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I finally joined the 21st century :eek: and streamed Netflix with Dolby Digital Plus (data rate up to 6144 kbit/s versus DD 640 kbit/s), and here's my report for using with Theta Casablanca. First, the reason why I am so behind the time: my ancient Oppo 93 while good for Blu-ray, does not stream Netflix in surround, only 2 channels, and I do not know of a way to upgrade this. Adding a cheap Sony BD player fixed the problem: The Killing IMDB Link HERE, Netflix's outstanding murder mystery series, now streams in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (or is it 7.1) to Casablanca.

1. I was taken aback by the significant improvement in sound quality of DD Plus over DD. Center voice is noticeably more "delineated" in space and more detailed. Although it is lossy format, I would say the quality of DD Plus is almost closer to lossless Dolby TrueHD, than to lossy DD.
2. In my system, I have to use HDMI between BD player and Casablanca to get DD Plus. Coax s/pdif connection only gives DD, no Plus.
3. Because I do not know how Netflix streams The Killing (whether 5.1 or 7.1), when played with 7.1 setup, there is no way to tell in the Casablanca whether it is *NATIVE* DD Plus 7.1, or DD Plus 5.1 *UPMIXED* to 7.1.

Number 3 is the reason why I think next gen Casablanca needs to have a revised menu that allows user to know (and to choose) whether Native or Upmixed is being played. Right now in some rare occasions, we are flying blind and I have not figured out a way to tell.
My Theta Compli Blu 3D Universal player streams Netflix, but only stereo PCM - but it does stream VuDu in full Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (I have 5.1 channels in my system). My Amazon Fire HD streams Netflix in full Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 but only does VuDu in stereo PCM. Go figure!

My understanding, even with your "obselete" CB3HD (HA!), is that if you set the CB source input to either the dolby or dts mode to synthesize multi-channel from stereo, that if you receive only stereo over Netflix, etc, that the programmed mode with show up - but if you receive multi-channel Dolby Digital Plus then "Dolby Digital Plus" will show up on the front of the CB! At least that's how I understand it.

Lately I have been impressed both visually and sonically with VuDu - video and audio to me sound very close to playing the blu ray! So much so that I am now renting via VuDu most of the new and later movies I want to watch. And Netflix is pretty good, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #22 (Edited)
My understanding, even with your "obselete" CB3HD (HA!), is that if you set the CB source input to either the dolby or dts mode to synthesize multi-channel from stereo, that if you receive only stereo over Netflix, etc, that the programmed mode with show up - but if you receive multi-channel Dolby Digital Plus then "Dolby Digital Plus" will show up on the front of the CB! At least that's how I understand it..
Steve, you are absolutely spot on. Here is the summary of Casablanca III HD's (and IV) behavior that's consistent with your observation:

Netflix streaming--------Theta Mode Setting----------Theta Display

1. Stereo LPCM-------------Stereo-------------------Stereo
2. Stereo LPCM-------------7.1 PL2MV--------------PLIIx Movie (PL2MV)
3. Dolby Digital-------------7.1 PL2MV--------------Dolby Digital + PL2MV
4. DD Plus 5.1---------------5.1-----------------------DD Plus
5. DD Plus 5.1---------------7.1 PL2MV--------------DD Plus

Blu-ray Lossless--------Theta Mode Setting----------Theta Display

6. Dolby TrueHD 5.1--------5.1-----------------------Dolby TrueHD
7. Dolby TrueHD 5.1--------7.1 PL2MV--------------Dolby TrueHD

With 1, 2, and 3, the upmixed mode is displayed (PLIIx Movie) when you use it.
With 4, 5, 6, and 7 the upmixed mode is NOT displayed.
This used to drive me bonkers until I finally "decode" the key to understanding Cacablanca's behavior:

1, 2, and 3 belong to older CB III with older codecs, where the display tells you the upmixed mode. Another example of this type of helpful display: "Dolby Digital + PL2MV" tells you the signal received is Dolby Digital, and that it is being upmixed using PLIIx Movie.

I believed 4, 5, 6, and 7 arrived with the introduction of CB III HD (and CB IV HD): whoever wrote the display program decided NOT to display the upmixed mode :eek: (no kidding). You cannot tell whether the Casablanca is upmixing. The display will only show the same "Dolby TrueHD" for example, whether it's upmixed or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
Certificate of Authenticity :) for good sound in streaming mode by Netflix. BTW the display is from the well-reviewed and highly recommended show Narcos. Note that older Netflix shows such as Arrested Development may ALSO display "Dolby Digital Plus" as a choice, but it is not (Casablanca doesn't acknowledge Arrested Development as DD Plus even when I chose it, and I think what you get is just Stereo.).

The data rate is a disappointingly paltry 192 kbps for DD Plus, and 384 kbps for DD Plus Atmos (about same as DVD, and IIRC about 1/10 of max data rate of DD Plus, where sound apparently is indistinguishable from lossless source), but beggars can't be choosers. As long as you don't make A:B comparison with the gold standard, Dolby TrueHD and DTS MA of Blu-ray disc, DD Plus streaming sound is pretty good and IMHO entirely acceptable in a high end system.

I understand Netflix the content provider has to hold down the rate so that they don't p.o. internet service providers such as Cox, so unfortunately I don't believe this rate is going to change soon - regardless of how fast your cable modem is. The question is will next generation Dolby streaming standard (AC4) sound better than DD Plus (E-AC3), the way that DD Plus sounds better and is more efficient than DD (AC3). (Any pro lurking please correct any info as needed.)


 

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Discussion Starter #24
Reporting an interesting finding - pending further investigation, and maybe specific to my system with CBIII HD. I've gone over the procedure a few times now to make sure I've done the calibration correctly, and the results have been consistent. If you've noticed differently in your Theta please correct me as needed.

To calibrate speaker levels I've used the Casablanca's internal noise generator so far, but recently tried the AIX Records Audio Calibration Blu-ray Disc. What I've noticed is that specifically with the LFE channel, using the AIX disc leads to a much higher (louder) bass setting. And the difference is not small, several dB's we are talking about.

To my ears, the Theta internal noise generator is quite obviously more "correct" than the AIX disc. I sort of consider myself a bass addict :), but too much bass from AIX calibration causes front soundstage clarity to suffer significantly, and this of course is where the money is.
 

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Casablanca III non HD and Oppo Question Setup

Hello,
I recently purchased a Casablanca III upgraded from a II. The Casablanca III has on card with three XLR and 4 component
I want to hookup 7 channel from my Oppo. What is the recommended setup for coax or optical from the Oppo to the Casablanca.

I assume from reading other posts that the surrounds are the sides, and the sides are the rears speakers? What do I need to change on the Casablanca to have 7.1 setup from my Oppo. On the Oppo, LPCM or Bitstream in the coax/optical selection. Any advise is well appreciated.

Thanks to all in advance. I'm used to OSD setup which the III does not have, so I have to get used to that.

I have read about Crystal software that would work from the PC to the III. Where can I obtain.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Hello,
I recently purchased a Casablanca III upgraded from a II. The Casablanca III has on card with three XLR and 4 component
I want to hookup 7 channel from my Oppo. What is the recommended setup for coax or optical from the Oppo to the Casablanca.

I assume from reading other posts that the surrounds are the sides, and the sides are the rears speakers? What do I need to change on the Casablanca to have 7.1 setup from my Oppo. On the Oppo, LPCM or Bitstream in the coax/optical selection. Any advise is well appreciated.

Thanks to all in advance. I'm used to OSD setup which the III does not have, so I have to get used to that.

I have read about Crystal software that would work from the PC to the III. Where can I obtain.
Hi there and congrats. I know only CBIII HD so please repost your question to the "real" Theta thread: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ultra-hi-end-ht-gear-20-000/1313052-official-theta-owners-thread-359.html

A few people on that thread are much more knowledgeable than I am regarding CB III non HD, for example Bulldogger and Steve Bruzonsky, and a few others.

Regarding side vs rear vs surround, here's how it works in CBIII HD and yes there is a little bit of potential confusion - read the following carefully and I would become less confusing :):
***In a 5.1 system, you have LCR plus Surrounds, which are the speakers to your side in 5.1 system.
***In a 7.1 system, to add two speakers to 5.1, the menu tells you to turn on the "Side" speakers. So now.... you have LCR, plus the Side Outputs which are connected to side surround speakers, and the Surrounds Outputs, which are *now* connected to the rear speakers.
Basically Surround outputs are connected to side surround speakers in 5.1, and to rear surround speakers in 7.1. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
CB IVa Is Here!!
Please still post questions in the main Theta thread. This thread is mainly my "storage" of information only.

Wishlist and bugs - Casablanca with latest HDMI card is far and away the most stable HD Casablanca so far. Good job Theta!!
CB IVa has a lot less bugs and problems than CB IIIHD. The few that I could see:
*** HDMI Handshake much better than before but still occasional problem when switching input. For example if source=CD is playing, switching from Input 1 to Input 2 (both with same CD source, Input 1 with Dirac on, Input 2 with Dirac off, for comparison), Input 2 may not lock in. "Maneuvers" that I have used to solve this: Pause CD before switching, push A/D button to cycle source, turn Casablanca and/or CD player off then on.
***Dirac Filter: Only 1 (6 for Casa V)
*** Glitch sound More or less not noticeable but worth mentioning: very slight glitch at the beginning of each track when playing music CD.
*** Sampling rate display is not accurate.


Bugs that have been solved
*** HDMI passes 4K but not HDR: Early adopters' Casablanca 4a passes 4k but does not pass HDR. SOLVED
*** HDMI Handshake problem when switching from one input to another: HDMI handshake is ok at first turn on, but once on, if you switch say from input 1 to input 2, handshake for input 2 is not successful. Two solutions: one, cycle through the input by pushing A/D button on remote, and two, turn Casablanca off and then back on using the power button in the back of the Theta. MOSTLY SOLVED
*** HDMI switching causes problem with upmixing lossy Dolby codec: for lossy source such as from DVD, cable, & Netflix, first turn-on is ok, but if you switch to a different input and then switch back, the upmixing no longer occurs, even if the display says so. Solution: turn Casablanca off and then on as in above. SOLVED
*** Dirac filter: still only 1. I would not mind paying more to get a second filter. SOLVED with CB V's 6 filters.

What you'll receive & need:
Accessories and Manuals: Microphone, USB stick with the mic file, and 5 booklets total:
1. IVa Quick Start Guide
2. The red manual (cover page in big bold red letters)
3. Manual with Cover Page starting with: "This Section Will Cover The Dirac Measurement...."
4. Manual with Cover Page: "This Section Will Address The First Three Tabs..."
5. Manual with Cover Page: "The Final Three Tabs Of The Dirac Calibration Process..."

Equipment You Will Need:
Windows Laptop, at least i3 CPU with clock speed 2.5 GHz and above, 3 or 4 USB ports preferred (for Casablanca, the microphone, USB stick, and mouse).
Mine is a Windows 10 laptop, but Win 7 and 8 should also work. My laptop is an i7 with 2.7 clock speed and 16 gb memory, and even so it runs slow, so the more powerful, the better.
Boom mic/microphone stand: Something like this from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Ohuhu-Microphone-Stand-Collapsible-Tripod/dp/B00OZ9C9LK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501744286&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=boom+mic&psc=1




A few of my favorite things :) - a summary of my "hobby" life: Theta next to the Turbo, taken with Canon 35mm f/1.4 prime.





 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
DIRAC SETUP

A few points I learned that hopefully would help other owners in Theta Casablanca IVa setup. These points are supplements to the Theta's manuals, in particular the Dirac "red manual," so you still must RTFM :). In the red manual, there is a summary page of the whole process - I referred to this page repeatedly, while reading the other manuals. It's a relatively simple process and will make a lot more sense once you are next to machine and know the little idiosyncrasies. Thanks to John B, Jeff, Steve B., etc. and all who have helped.


1. Play a 2 channel music CD during spl level setup and Dirac setup. For level setup, it could be HDMI, but for Dirac setup it must be through Toslink, NOT HDMI. I red bold face this because this alone has caused me most of my problems with Dirac. The manual mentions "play a CD," but does not note that you have to connect with Toslink, and not HDMI. It's also a good idea to have the CD player plays in infinite repeat, because during the process if the CD stops at the end, the setup process will stop working.
***What happens if you use HDMI for Dirac: the top ceiling speakers stay silent during the Dirac process. I found out the hard way.
***What happens if you don't use infinite repeat in playing the CD: if you are slow (and I was at first), the CD stops at the end and the setup shows communication failure IIRC.
***Since the music, from said "CD playing music connected through Toslink," is playing, how could you set up mic gain and start any measurement? When you are ready to set up the mic gain, click on the little arrow/play button of the left front channel, the music would then mute so you could start calibrating and measuring.

2. Must STOP the CD before uploading the Dirac file to Theta, or uploading will fail. In other words, during the Dirac process, you first play the CD in infinite repeat, but after "Optimization" and before exporting the filter to Casablanca, you MUST stop the CD. Must.

3. Before Dirac measurement step, take one last look to see that the subwoofer channel is checked as "subwoofer." This may get de-selected as you move back and forth. AFAIK this is important to the process.

4. This is in the manual but bear repeating: What you want to select on first page of Dirac setup is: Custom, 12 speakers, Theta Casablanca with 4 heights. Then hit RESCAN button. **IF** when you get to the mic setup page, the first time around, only Left and Right channel show. You then have to enter the other 8 channels manually and then, go back to the first page and click re-scan. It is this re-scan step that seems to have caused the subwoofer check mark to be de-selected in 3 above.

5. Before Dirac setup, you turn off all crossovers, meaning run all speakers full range. John Baloff at Theta has found that sofa better measures room characteristics and works/sounds better so you probably want to use the Sofa (not Chair) pattern for microphone placements. Once you have done Dirac, go back and turn on the crossover, *then* you reset speaker levels.

6. There is a Save Project button that John B would use after a. Measurement (labeled as such), b. Target, and c. Optimization. There is also a "Save Target" button that you could use to save the Target curves.

7. IMHO, don't even think about doing this during day time. The mic is extremely sensitive and picks up noise from far away truck, airplane, bath room fan, water sprinkler, and even boat, etc., etc. I live in a relatively quiet area and still was so frustrated at times.

8. If Dirac program doesn't recognize Theta: cycle Theta on/off using the power switch in the back, NOT the front. These are the steps I have tried successfully to get Casablanca to appear and be recognized by Dirac program:
a. Power off Casablanca with button in the back, close and restart Dirac software on your computer.
b. Close and restart Dirac software on your computer, without turning Casablanca off.
c. "Rescan" on first tab of Dirac software.
"a" is the safest method of making sure every thing is working. Powering off Casablanca using front button did not help at any given time.

9. Once Dirac is loaded, remember to turn on Crossover settings, and then REPEAT speaker level adjustment. Speaker level settings are likely to be DIFFERENT with Dirac on versus Dirac off. For this reason I actually have 2 different Inputs: Input 1 with speaker levels appropriate for Dirac on, and Input 2 with speaker levels appropriate for Dirac off, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
You might want to buy a demo disc, either DTS or Atmos, for the fun factor. The channel call-out feature of these discs is helpful in assuring all speakers, including tops, are wired correctly. All these discs cost an arm and a leg (price gouging), or are only available from suspicious sources in Asia etc., except this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2016-DTS-Demo-Disc-BluRay-New-Sealed-Vol-20-/272484538347 (Edit 2/2019: I just noticed price now has gone way up to $50. Sorry.)

It is unusually inexpensive for a demo disc and once this seller runs out of copies, I suspect the price would shoot up. Highly recommended.

To my ears so far :), the value of height speakers/info is most noticeable in more quiet scenes, where ambient/atmospheric info is not drowned out. Height info is not as obvious in bombastic scenes such as lightning strikes in War of the Worlds, because here LCR and subwoofer still dominate (and critical for scaring your neighbors :)). These demo discs highlight height info more readily and make me better; I've spent money for something so obviously audible. Bottom line: For me, Atmos and DTS:X have not changed the fact that LCR speakers and subwoofer are still the 4 most important channels in movie sound. Go BIG, real BIG for these channels if you want to impress friends, and yourself. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)




Because of the above ("room correction" should only be below the Shroeder frequency, which is around 200-400 Hz in most residential rooms), I only apply Dirac below Shroeder frequency - 400 Hz, and below are graphs of results:



 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
No matter how many channels, the key to a great sound is the front 3 plus subwoofer (LCR and subwoofer). These 4 channels IMHO is where 99% of the drama and contrast of movie sound originates.

 

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
WHAT THE CORRECTION CURVE LOOKS LIKE I've recently been playing with custom Dirac curve, setting the slope at crossover point to 12 dB/octave drop (per Theta/John's instruction - don't ask me to explain this one please :)), and again limiting correction to sub Shroeder frequency.

Compare my custom curve (top) with the default Dirac curve (bottom): note the default curve is down sloping, made to be consistent with studies that showed listeners' preference for such shape, and experience that a flat Dirac curve *could* sound bass anemic. This default curve means difference between low freq @20 Hz and high freq at 20 KHz is 4 dB. Depends on each system, this "big" drop could result in overly warm system. While acknowledging that when it comes to how much drop is too much, there is no right or wrong as this is strictly a matter of personal preference and is system dependent, I still think 4 dB drop is a significant figure.

In case you don't see the subtle difference :)
a. My curve cuts off at Shroeder freq: ie, I do NOT use room correction above 400 Hz.
b. My curve raises the bass only 1 dB.
c. My curve has a 12 dB/Octave drop off at the crossover frequency of the center speaker.This seemingly subtle change results in a significantly different sound.
IMHO, bottom line: Dirac, or any room correction algorithm for that matter, is both objective and subjective (you're basically using an equalizer and tune it to your taste), experiment and find the sweet point for you/your system.



My custom Dirac curve:



Default Dirac curve:
 

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Discussion Starter #38 (Edited)
SOME THOUGHTS ON PRINCIPLES OF ROOM CORRECTION (DIRAC)
Allow me to share some salient principles/thoughts behind Dirac that I've learned from others, and might be helpful to you (again pardon if you already know).

Two important findings based on human studies that directly lead to the use of Dirac:
1. People tend to prefer a downward sloping freq. response (ie more bass). I agreed with this wholeheartedly :). To me this is THE most important aspect of the "room correction" deal. And of course, you do not want to over-do the bass boost to the point the system lacks details and sparkles.
2. People tend to prefer a smooth frequency response 20 Hz-20 Khz. This is controversial.

How Dirac achieves the above:
1. The "target curve" allows you to boost bass and create down sloping freq response (see my graph above). This I call the very important equalizer function of Dirac. Equalizer for lack of a better word :).
2. It smooths the freq response. This is the smoothing function of Dirac. Personally, I am +/- about this. See discussion above about smoothing the freq curve ONLY below Shroeder's frequency.

So... as much as Dirac is a somewhat objective process (the smoothing part), it is also SIGNIFICANTLY SUBJECTIVE (how you shape the all important target curve) in the sense that it is your EARS that determine how much boost you should give, whether you correct full range or sub Shroeder, etc. To that end Dirac, is a much more powerful tool if the end user has been "fiddling" with sound all his life, ie has trained ears. All IMHO and tinted by my biases etc. :). Have fun and and hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #39 (Edited)
Just to add to the data base here, as we are all adding a gazillion cables to the system. :) I used to use Blue Jeans but per rec. here have switched to Pro Audio LA http://www.proaudiola.com/category-s/912.htm because it's the same cable, for example Canare Star Quad and Neutrik gold, yet much cheaper (significantly so last time I compared). They could custom make any cable you need, such as RCA-XLR conversion cable, etc. Fast shipping, very high quality, cheap. Local to Los Angeles btw.

Different cables are available but my long term preference is Canare Star Quad, and of course the standard Neutrik XLR connectors. WRT to RCA connector, I should add that I prefer the Canare RCA connectors of Blue Jeans cable to the Amphenol of Pro Audio LA.

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
A few months ago, I measured Theta's internal generator of calibration signals with my Omnimic. There are two different signals: one for the subwoofers, and one for all the speakers.

BTW I recommend Omnimic System without reservation. Truly "Measurements for Dummies" :) - I was up and running in no time at all, and I had started out knowing nothing of measuring system. This is the kit to get if you don't mind spending a couple hundred bucks, and do not want to read manuals :). https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-omnimic-v2-computer-based-precision-room-measurement-system--390-792

First graph below is of the LR main speaker, second graph the subwoofer. You could see that Theta's internal generator is a narrow bandwidth test tone, whereas IIRC the test tones from my Blu-ray calibration disc are full bandwidth. When the test tone is narrow bandwidth as in the Casablanca, if I add a subwoofer to my Thiel main left and right speaker, the sound is louder, but because the added sound is in the bass, measurement is the same (interesting issue to think about :)).




 

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