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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. Got the Shakes
    I could in theory plug all of my devices back into my tv and then route the tv's audio to the A16 via optical. I'd still at least be able to send 5.1 from my tv to the A16. This is similar to the setup I just had when I was using my Sound Blaster G6. I'm assuming, maybe naively, that it's only going to be the matter of a few days until the manual comes out and it will hopefully shed some light n the passthrough thing and help me finally capture a PRIR.
  2. raband
    Sorry - I meant from the A16 to the TV

    The A16 has optical out I believe - couldn't you send that to the TV's optical in?
    Evshrug likes this.
  3. phoenixdogfan
    You are referring to the Egyptian theater preset. And you're right, it's the worst preset on OOYH and I don't know of anyone who likes it. On the other hand, I don't think any of us know that's an inherent drawback of capturing a PRIR of a larger venue. I'm sure that venue (the Belmont) is awesome when taken in live, perhaps it's acoustics are different enough from the Egyptian to be awesome as a PRIR (perhaps more awesome even than anything else). I don't know why, for example, someone would not want to be transported from their closet of a listening room (comparatively) to a vast ATMOS venue providing it could be rendered convincingly. And it probably could be rented for an hour with comparatively few hastles, and, I'm sure, there would be plenty of student interns who would find something like an A16 super cool, and would enthusiastically lend their assistance.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
    Evshrug likes this.
  4. Dixter
    I am now wondering if the hold up for the manual might be because the manual needs to be edited in different languages.... ??? I know Gilles was doing the french one... wonder how many there could be ?
  5. CanMad
    Unfortunately TV's usually only have an optical out not an optical in.
    Evshrug likes this.
  6. raband
    Argh - yep - was confusing the TV with the soundbar - I knew there was an input there somewhere :S
    Evshrug likes this.
  7. dsperber
    I believe the optical output of the A16 is (like with the A8) the post-SVS pre-DAC processed 2-channel stereo signal intended to feed your headphones, to provide the virtual surround to your ears. It simply allows you to use your own external DAC (probably with XLR-outputs to your headphone amp) via optical input, rather than forcing you to use the A16's own built-in DAC which feeds its own analog headphone-outputs. It is not a simple 2-channel stereo mixdown of your multi-channel inputs, nor is it a simple L/R stereo pass-through of FL/FR.
    arnaud and jgazal like this.
  8. CanMad
    Which will be OK for me as this is exactly what I want to feed into my Yarra 3DX. But it would be nice (should be mandatory) if the HDMI pass thru included sound as well as video. I can see times when I may want to feed the Yarra unprocessed sound. For instance when I am not sitting in front of my second TV. And I will have to muck about unplugging/plugging in HDMI cords. Buy a splitter I guess is the simplest solution.

    Does anyone know if you use the HDMI in on an OPPO for video processing does it feed sound out of its HDMI ports? I assume so. So this could be a solution for me as it has two HDMI outputs. I could feed the sound only output to the A16 and the sound/video one to the Yarra. I have a 103 I bought for ripping SACD's that I could use on the second TV where I plan for the A16 to sit. I have a 95 on the main TV, and if I'm siting in front of that I'll use the Atmos speaker system still.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  9. dsperber
    I'm one of those who actually was AT the Egyptian when Lorr arranged for a special 7.1 PRIR-measurement one afternoon (through his friend who was the projectionist) when the theater was not in use. We sat in 1st-row balcony, which might have been "in the middle of the overall sound volume". But there were no other people in the entire theater so the overall sound was cavernous (even to our ears, not to mention what came out in the PRIR), and there are LOTS OF SPEAKERS (far away and all around from where we were sitting) and many audio channels in this place.

    It was a novelty, and a treat to be taken up into the projection room to see all the audio/video equipment. But as far as ever actually listening to anything via A8 through this PRIR after one try when I got back home... never happened, at least not for me.

    Now, kind of off-topic but speaking of Dolby Atmos... just for future reference if/when the movie is ever released on BluRay with an Atmos track, if you're looking for a spectacular audio/video experience I highly recommend a just-released film named "Aquarela" which I saw this past weekend. It was shot at 2:35 : 1, 96-fps (AMIRA, ALEXA MINI, ANGENIUX Optimo 15-40mm cameras) but I'm not sure if there are actually any commercial theaters with projection equipment that can show that. I saw it at the Arclight Hollywood on their HFR widescreen projection system in Screen 8, which I believe is 48-fps (unless it actually was 96 to match the source content). The theater also has an amazing Dolby Atmos setup.

    There's no dialog in the film (although there probably are 7-8 spoken lines), and the astonishing Dolby Atmos sound is entirely that of recorded raging water and orchestral score. Some genuinely astonishing footage.

    Truly a rare visceral audio/video experience, if you get a chance.
    Evshrug and VandyMan like this.
  10. sander99
    Yes, and the A16 has 2 optical outs: one for user A and one for user B. But maybe it can be configured to work as a stereo pass through without SVS processing. Same for the stereo RCA/cinch analog out.

    @Got the Shakes:
    This maybe could be a part of a solution (but don't run to the store yet because Smyth might solve the problem of course):


    It can merge an analog stereo audio signal or an optical multi channel audio signal into an HDMI stream.

    (And by the way: you could also use it to create 2 channel sweeps over HDMI: just connect the A16 analog outputs 1 and 2 to this device! For most people that won't do much good though, it's 7.1 sweeps that we need. But who knows there are specific situations/systems where this could come in handy.)
  11. dsperber
    Input via HDMI1/2 on an Oppo is handled exactly the same way content coming from its own disc player is handled, namely being processed according to the same audio/video settings as well as being output via HDMI1/2 according to the "A/V split" settings and whether or not you have a "live" connection on HDMI2. Note that the 7.1 analog audio pre-outs are also always active on the Oppo, and are also configurable independently (as if they were going to an external amp/speakers) for analog mix-down (say to 2-channel stereo), even while digital audio output on HDMI1/2 is presented either as multi-channel decoded-LPCM or encoded-bitstream.

    Interesting that there is a reported HDMI pass-through issue with the A16, which passes video but not audio. With the A8 the HDMI pass-through required that the unit be powered on, as opposed to the analog pass-through (i.e. "analog bypass") which required that the unit be powered off (resulting in physical relays closing, which you could hear) in order to truly pass-through 7.1 analog input to 7.1 analog output (as if via 8 straight wires). Back in 2013 I was going to place my A8 in between my Oppo 103 and my Yamaha RX-V867 AVR, with HDMI1 out of the oppo feeding HDMI-in on the A8, and HDMI-out on the A8 feeding HDMI1 into the AVR.

    However there apparently was an HDMI handshake issue (involving either the above 3 devices, or also including a 4th device namely the 2-channel-only HDTV connected to the AVR if allowed to be visible via settings). I can't recall now if there was either only 2-channel stereo sound put out from the Oppo, or even worse no sound at all put out from the Oppo. It was as if the AVR when seen by the Oppo source device through the A8 was not deemed capable to receive multi-channel [LPCM] audio if there was 2-channel stereo emitted by the Oppo. And if it was the even worse symptom, with no audio at all, well that was completely inexplicable. Either result (and I apologize for not remembering which of the two it actually was) was completely unacceptable, since multi-channel LPCM out of the Oppo was required to feed mulit-channel LPCM into the A8.

    Despite the fact that this HDMI pass-through failure (either one) was unexpected, especially with a common AVR like Yamaha, it was not possible to overcome. I ended up re-configuring things, running the Oppo in "A/V split" mode. HDMI1 video-only output went directly to the AVR. And HDMI2 audio-only output went directly to the A8 (and no further). The A8 was seen by the Oppo and HDMI handshake as "acceptable" to receive multi-channel LPCM as was required. With the A16 the additional Oppo audio processing option of "bitstream" is now also available, for multi-channel audio greater than 7.1 from the Oppo.

    Note that with the Oppo, when operating in "A/V split" mode if HDMI2 is "powered off" then both audio and video are delivered out over HDMI1... which is going to the AVR, which controls its own connected speakers. So in this arrangement if you want to listen to TV via speakers rather than headphones, you simply power off the A8 (or A16) and use the AVR and its own normal speaker sound system as your non-headphone output.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
    VandyMan and CanMad like this.
  12. raband
    That's how I plan on using it - into the HDVD800 to feed the HD800S's
    RCA's for the STAX
  13. sander99
    I am now going into full-nerd mode myself for a moment, just like the Smyth brothers:):
    If the A16 can not skip binaural processing for any of the user A and B stereo outputs but only downmix to stereo and apply a stereo PRIR to that downmix: create a dummy stereo PRIR[Edit 2: /HPEQ combination] that doesn't do any binaural stuff but only passes on the signal unchanged. [Edit 2: BECAUSE THIS IS HIGHLY NON RECOMMENDABLE I WILL STRIKE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING: Such a PRIR can be created by doing a PRIR measurement while feeding the sweeps for the left and right stereo channels straight into the left and right measurement mic inputs. Ask an electronics expert how you should connect analog line outputs to such mic inputs! That PRIR should be used without HPEQ or if that is not possible then with a dummy HPEQ (that doesn't change the sound) that can be created in a similar way (do the HPEQ while feeding the headphones signal - from the RCA/cinch stereo output - straight into the mic inputs).]
    [Edit 2: One way to make a PRIR/HPEQ combination that essentially doesn't change the sound very much, only it isn't very precise: Do a 2 channel PRIR measurement with the mics in your ear, and wearing headphones, sending the channel 1 and 2 test sweeps to the left and right channel of your headphones (you will need an external headphone amp). Essentially you have made a PRIR of your headphones. Also do a HPEQ of the same headphones. Now if you use this PRIR and HPEQ the PRIR will simulate how your headphones sound on your head and the HPEQ will compensate for how your headphones sound on your head. The net result should resemble the unchanged signal. In fact this is a neat test to see how well the combo of your headphones and the A16 can replicate a signal!]

    You could use this dummy PRIR [Edit 2:/HPEQ combination (and dummy HPEQ if needed)] for user B, and use the user A part for your headphone listening, so you don't have to change presets or whatever everytime you switch from headphones to TV-speakers. Only when you want to use the A16 with 2 users you have to change the preset for user B.
    Then connect the A16 HDMI out and the A16 user B analog stereo cinch/RCA to the HDMI audio embedder device (http://www.ambery.com/prhdauemanau.html) and the HDMI out from that to the TV.

    [Edit 2: BECAUSE THIS IS HIGHLY NON RECOMMENDABLE I WILL STRIKE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING:[Edit: If the A16 also doesn't allow downmixing to stereo (with the purpose of feeding it to a stereo pair of virtual speakers), or can not do it for one user only, then create a "semi-dummy" PRIR that doesn't do any binaural stuff but does downmix multichannel to stereo. To do that route all 16 analog outputs trhough a 16 to 2 channel (down)mixer and input the resulting 2 channels into the mic inputs during a PRIR measurement. A small problem is that the way the 16 channels should be mixed depends on the surround format and the channel assignment. This can be solved by making seperate "semi-dummy" downmixing PRIRs for each format.]]
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
    Evshrug and mrmac like this.
  14. CanMad
  15. audiohobbit
    @Sander: I wouldn't recommend connecting the pre out to the mic in at all! Even an electronics expert has to know the exact specs of pre out and mic in to create an adapter (voltage, impedance,...)
    And even then: For me that would be too risky potentially damaging hardware worth 4000 dollars that is so rare and who knows how long it would take Smyth to repair it and how much it will cost you, because it was your fault and won't be protected by warranty.

    And all that just for some casual tv viewing (or just background noise)?
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