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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. bcwang
    The realiser does do the center correctly if you are using a 4.0 speaker setup with a 5.1 signal. I haven't tested whether the LFE mixes to the front large speakers though since I don't have a way to easily test that.

    I thought the +10db LFE cannot be detected by an AVR and is there because a movie may or may not be mixed correctly in the LFE channel for that. There is no signal for it and users have to lookup how the movie was set and choose the right setting. So it was on a movie by movie basis and whether it was DTS or Dolby or both, I cannot remmeber.

    It may be the oppo making the mistake to put the rear channel on the left back channel, since you've decoded to PCM the realiser is going to take it as is. This is the situation I would hope the realiser correctly pushes to both rear channels. You'll have to wait until DTS decoding is enabled to see.
  2. Rene Lou
    Ok, thanks! Based on their file names I moved them to the Blubliss folder.
  3. audiohobbit
    Where should a user look this up?

    In my not so young Yamaha 3067 there is no setting LFE boost or anything like this.
    And this AVR is about 7 years old.

    What you're referring to maybe the stone age of surround sound where there may have been some titles that had the wrong LFE level.

    But as I said nowadays you can't even set this up in the AVR.
  4. dsperber
    Since it's happened twice now, I suppose I have to report it as a clear bug.

    The other day I was using my newly purchased "Toy Story 2" 4K UHD Dolby Atmos BluRay to see how the built-in factory BBC 9.1.6 Atmos room sounds, coupled with my own Stax HPEQ. The audio "settings" on the disc were for Dolby Atmos, but my HDTV at this location is an older Panny 65VT50, which is of course not 4K. I was using my Oppo UDP-203, with its video-only HDMI1 going to my Yamaha AVR and then out to the TV, and with its audio-only HDMI2 going to HDMI2 of the A16. I know that only HDMI1 on the A16 is fully HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant, but I'm not passing through video. So I don't think this is significant for my problem report. So I expected to still hear the full Dolby Atmos sound from the disc, even though I was sure this 1998-era film couldn't possibly have had more than a 5.1 or 7.1 original underlying sound track even if this new disc offers Dolby Atmos. And in fact, the "info" button on the Oppo says it's reading "Dolby TrueHD 7.1" from the source, even if its sending "bitstream" out over HDMI2 to the A16. I don't know why it doesn't say Dolby Atmos, but this is my first disc with Dolby Atmos audio so maybe this is just the way the Oppo reports it.

    Anyway, I navigated to Chapter 22 ("When She Loved Me" song) and after being sure I had the volume where I wanted it as well as confirming (using TEST mode) that I could SOLO and hear all 16 speakers, I switched the A16 to "Audio Meters" mode. I wanted to see if the disc was actually only sending 7.1 audio, or were there more channels in this Dolby Atmos implementation since the BBC listening room on the A16 was capable of 9.1.6. Turns out it really was only 7.1, with no signal showing on any other channel.

    So, I continued to listen for a while (still in Audio Meters mode). All of a sudden the sound turned into a GIANT BUZZ!! I had a panic attack, and thought it was coming from the Oppo. So I pushed STOP, but the buzz persisted. I tried to use the volume-down rocker on the remote, but of course the volume rocker is inactive in Audio Meters mode (it's only active in speaker map display mode). Next thing I did was push the POWER button to shut the A16 off, and the buzzing finally ended. I was certain the A16 was the source of the buzz, rather than my external DAC (fed from optical out of the A16) or the Stax amp.

    After waiting a bit, I started things up again, but did not have a repeat event. So I mentally observed it, and was prepared for it to show up unexpectedly in the future.

    Yesterday I watched about 8 consecutive hours of Netflix (DD5.1 audio) streaming via my Oppo BDP-103 (set to output audio as LPCM, not BITSTREAM as the 203 is) connected from its audio-only HDMI2 output to HDMI1 input on the A16. For all 8 hours of operating in a 5.1 PCM room on the A16 (my AIX 5.1 PRIR coupled with Stax HPEQ) sound was perfect, fed LPCM from the 103. No buzz.

    Tonight I decided to learn how to compose a listening room from arbitrary speakers selected from multiple PRIR's. So I used as a practice example creating a new 9.1.6 Atmos room, starting from the existing 9.1.6 BBC PRIR and then overlaying the 7.1 ear-level speakers from my AIX 7.1 PRIR. Thus I was combining my primary AIX 7.1 PRIR with six overhead and LW/RW speakers from the BBC 9.1.6 PRIR. I figured that would be a pretty good way to turn my 7.1 AIX PRIR into a 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos environment. Seemed to all go ok, and using TEST/SOLO mode I was able to prove that all 16 speakers were working properly.

    Then once again, I put the "Toy Story 2" disc into the 203 and once again played Chapter 22. Once again I got my volume right, and then went to "Audio Meters" mode to watch the levels on the 7.1 channels. Well, it didn't take but three minutes for the GIANT BUZZ to reappear!!! Again, I had to power the A16 off to save my ears.

    So this buzz has now occurred TWICE, and only when using BITSTREAM input into a 9.1.6 Atmos room, fed from a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio, and while operating in Audio Meters mode (although this may not be as relevant as the other factors).

    I have no solution. Just my observation that the identical GIANT BUZZ (which eliminates any real audio) has now occurred twice, very early on after starting, when playing the identical BITSTREAM Dolby Atmos audio source through the Dolby Atmos decoder in the A16, and two somewhat different 9.1.6 room setups (one pure factory PRIR, and the other from my combining 7.1 AIX + 9.1.6 BBC). I have not experienced this buzz using LPCM input heard through a 5.1 PCM room even after 8 hours of continuous listening.

    Just saying. That's my report.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  5. hadron70
    When I went through the menus of different presets/listening rooms with the headphones on (no audio signal incoming), suddenly a deafening, distorted machine-gun-like buzz occured, keeping on until I ripped out the A16 power cord in panic. I do not remember the exact point where I was in the menus and I am not eager to reproduce this. It really makes you concerned that the headphones are being damaged (not to speak of the hearing).

    It seems that whenever you are configuring something on the A16 you should do it with your $10 throwaway headphone and connect your 009s or Susvara only when the dust (and buzz) has settled.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  6. raband

    Heaps of tech discussion from those who've got their units (and the rest of us)

    Anyone got any reports on how the units perform once setup?

    Everything you hoped them to be?
    (other than the non implemented functions yet)

    Are they as good as I'm hoping?
  7. hadron70
    This aspect usually gets buried under the discussion here: Yes, the main functionality works exactly as one can hope for, and that is spatial surround sound over headphones. I think the A16 (and the A8 before it) are really one of the most amazing devices the audio world has to offer.
    The main limitation is not the A16 itself, but the opportunites for high quality PRIR measuring.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    jgazal and raband like this.
  8. Dixter
    Its everything your hoping for and maybe a bit better.... Once you get everything working then its hard to stop listening to it... music for sure... movies for me is just an add on... but once you get several PRIR setups loaded then you get to switch back and forth and the realiser shows its magic..

    I can't imagine why headphone manufacturers don't use a realiser when they are at the headphone shows to show off their headphones... like Mr Speakers.. and others... it changes your headphones to sound like a room filled with $15K speakers.... and you can tune the realiser how ever you want it to sound... you like Tube Amps.... then just plug the A16 into a tube amp... your choice on how you want it to sound... soon as I get time around here I'm going to test a setup to make the A8/A16 wireless... it won't have head tracking but I think I can get the rest to work well.... I'm going to be using a Fiio W1T1 for the wireless transmitter... might be able to get the A8 to be wireless output and head tracking...

    Yes, the A16 sounds great.... seems we just need a couple of firmware updates for a couple issues and we should be golden....
    raband likes this.
  9. raband
    Thanks for the quick replies guys

    You have no idea how jealous and excited I am
  10. teacher1000
    I have finally, today, made a PRIR of my own setup that I'm happy with
    It was a battle, as I have 3x Totem Hawks at the front, with just some cheap surrounds, so I was shifting speakers around, all the while trying to keep the microphones in place, to get the full effect
    My goodness, I thought that I'd never get it quite right. At one point I wondered why I was getting no sound at all, only to realise I'd forgotten to turn my amp back on after swapping speaker positions

    However, its all done and the result is pretty much exactly as I would hope. A touch bright I'd say, but spatialisation is perfect, and uncanny.
    raband likes this.
  11. GeorgeA
    As Oppo can't decode Dolby Atmos signal, there won't be a Dolby Atmos indication. Dolby Atmos signal is bitstreamed to a Dolby Atmos capable AV procesor or receiver and there one can notice the Dolby Atmos indication.
  12. hadron70
    When configuring an Atmos room, there is a field "DE spkr" with the possible options "none" or combinations of "df/dm/dr". It should be explained in the manual on pages 81/82, but I cannot find it, maybe I am missing something. Any ideas?
    Edit: It somehow configures Dolby Enabled speakers for AV listening.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  13. audiohobbit
    Yes it's for Dolby enabled speakers. You can just forget this.... They had to implent this on demand of Dolby to get the license, although those settings don't make any sense with the Realiser (even if you record some upfiring speakers you'd just record them as a top speaker, no need to tell the Realiser that it's an upfiring speaker).

    @dsperber: As someone already pointed out the Oppo only shows Dolby True HD even if it's Atmos. Important is what the Realiser says in the speaker map menu. If it doesn't say Atmos (and you have to be careful, if it's not Atmos it shows the Dolby logo but says Dolby Audio instead of Dolby Atmos) it isn't. As you said it seemed to be only 7.1, I think this is because of the 2nd HDMI connection to the AVR that can't decode Atmos.
    Would you be willing to repeat the scenario with cheap headphones, to pinpoint the exact error? With the same setup so that it's 7.1 and then set up that it's Atmos (just one HDMI connection to the Realiser and the HDMI out to the TV nothing else. Hopefully)
    Does anyone else have this Toy Story 2 UHD?
    Are there other audio codecs as well so that one can check if it's a glitch in the audio stream itself?
    What sound does your AVR present with this scene (in Dolby 7.1)?
    What PRIR and HPEQ was it? Can you reproduce this with a factory PRIR and HPEQ?
    Your FW is 1.02?
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  14. sander99
    @dsperber: you could just lower the volume of the Stax amp to a very low level when experimenting...
  15. phoenixdogfan
    Looking at all the posts over the last two weeks, it occurs to me that there is something Smyth or an especially accomplished user to the A16 could put out there.

    To wit, a completely detailed instruction set on how to take a PRIR with: A single Speaker using body shifting; a single speaker moving the speaker to the proper locations; a pair of stereo speakers moving just head and body; multiple speaker set ups esp 5.1 and 7.1.

    This instruction should include ALL the measurements needed to capture Full PRIRs for Stereo, 5.1 and 71 legacy surround, 3D Auro, DTS-X, and ATMOS, as well as capturing a room like Blackbird if an opportunity is ever offered at a comparable venue.

    For the single speaker method (with head and body movement), for example, it would include every angle needed for all six of the configurations (including how to label each speaker to make them usable by each format), the most ergonomic way to plow through the measurements, how to sort the measurements into specific rooms, how to do the HPEQ so that it's usable for all the formats. And most importantly: EXPLAIN IT TO EVERYONE LIKE THEY ARE FIVE YEARS OLD, so that anyone with any level of experience with the product can come away with an optimal measurement for all the formats. And, of course it would be helpful to do this as instructional video, though a thoroughly well document with illustrations pdf file would suffice.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    Richter Di likes this.
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