Who makes a stripped down audiophile grade 5.1 preamp-processor with HDMI these days? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 54 Old 12-04-2013, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by neo_2009 View Post

Does the same bugs exists with the HDMI connections, or just with analog paths ?

Those bugs exist with the digital paths.

Markus

"In science, contrary evidence causes one to question a theory. In religion, contrary evidence causes one to question the evidence." - Floyd Toole
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post #32 of 54 Old 12-04-2013, 05:50 AM
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Thanks, i've analyzed your post with more detail, and its summarized in the first post :

Bugs (Firmware version 1.52.02.47)
- LFE crossover and slope is mislabeled as "Subwoofer"
- Odd manual test tones for level calibration (see post #3 and post #50)
- Manual test tones are post EQ (should be pre EQ)
- Enhanced bass option defaults to "on" although front speakers default to "small"
- Headphone output is post bass management, delay, gains and EQ
- "Direct" mode with 2 channel digital input signal is post bass management, delay and gains -> L/R is high pass filtered
- "Direct" mode with multichannel digital input signal is post bass management, delay and gains -> all processing active except EQ
- "All Stereo" with 2 channel digital input signal is post bass management, delay, gains and EQ -> processed L/R is sent to surrounds
- Multichannel LPCM 7.1 output mode is mislabeled as "All Stereo"

From what i can understand (your posts are a bit to technical for my knowledge) , assuming we :
- use HDMI,
- disable Enhanced bass after setting the speakers to small,
- use REW test tones
- use REW to determine the bands to apply on PEQ
- ( i presume we could use EMO-Q, and then use REW to check and correct the meassures to suite our preferences).

I.E, if we understand the UMC-200 shortcomings, and go around them, the UMC-200 could be a valuable option?
Or the bugs you mention invalidate the UMC-200 as an option?
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post #33 of 54 Old 12-04-2013, 06:19 AM
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Sounds like a plan. Just stay away from using "Direct" mode with digital sources. It's not direct.
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Markus

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post #34 of 54 Old 12-04-2013, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

Unfortunately the answer is "no". I had hoped the UMC-200 would be that product but it turned out that it has some serious bugs especially if you're looking for "pure" signal paths. Please see this thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/newestpost/1491348

Don't know if the Outlaw does any better. These days reviewers seem to toss out "product of the year" awards and five star rave reviews without proper testing.


There are comments I've read on other forums about "praise" for the Outlaw 975 sound quality then with complaints about 2-3 second delays and gaps of audio when switching devices on HDMI. The same folks over on the Hometheater forum were then debating about comparing this bug when using digital coax or component level RCA inputs which helped the issue some vs. HDMI. Apparently Outlaw was reportedly taking care of it with firmware, but no report back. Most felt the Emo unit had a brighter and more detailed sounds while the Outlaw was a bit more laid back, some called it warmer or less detailed like some of the UK units. On the same thread another guy came along stating he has a brand new Marantz AV8801 that can tend do the same thing some times and many of the preamps have similar switching issues with HDMI, delays, and he was quick to state that we should not blame this on HDMI or Emotiva or Sherborn or Outlaw, it had something more to do with handshaking and the HDPI protocol itself, as it it is out of control for the manufacturers which seemed odd because some were not having the same issue on the Outlaw. I'm sure I've mis-stated some of this, but it all just tells me we are still in a bit of a design and refinement stage with these type preamplifiers (even the simple ones) and each of them has it's own type of bugs, even today. Expect bugs here and there! This is why I'm likely to hang on to what I have now and revisit this purchase again with friends and for myself in 18-24 months hoping it shakes out a little more before dumping another chunk of money on a piece of hardware that will be useless again 36-48 months after. I was a big B&K fan for decades, and learned from ATI that B&K even had concerns about the whole HDMI preamp situation and keeping up with the new era of software and constant change. I'm going to keep an eye on NAD to see how it works for them with their new modular unit like the T187 with replaceable cards. I think they are headed in the right direction others will follow suit over time.
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post #35 of 54 Old 12-04-2013, 07:34 AM
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Unfortunately long switching/handshaking times of several seconds have to be considered normal these days. Doesn't matter if Denon, Outlaw, Emotiva, Onkyo, etc. Say "thank you" to the content owners enforcing content protection schemes.

Not sure about warmer/brighter sound of these devices. If there are no bugs they are aurally transparent. Sound quality is in the speaker/room interface, not in electronics anymore.

Markus

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post #36 of 54 Old 12-04-2013, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Markus,

With great speakers, great amplification, in the right room setting, with a clean source with good hearing many can absolutely hear a difference between one preamp and another. When I went from my former B&K preamp to the newer Integra units it took me quiet a while to get use to the difference. A notable difference and completely different signature of sound between the two preamps.

Try connecting a great CD player with output level control (like an Oppo 105) direct to an amplifier and listen, then connect that same player through a preamp and see if it's transparent or not.

Next, try switching from one grade preamp to the next to see which ones permit or impede the sound quality. Some components are anything but transparent, and can be harsh. For me it can be the difference between something that is non-fatiguing and enjoyable to listen for hours versus minutes with poorly designed components.
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post #37 of 54 Old 12-05-2013, 12:33 AM
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Been there, done that. With blind testing all those differences just vanish into thin air. Spend time on understanding acoustics and sound perception instead of trying to hear the grass grow. Just my 2 cents.
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Markus

"In science, contrary evidence causes one to question a theory. In religion, contrary evidence causes one to question the evidence." - Floyd Toole
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post #38 of 54 Old 12-05-2013, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

^
Been there, done that. With blind testing all those differences just vanish into thin air. Spend time on understanding acoustics and sound perception instead of trying to hear the grass grow. Just my 2 cents.


Markus,

Since you've been there and done that, if you determine something about the "acoustics" you don't like, how are you changing acoustics in a fixed family/audio-video room setting that cannot be changed much?

Spending much of my time as a former speaker designer/builder professionally in my younger years and later as a side hobby today, I would be very interested in any new secrets you can share beyond the basic stuff that most people have already tried with room correction software or radical room and wall acoustic changes. Today, I continue to mess with different preamps and settings at a software level when minimal room changes can be made. What say you?
.
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post #39 of 54 Old 12-08-2013, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

^
Been there, done that. With blind testing all those differences just vanish into thin air. Spend time on understanding acoustics and sound perception instead of trying to hear the grass grow. Just my 2 cents.

Hi Markus.. what are your thoughts on Room-EQ solutions like Audyssey, Dirac and other...
Do they not add their own "coloration"?
Has someone compared the truthfulness/fidelity of their "correction" to what was the original signal as heard in the recording studio?

Anyways.. I'm joining this thread too as someone who wants a minimalist processor...
basically a very good DAC is all I need...
something like the
exaform e28 with mini XLR
http://www.exasound.com/Overview/CompareSpecifications.aspx
(which is something beyond my price range)

or a very good combination of:
http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/digital/buffalo8.aspx
and
http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/linestages/ivy.aspx

My bare minimum requirements for a processor:
1. A very good DAC - 32 or 24bit/192kHz or higher PCM processing
2. 5.1 Ch balanced outputs (preferably fully balanced - as in DAC output-opAmp-line stage)
3. SPDIF 3x inputs for 6 channel digital or USB inputs...

Optional:
1. DSD support
2. HDMI input (just to feed it the digital HDCP audio, the video I will send it directly to the display using a HDMI splitter)
3. Any decoders (Dolby Tue HD, DTS Master HD and the usual stuff)
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post #40 of 54 Old 12-08-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by intgenx View Post

Hi Markus.. what are your thoughts on Room-EQ solutions like Audyssey, Dirac and other...
Do they not add their own "coloration"?
Has someone compared the truthfulness/fidelity of their "correction" to what was the original signal as heard in the recording studio?

One would think they did but there's a catch: What should they compare it to? There are no meaningful standards how a reference listening room needs to sound. In reality they all differ by a large amount. Good read: http://seanolive.blogspot.ch/2009/10/audios-circle-of-confusion.html

Markus

"In science, contrary evidence causes one to question a theory. In religion, contrary evidence causes one to question the evidence." - Floyd Toole
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post #41 of 54 Old 12-08-2013, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

^
Been there, done that. With blind testing all those differences just vanish into thin air. Spend time on understanding acoustics and sound perception instead of trying to hear the grass grow. Just my 2 cents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

One would think they did but there's a catch: What should they compare it to? There are no meaningful standards how a reference listening room needs to sound. In reality they all differ by a large amount. Good read: http://seanolive.blogspot.ch/2009/10/audios-circle-of-confusion.html


In the end, the human ear and critical listening performed by trained humans is what they compare it to. The human ear is a wonderful reference standard. It's not difficult to become a trained listener, with a little time and effort.

In fact, it says so within the seanolive bloodspot article link you included: Quote: "trained listeners produce more discriminating and reliable judgments of sound quality"
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post #42 of 54 Old 12-08-2013, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Espo77 View Post

I have the money for it right now but, I'm searching for somebody offering it at a good price. So far it's at list price everywhere. I was all set in my mind to purchase the Oppo 105, hooked up via the left and right balanced out, to the left and right balanced in on perhaps the Yamaha CX-A5000 (which I have been lusting over lately). Obviously with the NuForce, I will not be able to hook up this way, so I may go with the Oppo 103. This is causing me to take a step back and re-think about this because my intention is to optimize my music first approach.



Espo77,
My Integra DHC-40.1 home theater pre-pro is in the middle of being upgraded by the factory, and while it's away, I spent a little more time reading up on the NuForce AVP-18. I read on another thread you are getting close to buying the AVP-18. I think if I had to buy one now in this price range I would likely consider it as well. I recently purchased the matching DBS-50.3 bluray player to my pre-pro unit, and if I had not, I'd be looking back at the NuForce and the Oppo 103 again too. I had the Oppo 105 player previously and sent it back for my own reasons about the sound of the unit I received. Seems the AVP-18 and Oppo 103 combo would make sense taking the the minimalist approach and I bet it would sound pretty darn good with the right amplification behind it. If you get this setup, please report back and let us know how it goes. smile.gif
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post #43 of 54 Old 12-08-2013, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by decooney View Post

In the end, the human ear and critical listening performed by trained humans is what they compare it to. The human ear is a wonderful reference standard. It's not difficult to become a trained listener, with a little time and effort.

In fact, it says so within the seanolive bloodspot article link you included: Quote: "trained listeners produce more discriminating and reliable judgments of sound quality"

You're confusing reference with preference.

Markus

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post #44 of 54 Old 12-08-2013, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

You're confusing reference with preference.

Not confused - just trust my ears, references, and preferences with careful listening.
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post #45 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 08:04 AM
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I am in the same boat.

Currently, I have an Anthem AVM20 pre/pro, Rotel Amp and B&W 703's, HTM7 REL Strata Sub and I forget which B&W rears I have.

I have an ISCAN VP50 scaler handling the video end. I assume it would be best to let this scaler still handle the video as the video is spectacular? In regards to the new audio formats on Blu-Ray, can those be only processed through HDMI or can it be over optical?

I too am looking for something hi-end for 5.1 but having a balanced 2 channel input is ideal

Pre/Pro's do change the sound signature. I used to have a rotel pre/pro, the Anthem is much brighter, night and day difference.
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post #46 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by decooney View Post

Not confused - just trust my ears, references, and preferences with careful listening.

Those with analysis paralysis can't do this.
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post #47 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by decooney View Post

In the end, the human ear and critical listening performed by trained humans is what they compare it to. The human ear is a wonderful reference standard. It's not difficult to become a trained listener, with a little time and effort.

In fact, it says so within the seanolive bloodspot article link you included: Quote: "trained listeners produce more discriminating and reliable judgments of sound quality"

You're confusing reference with preference.

He also seems to be confusing loudspeakers with electronics. Speakers have about 100 times or more worse distortion.
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post #48 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 09:23 AM
 
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With great speakers, great amplification, in the right room setting, with a clean source with good hearing many can absolutely hear a difference between one preamp and another.

So says everybody until they try level-matched blind testing.

With preamps it is fairly easy to arrange for a straight-wire bypass test of the preamp you have as compared to absolute perfection. Very revealing for the differences you don't hear.
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post #49 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 09:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decooney View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

You're confusing reference with preference.

Not confused - just trust my ears, references, and preferences with careful listening.

The problem with that is our inability to leave out the big source of many of our troubles - our brains. ;-)
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post #50 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Those with analysis paralysis can't do this.


That's funny, especially if the primary function is to reproduce enjoyable sound. rolleyes.gif
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post #51 of 54 Old 12-16-2013, 07:27 PM
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In answer to the OP, if you want to strip all the way down, the Oppo 103/105, which have an HDMI input for a second source besides the player itself.

Also for a few hundred$ Vanity makes aftermarket boards that convert the 8 analog outputs to SPDIF digital outs, which can also be used with devices with AES digital inputs (i.e. Trinnov).

Noah
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post #52 of 54 Old 12-17-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Noah,
Thanks for the reply. I did try the Oppo 105 already and ended up sending it back like a few others for the same reasons, a year ago or so. I found the 105 to be super detailed, but a tad harsh or "grainy" sounding IMO. Others on the same thread found the same. I prefer my Integra HT player better for audio, and almost as well for video as the 105. Again, that was over a year ago when it first came out. Some of the engineers contacted me and there were discussions and feedback related to design changes with the Sabre32 DAC implementation. More details on the sound check thread, and I was looking for a little more switching capability too. I bet they have it worked out now, but I have another bluray/cd player I'm really enjoying now.

Update:
in the past few weeks I received my upgraded DHC-40.1 and liking it even better than stock original. Sounds better with the new HDMI board in it and upgraded caps for whatever reasons, just sounds better, and good enough now. Other than the NuForce AVP-18, I've not been able to find the type of minimalist preamp I've been looking for, so I'll continue to keep my dedicated audio and home theater systems separate, for this year. Sort of given up on intermixing and consolidating the two for sound quality reasons. I plan to keep an eye out over 2014 for more of these newer generation minimalist av preamps.


Thanks to all for your replies. It's been an interesting thread and I appreciate everyone's opinions and feedback in any case.
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post #53 of 54 Old 12-25-2014, 09:26 AM
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Question

I'm looking for a minimalist receiver that has:

- 3 or more HDMI inputs, 1 or more HDMI outputs
- 5.1 or more surround sound
- integrated amplifier (100W/ch or more)

I don't need nor want any legacy inputs/outputs.

I could use a preamp+power amp but I really would like to keep it simple yet with decent quality.

Ideas?
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post #54 of 54 Old 04-12-2015, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by avxcitement View Post
I'm looking for a minimalist receiver that has:

- 3 or more HDMI inputs, 1 or more HDMI outputs
- 5.1 or more surround sound
- integrated amplifier (100W/ch or more)

I don't need nor want any legacy inputs/outputs.

I could use a preamp+power amp but I really would like to keep it simple yet with decent quality.

Ideas?
I'm looking for something similar, but only as pre-amp. I've become a huge fan of Adcom amplifiers, which can be purchased used for decent prices, and deliver pure clean output.
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