-Ceiling, Subwoofers: (2) SVS SB-16 Ultra , SVS PC13-Ultra .

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post #5 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
That may be true, but soon enough, DSP/SHARC based processors will offer higher speaker count options.

Even 16 ch is a tiny minority of systems out there, so it may not be worth the development costs for what may be a few thousand, or even hundreds, of unit sales.



Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
The question I have always asked is, how can a PC based system sound as good as a purpose built high end audio piece of gear? If it does solely based on incredible software, then I am truly impressed. When looking at the hardware itself, it is nothing special. This was part of Bulldogger’s concern.

If the output of the PC part is digital couldn't it be be made copacetic with reclocking etc?

And do you know that Trinnov doesn't have audiophile grade analog circuitry on another board?

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post #6 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Even 16 ch is a tiny minority of systems out there, so it may not be worth the development costs for what may be a few thousand, or even hundreds, of unit sales.






If the output of the PC part is digital couldn't it be be made copacetic with reclocking etc?

And do you know that Trinnov doesn't have audiophile grade analog circuitry on another board?
Good questions Noah. I only know what I have read on the forum, which was also brought up by Bulldogger. I would like to know the details of the analog circuitry, digital reclocking and DACs. I would also like to know, given its PC architecture, what the signal to noise ratio is on the unit. Curiously, I have been informed that the Trinnov S/N ratio is fairly good, while the Storm did not fair as well. I would have predicted the opposite. We know the McIntosh/Lyngdorf processors have very low S/N ratios. Features and expandability are great, but high quality, smooth, transparent noise free sound are just as important. Perhaps the more I learn what sets the Trinnov apart from a PC the more reassured I will become, and will eventually make a purchase.

I would hope that high end processor companies that use SHARC/DSP would at least produce processors with 16 discrete channels and perhaps follow Storms lead with additional matrixed channels. This would satisfy 99% of the enthusiasts and theaters out there. The largest of theaters, and the AVS extreme enthusiasts might still opt for the infinitely tweakable Trinnov processors and I can appreciate that.

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post #7 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 10:28 AM
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Good questions Noah. I only know what I have read on the forum, which was also brought up by Bulldogger. I would like to know the details of the analog circuitry, digital reclocking and DACs. I would also like to know, given its PC architecture, what the signal to noise ratio is on the unit. Curiously, I have been informed that the Trinnov S/N ratio is fairly good, while the Storm did not fair as well. I would have predicted the opposite. We know the McIntosh/Lyngdorf processors have very low S/N ratios. Features and expandability are great, but high quality, smooth, transparent noise free sound are just as important. Perhaps the more I learn what sets the Trinnov apart from a PC the more reassured I will become, and will eventually make a purchase.
Only specs published AFAIK are A/D SN at 118dB, D/A at 119dB. The PC is used only for DSP. All the rest is handled via two* TAC (Trinnov Audio Controller) boards, a Universal board, and an HDMI board, all of which are run off a separate PS from the PC. The Universal board handles digital I/O to HDMI and all AES connections.

*In A32, one TAC in A16
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post #8 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 11:03 AM
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One other variable to consider is not just dac/power supply/build quality vs eq and processing power, but the room itself. I have found, for my horrible (acoustically) great room (family room, dining, and kitchen in one big room) that Audyssey and Dirac Live have not worked well. So, that is where the quality of the Theta comes into play, since I use the Casablanca IV without the Dirac Live. I've also found that RoomPerfect works well - much better than the other two.


Recently, I've been reading that DL and Trinnov work well in dedicated rooms, and RoomPerfect works well in non-dedicated rooms. Seems that my experience mirrors the commentary that I've been reading.


As Jeff put it, there are a few really great processors, and the choice might come down to what works best for the application, including the number of speakers, the room, etc.


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post #9 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 11:42 AM
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Recently, I've been reading that DL and Trinnov work well in dedicated rooms, and RoomPerfect works well in non-dedicated rooms.
Dave, I'd be careful with broad generalizations where few, if any folks have had extensive experience with multiple processors in multiple rooms/room types.
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Dave, I'd be careful with broad generalizations where few, if any folks have had extensive experience with multiple processors in multiple rooms/room types.

True. Best to go with my own experience in my room and determine what works best, knowing that it may not apply to anyone else and their room. That's the path that I'm on right now.


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post #11 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 01:56 PM
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My own experience as an addicted two channel audio and home theater enthusiast, comparing my Theta Casablanca SSP (since 1997, upgraded all the way to the CBIV-A SSP with Extreme D-3 DACs and DIRAC room correction, vs what i have replaced it with, a Trinnov Altitude 32, initially 16 channels but upgraded to 24 channels.

This experience is with my current system, 5.2.4, five Aerial Acoustics 7ts, 4 in ceiling KEF Ci200RR-THX, 5 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks, 1 ATI AT526NC multi-channel amplifier, 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers.

I have 5 leather recliners, 3 front row, 2 back row. TV & movies front row, 2 and multi-channel music back row. My theatre is 18'3" wide, 25' deep, and 11'11" high. Front row about 13' from screen wall. Front left and right Aerial 7ts angled toward front row center listener position, with outer edges about 15" from side walls, and backs about 7' from front screen wall. Center speaker about 3.5' from front screen wall. But this works due to my Michael Green acoustic treatments which are adjusted to control absorption vs diffusion and though my left and right 7ts are about 14' apart I get an outstanding phantom center image. This is fine for movies & tv in front row. But for music, front row has always been way too close, whereas back row center (the recliner on the left) is excellent, because the front left and right 7ts are so far apart!

Note that as I really like the Trinnov Altitude 32, that I am in process of further changing/revising my system to 9.4.8, to result in 3 Aerial 7ts; 6 Aerial 7LCRs on wall; 8 Triad Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9; 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers; 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers; 3 Theta Prometheus monoblock amps; Trinnov Amplitude 8 and 8m multi-channel amplifiers!

I became interested in the Trinnov SSP at CEDIA in Sept 2018. I talked quite a bit with Trinnov USA's Sales Manager, Jon Herron, and Steve at Wisdom Audio, regarding the- Altititude 16/32's features and set up. I liked the Wisdom Audio demo with the Trinnov, particularly the feel from underneath me in my seat of the bass! To what extent the Trinnov SSP had to do with that I didn't know for sure. Sonics were very nice, though not quite as musical or 3D as I am accustomed to in my own home theatre, but of course this is on the CEDIA showroom floor, not really fair to compare is it? Trinnov has just incorporated a US company to sell and service Trinnov and was lining up local dealers. Within a few weeks of getting back home I contacted one of my dealers, who had become a Trinnov dealer, but I couldn't get a demo, but got what I consider a "good deal" I initially went with the Altitude 32, 16 channels, not the Altitude 16, because I wanted the capability on music of playing 192-24 not just 96-24 as with the Altitude 16.

So my Altitude 32 came late Sept 2018. But as I read the operations manual, I was - INTIMIDATED. There was no easy setup procedure as there was with the Altitude 16. And frankly I was happy with my Theta Digital CBIV-A sonics all around, two channel and tv/movies, and sort of upset that I took $$ out of my retirement savings for this new and intimidating for me to set up SSP. I planned to first set it up myself, decide if I wanted to keep it and sell the CBIV-A SSP or vice-versa, and only if I kept it would I then pay the extra $$$ for Adam Pelz to fly out and set it up to "perfection". Finally, not even 2 months ago, I decided to set up the Trinnov SSP. First, having read at this forum that there was beta firmware with an easy setup, I contacted my dealer (VGI/Craig Shumer) and got the latest firmware uploaded to my Altitude 32 with the easy setup procedure. Then I spend two weeks reading and rereading the operations manual and setting up the Altitude 32 myself some, then went to the easy setup only to find it took me right through each of those steps and a basic setup wasn't hard at all. And thanks to my dealer, Joh Herron of Trinnov, and Audioguy here on the forum answering some setup questions for me making it easier for me. So around the end of Feb 2019 I got my Altitude 32 up and running.

Here's how I would compare the Altitude 32 vs the Theta CBIV-A SSP:


1. Build quality: Theta wins hands down, with a serious audiophile build, large toroid, humongous power supply, shield, best SSP Dacs (Extreme D-3 DACs, etc. Though Altitude 32 is quiet, not noisy like some PCs at all, and in my open rack it doesn't even get warm.

2. Setup including room correction/optimization filters: Altitude 32 wins hands down. The Altitude 32 basic setup is so much easier than the CBIV-A SSP. The tetrahedron Altitude 32 (or 16) microphone automatically measures speaker positions, distances, speaker levels, etc so you don't have to program any of that stuff in. NICE! Simply a fairly easier procedure than using Dirac, version 1, with the Theta SSP. Also, with Theta SSP, I setup two separate filters, one for each row, front row video, back row music. And as Theta SSP only has one filter slot if I change rows have to reload filter to Theta SSP. And have to setup different inputs on Theta SSP for first row vs 2nd row, manually entering distances and speaker levels. Pain in the butt! Not so with the Altitude. Also, I found with Theta SSP that I had to set my 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers volume control at only a bit past the 1/4 mark, as the Theta SSP subwoofer channel volume settings simply didn't allow me to go higher having two Dirac filters one for front row and one for back row. With Altitude, not an issue, and I could set JL Audio f212 subwoofer controls wherever and not a problem - I ended up setting them at the halfway mark straight up. With Theta SSP if you use Radio Shack analog sound level meter, set subwoofer channel 6 dB higher than 70 or 75 dB for other channels, due to meter's lack of accuracy at the subwoofer test tone. With the Altitude, however it does this it corrects for any frequency inaccuracy for the microphone internally and you don't have to level match anything!

3. ROON: Altitude 32 wins BIG!

I love ROON. Been using it for like 4 years now. Theta SSP is not ROON Ready, next CBV whenever its available I'm sure will be ROON Ready - finally. ROON Ready means that the SSP or DAC is a ROON endpoint connecting to your network via ethernet instead of having to use digital coax/AES/EBU or HDMI in. (Note that I use a DJM Electronics optical/fiber converter after my ROON Core Sonic Transporter i7 and just before the Altitude 32.) With Theta CBIV-A SSP, I use two separate ROON Core devices, a customized PC built by Small Green Computer with an AMD Sapphire HDMI card for multi-channel audio; and a Sonic Transporter i7 also built by Small Green Computer for two channel audio connected via 2 ethernet connections both to network and directly to Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical upgrade which outputs USB to Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter which outputs AES/EBU digital to Theta SSP. Although my multi-channel audio rips sound very nice via HDMI, my two channel is much better, at least with Theta SSP.

However, I have found the Altitude's 32 ROON Ready ethernet sonics to be outstanding. I have compared using my two channel setup AES/EBU vs ROON Ready ethernet and sonically its virtually indistinguishable. So I am selling my rather expensive two channel Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical/fiber mod and Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter with no loss of sonics quality at all. NICE! And a simpler system with less components is nice too.

And now using ROON my multi-channel albums sound as good as my two channel albums - as explained above, this was not the case with my Theta SSP.

Also, using ROON, the Altitude 32 simply sounds better than the Theta SSP, even in straight two channel stereo! Its more involving, more like live concerts I attend in excellent acoustical venues like the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, Mesa Arts Center, The Nash' etc. I'm not saying in every possible variable the Altitude 32 beats the CBIV-A SSP sonically - I am saying as a whole, what makes me beat my feet and enjoy music, I simply enjoy music appreciably more with the Altitude 32. After about 10 days of use, I shipped my Altitude 32 for repair as it had a bandwith issue.
(skipping on 192k and 176k tracks) (repaired with new firewire card, etc), and for about 10 days I had the Theta SSP back in my system and listened to a lot of music and frankly, it just wasn't the same. I had been spoiled. And part of the spoiling is discussed below.

4. Auro-3D: Altitude 32 wins for now 100 to 0. Because Theta SSP doesn't have Auro 3D. With Theta SSP, I almost always listened in 2 channel as direct stereo only, trying other sonic modes like DTS or Dolby to expand speakers/sonics simply seemed to detract some from the cleanness of the two channel music up front; whereas I find Auro-3D with Altitude 32 such a 100% positive that I always use it and never listen in straight stereo! With Auro-3D my multi-channel speaker system is utilized and provides increased dynamics and liveness without detracting from the original stereo sonics at all - its amazing! I have learned that Auro 3D only applies to music 96k and less. If you play music 192k or 176k Auro-3D will not engage.
I've been preferring to use Auro-3D even though to do so I use ROON to downsample from 192k and 176k!

5. Room Correction/Optimization Filters: Again, Altitude 32 wins hands down! The Altitude has internal storage for up to 29 optimizer/room correction/seating position filters, all you do is click and you're there! Connect a USB stick and you can add filters, too. Nice. Theta SSP has only one filter loaded at a time, and if you want to load another filter you have made, its a manual process of uploading a new filter you have made to the Theta SSP. Pain in the you know what compared to Trinnov's simplicity.

6. TV/Movies: So far, the Altitude 32 is certainly as good as the Theta SSP. Perhaps better, once I play more and make adjustments. My gut feeling is that the Altitude 32 is quieter with clearer vocals, but so far I've really noticed the difference on music a lot, and perhaps only somewhat on TV/Movies. So far I've really been concentrating on the music end, and just watching some DirecTV and Apple TV 4k shows. So far so good.

I want to emphasize I am still at the beginning with the Altitude 32 as a crazy and complex SSP! But even with a basic setup I am very pleased sonically. And I took SO LONG (5 months) to even put the Altitude 32 into my system because (1) I was intimidated by its setup (which turned out not to be hard for a basic setup), and (2) I was so pleased with my Theta CBIV-A SSP and thought the odds were under 50% that the Altitude 32's sonics would make me happy in comparison [and (3) I was busy kicking myself in the butt for spending too much money on a new SSP that might not satisfy my sonic needs when I was already so happy with my Theta SSP]! If the basic setup had not given me what I wanted sonically, I would have sold the Altitude 32, and even with the not bad deal I got buying it, I probably would have loss at least a few thousand selling it - but I am addicted to audio and home theater and wanted to try it out for a test run! And I have been pleasantly surprised!

I want to emphasize what works for me, my ears (with whatever hearing deficits I may have, with whatever functional deficits I may have), my components, my theatre, may not be what works for someone else. And if I had been more patient, willing to wait, probably within the next 1-3 years Theta would come out with a Theta CBV which will be ROON Ready and a later Dirac version (this can't occur until Texas Instruments provides an 18 channel SSP card at 96-24 AND Dirac provides the code for the latest Dirac version for SSPs). But heck I survived a ruptured appendix last Dec and I am tired of waiting provided I get the sonics. And I am getting the sonics so I am very, very happy. But if I waited for a Theta SSP upgrade it would cost me a lot less $$$.

.
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My theater https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431. Sony VPL-VW5000ES; Lumagen Radiance Pro 4446; Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2:40 14' W Snomatte; Trinnov Altitude 32 16-24 SSP; 3 Aerial 7ts; 6 Aerial 7LCRs; 8 Triad Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9; 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers; 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers; 3 Theta Prometheus monoblock amps; Trinnov Amplitude 8 and 8m MCh amps!

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Only specs published AFAIK are A/D SN at 118dB, D/A at 119dB. The PC is used only for DSP. All the rest is handled via two* TAC (Trinnov Audio Controller) boards, a Universal board, and an HDMI board, all of which are run off a separate PS from the PC. The Universal board handles digital I/O to HDMI and all AES connections.

*In A32, one TAC in A16

Would be interesting to see actual measured performance for the SN/R. The spec's don't indicate how those results were obtained. And that's not just Trinnov,but most manufacter's rated specs.

Help put an end to the reach-around mentality and bring the "Science" back to AVS.
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Only specs published AFAIK are A/D SN at 118dB, D/A at 119dB. The PC is used only for DSP. All the rest is handled via two* TAC (Trinnov Audio Controller) boards, a Universal board, and an HDMI board, all of which are run off a separate PS from the PC. The Universal board handles digital I/O to HDMI and all AES connections.

*In A32, one TAC in A16

Would be interesting to see actual measure performance for the SN/R on both ADC and DAC. The spec's don't indicate how those numbers were obtained.
I think ADC , DAC technology has matured enough that comparing the numbers in reasonably well engineered unit is splitting hairs . Don’t think you can sonically tell the difference if everything else was identical .
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I think ADC , DAC technology has matured enough that comparing the numbers in reasonably well engineered unit is splitting hairs . Don’t think you can sonically tell the difference if everything else was identical .

Regardless,measured performance is more telling than specs.Many quote the ADC/DAC manufacterer's spec instead of the actual measured performance of the unit.

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I think ADC , DAC technology has matured enough that comparing the numbers in reasonably well engineered unit is splitting hairs . Don’t think you can sonically tell the difference if everything else was identical .

Regardless,measured performance is more telling than specs.
Agree

But even if it can be measured, doesn’t mean that it can be heard . You can buy the best DAC ( I mean the semiconductor , not the functioning unit) for few bucks a piece . When you are discussing several thousand dollars worth or equipment , I doubt they will skimp on 10 dollars to put something that sounds inferior . That’s why I said I believe we are splitting hairs ...
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Agree

But even if it can be measured, doesn’t mean that it can be heard . You can buy the best DAC ( I mean the semiconductor , not the functioning unit) for few bucks a piece . When you are discussing several thousand dollars worth or equipment , I doubt they will skimp on 10 dollars to put something that sounds inferior . That’s why I said I believe we are splitting hairs ...

I'm referring to the actual measured performance of the unit,not just the the ADC/DAC chips. You can put the best ADC/DAC chips in a unit and it's associated analog circuity could be compromising the overall performance of the ADC/DAC chip quite a bit.


I'm sure Trinnov is using utilizing a very well designed analog section,but just a spec for the ADC/DAC doesn't necessarily tell much about the overall measured performance of the unit. Trinnov is using the standard marketing language for spec's as other manufacturers. It makes for easier comparison for the layman,but it isn't as telling as "properly acquired" measured results.

Help put an end to the reach-around mentality and bring the "Science" back to AVS.

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One man's opinion.

It isn't all about channel count. Given how close the various hardware platforms would compare under blind conditions, the software driving the platform is the key difference. I have had the chance, in my room, to blind compare just the hardware (no room correction enabled) of a $2500 Marantz to a $25,000 Datasat to my current Trinnov. Were their hardware differences? Yes but very subtle. Particularly when compared to what happened when the software was invoked.

The Dirac software in the Datasat simply killed Audyssey in the Marantz. And Room Optimizer in the Trinnov is better software than Dirac. I think Steve Bruzonsky found that out. He believes (as do others) that the hardware in the Theta CB is superior to all others - but he decided that software ultimately trumps hardware.

I have no doubt others will disagree, particularly Bulldogger !!
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One man's opinion.

It isn't all about channel count. Given how close the various hardware platforms would compare under blind conditions, the software driving the platform is the key difference. I have had the chance, in my room, to blind compare just the hardware (no room correction enabled) of a $2500 Marantz to a $25,000 Datasat to my current Trinnov. Were their hardware differences? Yes but very subtle. Particularly when compared to what happened when the software was invoked.

The Dirac software in the Datasat simply killed Audyssey in the Marantz. And Room Optimizer in the Trinnov is better software than Dirac. I think Steve Bruzonsky found that out. He believes (as do others) that the hardware in the Theta CB is superior to all others - but he decided that software ultimately trumps hardware.

I have no doubt others will disagree, particularly Bulldogger !!
Couldn’t agree more
I use Marantz pre-pro in my family room , have used Anthem , Datasat and now Trinnov . So I agree with your sentiments
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I figured this discussion should move from the Theta thread to this more neutral ground, where it will hopefully diffuse tension and rekindle member relations. This topic is no doubt an interesting one and the many thoughts that have been discussed on that thread have been on my mind since the Trinnov was released.

Trinnov Intel CPU i3/i7 software based processors have some obvious advantages of being able to handle large amounts of speakers and discrete channels with speaker remapping. They have an exceptional amount of software upgradeability/flexibility. While SHARC/DSP processors are easier to implement from a hardware/firmware standpoint, but have a limited amount of discrete speaker flexibility options, no speaker remapping, as well as a bit less flexibility with hardware upgradeability, which apply to many processors such as the current McIntosh MX160/Lyndorf MP-50 and somewhat to the Datasats. Theta has the luxury of being a SHARC based processor with incredible build quality, is very upgradeable, but unfortunately these upgrades occur at a fairly slow rate. Then there are the Storm processors, with some upgradeability, with much higher speaker number counts, but many of which are matrixed beyond the current SHARC/DSP limitations.

Not only hardware, but room correction and the processor’s software plays a role in the final results of sound quality, seamless sound field creation, and the sonic characteristics/signature of each unit. Some will argue the differences are feature and they all sound the same. Many will say they sound different be it a processor with Trinnov room correction, DIRAC, or Room Perfect.

The audiophiles will argue their high end SHARC/DSP based processors will have better build quality, power supplies, isolation and DACS which in theory should produce a better signal to noise ratio and better sound and that a PC based processor is just that an overpriced PC. The CPU crew will argue software trumps all and it’s the sound that matters not the hardware, and their sound is the best they heard.

Please discuss in an amicable and respectful way the pros and cons of each as well as your personal experiences relative to your various owned or auditioned processors. Myself, I have been on the fence to jump into the Trinnov craze or wait for the newer 18 discrete channel SHARC/DSP processors that should be coming soon enough. Buying a souped up, and not particularly powerful semi-converted PC for huge $ has held me back thus far, but who knows for how long.

As Steve called this a Cylons vs Audiophiles, very witty and fitting! However, this need not be a war. Not mentioning any names, but things got a bit out of hand on the Theta thread. So let’s leave that war to the excellent Sci-Fi series and have a great discussion.

One of my concerns when buying the altitude was the quality of the DACS and output stage. Because I have very high sensitivity horns (not what most Altitude owners are using), I was concerned I would amplify a lot of hiss and noise.

I was pleased from the outset (bought the Altitude sight unseen/unheard) as you can't hear anything undesirable in terms of noise. In fact, I had to get a Benchmark AHB2 to get an amp quiet enough to not have hiss through my speakers.

Even with the benchmark, arguably one of the quietest amplifiers in the world in terms of noise floor, the any noise from the trinnov (hiss, etc) is inaudible

On top of that, the optimizer makes an GREAT difference in sound through all its amazing processing/algorithms. There is NO sense that you are listening out of a PC or leaking noise into the system

At this point, I would say that technologically, you can make a quiet and high quality pre-amp with a variety of architectures. The typical marantz or denon sounds excellent.

A couple (few?) years later, I still find the Altitude has a LOT to love and I wouldn't want to be without it. I still can't imagine replacing with anything currently on the market from the perspective of sound quality. It is pretty much holy grail level stuff.

If I were a prospective buyer that isn't rich, I would recommend your next car be a $5000 used car camry hybrid and use the rest of the money for an Altitude. It might be a weird budget allocation, but the altitude will make even an average system sound better. The altitude is a MUCH MUCH better use of money than most "luxury cars" I have purchased.

I predict that the altitude will not be truly "obsolete" for another 10 years. I do believe you will get closer and closer to the quality with other products., but currently getting high channel counts is the hard part. Until the "next gen" thing after Atmos arrives, the altitude will serve you well.
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One man's opinion.

It isn't all about channel count. Given how close the various hardware platforms would compare under blind conditions, the software driving the platform is the key difference. I have had the chance, in my room, to blind compare just the hardware (no room correction enabled) of a $2500 Marantz to a $25,000 Datasat to my current Trinnov. Were their hardware differences? Yes but very subtle. Particularly when compared to what happened when the software was invoked.

The Dirac software in the Datasat simply killed Audyssey in the Marantz. And Room Optimizer in the Trinnov is better software than Dirac. I think Steve Bruzonsky found that out. He believes (as do others) that the hardware in the Theta CB is superior to all others - but he decided that software ultimately trumps hardware.

I have no doubt others will disagree, particularly Bulldogger !!
under blind conditions, you can pick out the altitude vs marantz audyssey in a heartbeat. I had a marantz and it doesn't even come close in stereo listening. On top of that, I have my music default to auro-3d because it is so engaging. Music on auro sounds better than anything matrix that my marantz used to do.

It sounds so good now, that I don't even want to turn off the music at night and end up staying up too late...

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post #21 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 08:22 PM
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My own experience as an addicted two channel audio and home theater enthusiast, comparing my Theta Casablanca SSP (since 1997, upgraded all the way to the CBIV-A SSP with Extreme D-3 DACs and DIRAC room correction, vs what i have replaced it with, a Trinnov Altitude 32, initially 16 channels but upgraded to 24 channels.

This experience is with my current system, 5.2.4, five Aerial Acoustics 7ts, 4 in ceiling KEF Ci200RR-THX, 5 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks, 1 ATI AT526NC multi-channel amplifier, 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers.

I have 5 leather recliners, 3 front row, 2 back row. TV & movies front row, 2 and multi-channel music back row. My theatre is 18'3" wide, 25' deep, and 11'11" high. Front row about 13' from screen wall. Front left and right Aerial 7ts angled toward front row center listener position, with outer edges about 15" from side walls, and backs about 7' from front screen wall. Center speaker about 3.5' from front screen wall. But this works due to my Michael Green acoustic treatments which are adjusted to control absorption vs diffusion and though my left and right 7ts are about 14' apart I get an outstanding phantom center image. This is fine for movies & tv in front row. But for music, front row has always been way too close, whereas back row center (the recliner on the left) is excellent, because the front left and right 7ts are so far apart!

Note that as I really like the Trinnov Altitude 32, that I am in process of further changing/revising my system to 9.4.8, to result in 3 Aerial 7ts; 6 Aerial 7LCRs on wall; 8 Triad Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9; 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers; 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers; 3 Theta Prometheus monoblock amps; Trinnov Amplitude 8 and 8m multi-channel amplifiers!

I became interested in the Trinnov SSP at CEDIA in Sept 2018. I talked quite a bit with Trinnov USA's Sales Manager, Jon Herron, and Steve at Wisdom Audio, regarding the- Altititude 16/32's features and set up. I liked the Wisdom Audio demo with the Trinnov, particularly the feel from underneath me in my seat of the bass! To what extent the Trinnov SSP had to do with that I didn't know for sure. Sonics were very nice, though not quite as musical or 3D as I am accustomed to in my own home theatre, but of course this is on the CEDIA showroom floor, not really fair to compare is it? Trinnov has just incorporated a US company to sell and service Trinnov and was lining up local dealers. Within a few weeks of getting back home I contacted one of my dealers, who had become a Trinnov dealer, but I couldn't get a demo, but got what I consider a "good deal" I initially went with the Altitude 32, 16 channels, not the Altitude 16, because I wanted the capability on music of playing 192-24 not just 96-24 as with the Altitude 16.

So my Altitude 32 came late Sept 2018. But as I read the operations manual, I was - INTIMIDATED. There was no easy setup procedure as there was with the Altitude 16. And frankly I was happy with my Theta Digital CBIV-A sonics all around, two channel and tv/movies, and sort of upset that I took $$ out of my retirement savings for this new and intimidating for me to set up SSP. I planned to first set it up myself, decide if I wanted to keep it and sell the CBIV-A SSP or vice-versa, and only if I kept it would I then pay the extra $$$ for Adam Pelz to fly out and set it up to "perfection". Finally, not even 2 months ago, I decided to set up the Trinnov SSP. First, having read at this forum that there was beta firmware with an easy setup, I contacted my dealer (VGI/Craig Shumer) and got the latest firmware uploaded to my Altitude 32 with the easy setup procedure. Then I spend two weeks reading and rereading the operations manual and setting up the Altitude 32 myself some, then went to the easy setup only to find it took me right through each of those steps and a basic setup wasn't hard at all. And thanks to my dealer, Joh Herron of Trinnov, and Audioguy here on the forum answering some setup questions for me making it easier for me. So around the end of Feb 2019 I got my Altitude 32 up and running.

Here's how I would compare the Altitude 32 vs the Theta CBIV-A SSP:


1. Build quality: Theta wins hands down, with a serious audiophile build, large toroid, humongous power supply, shield, best SSP Dacs (Extreme D-3 DACs, etc. Though Altitude 32 is quiet, not noisy like some PCs at all, and in my open rack it doesn't even get warm.

2. Setup including room correction/optimization filters: Altitude 32 wins hands down. The Altitude 32 basic setup is so much easier than the CBIV-A SSP. The tetrahedron Altitude 32 (or 16) microphone automatically measures speaker positions, distances, speaker levels, etc so you don't have to program any of that stuff in. NICE! Simply a fairly easier procedure than using Dirac, version 1, with the Theta SSP. Also, with Theta SSP, I setup two separate filters, one for each row, front row video, back row music. And as Theta SSP only has one filter slot if I change rows have to reload filter to Theta SSP. And have to setup different inputs on Theta SSP for first row vs 2nd row, manually entering distances and speaker levels. Pain in the butt! Not so with the Altitude. Also, I found with Theta SSP that I had to set my 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers volume control at only a bit past the 1/4 mark, as the Theta SSP subwoofer channel volume settings simply didn't allow me to go higher having two Dirac filters one for front row and one for back row. With Altitude, not an issue, and I could set JL Audio f212 subwoofer controls wherever and not a problem - I ended up setting them at the halfway mark straight up. With Theta SSP if you use Radio Shack analog sound level meter, set subwoofer channel 6 dB higher than 70 or 75 dB for other channels, due to meter's lack of accuracy at the subwoofer test tone. With the Altitude, however it does this it corrects for any frequency inaccuracy for the microphone internally and you don't have to level match anything!

3. ROON: Altitude 32 wins BIG!

I love ROON. Been using it for like 4 years now. Theta SSP is not ROON Ready, next CBV whenever its available I'm sure will be ROON Ready - finally. ROON Ready means that the SSP or DAC is a ROON endpoint connecting to your network via ethernet instead of having to use digital coax/AES/EBU or HDMI in. (Note that I use a DJM Electronics optical/fiber converter after my ROON Core Sonic Transporter i7 and just before the Altitude 32.) With Theta CBIV-A SSP, I use two separate ROON Core devices, a customized PC built by Small Green Computer with an AMD Sapphire HDMI card for multi-channel audio; and a Sonic Transporter i7 also built by Small Green Computer for two channel audio connected via 2 ethernet connections both to network and directly to Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical upgrade which outputs USB to Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter which outputs AES/EBU digital to Theta SSP. Although my multi-channel audio rips sound very nice via HDMI, my two channel is much better, at least with Theta SSP.

However, I have found the Altitude's 32 ROON Ready ethernet sonics to be outstanding. I have compared using my two channel setup AES/EBU vs ROON Ready ethernet and sonically its virtually indistinguishable. So I am selling my rather expensive two channel Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical/fiber mod and Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter with no loss of sonics quality at all. NICE! And a simpler system with less components is nice too.

And now using ROON my multi-channel albums sound as good as my two channel albums - as explained above, this was not the case with my Theta SSP.

Also, using ROON, the Altitude 32 simply sounds better than the Theta SSP, even in straight two channel stereo! Its more involving, more like live concerts I attend in excellent acoustical venues like the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, Mesa Arts Center, The Nash' etc. I'm not saying in every possible variable the Altitude 32 beats the CBIV-A SSP sonically - I am saying as a whole, what makes me beat my feet and enjoy music, I simply enjoy music appreciably more with the Altitude 32. After about 10 days of use, I shipped my Altitude 32 for repair as it had a bandwith issue.
(skipping on 192k and 176k tracks) (repaired with new firewire card, etc), and for about 10 days I had the Theta SSP back in my system and listened to a lot of music and frankly, it just wasn't the same. I had been spoiled. And part of the spoiling is discussed below.

4. Auro-3D: Altitude 32 wins for now 100 to 0. Because Theta SSP doesn't have Auro 3D. With Theta SSP, I almost always listened in 2 channel as direct stereo only, trying other sonic modes like DTS or Dolby to expand speakers/sonics simply seemed to detract some from the cleanness of the two channel music up front; whereas I find Auro-3D with Altitude 32 such a 100% positive that I always use it and never listen in straight stereo! With Auro-3D my multi-channel speaker system is utilized and provides increased dynamics and liveness without detracting from the original stereo sonics at all - its amazing! I have learned that Auro 3D only applies to music 96k and less. If you play music 192k or 176k Auro-3D will not engage.
I've been preferring to use Auro-3D even though to do so I use ROON to downsample from 192k and 176k!

5. Room Correction/Optimization Filters: Again, Altitude 32 wins hands down! The Altitude has internal storage for up to 29 optimizer/room correction/seating position filters, all you do is click and you're there! Connect a USB stick and you can add filters, too. Nice. Theta SSP has only one filter loaded at a time, and if you want to load another filter you have made, its a manual process of uploading a new filter you have made to the Theta SSP. Pain in the you know what compared to Trinnov's simplicity.

6. TV/Movies: So far, the Altitude 32 is certainly as good as the Theta SSP. Perhaps better, once I play more and make adjustments. My gut feeling is that the Altitude 32 is quieter with clearer vocals, but so far I've really noticed the difference on music a lot, and perhaps only somewhat on TV/Movies. So far I've really been concentrating on the music end, and just watching some DirecTV and Apple TV 4k shows. So far so good.

I want to emphasize I am still at the beginning with the Altitude 32 as a crazy and complex SSP! But even with a basic setup I am very pleased sonically. And I took SO LONG (5 months) to even put the Altitude 32 into my system because (1) I was intimidated by its setup (which turned out not to be hard for a basic setup), and (2) I was so pleased with my Theta CBIV-A SSP and thought the odds were under 50% that the Altitude 32's sonics would make me happy in comparison [and (3) I was busy kicking myself in the butt for spending too much money on a new SSP that might not satisfy my sonic needs when I was already so happy with my Theta SSP]! If the basic setup had not given me what I wanted sonically, I would have sold the Altitude 32, and even with the not bad deal I got buying it, I probably would have loss at least a few thousand selling it - but I am addicted to audio and home theater and wanted to try it out for a test run! And I have been pleasantly surprised!

I want to emphasize what works for me, my ears (with whatever hearing deficits I may have, with whatever functional deficits I may have), my components, my theatre, may not be what works for someone else. And if I had been more patient, willing to wait, probably within the next 1-3 years Theta would come out with a Theta CBV which will be ROON Ready and a later Dirac version (this can't occur until Texas Instruments provides an 18 channel SSP card at 96-24 AND Dirac provides the code for the latest Dirac version for SSPs). But heck I survived a ruptured appendix last Dec and I am tired of waiting provided I get the sonics. And I am getting the sonics so I am very, very happy. But if I waited for a Theta SSP upgrade it would cost me a lot less $$$.

.
The altitude does bring so much joy that in all seriousness I would want to continue to own it more than ANY possession of ANY kind that I currently own. Even my speakers could be replaced in theory, but nothing does quite what the Altitude does.

I wish I had one my entire life... but the journey to here was quite fun. Perhaps only through owning generations of audio stuff, you realize how great the altitude really is.
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post #22 of 44 Old 04-15-2019, 10:11 PM
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under blind conditions, you can pick out the altitude vs marantz audyssey in a heartbeat. I had a marantz and it doesn't even come close in stereo listening. On top of that, I have my music default to auro-3d because it is so engaging. Music on auro sounds better than anything matrix that my marantz used to do.

It sounds so good now, that I don't even want to turn off the music at night and end up staying up too late...
Exactly. I am up late enjoying music in Auro-3D via Altitude 32!!!

My theater https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431. Sony VPL-VW5000ES; Lumagen Radiance Pro 4446; Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2:40 14' W Snomatte; Trinnov Altitude 32 16-24 SSP; 3 Aerial 7ts; 6 Aerial 7LCRs; 8 Triad Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9; 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers; 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers; 3 Theta Prometheus monoblock amps; Trinnov Amplitude 8 and 8m MCh amps!
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post #23 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
My own experience as an addicted two channel audio and home theater enthusiast, comparing my Theta Casablanca SSP (since 1997, upgraded all the way to the CBIV-A SSP with Extreme D-3 DACs and DIRAC room correction, vs what i have replaced it with, a Trinnov Altitude 32, initially 16 channels but upgraded to 24 channels.

This experience is with my current system, 5.2.4, five Aerial Acoustics 7ts, 4 in ceiling KEF Ci200RR-THX, 5 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks, 1 ATI AT526NC multi-channel amplifier, 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers.

I have 5 leather recliners, 3 front row, 2 back row. TV & movies front row, 2 and multi-channel music back row. My theatre is 18'3" wide, 25' deep, and 11'11" high. Front row about 13' from screen wall. Front left and right Aerial 7ts angled toward front row center listener position, with outer edges about 15" from side walls, and backs about 7' from front screen wall. Center speaker about 3.5' from front screen wall. But this works due to my Michael Green acoustic treatments which are adjusted to control absorption vs diffusion and though my left and right 7ts are about 14' apart I get an outstanding phantom center image. This is fine for movies & tv in front row. But for music, front row has always been way too close, whereas back row center (the recliner on the left) is excellent, because the front left and right 7ts are so far apart!

Note that as I really like the Trinnov Altitude 32, that I am in process of further changing/revising my system to 9.4.8, to result in 3 Aerial 7ts; 6 Aerial 7LCRs on wall; 8 Triad Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9; 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers; 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers; 3 Theta Prometheus monoblock amps; Trinnov Amplitude 8 and 8m multi-channel amplifiers!

I became interested in the Trinnov SSP at CEDIA in Sept 2018. I talked quite a bit with Trinnov USA's Sales Manager, Jon Herron, and Steve at Wisdom Audio, regarding the- Altititude 16/32's features and set up. I liked the Wisdom Audio demo with the Trinnov, particularly the feel from underneath me in my seat of the bass! To what extent the Trinnov SSP had to do with that I didn't know for sure. Sonics were very nice, though not quite as musical or 3D as I am accustomed to in my own home theatre, but of course this is on the CEDIA showroom floor, not really fair to compare is it? Trinnov has just incorporated a US company to sell and service Trinnov and was lining up local dealers. Within a few weeks of getting back home I contacted one of my dealers, who had become a Trinnov dealer, but I couldn't get a demo, but got what I consider a "good deal" I initially went with the Altitude 32, 16 channels, not the Altitude 16, because I wanted the capability on music of playing 192-24 not just 96-24 as with the Altitude 16.

So my Altitude 32 came late Sept 2018. But as I read the operations manual, I was - INTIMIDATED. There was no easy setup procedure as there was with the Altitude 16. And frankly I was happy with my Theta Digital CBIV-A sonics all around, two channel and tv/movies, and sort of upset that I took $$ out of my retirement savings for this new and intimidating for me to set up SSP. I planned to first set it up myself, decide if I wanted to keep it and sell the CBIV-A SSP or vice-versa, and only if I kept it would I then pay the extra $$$ for Adam Pelz to fly out and set it up to "perfection". Finally, not even 2 months ago, I decided to set up the Trinnov SSP. First, having read at this forum that there was beta firmware with an easy setup, I contacted my dealer (VGI/Craig Shumer) and got the latest firmware uploaded to my Altitude 32 with the easy setup procedure. Then I spend two weeks reading and rereading the operations manual and setting up the Altitude 32 myself some, then went to the easy setup only to find it took me right through each of those steps and a basic setup wasn't hard at all. And thanks to my dealer, Joh Herron of Trinnov, and Audioguy here on the forum answering some setup questions for me making it easier for me. So around the end of Feb 2019 I got my Altitude 32 up and running.

Here's how I would compare the Altitude 32 vs the Theta CBIV-A SSP:


1. Build quality: Theta wins hands down, with a serious audiophile build, large toroid, humongous power supply, shield, best SSP Dacs (Extreme D-3 DACs, etc. Though Altitude 32 is quiet, not noisy like some PCs at all, and in my open rack it doesn't even get warm.

2. Setup including room correction/optimization filters: Altitude 32 wins hands down. The Altitude 32 basic setup is so much easier than the CBIV-A SSP. The tetrahedron Altitude 32 (or 16) microphone automatically measures speaker positions, distances, speaker levels, etc so you don't have to program any of that stuff in. NICE! Simply a fairly easier procedure than using Dirac, version 1, with the Theta SSP. Also, with Theta SSP, I setup two separate filters, one for each row, front row video, back row music. And as Theta SSP only has one filter slot if I change rows have to reload filter to Theta SSP. And have to setup different inputs on Theta SSP for first row vs 2nd row, manually entering distances and speaker levels. Pain in the butt! Not so with the Altitude. Also, I found with Theta SSP that I had to set my 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers volume control at only a bit past the 1/4 mark, as the Theta SSP subwoofer channel volume settings simply didn't allow me to go higher having two Dirac filters one for front row and one for back row. With Altitude, not an issue, and I could set JL Audio f212 subwoofer controls wherever and not a problem - I ended up setting them at the halfway mark straight up. With Theta SSP if you use Radio Shack analog sound level meter, set subwoofer channel 6 dB higher than 70 or 75 dB for other channels, due to meter's lack of accuracy at the subwoofer test tone. With the Altitude, however it does this it corrects for any frequency inaccuracy for the microphone internally and you don't have to level match anything!

3. ROON: Altitude 32 wins BIG!

I love ROON. Been using it for like 4 years now. Theta SSP is not ROON Ready, next CBV whenever its available I'm sure will be ROON Ready - finally. ROON Ready means that the SSP or DAC is a ROON endpoint connecting to your network via ethernet instead of having to use digital coax/AES/EBU or HDMI in. (Note that I use a DJM Electronics optical/fiber converter after my ROON Core Sonic Transporter i7 and just before the Altitude 32.) With Theta CBIV-A SSP, I use two separate ROON Core devices, a customized PC built by Small Green Computer with an AMD Sapphire HDMI card for multi-channel audio; and a Sonic Transporter i7 also built by Small Green Computer for two channel audio connected via 2 ethernet connections both to network and directly to Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical upgrade which outputs USB to Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter which outputs AES/EBU digital to Theta SSP. Although my multi-channel audio rips sound very nice via HDMI, my two channel is much better, at least with Theta SSP.

However, I have found the Altitude's 32 ROON Ready ethernet sonics to be outstanding. I have compared using my two channel setup AES/EBU vs ROON Ready ethernet and sonically its virtually indistinguishable. So I am selling my rather expensive two channel Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical/fiber mod and Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter with no loss of sonics quality at all. NICE! And a simpler system with less components is nice too.

And now using ROON my multi-channel albums sound as good as my two channel albums - as explained above, this was not the case with my Theta SSP.

Also, using ROON, the Altitude 32 simply sounds better than the Theta SSP, even in straight two channel stereo! Its more involving, more like live concerts I attend in excellent acoustical venues like the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, Mesa Arts Center, The Nash' etc. I'm not saying in every possible variable the Altitude 32 beats the CBIV-A SSP sonically - I am saying as a whole, what makes me beat my feet and enjoy music, I simply enjoy music appreciably more with the Altitude 32. After about 10 days of use, I shipped my Altitude 32 for repair as it had a bandwith issue.
(skipping on 192k and 176k tracks) (repaired with new firewire card, etc), and for about 10 days I had the Theta SSP back in my system and listened to a lot of music and frankly, it just wasn't the same. I had been spoiled. And part of the spoiling is discussed below.

4. Auro-3D: Altitude 32 wins for now 100 to 0. Because Theta SSP doesn't have Auro 3D. With Theta SSP, I almost always listened in 2 channel as direct stereo only, trying other sonic modes like DTS or Dolby to expand speakers/sonics simply seemed to detract some from the cleanness of the two channel music up front; whereas I find Auro-3D with Altitude 32 such a 100% positive that I always use it and never listen in straight stereo! With Auro-3D my multi-channel speaker system is utilized and provides increased dynamics and liveness without detracting from the original stereo sonics at all - its amazing! I have learned that Auro 3D only applies to music 96k and less. If you play music 192k or 176k Auro-3D will not engage.
I've been preferring to use Auro-3D even though to do so I use ROON to downsample from 192k and 176k!

5. Room Correction/Optimization Filters: Again, Altitude 32 wins hands down! The Altitude has internal storage for up to 29 optimizer/room correction/seating position filters, all you do is click and you're there! Connect a USB stick and you can add filters, too. Nice. Theta SSP has only one filter loaded at a time, and if you want to load another filter you have made, its a manual process of uploading a new filter you have made to the Theta SSP. Pain in the you know what compared to Trinnov's simplicity.

6. TV/Movies: So far, the Altitude 32 is certainly as good as the Theta SSP. Perhaps better, once I play more and make adjustments. My gut feeling is that the Altitude 32 is quieter with clearer vocals, but so far I've really noticed the difference on music a lot, and perhaps only somewhat on TV/Movies. So far I've really been concentrating on the music end, and just watching some DirecTV and Apple TV 4k shows. So far so good.

I want to emphasize I am still at the beginning with the Altitude 32 as a crazy and complex SSP! But even with a basic setup I am very pleased sonically. And I took SO LONG (5 months) to even put the Altitude 32 into my system because (1) I was intimidated by its setup (which turned out not to be hard for a basic setup), and (2) I was so pleased with my Theta CBIV-A SSP and thought the odds were under 50% that the Altitude 32's sonics would make me happy in comparison [and (3) I was busy kicking myself in the butt for spending too much money on a new SSP that might not satisfy my sonic needs when I was already so happy with my Theta SSP]! If the basic setup had not given me what I wanted sonically, I would have sold the Altitude 32, and even with the not bad deal I got buying it, I probably would have loss at least a few thousand selling it - but I am addicted to audio and home theater and wanted to try it out for a test run! And I have been pleasantly surprised!

I want to emphasize what works for me, my ears (with whatever hearing deficits I may have, with whatever functional deficits I may have), my components, my theatre, may not be what works for someone else. And if I had been more patient, willing to wait, probably within the next 1-3 years Theta would come out with a Theta CBV which will be ROON Ready and a later Dirac version (this can't occur until Texas Instruments provides an 18 channel SSP card at 96-24 AND Dirac provides the code for the latest Dirac version for SSPs). But heck I survived a ruptured appendix last Dec and I am tired of waiting provided I get the sonics. And I am getting the sonics so I am very, very happy. But if I waited for a Theta SSP upgrade it would cost me a lot less $$$.

.

Let me add one more category:

7. Upgradability: You might think the Theta SSP should win since it’s a card cage architecture. But Trinnov wins easily because so much of the Trinnov SSP is software and as Trinnov has devoted so many resources for beta and firmware updates. Trinnov has already proven that they can provide HDMI card upgrades via both software and hardware. Trinnov has already announced they will in near future have DTS Pro to upload to the Altitudes.
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My theater https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431. Sony VPL-VW5000ES; Lumagen Radiance Pro 4446; Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2:40 14' W Snomatte; Trinnov Altitude 32 16-24 SSP; 3 Aerial 7ts; 6 Aerial 7LCRs; 8 Triad Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9; 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers; 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers; 3 Theta Prometheus monoblock amps; Trinnov Amplitude 8 and 8m MCh amps!
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post #24 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 11:35 AM
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I have no skin in this game since never owned a Theta, Datasat, Storm, Anthem, Lexicon, Meredian or other boutique SSP.

What I will say is:

1. Build quality, specific DSP chips, DACs, ADC's, special jitter-control technologies and others, were some of the parameters I used to justify my continuing to cycle-buy my preferred mfg's flagship AVR's ever few yrs, losing a lot of money on each one I replaced. I used to buy flagship $2K blu-ray and SACD players because I thought the extra build quality and specific components "had" to make an audible difference.

2. Every one of those flagships quickly got obsoleted by the mfg or by the ever-advancing technology targets. It was only 6 months after I bought Pioneer's highly acclaimed SC-09TX Susano AVR @$7K and they came out with a new "flagship" with the same Ice amps, new networking features like internet radio, new Dolby & DTS modes, that they could not or would not offer to Susano owners, because of hardware limitations and their worsening financials. While Denon offered an upgrade path for their acclaimed AVP prepro & flagship AVR, Pioneer did nothing other than continue to release new AVR's that obsoleted ones only 1yr or less older. On the blu-ray side, the $500 Oppo 93 ran circles around the $2K Pioneer, and could do things in FW that the Pioneer couldn't due to its older chip hardware limitations. So all that high priced build quality I used to believe was most important doesn't mean squat in this rapidly changing AV environment.

3. I first heard about Trinnov at CEDIA 2010 in Atlanta. I went to ADA's booth who at the time was partnering with Trinnov on an external 8 ch ADA Optimizer box. I went to their demo. Don't remember the speaker brand or amps used but it was a 7.1 system. During the demo, they played clips from Chris Botti live in Boston; one track was Steve Tyler doing vocals with Botti playing his horn. They did an A/B comparison with the Optimizer on, then off, then back on again. I was blown away at what difference their room correction made. Up until that time, I was using Pioneer's own MCACC system, EQ, some phase control & group delay adjustments as well as the usual level, distance settings. While Pioneer made some differences, mostly they were subtle and it's debatable which is an audibly "better" difference. OTOH, Trinnov made simple 5.1 audio a far more seamless and integrated soundfield than I ever heard in my room. It a bubble of sound vs. specific sounds from each speaker. Turning it off made the whole bubble collapse into individual speakers playing individual sounds. It was like you were in the concert hall seated in front of the performers.

From 2010 to 2018, I really wanted Trinnov but couldn't afford or justify spending the money for it. I've been retired and last year I just did it. Circumstances allowed me to spend the money.

My paradigm shifted from build quality/DAC chips/features #1 to getting the best end results and a device that would be kept current on a timely basis, not become obsoleted every few years.

Some will prefer to remain in the build quality-hardware #1 camp and that's great. They will pay for that with continued spending for glacially slow upgrades, whether hardware, or chips to implement updated features. A card cage architecture is no benefit if the company is always lagging behind the technology curve by several yrs. This is the one constant theme I've read about with Theta since I joined AVS Forum. It's the same debate over & over. The audio quality is renowned but life is too short IMO to continue having to wait yrs while they implement rapidly changing AV technology.

Some will prefer the Trinnov approach of using PC architecture & software to do upgrades. And that's great too.

Sure, the PC part is a minimal cost of the total but it isn't ordinary flavor Linux & software that we can go buy and slap an audio card & DAC board on. You are paying for Trinnov's R&D & intellectual property, not a PC & audio boards. Their algorithms, their corrections, their approach, their ability to have many presets with many curves, filter options, many more speaker layout options = end results. Plus longevity in having a SSP that is bound not by hardware cards & chips but by code.

It took me 8 yrs to make that choice. Theta/Datasat type SSP owners can make theirs. I'm happy with mine!

As far as Trinnov being a rip-off, the Altitude 16 costs $17000. My cost, including ~20% discounts, from 2003-2016, for CE flagships was ~$15000. 3 flagship Pioneer AVR's: VSX-49txi, 59txi, & their 1st $7K Ice amp model, the SC-09TX. Plus a Marantz AV8802A prepro. All acclaimed, all known for robust "build quality" for their respective CE product types and all using hi-perf DAC & DSP chips.

Over their life cycle, I spent almost the same money, only it took 13 yrs. The Trinnov has potential to be kept "current" & on a timely basis. It could be a ~10 yr life cycle product with the only part to upgrade being HDMI from 2.0 to 2.1. Even that isn't really a need-to with dual output sources.

Is Trinnov really a rip-off? The build-camp folks, out of habit, may say yes. I chose having superior room correction & immersion, timely software upgrades, long life cycle along with great audio performance. Can anyone really hear a couple dB difference in SNR from a specific DAC board anyway?

Every product & company has its strengths & maybe some weaknesses. Everyone gets to make choices based on what their priorities are. There is no perfect product. But some are indeed better than the majority of their peers. Trinnov is in that group of world-class products.

All I know is that Trinnov results in a much more integrated, immersive soundfield where things just sound right with all the formats, than any previous gear I've had in my room, with my speakers - Maggies - and my ears. Even the Marantz & Audyssey isn't as seamless to my ears. I also get Auro3D to add to music, which most other SSP's don't have.

Steve

Last edited by ss9001; 04-16-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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post #25 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
We know the McIntosh/Lyngdorf processors have very low S/N ratios.
I don't recollect seeing that anywhere, and I've scoured the web for anything on the MP-50.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post
Dave, I'd be careful with broad generalizations where few, if any folks have had extensive experience with multiple processors in multiple rooms/room types.

As far as multiple rooms:

I follow the Lyngdorf thread on AVSForums.

There's a guy there who has installed dozens (or was it hundreds) of systems with RP.

He sells brands with all of the other RC (not sure about Trinnov), and says that RP is by far the best, especially with untreated rooms.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
7. Upgradability: You might think the Theta SSP should win since it’s a card cage architecture.

? PC's use cards too.

Noah
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post #26 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

As far as multiple rooms:

I follow the Lyngdorf thread on AVSForums.

There's a guy there who has installed dozens (or was it hundreds) of systems with RP.

He sells brands with all of the other RC (not sure about Trinnov), and says that RP is by far the best, especially with untreated rooms.
Seems like that quote tells more about the installers calibration skills. Maybe he gets better results with a less advanced processor, but my guess is a Trinnov expert would get even better results with a Trinnov no matter what the conditions of the room is.
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post #27 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 02:48 PM
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I have heard the datasat.. (own 1 myself), theta Gen 8 and CB4, trinnov, Marantz.

It`s not only about the processor. the whole chain is important. I tried a audiophile PC with al kind of cards and power supply`s in it so i could stream. But this gives not much more sound quality than a basic oppo player.

Now i am using the best Oppo player in the world, and nothing comes even close. Without this player, everything after does sound as bad as the player.

The original datasat, marantz trinnov aren`t very special. The Theta is the only one that sounds a lot better in my opinion.

Because the theta is so outdated it wasn`t an option for me and bought the RS20I. I wasn`t satified with the sound quality compared to the Theta so i found some people to tune the RS20i.
Now my RS20i sounds even better than the Theta, with music and movies.

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post #28 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Some of you are saying that all the high end processors sound nearly the same (including the Trinnov) until Room Eq is engaged, and then the Trinnov pulls away with room correction/optimization on. If this were accurate, then it would be hats off to Trinnov to pull off high end raw/naked sound with a PC platform. For argument sake... my experience tells me this may not be my assessment of things upon an audition/comparison as everything sounds a bit different to me.

When I listen to $2,000+ AVR or even a processor, be it from Pioneer, Yamaha, Marantz or Anthem they all sound different to me with room eq egaged or not. For the record, as far as lower priced units go under 3k, Marantz sounds best to me. Long ago I owned a Lexicon MC12B then transitioned to the McIntosh series of MX processors with similar codecs at the time. With room eq on or off both processors had markedly different sonics, as well as their associated amps. The Lexicon was hyper detailed, a bit dry and perhaps a tad thin sounding with lots of air. I had a fair amount of listener fatigue with the Lexicon. The McIntosh was full, lush, very smooth and robust with a large layered soundstage and no listener fatigue at all. The mids were amazing with not a trace of trebley hyper detail. Yes, the speakers and room brings out the best or worse in a processor. Turned on Room Perfect and things further improved, but there was no apparent collapse of any sound field when room eq was turned off (as reported with the Trinnov). In my room, the MX sounds good before RP engaged, and sounds even better once it’s engaged. That is reassuring (at least for me). I would be very surprised if my assessment of an MP-50/MX series, the Storms, Datasats, all the way to the uber expensive Trinnov 32/64 had fairly indistinguishable sonic characteristics without any room eq processing turned on.

As such, to say all the high end processors sound very similar goes against what I have heard from personal experience. I certainly understand that when Room Perfect, DIRAC, or Trinnov Room Eq/Optimization is engaged...further acoustic deviations/improvements can occur. This is where the “uniqueness“ of a particular processor may rear its head, aside from its inherent sonic signature. To me, I find it important that a processor sounds great both before room eq is engaged, as well as after. This criteria being met should translate to even better sound once room eq is engaged (that’s if the room eq is optimal and effective in the particular room it is in).

Such has been the case with my McIntosh processors with Room Perfect. It is not enough to say “can anyone hear very low SNR”, but one can theoretically say.... one may hear the differences between a processor with low SNR, very low total harmonic distortion, great isolation, power supplies and DACS compared to a processor without. I believe this is a cumulative effect, and not mere audiophile wizardry. As another poster said “everything in the chain matters”. I agree with that. Hardware, software, room speakers, everything matters.

Many members posting here appear to be very happy with the Trinnov, and I can only hope and assume all posters have genuine motives. Otherwise we are evaluating our gear in a glass house with interests that are being transposed onto others unknowingly. That would not be cool, especially with huge $$$$ being spent on these processors. I will leave it at that, but stranger things have happened here on the AVS forums. Please note that I am not singling out anyone here, just speaking abstractly.

On a final note, biases exist on anything we buy, that is a fact of life. Porsche owners vs Ferrari, BMW vs Audi, Trinnov vs Casablanca vs Datasat and McIntosh. We defend what we buy by nature....knowing or not. It is arguable that the more we spend the more we convince ourselves that we are hearing something extraordinary. No one is immune to this, perhaps not even me. I am not saying the posters here are over exaggerating what they are hearing, because they are reporting what they indeed are hearing or perhaps think they are hearing...accurate or not. Once again, devil’s advocate, as my words are not designed to incite or disrespect others or their findings. In the end, the main question is ... does our purchase make us happy and add to the quality of our AV experience. If it does, then it’s a great purchase.

I am still intrigued by the Trinnov, but will continue to gather info and additional assessments and will proceed with caution until I am comfortable making this purchase. Will it be the next gen MX or a Trinnov? I am a bit uncertain at this point. I am in contact with someone evaluating a Trinnov in great technical detail (subjective listening as well as objective measurements). I eagerly await his findings, as he is not an owner, does not sell them, does not promote them and has no bias/interest in any way. He is truly a professional in every sense of the word. Features, speaker count expandability and upgradeability are great, but a processor needs to sound great naked and even better with room eq egaged. It also needs to generate consistent results with its software/firmware algorithms. If it can do all that then it’s a home run on all counts.

I do find the posts on this thread very helpful and interesting. The input is appreciated by me as I am sure to many other fence sitters as well.
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Last edited by G-Rex; 04-17-2019 at 04:53 AM.
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post #29 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
Some of you are saying that all the high end processors sound nearly the same (including the Trinnov) until Room Eq is engaged, and then the Trinnov pulls away with room correction/optimization on. If this were accurate, then it would be hats off to Trinnov to pull off high end raw/naked sound with a PC platform. For argument sake... my experience tells me this may not be my assessment of things upon an audition/comparison as everything sounds a bit different to me.

When I listen to $2,000+ AVR or even a processor, be it from Pioneer, Yamaha, Marantz or Anthem they all sound different to me with room eq egaged or not. Long ago I owned a Lexicon MC12B then transitioned to the McIntosh series of MX processors with similar codecs at the time. With room eq on or off both processors had markedly different sonics, as well as their associated amps. The Lexicon was hyper detailed, a bit dry and perhaps a tad thin soundin with lots of air. I had a fair amount of listener fatigue with the Lexicon. The McIntosh was full, lush, very smooth and robust with a large layered soundstage and no listener fatigue at all. The mids were amazing with not a trace of trebley hyper detail. Yes, the speakers and room brings out the best or worse in a processor. Turned on Room Perfect and things further improved, but there was no apparent collapse of any sound field when room eq was turned off (as reported with the Trinnov). In my room, the MX sounds good before RP engaged, and sounds even better once it’s engaged. That is reassuring (at least for me). I would be very surprised if my assessment of an MP-50/MX series, the Storms, Datasats, all the way to the uber expensive Trinnov 32/64 had fairly indistinguishable sonic characteristics without any room eq processing turned on.

As such, to say all the high end processors sound very similar goes against what I have heard from personal experience. I certainly understand that when Room Perfect, DIRAC, or Trinnov Room Eq/Optimization is engaged...further acoustic deviations/improvements can occur. This is where the “uniqueness“ of a particular processor may rear its head, aside from its inherent sonic signature. To me, I find it important that a processor sounds great both before room eq is engaged, as well as after. This criteria being met should translate to even better sound once room eq is engaged (that’s if the room eq is optimal and effective in the particular room it is in).

Such has been the case with my McIntosh processors with Room Perfect. It is not enough to say “can anyone hear very low SNR”, but one can theoretically say.... one may hear the differences between a processor with low SNR, very low total harmonic distortion, great isolation, power supplies and DACS compared to a processor without. I believe this is a cumulative effect, and not mere audiophile wizardry. As another poster said “everything in the chain matters”. I agree with that. Hardware, software, room speakers, everything matters.

Many members posting here appear to be very happy with the Trinnov, and I can only hope and assume all posters have genuine motives. Otherwise we are evaluating our gear in a glass house with interests that are being transposed onto others unknowingly. That would not be cool, especially with huge $$$$ being spent on these processors. I will leave it at that, but stranger things have happened here on the AVS forums. Please note that I am not singling out anyone here, just speaking abstractly.

On a final note, biases exist on anything we buy, that is a fact of life. Porsche owners vs Ferrari, BMW vs Audi, Trinnov vs Casablanca vs Datasat and McIntosh. We defend what we buy by nature....knowing or not. It is arguable that the more we spend the more we convince ourselves that we are hearing something extraordinary. No one is immune to this, perhaps not even me. [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/IMG] I am not saying the posters here are over exaggerating what they are hearing, because they are reporting what they indeed are hearing or perhaps think they are hearing...accurate or not. Once again, devil’s advocate, as my words are not designed to incite or disrespect others or their findings. In the end, the main question is ... does our purchase make us happy and add to the quality of our AV experience. If it does, then it’s a great purchase.

I am still intrigued by the Trinnov, but will continue to gather info and additional assessments and will proceed with caution until I am comfortable making this purchase. Will it be the next gen MX or a Trinnov? I am a bit uncertain at this point. I am in contact with someone evaluating a Trinnov in great technical detail (subjective listening as well as objective measurements). I eagerly await his findings, as he is not an owner, does not sell them, does not promote them and has no bias/interest in any way. He is truly a professional in every sense of the word. Features, speaker count expandability and upgradeability are great, but a processor needs to sound great and generate consistent results with its algorithms. If it can do that then it’s a home run on all counts.

I do find the posts on this thread very helpful and interesting. The input is appreciated by me as I am sure to many other fence sitters as well.
Over the years I have used Marantz , ADA cinema Rhapsody Mach IV , Datasat LS10 and now Trinnov in my theater . To my ears Trinnov , Alcons combo beat others hands down .... for whatever it is worth .
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post #30 of 44 Old 04-16-2019, 08:15 PM
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Good post G-Rex, and I share your sentiments. I have a dedicated room with fully active ATC speaker setup (Anniversary 100s as mains). The moment I fired up the Datasat RS20 for the first time and listened to a few cds I knew it was special. And that was without any room correction turned on. I hadn't really expected this because quite frankly I had tried lots of different preamps and prepros in the same room with the same Esoteric cd transport and the Datasat sounded the best by a relatively large margin (to me). I've owned or auditioned directly in this room: ATC SCA2 preamp, ML 326S preamp, Krell KRC-HR preamp, Anthem D2 prepro, Trinnov ST2, Emotiva XMC1 and Datasat RS20i.

I strongly considered buying the Altitude. My dealer friend sells both Datasat and Trinnov and encouraged me to try the Datasat. I was already very familiar with the Trinnov sound (for my 2 channel listening only) and couldn't believe how much better the Datasat sounded for 2 channel. With Dirac turned on it is far superior to what I could achieve with the Trinnov. And I spent a lot of time tinkering with the Trinnov during the 6 years I owned it. I bought it when the company was relatively unknown and can't believe how popular it has become - well done Trinnov!

If you read through the posts in this thread you will see opinions ranging from Roomperfect is best to Trinnov is best to Datasat is best, lol. It is a very subjective thing and I wouldn't encourage anyone to buy a particular product based on someone else's recommendation.

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