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Long awaited Smyth SVS Realiser NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE - Page 138

post #2056 of 2688
Before replying to ych, thanks for dsperber first to restate the merit of the realiser.
Quote:
Originally Posted by YCH View Post

That's because there's an important distinction between loudspeakers and headphones, even for as simple a thing as achieving a flat frequency response! Let's examine that.

For example, if person A set up a room with a particular set of loudspeakers and tuned it til it's frequency response is flat at a listening position, then if a mixing engineer mixes at that position and produces a recording based off that, and person B else sets up another room with a flat frequency response at a seating position, then you can be sure that when that recording is played back in person B's room, the spectral balance of the sound at person B's place is wholly accurate compared to person A's system. Now say you and me both go into person B's room and have a listen. Perhaps I like the sound and you don't. But whatever our complaints are, the frequency response of room B cannot be part of problem (if our goal is to reproduce the sound of the mixing studio of person A), because it is flat as much as we can make it and reproduces the frequency response of the room of person A used to produce the recording. In other words, Getting a flat frequency response from a pair of loudspeakers at a given listening position does not depend on a person's physiology.

Now say remove person B's room and you listen to the recording over headphones. Well now, how do you make sure you get a flat frequency response for a given person over the headphones? Without knowing your own head and ear response...you simply cannnot. So one way to get around this is to make yourself a new sound reference that is known flat and try to replicate that. Let's use person B's loudspeaker system that is known flat as the reference! So you go to the seating position and record your HRTF in there, and do and then equalize the headphones using that HRTF. And in doing so will make the headphones sound like the speakers of room B. But at least now we have made it so that the headphones over your ear has a flat frequency response as heard from room B's flat loudspeakers. Getting a flat frequency response from a pair of headphones depends on a person's physiology
.

I do not want to continue the discussion until we at least can agree on this.

Ych, I am sorry but this is flawed logic. First, what does the issue of stereo recording playback with headphone (when mix was intended for speakers with some amount of cross-talk) has anything to do with the topic at hand (which is existence of reasonable target curve for headphone design)? For instance, just like the headphone reproduction of the recording won't be effectively flat transducer response at our ear canal, neither will the loudspeakers in room A or B measure flat at the entrance of your and my ear canal (using same open ear canal mics as the realiser for example).

Next you're saying our physiology is out of the equation because the speakers response has been measured using flat omnidirectional mics at seating position. Yes fine, but this indeed exactly what the phone equalization curve is providing for !! E.g removing the effect of the measuring head by equliazing out its HRTF for selected headings (e.g. free field response in anechoic environment or diffuse field response in more or less reverberant room). An equalized dummy head measurement gives you exactly that: same flat response as the omnidirectional mic if the head was sitting in the same room as used for the equalization curve with speakers at the same headings as the target curve. Effectively, an equalized dummy head response is like an omnidirectional mic response at the seating position.

What I am arguing is that it doesn't matter what the head physiology is because it gets out of the equation once equalized. The equlization curve is indeed different for any two individuals, but it gets filtered out before looking at the headphone response in any case. What I am saying though is that the target eq. curve is probably much more critical (since it requires to make an assumption on the typical speaker / listener placement and room chraracteristics for measuring the dummy head HRTF).

By the way, the realiser actually does not compensate for individual ears geomety either since the HPEQ effectively attempts to equalize out the pinnae effect for a given headphone (since this effect is already factored in the PRIR)...
post #2057 of 2688

loudspeaker and room is a multipath environment - there are many frequency responses for the many reflections, each with a time delay, spatial propagation direction

 

up to 1/2 the acoustic power response may be reflection/reverberation

 

simple "minimum phase" EQing a loudspeaker and room to flat frequency response at a listening position with a omni mic (or front facing only dummy head) will not guarantee that it sounds the same as the assumed similarly flat frequency response at the mixing disk in the studio due to different room reflection/reverberation characteristics


Edited by jcx - 10/15/12 at 9:12am
post #2058 of 2688

Responding to the original question about why it seems there hasn’t been wider adoption of the Realiser.  My own personal experience certainly attests to your hypothesis Darin.  I too think there are a number of non-audiophile-level consumer headphone users out there who would be willing to spend the money necessary for the realiser if they knew what it offered.  For them, as you say I think it’s a two-fold problem of getting the word out, and the hassle/expense of getting PRIRs done.  I originally only stumbled across the Realiser when I was looking for a good headphone solution for simulated surround sound, given apartment-living isn’t exactly conducive to setting up a full loudspeaker set-up (so yes, I am one of those people whose primary interest was for movies, but I wanted to find something that would provide top-notch stereo music listening as well, as a classical music buff – that too is shared-wall-constrained).  The only reason I did hear about it was in a random forum post that was originally discussing Dolby Headphone or some other solution.  Initially though, I dismissed it since I did not know of anywhere I could do PRIRs, and didn’t fully trust myself to be able to set it up properly.  Once I heard they were willing to perform the PRIRs for me at a top-notch facility, I decided to go ahead given all the positive feedback I encountered about the Realiser here and on other boards.  But doing the PRIRs, including travel and fees, will add up to probably around an additional $1000 in costs on top of the price of the Realiser and headphones themselves, so for many people that’s an additional cost with nothing “tangible” in return (though if it does what it promises I think it’s a more than worthwhile expense, and I just consider it an additional cost to the Realiser). 

Most people however are probably not willing to travel and take time off from work just to get a PRIR done – and the concept of performing a PRIR is likely daunting to many non-techie or DIYer types.  I think it would make an enormous difference if more high-end audio shops were willing to stock the Realiser, demo it for customers, and perform the PRIRs.  While I can see some shops being concerned about it competing with much more expensive setups they’d rather sell for higher margin, I don’t think it’s at all the same audience.  Firstly, they’d get customers like me who originally are looking for only a several-hundred-dollar solution, but when hearing about the capabilities of the Realiser, will be willing to spend several times that amount.  Secondly, the type of person coming in for a high end loudspeaker system isn’t going to be interested in replacing that with a headphone set (given their interest in multi-person listening, “room-shaking” effect, and having a system to show off – which I imagine is the motivation for many non-audiophile high end consumers).  But they may very well be interested in supplementing that loudspeaker set up with a headphone set that can capture 90% of the loudspeakers capabilities, for late night or other quiet listening.  In that case, it’s just additional revenue for the shop on top of the speaker set they’d otherwise sell. 

post #2059 of 2688

The reason I bought the Realiser was that we moved from a large home to a smaller home in which the only room I had for listening was just too small for good audio reproduction, even after I spent several thousand dollars on room treatments and expert audio room tuning.  With the Realiser, I am able to come close to what it would be like to be listening to my music on a very good two- channel system, and even to enjoy multi-channel recordings, something I could not do before.

 

However, if I had a proper listening room, I would not be all that interested in the Realiser.  For most people, the idea of paying almost $4K on a headphone system and then having to spend time and money seeking out venues to do calibrations (and often get turned down!)  is just not reasonable.  So I think the consumer, as opposed to audio engineer, market for this device is very limited.  It's limited to people like me who lack the facilities for normal listening, or who want to play loud music in a small apartment or late at night.  I just don't think there are that many people who meet these criteria.

 

I think the market would be much larger if someone figures out how to truly exchange PRIRs made in different venues by different people.  If I could plug in a PRIR made in a top end room and there were some algorithms that transformed this PRIR  based on my own head and ear characteristics so that it was equivalent to one I made myself -- now that would be something.  But until that happens (and it doesn't seem likely that it will), the process is just too expensive and time consuming for the average audiophile.

 

Regarding the issue of the limitations of the digital processing, my own experience is that listening to an emulation of a great system in a great room in surround sound (or even 2.0) via the Realiser is much more engaging than listening to a much higher resolution source, such as a download or 24/96 disc, on a merely good system.  I.e., it is the final listening experience which I am interested in.  Yes, I would love it if the Realiser was capable of higher resolution output, but even without this, I prefer the emulated super system to hi res on a lesser system.

post #2060 of 2688

The reason I bought the Realiser was that we moved from a large home to a smaller home in which the only room I had for listening was just too small for good audio reproduction, even after I spent several thousand dollars on room treatments and expert audio room tuning.  With the Realiser, I am able to come close to what it would be like to be listening to my music on a very good two- channel system, and even to enjoy multi-channel recordings, something I could not do before.

 

However, if I had a proper listening room, I would not be all that interested in the Realiser.  For most people, the idea of paying almost $4K on a headphone system and then having to spend time and money seeking out venues to do calibrations (and often get turned down!)  is just not reasonable.  So I think the consumer, as opposed to audio engineer, market for this device is very limited.  It's limited to people like me who lack the facilities for normal listening, or who want to play loud music in a small apartment or late at night.  I just don't think there are that many people who meet these criteria.

 

I think the market would be much larger if someone figures out how to truly exchange PRIRs made in different venues by different people.  If I could plug in a PRIR made in a top end room and there were some algorithms that transformed this PRIR  based on my own head and ear characteristics so that it was equivalent to one I made myself -- now that would be something.  But until that happens (and it doesn't seem likely that it will), the process is just too expensive and time consuming for the average audiophile.

 

Regarding the issue of the limitations of the digital processing, my own experience is that listening to an emulation of a great system in a great room in surround sound (or even 2.0) via the Realiser is much more engaging than listening to a much higher resolution source, such as a download or 24/96 disc, on a merely good system.  I.e., it is the final listening experience which I am interested in.  Yes, I would love it if the Realiser was capable of higher resolution output, but even without this, I prefer the emulated super system to hi res on a lesser system.

post #2061 of 2688

Whoops!

post #2062 of 2688

Good points, Kiritz.

post #2063 of 2688

I haven't read this thread but how does the Realiser compare to hardware crossfeed like SPL Phonitor or Headamp? Is it a huge change?

post #2064 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeskd View Post

I haven't read this thread but how does the Realiser compare to hardware crossfeed like SPL Phonitor or Headamp? Is it a huge change?

 

It's a huge upgrade.  I puts out a freaky out of head experience that no crossfeed can imitate. The only downside I saw is that the audio output will only be as good as the speakers you use to create your custom ears profile.

post #2065 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeskd View Post

I haven't read this thread but how does the Realiser compare to hardware crossfeed like SPL Phonitor or Headamp? Is it a huge change?


I don't really know where to begin. You can't really compare it to anything else out there since it does a measurement of an actual speaker system/room using YOUR ears to achieve a level of accuracy that no other generic process can come close.

 

But of course, you have to actually do a measurement with your ears. That's the downside, but WORTH the trouble! The end result is 100% believable.

 

I know when Lorr, the Smyth rep, does a demo he loves to fool the listener by telling them he is just going to check the speakers by playing music through each channel to make sure they are working, when in fact, the speakers are not on at all. The reaction people have is great when they "realize" that the speakers were not on. Most people would bet money that the speakers were on.

 

I don't think any generic headphone processing hardware or software works anywhere near as well as the Realiser. Even when you have adjustments for head size, ear size, size of room, etc. They are all just estimates. In the case  of the Realiser it's using actual measurements, not rough approximations.

 

If you ever get a chance to hear a Realiser, it's worth the time to get a demo.

post #2066 of 2688

Yes it's very hard to get peoples attention. I've advertised on many forums and emails to studios etc that I'm happy to demonstrate it to anyone. So far I've only managed to find one somewhat interested person. I would be a bad salesman.

post #2067 of 2688

I was wondering if someone could recommend a good receiver to use with the Realiser (or just a processor, as I already have a receiver for my low-budget speaker set and really just need something to feed LPCM to the Realiser from my Xbox, PS3, SACD player, etc).  I’m hoping to find something around $500 (or under of course).  The Emotiva UMC-1 seemed like a good choice, but it apparently doesn’t support 3D (though I'm a little unclear on that -- if the source is passing a 3D signal over HDMI, does that mean the UMC-1 won't be able to pass that signal on to the TV?).  It also sounds like HDMI handshake issues can arise with anything providing a single HDMI output, even when using a splitter, so I was hoping to be able to find something with dual HDMI outputs – unless you all think it’s not really so big of a problem.  I’m thinking what I would do is pass the signal from each source to the processor via HDMI, then have one HDMI output from the processor to the Realiser feeding it LPCM, with the other going to the TV, and then using an optical output from the processor to feed my existing Receiver in case I want to use my crummy speaker setup for casual listening. 

Since I'm essentially just looking for something that can perform Dolby/DTS decoding and then pass an LPCM signal onwards, and really only working with digital signals all the way through, component quality etc. shouldn't be too huge an issue, right?


Edited by Jand - 10/16/12 at 7:42am
post #2068 of 2688
Thread Starter 

As far as discussions here have revealed, there does not seem to be ANY "receiver" which decodes DD/DTS and then delivers the decoded discrete digital multi-channel LPCM out over HDMI.  We all would like one, but none exists that has been announced here.

 

The only "box" which appears capable of doing that seems to be a BluRay player (source device), such as the Oppo BDP-93, which can be configured to deliver its decoded audio out over HDMI as LPCM.  That HDMI delivery can be sent through a "receiver" (via HDMI) and then out to the Realiser (via HDMI), assuming the necessary HDMI input/output ports exists.  Also, if you route that HDMI delivery through your receiver be absolutely sure it has "multi-channel HDMI pass-through", as I have discovered all of the newer Yamaha dual-HDMI-output receivers do NOT (i.e. they CANNOT be used to "pass through" the decoded multi-channel LPCM from your BluRay player to the Realiser).

 

In other words, if your AVR cannot "pass through" multi-channel LPCM via HDMI from source through the AVR and then out one of its HDMI outputs (which presumably goes to the Realiser's HDMI input), then you cannot use the AVR as an HDMI source/relay to the Realiser.  And you still need to think about HDMI video delivered to your HDTV, and where/how that's going to happen (e.g. from a second HDMI output of the AVR if it has two or more, relaying HDMI video delivered from source devices, or from the HDMI output of the Realiser, etc.).

 

It's complicated, when you try to use an AVR in between.

 

Best bet: find a BluRay player which has TWO HDMI OUTPUTS (one for video and one for audio) like the Oppo BDP-93 (which is no longer being made, but you can possibly still find one or something like it). Send the video HDMI output from the player through your AVR for delivery to your HDTV (along with your other HDMI sources).  And send the audio HDMI output from the player directly to the Realiser's HDMI input.

 

And anyway, you will STILL NEED TO HAVE THE AVR CONNECTED TO THE REALISER VIA ANALOG, for all of your other source devices.  Though the AVR can't decode and deliver LPCM out over HDMI (unless you know of one which can), it will simply decode and deliver discrete multi-channel analog out (from its preamp outputs) to the Realiser's discrete multi-channel analog inputs.  So this analog delivery method to the Realiser must STILL be used, for all other source devices that cannot deliver decoded LPCM audio over HDMI like a BluRay player possibly can.

 

Bottom line: you're probably only going to be able to feed the Realiser via HDMI audio directly (not relayed through an AVR) from your BluRay player if it has TWO HDMI outputs (one for video primarily which will go through your AVR for delivery to your HDTV, and the other for audio primarily going directly to the Realiser), and no other source device.  Those other HDMI audio/video source devices will still have to go through your AVR (low-end is perfectly fine, as long as it has "preamp outputs" to deliver decoded discrete multi-channel analog outputs to the Realiser's analog inputs), where their audio will be decoded and delivered to the Realiser via analog.

 

 

I don't have a multi-channel loudspeaker system myself, so "way back when" I bought the least expensive (but highly regarded) AVR I could find which at least had discrete multi-channel preamp outputs so that I could feed the Realiser via analog which was all my old Realiser had.  The Yamaha RX-V863 worked fine for me with the original Oppo BDP-83 BluRayer I had (with only one HDMI output), though it only has three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output.  It really didn't matter whether I had (a) the BDP-83 do the decoding and deliver LPCM along with video over its one HDMI output to the RX-V863, where the audio would then be delivered out through the preamp outputs to the Realiser while video would be delivered via HDMI to my HDTV, or (b) the BDP-83 simply delivered still-encoded DD/DTS audio and video to the RX-V863 where it would be decoded and delivered out through the preamp outputs to the Realiser.

 

But when I acquired an HDMI Realiser, I also upgraded my AVR to an RX-V867 (dual HDMI outputs) which I thought could be used to "pass-through" LPCM from the Oppo to the Realiser through one of its HDMI outputs.  Turns out that would NOT work, because for some reason Yamaha redesigned their HDMI outputs (i.e. BROKE THEM) so that they DO NOT PASS-THROUGH MULTI-CHANNEL AUDIO ANY LONGER... even though my lesser RX-V863 does that perfectly.  Very frustrating, as I'd now already purchased that RX-V867.

 

My solution was to then buy an Oppo BDP-93 (which has TWO HDMI outputs, one for video and one for audio) to replace my single-HDMI-output BDP-83, configured as I've described above to work with the new HDMI Realiser.  Decoded LPCM audio goes directly to the Realiser using the audio HDMI output of the BDP-93, and video goes to my old RX-V863 (which I still use in that setup because of its analog connection superiority over the newer RX-V867).  My other source devices still go through the RX-V863 which delivers their decoded audio via preamp output analog to the Realiser.

post #2069 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jand View Post

I was wondering if someone could recommend a good receiver to use with the Realiser (or just a processor, as I already have a receiver for my low-budget speaker set and really just need something to feed LPCM to the Realiser from my Xbox, PS3, SACD player, etc).  I’m hoping to find something around $500 (or under of course).  The Emotiva UMC-1 seemed like a good choice, but it apparently doesn’t support 3D (though I'm a little unclear on that -- if the source is passing a 3D signal over HDMI, does that mean the UMC-1 won't be able to pass that signal on to the TV?).  It also sounds like HDMI handshake issues can arise with anything providing a single HDMI output, even when using a splitter, so I was hoping to be able to find something with dual HDMI outputs – unless you all think it’s not really so big of a problem.  I’m thinking what I would do is pass the signal from each source to the processor via HDMI, then have one HDMI output from the processor to the Realiser feeding it LPCM, with the other going to the TV, and then using an optical output from the processor to feed my existing Receiver in case I want to use my crummy speaker setup for casual listening. 

Since I'm essentially just looking for something that can perform Dolby/DTS decoding and then pass an LPCM signal onwards, and really only working with digital signals all the way through, component quality etc. shouldn't be too huge an issue, right?


I do not have an AV receiver, but I did research them when I first got my Realiser.

 

With MANY devices either receivers or media players, they say in the specs that they can output LPCM via HDMI, BUT they all down-mix the signal to 2.0 channel only when outputting PCM. Then in the specs, they all support or decode DTS, Dolby Digital, etc., but that ONLY applies to the speaker or analog preamp outputs for the decoded audio. Very few devices will decode all the digital surround formats and output them as multi-channel LPCM via HDMI.

 

You have to be REALLY careful with the specs because it's not obvious . Most devices do not have that information in the specs. Sometimes in the users manual there may be a small blurb about down mixing to 2.0. I had to contact higher level tech support people before I could get a definitive answer for most products.

 

The only sources I found that could do it were some Blu-Ray players and the Dune HD Duo or Dune HD Max (which I have.)

 

There are receivers that can do it, but they tend to be the top of the line models which were a lot more money than I wanted to spend. As a general rule of thumb, if they have multi-channel analog pre-amp outputs, then they are more likely to have the licenses to output decoded multi-channel LPCM. But that's no guarantee. But, if it does have analog outputs, you could always go analog into the Realiser. Not ideal, but it would work.

 

I am told that the main reason is licensing. The manufacturers have to be fully licensed for all the formats and Blu-Ray in order to decode and provide the decoded audio digitally. The license requirements to just pass the encoded audio digitally or decoded audio via analog is a lot less money. That is why the Blu-Ray players can do it since they need to be fully licensed Blu-Ray. (It's strange to me though that I found $150 Blu-Ray players that could do it but with other devices they said it was too expensive for the licenses.)

 

Virtually all the media players like Roku, WDTV, Popcorn Hour, etc. down-mix everything to 2.0 channel when you output LPCM. They assume you will be outputting the HDMI to an AV receiver which will decode the audio so no need to raise the cost of the players by paying all the licensing fees if no one needs the players to decode the audio. The ONLY media player I found that does do it is the Dune HD Max and Duo. ALL others cannot do it. If someone knows otherwise, please let me know.

 

But with receivers, they figure that you want everything decoded to the analog outputs, but there is no need to output to decoded multi-channel LPCM audio. Why would you need to pass the audio out to another processor if you are just hoking speakers up to the receiver as it's designed to do?

 

The application with the Realiser is very unique and therefore not supported by most devices.

 

So short of spending $1500 or more for an AV receiver, I opted to go with the Dune HD Max. I LOVE this device for the Realiser. It can play Blu-Ray discs, DVD's, almost every format of media file off the hard drive, media files over a local network via SMB shares or Upnp servers, etc. I have not found any format media files that it cannot play. Plus it will decode every type of digital surround format and output it as multi-channel LPCM. It also does NOT have Cinavia support. So there are zero issues with ripping your blu-ray movies to hard drives and playing them back.

 

With other Blu-Ray players, the new ones all have Cinavia support, so even though they will play back some media files on hard drives, if the Blu-Ray has Cinavia, the audio will be interrupted with Blu-Ray rips.

 

So there you have it. A synopsis of my long search for the ideal way to feed your Realiser.

post #2070 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsperber View Post

As far as discussions here have revealed, there does not seem to be ANY "receiver" which decodes DD/DTS and then delivers the decoded discrete digital multi-channel LPCM out over HDMI.  We all would like one, but none exists that has been announced here.

 

The only "box" which appears capable of doing that seems to be a BluRay player (source device), such as the Oppo BDP-93, which can be configured to deliver its decoded audio out over HDMI as LPCM. 

 I guess we were typing at the same time...

 

I did forget to mention the Oppo blu-ray players. They will also output decoded LPCM.

 

The main reason I didn't go with Oppo was that they are too expensive for me, and I had read mixed reviews about it's ability to play media via a local hard drive or streaming over a local network. I have no first hand experience with the Oppo players though. Maybe others that own one can comment about playing movies from a network server or how well it supports various media file formats.

 

For me, the Dune HD Max seemed like it worked better and was a lot cheaper. The Dune HD Max lists for $599, the Oppo 95 is $1099. I bought my Dune HD Max for $400 used off EBay.

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