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Smyth Research Realiser A16

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jgazal, May 7, 2016.
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  1. sander99
    They used active Yamaha speakers, and maybe no room eq at all. I did see some box with XLR cables lying around (in one of the pictures or video's from the demo's), maybe that box just converted the analog outs of the A16 to balanced XLR for the Yamaha's.
  2. Evshrug
    This is the right question, and it’s entirely possible things may be easier than we are talking right now. A8 owners can chime in, but one of the major changes to the new version was to simplify the PRIR process.

    I don’t know if they kept both, but they took my measurements at two separate shows. If memory serves, they had a 7.1.4 setup of Yamahas, and they didn’t have to run a Blu-Ray to generate the test sweeps (at least, I don’t remember them ejecting the content shown on screen, just going back to the menu). What I remember well is that there was a measurement done with all speakers while facing forward, looking right, and looking left. That’s a lot of data... might be able to upsample more speaker positions (or at least a center speaker). Also, in the case of measuring one or two speaker locations at a time, instead of moving speakers, it might be easier to just change the placement of the head-tracker and direction you face.

    Another thing I thought I heard, but might not remember correctly after this time, was that the Realiser itself would be able to generate the sine sweeps? EDIT: And if calibration tones don’t come from the Realiser’s ample storage banks, then realistically the only way to measure a 16-channel Ambisonics setup (where would you even find one of those set up??? I’d like to meet the guy who has a setup in his home, and shake his hand) is with a file played from a computer (laptop?) over USB.

    It behooves Smyth to create a relatively step-by-step measurement process. There’s no way an employee will be able to sit on the phone with everyone that wants a walkthrough, so the Smyth’s best bet will to be to publish a good walkthrough along with collecting and updating a FAQ.

    For those that want, this is the “detailed specs” PDF that may need to be updated, but it is what they have on their front page, and most of it should still be accurate:
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  3. sander99
    The way they did the PRIR measurement at the shows was easy yes. Because with their set-up it was no problem that the test sweeps were only available over analog out, or that only a complete measurement of all channels at once was possible.
    And the plans they had for all possible and easy ways to do PRIR measurements were great... if implemented.
    Last weeks update however suggests that the one measurement method they used at the shows is the only one that is implemented in the initial launch version of the firmware.
    I'd be happy to be proven wrong, we will know in a few days.
  4. teacher1000
    They made PRIRs at the shows using the analogue out from the A16, directly to the inputs of their active Yamaha speakers.
    If users have amps that take an analogue input then they are good to go. What most people are rightly concerned about is that the majority of modern AV amps do not have 5.1 (or above) analogue inputs. That means that they have no way of sending the sweeps to their own speakers.

    This is a major shortcoming of the A16 as released.

    Of course we could all be wrong, but as James is unwilling to answer any queries whatsoever, we will have to wait until the first lucky recipients get theirs
  5. phoenixdogfan
    Why not use an A to D converter to record the analog outout of the Realiser, and play it back as digital file?
    It would be a major shortcoming period. One of the ways I think most people envisioned this involved taking a very high end two channel set ups, disconnecting one of the speakers, and connecting the Realiser or using a Smyth supplied test disk to generate the measurement signals. The idea was to have the user simply re-position his head and body so as to capture the HRTF from the various angles he would hear that particular speaker in a working multi channel system, getting those angles just right with the help of headtracking, and then have the Realiser merge all those looks into a comprehensive multi-channel HRTF. If that's not doable, if instead you have to find some studio or vendor that has a 16 channel full on Atmos (or DTS-x or Auro 3D for that matter) and wire up your Realiser to their receiver with 16 patch cords. that makes it one hell of a lot less useful. As a matter of fact, if you can't find and negotiate that, you're just as well if not better off with an A8.
    Also, a lot of the talk here is that HDMI is unable to transmit more than 7.1 except via LPCM (in which case why did they even worry about ATMOS decoding?), so how is it possible to get a native ATMOS or DTS-X, or Auro 3D into the Realiser? USB? Really like to know the answer to that one, b/c that had to be a brick wall limitation right from the get go with this thing.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  6. J.Villain
    If I remember right once the Exchange site goes live there is supposed to be a forum over there. Maybe the Smyth crew will monitor that and provide feed back there in a more timely fashion. It would have to be more efficient then answering individual emails. An FAQ may be a real necessity.

    I do wonder if one of the reasons they aren't getting back to people is they don't want certain things in writing.
  7. J.Villain
  8. esimms86
    My big question is, is Lorr Kramer still on the team? I spoke to him on the phone a few years back when I was trying to get my A8 up and running. A great guy, very knowledgeable and helpful re: all things Smyth Realiser.
  9. sahmen
    I see at least 3 possibilities (other reasons are of course possible):

    1. They do not know the answer to a question, and are embarrassed to appear ignorant about it.

    2. They know and are comfortable with the answer, but they have some reason to suspect that the customer might not like the answer (this may involve initially promised and touted features of the A-16 that are missing from the final product, for example, or even more mundane things, such as shipping dates, or when the user manual, or the realiser exchange site will go live)

    3. They know and do not like the answer, and they also know that the customer might not like it (for example : a pre-order customer asking questions about possible refunds. I know, because I did, and they conveniently ignored me altogether... 24 hours or less before that abrupt announcement of this new "trickle down" shipping arrangement.) Of course there are several other possible examples of unpopular questions that might fall under this category.
  10. Got the Shakes
    So I got some answers from James just now.

    1. He said you can measure one speaker at a time if you don’t have the analog inputs to measure the whole system at once so it sounds like creating rooms with one speaker made it in the firmware

    2. The manual is supposed to be uploaded to their site tomorrow (he said all is explained in there)

    Edit: From what I could tell it doesn’t sound like a manual is in the box. When I asked that’s when he said it should be uploaded tomorrow.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
    J.Villain, jgazal, Richter Di and 4 others like this.
  11. sander99
    Certainly, at least for sweeps as 7.1 over HDMI in theory my plan seems doable using a digital recording of the sweeps from the analog outputs. As audiohobbit already stated: creating an Atmos bitstream is another matter and the ".6" are not really channels, don't ask me exactly what they are, that might be another problem.
    Did you mistype? The A16 accepts 8 channels max as lpcm over HDMI. But ATMOS can be bitstreamed over HDMI to get 9.1.6.
    I knew there was some HDMI version planned that supports more than 8 channels LPCM, but I didn't know HDMI 2.0 already does. But apparently the A16 can not do it. Maybe a limitation of the specific HDMI board? Which reminds me: under certain conditions the used HDMI board can not output more than 2 channels of LPCM that's generated in the A16 internally. Maybe those conditions are such that it simply won't - ever - be possible to output the sweeps as 7.1 LPCM over HDMI. Which only leaves the sweep disc method [Edit: unless an Atmos bitstream could be generated inside the A16 and output over HDMI], with or without Atmos decoded sweeps, so worst case only 7.1 LPCM sweeps. The A16 can loop through LPCM 7.1 and bitstream, it's just generating it inside the A16 and "injecting" - the word Mike Smyth used in a mail to me - it into the HDMI outputstream that is problematic.
    (But actually for the sweep disc method it is not important what the A16 can input and/or output over HDMI: If the system under measurement can accept 16 channel LPCM over HDMI, and there is a sweep disc and a disc player (or another medium and player) that can produce the sweeps as 16 channel LPCM over HDMI there is no problem measuring that system! But I don't know if such disc players and discs that support 16 channel LPCM exist. And systems that accept 16 channel LPCM over HDMI will be rare of course. So this won't be of much use to most A16 users.)
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  12. phoenixdogfan
    It might have been understandable that it took them this long to get Dolby Atmos certified and held up release until that ocurred, but I find the absence of other features far, far less excusable--especially considering the Realiser is two years late in its release. One wonders what they were working on, if they weren't working on providing a full range of options for PRIR capture, or even a manual. Just seems like they did nothing.

    And I also wonder what were they using as a Realiser prototype. Wouldn't it be a huge laugh if it turns out they have a fully capable Linux or Windows box programmed with software that performs all those Realiser functions that they could have released 3 years ago, but didn't because they wanted to charge thousands for a unitasking boat anchor. Yes, it fits, guys, sorry if you don't like the term, but the headstand version even looks like one.
  13. sander99
  14. JohnEW
    Speculation can be so destructive. I hope to be able to set up the A16 using the one speaker turn around system. I will wait for the manual to be released and let you who are more educated than me to explain in simple terms, or better still make a youtube video to show us who may not be so technically inclined how to setup and use the A16 properly.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
    Richter Di and esimms86 like this.
  15. phoenixdogfan
    Actually, the best thing would have been to have a video demonstration disk with step by step instructions included with the Realiser.
    Richter Di likes this.
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