Smyth Research Realiser A16
Aug 15, 2019 at 6:43 PM Post #5,371 of 15,830
I’m not even sure I’m happy for me lol. In some ways it feels like rewarding Smyth Research with my hard earned money to essentially expedite something that I feel like should have already delivered. Honestly I think I would have waited if I had any sort of concrete sense of where I was in the preorder list and what a realistic time frame was. I basically paid to avoid uncertainty, but I’ll admit it does feel a little dirty to have done so.

It probably took from 11am to 7pm my time to get everything sorted including James sending me the final invoice to pay at about midnight his time. It’s too bad that they didn’t respond to people throughout the campaign as they did to me yesterday, because I think that would have gone a long way to reigning in some of the chaos of the past 3 years. Hell, I sent them more than one email in the past few years and they all went unanswered.

Again, I am very happy for you and I truely hope you will do some videos about how you are doing the measurements with the A16 etc.
And thank you for your honesty!
 
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Aug 15, 2019 at 6:53 PM Post #5,372 of 15,830
Again, I am very happy for you and I truely hope you will do some videos about how you are doing the measurements with the A16 etc.
And thank you for you honesty!

Thanks. I will try and get as much info out there as I can and answer whatever questions people have. I’m really hoping that the manual is comprehensive because otherwise I’m not going to have any idea on how to properly do anything with the A16.

I’ve never seen or heard one, only watched a few videos and been a part of this thread. It was actually this thread that I happened to stumble upon late one night that prompted me to preorder as I was fed up with every other surround through headphone solution I tried.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 7:42 PM Post #5,373 of 15,830
I own a Realser A8 that I used at another house years ago. I thought that it was able to measure 1 speaker and then recreate the same speaker perfectly placed at all positions. The system worked great and I did not need to use the head tracker.

With the A16 would I be able to measure my 7.4.2 system and recreate the sound? I am confused after reading this thread.
If we have a manual and maybe indeed some first experiences we will know a lot more. I already wrote a few things but indeed they have some "if it's like this then that" structure and can be confusing if you don't understand all the details involved. But for now it looks like in most cases capturing a complete 7.2.4 home system "as is" is not as simple as it could have been. If Smyth had implemented the promised so called asynchronous PRIR measurement method with a sweep disc it would have been childs play and done in 5 minutes.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 8:28 PM Post #5,374 of 15,830
Are you sure about that? It doesn't make sense to me that the Realiser should care what the specific angles are. It should simply capture and then reproduce whatever room you capture. Not to mention that different rooms will have slightly different setups.

I am 99% sure that it says the Azimuth (angle) that you set it internally needs to match the actual angle of the speaker and that it is used in the calculation. I agree, and that it did not make a whole lot of sense to me either.

Here's a quick bit from the manual:

AZIMUTH AND LOOK ANGLES
“Azimuth” refers to the horizontal angular offset of a real or virtual speaker from centre. “Look angle” refers to the horizontal angles of the listener’s head while looking centre, left and right during the PRIR gathering process.

The look angles for a PRIR are the left and right end points of the head tracking range. It is optimal to have a range of ±30° for usability and tracking resolution.
For each new PRIR measurement, speaker azimuth values and look angles must be entered or measured by the Realiser.

In the basic procedure given earlier in this manual, the speaker azimuth values were entered manually, and the look angles were the same as the azimuth values of the left and right speakers. But they need not be. In the instructions below, alternate methods of finding and logging azimuth and look angles are described.

Logging look angles
During the SPK (PRIR) measurement, the listener looks in three directions: centre, left and right. The look angles are subsequently used to create head-tracked virtual loudspeakers by interpolation between pairs of these data points. The actual values of the look angles are important, and the Realiser provides three methods for logging them.

Press MENU-SPK. The screen will say:
>SAVE AT END:YES LOOK ANGLES:AZI EXCITATION MENU SPEAKER MODE MENU
In the LOOK ANGLES line are these choices:
AZI (azimuth) -- The listener looks directly at the centre, left and right speakers, and the Realiser takes the look angles to be the same as the speaker azimuth angles. This is the default method, described earlier in this manual under Personalisation Basics. The correct azimuth of the front speakers will have been entered manually (via MENU-1, etc. as described in I/O Assignment and Angle Entry). The listener must be careful to point the head, and thus the ears, at the speakers. People tend to “turn” the last few degrees by moving their eyeballs. A dominant eye can also bias the turning. For example, a right-eye-dominant person will tend to look slightly left, attempting to centre the dominant eye. When AZI is run immediately after SPOS, the azimuth values logged with that procedure will be used for the PRIR rather than the angles entered manually.

The fact that speaker azimuth angles = look angles with AZI means that the head tracking range is constrained by the left and right speaker placement. Fortunately, the optimum head tracking range of ±30° will be achieved with the typical left and right speaker locations of ±30°. However, if the left and right speakers are closer together, as is typically the case when the front three speakers are all behind a screen as on dubbing stages and in cinemas, the narrower head tracking range will be confining and the user is advised to use the HT method below.

The short of it is that the default method needs to have the look angle match the actual angle of your speakers, but if you use the head tracking method with your measurement, it matters a lot less, or not at all.
 
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Aug 15, 2019 at 8:37 PM Post #5,375 of 15,830
The manual says this only for the front left and right speakers because their azimuth is normally taken as look angle for the headtracking and PRIR creation, but this can be changed manually. All other angles are just for info I think. The speaker is recorded where it is.
I have to dive deeper into the manual to totally confirm this if I find the time. But it seems logical to me. I never took care about the angles that are entered for the speakers, just for the left and right front, I put them at roughly 30 degrees and looked at them while recording the PRIR. All speakers can be located through headphones where they really are and headtracking works fine if I use it.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 8:38 PM Post #5,376 of 15,830
@Sanctuary, how did you do the measurements for your A8 if your receiver doesn't have 7.1 multichannel inputs?

My atmos speakers are fixed, high up, completely different to any of my other speakers. The eq, delay and level have been set by the MCACC built into my Pioneer receiver. So attempting to somehow use other speakers to emulate them is all but impossible. So many problems to overcome. Just to start, I can't raise them to 10 feet above my listening position, I can't angle them downwards. Even if I could acheive those two things I couldn't eq, set delay and level for them as front speakers and then measure them as height channels with the realiser and expect any kind of results that replicates what my system sounds like. Alternatively it is suggested I hook my existing atmos speakers up to one of the 7 multichannel outputs and measure. Again the eq, delay and level would be totally different compared to any of the 7 ground level speakers, so would still sound off. If you attempted to eq again with them for example as front left and right but they are 10 feet up and behind your listening position how is the MCACC gonna get that right?

Also incase people haven't noticed or have forgotten, the 16 multichannel inputs and outputs appear to be on eight 1.8mm TRS stereo sockets respectively to save space, not 16 RCA sockets each. So you will need eight special 1.8mm TRS to two RCA cables to even do a 7.1 measurement. I've no intention of buying eight of those (might have one 50 cm one lying around somewhere used to plug ipod into hifi back in the day). This is ridiculous. When I first read the kickstarter proposal it was exactly the test signals over HDMI or via disc in player that sealed the deal for me. I knew how fiddly plugging in 8 RCAs with the A8 was. This was the main reason I only ever measured my own system with the A8. I really didn't want to ask anyone with a high end system to pull their av unit out of the rack so I could access the 7.1 input.

My system is better now, the Harbeth SHL5's that were my mains are now my rears, I have Goldenear Triton ones as mains using the subwoofers and 1600w per chanel amps as subs as well as my dedicated MK sub for a .3 sub set-up. And I'm not gonna be able to measure it with the A16 when I get it, which was kinda the whole point right? Ridiculous.

I haven't emailed Smyth this whole time just waited patiently. Now they pull this. I will be letting them know how unimpressed with this I am. For all we know they will never add another method of measurement. So I'll be stuck with other peoples/dummy head measurements of someone elses Atmos set-up?!?!!?!?!?
 
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Aug 15, 2019 at 8:38 PM Post #5,377 of 15,830
The manual says this only for the front left and right speakers because their azimuth is normally taken as look angle for the headtracking and PRIR creation, but this can be changed manually. All other angles are just for info I think. The speaker is recorded where it is.
I have to dive deeper into the manual to totally confirm this if I find the time. But it seems logical to me. I never took care about the angles that are entered for the speakers, just for the left and right front, I put them at roughly 30 degrees and looked at them while recording the PRIR. All speakers can be located through headphones where they really are and headtracking works fine if I use it.


AFAIK, only the elevation was for personal records and the manual says that it's not used in the calculation, so it does not need to match. And honestly, the fronts and center were the most important to get right anyway. The surrounds and rears can be "in the ballpark" and sound great even if they are slightly off due to the nature of them simply being surrounds.

It wouldn't make any sense that the Azimuth need not match, yet it also states your look angles need to be specific when taking the actual measurement. I've had plenty of botched PRIRs where the center sounds quite a bit off, and it was entirely because I was not dead center with it, and the Azimuth was set to 0 degrees. Even though when I was doing the actual measurement and listening to the sweeps, it sounded directly in front of me. This was when I got sick of moving my heavy ass front each time to where the center should be, and I instead just moved my chair to face the front left, which I thought I was dead on with.

@Sanctuary, how did you do the measurements for your A8 if your receiver doesn't have 7.1 multichannel inputs?

Copied the 5.1 setup, but had it set to not finalize until I was ready, unplugged the analog out for the surrounds of the A8 and plugged them into the rears (while also moving the surrounds to the rear), measuring them and then finalizing. I also did the fronts, rears and surrounds as well with the fronts this way. This is also how you do it with a single speaker if you aren't using the dopey "ONE" method where you spin around in a chair. The Denon I used isn't the one in the picture. That's the one I was thinking of getting.

As far as this HDMI nonsense is concerned, it's been a decade since the release of the A8, so maybe they don't have a similar wherewithal or ambition as they did back then, but the A8 shipped with a bunch of missing features that were iterated upon or added via firmware. It wouldn't make any sense to build an improved "A8" that can do Atmos, but not give the majority of users a way to actually do it themselves. These should be issues that will be sorted out over the next year, and it would be pretty much bull if they aren't. Like where is the disclaimer that says you have to either be a high end studio, or have access to one to actually get an Atmos PRIR?
 
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Aug 15, 2019 at 8:59 PM Post #5,378 of 15,830
From the kickstarter:

Where the owner wishes to recreate their own stereo hi-fi or home theatre system (or perhaps that of a friend) over their headphones, then it is necessary to undertake a personalisation, or PRIR, measurement of that sound system. There are a number of methods available to the user.
  • Measure a sound system using the supplied DVD/Blu-ray test disc
  • Measure a sound system using digital test signals output by the A16 over HDMI
  • Measure a sound system using analog test signals output by the A16
Measuring a 7.1ch sound system using the test disc method is illustrated below. Two test discs will be available, a DVD for 7.1ch loudspeaker layouts and below and a Blu-ray for these and the newer Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D layouts.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 9:25 PM Post #5,379 of 15,830
Dear James

My name is . I am a current owner of an A8. A few years back you contacted me as an existing A8 owner, to notify me of your Kickstarter campaign for the A16. I was excited to say the least, having never got around to shipping my A8 back to the USA from Australia to get the HDMI upgrade.

One of the main features to me was how to measure, as I found the 8 analogue cables a cumbersome method, and test signals via a single HDMI socket would have made it so much more convenient to take to other systems and measure, rather than just my own. I know that even the HDMI equipped A8 was not able to do the test signals via HDMI.

Bearing this in mind, from your kickstarter campaign, there is the following:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Where the owner wishes to recreate their own stereo hi-fi or home theatre system (or perhaps that of a friend) over their headphones, then it is necessary to undertake a personalisation, or PRIR, measurement of that sound system. There are a number of methods available to the user.

  • Measure a sound system using the supplied DVD/Blu-ray test disc
  • Measure a sound system using digital test signals output by the A16 over HDMI
  • Measure a sound system using analog test signals output by the A16
Measuring a 7.1ch sound system using the test disc method is illustrated below. Two test discs will be available, a DVD for 7.1ch loudspeaker layouts and below and a Blu-ray for these and the newer Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D layouts.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am kickstarter backer number 9. I have now found out that even when I receive my A16, I will not be able to measure the full Dolby Atmos set-up of my own system or any other system I know of. The reason for this is, you are only providing the option 3 measurement method, in the quoted text above. PRIR via the analogue outputs. Even the top Pre-Pos from Denon, Pioneer, Marantz etc have 7.1 multichannel inputs only, not 16. So even if I bought eight special cables (1.8mm TRS to two RCA's) it wouldn't do me any good.

Please let me know when the other two methods of measurement will be available? If the answer is never, then the ability to measure atmos systems using a users own two ears, will be nigh impossible for the majority of your customer base.

Sincerely
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 10:15 PM Post #5,381 of 15,830
I interested to see if @GotTheShakes or any other folks in the first queue receive their A16 with a manual (and/or if Smyth Research soon puts one up for download).
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 11:05 PM Post #5,382 of 15,830
Surely the manual is being furiously edited to remove all the stuff that mentioned doing a PRIR using any of the two convenient ways. :deadhorse:

Or maybe that's what they've been doing in the four or five weeks between Dolby certification and starting shipping.
 
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Aug 15, 2019 at 11:07 PM Post #5,383 of 15,830
Aug 15, 2019 at 11:49 PM Post #5,384 of 15,830
I have been using the Gefen GTB-HD-SIGGEN. A similar model is the Cypress XA-3.

Thanks Erik that could be handy for people that lack even a 7.1 analog input. These have gradually been dropped by manufacturers as a cost saving measure given the prevalence of HDMI.

is there a sixteen channel equivalent? I guess given they are video as well as audio the cost is not cheap either.
 
Aug 16, 2019 at 1:32 AM Post #5,385 of 15,830
re. speaker angle measurements
There's no way I'm trawling back through 350 pages of this thread, but I seem to recall that knowing the angles is important if you want to process your PRIR using the exchange site. eg if I want to 'swap out' my cheap fronts for someone else's Magicos
 

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