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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. audiohobbit
    If you record a PRIR with a speaker 1 m away, then you will hear the virtual speaker 1 m away. Even if it's recorded in an anechoic room I think.
    The speakers in the PRIR have to roughly match the size of your room where you watch your movies and listen to music with the Realiser.

    I read the main chapters of the manual, just have to have a closer look at the appendices.

    Many things from the A8 are missing. It seems there are no gain and delay settings for the (virtual) speakers at the moment. For gain there are some settings but I'm not sure if they work. For delay they say it doesn't work at the moment. So you have to ensure externally that all the speakers recorded for the PRIR are equally loud at the sweet spot and the sound arrives at the same time (Nearer speakers have to be delayed).

    There seems to be no way to "play" with the settings (loudness of the channels, delay) afterwards in the Realiser. When creating a sound room there are also gain settings for each channel but they say nothing about them in the manual at all. There's just this Normalis Loudness switch but this is an automatic and who knows how good this will work.

    Totally missing is the diagnostics page after PRIR measurement that gives you some info how good or bad the PRIR has been recorded.

    The manual HPEQ procedure(s) and manual tweaking of the Auto HPEQ are better solved than with the A8. But still the first band includes 0-500 Hz, so you can't do any fine tuning in this range. That's annoying. Headphones also vary greatly in this range, e.g. bass response can be totally different between 2 headphones.
    And since there are also no more simple bass and treble sliders, as in the A8, there's no way with on-board utilities to influence bass response at around 100 Hz for example. There's something with 40 Hz but I'm not sure if it's an EQ. I hoped for a high pass filter.

    With auto EQ with the A8 you could change the compression factors an 3 different bands, at higher bands auto EQ is normally not so heavily applied (only factor 0.3). That's also missing with the A16 and no mentioning what factors are implemented.

    What's also not clear to me are the positions of the speakers that will be recorded, e.g. where exactly do they have to be placed? In the appendix there are lists with azimuth and elevation angles but sometimes those angles seem very odd to me. Does this mean that the speakers have to be placed at those angles? You can manually specify angles when setting up PRIR sound rooms (Chapter 5.1) but I don't think that the Atmos decoding algorithm remaps the objects to the speaker layout you entered manually. This would be the functionality of a Trinnov that is x times more expensive.
    So I think the Atmos decoder assumes specific angles for the speakers and I clearly want to know them.

    Next point: How do I get my A8 PRIR into the A16? And is it even possible with this FW at the moment?

    If I use the A16 like my A8 with decoded sound coming from my AVR to the multichannel analog ins of the A16, how does this work?
    Do I have to set up a PCM sound room then?
    sahmen likes this.
  2. Got the Shakes
    I absolutely can pinpoint the individual speakers. The PRIR I made sounds nearly identical in sound as to sitting in the room and watching something through the actual speakers. It sounds so realistic that I have started watching as much tv and movie content that I can just for the sound. I’ve been hoarding digital content in anticipation for the A16 and it has delivered on its promises to my ears. I was actually thinking of writing up my experiences with the A16 a week in, what I like, what I don’t like, and some of the annoyances that can hopefully be fixed via firmware.
    jgazal, innocentblood and audiohobbit like this.
  3. audiohobbit
    Can someone who already own an A16 check if the "SVS-Bass" setting can also be set to negative dB-Values (what is the complete range)? See p. 39 in the manual.
  4. sahmen
    I hear you, and you have articulated several of my own concerns, some of which I have voiced on this forum already, without receiving any help, since I guess many of us are in the same boat, with loads of unanswered questions. Which brings up another obvious question : where and how in the name of the !@bhji!!! might one consult with any kind of Customer/Technical Support for the A16? It obviously can't be James Smyth, who seems only able to deal with sales and related communications in a highly selective fashion..., and whose promise (on August 12) that SR will "ship around 10 to 20 units per week... [and post] weekly updates on the numbers that have been shipped" appears to have died, even before going to effect (that is if it was ever a genuine and sincere promise, to begin with).

    Given the sophistication of all the computing technology that has gone into the making of the A16, questions, such as those you have asked, should ideally be directed to a well established and competent customer/technical support address from which someone with the requisite technical expertise can respond promptly, especially, since the product has been released (or is supposed to have been released). I know we are accustomed to giving the Smyths too much of a free pass on this forum, when it comes to holding them to account, so I wouldn't expect anything remotely close to the kind of hands-on technical and customer support some companies provide, sometimes, even on this forum (Audeze, Schiit Audio, Uptone Audio, ZMF Audio, Meze, Violectric, etc. etc), but some form of active and responsive Technical Assistance service is absolutely essential at this point for the A-16. I do not think the smallness of the team at Smyth Research is a tenable excuse : Uptone Audio is for all intents and purposes, a 1-man boutique, but Superdad delivers quick technical/customer support to customers on this forum, and elsewhere, even when he is on the go, and can only respond with a phone, and I know he is not alone, in being that responsive.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  5. audiohobbit
  6. Got the Shakes
    I’ll try and answer some of this. The gain settings seem to work once you create a virtual room. I went and adjusted the gain on the center channel in the room I created to -2 and to my ears it made a difference.

    To your last question. You need to make rooms for each kind of content that you are sending to the A16. Dolby Atmos rooms are separate from DTS:X rooms which are separate from PCM rooms. You can attach one of each room type to a preset. So for example the way I have mine setup is that preset 1 has the Dolby room I created from my PRIR, a DTS room I created from the same PRIR (which doesn’t matter since the A16 can’t decode DTS at the moment), and a PCM room from that same PRIR. They are all the same 5.1 room using the same virtual speakers. I hope that makes sense.
  7. Fox1977
    Thanks for the feedback ! What about the generic BBC 9.1.6 room ? how does it work on you ? you can also point the virtual speakers ? Atmos sounds really seem to be coming from above your head ? I understand though that if it works fine for you, since it's a BRIR, it doesn't mean it will work for everyone...
  8. Got the Shakes
    The generic room for me is just okay. I need to test it a bit more as I haven't used it that much, but after hearing the PRIR that I made the generic rooms just seem off. I think that's more because the PRIR sounds so good not necessarily because the generic room sounds bad.
  9. audiohobbit
    Concerning the questions all may have: I think it would be good to collect them (maybe in a separate thread?) and send them in one e-mail (or other way of communication) to Smyth, to avoid that they get hundreds of mails that they can't handle.

    Thanks. Can you try it with more extreme settings of the gain to be really sure that this works? If had an A16 I could measure the output to be sure (if I had one and if I had time).
    They don't mention the gain setting at all in the chapter about creating a sound room.

    Yes, I understood this.
    The question is what does PCM relate to? Only PCM via HDMI or also via analogue line in?
  10. Got the Shakes
    I will try to mess with the gain settings to the extreme tonight and see what happens.

    So PCM relates to basically any of the inputs. It can be HDMI, the analog input, optical, or USB. Optical is weird though as it seems to only allow for 2 channel PCM. The way the A16 works is that you select your input, this could be HDMI, optical, USB, or analog then the A16 determines the correct room to use from the preset you have selected based on the input signal. If it detects PCM regardless of the source it will play it through the PCM virtual room that is attached to the preset that you have selected.
  11. SergioPOE
    Huh?? Are you sure about that? That makes no sense to me. As I said in a previous post, if you're listening to a movie with an Atmos soundtrack, and then you switch to a movie with a DTS:X soundtrack, you don't have to change anything around. The receiver (or A16) will see what speakers are available and send the sound to the appropriate speakers. What am I missing here?
  12. Got the Shakes
    You don't have to switch anything around, but you have to have rooms that you've created for each format attached to a preset. From the manual:

    "The A16 runs on Presets – each preset contains three different Listening Rooms. Listening Rooms are designed for specific decoding formats, and for specific loudspeaker arrangements within these formats. Listening rooms contain a maximum of 16 virtual loudspeakers. Presets contain multiple Listening Rooms. This allows the A16 processor to switch automatically between different loudspeaker reproduction formats, depending on the detected bitstream, Dolby, DTS or PCM."

    So for my preset 1 example, in that preset you have to point the A16 to a Dolby virtual room you've created, and a DTS virtual room you've created and a PCM virtual room you've created. These can all have the same speaker configuration or completely configurations.
  13. audiohobbit
    Thanks. Please don't forget the SV-Bass question I posted earlier.

    So if you choose analog it switches automatically to the PCM room?

    SPDIF can only transfer 2ch PCM, that's correct and a technical limitation. I think with optical they mean electrical (coax, cinch) and opticals SPDIF (Toslink) since it has both inputs?
    SPDIF can transfer bitstream up to (i think) 5.1.

    Manual p. 11:
  14. J.Villain
    "How might one consult with any kind of Customer/Technical Support for the A16?"

    The correct way according to the smyth site is to us the contact page. But I think that just goes to James which wouldn't help but you can give it a try.

    But some thing else you might want to try is look at the staff page and find the person responsible for the subject you are having trouble with, take their first name and prepend it to @smyth-research.com and see if it works. But no one should be bugging the developers with non technical questions like "where is my realizer?" or that route will get blocked for sure. I am not sure if it will work but it is worth a try.

  15. SergioPOE
    Can you assign the same PRIR to all the presets?
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