Smyth Research Realiser A16
Aug 30, 2019 at 11:26 AM Post #6,078 of 15,530
I think we thought that Dolby had banned third party upmixers, but no more -

"Effective immediately, Dolby is withdrawing all limitations (including limitations contained in Dolby licenses) on the use of OEM (first-party) and third-party post-processing technologies (including upmixers and virtualisers) on audio decoded from Dolby formats (including Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Atmos) on AVRs, sound bars and TVs. Effective immediately, products submitted for approval before January 1, 2021 may apply first-party and third-party post-processing (including upmixers and virtualisers) to audio encoded in Dolby formats, including Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Atmos."

I wander if this maybe have been the reason for the delays in finalizing the A16. Smyth Research had maybe been waiting for conformation of the above statment. If they had told us that was the cause for the delays then I think we would have accepted it was not their fault.

As my A16 has not yet been shipped I hope that Smyth Research will be able install and activate all the firmware required to make this the excellent product to work as intended before shipping.

Slightly off topic:
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Aug 30, 2019 at 5:32 PM Post #6,080 of 15,530
No email from James. Now there’s a surprise.

Given people are receiving A16s with a bunch of promised features missing, notably an easy way to measure a 16 channel PRIR with room correction and delay. I don’t think it’s fair to blame Dolby for the delays. The certification delays should’ve meant more features were finished before shipping began.
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Aug 31, 2019 at 3:10 PM Post #6,081 of 15,530
Does anyone know if there's an 8ch AD Converter with HDMI ouput?
Or how about an USB interface for the PC, like this:

Can you get 8 analog channels with this and the PC to 8ch LPCM HDMI.
I think this would be better than to put an EQ speaker management system between the analog outs of the Realiser and the analog ins of the AVR because that would be mor AD-DA conversions.
Aug 31, 2019 at 3:12 PM Post #6,082 of 15,530
Was third party processing of decoded Dolby stream ever really “banned” per se? More likely just restricted with Dolby requiring specific licensing agreements according to the particular formats and devices in question.

After all, DTS headphone X processing has been used to turn Dolby Digital 5.1 into VSS for well over a year on SteelSeries gaming Headphone dac/amps and certain soundbars have been using DTS Neo X on Decoded dolby streams since last year too.
Aug 31, 2019 at 6:01 PM Post #6,085 of 15,530
Repurposed defibrillator?
Aug 31, 2019 at 8:36 PM Post #6,087 of 15,530
Or how about an USB interface for the PC, like this:

Can you get 8 analog channels with this and the PC to 8ch LPCM HDMI.
If I understand you correctly, you want the measurement signals from the Realiser embedded as 8 channel LPCM into HDMI to send it to your AVR? That should be possible as you suggested - any kind of 8 channel audio interface connected to a PC with sufficiently "modern," audio-capable HDMI out should work. On the software side, I'd try VLC first and if that fails,

Edit: You should try with just stereo as input first, that should be basically free. At least with ardour, you could route the left recorded channel to all left output channels (and the center), and the right channel to all right output channels, and see if that works as expected.
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Aug 31, 2019 at 8:37 PM Post #6,088 of 15,530
I have been using the Gefen GTB-HD-SIGGEN. A similar model is the Cypress XA-3.
I think I forgot the word affordable...
These items seem to cost more than I paid for the A16!
Sep 1, 2019 at 6:05 AM Post #6,089 of 15,530
I've been a lurker here for a long time and it seems I still have a long wait to go before I get my A16 -I pre-ordered in May of 2018... for anyone that uses a lot of PC audio, I tried out a program called Impulcifer ( after it was mentioned on here briefly and wanted to share my experience with it and hopefully bring some attention to it. This is the real deal and if you take some time to do things right you will basically get a pc only version of the A8 (7.1 only, no Atmos). Some more thoughts below:

- While waiting for the A16 to ship I have gone down the rabbit hole trying to get something close. I have tried or purchased OOYH, the Audeze Mobius, WIndows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, HeSuVI... basically everything except the creative SXFi. Impulcifer is far and away the best recreation of listening to my sound system in my living room. I frequently have to remove my headphones to make sure the speakers aren't playing. It's amazing.

- The program works through recording Sine sweeps on your speakers and your headphones using binaural, in ear microphones and doing some of kind of magic. I used the Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 and Roland CS10-EM binaural microphones, recording each through both my PCs motherboard and through a Zoom H1N. Using the Zoom vs onboard made a large difference in imaging, in putting the speakers where they 'belong' in the room through headphones. Using the Sound Professional mics pushed things over the edge and brought the headphone sound qualities closer to the actual speakers. Going back and forth in the HeSuVI presets is a huge difference - Buy high quality microphones and use the Zoom as the bare minimum starting point for the recordings - quality of recording equipment makes a big difference in the final results.

- I am tech literate, but don't spend a lot of time with the Windows CMD interface, so the installation and use instructions for Impulcifer were a little bit intimidating. Overall though, jaakkopasanen's (the creator) instructions are great and if you have any problems he is very responsive and seems willing to help.

I have no affiliation with the creator, but I have been enjoying the heck out of the software for the last few weeks and it's made the wait for my Realiser a little more bearable. Hopefully it can do the same for some of you!
Sep 1, 2019 at 8:53 AM Post #6,090 of 15,530
Glad someone else has the wonderful Impulcifer working. It's free and we seem to get more communication and better support than a £4k device.

Some thoughts on the Realiser from using Impulcifer and with various home theater setups:

  • Having a 9.1.6 HRIR in a tiny room isn't worth while. The reason you put in more channels than, 5.1.4 is due to the size of the room - if you have a small room stereo panning/imagining can take care of it. Even between a real 4 ceiling speaker vs 6, the only additional information you gain is the panning between the front and back. They're designed for bigger theaters. The 9.1.6 setup I've seen on YouTube that the Smyth's used at shows to capture is very small. So doing a 7.1.4 or 5.1.4 will be sufficient.
  • The room sound matters much more than the speaker. The sine sweep process doesn't actually model the speaker transient response. You might find that the 9.1.6 measurement captured in a busy/non treated room won't be ideal. I've got multiple measurements from different seating positions and they all serve a purpose. The near field ones are good for many Dolby Atmos movies (you still get 7.1 vs 5.1 with Atmos). For two channel music I really like the measurement I took from 2.5m away from my speakers - it has a lot more room.
  • Impulcifer is mobile - I used it in an airbnb for nearly a month via bluetooth headphones and a laptop hooked up to a TV.
  • Impulcifer's dev is implementing exciting features in the future like virtual room correction (both frequency and time domain/RT).

For those into all this also check out DTS Headphone X v2. It's by far the best synthesised system I've used and it has headphone compensation - and it adds real height channels for DTS:X movies. You'll have to be on a Windows Insider build though. See my post on it if you're interested.

I was really excited that the Smyth started shipping, now reading through this thread I have 0 interest in ever buying anything from a company that communicates so poorly. The measurement process just isn't feasible to obtain Atmos. It's fiddly enough to work with Impulcifer and that's quite a simple measurement process - but you can't keep binural mics in and re-wire your AVR. Trust me when you start doing it, you'll get how fiddly the whole process is.

The syntheised efforts are also getting incredibly good. I was talking to DTS and they actually found that headphone compensation made a much bigger difference in their internal experiments than even personalisation. All the big companies have fingers in the ear scanning pie so pretty soon it'll be available everywhere. But for now anyone waiting jump on Impulcifer. Amazing stuff.

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