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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. esimms86
    I would if I were ready to spend some cash on a PRIR instead of just kicking the tires. I wouldn’t want to get in touch with Blackbird or any other studio until I was really serious and ready to go. As it is, I’ve yet to receive my Kickstarter #174 A16 so I have yet to even beGIN to learn to master the technique of making a PRIR. I seriously doubt that anyone at Blackbird has mastered the technique either so there would be a lot of wasted time entailed. Anyway, I’ve bookmarked the link until the time is right.

    EDIT: I greatly appreciate dsperber’s post. Immensely helpful.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  2. sander99
    To get into the mood:
  3. phoenixdogfan
    I'll get in touch with the Blackbird manager on Monday. The person I talked to at BB had no clue re the A16. I'm not surprised, It's a specialty item. The Lorr Kramer idea is excellent. Someone who has a relationship with him should inquire. I'll find out about rates, time, discounts etc. Let's be reasonable here, though folks. If this event winds up costing $2k a head, it'll be a non-starter, so let'smake sure we can do this efficiently, and in a pocketbook friendly way b/c some of us still have to find a way to afford our Realiser. :wink:

    Also, Nashville has a number of studios. Belmont University has a studio that installed JBL M2s. Would anyone like me to inquire regarding its availability? Also if Lorr comes, perhaps we could ask him if he could prevail upon some of the HIFI providers in the city to open their doors to Realisr users. Nashville has stores selling Revel Salon 2s, Kii3s, Dutch & Dutch 8cs, Kef Blades, YG Accoustics, and Focal Sopras.

    Nashville is also smack dab in the center of the Eastern United States, making it a fairly easy destination for anyone living east of the Mississippi. It would be a natural place to sign up PRIR vendors, and could probably serve as the primary source location for this region, where 70% of the US population resides.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  4. raband
    Is there any point waiting until DTS-X is released for the A16 before laying down cash on a studio, or is the speaker recording/placement etc independant?
  5. dsperber
    It is of course ideal if a single location could provide multiple different audio setups, so that a single visit could produce multiple usable PRIR's. But the reality is that this might not be possible, and/or to reconfigure a single setup to conform to different channel requirements.

    For example, at AIX they had side speakers which could be easily moved. So they could be positioned where they ideally should be for either a DD5.1 (+/- 120) or DD7.1 (+/- 90) setup. And it was possible to activate two additional LS/RS speakers (+/- 150) when doing a 7.1 calibration. The speaker connections and movements took manual time and effort, but it was not overly inconvenient. Of course it was then necessary to run an independent second complete calibration process, which of course took more time. The studio was thus required for "two sessions" of use, although we kind of pre-arranged for a big block of time so we were free to do whatever we needed to maximize use of that block for the several of us who were there, and who did have the desire to come away with both a 5.1 and 7.1 PRIR.

    But this was not a THX setup, it was DD. Turns out they actually DID have additional THX speakers mounted higher up on side walls, but these weren't part of our intended DD sessions, unless you actually wanted to also get a THX session. If you complicate things with vertical and presence speakers, or different speaker placements or angles, and if it's even possible to use the same single studio but only after physical speaker placement changes, well obviously this significantly complicates things and increases the time requirements and inevitably should also increase cost. That's pretty much the major factor: cost, and what you are willing to pay for what you come away with. And every studio may or may not have any flexibility whatsoever, so what you see is what you get, period.

    Again, the real purpose of a PRIR is to capture a specific single listening environment. Like it or not, that Egyptian Theater PRIR session was specifically to capture the sound of the Egyptian Theater, not to use it reconfigured five different ways for other PRIR's if that's simply impossible. So, if this Blackbird Dolby Atmos "miracle" Studio C opportunity is truly possible to arrange for (at a standard cost), then THAT is what we should use it for. If you want some other DTS-X environment as well, see if you can find one of those to measure. That's why you will be able to collect and use multiple PRIR's, to reflect multiple different listening environments which may actually have come from multiple different actual rooms with their own unique equipment setups.

    And again, even if you do acquire multiple similar PRIR's, you will almost certainly begin to prefer one or a few over others. The unused ones will still be available as novelties, but it will be clear which PRIR's give you the greatest enjoyment when listening to content through them, and those will inevitably be the ones you set up for use in presets.
    jgazal and raband like this.
  6. phoenixdogfan
    I was under the impression you could take a single speaker, rotate your body and head and capture one at a time all the "look angles' (I think that's the correct term), and if you did every angle for Atmos you'd have an Atmos set up, and then if you did every angle for DTS-X, you would have a DTS-X setup, and so on. Is or is that not currently possible?
  7. dsperber
    I believe this is correct, but I plead personal ignorance on the subject. I've never used this method or done it. In fact, I've never even done my own PRIR calibration because I've always been lucky enough to have Lorr at some studio be my "measurement maestro" doing all the heavy lifting and cabling and A8 setup and microphone insertion in my ears.

    But again, I am not simply looking to complete the construction of a PRIR that theoretically contains speakers at all the right angles. For me the A8/A16 and PRIR are supposed to provide me with the illusion of listening to any source content as if I were actually in a REAL listening environment that I drooled over how it sounded when I was actually there... but now listening through the playback reverse magic of a PRIR and A8/A16 and super-headphones to "duplicate" that same room sound for any new content, even though I'm in my bedroom listening through headphones. Just being able to satisfy the requirements for a multiple-speaker virtual environment by my spinning around through multiple angular locations as I measure each orientation one at a time... that's just not a "real room" (with angles, echoes, etc.) and "how it really sounds", at least not to me.

    But, if it really works wonderfully in the absence of any other "real" opportunity... well, have at it. I'm sure it works just as described. I just again plead absolute illiteracy regarding this technique and the results it produces, have never actually had the need to use it to produce a PRIR. I've been lucky enough to have had access to true listening environments, with varied speakers and electronics, and Lorr Kramer to be the PRIR engineer.
  8. Fox1977
    I hope the personalization of a BRIR via the injection of one’s HRTF will be 1) really efficient and 2) not expensive, so that people who cannot easily access good studios or home-theater configurations can still enjoy as much as possible the potential of the A16...
  9. SergioPOE
    It should be currently possible (or if it isn't, by the time I get my A16, several months from now, it definitely should be), but note that you don't need separate PRIRs for Atmos and DTS-X. A PRIR captures a speaker configuration, not an Atmos or DTS:X configuration. There's no such thing as a DTS:X setup. DTS works with whatever speakers you have (up to a maximum of 11), so if you capture a PRIR for a 7.1.4 speaker set-up, then DTS will work with that. After all, if you're listening to an Atmos soundtrack on a 7.1.4 system and you want to then listen to a DTS:X soundtrack, it's not like you have to move the speakers around or change anything. The receiver (or the A16, I suppose, if you don't have a receiver) will detect what speakers you have and direct the sound to them accordingly.
  10. sander99
    If you also want an Auro 3D PRIR then I think the clever thing to do at Blackbird Studio's (or a similar Dolby Atmos studio) would be:
    1. Measure the system as is in one go to have your perfect Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 system, easy and fast.
    2. With one or more of the Atmos Ceiling speakers it wouldn't take too much bending the body to measure a few additional height speakers for Auro 3D.
    3. Maybe also measure the front wide speakers looking towards the back of the room to have alternative surround speakers for 5.1 and Auro 3D. (I dont know what angles they have for the ear level speakers, but Auro 3D advices to have surrounds at 110 degrees - I forgot about that in some of my earlier posts by the way.)
    The difference in sound between measuring a real speaker set up as is and a manipulated one by moving speakers or yourself will be smaller in a "dry" room than in a "wet" room. The Blackbird would work in your favour then. Although: the wooden flour will reflect a bit and I would think that for the height speakers that in itself might be noticable. But would a small change in angle of those reflections (compared to measuring speakers in the really correct position) be recognisable as manipulated? I don't expect so. Instead of bending over maybe sitting at a larger distance (relatively "above axis") from a height speaker to get to the 30 degrees elevation angle of Auro 3D is also good.
  11. Got the Shakes
    Yes this is doable. It would take a lot of time and either measuring or trying to get guidance from the A16 using the head tracker with fixed look angles. I’ve made a 5.1 and 7.1 PRIR from using pairs of speakers at a time, but it could be done with just one.
  12. Eich1eeF
    The proper time to ask may be right now, because you don't know how far in advance one would have too reserve.

    Maybe we should assemble a checklist what we need to know in advance to organize a group measure event. Something like this:

    • Can they accept 16 analog channel outputs and map them 1:1 to speakers
    • Which speaker positions are available beyond 5.1 and / or 7.1
    • Are they even OK with PRIRs getting recorded, and do they require some kind of agreement to be signed for that
    • Are they available on weekends
    • Is one of their engineers available and included in the price for the initial setup or the entire duration
    • How far in advance does one have to book
    • Are they OK with discussing their terms and conditions publicly in this forum
    • Are they OK with the PRIRs getting published on the exchange site
    • can we bring a rented KU100 or similar dummy head and sell the resulting PRIR on the exchange site to offset the cost of further group measuring sessions
    ajax1 likes this.
  13. sander99
    Another thing to to think about is the enormous choice of lookangle options the A16 now offers. Which ones would you want to get in your PRIR(s) when going to the studio?

    Using all the options would be awesome of course, but insanely time consumimg (and hence more expensive in the studio, on the other hand: how often are you there and have this chance?), so choices to be made... in combination with the choice of long or short sweeps, overlapping or non overlapping... (I didn't notice an option for repeated sweeps like with the A8, but maybe I overlooked it.)

    Just look at the A16 manual, section 8.3.3 Configure the look angles for the PRIR measurements.

    If I understand correctly the maximum number of 11 lookangles at 15° intervals is just for the front half, if you also switch on Look-rear you would have another 11 for the back half. So 22 in total and not yet even counting for elevation lookangles! By the way: not clear what happens if you switch all the options including Look-elev on: in case of 2 x 11 horizontal look angles and 360° horizontal head tracking it would not be of much use to only have one up- and one down-looking angle above and under the center. Maybe the A16 takes more elevation look angles at other horizontal angles as wel in that case?

    (Nice: "The maximum number of look angles that can be set is 11, at an angular span of +/-15 deg. The factory default PRIR files have this configuration.")
  14. esimms86
    Points taken but we all do what we’re ready to do when we’re ready to do it. Right now I’m content to continue to patiently wait for my A16 to be shipped with a CanJam PRIR. I’m, of course, open to the proposition discussed by @dsperber if and when it should to pass and I’m thankful to @phoenixdogfan for picking up the mantle.

    Anyway, my main purpose here was to put out the information re: Blackbird Studio for the A16 community and Smyth to be aware of.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  15. dsperber
    I might not get my A16 until many months down the road, because of where I am in the list. But if an opportunity arose before then to be able to get a Dolby Atmos PRIR calibration done at some place like Blackbird, so that I could come away with an SD card containing that PRIR which I would eventually use whenever my A16 actually was delivered to me, I would take that opportunity whenever I could.

    That studio is seemingly not designed for a simple 5.1/7.1 setup but perhaps the ground level speaker placements and corresponding electronic feeds for that could be done without too much effort (although obviously time and cost is involved). If the room is really spectacular sounding I would certainly like to get a PRIR for 5.1/7.1 if possible, if for nothing else but to compare it to AIX. It might be better sounding! Buf if it's really "the world's greatest Dolby Atmos sound room" then that's really the primary PRIR I want to have back in my bedroom to listen through when playing a Dolby Atmos source program.

    So I have no primary objective other than to get that one personal measurement PRIR that represents Blackbird Dolby Atmos if such an opportunity is presented, no matter whether I currently have an A16 or not. Eventually I will have an A16 and this PRIR can then be used.

    So far this is still all hypothetical of course. But should it actually come to pass and I still don't have my A16, that will not stop me from making travel arrangements for Nashville just to get my PRIR on an SD card. I haven't been there since the early 70's, but have fond memories of Loveless Cafe for "southern comfort food". Definitely a must-goto if you visit Nashville.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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