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gainphile

MiniDSP

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I received my boards today and will soon post an impression of this product.

Recently I was made aware of its generous capabilities:

  • Slopes (obviously) ... ok
  • Phase alignment/delay ... ok
  • Notch filters ... ok
  • Channel level ... ok
  • Linkwitz Transform ... ok (thanks to the netherlands DIYers!)
  • Shelving Lowpass filter ... ok
  • Master volume control ... ok
  • Cascaded filter stage topology ... ok

I was attracted specifically to its LT circuit and the ability to replicate an analogue cascaded filter. And really reasonable cost!

The package includes RCA and USB cables, as well as PCB mountings. The boards are smaller than I originally thought.

imgp8937.jpg

Add a PSU and we're cooking! Initially I will use them to build a 4-way dipoles.

s14bdesign.jpg

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Cool,

I'm considering the Mini DSP for my horns and looking forward to reading more about it.

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Great. Please share your thoughts and update with its use.

And thanks Paul for bringing this product to our attention.

Just ordered one to try.

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Next weekend I'll be having a listen to a system using the MiniDsp.

Cheers

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The package includes RCA and USB cables, as well as PCB mountings. The boards are smaller than I originally thought.

Add a PSU and we're cooking! Initially I will use them to build a 4-way dipoles.

Gainphile

Good to see you already have them. Which particular hardware package did you buy? Also, which firmware?

I was looking at 1 into 4 advanced to use for a quad of subs but as yet they can't support HP and EQ under 20 Hz. I'm sure they will get there! :nana

I await your listening impressions (I gather you will be comparing with a DCX?)

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I found MiniDSP via the Acoustic Elegance forum and got a little bit excited! I'll be using them for active surrounds - that will probably be next year the way I'm going. One of the great things about them is that if you want to get fussy and DACphobic (a common affliction in here), you can use your own DAC with it if you are clever enough. And if one board isn't enough, just use more. Also can have digital master control of multiple boards.

Antripodean,

DCX has the same issue with the high pass. I believe it's Mark Seaton who commented that you can trick it into a lower effective rumble filter by combining a PEQ filter. Also, I expect they will add this in the feature - although perhaps in one of the advanced plugins you can do it.

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For the planned 4-way I bought

2x MiniDSP kit Rev B

1x 4-way advanced plugin.

I just finished powering them up and fiddling with the software. My comparation will be with analogue xo.

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I got the system up and running last night. Took me about an hour to get my laptop working with .net etc. and once up and running everything was very easy.

I replicated the analogue xo's transfer function of my current dipoles and it sounded exactly the same. Too easy :D

I cannot fault the sound quality. There is no coloration or any audible distortion compared to the analog.

I also found out that having volume control in front of the DSP is *not* detrimental as discussed so many times in forum. Hence I have not the need to try the DSP's volume control.

IMGP8947.jpg

The whole night I threw any kind of music to reveal something I could complain... nothing! The mind is repelled by how easy it is to implement a design and get such quality, having used to breadboards and PCBs for many many years.

I implemented SL's "DSS" shelving within 5 minutes. So easy... once again SL is right btw. Throw your flat loudspeakers out the window! .. unless you have Minidsp that is :)

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I got the system up and running last night. Took me about an hour to get my laptop working with .net etc. and once up and running everything was very easy.

I replicated the analogue xo's transfer function of my current dipoles and it sounded exactly the same. Too easy :D

I cannot fault the sound quality. There is no coloration or any audible distortion compared to the analog.

I also found out that having volume control in front of the DSP is *not* detrimental as discussed so many times in forum. Hence I have not the need to try the DSP's volume control.

IMGP8947.jpg

The whole night I threw any kind of music to reveal something I could complain... nothing! The mind is repelled by how easy it is to implement a design and get such quality, having used to breadboards and PCBs for many many years.

I implemented SL's "DSS" shelving within 5 minutes. So easy... once again SL is right btw. Throw your flat loudspeakers out the window! .. unless you have Minidsp that is :)

Hi Andi

So would you say its buying just to give it ago .By the looks of it your also not throwing away stupid money .How would you rate to the DCX or even a modified DCx.

Cheers

Mal

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Hi Mal, first of all I had been very skeptical before with any kind of "signal processing". But it all changed after hearing myself the DEQX (tikandi's), then Paul's DEQ and then also later his DCX. I think now the DSPs are at a level where they are either equal or better than analog xo. Sure the analog may be quieter but who listens at 10cm from their tweeters :D

I havent heard a comparison between DCX and modified DCX.

If anyone is keen to hear these DSPs at my place please pm me (My system is not yet "gtg-worthy")

btw. did you manage to hear them and what do you think?

Edited by gainphile

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Hi Andi

Hopefully next week get to hear one .

I'm looking at splitting the cost with someone to give it a run .Are you going to try digital as well .

Cheers

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You mean to have digital input? yes, maybe but not shortly as I have to finish my 8 channel amps. So many wants but so little money and time :D

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Thanks Gainphile for the info, looks like it is really worth a go and something i can use with my horns.

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DCX has the same issue with the high pass. I believe it's Mark Seaton who commented that you can trick it into a lower effective rumble filter by combining a PEQ filter. Also, I expect they will add this in the feature - although perhaps in one of the advanced plugins you can do it.

Yes, I was thinking of using the DCX trick : "The DCX does not have ability to set filters below 20Hz. While this may seem to high, it's not really. You can easily extend the actual filter by for example setting high pass filter to 20Hz, 2nd order, Butterworth. Now add a single parameteric band at 20Hz in the EQ section on the unit, set to Q of 1.5 and gain of +4 dB. This will counteract and extend the roll off, giving you an effective roll off on the 13w7 of -3dB around 17Hz and -6db around 14hz, with rapid roll off after this." but I wanted to prompt the MiniDSP team to provide a better solution that also allows control via EQ should this be required. They were certainly responsive to the suggestion :)

Gainphile, great to see it went so well. I should bring my DCX along as a comparison but it's busy making music :D BTW any details on the power supply you used?

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For the power supply I simply use 15v transformer from Jaycar and regulate the voltage to 12v using 7812. Add 2 caps (2200uF and 100uF) and done :)

Shown above is more complex as I did the +15 - 0 -15 version due to habit :mad:

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gainphile,

what was your previous DAC you used to compare to the MiniDSP's?

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We compared the MiniDSP dac to no dac with an instant switch and could hear no degradation with the MiniDSP.

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Active analog XO like the old days :rolleyes:

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We compared the MiniDSP dac to no dac with an instant switch and could hear no degradation with the MiniDSP.

what do you mean no DAC? you mean your source was analog? if the source is a CD player or computer then there must be a DAC somewhere

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Yes there was a DAC, but MiniDSP was acting as another DAC and we switched it in and out of the chain. So we were looking for any sonic degradation or change and didn't find one.

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Yes, I was thinking of using the DCX trick : "The DCX does not have ability to set filters below 20Hz. While this may seem to high, it's not really. You can easily extend the actual filter by for example setting high pass filter to 20Hz, 2nd order, Butterworth. Now add a single parameteric band at 20Hz in the EQ section on the unit, set to Q of 1.5 and gain of +4 dB. This will counteract and extend the roll off, giving you an effective roll off on the 13w7 of -3dB around 17Hz and -6db around 14hz, with rapid roll off after this." but I wanted to prompt the MiniDSP team to provide a better solution that also allows control via EQ should this be required. They were certainly responsive to the suggestion :)

Gainphile, great to see it went so well. I should bring my DCX along as a comparison but it's busy making music :D BTW any details on the power supply you used?

Just my humble opinion, but I reckon chasing 20Hz is a dumb pursuit. I just heard Terry's excellent bass (2009) transformed into a wonder of the modern world(2010) and his 3 subs do 25-35Hz.

The secret is, he knows what he's doing!

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Nigel,

There are those who think 14 Hz is the real goal! It depends if it's a music or combined system. For music and HT, I think 20 Hz is a good goal. Going below that is expensive (not just in terms of money), but I wouldn't be too worried if I only reached 25 Hz. I think it's very much room and system dependent. I have a design in mind for a LFE sub that can reach 20 Hz with 95 db sensitivity! Yes, it's very large! If I wanted to push below the 20 Hz corner, the sensitivity would drop very quick, so that works out to be "just right." Once you start going lower, you have to move insane amounts of air, and you have to do it at much higher SPL to get a just noticable difference. IMO the Exodus drivers could be improved if they didn't push the fs below 20 Hz. That would mean the bigger ones would gain more in efficiency.

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Hi Paul,

I've been looking at the Exodus 15inch as a woofer in an OB. Probably wouldn't work with my current setup, but if I coupled it with a high efficiency coaxial driver for the tops and mids and through plenty of power at the Exodus (power's quite cheap these days) it may be doable? The AE drivers would be another option, but if I could buy locally the exodus and get them to work, with multiples per channel I'd like to go that way. What do you think?

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Decided to PM my reply instead ...

Edited by Paul Spencer

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