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I have now had the Trinnov Altitude16 (a 16 channel surround sound processor and optimizer) in my home theatre system for a couple of days now. The Altitude16 (AL16) replaced my Onkyo PR-RZ5100 and Trinnov Amethyst 2 channel sound processor. Those on this forum know that I have been evolving my system for some time and recently I upgraded my 2 channel amplification with the Anthem STR power amplifier. I have retained my Elektra HD2 7 channel amplifier. With the acquisition of the AL16 and there only being XLR analogue outputs, I needed also to do away with the RCA cables connecting my former Onkyo, Amethyst. The only unbalanced cables being used now are the hybrid female XLR out to male RCA cables to my dual subwoofers. It is a bit of a pity that my SVS subs only have RCA inputs The obvious question for some people is WHY would I dispense with a perfectly good Onkyo PR-RZ5100 pre-amplifier? Well it is rather simple. Having been through the steep learning curve of integrating the Trinnov Amethyst into my system and knowing the improvement in sound that yielded for my 2 channel music duties, I thought well why not do the same for my movies/Netflix UHD experience. During the time I had my Amethyst I have become a Roon convert and this now all blends seamlessly into the whole package, particularly so now that I get a solid 48 Mbps NBN connection. Granted that during the last 2 years I have saved my pennies for the AL16, at this early stage I can only say that the AL16 is meeting my high expectations and is a quantum step up from the former 7.2 channel sound achieved with the Onkyo. I think that IF one was to jump straight into the AL16 upgrade path without previously experiencing the setup with the Amethyst, you would be in for a very steep learning curve. So, for me this time, the curve has not been so steep. Having already been familiar with calibrating the Amethyst was a huge bonus. At this point I must congratulate Trinnov in the support that they give. Before and after I purchased the AL16, I have fired off many many questions and I am happy to say that Antoine Selle (from Trinnov support in Paris) has been superb. We have been corresponding by email and despite the time zone difference, replies often arrived within 30 minutes!! You very rarely get this type of service in Australia. Also, very helpful has been David Moseley from Cogworks (in QLD) in offering advice. As most should know Trinnov offer a 5 year warranty on their high-end products. I am feeling very secure that future software updates can/will be done remotely as they become available. I won’t go into the intricate details of the setting the AL16 up, other than to say that you need to be unhurried with a unit as sophisticated as this, as there are so many settings to bed down. The colour manual does a good job to explain the key elements of the AL16 package. To view results of the room optimisation and to operate the AL16 you need VNC software (so you can see all manner of graphs and settings and controls as I did with the Amethyst). I opted to use the Tight VNC software running on my PC and VNC Mocha on my iPad. The AL16 was instantly recognised on my network and all you had to do was to put in your serial number as the password and I was off and running. Suffice to say at present I have two pre-sets that I have called Roon Music (leveraging off my Tidal subscription and NAS drive) and another called Movies/TV. The Roon Music pre-set is a 2.2 channel setup with base management feeding my dual subwoofers. The Movies/TV pre-set is a 7.2 setup (I now have 2 spare channels of amplification … maybe I could go to 9.2 with some Atmos ceiling speakers in the future, but that might be for another day). It was quite remarkable that during the Roon Music calibration I made the deliberate effort to stay out of the room for fear of interrupting the process, well so I thought … in fact I was 2 metres out of the room but directly behind my rear seats (my theatre doors were open at the rear of my home theatre – their usual position). When I moved, the calibration process objected that there was too much movement, so I had to start again! Talk about precision and sensitivity!!! Now for the AL16 sound …. Last night I decided to be bold and watch a Netflix movie. This movie I chose was The Mule starring a very senior Clint Eastwood. Dialogue in some setups are a little unclear .. not so here, even when Clint Eastwood tended to mumble. Soundstage was very spacious and very coherent. Coherency is the single attribute that I used to describe the Amethyst sound (the direct result of Trinnov’s proprietary optimising software), and this is now replicated amongst 7 channels rather than just 2. I was very startled at one point in the movie when rifle shots rang out. The rifle shots (which emanated from the right rear channels) had a sharp cracking sound to them that preceded the bass sound … this sounded very life-like. The Onkyo rifle sounds are somewhat muddied by comparison to the AL16. Then I put on one of my favourite UHD disks, La La Land, to listen to Damien Chazelle’s wonderful score. Well, I was not disappointed. Magnificent and glorious are words to use here and I would suggest that this disk be a reference test for the musicality of a sound processor being fed HDMI input. The Roon Music pre-set in the AL16 is doing an equally good job as did the Amethyst for 2 channel music, although I am still editing the Target Curve for this pre-set and I am sure that I will take some time to get this exactly where I want this. Another aspect that I had to encounter was to edit my ‘devices’ and ‘activities’ in my Harmony Remote. So far this is working well, and I reported to Antoine and David that I am not having ANY HDMI issues at all. I have retained the setup using just ONE 2.0 HDMI out that feeds an HDMI splitter to serve my Panasonic 4K TV and JVC 7900 projector. Time to enjoy and tweak, reflect, enjoy and then tweak some more. Perhaps separate pre-sets for each of my Oppo 203 UHD player, Foxtel IQ4 box and Apple 4K TV.
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