Smyth Research Realiser A16
Aug 17, 2019 at 6:02 PM Post #5,476 of 15,830
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 7.1.4.4 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:
https://smyth-research.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/RealiserA16datasheet.pdf
You may just be one of the luckiest people on this thread. By all rights, you should have 2 PRIRs made with the same system in two different rooms. That and a low backer number make you the envy of many of us here. All you need to do is calibrate your headphones, connect your laptop or disc player and settle back into A16 heaven!
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 6:24 PM Post #5,478 of 15,830
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.

While the ideal method for me would be HDMI, I'm glad he said that you can capture a PRIR with one speaker. This will mean no additional cost to me as I do as the 5.1 room I was going to capture will work with this method. I actually could probably get a decent 7.1 PRIR out of it using the one speaker method with some practice.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 7:07 PM Post #5,479 of 15,830
When i got my PRIR measured in Paris, it was so simple. I put the microphones in my ears, they played the sweeps from the Realizer (I think it was straight from the Realizer, not from a disc, because the Atmos demo disc was already in the player) and voilà....
Then I could listen through the headphones and the magic was working as it took me 10 or 20 seconds to understand that it was pointless to I wait till they switched to the A16 because I was already listening to it...
And now, if we have to find a system of 16 speakers with a receiver having 16 analog inputs, that’s gonna get much more complicated...
I really hope they haven’t lost my PRIR and will ship my A16 preloaded with it.
And I should have a second PRIR loaded in it as my nephew was with me and got his own measurement done. Then I will be able to compare the same system in the same room with my ears as a PRIR and with someone else’s ears, and see how better a PRIR is versus a BRIR
Maybe I’ll be able to inject my HRTF into this BRIR to compare a true PRIR versus a customized BRIR...
But for that i’ll first need to receive my unit !! (I’m KS #203, so I shall not expect before October or November)
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 7:24 PM Post #5,480 of 15,830
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.

It's in the datasheet: http://www.mds.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/HSR-5th_rev2b.pdf There are 4 "stereo" I2S / SPDIF lines to extract audio, but only one to inject it into the output. Unless a complete Atmos stream can be squeezed in there (the bandwidth really should not be a problem for a simple sine sweep, even though the data sheet doesn't specify the data rate on that link), passthrough with the signal played back from an external device would indeed be the only option. That also makes it clear that the Realiser probably can't deal with more than 8 LPCM input channels via HDMI.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 7:52 PM Post #5,481 of 15,830
And I should have a second PRIR loaded in it as my nephew was with me and got his own measurement done. Then I will be able to compare the same system in the same room with my ears as a PRIR and with someone else’s ears, and see how better a PRIR is versus a BRIR
Because you and your nephew share more common DNA - and hence maybe have more similar head and ears - than two strangers this comparison may not be very representative!
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 8:22 PM Post #5,482 of 15,830
While the ideal method for me would be HDMI, I'm glad he said that you can capture a PRIR with one speaker. This will mean no additional cost to me as I do as the 5.1 room I was going to capture will work with this method. I actually could probably get a decent 7.1 PRIR out of it using the one speaker method with some practice.

Depends on the implementation he's talking about. If it allows you to plug, and unplug from the A16's analogs to swap the speaker to a different channel over HDMI, then that would be doable, but ****ing tedious (although I spent a day trying this myself with the A8). If he's simply talking about using the "ONE" method, then that would be similar as well, but there are two ways to go about it. One, is by simply using one of those backless swivel (doctor) chairs and rotate your position for each step, and the other is to simply make sure you are focusing straight ahead, and instead move the speaker to the different position between each step, but then you would need to compensate the actual location you put the speaker compared to what position the announcer (Stephen Smyth) is telling you to turn yourself. One method would give you a more realistic representation of your room, while the other makes it sound strange.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 8:48 PM Post #5,483 of 15,830
Depends on the implementation he's talking about. If it allows you to plug, and unplug from the A16's analogs to swap the speaker to a different channel over HDMI, then that would be doable, but ****ing tedious (although I spent a day trying this myself with the A8). If he's simply talking about using the "ONE" method, then that would be similar as well, but there are two ways to go about it. One, is by simply using one of those backless swivel (doctor) chairs and rotate your position for each step, and the other is to simply make sure you are focusing straight ahead, and instead move the speaker to the different position between each step, but then you would need to compensate the actual location you put the speaker compared to what position the announcer (Stephen Smyth) is telling you to turn yourself. One method would give you a more realistic representation of your room, while the other makes it sound strange.

I imagine that he’s taking about making it with the “ONE” method. Our conversation basically went like this:

Me: If I don’t have access to a receiver that has 6 or 8 channel analog inputs, am I even going to be able to capture a room?

James: Measure one speaker at a time. Do you have one speaker?

Me: I have a surround setup in a 5.1 configuration. I don’t have 6 channel analog inputs. Could I just use one of those speakers to measure with?

James: Yes exactly. Once the manual is available it will all be clear.

Me: my unit will be delivered on Monday. Is a manual in the box?

James: It should be uploaded tomorrow.


I’m assuming that what he’s talking about is disconnecting 4 of the 5 speakers from the receiver and then using the one remaining to capture 5 or 7 speakers in the PRIR. That would of course involve either the stationary speaker you talked about and moving your head/body at different angles to capture 7 speakers or staying stationary and moving the speaker around you like you mentioned. I don’t have any experience with either, so I’m sure it will take some time to figure out how to capture anything that sounds convincing.
 
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Aug 17, 2019 at 9:07 PM Post #5,484 of 15,830
I’m assuming that what he’s talking about is disconnecting 4 of the 5 speakers from the receiver and then using the one remaining to capture 5 or 7 speakers in the PRIR.
Another way is to connect one speaker at a time to the receiver's front left or right speaker output terminal, if the receiver has a 2-channel analog input. That way the speakers can stay where they are.

Connect speaker 1. Measure speaker 1 for 3 head positions (look center, look left, look right). Disconnect speaker 1. Connect speaker 2. Measure speaker 2 for 3 head positions. Disconnect speaker 2. Connect speaker 3. Measure speaker 3 for 3 head positions. etc.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 9:10 PM Post #5,485 of 15,830
Another way is to connect one speaker at a time to the receiver's front left or right speaker output terminal, if the receiver has a 2-channel analog input. That way the speakers can stay where they are.

Connect speaker 1. Measure speaker 1 for 3 head positions (look center, look left, look right). Disconnect speaker 1. Connect speaker 2. Measure speaker 2 for 3 head positions. Disconnect speaker 2. Connect speaker 3. Measure speaker 3 for 3 head positions. etc.

This makes sense and I feel like could be the easiest route to a good capture. What would you do when it came time to capturing the center channel?
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 9:23 PM Post #5,486 of 15,830
This makes sense and I feel like could be the easiest route to a good capture. What would you do when it came time to capturing the center channel?
You would measure the center speaker the same way as any other speaker. That is, connect the center speaker to the receiver's front left speaker output, and the Realiser sends the sweep signal to the receiver's front left analog input. You would simply be using the receiver as a 1-channel amplifier.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 9:25 PM Post #5,487 of 15,830
You would measure the center speaker the same way as any other speaker. That is, connect the center speaker to the receiver's front left speaker output, and the Realiser sends the sweep signal to the receiver's front left analog input. You would simply be using the receiver as a 1-channel amplifier.

That makes sense. Thanks!
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 9:39 PM Post #5,488 of 15,830
And how does one capture Atmos height speakers in this scenario? I am sure there is something I am not getting, because I'm hearing discussions of 5.1 and 7.1 speaker measurements and sweeps, and hardly any mention of getting any sweeps from overhead (Atmos/DTS-X) speaker positions. So what gives? Can one also use the Fronts (LCR) speaker measurements for the simulation of speakers that are supposed to be positioned overhead? Disclaimer: Forgive the question, if it sounds too ignorant. I've never seen the A-16 at work before, and the write-ups I have read on the web do not normally explain many such intricate operational details.
 
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Aug 17, 2019 at 10:05 PM Post #5,489 of 15,830
Hopefully in less than 24 hours we will have a manual. After reading that questions can be answered more direct instead of in the form "if this works like that we can do it so and so".
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 10:26 PM Post #5,490 of 15,830
I’m assuming that what he’s talking about is disconnecting 4 of the 5 speakers from the receiver and then using the one remaining to capture 5 or 7 speakers in the PRIR. That would of course involve either the stationary speaker you talked about and moving your head/body at different angles to capture 7 speakers or staying stationary and moving the speaker around you like you mentioned. I don’t have any experience with either, so I’m sure it will take some time to figure out how to capture anything that sounds convincing.

Everyone's hearing is different, but honestly, as I said in a previous post, getting the center and two fronts are the most important. If you get those right, the surrounds and rears can end up having a funky reading on the diagnostic readout (after each sweep measurement set, it gives you a screen that shows your signal to noise ratio and then when you hit "OK" it goes to a new screen that shows you how well your measurement was. The manual says anything from 0 - 3 is considered good (0 being the best), and that anything above that might be a mic or placement problem. I've found though that with the center at least, if I'm not getting at least a "1", it sounds way off when in a different room than where I can visibly see the speakers, so I always tried to get at least one capture with the center at "0" and the fronts could go up to 2 and sound fine. The surrounds and rears can be all over the map, yet still sound as you would expect them to sound, so they are much less of an issue.

In regards to Atmos though, due to it being "object based" and not really so much "channel based", I wonder if speaker placement and precise measurements would be even more important than they already are with a 5.1/7.1 setup. If that's true, then I honestly wouldn't expect the Atmos PRIR that comes with the A16 to sound remotely good. Out of the like 80+ PRIRs that were uploaded by people here, I only found three that had a center speaker that sounded "good" to me, and only one of those that actually had rears that sounded like rears. The speakers (or I guess the room) themselves though did not sound that great, and had a really anemic, or "tinny" sound to me, even though they were JVC or MSM/AIX studio setups.

Also, I found that I got the best results when I measured the fronts and the center at the same time for whatever reason. It seemed to work out better than trying to measure the center separately (although I did end up with a good, but bugged one when I measured the center alone). Since you said that you're finishing up your second tech degree, you are likely overthinking the most basic ways to do this. I'm into tech, but I wouldn't say I'm all that proficient as far as getting down to the minutiae and ultimate tweaking (I don't care at this stage), and all I did was read the manual once, and the most relevant parts two or three times, and I also wrote down the page number of the pdf for the most relevant parts for measuring since the manual was kind of long and at times repeated itself in other paragraphs.

This makes sense and I feel like could be the easiest route to a good capture. What would you do when it came time to capturing the center channel?

Depending on the receiver of course, but personally, the easiest way to capture a 5.1 setup is to just measure all of them at the same time if the receiver has at least 6 analog inputs. Then for the last two for a 7.1, you just unplug the surround cables from the Realiser and plug them in to the rears. If (and this is a big if) my current, old (1998) receiver is the culprit behind the problems I was having with some of the measurements I tried, where I would repeatedly take a measurement of the same channel until getting a good diagnostic, the easiest way to get a good copy is to measure the fronts and center (or just do the fronts, and then the center) over and over again until it shows you got a good measurement, then just do the rest of the speakers in one or two takes.

Also, some seem to like the direct bass feature of the A8, and I'm kind of "eh, whatever" with it. While it does sound pretty good, the sub I was using was actually pretty decent as well, and what I don't like about the direct bass feature is that when you set up the A8 to use it, it makes it a global feature. That means that when you want to switch between the PRIRs (you can have 4 different ones on the A8 at any time to switch back and forth from), you are not able to actually hear how they sound with the captured sub. They all end up using the direct bass feature. This also has implications for dual user mode. I think it might be more for music listening than movies, and its importance will vary by the room and sub used (or the lack of a sub).

And how does one capture Atmos height speakers in this scenario? I am sure there is something I am not getting, because I'm hearing discussions of 5.1 and 7.1 speaker measurements and sweeps, and hardly any mention of getting any sweeps from overhead (Atmos/DTS-X) speaker positions. So what gives? Can one also use the Fronts (LCR) speaker measurements for the simulation of speakers that are supposed to be positioned overhead? Disclaimer: Forgive the question, if it sounds too ignorant. I've never seen the A-16 at work before, and the write-ups I have read on the web do not normally explain many such intricate operational details.

Unless Atmos height speakers are intrinsically controlled very differently through a receiver, it should work out the same. Just a lot more plugging and unplugging. The A8 allows you to take measurements of individual speakers until you are ready to finalize and make your PRIR.
 
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