Smyth Research Realiser A16
Aug 20, 2022 at 12:27 PM Post #14,011 of 14,335

shmau

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Do you have Auro 3D and tried it with AV mode and it didn't work?
Yes. I've posted about it earlier but AV mode does not work with Auro, at least on the AES model. To be clear you can turn on AV mode and the on the screen the level meters continue to work as usual. However there is no output. Also reported to James but no response as is tradition.
 
Aug 20, 2022 at 12:31 PM Post #14,012 of 14,335

Camano

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Still, can anyone confirm that indeed Auro 3D doesn't work for user B?

I can confirm that Auro-matic works for both user A and B. I have different headphones plugged into both and they both get Auro-matic upmixing. I Tested this with Ford vs. Ferrari 5.1->13.1.
 
Aug 20, 2022 at 12:42 PM Post #14,013 of 14,335

sander99

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I can confirm that Auro-matic works for both user A and B. I have different headphones plugged into both and they both get Auro-matic upmixing. I Tested this with Ford vs. Ferrari 5.1->13.1.
Forgive me if I sound a bit paranoid, that's me. But did you check that it are really 2 different signals, by using 2 completely different sounding listening rooms for the 2 users?
Anyway, if you are right that is good news. (But my theories can go out of the window then and a few things remain unexplained.)
 
Aug 20, 2022 at 1:41 PM Post #14,014 of 14,335

Camano

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Forgive me if I sound a bit paranoid, that's me. But did you check that it are really 2 different signals, by using 2 completely different sounding listening rooms for the 2 users?
Anyway, if you are right that is good news. (But my theories can go out of the window then and a few things remain unexplained.)

I just tested and can confirm. User A was on preset 5 - my one configured preset that uses my Auro listening room 5. I changed user B to preset 4, BBC factory preset that uses factory Auro listening room 1. Since there's only one setting for Auromatic, both were using an Auro 13.1 listening room, room 5 for user A and room 1 for user B.
 
Aug 21, 2022 at 12:08 PM Post #14,017 of 14,335

phoenixdogfan

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Interesting that the date is so old. Is this old news? But seems like I may now understand a bit more about why AV outputs do not work in Auro mode... seems that it should enter the audio router too but they're probably missing a hopefully small bit of code since the decoded output would normally come from another chip.
Was not aware the AV outputs won't work in Auro mode. Is that a bug or a permanent condition? Would be nice to have if I ever decided to use the A16 as a full on control center for a multichannel speaker system.
 
Aug 21, 2022 at 12:18 PM Post #14,018 of 14,335

shmau

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Was not aware the AV outputs won't work in Auro mode. Is that a bug or a permanent condition? Would be nice to have if I ever decided to use the A16 as a full on control center for a multichannel speaker system.
Hard to know when James doesn't feel like responding. I asked whether it was an oversight or perhaps a licensing issue but my question disappeared to the void.
 
Aug 21, 2022 at 2:04 PM Post #14,019 of 14,335

sander99

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Was not aware the AV outputs won't work in Auro mode. Is that a bug or a permanent condition? Would be nice to have if I ever decided to use the A16 as a full on control center for a multichannel speaker system.
@shmau has the AES model. Maybe it does work on other models, 16 channel and/or 24 channel? I really would like to know, so if anyone could test? No need to set up a full auro speaker system for that, just connect the A16 analog out 1-2 (LF, RF) to some amp with speakers or headphones and see if any sound gets out with Auro in AV mode.
 
Aug 21, 2022 at 3:48 PM Post #14,020 of 14,335

dsperber

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Is it just my A16 or what?

In my playing around with Auro (native) and AuroMatic (upmixing from PCM, comparing against Dolby Surround and DTS:X Neural, etc.) over the past two days, I had initially intended to use my "reference CD" as the test for the 2.0 audio source. And since I was working with available presets 13, 14 and 15 I decided to connect the optical output of my Oppo 203 to the optical input of the A16 to provide the audio-only input (rather than use HDMI1 which also feeds audio+video to the A16 from the 203). Just for a change of pace. Of course I changed the "audio source" for these presets to "optical".

Well, for two days I've been unable to get anything from the 203 to the A16 via optical. In desperation I reverted "audio source" back to HDMI1 (which works just fine to deliver the same PCM 2.0 CD audio), hence how I was able to complete my Auro education. But I put it on my "to-do list" to chase down what was going on with optical feed into the A16, and today I did just that.

First, I confirmed that optical output was coming from the 203, by feeding it directly into my DAC -> headphones and getting sound. So there's nothing wrong with the optical output of the 203.

Next, I duplicated that same test feeding coaxial audio output of the 203 directly into my DAC -> headphones, and again got sound. So coaxial out of the 203 is good as well.

Then I re-tried optical input into the A16 (setting "audio source" to optical) and that still failed. Just to see if it made any difference, I disconnected the optical cable from the 203 to the A16 and instead connected the coaxial cable from the 203 to the coaxial input of the A16 (setting "audio source" to coaxial). Remarkably, it still failed!!!

So, NEITHER of the S/PDIF inputs to the A16 was working. Very odd.

I then decided to come here to the forum, to ask for help or suggestions. Although I've not previously used S/PDIF myself, I know others have so perhaps I was forgetting to set something critical. Ask for some guidance here, was my next action. But before coming over to the PC I removed the coaxial cable from the A16 and re-connected it back to the DAC (where it had always been connected, to facilitate playing CD audio DIRECTLY from 203 through my headphones without the A16). And I re-connected the optical cable going from 203 to the A16 again, preparing for my next test after getting input from anybody here on the forum.

And I happened to then push PLAY on the 203, just to reassure myself that I was still not getting any audio via optical. Well, imagine my stunned amazement when the A16 display screen LIT UP with the Auro3D AuroMatic presentation!!!!! What? Looking at the screen I noticed that I had failed to reset the "audio source" from coaxial where it had been for my previous (and also unsuccessful) test. But I was not using a coaxial cable now... I was using an optical cable!!! What?

It sure seemed like the S/PDIF input selector values on "audio source" appeared to be wired backwards! So not only was I now getting data from the 203 to the A16 via optical when "audio source" was set to coaxial, but when I then re-tested using the coaxial cable from 203 to the A16 and set "audio source" to optical I also got sound!!!

==> It appears that my A16 is WIRED (or programmed) BACKWARDS, as far as the S/PDIF inputs are concerned. The documentation says input audio source 8 is "coaxial", and source 9 is "optical", and that's what appears on the screen in that sequence when setting "audio source" in the preset. But functionally, it is working backwards. When I set coaxial it's reading optical input. And when I set optical it's reading coaxial input.

So, at least I now have the presets 13, 14 and 15 for "coaxial" input, but I'm using optical to feed data from the 203 to the A16. And this hack works fine. So I can live with it, as the end justifies the means.

But am I the only one who sees this anomaly on S/PDIF input? Are your inputs vs. labels functionally reversed like mine are? Or is something strange happening with my A16?
 
Aug 21, 2022 at 4:31 PM Post #14,021 of 14,335

Camano

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Is it just my A16 or what? .....
But am I the only one who sees this anomaly on S/PDIF input? Are your inputs vs. labels functionally reversed like mine are? Or is something strange happening with my A16?

My digital coaxial signal plugged into the A16 coaxial input works with the "co-axial" A16 input setting. There's no sound when I switch the A16 input to Optical. FWIW, the A16 doesn't accept digital signals greater than 48kHz - I get a stuttering sound at 96kHz.

I also noticed that there's no Auro up-mixing for the "stereo" analog line inputs. It's still showing an Auro 13.1 room, but only FL and FR are active.

That said - I'm not that sold on Auromatic for 2-channel audio.
 
Aug 21, 2022 at 7:23 PM Post #14,023 of 14,335

dsperber

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My digital coaxial signal plugged into the A16 coaxial input works with the "co-axial" A16 input setting. There's no sound when I switch the A16 input to Optical. FWIW, the A16 doesn't accept digital signals greater than 48kHz - I get a stuttering sound at 96kHz.
Well, when you said the A16 doesn't accept digital signals greater than 48kHz I thought that could perhaps explain my odd symptom. I had my Oppo's audio output set to 96kHz for S/PDIF (not that this is really necessary, but it just happens to be what I'd set it to).

So I put it back to 48kHz and retried both tests (i.e. optical input and audio source "optical", as well as coaxial input and audio source "coaxial"). Still, no output with both configurations.

Furthermore, I need to correct something I said in my original post, which was that it appeared to be working "backwards" so that when I selected optical it read from coaxial and when I selected coaxial it read from optical. Turns out I misspoke. Turns out:

(a) Coaxial input doesn't work at all! Doesn't matter whether audio source is set to coaxial or optical, there is no response from the A16. Also doesn't matter whether the 203 is set to put out S/PDIF at 48kHz, 96kHz or 192kHz, there is no response from the A16. In contrast the coaxial output of the 203 is absolutely working properly, as when I connect it to the DAC -> headphones I am getting perfect sound.

(b) Optical input only works when audio source is set to coaxial, in which case the A16 responds properly and initiates AuroMatic upmixing, with the display screen presenting exactly what would be expected. In contrast when audio source is set to optical there is no response from the A16. Also it appears that the A16 is not limited to 48kHz input via S/PDIF. I can use 48kHz, 96kHz or 192kHz on the 203 and all three of these produces perfect response from the A16... as long as I've set audio source to coaxial.

==> big breakthrough! See my comments below.


@dsperber: could it always have been like this or do you remember having seen it working normally in the past?
Well, I'm pretty certain I'd tested and exercised at least optical input way back when I originally received the A16. That really was the only available digital audio output from the 203, since I'd connected its coaxial output to a second input on the DAC (the first input is optical coming from the A16's S/PDIF HP-A output).

But contemplating this prompted me to try yet one more configuration: Auro 3D -> DISABLE.

All of this recent testing with digital CD audio from the 203 is after I'd decided yesterday to just leave AuroMatic enabled for my upmixer, as it turns out I preferred its sound compared to Dolby Surround and DTS:X Neural. And since it was not possible to activate AuroMatic as a selected upmixer in any preset, and since enabling Auro 3D (in MISC SETTINGS) also was how you turned on AuroMatic which also disabled any preset-driven use of the other two upmixers, there isn't much flexibility here or ease of switching between configurations. You have to just drill down into MISC SETTINGS and turn Auro on or off. And if it's ON then it's totally on.

So, since Auro was ON all this time with my problematic optical/coaxial source, I decided to try turning it OFF and seeing if that made any difference.

Well... VOILA! Turns out turning off Auro BROUGHT OPTICAL TO LIFE!!!

Unfortunately I still don't have any life on coaxial, even with Auro set OFF. I don't think it's a cable issue (as the same coax works fine connected to the DAC), but it might be an electrical issue in the RCA socket for coax input. But to be honest I don't have any need to use coax since that output of the 203 is normally going to the DAC. It is the optical feed from 203 to the A16 that I wanted to have working, and magically turning off Auro did the trick!

Obviously, we have some quirky program code, seemingly tied to Auro being installed. And my own hunch is that is tied to the odd way they activated Auro in general, including the AuroMatic upmixer, via MISC SETTINGS (i.e. globally) rather than how they implemented Dolby and DTS, which is (a) no global switch in MISC SETTINGS to turn those features on or off, and (b) either of these two upmixers set on or off in PCM Audio management within any preset. The Auro software implementation is really dramatically different, and in my opinion this is the cause of what appears to clearly be interfering with PCM through S/PDIF both optical and coaxial.

Having discovered this "solution", at least to getting optical to work when "audio source" is set to optical (as long as Auro is DISABLED), I decided to try reversing things and once again setting Auro ENABLED. I wanted to see if I could bring back the original oddity of getting optical data when "audio source" was set to coaxial. Well, remarkably, it did NOT happen! In fact optical now seemed to be working properly no matter that Auro was enabled!!

Well, this kind of points to even more quirkiness in the software. Maybe it would behave differently if I powered off and then on, injecting yet that one more variable (i.e. boot time cold-start issues, resetting memory, reloading presets, etc.). In any case it was not failing as it had previously. Even with "audio source" set to optical and Auro ON it was working!

Confused, I decided to come forward again, and once again turn Auro OFF. I was expecting optical input to for sure still work. But no... it did not work. Instead, I once again had to set "audio source" to coaxial in order to receive data through the optical input! This contradicted the earlier "breakthrough"... again pointing to even more quirkiness in the software.


Bottom line: I believe the following:

(1) There is considerable quirkiness in the 2.11 firmware, clearly related to the latent Auro functionality that is activated by the installation of the Auro permission file.

(2) I seem to have lost coaxial input totally, no matter whether Auro is ON or OFF. I don't remember ever testing out coaxial input, so I just don't have a basis for concluding its loss is due to the Auro feature or perhaps a true electrical problem in that RCA socket.

(3) It is absolutely true that optical input may or may not work, with "audio source" set to optical or coaxial, depending on the setting of Auro. It is not 100% guaranteed that simply turning Auro OFF will bring optical to life reliably, but it definitely is related. Screwing around with Auro ON or OFF, going back and forth in the preset between optical and coaxial, etc., etc., a bit of "numerology" here. A bit of fooling around will get optical input to work when "audio source" is optical, perhaps with Auro ON or perhaps with Auro OFF.

(4) Quirkiness. Definitely issues with 2.11 with the Auro software activated. I really should report this to Smyth.
 
Aug 22, 2022 at 2:40 AM Post #14,024 of 14,335

phoenixdogfan

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Did you set the A16 to optical from the global "audio source" setting or from the "audio source" setting on the preset as well? I would see if setting both of those to optical and then enabling the auro switch would allow optical to work with Auro. Might also want to be sure you don't have the 24 channel slider activated. Also check the "HDMI Input" to see if bypassing whatever HDMI input paired with Coax and Optical has any effect.
 
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Aug 22, 2022 at 5:04 AM Post #14,025 of 14,335

castleofargh

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Well, when you said the A16 doesn't accept digital signals greater than 48kHz I thought that could perhaps explain my odd symptom. I had my Oppo's audio output set to 96kHz for S/PDIF (not that this is really necessary, but it just happens to be what I'd set it to).

So I put it back to 48kHz and retried both tests (i.e. optical input and audio source "optical", as well as coaxial input and audio source "coaxial"). Still, no output with both configurations.

Furthermore, I need to correct something I said in my original post, which was that it appeared to be working "backwards" so that when I selected optical it read from coaxial and when I selected coaxial it read from optical. Turns out I misspoke. Turns out:

(a) Coaxial input doesn't work at all! Doesn't matter whether audio source is set to coaxial or optical, there is no response from the A16. Also doesn't matter whether the 203 is set to put out S/PDIF at 48kHz, 96kHz or 192kHz, there is no response from the A16. In contrast the coaxial output of the 203 is absolutely working properly, as when I connect it to the DAC -> headphones I am getting perfect sound.

(b) Optical input only works when audio source is set to coaxial, in which case the A16 responds properly and initiates AuroMatic upmixing, with the display screen presenting exactly what would be expected. In contrast when audio source is set to optical there is no response from the A16. Also it appears that the A16 is not limited to 48kHz input via S/PDIF. I can use 48kHz, 96kHz or 192kHz on the 203 and all three of these produces perfect response from the A16... as long as I've set audio source to coaxial.

==> big breakthrough! See my comments below.



Well, I'm pretty certain I'd tested and exercised at least optical input way back when I originally received the A16. That really was the only available digital audio output from the 203, since I'd connected its coaxial output to a second input on the DAC (the first input is optical coming from the A16's S/PDIF HP-A output).

But contemplating this prompted me to try yet one more configuration: Auro 3D -> DISABLE.

All of this recent testing with digital CD audio from the 203 is after I'd decided yesterday to just leave AuroMatic enabled for my upmixer, as it turns out I preferred its sound compared to Dolby Surround and DTS:X Neural. And since it was not possible to activate AuroMatic as a selected upmixer in any preset, and since enabling Auro 3D (in MISC SETTINGS) also was how you turned on AuroMatic which also disabled any preset-driven use of the other two upmixers, there isn't much flexibility here or ease of switching between configurations. You have to just drill down into MISC SETTINGS and turn Auro on or off. And if it's ON then it's totally on.

So, since Auro was ON all this time with my problematic optical/coaxial source, I decided to try turning it OFF and seeing if that made any difference.

Well... VOILA! Turns out turning off Auro BROUGHT OPTICAL TO LIFE!!!

Unfortunately I still don't have any life on coaxial, even with Auro set OFF. I don't think it's a cable issue (as the same coax works fine connected to the DAC), but it might be an electrical issue in the RCA socket for coax input. But to be honest I don't have any need to use coax since that output of the 203 is normally going to the DAC. It is the optical feed from 203 to the A16 that I wanted to have working, and magically turning off Auro did the trick!

Obviously, we have some quirky program code, seemingly tied to Auro being installed. And my own hunch is that is tied to the odd way they activated Auro in general, including the AuroMatic upmixer, via MISC SETTINGS (i.e. globally) rather than how they implemented Dolby and DTS, which is (a) no global switch in MISC SETTINGS to turn those features on or off, and (b) either of these two upmixers set on or off in PCM Audio management within any preset. The Auro software implementation is really dramatically different, and in my opinion this is the cause of what appears to clearly be interfering with PCM through S/PDIF both optical and coaxial.

Having discovered this "solution", at least to getting optical to work when "audio source" is set to optical (as long as Auro is DISABLED), I decided to try reversing things and once again setting Auro ENABLED. I wanted to see if I could bring back the original oddity of getting optical data when "audio source" was set to coaxial. Well, remarkably, it did NOT happen! In fact optical now seemed to be working properly no matter that Auro was enabled!!

Well, this kind of points to even more quirkiness in the software. Maybe it would behave differently if I powered off and then on, injecting yet that one more variable (i.e. boot time cold-start issues, resetting memory, reloading presets, etc.). In any case it was not failing as it had previously. Even with "audio source" set to optical and Auro ON it was working!

Confused, I decided to come forward again, and once again turn Auro OFF. I was expecting optical input to for sure still work. But no... it did not work. Instead, I once again had to set "audio source" to coaxial in order to receive data through the optical input! This contradicted the earlier "breakthrough"... again pointing to even more quirkiness in the software.


Bottom line: I believe the following:

(1) There is considerable quirkiness in the 2.11 firmware, clearly related to the latent Auro functionality that is activated by the installation of the Auro permission file.

(2) I seem to have lost coaxial input totally, no matter whether Auro is ON or OFF. I don't remember ever testing out coaxial input, so I just don't have a basis for concluding its loss is due to the Auro feature or perhaps a true electrical problem in that RCA socket.

(3) It is absolutely true that optical input may or may not work, with "audio source" set to optical or coaxial, depending on the setting of Auro. It is not 100% guaranteed that simply turning Auro OFF will bring optical to life reliably, but it definitely is related. Screwing around with Auro ON or OFF, going back and forth in the preset between optical and coaxial, etc., etc., a bit of "numerology" here. A bit of fooling around will get optical input to work when "audio source" is optical, perhaps with Auro ON or perhaps with Auro OFF.

(4) Quirkiness. Definitely issues with 2.11 with the Auro software activated. I really should report this to Smyth.
You’re like a modern day adventurer. I admire you fearless actions.
Half the time I changed something out of curiosity or by mistake(my butt has high dexterity when it comes to using a remote), it then takes me between 10mn and 2 days to figure out how to get everything working like before.
Since I finally got it just right with HDMI and all works well 99.9% of the time, I have never dared try another input. I want to because I’m of the curious type, but the A16 has defeated me too many times now. It’s like having a cat, I know it’s the pet, but all my actions show otherwise. :sweat_smile:

Anyway, I salute you who bravely keep exploring the unknown.
 

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