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post #2551 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post
 

The output level of the Realiser is controlled by the volume control on the Realiser even on the optical output. So, just turn up the output volume on the Realiser if you want more gain on the output. To adjust the volume, just use the "up/down" arrows on the remote.

In my experience, the "Phones Clip" LED sometimes lights up when I raise the Realiser's volume above -6dB, especially when the LFE channel has high signal levels (which makes sense since it is supposed to peak 10dB higher in SPL than other channels).  So, to avoid clipping on the Realiser's outputs, I usually keep the Realiser's volume fixed at -6dB, and I use the volume control on an external headphone amp to make final adjustments in the analog domain.

post #2552 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon-LF View Post

My monitors are connected via 32 pin (I think that's what it is) connectors, and I have two of them. Once they get connected, the HDMI driver doesn't get detected. I'm wondering if I can HDMI into the smyth, HDMI out into a monitor, but that would take my dac/ amp out of the equation. The easiest work around is to set up a computer just for music and videos, just that's a little stupid... Even though I have 3 spare computers in the office

On a PC, I don't think you can have the audio output to two different devices at once. Also, many video cards with multiple outputs cannot output to all the outputs at the same time. For example, many video cards with two DVI outputs and an HDMI output can only use two of the three outputs at once. I don't think I've seen a laptop with three DVI/HDMI video outputs though.

 

I am not sure why sending HDMI out to a monitor would "take my dac/amp out of the equation."

 

Your video goes computer HDMI out -> Realiser HDMI in -> HDTV HDMI in.

Your audio goes computer HDMI out -> Realiser HDMI in -> Realiser optical out -> external DAC -> external headphone amp

 

That is the normal configuration for the Realiser.

post #2553 of 2713

Hello folks, a total newbie here. I recently ordered a Smyth Realiser A8, and while I'm excited by what it can do, I'm still perplexed about its choice of inputs. It has an HDMI input as its sole digital input (which I find strange, considering USB or S/PDIF is far more common in digital audio), and 4 pairs of RCA analog inputs.

 

1. It is my understanding that the Realiser's 3D surround sound conversion takes place in the digital domain. Does it mean that if it receives analog signal via its RCA inputs, there is an ADC (analog-digital converter) that converts the analog signal to digital before working its 3D magic? And if so, wouldn't it be better, in terms of sonic quality, to send a digital audio signal via its HDMI input (and thus bypass the ADC circuitry completely) for a purer sound?

 

From what I've heard, HDMI and Toslink (optical) aren't ideal choices for digital audio transmission, due to jitter (asynchronous USB is said to be superior in this regard). I was told that there aren't that many source components or music servers that provides a decent HDMI implementation for digital audio transmission.

 

2. That being said, what are some of the recommended ways to utilize the Realiser's HDMI input? I own an Apple iMac with Audirvana/Pure Music/Amarra that I use as my primary music server, and I'm considering using a Mini DisplayPort(Thunderbolt)-to-HDMI adapter and an HDMI cable to connect the iMac to Realiser. Will this work perfectly without any issues? But also importantly, even if it works, is this a recommended method in terms of sonic quality?

 

3. Some people seem to use the Oppo BDP-105 here. I did some research and it is a Blu-ray/SACD/CD player with multiple inputs and outputs. I'm guessing one could use its HDMI output to connect it to Realiser's HDMI input? Is this a better way to listen to music than the above method of connecting my iMac with an adapter?

 

4. If using the Oppo BDP-105 is better in terms of sonic performance, then is there a way to use the Oppo as a digital music server, like my iMac? I know it can play spinning discs, but I'm talking about nearly 500G of hi-rez digital audio files stored in a drive. In fact I store all my music collection not in my iMac but in an external hard drive connected via FireWire, the iMac solely playing the role of audio playback using its softwares (e.g. Amarra). I don't think there is a built-in drive inside the Oppo that could store music files; is it possible to connect an external hard drive to the Oppo and have it play the audio files inside it, sending it to the Realiser via its HDMI output? And is this also a recommended method?

 

5. Overall, in theory, what would be the best method in terms of sonic quality?

 

A) Hard drive > iMac (w/ Amarra) > Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter > Realiser > headphone amp > headphones

The sole method that does not require the Oppo BDP-105 at all

 

B) Hard drive > iMac (w/ Amarra) > USB cable (connecting the iMac to Oppo's USB DAC input) > Oppo BDP-105 > HDMI cable (connecting Oppo's HDMI output to Realiser's HDMI input) > Realiser > headphone amp > headphones

Using the Oppo BDP-105, but taking advantage of the high quality playback capability of Amarra. Technically, the Oppo BDP-105 simply works a bridge between the iMac and Realiser, a USB-to-HDMI converter if you will. I'm not sure if this method is even possible, though...

 

C) Hard drive > iMac (w/ Amarra) > Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter > Realiser > HDMI cable (connecting Realiser's HDMI output to Oppo's HDMI input) > Oppo BDP-105 > headphone amp > headphones

This method is the same as A, but instead of connecting the Realiser directly to the headphone amp, it connects to the Oppo's HDMI input (thus bypassing the Realiser's built-in DAC and instead utilizing the Oppo's DAC). Of course, this method would be meaningless if the Oppo's DAC isn't superior to the built-in DAC of the Realiser.

 

D) Hard drive > iMac (w/ Amarra) > Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter > Realiser > Toslink optical cable > Oppo BDP-105 (or any multichannel DAC with optical input) > headphone amp > headphones

This method is the same as C, but instead of HDMI this time we're using an optical cable. I guess it depends on which of the two. HDMI or optical, is a superior implementation for digital audio. Also, speaking of which, can Toslink transmit multichannel digital audio data too?

 

E) Hard drive > Oppo BDP-105 > HDMI cable > Realiser > headphone amp > headphones

In this case, we're not using the iMac (w/ Amarra). This method would be better, if 1) it is possible to connect an external hard drive to the Oppo and use the Oppo as a music server, and 2) Oppo's digital audio playback is superior to that of Amarra.

 

I know it is a long question, but I would appreciate feedback or answers from anyone who is experienced. Thank you in advance. :)

post #2554 of 2713

S/PDIF does not have enough bandwidth for uncompressed 7.1 audio and AC3/DTS support etc would require extra processing, licensing costs and not being future proof for upcoming codecs etc. So HDMI is a must for uncompressed PCM sound, industry standard player connectivity etc. USB would have been nice, but more components, development, expenses, computer playback required... I guess logical reasons why they didn't add it (shame though).

 

Processing is digital and of course it's always better to skip any A/D conversion. Forget hocus pocus Jitter-cliches, Realiser by it's processing nature does things asynchronously which should eliminate it anyway (and when using external DAC handling is up to it) - how much is left, I don't really care. Headphones and PRIRs matter much more. If the ultimate A/B test switching between speakers / headphones sound identical, what's more there to be had?

 

Just use whatever is the most convenient and simplest method of connecting your HDMI. Preferably direct from iMac if it works. And if you have a great DAC, you can certainly use it with the Realiser optical output (it outputs the 2 channel stereo processed audio which you hear in headphones, no "multichannel" DAC required). HDMI out from Realiser is only meant for passing possible original video signal (but this can mess up things, so use other direct connections for your video/monitors if possible).


Edited by hekeli - 1/29/14 at 3:10am
post #2555 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post
 

S/PDIF does not have enough bandwidth for uncompressed 7.1 audio and AC3/DTS support etc would require extra processing, licensing costs and not being future proof for upcoming codecs etc...

 

...And if you have a great DAC, you can certainly use it with the Realiser optical output (it outputs the 2 channel stereo processed audio which you hear in headphones, no "multichannel" DAC required)...

 

By S/PDIF, are you including Toslink (optical too)? If optical cannot support uncompressed 7.1 audio, and only 2 channel stereo, then how would I enjoy multichannel audio?

 

I know multichannel DAC is not "required" if I could only be happy with 2 channel stereo sound, but what if I want multichannel sound?

 

Let me rephrase my question. In order to enjoy multichannel (5.1 or 7.1) surround sound in 3D with my headphones, which of the followings would work?

 

a. Realiser > headphone amp > headphones

b. Realiser > optical cable > multichannel DAC > headphone amp > headphones

c. Realiser > optical cable > stereo DAC > headphone amp > headphones

 

Also, are there other options besides those three that could produce multichannel sound?

 

To be honest, I don't understand a headphone amp and headphones, which are only stereo 2-channel audio components in the analog domain, could produce a multichannel sound with the Realiser.

post #2556 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

To be honest, I don't understand a headphone amp and headphones, which are only stereo 2-channel audio components in the analog domain, could produce a multichannel sound with the Realiser.

 

Have you read any material??

 

http://smyth-research.com/technology.html

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/smyth-research-realiser-a8-processor-and-headphones

 

Realiser takes 7.1 and output 2 channel audio track (a "binaural" one). If you read carefully these pages I'm sure you will have an "a-ha" moment and feel silly. :D

post #2557 of 2713

Hi everyone,

 

New member (but old reader), I'm about to receive a Realiser.

 

I haven't been able to read here what kind of headphone would match the realiser best (I've read some pages...not all, sorry if it has been written)

 

 

Are Open headphone better than closed ? 

Dynamic Vs Ortho ?

How about In ears ? 

 

 

I've now a Sennheiser HD25, a Beyer DT770 Pro 80Ohms, and a Bang & Olufsen H6, and will soon received an Alphadog.

All are closed.

post #2558 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

To be honest, I don't understand a headphone amp and headphones, which are only stereo 2-channel audio components in the analog domain, could produce a multichannel sound with the Realiser.

 

Have you read any material??

 

http://smyth-research.com/technology.html

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/smyth-research-realiser-a8-processor-and-headphones

 

Realiser takes 7.1 and output 2 channel audio track (a "binaural" one). If you read carefully these pages I'm sure you will have an "a-ha" moment and feel silly. :D

 

Yes, I had already read both materials. Sorry for my lack of understanding... so I guess that a multichannel DAC wouldn't be necessary, I could still set up a stereo DAC between Realiser (via its optical output) and the headphone amp and still enjoy a multichannel sound.

 

Here's another question. I'm aware that the Realiser can receive up to 24/192 digital audio data via its HDMI input. I also understand that it is NOT possible to take binaural-converted audio signal via the Realiser's HDMI output, but only through its optical output. With its optical output, does the audio signal retain its original sampling rate (in other words, is the Realiser a NOS device)? Or is it automatically upsampled, downsampled, or resampled to a fixed sampling rate?

post #2559 of 2713

I know many of you may have already seen this, but I think Realiser owners might find it interesting:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/689299/out-of-your-head-new-virtual-surround-simulator

post #2560 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

Here's another question. I'm aware that the Realiser can receive up to 24/192 digital audio data via its HDMI input. I also understand that it is NOT possible to take binaural-converted audio signal via the Realiser's HDMI output, but only through its optical output. With its optical output, does the audio signal retain its original sampling rate (in other words, is the Realiser a NOS device)? Or is it automatically upsampled, downsampled, or resampled to a fixed sampling rate?

 

Realiser resamples everything to 24/48, that's the level the DSP/convolution engine is designed to run probably partly of processing power needed (and any movies and HD audio is usually multiple of 48, so a better choice than 44 I guess). Optical output is naturally fixed to the same.

 

And before you or anyone go all hifi on how you "loose" something from your 24/192 material... let's face it, you are running all your sound though a DSP engine with mic'ed data that seriously alters your sound anyway. But the result can still be awesome. (And most people would not pass blind test on a simple 192 -> 48 resample anyway).

 

But naturally all our wallets are waiting for the HD version of Realiser with USB input.. :wink: 


Edited by hekeli - 1/30/14 at 10:10am
post #2561 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post
 

 

Realiser resamples everything to 24/48, that's the level the DSP/convolution engine is designed to run probably partly of processing power needed (and any movies and HD audio is usually multiple of 48, so a better choice than 44 I guess). Optical output is naturally fixed to the same.

 

And before you or anyone go all hifi on how you "loose" something from your 24/192 material... let's face it, you are running all your sound though a DSP engine with mic'ed data that seriously alters your sound anyway. But the result can still be awesome. (And most people would not pass blind test on a simple 192 -> 48 resample anyway).

 

But naturally all our wallets are waiting for the HD version of Realiser with USB input.. :wink: 

I agree. I really wonder how much difference you could hear even if the Realiser could process at 192k/24bit. 

 

The other thing you have to remember is that in order to process at a higher sampling/bitrate, you would have to do the measurements at that sampling rate too. You are talking about implementing hardware that can record at 192k and then redoing all your PRIR's.

 

It doesn't do any good to just process at high bit rate if your PRIR is not the same resolution.

 

My software can process 8 channels at 192k/32bit right now, but I don't have any way of recording a 192k measurement. I am working on it though just to see if it can be done. I can take 192k audio files and process them at 192k/32bit, but it all ends up at 48k/24bit if the measurements are at that rate. I could up sample the measurements to 192K, but I don't think that buys you anything.

 

Well at least my software supports USB. ;-)

post #2562 of 2713
Nowadays, ADC at 192kHz/24bit are mundane feature I believe. The issue is probably rather on the dsp side as were talking serious throughput for 8 channels / 2 users in stereo for 4/8 seconds of fir data...
post #2563 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post
 

I know many of you may have already seen this, but I think Realiser owners might find it interesting:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/689299/out-of-your-head-new-virtual-surround-simulator

 

 

I've tried this a couple of weeks ago. To be honest I thought the result was horrible. As far as I understand, it emulates the processing in the Realiser, but lacking a personalised measurement it's pure chance whether any of the simulated systems work. It's like taking a random person's PRIR and hoping that it'll work for someone else. As long as there's no HRTF adjustment it'll be useless for the majority of people, or at least the results will be far below of what the system is capable of. Good idea, poor execution.

post #2564 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Dude View Post
 

 

 

I've tried this a couple of weeks ago. To be honest I thought the result was horrible. As far as I understand, it emulates the processing in the Realiser, but lacking a personalised measurement it's pure chance whether any of the simulated systems work. It's like taking a random person's PRIR and hoping that it'll work for someone else. As long as there's no HRTF adjustment it'll be useless for the majority of people, or at least the results will be far below of what the system is capable of. Good idea, poor execution.

Not if you load your own measurements in the software. But for that, you either need to own a Realiser, or at least have temporary access to one.

post #2565 of 2713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Dude View Post
 

 

 

I've tried this a couple of weeks ago. To be honest I thought the result was horrible. As far as I understand, it emulates the processing in the Realiser, but lacking a personalised measurement it's pure chance whether any of the simulated systems work. It's like taking a random person's PRIR and hoping that it'll work for someone else. As long as there's no HRTF adjustment it'll be useless for the majority of people, or at least the results will be far below of what the system is capable of. Good idea, poor execution.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by padam View Post
 

Not if you load your own measurements in the software. But for that, you either need to own a Realiser, or at least have temporary access to one.

Thanks @padam for responding. Yes, he is right. I offer a service for Realiser owners so they can e-mail me their PRIR/HPEQ and I can create a custom preset in Out Of Your Head using your personal HRTF. This should be close to the same as the Realiser.

 

However, @Mad Dude is right. It is "pure chance" that any of the presets in Out Of Your Head will match the user's HRTF. But, after doing beta testing and demoing it to lots of people at meets and shows, I have found that for 90% of the people, the localization of the sound out of your head works very well. Is it perfect? Of course not. Not without a personalized HRTF, but does it work for a lot of people? I think so. It is very much "your mileage may vary", so that is why I require the user to install and run the trial version of Out Of Your Head before being able to purchase a license. People need to go through all the presets and see if any of the HRTF's work for them.

 

For Realiser owners who have their own PRIR measurements, someone else's HRTF is probably not going to sound as good. But I have had some Realiser owners tell me that some of the presets in Out Of Your Head work as good as their own HRTF's. So it just depends how close your HRTF matches those in Out Of Your Head.

 

I think "poor implementation" really means "poor HRTF match" to your ears/head. I  think that's a big distinction. It's like saying this brand of jeans is bad because they don't fit me. But that's OK. If it doesn't work for you, then you shouldn't buy it. But I do encourage people to try it for themselves to see how well Out Of Your Head "fits" them. I guess "poor implementation" could mean it's not good since the software cannot match everyone's HRTF. OK, I can see that, but one step at a time... I think having a software only solution that costs a lot less and is a lot more flexible has some merit.

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