**miniDSP DDRC-88A Official Thread**8-channel AI/AO Dirac Live in a box - Page 182 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #5431 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 06:02 AM
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Yesterday, while watching a movie, at a particularly loud passage, I heard what can best be described as high frequency crackling, and some sort of weird "phaziness."

It didn't stop.

I thought I blew out one of my speakers, and immediately suspected my front right height since it was recently repaired. I was somewhat perplexed at this thought, since I was watching the movie at -10db from reference (shouldn't be an issue). I walked to the front of the room, and, sure enough, the sound was coming from that speaker...but unlike last time, no "magic blue smoke" smell.

I went to the equipment closet and disconnected the front heights from the back of the amp.

Uh oh. The cracking and odd swishy sound was still there. I turned off the movie, and went into setup and did some channel sweeps. My surround L and surround R channels had this strange effect, while my surround BACK L & R were fine. I reconnected my front heights, and found that my front height L was *fine* and the R was similarly screwed like the surround L and R.

Okay. This is strange. I took down the front height R, and substituted it for my front R. The speaker is fine. It isn't blown.

The surrounds are on a completely different amp, so I probably don't have an amp issue, but I proceeded to try to track it down. After a whole bunch of combinations, I convinced myself that the amp itself is fine, but the AVR seems to be the problem. It is outputting this noise to the front R height, and to the L & R surround.

So, I did a full system reset. No love. it's still doing it. I tried to do a firmware update, but there isn't a newer one available. So, here are some questions, which I *think* (and hope) are relevant to this thread.

I've got what seems to be a broken Denon x4000. I upgraded to this AVR from a Yamaha-RXA3000 because I wanted Audyssey xt32. I have to investigate if it is worth getting the x4000 repaired (cost to repair, vs value on the resale market or value to me in the future).

But now I need a replacement for the x4000. The Yamaha (which now runs the family room) isn't a suitable replacement because it doesn't have pre-outs for the front height channels (and I've come to learn that I prefer DIRAC on the entire front sound-stage, at the expense of the surround rears being corrected).

I *don't* think I want to bite off ATMOS just yet. I think another year or so will probably do (so, AVRs that are coming out now might be a better buy on the used market next year).

Can anyone suggest an AVR which meets the minimum criteria?
1) 9 channel capable, including front height
2) pre-outs for all channels
3) 3 (Hah!) hdmi inputs
4) 2 hdmi outputs (mirroring is fine, no need for a real 2nd zone)
5) of course, nothing so old as to not be able to decode today's modern codecs [minus the object based ones]
6) I'm looking for "as cheap as possible" (including, and maybe preferring used) because it will either be replaced by the x4000 (assuming I bother to get it fixed) soon, or it will be replaced with something ATMOS ready next year or so.

I think those of us that are using the 88a all fall into this sort of new category. We really want pre-pros since we don't want to pay for the amps, and we really don't want to pay for room correction either...but that sort of thing doesn't really exist anymore.


Thanks!
-Kevin
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post #5432 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jpco View Post
I used the DLCT method and it was fine. My theory is that the software is listening for and tracking the sweep while measuring. As long as there's not an error, the software seems to hear it fine. It's apparently not conflating room noise with sweep signal.

That being said, it can't hurt to have the higher signal-to-noise ratio unless it introduces distortion.
So long as it delivers a good result, it's good. And Jerry's tests show that he feels there is no difference whichever way you do it, so that is good too. Personally, I'm going to carry on doing it the way I always have (Jerry's Method) since I have always achieved a good calibration that way, until or unless someone comes up with good reasons not. But sure, both methods seem to be equally good.
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post #5433 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinG View Post
On the other hand, I've not found that to be the case ever. As I've reported here, I have a somewhat unusual case in that my 4 rear surround speakers are powered by a MUCH less powerful amp than my front soundstage's 5 speakers. Because of that, every single time I calibrate, I am tweaking the individual channel sliders to reduce the volume of anything going through the big amp, and leaving all the channels maxed that are using the small amp.

I've done a ton of calibrations. Every single time the results give me exactly (within .5 db) the same levels from each one of the channels. The only anomaly is that they don't end up at 75db at reference. No big deal.
Odd isn't it? When I have changed the individual channel sliders, my levels have been all over the place. It was so obvious the first time that I didn't need to get the SPL meter out to check it - you could hear the problem right away. Since then I haven't touched those sliders, but then I haven't needed to either as the variation in level across all channels is very small when doing the initial test to get the slider into the green at ~-12dB.

HST, I am not yet using the latest version of DLCT and the 88A utility so that might account for something. I will update all of the software, firmware etc next time I need to calibrate.
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post #5434 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 3ll3d00d View Post
As long as the signal is sufficiently strong then I don't see what you gain from going louder still. I typically measure at 70-75dB and have no issues with getting good data, the data quality doesn't change if I run it 10dB louder, it just means it is louder (and annoying!). The noise floor is my room is 45dB or so btw, AFAIK you don't need to be 40dB above this to get good data. Whether Dirac has issues with this is another question.

Sample post from John M explaining - https://www.gearslutz.com/board/8951973-post7.html - which shows a measurement having 60-70dB SNR yet being taken at less than 40dB above the noise floor.
I hear you Matt Bottom line is that it doesn't appear to be all that much of an issue so long as a 'respectable' SNR is achieved, which both you and I are doing, albeit with different levels.
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post #5435 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 06:22 AM
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@KevinG : When you say "full system reset", does that mean both a microprocessor reset on the AVR as well as restoring the 88A to factory defaults? How have you isolated the fault to the AVR, and not the 88A? It should be relatively straight-forward to re-route the cables around the 88A to make absolutely sure it's the AVR causing the problem.

Discussion of potential AVR replacements probably belongs in a different thread. There are quite a few choices.
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post #5436 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by AustinJerry View Post
That is indeed the question. As I reported earlier, I found neither an audible nor measurable difference between the two approaches, so my conclusion must be that either approach is acceptable. The only real difference is the output level of the calibration sweeps, so I suspect that both approaches are using levels within an acceptable range.
Yep. I probably have a psychological rather than a logical need to use the higher level sweeps. I take Matt's point fully on board - that once the signal is at an acceptable level, raising it higher serves no purpose. I guess it's just the way I am used to doing it.

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I assume there is a lower limit to an "acceptable" level for the sweeps, and if that threshold is reached, the software is smart enough to issue a warning. Similarly, if the sweep level is too high and is producing distortion in any of the drivers, I hope that the software will report an error.
I once had some sort of error that the signal was being clipped, but that's all. I just needed to move the slider down the merest hint from the setting it was at, which was just a teensy bit over the -12dB point. But that is a different thing - never seen any other error messages at all.

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To keep things as simple as possible, I recommend we adopt the "MiniDSP approach" as the recommended approach going forward. That's what I intend to do.
Just as I decided to use Jerry's Method, Jerry changes his method. LOL.
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post #5437 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

Just as I decided to use Jerry's Method, Jerry changes his method. LOL.
I did that just to keep you on your toes, Keith. Also, it avoids the need to rationalize to every new user why we are using an approach that differs from the in-line help screen.
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post #5438 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinJerry View Post
@KevinG : When you say "full system reset", does that mean both a microprocessor reset on the AVR as well as restoring the 88A to factory defaults? How have you isolated the fault to the AVR, and not the 88A? It should be relatively straight-forward to re-route the cables around the 88A to make absolutely sure it's the AVR causing the problem.

Discussion of potential AVR replacements probably belongs in a different thread. There are quite a few choices.
Wow. Very interesting. It didn't at all occur to me it could be the 88a. But, of course it should have. The rear surrounds, which weren't effected are *not* going through the 88a. If the situation was reversed and the rear surrounds were screwy, but the "side" surrounds were fine, would have pointed firmly at the AVR...but I have no evidence of that. Okay, now I know what I have to try tonight. It's interesting that if this really is the problem (the 88a) it is precisely aligned with (very specifically) the last 3 channels on the 88a. (My front heights are using the surround rear channels of the 88a).

Thanks for the suggestion! (I'm hoping you are right).

Now, as far as AVR suggestions. My issue asside. I'd be inclined to think that many of us, over time, will be looking for new AVR/pre-pros. Wouldn't a list of those that meets our minimum requirements be useful? I think paying for built in amps and room correction is mostly wasted money. That leads me to believe that AVRs which *don't* use licensed room correction (Audyssey) are probably better suited to our needs, no? Maybe it doesn't make a difference if the equivalent Yamaha or Onkyo costs the same as a Denon. I haven't taken a close enough look to see if that is the case.
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post #5439 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by AustinJerry View Post
I did that just to keep you on your toes, Keith. Also, it avoids the need to rationalize to every new user why we are using an approach that differs from the in-line help screen.
Yes, good point. Or it will spark a series of "but the inline help says..." type queries going forward ad infinitum. I have become convinced, following the discussion, that either method is as good as the other.
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post #5440 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinG View Post

Now, as far as AVR suggestions. My issue asside. I'd be inclined to think that many of us, over time, will be looking for new AVR/pre-pros. Wouldn't a list of those that meets our minimum requirements be useful? I think paying for built in amps and room correction is mostly wasted money. That leads me to believe that AVRs which *don't* use licensed room correction (Audyssey) are probably better suited to our needs, no? Maybe it doesn't make a difference if the equivalent Yamaha or Onkyo costs the same as a Denon. I haven't taken a close enough look to see if that is the case.
AVR choice is OT in this thread, but briefly, there are numerous good AVRs from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha etc. AVRs are usually cheaper than their prepro equivalents so the 'wasted money on amps' argument doesn't hold water really. It is true that one no longer needs onboard REQ, so choose the cheapest AVR that has the required number of preouts and ignore the onboard REQ that is offered. Other than that, ensure that any features you need are provided of course - eg streaming, networking, number of HDMI inputs, Atmos, DTS:X etc.
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post #5441 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:07 AM
 
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Well I'm officially in his thread. Just reordered a x4100 and an 88a

I'm sure it's not too different that the xmc-1 Dirac. But I'll be sure to post my impressions and questions once everything arrives and is hooked up
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post #5442 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:19 AM
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Well I'm officially in his thread. Just reordered a x4100 and an 88a

I'm sure it's not too different that the xmc-1 Dirac. But I'll be sure to post my impressions and questions once everything arrives and is hooked up
Atmos/DSU will make a difference though
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Atmos/DSU will make a difference though
Yes they will. Looking forward to getting it back in the systems

I was referring to setup though
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post #5444 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:24 AM
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Questions from a novice...Is it possible for Dirac to have an impact on impulse graph? For example say you have a -10db spike at 10ms. Is it possible for it to be tamed to -19db simply from electronic EQ? Forgive me if I'm that ignorant but wouldn't only organic EQ (absorption or diffusion) do this? I mean Dirac doesn't have impact on the physical path of sound waves right?
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post #5445 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:33 AM
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Yes they will. Looking forward to getting it back in the systems

I was referring to setup though
Ah so. IDK how similar the Dirac software for the XMC-1 is but I am sure you will find it pretty straightforward switching to the 88A.
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post #5446 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:36 AM
 
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Ah so. IDK how similar the Dirac software for the XMC-1 is but I am sure you will find it pretty straightforward switching to the 88A.
From looking at the 88a manual. They look identical.

Only difference is the drag and drop into files. I am VERY happy to be able to store 4 different filters!! Major downside of the xmc-1 was only storing 1
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post #5447 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jlpowell84 View Post
Questions from a novice...Is it possible for Dirac to have an impact on impulse graph? For example say you have a -10db spike at 10ms. Is it possible for it to be tamed to -19db simply from electronic EQ? Forgive me if I'm that ignorant but wouldn't only organic EQ (absorption or diffusion) do this? I mean Dirac doesn't have impact on the physical path of sound waves right?
Dirac does indeed correct in the time domain. This is one of its standout features when compared with lesser forms of electronic room correction.

See if this paper helps shed some light:

http://www.dirac.se/media/12044/on_room_correction.pdf
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post #5448 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:42 AM
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From looking at the 88a manual. They look identical.

Only difference is the drag and drop into files. I am VERY happy to be able to store 4 different filters!! Major downside of the xmc-1 was only storing 1
I'd forgotten that limitation in the XMC-1. Yes it is very useful to be able to compare different curves at the press of a button. And, of course, to be able to store different calibrations for different purposes - music/movie, one listener/multiple listeners, late night/daytime - whatever you need.
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post #5449 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 08:51 AM
 
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So without searching.

In the x4100

Set all distances at 0 (what about two ceiling speakers that won't be corrected by Dirac?)

Set all levels at 0.0

Set speakers to small
Xover at 80 (my preference)

With these two above it doesn't matter correct since the tones from he 88a are downstream from he avr anyhow.


Am I right in the above?
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post #5450 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
So without searching.

In the x4100

Set all distances at 0 (what about two ceiling speakers that won't be corrected by Dirac?)

Set all levels at 0.0

Set speakers to small
Xover at 80 (my preference)

With these two above it doesn't matter correct since the tones from he 88a are downstream from he avr anyhow.


Am I right in the above?
It doesn't matter what you do when you are running the calibration. The AVR (Denon) can even be off. The 88a is doing all of the noise-making. ;-)

One you are done, the AVR will be making the noise.
So, speaker distances (relative delays) should be set such that the 88a is seeing 0 delay, and all speakers not going through the 88a should have some distance assigned to them. The 88a will be adding enough delay (over and above the actual relative delays) to all of your other channels that you might find that you need to maximize your delay in the AVR for the channels that don't go through the 88a. (YMMV)

Set all levels to 0db (the 88a will do the right thing), but you probably want to tweak the channels that aren't going through the 88a (use a meter at the MLP).

Set the x-over to whatever is best. I've found through experience (REW) that the the best thing to do is run a sweep at every x-over available in the AVR, and pick the one that yields the best looking sweep near the x-over point. It has almost never matched with what I thought would be best...

Enjoy!

Last edited by KevinG; 07-27-2015 at 09:57 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #5451 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
So without searching.

In the x4100

Set all distances at 0 (what about two ceiling speakers that won't be corrected by Dirac?)
In the non-corrected channels you need to account for the physical distance + the latency of the 88A, which is about 16 ms according to miniDSP. I used my old Audyssey distance setting and added the 16 feet manually. If you aren't sure, do a quick one-position Audyssey cal to determine the distance Audyssey finds and use that, then add 16 feet.

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Set all levels at 0.0
Yes.

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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
Set speakers to small
Xover at 80 (my preference)
Yes.

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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
With these two above it doesn't matter correct since the tones from he 88a are downstream from the avr anyhow.
Not sure what you mean there, Brian. You have to set the crossover in the AVR (which of course requires speakers to be designated as small) so that bass management is in place ahead of the 88A.

Also, in the DLCT software, remember to use Custom configuration and to tick the box for subwoofer. Also double check that the subwoofer is reading -12dB (like the left front speaker). If it isn't (mine wasn't) use the sub gain/volume knob and adjust until it is. This last step is very important - fail to get the sub to -12dB and all the levels will be reduced accordingly.
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post #5452 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 09:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
In the non-corrected channels you need to account for the physical distance + the latency of the 88A, which is about 16 ms according to miniDSP. I used my old Audyssey distance setting and added the 16 feet manually. If you aren't sure, do a quick one-position Audyssey cal to determine the distance Audyssey finds and use that, then add 16 feet.



Yes.



Yes.



Not sure what you mean there, Brian. You have to set the crossover in the AVR (which of course requires speakers to be designated as small) so that bass management is in place ahead of the 88A.

Also, in the DLCT software, remember to use Custom configuration and to tick the box for subwoofer. Also double check that the subwoofer is reading -12dB (like the left front speaker). If it isn't (mine wasn't) use the sub gain/volume knob and adjust until it is. This last step is very important - fail to get the sub to -12dB and all the levels will be reduced accordingly.
What I mean is...

Avr to 88a to amps to speakers

If the tones for Dirac sweeps is sent from cpu directly into the 88a it in effect bypasses the avr. So when setting up the system it doesn't really matter if they are set to small and with a xover. Only when the source material is played through the avr will that part matter. Correct?
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post #5453 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Dirac does indeed correct in the time domain. This is one of its standout features when compared with lesser forms of electronic room correction.

See if this paper helps shed some light:

http://www.dirac.se/media/12044/on_room_correction.pdf
Impressive! This will be a fun read as I am very curious how this works on a very literal, scientific, physical level.
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post #5454 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
What I mean is...

Avr to 88a to amps to speakers

If the tones for Dirac sweeps is sent from cpu directly into the 88a it in effect bypasses the avr. So when setting up the system it doesn't really matter if they are set to small and with a xover. Only when the source material is played through the avr will that part matter. Correct?
Ah right - yes that is correct. The AVR can be switched off during the calibration if you wish as it plays no part. After the calibration, it is advised to switch the AVR on though <g>.

And, as KevinG says above, which I omitted to mention in my earlier reply, use your SPL meter to set the levels of the uncorrected channels so they are the same as the corrected channels (as well as setting the delays too).

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post #5455 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 09:54 AM
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Impressive! This will be a fun read as I am very curious how this works on a very literal, scientific, physical level.
I found it a well-written paper, explaining things in a way that most would be able to understand, but I had to read a lot of twice or even three times before I fully grasped everything. But this isn’t unusual for me with technical sh1t.
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post #5456 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
From looking at the 88a manual. They look identical.

Only difference is the drag and drop into files. I am VERY happy to be able to store 4 different filters!! Major downside of the xmc-1 was only storing 1
I've been comparing as well and be aware that the levels setup recently talked about here is quite different then how Emotiva explains how to do it in their manuals. I am thinking about trying the level method in the 88A's manual and Jerry's method recently outlined with the XMC. This differences could also explain why I am now getting better results with the Emotiva mic versus the UMIK-1 so if I try the 88A method (and Jerry's), I will use the UMIK-1 again.

Last edited by McLuvin; 07-27-2015 at 10:56 AM.
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post #5457 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
So without searching.

In the x4100

Set all distances at 0 (what about two ceiling speakers that won't be corrected by Dirac?)

Set all levels at 0.0

Set speakers to small
Xover at 80 (my preference)

With these two above it doesn't matter correct since the tones from he 88a are downstream from he avr anyhow.


Am I right in the above?

Welcome aboard, Brian.

You are correct WRT the settings in the AVR, which will go into effect after the calibration has completed. As you noted, since the 88A is downstream, the AVR doesn't even need to be powered on during the calibration.

Looking forward to your comparison of the 88A and the XMC-1. The Dirac Live results should be the same, of course. But bass management might be different.

Edit: A lot of duplicate information. I should have read forward before replying.
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post #5458 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Molon_Labe View Post
Question for the experts,

I decided to take the plunge on the dual core anti-mode to handle my two subs . Do I run these units independently or do they need to be integrated? If so, how?
What made you choose this unit over, say, the MiniDSP 2x4, which many of us here use? You can read my setup guide linked in my sig. There may be some useful information that can be applied to the anti-mode.

The anti-mode should be placed between the 88A and your subs.
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post #5459 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Molon_Labe View Post
Basshead81 was saying he was getting clipping with the MiniDSP 2x4 at higher output levels. That wasnt the primary reason, I also read a lot of reviews of how accurate the anti-mode was. So I would use a y splitter coming out of the 88a to the two inputs on the anti-mode?
I am unfamiliar with the anti-mode. On the MiniDSP, the single mono sub signal from the 88A goes to one input on the 2x4, which is routed internally to four configurable sub outputs. If the anti-mode needs two input signals, then a Y-cable might be the way to go. I suggest you ask in the anti-mode thread, because this is not an 88A question.
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post #5460 of 16634 Old 07-27-2015, 04:32 PM
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Thanks Jerry, I will ask the anti-mode devs via email. Why do you think this isn't an 88A question? Did I lose my secret decoder ring because I didnt go with the 2x4?
How to properly configure the anti-mode is not specifically a question regarding the 88A. There won't be anything different using the anti-mode with the 88A vs. using it from a typical AVR. Given that there is likely not very much expertise here specific to an anti-mode, I suggested the anti-mode thread might be a better place to get an answer. The same would go for a discussion of the 2x4. No offense meant.
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