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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. phoenixdogfan
    I was looking at the manual with a view toward finding out how I could bypass the A16's Dac and have the processed binaural signal feed my own Dac and headphone amp. I was disappointed to see the Usb digital output on the front panel was non functional. Does anyone know if or when they plan to make that feature operational? Has anyone put it on their to-do list?

    It looks like it can output the processed signal by Spidf and toslink optical digital outputs on the back panel. Is this correct? Will these outputs give me the full 16 channel ATMOS?

    Finally, there is a USB outlet on the back panel which is described as a 16 channel digital input and a two channel digital return (Up to 24/96). Not exactly sure what they mean by a "digital return" in this context. Does that mean it can output the full ATMOS 16 channel binaurally mixed signal to an external dac or not? Manual does not seem at all clear here. I'm sure someone who already has an A16 would know the answer to this. Again thanks in advance for sharing.
  2. dsperber
    That is exactly what the optical/coax digital outputs are on the back panel. It takes the SVS-processed 2-channel digital PCM stereo output (intended for your headphones via the A16's internal DAC/amp) and feeds it instead to your own DAC/amp.

    Your question about "will these outputs give me the full 16-channel ATMOS" isn't appropriate. The optical/coax output is the final SVS-processed 2-channel digital PCM stereo output intended for your headphones and ears. Whatever the input to the A16 was (Atmos, 5.1/, 7.1, 2.0, whatever) is processed by the A16 and boiled down by the SVS processing to the 2-channel headphone output for your ears... thus providing the "virtual surround" you hear, no matter what the input.

    Again, that is EXACTLY what this optical/coax output is for. It bypasses the A16's own DAC/amp and lets you use your own.
  3. audiohobbit
    I'm very sorry. I tried my best.
    (Concerning the fact that we know each other I don't think you meant this to be rude, but it sounds a bit like that, don't you think?)

    I'm not sure if those requests of yours were already there when I started the poll. Either way I tried to put the requests that seem more important to me into the poll.
    It's interesting that at the moment more users seem to want DTS decoding than the Async measuring mode. It's hard to believe that this could be true. The Async measuring mode seems to me one of the most important features.
    DTS up to 7.1 can be decoded to PCM by most players. Immersive sound is mainly Dolby Atmos. I encountered one film in my collection so far with DTS-X: Apollo 13. And this is only a remix.

    Maybe we should open up a thread for polls where we don't use the "crippled" poll function but just everyone places a new post with his vote.
  4. sander99
    I guess many people just don't realise how much of a difference the Async measuring mode would make for measuring a typical existing complete system. From hardly possible at all and not without some "manipulation" like using front amp channels for all speakers and taking a lot of time connecting and changing connections, to 5 minutes child's play without even having to connect the A16 to the system.
    jgazal likes this.
  5. audiohobbit
    I thought I stick to the poll for the order of importance of the missing features, but seeing this result, I don't want to. I'd say the async mode should be first, or at least second behind the browser GUI. At the moment it would be nr. 4 or 5.
    Also the fact that they already started to describe the async mode and include an appendix (although empty at the moment) in the manual tells me that this sould soon be finished, I hope.
    The problems are, as they describe in the manual, the many possibilities of setups and look angles you can have.
  6. phoenixdogfan
    Thank you for the reply, do you know whether the usb outlet on the back will do the same? Do do you know anything about the front USB outlet?
  7. Juy777
    I think the back USB port is for connecting the A16 to digital audio workstations like Pro Tools or Nuendo. The audio software then sees the A16 as 16 channel output device. This would be useful for example for sound designers which intend to
    listen to their work on the A16 if they dont have the space/money to utilize a 7.1.6 atmos monitoring system in their edit suites.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  8. sander99
    USB on the front: I think Smyth planned to enable it to connect a stereo USB DAC to it (for the SVS processed signal for the headphones), but if and when that ever happens?
    USB on the back: can be connected to a PC for 16 channels PCM from pc to A16 and 2 channels the other way. I assume the latter would indeed be for the SVS processed signal for the headphones for one user (what else would they want to send out 2 channels for?), but I don't know if it is already implemented. So you could not directly connect a USB DAC to that USB port, but maybe you could connect the A16 and a USB DAC to one pc and route the SVS headphone signal from the A16 through the pc to the USB DAC...

    16 channels PCM in over USB was mentioned in the 'Realiser A16 specifications, Firmware v1.0, August 2019' in the August 12 kickstarter update, so I assume that should work now. Did anyone already try to send multi channel pcm to the A16 from the pc over USB? (Probably not 16 channels, because where would you get those from at the moment? But 7.1?)
  9. J.Villain
    Most of the people that have A-16s in hand had A-8s so already have room measurements. To the the rest of us it is meaningless.
  10. audiohobbit
    What do you mean by "meaningless"?
    Those people with A8s have max 7.1 measurements. The whole point of the A16 is its 16 ch capabilty. So where do they get their 16ch measurements?

    I have an A8 myself. I did my own 7.1 PRIR with my own speakers in my own room, but this PRIR does not include room correction, channel delay etc.
    I measured the loudspeakers as they were and do room correction in the AVR. I let the AVR decode DTS,DD up to 7.1, do room correction etc. and send 8ch analogue to the A8.
    With more than 8 channels and Atmos this is not possible since I don't have an Atmos capable AVR and don't plan to buy one, since the A16 can decode Atmos itself.
    So for creating 16 ch PRIR with my own speakers I need the PRIR room corrected. The 8ch analogue in of my AVR bypasses all the processing, so no room correction possible when sending 8ch sweeps from the A16 to the AVR. So I would need an external DSP with 6 to 8 channels.
    I'd strongly prefer (8ch) PCM signals with measurement sweeps going to the AVR so I could use the room correction of the AVR.
  11. sander99
    In this case can be interpreted as "they don't understand (yet) that they (will) have a problem".
    And especially for all those people who don't understand it the problem will be huge, and the benefit of the Async measurement mode will also be huge for them. With the Async measurement mode measuring a system will be childs play for everyone. Without it the less technical inclined will be totally lost.
    jgazal likes this.
  12. Juy777
    It makes a huge difference if you want to take a measurement, lets say in a IMAX cinema or a movie postproduction mixing stage. Without Async measurement you will have to convince the owners to unplug the cables from
    their Dolby decoder/amp rack and put the line outs of your A16 in. Apart from the fact that you will need your A16 near the sweet spot of the location, and probably wont have the 100-300 ft cables to connect the A16 to their stuff.

    It will be far more easy and convenient if they just have to put a disc containing the measurement sweeps into their already existing player which is ready to use.
    I think it will be a very big improvement over the A8, since it can be the decisive factor if you can get your measurements taken or not.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    audiohobbit likes this.
  13. JohnEW
    I cannot thank everyone enough for all of your contributions to this thread. I do not have a A8 but waiting patently for my A16. The information that you all are posting is invaluable even although my understanding of what is being discussed is at best, very basic.

    The A16,Issues,Questions thread and the Poll helps me to know if a feature of the A16 is activated or deactivated, or where there may be a problem with the A16.

    Keep up the good work audiohobbit, as I appreciate the work that you are doing to keep the (not so well audio educated users like me) informed the state of play of the A16
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  14. Eich1eeF
    There are a number of problems with Async measurements for > 8 Channels. One is that it is uncertain if it is even possible to construct an Atmos or DTS:X stream that can play the measurement signal on a specific height channel. Another problem is that Cinema processors may not even be able to play back "consumer" streams, since there are significant differences between those and the encoding used for cinema sound tracks.

    Most people voting may see their vote as a preference for the order of implementing a feature, not a preference of one over the other getting implemented at all. One doesn't take measurements daily or weekly - it's probably acceptable to spend a few hours to get a good measurement once, and many users may assume that that would be sufficient. On the other hand, not having DTS:X decoding makes immersive sound on a number of movies inaccessible.

    I'd love to have a PRIR from a really good room even before I get my A16, and the chances of getting one are better with functioning async measurements, but I'd also prefer DTS to come first.
  15. audiohobbit
    Yes this is possible. In my issues thread I posted links to Atmos demo trailers. In one of those links you can find channel specific noise signals encoded on Atmos up to 9.1.6. Everyone of the 16 channels plays the noise solely on this channel. So it IS possible.
    Smyths themselves say already in the manual:
    I think we're absolutely not talking about commercial movie theaters. You don't want a PRIR made in a movie theater and listen to it at home, will be too echoey. If the room size where the PRIR has been taken differs too much from the room where it is listened to then the effect would not be convincing.
    And yes, Atmos for home is absolutely not compatible to Atmos for cinemas.

    We're talking about very good home theaters and studios that mix Atmos for home, no commercial cinemas (and certainly no IMAX, this isn't even Atmos at all...)
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