Long awaited Smyth SVS Realiser NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
post-15085827
Post #2,896 of 2,909

Sanctuary

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
323
Reaction score
41
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Posts
323
Likes
41
Have you tried using the "mix block" on channels 3, 4, 5 and 6? Mix blocks can send the L and/or R input signals to the C, SW, LS and RS speakers, and they keep the full range of frequencies. By the way, the tactile output has its own mix block as well.

Example
3: C = 0.5 L + 0.5 R
4: SW = 0.5 L + 0.5 R
5: LS = 1.0 L
6: RS = 1.0 R
That's the first thing I thought to try, yet each time I would go into each individual channel to try and access the mix block, the cursor simply would not move down to them. It only wanted to move in the SW menu, although I didn't think to try it again in the TAC menu. So I'll do that next, thanks.

Also, I've been having a hell of an issue that I cannot pinpoint. I don't know if it's simply something that was not a consideration, and so it's a default in the A8, or if it's something odd with my receiver. I keep having this problem where even if all speakers were calibrated to the same level, and the sweeps for each sound approximately the same volume, if I do too many SPK attempts (to get near perfect fronts, and a perfect center), once the PRIR is finalized, I end up with the surrounds, rears and even the center sounding extremely faint compared to the fronts, and that's considering I used a front to make a virtual center.

I do a lot of retries until I get it right, capturing the two fronts (together), then the center by itself, then the sides (together), the rears (together) and then finally the sub. Can't tell if there's simply a limit on how many SPK you are allowed to do of the same channel before it screws up, or if my receiver for whatever reason gets "tired" after a while (even though I've actually tried turning it off for a few minutes in between SPK attempts to see if that would fix it and it did nothing). It seems like I got lucky with the one attempt where I used both of my fronts for all the speakers aside from the sub, but there was still volume discrepancies. I "fixed" this by turning all of the louder speakers down by 12db and raised all of the lower volume speakers by 12db. This "works", but it's hardly optimal and doesn't tell me what the actual source of the issue is. :disappointed:

What makes this even more depressing is after hearing how a front speaker sounds as a replacement center. It just sounds sooooo much better in every respect, and the center I do have isn't exactly trash.

edit: Oh wait, do you actually mean MENU > Number? Because I was using MENU > Channel. Can't look again until tomorrow.
 
Last edited:
     Share This Post       
post-15086444
Post #2,897 of 2,909

Erik Garci

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Messages
385
Reaction score
89
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Posts
385
Likes
89
That's the first thing I thought to try, yet each time I would go into each individual channel to try and access the mix block, the cursor simply would not move down to them. It only wanted to move in the SW menu, although I didn't think to try it again in the TAC menu. So I'll do that next, thanks.
Did you check the channel numbers? Only channels 3, 4, 5 and 6 have mix blocks. Channels 1, 2, 7 and 8 don't have them, so even though MIX BLOCK appears on the display, you cannot access it.
Also, I've been having a hell of an issue that I cannot pinpoint. I don't know if it's simply something that was not a consideration, and so it's a default in the A8, or if it's something odd with my receiver. I keep having this problem where even if all speakers were calibrated to the same level, and the sweeps for each sound approximately the same volume, if I do too many SPK attempts (to get near perfect fronts, and a perfect center), once the PRIR is finalized, I end up with the surrounds, rears and even the center sounding extremely faint compared to the fronts, and that's considering I used a front to make a virtual center.
Which method are you using exactly? It sounds like you are setting SAVE AT END to NO and repeating the calibration for certain speakers. Maybe instead you should try setting AVG LOOK C and AVG LOOK L-R to more repetitions.
What makes this even more depressing is after hearing how a front speaker sounds as a replacement center. It just sounds sooooo much better in every respect, and the center I do have isn't exactly trash.
Are you placing it at ear level? That would be ideal for calibration.
edit: Oh wait, do you actually mean MENU > Number? Because I was using MENU > Channel. Can't look again until tomorrow.
You can press MENU 3, and set SPEAKER to C, even if C was assigned to a different channel number when you created the PRIR. Then you can press MENU C, select C vSPKR SETUP1, select MIX BLOCK, set coefficients for channels 1-4, press OK, set coefficients for channels 5-8, and press OK again.
 
Last edited:
     Share This Post       
post-15239524
Post #2,898 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
Hello, everyone. This is my first time posting here, so I hope this is the correct thread for this type of question.
I work as a composer and I'm currently learning the music production side of the work. I have a big focus on mixing at the moment and I'm working through a great book called "Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio" by Mike Senior. In this book Mike Senior highly recommends the Smyth Realiser A8 for mixing purposes, claiming it to be the only solution that works for professional mixing on headset. (Mike Senior's full review on SoundOnSound: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/smyth-research-realiser-a8)
I'm very interested in the A8 (or A16) Realiser for stereo mixing purposes, as I have several friends who work as professional sound engineers with access to really nice studios in which I could get a PRIR or two. If the Realiser A8/A16 works as Mike Senior explains this could be a HUGE money saver for me, as I'm currently renting a fairly expensive studio in order to have access to a well-treated room + good studio monitors. If I could mix on a headset without the normal pitfalls of headset mixing, this would literally be a dream come true.

My questions are:
1) I will use a Realiser for stereo and/or mono listening only - for mixing music only. I'm not interested in film / surround. Would a second hand Realiser A8 be enough for my purpose, or would you guys recommend me to save up for a Realiser A16?
2) If I buy a Realiser A8 second hand - what could be done if the thing needs service / replacement parts? I've tried to read most of this thread, and based on posts the unit itself seems to be of good quality, but there appears to be a problem with the longevity of the head-tracker battery. I'm a bit scared of paying 1500-2000 Euros for a second hand A8 if a small thing gets broken (say the head-tracker or the in-ear microphones) leaving the unit basically useless.

I'm sorry if these are basic questions, but since the whole Smyth Realiser system is very new to me it would mean a lot to get some feedback from experienced users like you guys here on head-fi.

Thank you very much for your help in advance,
Zorlee
 
     Share This Post       
post-15240165
Post #2,899 of 2,909

dsperber

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
568
Reaction score
173
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Posts
568
Likes
173
Sounds like for your needs a used A8 is perfectly fine. They don't manufacture it any longer so I don't know how service/parts are being handled. You could try sending them an email to find out what, if anything, is their "solution". But honestly there's no way to "abuse" the unit, or break it. There are no moving parts, only the remote. There's a USB charging port on the front, and an SD card drive. But otherwise the device is totally passive and all-electronic. As far as the microphones provided, it's hard to imagine they could "die".

However I can tell you that I own two A8's, one circa 2009 (analog-only) and one circa 2013 (HDMI-enabled), and neither of them has ever required any service of any kind. As far as the head-tracker battery, I unfortunately hadn't actually inserted the two items into the two A8 units so that they could be recharged, until just last year. By that time the battery in the 2009 head-tracker apparently had fully died and could not be recharged. However the one from 2013 was still "working fine", could be fully charged, and I now use it. I don't actually need two for the A8 as I have now replaced my original analog-only 2009 A8 with a new A16, which has its own brand new head-tracker.

If you buy your used A8 from a seller who guarantees its still in near-perfect like-new condition, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Of course it goes without saying that the better your headphones/amp/DAC the better will be the ability to duplicate the sound of whatever "mixing room/studio" you have "captured" in the digital PRIR file which is then used at "playback" to duplicate the original listening environment through the headphones. Smyth used to include a basic entry-level Stax electrostatic amp/headphone with the A8 (although you could opt out if you wanted), as these provided very good results. The A8 itself includes a built-in DAC, and the A8's output amp (really a preamp) can feed your headphone amp via RCA (not XLR). So it's quite common if you have superior equipment to tap the pre-DAC still-digital 2-channel stereo PCM SVS-processed output of the A8 via its optical output, to feed your own external DAC which can then feed your own headphone amp via XLR.

In my own case, I invested significantly in this external equipment years ago. On my A8 setup I have an Oppo Sonica DAC fed via optical from my A8, and the DAC feeds my 1995-vintage Stax SRM-T1S amp and SR-Omega headphones. On my A16 setup I have an Audio-GD NFB9 DAC fed via optical from my A16, and the DAC feeds my 2013-vintage Stax SRM-007Tii amp and SR-009 headphones. I use the very same 5.1 and 7.1 PRIR's on both the A8 and A16, which were both "captured" back in 2009 at the fabulous sounding AIX studio (mixing room, with B&W speakers all around) here in Los Angeles. The sound through both my A8 and A16, with both DACs and Stax amp/headphone setups is simply remarkable. The sensation of being in that three-dimensional AIX room when listening through that PRIR and my Stax headphones is just superb. It is "more fun" and "more realistic" to listen to 2-channel CD audio music via the A8/A16 and PRIR/SVS than "straight" through the DAC/amp/headphones and CD player.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15242107
Post #2,900 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
Thank you so much for your informative reply, dsperber. I really appreciate it.
And thank you for the additional information on your setup + the possibilities for using and external DAC with the A8. I will definitely need to upgrade my headphones when / if I get an A8, but that won't be anything near the cost of my friend's 19,500$ ATC Studio monitors that I'll be capturing :)
I'll keep looking for an A8 and hope the head-tracker will stay alive until I can upgrade to an A16 in the future!
 
     Share This Post       
post-15242333
Post #2,901 of 2,909

castleofargh

Sound Science Forum Moderator
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
8,727
Reaction score
4,104
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Posts
8,727
Likes
4,104
ask Smyth if they plan to offer replacement for A8 head trackers in a foreseeable future(if they have big stocks or plan to ever get more if the need arises). now that the new stuff is slowly coming out, it seems like a pretty relevant thing to ask.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15242385
Post #2,902 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
castleofargh - I sent them an e-mail two days ago about the possibility of getting replacement parts for the A8 and / or having the unit serviced in the future. I have not received a reply - and based on other posts on here it doesn't seem that Smyth Research answers e-mails much. It's a shame, because this is the one thing holding me back from getting the A8 at the moment. I might get one without a reply from Smyth as well, but it will be a gamble...
 
     Share This Post       
post-15242456
Post #2,903 of 2,909

castleofargh

Sound Science Forum Moderator
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
8,727
Reaction score
4,104
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Posts
8,727
Likes
4,104
yeah I thought the same thing right after posting. they're a small team and are no doubt drowning under emails from kickstarter backers for the A16. messages going from "Y U NO SEND MINE YET?" to the many genuine questions from the 60 or so who did get one so far. my advice is kind of like telling homeless guys to stop being poor. not a bad idea, but also a pretty moronic thing to say ^_^. sorry.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15247175
Post #2,904 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
Haha, no problem, castleofargh :) Thank you for your help.

I have another question about the A8 if you guys don't mind. I'm in contact with a seller who is willing to part with his Realiser A8 (analog only, no HDMI). This might be a stupid question, but - the Realiser A8 without HDMI ports can be upgraded to the latest firmware, right? The only difference between the analog-only A8 and HDMI A8 is the HDMI-outputs, am I correct?

Personally I won't need the HDMI ports, but I do want a fully functioning A8, so I just wanted to double check with you guys before I bite the bullet and buy a Realiser A8.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15249738
Post #2,905 of 2,909

dsperber

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
568
Reaction score
173
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Posts
568
Likes
173
Haha, no problem, castleofargh :) Thank you for your help.

I have another question about the A8 if you guys don't mind. I'm in contact with a seller who is willing to part with his Realiser A8 (analog only, no HDMI). This might be a stupid question, but - the Realiser A8 without HDMI ports can be upgraded to the latest firmware, right? The only difference between the analog-only A8 and HDMI A8 is the HDMI-outputs, am I correct?

Personally I won't need the HDMI ports, but I do want a fully functioning A8, so I just wanted to double check with you guys before I bite the bullet and buy a Realiser A8.
The very old "original" analog-only A8's are NOT UPGRADEABLE.

A laterA8 version (with later serial numbers starting with "0009" or something specail like that, sorry I don't remember exactly) were upgradeable. But that required sending the A8 to Smyth, where they performed the upgrade by installing the HDMI daughter card, rear panel replacement to provide the in/out HDMI ports, etc. And at this point they may not have any or all the parts required, or simply the ability or desire to do this.
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: Zorlee
post-15250835
Post #2,906 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
dsperber - Thanks for the heads up! Well that.. Sucks. I personally don't know what the firmware updates did, but ideally I'd like a fully updated A8 (even though the latest firmware is from.. 2011?). Do you think I could still get good results with an "orginal" analog-only A8, or would it be better to wait for a HDMI-A8 (if someone ever lists a unit for sale that is)?
The reason why I wanted to get an A8 to begin with is its apparent ability to do longer PRIR measurements (15 second sweeps etc.) for more accuracy. I need the most accurate measurements possible, and I really don't care about the time spent doing the measurements / learning how to use the unit, as long as I end up with good PRIRs from the studios I want to capture. Was this a feature they added in later firmware updates, or was it there all along?
Based on a discussion with my mixing mentor (who personally used the A8 for mixing purposes for about a year), he advised me that the longer measurements were essential to get a good PRIR for mixing purposes, as the shorter ones tended to include a short delay after transients / note ends (his words, not mine - I haven't yet had a chance to test a Realiser A8/A16). He also said that the "Direct Bass" feature was a godsend for mixing, so that would be essential too.

The A16 doesn't (yet) support the longer measurement options for better accuracy to my knowledge, so buying the A16 at retail price is not a viable option at the time either it seems...
 
Last edited:
     Share This Post       
post-15251002
Post #2,907 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
I'm sorry about the double posting, but maybe I misunderstood - I'm wondering if the A8 units without HDMI can be updated to the latest firmware, not whether they can be upgraded to have HDMI in/out at a later stage (I'm only interested in running the latest firmware, not a HDMI daughter-card installation).
I was reading through the A8 manual ( https://smyth-research.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/A8manual_08_2011.pdf ) and got a bit confused.
In the manual it says the following about the latest firmware update:

For series 09 Realisers without HDMI (ID=C), prevents analogue audio input shutoff after pressing
MENU-MODE. (MENU-MODE accesses the input selector menu, which is not a valid key sequence for
Realisers without HDMI.)

To me this sounds like the older A8 units without HDMI can be updated to the latest firmware, as this comment in the manual wouldn't make sense if the older units without HDMI could not be updated via firmware.
But - most likely I'm misunderstanding something here - sorry!

Z
 
     Share This Post       
post-15251510
Post #2,908 of 2,909

dsperber

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
568
Reaction score
173
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Posts
568
Likes
173
All Realiser units are firmware-upgradeable, even the oldest analog-only A8. The firmware dated Aug 3, 2011 is in fact the "latest version". It is still downloadable from the Smyth-Research site, if you should get an A8 used which for some reason isn't at the latest firmware version. But in fact that is the version I am using in both my (a) #0001 analog-only A8, as well as (b) HDMI-enabled A8 which supports both analog and HDMI input via the MENU->MODE keys.

Also, my own AIX PRIR's (5.1 and 7.1) which were both captured back in 2009, and which I still to this day use in both my A8's as well as in my new A16 (including combining the AIX 7.1 PRIR for the eight ear-level speakers with the factory-provided 9.1.6 BBC room PRIR for the additional eight overhead and ambience speakers, since I have not yet had a real opportunity to capture a personally measured PRIR in a genuine Atmos room), all were made with "4 x 12" technique. I believe, as your mentor also believes, that the longer/slower 12-second sweep probably provides a "better, more accurate" measurement. Yes, it takes longer, but I was more than willing and eager to use that long/erslower 12-second sweep method.

Also, I opted for the "4 repeats" method, for each of the 12-second sweeps. Together this implies the total measurement will take 12 times as long as the shortest possible measurement, since there are 4 (instead of 1) sweeps with each one taking 12 seconds (instead of 4 seconds). And then the A8 averages the 4 unique measurements to produce the final PRIR. Again, my feeling was that this would eliminate the random distortion effects of say moving your body involuntarily, accidentally getting the "sound" of a moving cable against your clothing picked up by the microphones in your ears, breathing, etc. Regardless of whether or not this is all true, or just my imagination, I definitely used the 4 x 12 method to produce both of my own WONDERFUL sounding AIX PRIR's. Of course the AIX room itself was wonderful to begin with, but the two PRIR's I have are equally wondrous (in my opinion) using my Stax SR-009/SRM-007tii equipment (as well as my older/lesser SR-Omega/SRM-T1S).

Once my new A16 arrived I finally "retired" and replaced my analog-only A8 with the new HDMI-enabled A16. But until that time (only a month or two ago) I had still been using the 8-channel analog-input method (fed from 8-channel preamp output of my Oppo player)... ever since 2009. My HDMI-enabled A8 was (and still is) fed via HDMI from another Oppo player (audio-only HDMI2-out). I do NOT use audio-passthrough, either HDMI or analog, with either my A8's or A16. My Oppo source units feed video-only HDMI1-out to my AVR/TV, and audio-only HDMI2-out (or 8-channel analog, until recenty) to the A8/A16.

I do not use "direct bass", as the AIX room itself had wonderful bass and sub-woofer sound. And the PRIR's for the room reflect that sound totally fine in my opinion. So I have not "tampered with" any internal processing of the A8 (or A16) dealing with "bass management" in any way. I am listening to the untouched original PRIR's (whatever they captured during measurement) through my Stax equipment, however it is feeding low-frequencies to the virtual SW for audio below 80hz, and it's fine.
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: Zorlee
post-15251609
Post #2,909 of 2,909

Zorlee

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
Location
Norway
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Location
Norway
Posts
16
Likes
3
dsperber - Once again, thank you so much for a detailed and informative reply. I really, really appreciate it.
I can imagine that normal use wouldn't need bass frequency management, especially if you get the opportunity to do a PRIR in a studio like AIX like yourself, but according to my mixing mentor the "direct bass" feature of the A8 can make a studio sound even better within the A8 (as a PRIR) than it actually is in real life - if that studio is not optimally treated with bass traps etc.
This is primarily because of unwanted room resonance (room modes) messing up with the frequency response of the low end, making it difficult to make balancing decisions when setting the tonal balance of bass instruments in a mix. Again, not something most people would use - but for mixing it is extremely handy - so I'm very happy to hear that all A8 units can be fully updated to the "latest" firmware. Thanks!
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top