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Long awaited Smyth SVS Realiser NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE - Page 4

post #46 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liver View Post
clothes, cars, life insurance, shoes, medicine, etc can all be normalized for certain standards of deviation. why not this?
I suppose you could make an artificial head that is normalized and make a setting for it.
post #47 of 2688
Isn't that essentially what Dolby headphone is?
post #48 of 2688
I'm all over this like ugly on ape! I've been following the SVS system since Day 1 (or very soon thereafter) and was the first one in the room last year in Ft. Lauderdale for a demo. This technology is truly remarkable as it seems to recreate the room environment in an utterly perfect manner. You can't help but to get a sh!t eating grin and just keep shaking your head repeatedly in disbelief. I've been on the waiting list for some time and hope that my name is somewhere up near the top. I've just fired off an email indicating that I'm ready when they are, whenever my number comes up!

Of all of my audio/video revelations, the SVS Realizer rates right up there in my top 5 personal "ahhh" moments (in no particular order):

1. Hearing a pair of balanced HD650s through a Singlepower SDS-XLR and then comparing a single ended pair of HD650s through the same amp while playing the same music at the same volume level and finding it impossible to believe I was listening to the same amp. The joy of balanced! "I've gotta go this route, and now!"

2. Hearing an all MBL reference line 2 channel audio system for the first time at THE Show in New York in April 2004 and knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I would one day own that same system and the never feel a need to upgrade again. The joy of finding your sound signature! "This system must have been designed just for me!"

3. Doing an in store demo at Sound Advice in Florida with the D-Box motion controller system, and "feeling" as though I was riding the horse that I was seeing on the screen, or as though I was driving the race car as it hit the apex of the corner and started pulling some serious G's. "I need to add motion to my audio and video!"

4. Seeing BluRay done "right" for the first time and wondering how what I was watching could possibly have been the same movie I'd watched a dozen times or more on DVD. "Time for a PS3. I'll enjoy movies even more now!"

5. Doing the SVS demo and knowing immediately that all of those great things I had read about the Smyth system and technology were more true than I could have imagined! Need to get one of these as soon as they're available, program it to replicate my MBL system, and use it with any/all headphone and amp combinations to make them markedly more realistic to the point that I'll no longer consider headphone listening to be a compromise for speaker listening! "How much? It doesn't matter. Sign me up!"

That list doesn't even count my vinyl rediscovery! The difference between listening to a "Smyth'ed" headphone system as opposed to a non-Smyth'ed headphone system is much more significant than the difference between the analog versus digital front end representation of your favorite albums. The Raalizer adds that same sense of warmth, palpability and dimensionality to your favorite music as does vinyl, but to an even greater degree than do the smooth grooves of a flawlessly executed 200 gram remastering job of an otherwise botched and overly compressed mid-80's digitized blunder of a recording. It makes the listening experience so qualitatively different that you cannot even begin to quantify its effect. It makes no sense to do so. You simply know that you're finally hearing what sounds "right" to your ears.

Ok, I'll stop now.... I'm obviously excited. This stuff is not only real, but revolutionary in terms of its ability to transform your headphone listening experiences, thus taking you to higher levels of "oneness" with the music. Or at least that's what it does for me.

Congrats to the Smyth brothers!
post #49 of 2688
Nice post.

I just sent another email to Lorr to get an update on availability. He told me to wait a month about a month ago when I first put my name on the list.
post #50 of 2688
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liver View Post
Eyeglasses have the same design from person to person. A certain prescription will get you most of the way there. May be a bit blurry, but acceptable to pass the driver's test, and much better than where you started. If you want the perfect vision then get your exact numbers.
Sounds reasonable, but in practice it's probably not even quite as universally acceptable as "reading glasses for everyone" picked up at the drug store.

On a previous visit to Smyth last year for a demo of the prototype, I also had my own personalization done using their sound room. I also wanted to learn exactly about what we're discussing now... namely could I use somebody else's personalization (say mailed to me on a flash card, from a calibration done some place else in some other listening room and with some other headphones) and even notice, or care? Or would it be perfectly acceptable (i.e. "a provided default")?

The real question being asked, of course, was could another family member or visiting friend listen to a demonstration of SVS using my own existing personalization? Or would this be impossible (or at least poorly advised), and would their own personalization actually be required (impossible for me, who doesn't have a true 5.1 loudspeaker system).

So one of the other people there went through his own personalization, and we stored it as preset #2 (mine being saved as preset #1). And then I put on the headphones and we activated SVS, and I was able to toggle back and forth between the two presets. Again, the presets were really for two different people.

Well quite interestingly (although not really surprisingly) the difference was dramatic... not subtle.

My preset produced "normal" sound, coming from what seemed like the loudspeakers properly placed around me, and with the sound sources properly "centered" where the loudspeakers sat... head level around the room.

In contrast, the other person's preset produced what appeared to be distorted and "off-center" (both vertically and horizontally) sound sources. There appeared to be an unnatural reverb, and it was all distinctly unnatural and unrealistic in total.

And unlike with borrowing somebody else's prescription glasses to read a menu (and trying to turn and twist your head just so and squint your eyes, in order to hopefully eke out a bit of acceptable prescription for your own eyes from one small corner of one lens from the other person's prescription lenses) which might be successful, there's no way to accomplish the equivalent twisting and squinting of your ears while wearing headphones.

Trust me... it was like listening to loudspeakers that are out of phase, or to a sound system with too much reverb applied (i.e. a very bad echo chamber).

It's clear from all of this that just because we all have two ears on the side of our heads, the way we all actually hear the identical sound (as measured by calibration microphones inserted in our ears, for a known constant sweep signal source) is apparently dramatically different.

Incidentally, I believe this is precisely why Dolby Headphone sounds so different to different people, and varies widely depending on the individual multi-channel sound source being processed and delivered. Trying to come up with a "one size fits all" average codec result that is "pretty good or acceptable" for many "average" people works for some people and sound contents but does not work for other combinations. Not bad, but not great. Different from plain 2-channel stereo, but nothing like properly personalized SVS.
post #51 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post
Isn't that essentially what Dolby headphone is?
except for the head tracking which realy puts the sound outside your head in real space vs the best binaural or other processing that doesn't track head position in real space&time - resulting in your brain rejecting the spatial information when your head moves and the "image" turns with you - giving the usual "between you ears" headphone spacialization

I was also at the florida meet and heard the SVS system demo - SVS vs binaural, Dobly Stereo or Crossfeed is closer to the difference between stereo(or good multichannel) and mono loudspeaker sound
post #52 of 2688
5. Doing the SVS demo and knowing immediately that all of those great things I had read about the Smyth system and technology were more true than I could have imagined! Need to get one of these as soon as they're available, program it to replicate my MBL system, and use it with any/all headphone and amp combinations to make them markedly more realistic to the point that I'll no longer consider headphone listening to be a compromise for speaker listening! "How much? It doesn't matter. Sign me up!

Yeah. All but the last bit is true for me too. Got the cash but need a fence. lol

**$^! The fence but I am married and yeah, I lose. I really wish it was $500 for some software or something easy. Too bad for now. I am certain a trickle down will eventually get me there in a few years in a receiver.
post #53 of 2688
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
1. Through a Singlepower SDS-XLR and then comparing a single ended pair of HD650s through the same amp while playing the same music at the same volume level and finding it impossible to believe I was listening to the same amp. The joy of balanced! "I've gotta go this route, and now!"
Actually, this is the most relevant new "subjective fact" I've read in a while. I've been trying to decide whether or not to reconfigure my setup to include XLR connections and your comment is very illuminating.

My current [1995-vintage] arrangement involves a Stax SRM-T1S amp and Omega-1 heaphones plugged into the amp.

The [single ended RCA] line input to the Stax amp comes from the RCA line output of a DBX 14/10 EQ, and the [single ended RCA] line input to the DBX EQ comes from the RCA headphone line output of the SVS Realiser. This arrangement allows me to benefit from the 14-band analog tone control of the EQ, something I've become unable to live without after maybe 25 years of use.

Now an alternative possible configuration, which would eliminate the DBX EQ, might go as follows: SVS optical digital processed headphone output instead of analog RCA headphone output, going to the optical input of an external DAC (say Headroom or Neko Audio) which provides XLR balanced output. Then balanced XLR output of the DAC to XLR balanced input of the Stax SRM-T1S.

So, current approach is (a) all single-ended RCA but (b) allows the use of the wonderful sounding DBX EQ. Granted, I've settled on a particular EQ preset that I never ever change (and which therefore might just as well have been a hard-wired "EQ chip" somewhere in the connection path, if possible) and which I use for ALL sources. I guess you might say this is my "set of prescription eyeglasses for my own ears" which makes listening to all sound sources 20-20, ie. "perfect" for me.

Alternative approach uses (a) a presumably somewhat superior external DAC (e.g. Neko uses TI 1394a DSP, whereas SVS Realiser uses TI 1398 DSP) and (b) all XLR-balanced connections to the Stax amp, but (c) loses DBX EQ. I don't know if I could live without the EQ effect, but maybe the offsetting audible benefits of external DAC and XLR connections would make me change my mind.

So... which do you think I would prefer? Would any difference between TI 1398 DAC chip and TI 1394a DAC chip be discernible? Would apparently audible improvement of XLR over RCA be more than offset by the loss of DBX EQ. Without a DBX EQ in the equation I suppose the answer would be a given, but in light of the EQ the answer seems much harder to intuit.

Again... which sound would I prefer?

I am looking forward to the CanJam show in a few weeks, specifically to answer these questions for myself through actual listening to the alternatives. The proof is in the pudding. I will bring all of my gear, to try it for myself (borrowing an external DAC and XLR cables there, hopefully).

But your comments regarding the apparent and non-subtle magical difference of all-XLR sound vs. RCA, well that's something very interesting to hear.
post #54 of 2688
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
except for the head tracking which really puts the sound outside your head in real space vs the best binaural or other processing that doesn't track head position in real space&time - resulting in your brain rejecting the spatial information when your head moves and the "image" turns with you - giving the usual "between your ears" headphone spatialization
Interesting observation.

I still have not connected the head tracker to my Realiser, and thus am still listening through the old-fashioned "sound image moves with you when you turn your head". According to the theory, your brain should thus reject the 3D-ambience spatial information cues and instead produce the usual "between your ears" spatialization.

However when I'm sitting in a chair and watching HDTV (programming or a movie), I'm NOT turning my head! I'm looking straight ahead and I stay that way.

So while I do accept what would probably be a very dramatic difference if I were wearing the head tracker and turned my head to reach for a glass of water, I honestly don't see how this head tracker really has a dramatic significance when in "normal state" and staring fixedly at the screen directly in front of you.

Now there's no real reason I'm not using the head tracker, other than that I just didn't take it out of the carton when I reconfigured my components a few weekends ago... just to reduce, even temporarily, by just one more wire what went on behind the equipment and what I had to do.

I'll most certainly take it out and set it up soon, if for nothing more than to convince myself that I'm either right or grossly wrong in my current opinion about its effect or non-effect on increasing 3D-ambience virtualization... even when you don't move your head. I've actually already got the bracket mounted on my headphone band (from when I went to Smyth for the personalization using my own equipment, and they attached the bracket for me using a rubber-band kluge).
post #55 of 2688
In this hobby (yea hobby) we over exaggerate quite a bit. Terms such as "night and day," and "completely different" are thrown out casually. I don't believe many of those terms to be true on audiophile boards.

Basically, if it was so different, say would a piano not sound like a piano? Would speech completely be undecipherable?

I make the assertion that completely different from one preset to the other is not accurate. Yea, not optimal, but not so different that you would have NO idea what is going on.

I recognize this is a very niche product, and those of us who get it will optimize the system. Why else would you pay so much?

But to say it doesn't come with a preset because it has a "night and day" difference from the next (average) user is a load. For two different users to have the optimal experience, you have to optimize the set up, but I really doubt it will have such a difference that I may think that I am watching Star Trek when, in fact, Lord of the Rings is playing.

FWIW, I'm going to get one of these when they are more plentiful, not necessarily cheaper.
post #56 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liver View Post
But to say it doesn't come with a preset because it has a "night and day" difference from the next (average) user is a load.
In the WSR article, Stephen Smyth states: "we decided to ensure that our systems ship with what we call generic room responses, to give you some type of experience prior to initiating a personalized measurement."

So it will come with presets (unless they changed their minds), but those presets will not be as good as your own personalized measurement.
post #57 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Garci View Post
In the WSR article, Stephen Smyth states: "we decided to ensure that our systems ship with what we call generic room responses, to give you some type of experience prior to initiating a personalized measurement."

So it will come with presets (unless they changed their minds), but those presets will not be as good as your own personalized measurement.
That is awesome!

Of course one (and I) would expect a complete personalized package to be best in any circumstance.
post #58 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Actually, this is the most relevant new "subjective fact" I've read in a while. I've been trying to decide whether or not to reconfigure my setup to include XLR connections and your comment is very illuminating.

My current [1995-vintage] arrangement involves a Stax SRM-T1S amp and Omega-1 heaphones plugged into the amp.

The [single ended RCA] line input to the Stax amp comes from the RCA line output of a DBX 14/10 EQ, and the [single ended RCA] line input to the DBX EQ comes from the RCA headphone line output of the SVS Realiser. This arrangement allows me to benefit from the 14-band analog tone control of the EQ, something I've become unable to live without after maybe 25 years of use.

Now an alternative possible configuration, which would eliminate the DBX EQ, might go as follows: SVS optical digital processed headphone output instead of analog RCA headphone output, going to the optical input of an external DAC (say Headroom or Neko Audio) which provides XLR balanced output. Then balanced XLR output of the DAC to XLR balanced input of the Stax SRM-T1S.

So, current approach is (a) all single-ended RCA but (b) allows the use of the wonderful sounding DBX EQ. Granted, I've settled on a particular EQ preset that I never ever change (and which therefore might just as well have been a hard-wired "EQ chip" somewhere in the connection path, if possible) and which I use for ALL sources. I guess you might say this is my "set of prescription eyeglasses for my own ears" which makes listening to all sound sources 20-20, ie. "perfect" for me.

Alternative approach uses (a) a presumably somewhat superior external DAC (e.g. Neko uses TI 1394a DSP, whereas SVS Realiser uses TI 1398 DSP) and (b) all XLR-balanced connections to the Stax amp, but (c) loses DBX EQ. I don't know if I could live without the EQ effect, but maybe the offsetting audible benefits of external DAC and XLR connections would make me change my mind.

So... which do you think I would prefer? Would any difference between TI 1398 DAC chip and TI 1394a DAC chip be discernible? Would apparently audible improvement of XLR over RCA be more than offset by the loss of DBX EQ. Without a DBX EQ in the equation I suppose the answer would be a given, but in light of the EQ the answer seems much harder to intuit.

Again... which sound would I prefer?

I am looking forward to the CanJam show in a few weeks, specifically to answer these questions for myself through actual listening to the alternatives. The proof is in the pudding. I will bring all of my gear, to try it for myself (borrowing an external DAC and XLR cables there, hopefully).

But your comments regarding the apparent and non-subtle magical difference of all-XLR sound vs. RCA, well that's something very interesting to hear.
To tell you the truth, I'm easily lost on technical details, and thus am not even remotely close to being the right person to be answering these sorts of questions.

But I am convinced (subjectively, as you've correctly pointed out) that fully balanced headphone amps will take your headphone listening experience a long way further than single ended amps/phones possibly can. It's not at all subtle, IMO.

Having said that, many people feel that certain headphones respond better than others when they are recabled to balanced, and that the HD650s in particular respond especially well. Thus, the demo that I did with the HD650s that blew me away (as well as about a dozen people who were there that day) might have been "as good as it gets" in terms of the relative advantages that balanced can provide over single ended.

I'm not expecting all of my headphones to improve in equal measure, and thus am carefully selecting those which will get recabled to balanced and those that will remain single ended. If money was no object, I'd get 15-20 pairs of headphones recabled! But for now, I'll start with 2-3 and take it from there. Recabling is an expensive road to go down!
post #59 of 2688
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
But I am convinced (subjectively, as you've correctly pointed out) that fully balanced headphone amps will take your headphone listening experience a long way further than single ended amps/phones possibly can. It's not at all subtle, IMO.
I appreciate your comments.

Just tonight I decided to see what difference, if any, I could discern when "removing" my DBX EQ (and its current one-and-only 14-band preset which I use 100% of the time to listen to everything), all other things being equal and listening to an episode of "Lost" through SVS. Actually what I did was push the "FLAT" button, to eliminate the EQ effect completely, alternating with the button to re-enable my EQ preset. Very straightforward A/B comparison with all the other electronics (including headphone/amp) being the same.

And I've got to say it, I do prefer listening through the 14-band tone control of the EQ.

So, once again, the real issue is not whether XLR connections provide a superior sound to RCA. That's probably a given (and, as you say, not just a subtle difference). The real issue is whether any improvement offerered by XLR (and "flat", i.e. no tone control from the source) is more appealing to my ears than RCA plus EQ tone control which that connection method allows.

That's the experiment I'm hoping to perform in a few weeks, at CanJam. Results to be determined at that time.

And don't forget the additional connection option ("partial XLR") of running digital output of SVS through an external DAC, and then XLR-to-RCA cable to DBX EQ and RCA to Stax amp. This adds external DAC, and a "partial XLR" path out of the DAC (although cable conversion to RCA may well lose much/all? of any pure XLR benefit), in order to support the continued use of the DBX EQ while still gaining something from the external DAC and at least "partial XLR" connection.
post #60 of 2688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
You can't help but to get a sh!t eating grin and just keep shaking your head repeatedly in disbelief.
who grins whilst eating ****?
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