**miniDSP DDRC-88A Official Thread**8-channel AI/AO Dirac Live in a box - Page 297 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #8881 of 16635 Old 12-27-2015, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
I would say that a smart 10 year old would have little trouble installing and running Dirac Live.

At its simplest, all you have to do is connect the 88A between your preamp and power amps (balanced or unbalanced as you prefer) and connect the mic to one USB port on your laptop and the 88A to another USB port, then run the software taking 9 measurements around the listening area. Once that is done, you click Optimise, save the result and then load it to a spare slot on the 88A. If you are happy with the Auto Target Curve result, you are done. Takes half an hour.

There is no need to explore the advanced user features of custom target curve design unless you want to.

If I were you, I'd download the user manual from miniDSP and read it through. It is one of the best user manuals in the business and explains each step in detail.

Of course, if you encounter any problems, that is what this thread is for!

The suggestion regarding the manual was good and I read it. The problems encountered by Markus, Jerry, and others, who are more expert than I, are well documented in this thread and occurred at stages from activation, to calibration, to measurement. Maybe they identified enough problems to MiniDSP that the updated firmware/software corrects for these issues.


My neighborhood smart 10 year old didn't know the answer to the following question: Both my Vandersteen 5A and Velodyne DD-18 have internal EQ that was set when they were installed. Do I leave these settings as is and run the Dirac Live program?
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post #8882 of 16635 Old 12-27-2015, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Can you try reinstalling those two channels onto different inputs/outputs on the 88A and see if they disappear/swap places?
Thanks. That was my first thought, but was wondering if anyone else had experienced this problem. Will try out a swap and report back.
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post #8883 of 16635 Old 12-27-2015, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
The suggestion regarding the manual was good and I read it. The problems encountered by Markus, Jerry, and others, who are more expert than I, are well documented in this thread and occurred at stages from activation, to calibration, to measurement. Maybe they identified enough problems to MiniDSP that the updated firmware/software corrects for these issues.


My neighborhood smart 10 year old didn't know the answer to the following question: Both my Vandersteen 5A and Velodyne DD-18 have internal EQ that was set when they were installed. Do I leave these settings as is and run the Dirac Live program?
The DDRC-88A has four internal memory slots for you to try different configurations. Suggest the following:

(1) Slot 1 with both the Vandersteen 5A and Velodyne DD-18 EQ = OFF
(2) Slot 2 with both the Vandersteen 5A and Velodyne DD-18 EQ = ON

You can then do some listening tests to see which one is preferable. It is trivial to switch between Slot 1 and Slot 2 on the DDRC-88A. It takes more effort to get up and switch OFF the EQ on the Vandersteen 5A and Velodyne DD-18.

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Last edited by steveting99; 12-27-2015 at 05:21 PM. Reason: typo
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post #8884 of 16635 Old 12-27-2015, 05:57 PM
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Thanks Steve. You're right about turning the EQ off on the Vandersteen 5A and the Velodyne DD-18. The 5A has individual potentiometers at each frequency band which must be set to zero and the DD-18 has a video menu routine where you have to reset "virtual" potentiometers to 0dB to cancel EQ.


I will talk to the guys at the AV Science store and take the 88A plunge.
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post #8885 of 16635 Old 12-27-2015, 11:21 PM
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I apologize if this question has already been answered but can anyone confirm that the adapter below will fit into the 88A Phoenix connector?


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Connector.html#!


I assume I will have to remove the adapter's Phoenix connector and screw the bare wire ends to the 88A Phoenix connector.
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post #8886 of 16635 Old 12-27-2015, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
I apologize if this question has already been answered but can anyone confirm that the adapter below will fit into the 88A Phoenix connector?


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Connector.html#!


I assume I will have to remove the adapter's Phoenix connector and screw the bare wire ends to the 88A Phoenix connector.
Mike,

Those HOSA phoenix connector wont work. Jerry has given step by step instructions on how to build balanced cables for connection to the phoenix block
in post number 729.

If you're not a handyman, perhaps have a friend/buddy put them together for you?

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post #8887 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
The suggestion regarding the manual was good and I read it. The problems encountered by Markus, Jerry, and others, who are more expert than I, are well documented in this thread and occurred at stages from activation, to calibration, to measurement. Maybe they identified enough problems to MiniDSP that the updated firmware/software corrects for these issues.
miniDSP are very customer-focused and they have listened to all of the many suggestions made by the early adopters and included as many as possible in the product, manual and inline Help. I have never before encountered a company so willing to take on board the experiences and views of their user base.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
My neighborhood smart 10 year old didn't know the answer to the following question: Both my Vandersteen 5A and Velodyne DD-18 have internal EQ that was set when they were installed. Do I leave these settings as is and run the Dirac Live program?
I would disable the EQ on the subs themselves. It is unlikely to be as effective as Dirac Live. And there is no point in running two different sets of EQ randomly together. Of course, if you believe that the inbuilt sub EQ is going to do a better job for you than Dirac Live, then you can always run Dirac on the frequencies above those at which the subs' own EQ applies - this is one of the benefits of Dirac Live: it allows you the flexibility to determine the cut-off points of any EQ you apply. IMO though, I would simply disable the EQ in the subs and let Dirac Live handle my bass EQ.
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post #8888 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MDRbone View Post
Thanks. That was my first thought, but was wondering if anyone else had experienced this problem. Will try out a swap and report back.
Nobody else has reported a similar issue in this thread so we need to follow a logical troubleshooting procedure, the first objective of which is to try to determine if the problem lies with the 88A or with the upstream equipment. Once that has been done, we can then eliminate any possibility of problems in the downstream equipment in a similar way. That will then tell us definitely whether the 88A is the culprit. If it is, then we can maybe determine some additional tests which might give us an idea of what is happening.
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post #8889 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Nobody else has reported a similar issue in this thread
While no one has reported this exact issue, there have been reports of issues with random weirdness coming from random channels. In my case it was sort of a "phazey" sound from my side surrounds. Anyway, I followed the advice at the time, which was to reset the unit completely. It solved my issue, and it has not returned.
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post #8890 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinG View Post
While no one has reported this exact issue, there have been reports of issues with random weirdness coming from random channels. In my case it was sort of a "phazey" sound from my side surrounds. Anyway, I followed the advice at the time, which was to reset the unit completely. It solved my issue, and it has not returned.
Yes, MDRbone might wish to reset his unit as well.

@MDRbone - close DLCT if it is running and open the 88A config tool. Select 'reset to default/factory' to reset your 88A. Then reload your project file(s) and see if the issue has resolved itself. This will be easier than the other troubleshooting steps I mentioned, so I ought to have suggested it first really, as it only takes a minute.

Thanks @KevinG for suggesting it.
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post #8891 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post
If the front light is OFF and the switch mode power adapter is switched ON (i.e. showing a green light) most likely the internal fuse needs replacing. Specs for the fuse is 1Amp 250v 20mm x 5mm Slow Blow. Advised by MaDBeN in post number 6,910.
Steve - I have two different power adaptors, one with each of my two 88A units, and only one of them has a green LED to indicate it is powered. It seems that miniDSP don't use just one type of PSU so you may care to edit this section of the first page 'how to' post.
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post #8892 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
I apologize if this question has already been answered but can anyone confirm that the adapter below will fit into the 88A Phoenix connector?


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Connector.html#!


I assume I will have to remove the adapter's Phoenix connector and screw the bare wire ends to the 88A Phoenix connector.
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post
Mike,

Those HOSA phoenix connector wont work. Jerry has given step by step instructions on how to build balanced cables for connection to the phoenix block
in post number 729.

If you're not a handyman, perhaps have a friend/buddy put them together for you?

Actually they will work. The problem is they are very short, only 6 inches long. Your going to have to attach another XLR cable to each channel to make the final connections because of the short length and that is an extra unnecessary connection plus adding a lot of weight to the cables.


A better solution is to order two pair of these depending on what length you might need. Remember, your going to cut each pair in half so a 10 foot length becomes a 5 foot pair etc.. Any how, it will give you a set of cables for under $12 - $16 plus shipping.


http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=8764
http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=8765
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post #8893 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post
Mike,

Those HOSA phoenix connector wont work. Jerry has given step by step instructions on how to build balanced cables for connection to the phoenix block
in post number 729.

If you're not a handyman, perhaps have a friend/buddy put them together for you?

Steve:


I read earlier posts indicating there is a mechanical mismatch between the Hosa Phoenix connector and the 88A Phoenix connector. But I was just wondering if anyone had removed the Hosa Phoenix connector such that the cable's bare wire was exposed then simply connected the bare wire to the Phoenix termination on the 88A? After thinking about it, I do believe cutting 6 foot lengths of balanced cable works better in my situation (allows the weight of the output XLR terminations to be strain relieved before the 88A Phoenix block). So its off to Monoprice for 8 cables.
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post #8894 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
Steve:


I read earlier posts indicating there is a mechanical mismatch between the Hosa Phoenix connector and the 88A Phoenix connector. But I was just wondering if anyone had removed the Hosa Phoenix connector such that the cable's bare wire was exposed then simply connected the bare wire to the Phoenix termination on the 88A? After thinking about it, I do believe cutting 6 foot lengths of balanced cable works better in my situation (allows the weight of the output XLR terminations to be strain relieved before the 88A Phoenix block). So its off to Monoprice for 8 cables.
I'm not Steve but, the correct match is available from Hosa as there are two types of Phoenix connector blocks available from Hosa. You can see them here: http://hosatech.com/product-category...tage-adaptors/

You can match up the correct unit with the illustration/picture in the 88A manual. I've made a post somewhere in this thread with the correct Hosa Part number but I'm too lazy to look for it. And yes you can remove the Phoenix block from the Hosa adapter and reconnect to the 88A Phoenix. But again, it's a very short connection, requires a redundant XLR connection and adds unnecessary weight.

It's not a difficult job to cut and screw the cable/Phoenix block together. The Phoenix connection is a little strange for home audio use but is very common in industrial audio and data connections and of course pro audio.

There are many other sources of supply available, but is's hard to beat Monoprice for cost and quality. Monoprice has a 8 channel unit that's color coded but its only the male XLR side: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=601297 Just cut off the TSR side and screw to the Phoenix block.

Last edited by b curry; 12-28-2015 at 08:01 AM.
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post #8895 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post
I'm not Steve but, the correct match is available from Hosa as there are two types of Phoenix connector blocks available from Hosa. You can see them here: http://hosatech.com/product-category...tage-adaptors/

You can match up the correct unit with the illustration/picture in the 88A manual. I've made a post somewhere in this thread with the correct Hosa Part number but I'm too lazy to look for it. And yes you can remove the Phoenix block from the Hosa adapter and reconnect to the 88A Phoenix. But again, it's a very short connection, requires a redundant XLR connection and adds unnecessary weight.

It's not a difficult job to cut and screw the cable/Phoenix block together. The Phoenix connection is a little strange for home audio use but is very common in industrial audio and data connections and of course pro audio.

There are many other sources of supply available, but is's hard to beat Monoprice for cost and quality. Monoprice has a 8 channel unit that's color coded but its only the male XLR side: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=601297 Just cut off the TSR side and screw to the Phoenix block.

Thanks for the informative answer. I agree that simply buying 8 6-foot XLR cables and cutting them in half will keep the weight off the 88A Phoenix connector terminal. I've seen a set of 8 color coded XLR cables on amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Seismic-Audio-...red+xlr+cables) and that would eliminate the need for separate cable markers but I'm not sure the quality of the cables are as good as what I'd get at Monoprice.
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post #8896 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeTz View Post
Thanks for the informative answer. I agree that simply buying 8 6-foot XLR cables and cutting them in half will keep the weight off the 88A Phoenix connector terminal. I've seen a set of 8 color coded XLR cables on amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Seismic-Audio-...red+xlr+cables) and that would eliminate the need for separate cable markers but I'm not sure the quality of the cables are as good as what I'd get at Monoprice.

Pick your poison and pay your price. I seriously doubt there is much difference if any. They're both made in China and it's shielded copper wire, there's not much to go wrong. A 6 foot XLR cable is overkill anyhow. The only valid argument for XLR is noise over long runs or it's the only possible connection available or the possibility of kicking the cable loose. The rest is feel good IMHO. Single ended RCA is fine in this application. Either way it's going to work just fine.


Edit: The other thing you can do is buy some color coded rings and add them for the XLR's.
http://www.parts-express.com/neutrik...m_campaign=pla

And here's an 8 channel unit for $60.
http://www.seismicaudiospeakers.com/...scription-text

Last edited by b curry; 12-28-2015 at 10:38 AM.
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post #8897 of 16635 Old 12-28-2015, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Yes, MDRbone might wish to reset his unit as well.

@MDRbone - close DLCT if it is running and open the 88A config tool. Select 'reset to default/factory' to reset your 88A. Then reload your project file(s) and see if the issue has resolved itself. This will be easier than the other troubleshooting steps I mentioned, so I ought to have suggested it first really, as it only takes a minute.

Thanks @KevinG for suggesting it.
Appreciate the input. I will try a system reset first.
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post #8898 of 16635 Old 12-29-2015, 04:28 AM
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post #8899 of 16635 Old 12-29-2015, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Steve - I have two different power adaptors, one with each of my two 88A units, and only one of them has a green LED to indicate it is powered. It seems that miniDSP don't use just one type of PSU so you may care to edit this section of the first page 'how to' post.
Thanks for letting us know. Will up-date the 1st page of the thread accordingly.
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post #8900 of 16635 Old 12-29-2015, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post
Actually they will work. The problem is they are very short, only 6 inches long. Your going to have to attach another XLR cable to each channel to make the final connections because of the short length and that is an extra unnecessary connection plus adding a lot of weight to the cables...
b curry,

Did you try out the HOSA XLR to phoenix block connector on the DDRC-88A and confirm it will work?

Understand the weight issue on the XLR putting a strain on connector block and main reason for avoiding it in the 1st place.

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Is anyone else still having problems with the random static pops? I have contacted MiniDSP, and their response was to try it with the unit turned off...which I have and it still happens. I am leaning toward it being the phoenix connector connections, but i don't know for sure. If this doesn't get solved soon...I might just sell the DDRC-88a.
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post #8902 of 16635 Old 12-29-2015, 06:14 PM
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Is anyone else still having problems with the random static pops? I have contacted MiniDSP, and their response was to try it with the unit turned off...which I have and it still happens. I am leaning toward it being the phoenix connector connections, but i don't know for sure. If this doesn't get solved soon...I might just sell the DDRC-88a.
As I reported some time ago, I had random static pops which went away after I meticulously inspected and tightened all of the bare wire connections into the Phoenix blocks. If you are really enjoying the 88A otherwise, selling it seems like a pretty drastic action. If you have already done the wiring inspection, perhaps you would consider switching to unbalanced connections to see if it addresses the static pops? Cables are relatively inexpensive, and there should be no audio difference between balanced and unbalanced connections.

Any reason you wouldn't consider this as an alternative to selling the unit?
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post #8903 of 16635 Old 12-29-2015, 06:31 PM
 
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As I reported some time ago, I had random static pops which went away after I meticulously inspected and tightened all of the bare wire connections into the Phoenix blocks. If you are really enjoying the 88A otherwise, selling it seems like a pretty drastic action. If you have already done the wiring inspection, perhaps you would consider switching to unbalanced connections to see if it addresses the static pops? Cables are relatively inexpensive, and there should be no audio difference between balanced and unbalanced connections.

Any reason you wouldn't consider this as an alternative to selling the unit?
Thanks, but I have already double checked the connections on the Phoenix blocks, and they are all nice and tight. I am running unbalanced for my LCR (pops are on those channels too), with the rest of my runs all being balanced. All of my equipment is balanced except for the front 3 channels which are balanced from my AVP then go unbalanced to the Dirac, and then back to balanced to the crossover, and power amp. I don't like having to go back, and forth from balanced and unbalanced, and if this problem can't be solved, I might very well sell it until I find another product that is more behaved in my setup. I really wish that this would work better in my setup.

Their fix did a substantial reduction in the severity of the pops, but they are still very noticeable. Not really a sound I want to hear when I have friends over to watch a movie...like why is it doing that? $1k for a device that does an excellent job on tuning the room, but exhibits nasty static pops is not good. I am hoping they can get this fixed so I don't have to rewire my whole setup again. I also am questioning as to whether their DACs are as good as my DACs in my AVP, and BR (why have good DACs if farther down the stream their is another DAC that is not as good).

Well that is my rant for the day...maybe they can solve this problem, and I will be happy again.
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post #8904 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
Thanks, but I have already double checked the connections on the Phoenix blocks, and they are all nice and tight. I am running unbalanced for my LCR (pops are on those channels too), with the rest of my runs all being balanced. All of my equipment is balanced except for the front 3 channels which are balanced from my AVP then go unbalanced to the Dirac, and then back to balanced to the crossover, and power amp.
If it was me, and unless I had a compelling reason to use this mish-mash of balanced/unbalanced connections (eg some of my gear had only balanced for me to use) I would switch to an all unbalanced wiring pattern, even if only for test purposes in trying to trace the source of this 'static popping'. There is no sonic difference between balanced and unbalanced connections (assuming you are not also picking up RFI etc, which I assume you aren't or you would have mentioned it). So I am with Jerry here - switch to an all unbalanced connection pattern and see if that resolves the issue. If not, at least you have made some progress in troubleshooting.

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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
I don't like having to go back, and forth from balanced and unbalanced, and if this problem can't be solved, I might very well sell it until I find another product that is more behaved in my setup. I really wish that this would work better in my setup.
Selling the 88A is just an admission of defeat. That is all very good, but only after all troubleshooting has been performed, which it currently has not. And if, after all troubleshooting, the problem remains, then I still wouldn’t sell the 88A but would instead return it under warranty for replacement, as -- if all troubleshooting has failed to find the cause of the problem -- then it points to a faulty unit.

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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
Their fix did a substantial reduction in the severity of the pops, but they are still very noticeable. Not really a sound I want to hear when I have friends over to watch a movie...like why is it doing that? $1k for a device that does an excellent job on tuning the room, but exhibits nasty static pops is not good.
I agree. It would drive me mad. Which is why I would do all available troubleshooting in an effort to eliminate it, before I gave up.

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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
I am hoping they can get this fixed so I don't have to rewire my whole setup again.
That is an assumption that the problem lies with Dirac's software or miniDSP's firmware or hardware, which is by no means certain. I think it is up to you, first, to eliminate any possible causes of problems, such as the bizarre connection method you are employing. If you have absolutely no choice but to use that mish-mash of balanced/unbalanced connections, then maybe you will have to sell the 88A. HST, good luck with selling a unit that has 'static pops'.

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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
I also am questioning as to whether their DACs are as good as my DACs in my AVP, and BR (why have good DACs if farther down the stream their is another DAC that is not as good)
Modern DACs are $10 commodities. They long ago surpassed human hearing in their ability to offer transparency so I wouldn't even give a moment's consideration to any alleged audible differences between DAC A and DAC B. It's audiofoolery. Even if that were not so, the audible differences between one DAC and another vanish into triviality when compared with the audible difference between a room EQd with Dirac Live and a room not EQd with Dirac Live, so the whole issue of DACs is irrelevant anyway. It makes no sense to worry about (alleged) minuscule audible differences in electronics while ignoring the proven, and enormous, audible differences which good room EQ makes.

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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
Well that is my rant for the day...maybe they can solve this problem, and I will be happy again.
Again, you are assuming that it is a problem "they" have. I suspect it is a problem you have. But we won't be able to confirm that, or dismiss it, until you perform all the troubleshooting steps which are available to you.
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Last edited by kbarnes701; 12-30-2015 at 02:26 AM.
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post #8905 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 06:07 AM
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For those that have called me asking about pricing on the 88A, I have it now.
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post #8906 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Again, you are assuming that it is a problem "they" have. I suspect it is a problem you have. But we won't be able to confirm that, or dismiss it, until you perform all the troubleshooting steps which are available to you.

I am all unbalanced and get static pops from time to time. There is a problem that "they" have. It just manifests itself more consistently in his system, which may be exacerbated by his wiring scheme.
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post #8907 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 07:40 AM
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What is the "cleanest" way to get Dirac?

Two options (for me at this time):

1. Add the 88A to my Marantz 8801 (not pursuing Atmos at this time)

2. Buy the Emotiva XMC-1

Thoughts?
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post #8908 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 08:00 AM
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Cleanest way would be XMC-1 or a home theater PC. The audio that Dirac works on remains digital and is converted to analog after all processing.

The 88A is still a good choice and allows you to be AVR/pre-pro agnostic.
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post #8909 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 09:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jpco View Post
I am all unbalanced and get static pops from time to time. There is a problem that "they" have. It just manifests itself more consistently in his system, which may be exacerbated by his wiring scheme.
Correct, mine is very random... I can go days without a single pop, and then I will get one, so it is not easy to trouble shoot unless I rewire it for days at a time or completely remove it, and see if it returns. I also need to remove it from the rack to change all the jumpers if I switch it from balanced to unbalanced.
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post #8910 of 16635 Old 12-30-2015, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
I also need to remove it from the rack to change all the jumpers if I switch it from balanced to unbalanced.
I haven't been following this thread much over the past 8 months. Random drop-ins. But this stood out as odd to me.

For unbalanced you usually want 2v in/out via RCA. For balanced you usually want 8v in/out via phoenix connectors. (same jumper settings)

I'm curious how you have it set and why jumpers would need to be changed. Might be contributing to your issue.
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