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post #2071 of 2628
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post

 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.


Another thing, ALL the other Dune media players besides the Duo and Max will NOT output decoded multi-channel LPCM. Again a licensing cost issue. So you can't get away with buying a $150 box to do it.

 

I have a Samsung bd-e6500 that I bought for $179 that will also output decoded LPCM via HDMI. It will also decode Dolby Digital from media files off a hard drive or over a network. So that's a cheap alternative to the Oppo. However, it's media playback is much more limited than the Dune Max/Duo. In a pinch, the Samsung is decent as a source.

post #2072 of 2628

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help and explaination.  That really is unfortunate there aren't any receivers that can decode and output lpcm 5.1+ via HDMI, but I guess it does make sense that very few people would ever be interested in that capability.  What I'm thinking, after doing a little digging, is that apparently the PS3 is capable of decoding all the Dolby and DTS formats and outputting lpcm over its HDMI, so I'm going to try going with an HDMI splitter to output the signal to my realiser and my TV.  I wouldn't be surprised to run into some handshake issues but hopefully I'll be able to get the PS3 to keep outputting 5.1 or 7.1 lpcm even though the TV undoubtedly won't request that.  I could also try connecting the realiser directly to the PS3 and then using the HDMI output from the realiser to go to the TV.  I also have an optical output on the PS3 which I'll keep connected to my receiver for the encoded dolby/dts to use, and I really don't care about losing out on DTS-MA and the lossless formats since my speakers suck anyway.  For DVD-A discs, I could also use the PS3, I understand they're generally written so they have a regular 5.1 DVD video layer also on the disc, which I understand can only output in 2 channels at 24/96khz, unlike the 24/192 you could get from a full-fledged DVD-Audio player, but since the realiser only handles up to 24/96, that shouldn't be a loss anyway.  Or am I way off base on this whole plan?

Unfortunately it sounds like I'm stuck in regards the Xbox360, it doesn't appear to be capable of performing DD/DTS decoding, so in that case there doesn't seem to be any way around finding a receiver with preamp analog outputs.  It seems on the internet there are some solutions for passing the Xbox bitstream signal to a PC to decode the DD/DTS and then output LPCM that way, I may have to explore that a bit more.  I know there's a few sound cards out there for under $100 that can decode DD/DTS and then have analog outputs, and my PC definitely does have HDMI output.  Building a small HTPC might be a solution as a sort of DIY receiver designed solely to pass LPCM output, but at this point I need to do a lot more research -- anyone's knowledge/experience around that would be greatly appreciated. 

post #2073 of 2628
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post

 The Dune HD Max lists for $599, the Oppo 95 is $1099. I bought my Dune HD Max for $400 used off EBay.

 

Actually, the Oppo BDP-95 is up there in the $1K price range because it is the "audiophile version" of the product (e.g. it has XLR outputs, etc.).  The "standard" version is the BDP-93 and that has a $500 retail price.  I bought mine as a "refurb" from Oppo for $415, and it arrived in perfect cosmetic and functional form, so that was a great deal.  I was extremely lucky that I had my story occur a few months ago, before the BDP-93/refurb option was "sold out" at Oppo.

 

Both BDP-93 and BDP-95 are no longer made and very likely cannot be found "new for sale", except from scalpers who realize that the new products BDP-103 and BDP-105 (again, the "audiophile" version) have fairly severe licensing limitations imposed on Oppo by the content providers which in turn resulting in some significant hardware compromises (e.g. no longer component video output available but only HDMI, Cinavia technology to prevent playing pirated/copied discs, etc.).  In turn, this has pushed the prices for the older BDP-93/95 products EVEN FURTHER WAY UP as they are the "last of their breed"... if you can even find them for sale used.

post #2074 of 2628

The new Oppo BDP-103 may be an option.  FYI.....Cinavia is now a required feature on all blu-ray players as of 2012 and only affects a minority of titles.  There will also most likely be ways around it in the future.

post #2075 of 2628
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jand View Post

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help and explaination.  That really is unfortunate there aren't any receivers that can decode and output lpcm 5.1+ via HDMI, but I guess it does make sense that very few people would ever be interested in that capability.  What I'm thinking, after doing a little digging, is that apparently the PS3 is capable of decoding all the Dolby and DTS formats and outputting lpcm over its HDMI, so I'm going to try going with an HDMI splitter to output the signal to my realiser and my TV.  I wouldn't be surprised to run into some handshake issues but hopefully I'll be able to get the PS3 to keep outputting 5.1 or 7.1 lpcm even though the TV undoubtedly won't request that.  I could also try connecting the realiser directly to the PS3 and then using the HDMI output from the realiser to go to the TV.  I also have an optical output on the PS3 which I'll keep connected to my receiver for the encoded dolby/dts to use, and I really don't care about losing out on DTS-MA and the lossless formats since my speakers suck anyway.

 

Well, I will caution you that any dual-HDMI approach (e.g. "splitter", 2x4 matrix switch, etc.) may well run into other problems where one of the downstream devices (e.g. HDTV, either directly or relayed through an AVR) tells the upstream source device that it can only accept 2-channel PCM stereo.  So even though one of the other downstream devices (e.g. HDMI Realiser) CAN accept multi-channel LPCM, the source device will end up delivering the "lowest common denominator" to the set of downstream devices. So you won't get multi-channel audio delivered from the source device, but rather will only get 2-channel stereo.

 

Such is the nature of these complex HDMI-handshake situations when relays or multi-split/matrix setups are involved.  That's why "direct" source-to-target single HDMI cable connections are really what you want to design, if your setup can support it.

 

 

Also, as far as wanting to relay HDMI through the Realiser (in order to pass the video delivered to it on the same HDMI input connection through the Realiser and on out to an HDTV or AVR), well... again... be warned.  This may not always work.

 

In my case, it turns out there is an HDMI INCOMPATIBILITY (for video pass-through) between the Realiser and any Oppo BluRay player.  I have confirmed this (working with Lorr, who was startled that it would not work with my original setup) with both my BDP-83 as well as my BDP-93, two separate HDMI Realisers, three different HDTV's, and a third Samsung BluRay player.  Lorr's spoken with the manufacturer of the HDMI daughterboard in the Realiser and they have no explanation other than some HDMI handshake issues that prevents the digital video from either Oppo being passed on through the Realiser to the connected HDTV.  When the Samsung player is used, it works perfectly.

 

We tried my Sony 34XBR960, my Samsung 22" LCD, and a Panasonic 24" LCD as HDTV's connected to the Realiser's HDMI output.  There was NO VIDEO DELIVERED to all three of these when the source device was either my BDP-83 or BDP-93, and using either of the two Realisers (thinking perhaps one was defective).

 

In contrast, all three of the HDTV's received video through both of the Realisers when the Samsung BluRay player was used.

 

 

So... just that word of caution.  That is also why I took the "direct connection" approach, and did NOT relay HDMI audio/to or video/through the Realiser, but instead used the two separate HDMI outputs of my BDP-93 to solve the problem entirely:.

 

(a) One HDMI output is for video-only and goes to the RX-V863 without a problem, for delivery to my HDTV.

 

(b) The second HDMI output is for audio-only and delivers decoded multi-channel LPCM to the Realiser via HDMI .

 

All other source devices go via HDMI to the AVR for audio decoding and delivery via preamp output analog to the Realiser, and video relay on from the AVR to my HDTV via HDMI.

 

Period.  Keep things simple and direct, and minimize or eliminate unnecessary HDMI handshakes and/or HDMI splitters/matrix switches (which will potentially cause the source device to deliver the wrong form of audio).

post #2076 of 2628

I like my Oppo 95 a lot.  It seems to play everything and even has a usb port for playing media files stored on a flash drive.  It also has network capability.  Because of the limitations of my listening room I no longer even use my speakers and therefore I drive the Realiser directly from the line or HDMI outputs of the Oppo.

 

I didn't realize that the new Oppo series has more limitations on formats, if that's what you are saying .  That's too bad. 

post #2077 of 2628
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiritz View Post

I like my Oppo 95 a lot.  It seems to play everything and even has a usb port for playing media files stored on a flash drive.  It also has network capability.  Because of the limitations of my listening room I no longer even use my speakers and therefore I drive the Realiser directly from the line or HDMI outputs of the Oppo.

 

I didn't realize that the new Oppo series has more limitations on formats, if that's what you are saying .  That's too bad. 

 

Not limitations on source formats (although I believe it no longer supports playback from ISO input, something which actually disappeared even from the BDP-93/95 with a firmware upgrade earlier this year).  But it has limitations on output, to conform to newer anti-piracy technology (e.g. Cinavia), which prompted Oppo to simply decide to eliminate its analog outputs entirely on the new models.

 

You can read all about the BDP-103/105 in the "anticipation thread" over on AVS Forum. There is also a thread for the actual owners of the BDP-103.

 

And of course there is the thread for owners of the BDP-93, as well as a thread for owners of the BDP-95.


Edited by dsperber - 10/16/12 at 11:56am
post #2078 of 2628
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsperber View Post

 

Not limitations on source formats (although I believe it no longer supports playback from ISO input, something which actually disappeared even from the BDP-93/95 with a firmware upgrade earlier this year).  But it has limitations on output, to conform to newer anti-piracy technology (e.g. Cinavia), which prompted Oppo to simply decide to eliminate its analog outputs entirely on the new models.

Eliminating the ISO support was another anti-piracy issue for Oppo, I believe.

 

That's another reason why I went with the Dune Max. It will still play Blu-Ray ISO rips and no Cinavia. Since it's marketed/sold as a media player, I think their strong suit is playing back media files rather than optical media.

post #2079 of 2628

I was at a local hi-fi group meeting last weekend and the speaker was Kevin Voecks. Lots of great information from someone who REALLY know his stuff.

 

What impressed me was due to how much money Harman has available for research, all their ideas about sound are based on actual experimental results NOT the opinion or tastes of any particular designer. They test everything with test equipment AND by having a bunch of people listen in blind tests.

 

They have a rig that uses pneumatically operated platforms that can move very large speakers very quickly. So when comparing speakers, all the speakers are moved to the exact same position in the room in less than 6 seconds. It's quite a contraption with moving floor panels that "shuffle" the speakers back and forth.

 

The other interesting research they did was that they found, on average, a person's "audio memory" only lasts about 6 seconds! That means that 7 seconds after you stop listening to something, you cannot reliably remember what that sound was like! I was shocked. I trust that their research is accurate since they test and screen hundreds of people for their results.

 

That's why they built this huge machine that could move speakers into place in less than 6 seconds.

 

So when people are reviewing or comparing one speaker, amp, headphones, etc. to another, unless they can change back and forth very quickly, the comparisons may not be as accurate as we think. Sure, overall impressions are valid, but I wonder how much accuracy is compromised when you are trying to compare the sound of something you listened to on different days. It's kind of like remembering the nuances of the color of a particular flower many days after you saw it.

 

Anyway, whether you believe it or not, it got me thinking about the Realiser. With the Realiser, we can switch all the components of a system including the room in less than a second! For me this capability has been very intriguing.

 

I could never hope to be able to quantify the differences from one room to another when listening to the systems weeks or months apart. But with the Realiser, I can hear HUGE differences between speakers, rooms, etc. What a great tool for evaluating all audio gear.

 

Want to see if these cables make a difference? Just do one PRIR with them and one without and you can compare the sound much more easily and keep all the other variables the same.

 

For Realiser owners who were looking to buy a set of speakers, you could do the same type of testing that Harman does with blind tests. You would need the all the models of speakers in one place, but once you did the PRIR's I bet the differences would be MUCH more apparent.

 

I would think that would be a huge selling point for hi-fi stores. They could have clients do much better A/B comparisons if they took the time to do PRIR's for their clients. Of course, if they found out that they couldn't tell the difference between a $2000 amp and a $20,000 amp, that would be bad! ( on a side note, one person I know did exactly that. He went to a local hi-fi store with his A/B switch box and challenged anyone to tell the difference between some super cheap preamps and mega buck preamps. Not a single person was able to tell definitively which was which.)

 

Just a thought...

post #2080 of 2628
Darinf, there are really 2 schools of thoughts in regards to gear evaluation. Short term A/B comparison is good to quickly do just that (roughly compare 2 products) as well as identify what I'd like to call "gross" properties of gear such as basic tonal balance, stage width, dynamics... It's terrible to identify more subtle qualities (or rather defects) that require extended audition without back and forth gear switching. One pitfall of the quick A/B is that most listeners will favor the louder (even if ever so slightly like 1dB) or the more v-shaped model when doing quick A/B, even experienced people. Just to find out after 1month at home that the presentation gets old. It's very very hard to resist the temptation of picking the more lively gear during in-store audition.

Call me cynical, but my guess about HK's 6second gear swap audition (it must make you dizzy to see those speaker ever rotating around wink.gif) is simply because that's how their main target audience will evaluate their gear (your average best buy store with the wall of speakers and switch board) and eventually select it over the competition. Imho, relying heavily on this for speaker or whatever gear voicing is a recipe for disaster for which a "boom and zing" type of response is the most likely outcome...

That being said, the possibilty of changing listening room and speakers at a touch of a button like the realiser does is simply fascinating!!
post #2081 of 2628
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Darinf, there are really 2 schools of thoughts in regards to gear evaluation. Short term A/B comparison is good to quickly do just that (roughly compare 2 products) as well as identify what I'd like to call "gross" properties of gear such as basic tonal balance, stage width, dynamics... It's terrible to identify more subtle qualities (or rather defects) that require extended audition without back and forth gear switching. One pitfall of the quick A/B is that most listeners will favor the louder (even if ever so slightly like 1dB) or the more v-shaped model when doing quick A/B, even experienced people. Just to find out after 1month at home that the presentation gets old. It's very very hard to resist the temptation of picking the more lively gear during in-store audition.
 

Yes, I agree. Level matching is critical.  I was thinking that a more critical ear or an experienced audiophile may be able to see past the "sizzle"

 

Quote:
Call me cynical, but my guess about HK's 6second gear swap audition (it must make you dizzy to see those speaker ever rotating around wink.gif) is simply because that's how their main target audience will evaluate their gear (your average best buy store with the wall of speakers and switch board) and eventually select it over the competition.
 

No one actually sees the speakers moving since it's a blind test.  They don't want anyone to know which sound is which speaker.

 

I never really thought about they way the average consumer will be evaluating the gear. However, I got the sense that this research was more about higher end gear, not something that is sold at Best Buy. They talked about testing $8K-$80K and higher speakers. They used this method to evaluate not just various models/brands of speakers, but also changes in existing products to see if the changes in measured performance translated to actual listener preference. It was a way for them to correlate measured performance with listener preference.

 

For example, they found that the number one issue affecting listener preference was unwanted resonances. If there were any resonances in the room or the speaker, no one liked the speaker. On the other hand they found that having time/phase aligned drivers made NO difference in user preference. Very interesting.

 

Quote:

 

Imho, relying heavily on this for speaker or whatever gear voicing is a recipe for disaster for which a "boom and zing" type of response is the most likely outcome...

 

That goes back to the Bose effect. V-shape sound sells. It's the same reason that the wall of screens at Best Buy has every screen turned up super bright and super saturated, etc.

post #2082 of 2628
Looks like it was an interesting talk darinf, I wish I still lived in san diego to hear this wink.gif
post #2083 of 2628

I have a question that I'm sure some of you out there can help with.  My knowledge of the technology of all this only extends so far.  Let's say I want to record the output from the Realiser and upload it to an ipod for portable listening.  Is there a connector with a digital optical connection on one end and a usb connector on the other end?  Do I then just open itunes on my desktop and somehow input the file and then transfer it to my portable device?  I know this can be done, but the actual nitty gritty is beyond my expertise.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Stewart

post #2084 of 2628
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Looks like it was an interesting talk darinf, I wish I still lived in san diego to hear this wink.gif

The link I posted before has a lot of what Kevin talked about at the meet.

 

Kevin Voecks

post #2085 of 2628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiritz View Post

I have a question that I'm sure some of you out there can help with.  My knowledge of the technology of all this only extends so far.  Let's say I want to record the output from the Realiser and upload it to an ipod for portable listening.  Is there a connector with a digital optical connection on one end and a usb connector on the other end?  Do I then just open itunes on my desktop and somehow input the file and then transfer it to my portable device?  I know this can be done, but the actual nitty gritty is beyond my expertise.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Stewart


Hi Stewart,

 

I actually do this all the time so I can have my Realiser sound but portable.

 

Right now, I am waiting for delivery of a little connector that allows me to access the optical audio input on my PC motherboard. Once I get that I will be able to record the digital output of the Realiser.

 

So for now, I just record the analog "phones" output from the back of the Realiser and feed that into a portable digital audio recorder I have, Tascam DR40. Yes, it's a bummer that the Realiser goes from D to A and then the recorder has to go from A back to D. But the sound quality is actually pretty good. You could also connect the analog Realiser output to the analog audio input of your computer and just record it that way. (I tried that, but the sound quality of my motherboard analog audio sounded terrible.) You could just get an add-on sound card for your desktop computer. If you are on a laptop only, then you will need some way to get optical input to your laptop.

 

I am not aware of an optical audio to USB converter/adapter. There are USB sound cards for laptops that might have optical audio inputs. You could probably find on locally at Fry's or online at Amazon. Buying locally might be easier so you can figure out if it works first and take it back if it doesn't.

 

I load the Realiser output WAV files into my Sansa Clip+ and then listen with my modified Koss PortaPro headphones.  For a super light, portable setup, it sounds great and the Realiser sound works.

 

A couple of issues. Once you record an album, for example, you have one big audio file that no longer has song information. So it does take some work to slice up the file into individual songs and then name them to make sense. I use this software with pretty good results: http://www.nch.com.au/splitter/index.html. It will split the files based on the sound. So I just set the threshold down all the way and it usually only finds the gaps between songs. But if you have music with some brief silence, that can also get sliced as a separate song.

 

Secondly, without head tracking, the Realiser virtual speakers sound strange when you are walking or running or lying down. It's hard for your brain to accept the effect since the speakers are moving around with your head. If you are sitting still, it works very well.

 

-Darin

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