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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to use this thread as way to summarize the bass management functionality found in processors in the $3K range.


How many analog-direct inputs do these units have? Can the processors listed here take analog DVDA/SACD signals, convert them to digital, perform Bass Management, and then back to the analog domain? Is the Anthem really in a league of its own in this regard?


Anthem - 6 channel, full bass management

Parasound C1/2 - ???

B&K Ref 50 - ???

Sunfire - ???

Rotel 1066 - ???

Rotel 1098 - TBD

Aragon - ???

Krell - ???


Lex, Meridian, etc - yes and then some!
 

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The Rotel 1066 has a marginal bass management via the analog inputs but a MOD can be performed by Rotel that removes the basic bass management and allows all speakers to be full range and this allows you to use a external bass management device (such as the Outlaw ICBM) to perform it for you. I just brought my 1066 to Rotel today to have the mod done and installed it tonite with my ICBM, so far it sounds great, back to tweaking :)


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Jim,


So we now stand with:


Anthem - 6 channel, full bass management

Parasound C1/2 - ???

B&K Ref 50 - ???

Sunfire - ???

Rotel 1066 - 6 channel, partial or direct pass

Rotel 1098 - TBD

Aragon - ???

Krell - ???
 

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One's I'm familiar with:

Krell (Showcase and HTS 7.1):

Direct Only on the 5.1 in.


Meridian:

568.2MM, no 5.1 analog input, multi-channel digital in from their DVD-A player has full bass management.

861: Has 5.1 input, digitized, and treated as a standard digital source.


Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rkoste


Can the processors listed here take analog DVDA/SACD signals, convert them to digital, perform Bass Management, and then back to the analog domain? Is the Anthem really in a league of its own in this regard?
Is this supposed to be a "good" feature? Lets review the bidding. Digital bitstream on the DVD-A disc. Pass through one set of six D/A converters for the trip along the RCA cables. Pass through a set of six A/D converters at the inputs. Go through the digital processing. Pass through another set of six D/A converters at the pre-pro outputs. Given that conversions from analog to digital and digital to analog is where "bad stuff" is most likely to occur in digital recording/playback, this just doesn't sound like something anybody would pay extra to do.


You guys are really beating a dead horse with DVD-A, I'm afraid. What you should be doing is pressuring the music industry to come up with a multi-channel format that can be transmitted as a raw digital bitstream to the receiver for digital processing, bass management, and output through ONE stage of D/A conversion. Oh wait....we already have that with Dolby Digital and DTS and DTS 96/24.


BTW, the RSP-1098 is straight analog bypass on the multi-channel inputs. Optionally, you can activate a "bass redirect feature". The main channels are still straight analog bypass, but a second copy of all these channels is split off and summed, then passed through an analog crossover to the subwoofer output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hwc,


Respectfully, yes I think this can be a very good thing. Especially if the processor is supported through upgrades over the next few years. I use small surrounds paired with 802MIII's. I was left with a very favorable impression after auditioning this functionality with the AVM20. If I upgrade my surrounds, I'll turn it off!


Cheers,

Russ
 

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BTW - The AVM20, in addition to having full bass management in the digital domain, has the option of running the 6-channel input (as well as other analog inputs) in direct/analog mode to bypass digital conversion and processing.


I definately agree that the industry needs to get it together with these formats and standardize on a digital interconnect, whether it's 1394 or something else. I also wish either DVD-A or SACD would die soon. I really don't care which, as long we're left with only one.
 

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hwc,


I used to think that an additional A/D was bad, but if done well, it is transparent and the added benefits of full bass management and time alignment are well worth gaining.


In an ideal world, we'd be transferring things digitally and DVD-A becomes JADS (Just Another Digital Source). While not cheap, the solutions utilizing digital interfaces show what the format is truly capable of.


Regards,
 

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John,


"I used to think that an additional A/D was bad, but if done well, it is transparent and the added benefits of full bass management and time alignment are well worth gaining."


Agreed. The MC-12 is like the Anthem in that you can either have an analog bypass or use A/Ds to perform processing on the 5.1 signal. I always use the A/Ds and in my system it sounds better this way with the benefits of time alignment and bass management applied.


Shawn
 

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No, DVD-A and SACD are 6 full range channels. Some use the sixth like a LFE but it isn't bandwidth limited.


That isn't the point though... try playing back Blue Man Group's 'Audio' DVD-A at high volume on a system with sat. speakers and no bass management.


Shawn
 

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Shawn is correct.


You have 6 channels usable any way the mixing engineer wants. It's all up to their choices.


Common practice is to utilize the 6th channel as a subwoofer channel, but there are non-standard implementations. An example would be Telarc, whose ".1 channel" includes full range information, which is designed to LPF / HPF pair with the HPF going to a "Height" channel, positioned directly above the listening position.


The bad part of this is you get into what I referred to as "Speaker Babylon" in the article I co-authored for Secrets in 2001.


While the ability to utilize channels in non-standard ways is possible, it just makes things much more difficult for the end user.


Regards,
 

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Quote:
Common practice is to utilize the 6th channel as a subwoofer channel, but there are non-standard implementations. An example would be Telarc, whose ".1 channel" includes full range information, which is designed to LPF / HPF pair with the HPF going to a "Height" channel, positioned directly above the listening position.
And Chesky has DVD-A 6.0 mixes that take the Center and LFE, and use them as additional L/R channels to be placed on the side walls, but between the main L/R and the rear L/R pair, also they suggest they be placed higher up.


Their "Swing Live" and Ultimate Test DVD have 6.0 mixes, in addition to 4.0 mixes. Don't have the rig to try it, nor will I likely reconfigure my system anytime soon, but it is interesting.


BGL
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Kotches


In an ideal world, we'd be transferring things digitally and DVD-A becomes JADS (Just Another Digital Source). While not cheap, the solutions utilizing digital interfaces show what the format is truly capable of.
Actually, my view of an ideal world is one in which ALL music, TV, and movie source material is mixed for discrete 5.0 or 5.1 channel playback and available no matter how you get it into your home: satellite, broadband cable, or a shiny 5-inch digital disc. To me, it is patently absurd that the music industry has steadfastly remained stuck in the last century with 2-channel mixes, especially when I can turn on my TV and get 5.1 channel discrete surround sound. The record companies ought to be embarrassed that I can get better sound from HBO than I can from any CD in their bins.


In my ideal world, there are two over-riding requirements for a record/playback format. First, it has to be capable being delivered over existing, standardized bandwidths such as Toslink, broadband cable, satelitte transimissions, etc. With the bandwidth demands of HDTV video, the broadcast industry is NOT going to be eager to allocate more audio bandwidth. Second, the format must be totally scalable for playback on ANY kind of system at the decoding stage - audiophile systems, HTIB systems, TV speakers, boom boxes, etc. This is absolutely critical because it is the ONLY way to escape the trap of least-common-denominator mixes that make pop CDs sound so horrible.


We have exacty this format today and it is the standard format for DVDs and HDTV -- Dolby Digital. In my opinion, it would be far better for the audio community to jump on this bandwagon because that is the fastest way to see those bins of old-fashioned 2-channel pop mixes replaced by wide dynamic range 5.1 channel mixes.


Conceptually, digital compression algorithms aren't much more difficult to accept than the compromises inherent in sending a signal back and forth through analog/digital conversions like ping pong ball. If Dolby needs to introduce a third tier, higher bitrate flavor of their encode/decode system to make everyone happy, then so be it. Look at it this way: if the Norah Jones album were available on a hybrid Dolby Digital 2.0/Dolby Digtial 5.1 disc, I bet it would have sold a heck of lot more than 300,000 copies last year. The music companies are tacking it on the chin and a big part of that is that the American consumer is spending money on DVDs, not CDs. I do not think that swimming upstream with DVD-A or SACD are their salvation.


It's not that I am against DVD-A in the abstract. It's that I feel it the effort to introduce a format that really doesn't work with the systems in the marketplace is becoming an obstacle to achieving the real goal. Quite honestly, the benefits of high dynamic range discrete 5.1 channel mixes for the vast majority of "pop" music far outweigh the disadvantages of digital compression. If holding out for high bit rate PCM means that I have to wait longer for the benefits of dynamic range and discrete 5.1 channel sound everytime I turn on my audio system, then I have a problem with that. Aside from that, perceptual coding digital compression is a fact of life and something that we better get used to because every single thing that comes into our houses from a satellite dish, broadband cable, or Internet connection is going to be using it.
 

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"It's not that I am against DVD-A in the abstract. It's that I feel it the effort to introduce a format that really doesn't work with the systems in the marketplace"


Sure it does, just not to its full potential. I think all DVD-A discs out there have DD or PCM tracks (sometimes DTS) as well that can be played on any DVD player.


"If Dolby needs to introduce a third tier, higher bitrate flavor of their encode/decode system to make everyone happy, then so be it. "


Could it not be said that this is exactly what MLP is?


Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So is it fair to say that among the processors originally list, the Anthem is the only one capable of applying bass management to the analog inputs? I was hoping the the C2 or Ref 50 had this capability as well :eek:


Now the the new topic at hand...


hwc,


I feel the same way, one standard would be very nice, even if it were DD for the short-term. My first introduction to multi-channel audio was the first DTS, CD sampler. I was blown away. I am very excited to experience my collection in DPLII.


I wonder, however, how much a multi-channel/high resolution industry standard would help our cause. Most of the recording industry is reeling now financially. To make a big investment like this without proven demand (mainstream pop) may be a bit of a leap for them right now.


Cheers,

Russ
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rkoste
I wonder, however, how much a multi-channel/high resolution industry standard would help our cause. Most of the recording industry is reeling now financially. To make a big investment like this without proven demand (mainstream pop) may be a bit of a leap for them right now.
Well, they better do something. Here are two sobering facts for the music industry:


a) The mass-market retailers in the United States no longer sell single-play home audio CD players. The market has gone entirely to DVD players.


b) TV networks are now delivering very high-quality Dolby Digital 5.1 audio to households across America.


Other than backwards compatibility with car stereos, Discman players, and boom boxes, why would anyone buy a CD? How long can the music industry survive if they continue to deliver a product that is sonically inferior to what is being delivered by network TV?


The record companies better get off the snide with their product or they will become obsolete. Blockbuster Video has figured it out. They are well on their way to dumping VHS and going exclusively DVD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Other than backwards compatibility with car stereos, Discman players, and boom boxes, why would anyone buy a CD?
Unfortunately, this is a huge chunk of the market. I think they are scared to plunge into DVD when, for all they know, the preferred medium for pop will be MP3 or a similar format. It's rumored that Apple is looking at Vivendi's music arm... Can you say online music storefront tied directly to an iPod or even cell phone?


Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side. I just don't think we represent the masses. Too many college students used to free music these days. I guess it could be argued that moving to DVD/DVDA would make it much harder to rip an entire disk...


Cheers,

Russ
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rkoste
Unfortunately, this is a huge chunk of the market. I think they are scared to plunge into DVD when, for all they know, the preferred medium for pop will be MP3 or a similar format.
MP3 will be around as a home recording technology for sure. But as far as a commerical standard, that ship has already sailed. MP3 could have been the audio standard for TV broadcasting, but the selection of Dolby Digital for both TV broadcasting and DVDs pretty much sets a pretty solid standard. IMO, the reason that Dolby Digital was picked was because of it's playback "scalability" -- the downmix and dynamic range compensation features in the decoders that allow high quality Dolby Digital audio to be played on any kind of system, from a high-end system to a boombox to a pair of built-in TV speakers.


If the record companies were smart, they would stream free lo-rez MP3s on their websites and sell high-quality 5.1 channel Dolby Digital versions in the stores. But, despite peddling the most godawful dreck, they somehow cling to the notion that people will actually buy their product without hearing it first. I don't know about you, but I don't just browse the CD racks picking artists at random. I tend to buy stuff that I've actually heard and actually liked. I mean...can you imagine buying a CD sight unseen, bringing it home, and finding out that it's RAP!
 

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I may be in the minority on "this" forum, but I will never pay $$$ for audio discs that implement a lossy compression format. No matter how many channels, or how good the compression, it's still not worth it to me. MLP is a different story, of course. For video DVD's it's different, because obviously the video needs to fit on the disc and I (and no one I know) ever does critical listening of a DVD.


I have no problem with audio being broadcast using Dolby or some other compressed multi-channel format. However, MP3's are horrible in my opinion. Yes, on 'some' material it's very hard to distinguish the difference if the bitrate is high enough and compression settings were set properly, but on the large majority of recordings, I can hear and point out to you the compression artifacts that MP3's leave behind. Dolby is a much better medium, but I'll still never buy music discs that use it.


Although I admit I've heard some pretty cool multi-channel SACDs, I'm actually pretty happy with good stereo recordings.
 
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