Surround Sound Processor comparisons: objective measurements... and psycho-acoustics! - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 56 Old 08-31-2019, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexicon94 View Post
Having played with different amps on a Storm for the last few months and having had a Trinnov set up in its place yesterday and calibrated by a Trinnov professional I think you can easily hear differences in amps, processors and eq.

The Storm (dirac)/Arcam/JBL synthesis synergy has produced for me a very engaging combination. I can’t currently see how I’m going to match that with the Altitude which seems considerably less engaging. My partner summed it up as ok but rather boring; she also loves the Storm setup.

I think that the Altitude does produce a more consistent precise soundfield if that’s what you are looking for (it look the chap ages to get the speaker positions to be seen correctly by the Trinnov - I think the compression driven tweeters in the JBLs were confusing it a bit in my room) but so far we are just not feeling the love!

3D remapping sounds just odd to me; I doubt you would want to use it.

The other aspect is useability. Despite it’s extensive tweak ability I’m not feeling any confidence that I can make the Trinnov sound more engaging than it does now as I wouldn’t really know where to start.

I can’t yet find a power command in the Harmony database either which is another small irritation......

I have it for a fortnight so it may grow on me but often first impressions are the ones that end up being accurate. I think I may well just quit while I’m ahead as getting all this gear together to try takes loads of work. Great combinations don’t present themselves that often either - it’s often more luck than judgement.

I’m lucky to have some very accommodating dealers

Not a scientific post at all (I mean how does one measure perceived engagement?!) and we all hear things differently but these are my initial impressions for what they are worth.
You stated: "calibrated by a Trinnov professional".

I'm not exactly sure what that means. But when it gets to comparing room correction systems, there are so many variables, that unless each system under comparison was calibrated by a "world class highly trained calibrator" for that specific product, then your are correct: not very scientific. And I don't mean to suggest that what you heard is what you heard, but once you get past comparing hardware to hardware, if the calibration process was performed under less than truly rigorous conditions, comparisons can be pretty meaningless. As a really simple example, the way a Datasat handles Dirac target curves is very different than the way a Trinnov does. And if the person who did the setups was not actually aware of that, then all bets are off.

There are just a few people (names withheld to protect the guilty) I would trust to setup and calibrate different processor for comparison purposes.
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post #32 of 56 Old 08-31-2019, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by audioguy View Post
You stated: "calibrated by a Trinnov professional".

I'm not exactly sure what that means. But when it gets to comparing room correction systems, there are so many variables, that unless each system under comparison was calibrated by a "world class highly trained calibrator" for that specific product, then your are correct: not very scientific. And I don't mean to suggest that what you heard is what you heard, but once you get past comparing hardware to hardware, if the calibration process was performed under less than truly rigorous conditions, comparisons can be pretty meaningless. As a really simple example, the way a Datasat handles Dirac target curves is very different than the way a Trinnov does. And if the person who did the setups was not actually aware of that, then all bets are off.

There are just a few people (names withheld to protect the guilty) I would trust to setup and calibrate different processor for comparison purposes.
I can’t disagree with that. Difficult for any prospective buyer to know how competent a particular expert installer is and even whether they are having a good day! Most won’t really know many in their locations I would suggest.
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post #33 of 56 Old 09-03-2019, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I have spent much of the weekend on the bench, taking many measurements (there is truly no substitute for experience). I believe I now have a suitable set of tests and graphs for profiling and comparing processors. I have also been reading a bit on auditory perception (mostly Nelson Pass).
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post
As you and I discussed, when I did the $2500 vs $25,000 processor blind test (Marantz vs Datasat), PERFECTLY level matched (no room EQ enabled), no one was able to pick the "higher priced spread" consistently. But, as I also noted, by accident, we had one of the processors set at 1/2dB louder, and it was elected 100% of the time.

As for perfectly level matching post room EQ, I think you will find that close to impossible. As I have stated ad nauseam, what you are really going to be testing is one room EQ solution vs another.
I don't disagree. Much of this is for my own benefit, primarily. But, I do have some tools you may not have utilized.

Level matching may not be as difficult as you might imagine. @Mark Seaton gave me some pointers back when I started doing subwoofer comparison a few years ago. Clio can even measure speaker level outs (≥100V) without a voltage divider.
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Lastly, the only way this comparison will be 100% reliable, will be if the person who does the room calibration is an expert on which ever device they are calibrating.
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There are just a few people (names withheld to protect the guilty) I would trust to setup and calibrate different processor for comparison purposes.
I'm working to add my name to that list.
I'll be training with the one of the top guys on your list in a few weeks.
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My hope is that some of these tests will really highlight the differences in a way to provide some subjective value of going from a B+ to A- to A sort of comparison.
Mine too!
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post #34 of 56 Old 09-03-2019, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexicon94 View Post
The Storm (dirac)/Arcam/JBL synthesis synergy has produced for me a very engaging combination. I can’t currently see how I’m going to match that with the Altitude which seems considerably less engaging. My partner summed it up as ok but rather boring; she also loves the Storm setup.

I think that the Altitude does produce a more consistent precise soundfield if that’s what you are looking for (it look the chap ages to get the speaker positions to be seen correctly by the Trinnov - I think the compression driven tweeters in the JBLs were confusing it a bit in my room) but so far we are just not feeling the love!
More likely it was due to inexperience.
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The other aspect is useability. Despite it’s extensive tweak ability I’m not feeling any confidence that I can make the Trinnov sound more engaging than it does now as I wouldn’t really know where to start.
I follow you here. The Trinnov can seem overwhelming. The StormAudio quite simple in comparison.
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I can’t yet find a power command in the Harmony database either which is another small irritation......
The select button will power the unit on via IR. There is no discrete power off at the moment.
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I have it for a fortnight so it may grow on me but often first impressions are the ones that end up being accurate.
I do believe that first impressions are often lasting. Also, you know what they say, happy wife….
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post #35 of 56 Old 09-03-2019, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
More likely it was due to inexperience.
I follow you here. The Trinnov can seem overwhelming. The StormAudio quite simple in comparison.
The select button will power the unit on via IR. There is no discrete power off at the moment.
I do believe that first impressions are often lasting. Also, you know what they say, happy wife….
Actually discovered there is a discrete power off. You hold the info button for 5 seconds. (We should really have guessed that one shouldn’t we?!) I have managed to load both commands in to the Harmony using the Trinnov remote and get it all to work.

I have to award you 11 out of 10 for even attempting this comparison exercise Marc...
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post #36 of 56 Old 09-03-2019, 04:38 PM
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This is awesome Marc! I definitely want to drive up from San Diego and check out this insanity!

In terms of learning hardware measurements, I suggest you reach out to Gene DellaSala at Audioholics. He's also an engineer and has been doing these test for years and would probably be a very good resource for what to measure, what's important vs. not, etc. I'll try to let him know about this thread, he would be super interested I'm sure in a test like this!

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post #37 of 56 Old 09-03-2019, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I hit a major roadblock! Backstory:
Spoiler!


I decided to bring the NAD M15HD in to test alongside the single-ended AVRs. I was powering them all up to warm-up, nothing connected. A relay in the X4000 clicked and the unit started sparking. I'm talking fire hazard arcing. I opened the unit and could not visibly see any damage. The magnitude of the sparking told me it had to be the amplifiers. Getting to the amps requires a complete disassembly, so I simply disconnected the power going to the amps from the power supply. The unit still works, and no more relay clicking.

The Denon took down the NAD! NAD power LED comes on but the front panel display never comes on and all buttons (including power-off) are unresponsive. I haven't opened it yet but I'm hoping it is something simple like a fuse (the NAD has both a SMPS (for digital) and linear (for analog) supply. That's the bad news.

The good news is that disconnecting the amplification dropped the noise floor on the X4000 significantly. I'm someone who likes to squeeze every once of performance out of equipment. I once sold my Marantz AV7702mkII because it sounded identical to the Denon X4300H in my sighted A/B comparisons. The Marantz AV770x series is based on the Denon X4x00. Some using an AVR strictly as a preamp may want to disconnect their amp sections to reduce power draw and heat. It may void the warranty, but may also extend the life.

I discovered three things that lower the noise floor vs wall AC power (120V). The disconnection of the amp section, an isolation transformer/AC regenerator (+/- 60V), and the iFi AC iPurifier (it actually works as advertised). The isolation transformer provides the most noise attenuation. The iFi doesn't provide any benefit combining with the iso xformer. The cumulatively the "tweaks" dropped the Denon's noise floor close to -9dB. (The Yamaha is still -2dB lower, w/amps).

Green - unfiltered wall AC
Red - iFi iPurifier in Parallel
Blue - Panamax M5500-EX ACRegenerator

I will explore the iFi AC iPurifiers further at a later date, in a separate thread. I thought this was significant enough to share.
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post #38 of 56 Old 09-03-2019, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been organizing the data and thinking how best to present. I think it will be best to present one metric at a time. Initially, I'll just be comparing the AVRs (and hopefully the NAD). This is the trial run before the main event, the pre-pros. I am looking for feedback and ideas (I'm analytical, but not the most creative). Some of my previous observations align with the measurements, some don't. I'll be continually subjectively listening to attempt to align metrics with listening (to be verified by ABX testing).

I should have the pre-pro measurements completed and posted by CEDIA (for the processors on hand). I'm planning to attend the HAA training immediately following CEDIA and will tackle RoomEQ after I have completed HT3. Anyone in the market for a processor should wait until after CEDIA anyway (or just buy the Trinnov A32 to be safe ). I do plan to get my hands on an Emotiva (once Dirac is implemented), and the Monolith HTP-1. I will be selling many of the processors (by December I estimate). Hopefully no repeat incidents/accidents (NAD).

Much of the data will be voltage levels in terms of Vrms, dBV (unbalanced/single-ended/RCA), and dBu (balanced/XLR) http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-db-volt.htm
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post #39 of 56 Old 09-04-2019, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
I've been organizing the data and thinking how best to present. I think it will be best to present one metric at a time. Initially, I'll just be comparing the AVRs (and hopefully the NAD). This is the trial run before the main event, the pre-pros. I am looking for feedback and ideas (I'm analytical, but not the most creative). Some of my previous observations align with the measurements, some don't. I'll be continually subjectively listening to attempt to align metrics with listening (to be verified by ABX testing).

I should have the pre-pro measurements completed and posted by CEDIA (for the processors on hand). I'm planning to attend the HAA training immediately following CEDIA and will tackle RoomEQ after I have completed HT3. Anyone in the market for a processor should wait until after CEDIA anyway (or just buy the Trinnov A32 to be safe ). I do plan to get my hands on an Emotiva (once Dirac is implemented), and the Monolith HTP-1. I will be selling many of the processors (by December I estimate). Hopefully no repeat incidents/accidents (NAD).

Much of the data will be voltage levels in terms of Vrms, dBV (unbalanced/single-ended/RCA), and dBu (balanced/XLR) http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-db-volt.htm
This type of comparison with pre-pro's is long overdue and although looking at the graphs tells a story it does not tell the full story.

The blind listening comparison surely is the one that provides the best comparison as it is what you actually hear that counts, whether it is totally accurate does not really matter for if a device that graphs better does not actually sound better for me misses the point.

if you can get enough people to listen and vote and this information is priceless.
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post #40 of 56 Old 09-04-2019, 04:35 AM
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if you can get enough people to listen and vote and this information is priceless.
Depending on how and by whom the various products are calibrated, this could be very informative. That said, and regardless how rigorous the setup and evaluation process is, every product ranked lower than the top ( with one possible exception scenario), will bring out the “fan boys” yelling “inaccurate”, “biased”, “hogwash”, etc.

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post #41 of 56 Old 09-04-2019, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
I discovered three things that lower the noise floor vs wall AC power (120V). The disconnection of the amp section, an isolation transformer/AC regenerator (+/- 60V), and the iFi AC iPurifier (it actually works as advertised). The isolation transformer provides the most noise attenuation. The iFi doesn't provide any benefit combining with the iso xformer. The cumulatively the "tweaks" dropped the Denon's noise floor close to -9dB. (The Yamaha is still -2dB lower, w/amps).

Green - unfiltered wall AC
Red - iFi iPurifier in Parallel
Blue - Panamax M5500-EX ACRegenerator

I will explore the iFi AC iPurifiers further at a later date, in a separate thread. I thought this was significant enough to share.
Nice to see Marc’s comments re the transformer/AC regenerator and iFi AC iPurifier. Lowering the noise floor is a good thing for both audio and video components. Many on these forums are skeptical re AC regeneration and balanced power/isolation transformers. Many have also said my AC regenerator and Furman IT-Ref 20i do nothing, but drain the wallet. I completely disagree with that line of thinking. I will not even get into the benefits of non-sacrificial surge protection if you are in a T-storm/lightning prone area. Some of these naysayers even have theaters worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and plug everything into the wall or an unfiltered power strip.

Looking forward to your companion thread relative to these and any other power products.

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post #42 of 56 Old 09-04-2019, 05:13 AM
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Depending on how and by whom the various products are calibrated, this could be very informative. That said, and regardless how rigorous the setup and evaluation process is, every product ranked lower than the top ( with one possible exception scenario), will bring out the “fan boys” yelling “inaccurate”, “biased”, “hogwash”, etc.
You will never stop the fanboys in that regard but for the other 90% of AV enthusiasts the information will be very useful for sure. I own the Lyngdorf MP50 and think its a fabulous bit of kit that sounds tremendous in my room, is it the most expensive processor money can buy, definitely not, is it the best sounding processor, maybe but then again maybe not.

if 100 people had the blind listening test and the results were wholeheartedly in favour of one of the processors then that for me would be pretty conclusive (providing all had been calibrated properly, and yes I know, explain properly....) if this processor was not the one I own I have a choice to buy the one that came out on top in the tests but then again I might not choose to do this as the financial outlay is just too great for the relative improvement in performance and after all said and done I think my current set up sounds great anyway.......
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post #43 of 56 Old 09-04-2019, 02:25 PM
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You will never stop the fanboys in that regard but for the other 90% of AV enthusiasts the information will be very useful for sure. I own the Lyngdorf MP50 and think its a fabulous bit of kit that sounds tremendous in my room, is it the most expensive processor money can buy, definitely not, is it the best sounding processor, maybe but then again maybe not.

if 100 people had the blind listening test and the results were wholeheartedly in favour of one of the processors then that for me would be pretty conclusive (providing all had been calibrated properly, and yes I know, explain properly....) if this processor was not the one I own I have a choice to buy the one that came out on top in the tests but then again I might not choose to do this as the financial outlay is just too great for the relative improvement in performance and after all said and done I think my current set up sounds great anyway.......
And that is the key. And while the listening will be blind, so should the calibration. If Marc wants to make this as transparent and neutral as possible, then using one of the very well respected, "external", and highly experienced calibrators would be remove any reasonable doubts whatsoever. Because if Marc does them, regardless how qualified he may think he is (and, in fact, may be), he is not a known entity in the world of high end calibrators.

On the other hand, if he is only doing this for himself, then that is a different animal. But, it won't have the external credibility and appeal that way.

Still an interesting project, however. I did a small one (just two processors) and I know how much work it is. Props to Marc for even undertaking such a project.

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Figured those following might have seen the altitude 32 on the classies? Dude has two posts and said escrow or wire is fine....little fishy.

On that note however, he stated "Until yesterday this was the best processor out there" Did I miss something?

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post #45 of 56 Old 09-09-2019, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post
Figured those following might have seen the altitude 32 on the classies? Dude has two posts and said escrow or wire is fine....little fishy.



On that note however, he stated "Until yesterday this was the best processor out there" Did I miss something?
Based on his profile he's from Indonesia, so may be a language translation thing and actually means " To this day..." either that or he's referring to the Storm Audio announcement about their MK2 processors that will be able to do up to Atmos 13.1.10 processing as well as DTS:X Pro, Auto 3D and IMAX enhanced. Due for release 2020
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Based on his profile he's from Indonesia, so may be a language translation thing and actually means " To this day..." either that or he's referring to the Storm Audio announcement about their MK2 processors that will be able to do up to Atmos 13.1.10 processing as well as DTS:X Pro, Auto 3D and IMAX enhanced. Due for release 2020
Perhaps on the former, but if the latter...meh, storm still doesn't have trinnov's algorithm so I'd stay the altitudes still take the cake...

EDIT: I mean for only select few wanting multiple side surrounds or need more than .4 or .6 for heights, where else will that storm get you? It's going to be matrixing everything anyways, it's not like the effects are discreet.

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post #47 of 56 Old 09-09-2019, 04:00 PM
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Figured those following might have seen the altitude 32 on the classies? Dude has two posts and said escrow or wire is fine....little fishy.

On that note however, he stated "Until yesterday this was the best processor out there" Did I miss something?

You know what they say about idiotic assumptions The seller has plenty of 100% positive feedback on Audiogon where he has listed.
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Originally Posted by Apgood View Post
Based on his profile he's from Indonesia, so may be a language translation thing and actually means " To this day..." either that or he's referring to the Storm Audio announcement about their MK2 processors that will be able to do up to Atmos 13.1.10 processing as well as DTS:X Pro, Auto 3D and IMAX enhanced. Due for release 2020

Or perhaps he means the announcement of the Lyngdorf MP-60 though I can't see why if that were the case.
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You know what they say about idiotic assumptions
Gee, I sure don't, why don't you enlighten me... since I'm an idiot and all.
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post #50 of 56 Old 09-10-2019, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I chased my tail all weekend. Clio's analysis works perfectly with analog but the S/PDIF numbers were all over the map. Using REW as the signal generator and Clio as the analyzer works for manual measurements but not for anything automated. These automated tests have the most value for graphing comparisons.

I finally found out why and it makes sense. Why this is not documented in the manual(?) I do not know.
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CLIO FW Digital Output

The SPDIF RCA connector on the rear panel of the FW-01 is digital output only. It will also work properly with a simple RCA to XLR adapter if you ever want to drive a digital device with AES3 or AES/EBU (two names for the same interface, AES3 is the newer name). If your DUT has an optical digital input, you’ll need something like this to convert CLIO’s digital output to TOSLINK:

Coax to Optical Adapter

I measured the digital output of with an Audio Precision APx515 and it is bit perfect at all (3) sample rates (48k, 96k, 192k).

Gain control of the digital output on the FW-01 is kind of weird until you understand it. You control its output level the same way you control the analog output, but you have to be careful when using the digital output. This is how it works: You set the FW-01 to maximum output (+18dBu), and that will result in the maximum digital output of 0dBFS (you can use the analog outputs simultaneously if you want). You can only adjust the digital output between 0dBFS and -20dBFS. Therefore, once you reduce the FW-01’s output to -2dBu as indicated in the CLIO software, it will jump back up to 0dBFS again! So be careful! Then as you continue to reduce the output level, the digital output will once again go down to -20dBFS and then, reducing the level again will result again in the digital output jumping back up to 0dBFS again.

This will happen (4) times as you adjust CLIO’s output from the maximum +18dBu down to the lowest useable output that is about 80dB below that.

The reason this happens is due to how Audiomatica designed the FW-01. Some of those relays you hear clicking in the unit are analog output gain reduction relays that switch between different resistor networks to smoothly pad or lower the analog output (0.1dB steps are possible by holding the SHIFT key down and pressing "F7" or "F8"). Internally, the digital output to the D/A converters cycles between 0dBFS and -20dBFS while the analog gain circuits adjust to between different groups of resistor pads to allow a continuous analog gain reduction. The FW-01 was designed this way to balance the loss in digital resolution that occurs with digital gain control with the expense associated with employing high resolution, low noise analog gain control. This balance results in more than enough dynamic range for acoustic domain measurements and most electrical domain measurements. If you need to make extremely high dynamic range (120dB+) measurements of very low level signals in the electrical domain, you’ll need to spend north of 10 grand minimum for Audio Precision or the like.

Hope this helps!

__________________
- Langston Holland
North American Distributor for Audiomatica's CLIO, CLIO Pocket and Outline Measurement Products
Someone suggested I look up @amirm . Amir was once a prolific contributor here at AVS (especially during the birth of HD-DVD and Blu-ray) and a founder of whatsbestforum.com. (How he managed to get banned both places I do not know). He has since started ASR, audiosciencereview.com. I don't believe in reinventing the wheel and at audio science they have laid the groundwork for analyzing DACs and processors. There is a subforum dedicated to, "Psychoacoustics: Science of How We Hear".

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...urements.5734/
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post #51 of 56 Old 09-10-2019, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
I chased my tail all weekend. Clio's analysis works perfectly with analog but the S/PDIF numbers were all over the map. Using REW as the signal generator and Clio as the analyzer works for manual measurements but not for anything automated. These automated tests have the most value for graphing comparisons.

I finally found out why and it makes sense. Why this is not documented in the manual(?) I do not know.
Quote:
CLIO FW Digital Output

The SPDIF RCA connector on the rear panel of the FW-01 is digital output only. It will also work properly with a simple RCA to XLR adapter if you ever want to drive a digital device with AES3 or AES/EBU (two names for the same interface, AES3 is the newer name). If your DUT has an optical digital input, you’️ll need something like this to convert CLIO’️s digital output to TOSLINK:

Coax to Optical Adapter

I measured the digital output of with an Audio Precision APx515 and it is bit perfect at all (3) sample rates (48k, 96k, 192k).

Gain control of the digital output on the FW-01 is kind of weird until you understand it. You control its output level the same way you control the analog output, but you have to be careful when using the digital output. This is how it works: You set the FW-01 to maximum output (+18dBu), and that will result in the maximum digital output of 0dBFS (you can use the analog outputs simultaneously if you want). You can only adjust the digital output between 0dBFS and -20dBFS. Therefore, once you reduce the FW-01’️s output to -2dBu as indicated in the CLIO software, it will jump back up to 0dBFS again! So be careful! Then as you continue to reduce the output level, the digital output will once again go down to -20dBFS and then, reducing the level again will result again in the digital output jumping back up to 0dBFS again.

This will happen (4) times as you adjust CLIO’️s output from the maximum +18dBu down to the lowest useable output that is about 80dB below that.

The reason this happens is due to how Audiomatica designed the FW-01. Some of those relays you hear clicking in the unit are analog output gain reduction relays that switch between different resistor networks to smoothly pad or lower the analog output (0.1dB steps are possible by holding the SHIFT key down and pressing "F7" or "F8"). Internally, the digital output to the D/A converters cycles between 0dBFS and -20dBFS while the analog gain circuits adjust to between different groups of resistor pads to allow a continuous analog gain reduction. The FW-01 was designed this way to balance the loss in digital resolution that occurs with digital gain control with the expense associated with employing high resolution, low noise analog gain control. This balance results in more than enough dynamic range for acoustic domain measurements and most electrical domain measurements. If you need to make extremely high dynamic range (120dB+) measurements of very low level signals in the electrical domain, you’️ll need to spend north of 10 grand minimum for Audio Precision or the like.

Hope this helps! [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]

__________________
- Langston Holland
North American Distributor for Audiomatica's CLIO, CLIO Pocket and Outline Measurement Products
Someone suggested I look up @amirm . Amir was once a prolific contributor here at AVS (especially during the birth of HD-DVD and Blu-ray) and a founder of whatsbestforum.com. (How he managed to get banned both places I do not know). He has since started ASR, audiosciencereview.com. I don't believe in reinventing the wheel and at audio science they have laid the groundwork for analyzing DACs and processors. There is a subforum dedicated to, "Psychoacoustics: Science of How We Hear".

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...urements.5734/
Amir is an invaluable resource. I’ve often sought his insight over the years. I’m truly happy he has his own website to express himself.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #52 of 56 Old 09-12-2019, 12:57 PM
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Amir is an invaluable resource. I’ve often sought his insight over the years. I’m truly happy he has his own website to express himself.
Amen to that!

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post #53 of 56 Old 10-25-2019, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I have not abandoned this project, just delayed and reorganized.

I spent two weeks in Denver for CEDIA and HAA (Home Acoustics Aliance training. The week of training with Gerry Lemay and Adam Pelz was exceptional and invaluable. I'm definitely not @appelz but I believe I am on the right path. After returning from Denver my health took a turn for the worse. An electronic medical device (neurostimulator) I've had implanted for 5+ years has to be removed. I'm awaiting a surgery date (within 4-6 weeks). I still need to complete my HAA HT3 practicum. Please bear with me in the meantime.

In brighter news... last week I visited the Monoprice HTP-1 design team and received a beta unit.

In regards to this project, my initial measurements with the Audiomatica Clio 12 were involved for this purpose. The noise floor of the measurements was all over the place when viewing the real-time FFT. . The measurements were also highly susceptible to EMI and probably RFI. Meanwhile, the Clio Pocket (their entry level analyzer) did not exhibit the same behavior. A few weeks ago I identified and solved the issues with the Clio. The problem was only with measuring unbalaced/RCA outputs. Why this FW-02 interface has no chassis ground terminal is beyond me.

In my frustration a started looking into the Audio Precision systems. The newer APx515 is a lower cost design very much along the lines of the Clio 12 that could meet my needs. Secondhand APs are still relatively expensive, even those EOL. I will ultimately compare the Clio measurements of the HTP-1 with those from an AP.

My prior measurements were also not well organized. I have built a template in Excel based on AES17-2015: AES standard method for digital audio engineering - Measurement of digital audio equipment
. I also had to figure out how to save and recall individual measurements for display (Clio operates nothing like Room EQ Wizars). The PC audio interfaces don't have the precision needed to use REW for most analysis.

I believe that what I observed with the noise floor and chassis ground is significant to everyone. Everyone [like me] who wants to squeeze every last drop of performance from their system, leaving nothing on the table but the money saved. Everyone who chooses science over audiophilia. Grounding the chassis of any interconnected gear with a two wire power plug to a single, common point. (Any includes equipment only interconnected via HDMI). The ground terminal of a power conditioner is a logical choice. See this article from PS Audio: How to practice best grounding.

Aside from isolating issues with feeds coming from outside of the house (satellite/cable) I don't recommend lifting ground. The 3-to-2 prong cheater plugs are great for troubleshooting but not as a permanent solution. Ground loop issues need to be identified and resolved, not "floated around". The 3rd prong is called the Safety Ground for a reason.

I was able to observe the noise characteristics of the line-level with changes to the supplied AC power. The effects of the following were observed: UPS, isolation transformer, balanced power (±60 VAC), iFi's AC iPurifier, power cord guage, noisy SMPS, etc. Each had a measurable effect on the noise floor in most cases. Combinations had varying effects. However, none of these equaled the noise reduction that the simple star grounding provided. In fact, once everything was grounded the other AC filters/devices did not appear to have any significant effect on the noise floor.
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post #54 of 56 Old 10-26-2019, 07:12 AM
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Sorry you are going through your health issues. Hopefully, your planned surgery will get you back on track.
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Mark 10:45 ][ Home Theater of The Month: The Oconee Theater ][ Music by Leslie Austin ][
Jeremiah 4:1-2
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post #55 of 56 Old 10-26-2019, 01:32 PM
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Glad you are on a path to full Health! Hope you get this behind you soon so it quickly becomes a distant memory.


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post #56 of 56 Old 11-08-2019, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
I hit a major roadblock! Backstory:
Spoiler!




I decided to bring the NAD M15HD in to test alongside the single-ended AVRs. I was powering them all up to warm-up, nothing connected. A relay in the X4000 clicked and the unit started sparking. I'm talking fire hazard arcing. I opened the unit and could not visibly see any damage. The magnitude of the sparking told me it had to be the amplifiers. Getting to the amps requires a complete disassembly, so I simply disconnected the power going to the amps from the power supply. The unit still works, and no more relay clicking.



The Denon took down the NAD! NAD power LED comes on but the front panel display never comes on and all buttons (including power-off) are unresponsive. I haven't opened it yet but I'm hoping it is something simple like a fuse (the NAD has both a SMPS (for digital) and linear (for analog) supply. That's the bad news.



The good news is that disconnecting the amplification dropped the noise floor on the X4000 significantly. I'm someone who likes to squeeze every once of performance out of equipment. I once sold my Marantz AV7702mkII because it sounded identical to the Denon X4300H in my sighted A/B comparisons. The Marantz AV770x series is based on the Denon X4x00. Some using an AVR strictly as a preamp may want to disconnect their amp sections to reduce power draw and heat. It may void the warranty, but may also extend the life.



I discovered three things that lower the noise floor vs wall AC power (120V). The disconnection of the amp section, an isolation transformer/AC regenerator (+/- 60V), and the iFi AC iPurifier (it actually works as advertised). The isolation transformer provides the most noise attenuation. The iFi doesn't provide any benefit combining with the iso xformer. The cumulatively the "tweaks" dropped the Denon's noise floor close to -9dB. (The Yamaha is still -2dB lower, w/amps).



Green - unfiltered wall AC

Red - iFi iPurifier in Parallel

Blue - Panamax M5500-EX ACRegenerator



I will explore the iFi AC iPurifiers further at a later date, in a separate thread. I thought this was significant enough to share.


This is a very interesting post and deserves its own thread!

Archaea's 9.12.4 Home Theater Room
(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | Denon x7200wa | Sherbourn PA 7-350 amplifier | (8) Ultimax 18" sealed subwoofers | (4) iNuke DSP 6000 amplifiers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted direct mounted to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144" acoustic transparent 2.35:1 screen w/ Seymour XD fabric
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