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Raffinator

2-ch listening in a Home Theatre setup

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My mind has been proposing and dismissing configuration options, and I’m looking for some inspiration.

 

Previously I’ve asked about good AVR for music listening. I’m now looking more to separates.

 

Usage of room is

Music 40%

TV 40% (mostly streaming ABC iView and YouTube)

Movies 20% (mostly Blu-Ray)

 

Family not enamoured with HT bypass...

 

Fixed points:

 

Multichannel poweramps such as Elektra

Using Roon for music library and streaming. Upsampling to DSD256 or 512.

Still spin discs - SACD, CD

Still spin movie discs - Blu-ray with Oppo-203

5.1 speakers, not likely to get more

UltraRendu USB streamer

 

From here it gets messy... options

 

1) Go AV Pre that has the best DACs and analogue preamp eg Emotiva RMC-1 coming out with AKM4490 dual mono DACs. Ditch 2-ch preamp.

 

2) Go SACD player with exceptional DACs in it and connect streamer to it eg Marantz SA10 or Ki Ruby. Spend less on AV Pre but needs decent pure analogue 2ch mode.

 

3) Keep Preamp with HT Bypass in chain. More modest AV Pre. CD as above or separate DAC.

 

I hope I haven’t made this too confusing...

 

 

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Given your mix of 40% Music, 40% TV and 20% movies, family not enamoured with HT bypass,  plus ease of use (from your previous posts), suggest Option 1, a top end AVR pre.  That will reduce the box count and complexity.  

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Given your mix of 40% Music, 40% TV and 20% movies, family not enamoured with HT bypass,  plus ease of use (from your previous posts), suggest Option 1, a top end AVR pre.  That will reduce the box count and complexity.  


That being the option, do you have recommendations, without getting too much of the Dirac vs Audyssey vs ARC discussion?

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18 minutes ago, Raffinator said:

That being the option, do you have recommendations, without getting too much of the Dirac vs Audyssey vs ARC discussion?

 

If you want DSD via HDMI, that rules out any boxes running ARC (Anthem) and Dirac Live (NAD, Arcam, Emotiva, Theta)!!   However, ignoring that, the Emotiva RMC-1 looks interesting and definitely worth considering.  Anthem's AVM60 is one to consider and also the Arcan AV860.  And the Marantz 7704.  NAD's M17 is old, does not run Dirac but you may want to consider ???

 

If you want to hang on to DSD and upsampling from Roon,  I think you will be limited to the Marantz.  

 

Note that the RMC-1 blurb says it can do DSD but also Dirac I suggest you contact Emotiva about this contradiction.

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not perfect, but the DSD can be converted by the OPPO to PCM (not streaming, but stored material).

Anthem/ARC can deal with PCM via hdmi from the OPPO's conversion of DSD.

 

I expect Raffinator needs more than that though.

 

Benje

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I did like the NAD for the integrated Roon solution, and there seems to be a M17 ver2 coming soon. But pricey at $USD 5999 once it gets here.

 

I suspect the RMC-1 DSD is via the USB input to the AKM 4490 DACs only, and not bitstream over HDMI. If it gets close to Clay’s Gross that would be more than fine.

 

For 8805 the DSD over HDMI I understand. Not sure how I could get Roon to work except over the Oppo.

 

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3 hours ago, Raffinator said:

I suspect the RMC-1 DSD is via the USB input to the AKM 4490 DACs only, and not bitstream over HDMI. If it gets close to Clay’s Gross that would be more than fine.

Rest assured the RMC1 can handle straight dsd over hdmi . Emo likes to pick dacs that take this or lpcm ;just as the XMC1 did   ;)  

Quote

Native support for stereo and surround sound DSD digital audio via HDMI, and for both single-rate and double rate stereo DSD audio via USB.

People on the enquiry lists will be contacted soon before pre orders start ..

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2 hours ago, cwt said:

Rest assured the RMC1 can handle straight dsd over hdmi . Emo likes to pick dacs that take this or lpcm ;just as the XMC1 did   ;)  

Then to run Dirac Live, Emotiva must internally resample to PCM ???

6 hours ago, Raffinator said:

I did like the NAD for the integrated Roon solution, and there seems to be a M17 ver2 coming soon. But pricey at $USD 5999 once it gets here.

When M17V2 comes out, it will have Dirac Live, BluOS, MQA, Roon Connectivity. Based on what I can hear on the NAD T58V3, I expect the M17V2 to be superb especially at that price!

6 hours ago, Raffinator said:

I suspect the RMC-1 DSD is via the USB input to the AKM 4490 DACs only, and not bitstream over HDMI. If it gets close to Clay’s Gross that would be more than fine.

That is always the dream that a prepro can get close to a dedicated DAC. 

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8 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Then to run Dirac Live, Emotiva must internally resample to PCM ???

That's rather complicated snoop ; it depends on the form of dsd or if its dop protocol . As you say any manipulation of the signal like bass management ;room eq must be done via lpcm . Personally its just another reason to send lpcm as the original dsd master would have been converted to lpcm many times in the mixing process ; and room eq is rather important in my book ;) Keith an emo engineer explains ;
 

Quote

 

First, if you're using an ANALOG input on the XMC-1, then your input signal is analog.
It doesn't matter if your original file was DSD, PCM, or started out as analog - we have no way of knowing or caring - other than "it's analog".
With an analog input, you'll get processing, including Dirac, as long as you pick a mode where processing is offered (like Stereo).
The XMC-1 will ONLY allow you to use Dirac Live Room Correction if you're using one of the modes where full processing is allowed.
In modes like Reference Stereo, the level trims will work if you select the Dirac Preset (because they're implemented in the analog domain).
However, Dirac won't do any actual Room Correction.
The XMC-1 routes any DSD it receives directly to the DACs - bypassing all other processing.
This happens regardless of what mode you're in.
The XMC-1 is ONLY able to receive and handle DSD via its HDMI inputs, and does not handle DOP - just plain DSD.
Our EDID (HDMI device string) shows that we support DSD via HDMI but does NOT show that we support DOP via HDMI.
Therefore, if you were to select "DOP over PCM via HDMI" at your source device, there's a very good chance that it will "drop back" to DSD (which our EDID shows we DO support).
(Since HDMI supports DSD directly, there seems little reason to even offer an option of DOP over HDMI, but that doesn't mean someone isn't offering it.)
There is NO WAY to use Dirac Live Room Correction with a DSD input on the XMC-1.
This is because DSD inputs are routed straight to the DAC, and the Dirac Room Correction is done in the DSP.
In order for that to happen, the audio you want to correct MUST be PCM (so either a non-DSD digital input or an analog input).
If you have a DSD source file, and you want to use Dirac with it, then you MUST TELL YOUR SOURCE DEVICE TO CONVERT IT AND SEND IT AS PCM.
On an Oppo, when you set the audio output format to PCM, the Oppo is CONVERTING DSD to PCM and sending the result out as PCM.
This is also the normal meaning of the option with most software players.
So, if the display on the XMC-1 says "DSD", then the XMC-1 is receiving the input as DSD, and you will not be able to use any processing with it.
And, if the display on the XMC-1 says "PCM", then the XMC-1 is receiving the input as PCM, and you WILL be able to use Dirac if you select a mode where processing is allowed.
Likewise, if the display on the XMC-1 shows "ANALOG" then you can use processing in the correct mode.

 

And if anyones curious about "dop" its a clever way to make dsd look like lpcm by packetizing it ; oppo's and j river have this output option apparently .. 

Quote

"DoP works by packing the DSD data, 16 bits at a time, into the 16 least significant bits of a 24-bit PCM data field. The remaining 8 bits comprise a special bit pattern. When a DoP-compliant DAC receives 24/176.4 data and sees that each data field has the same special bit pattern in its most significant 8 bits, it knows it is receiving DSD data. It is then the DAC’s job to route that data through its DSD processor, and not its PCM processor. If the data should inadvertently end up in its PCM processor, then the result is white noise at a level of approximately -30dB."

 

Edited by cwt

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20 minutes ago, cwt said:

That's rather complicated snoop ; it depends on the form of dsd or if its dop protocol . As you say any manipulation of the signal like bass management ;room eq must be done via lpcm . Personally its just another reason to send lpcm as the original dsd master would have been converted to lpcm many times in the mixing process ; and room eq is rather important in my book ;) 

I agree that it best to keep everything in lpcm but @Raffinator is set on DSD, especially upsampled DSD256/512 from Roon.  Room eq and DSD do not mix.  I have no way of testing but I suspect that lpcm + good room eq will be better than upsampled DSD without room eq.

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3 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

I agree that it best to keep everything in lpcm but @Raffinator is set on DSD, especially upsampled DSD256/512 from Roon.  Room eq and DSD do not mix.  I have no way of testing but I suspect that lpcm + good room eq will be better than upsampled DSD without room eq.

Yes ; its a personal preference and understand the want to keep the signal with fewer conversions as too room eq is conditional on how good your room is and what diffuser/bass traps etc are used . Dirac alters speaker phase as well ; purist anathema to the speaker designer or the secret to success ? theres 2 sides to everything  and I can see both ..time to stop rambling lol

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I think I want my cake and eat it too.

 

Both DSD 2-ch no correction, and room correction for surround.

 

And, maybe, I might prefer room correction for pcm on 2-ch music as well if the room needs it.

 

It’s good to have options...

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My starting point was an AVR and went looking for better 2ch. I went down the integrated route via ht bypass which was a bit of a nightmare for the family and me at times so o set my path for the most powerful AVR that I could afford that could also pass analogue signals untouched by any analogue to digital conversion and added a dedicated DAC for 2 channel. I settled on a Cambridge CXR200 and a Klein SE and couldn’t be happier.

 

The Cambridge dacs are good but no where near the sound I get putting the Klein in the mix.

 

My theory was clean power, plus clean signal path, equals clean sound.

 

Now I believe I have the best of both worlds and it’s dead easy to use by anyone that bothers.

 

 

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My starting point was an AVR and went looking for better 2ch. I went down the integrated route via ht bypass which was a bit of a nightmare for the family and me at times so o set my path for the most powerful AVR that I could afford that could also pass analogue signals untouched by any analogue to digital conversion and added a dedicated DAC for 2 channel. I settled on a Cambridge CXR200 and a Klein SE and couldn’t be happier.
 
The Cambridge dacs are good but no where near the sound I get putting the Klein in the mix.
 
My theory was clean power, plus clean signal path, equals clean sound.
 
Now I believe I have the best of both worlds and it’s dead easy to use by anyone that bothers.
 
 


That is a tempting option. I could keep using my Gross DAC like you do with the Klein. Offsetting that is that only front L/R have pre-outs, which means I’d give up on my plan for multi power amp.

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17 minutes ago, Raffinator said:

 


That is a tempting option. I could keep using my Gross DAC like you do with the Klein. Offsetting that is that only front L/R have pre-outs, which means I’d give up on my plan for multi power amp.

 

Yeh that is a down side to the cxr200 but to be honest it’s probably a good thing for me because the temptation of upgrade isn’t there, plus in my setup I’ve never even thought about more power, think it outputs 170w into 8ohms and has an 1800w toroidal power supply from memory.

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@Hi-Fi Whipped got me curious.  Tried the Gross feeding into my NAD T758V3 via analogue RCAs.  While it lacks the warmth of my AR LS17SE preamp, the NAD did well.  The best outcome was setting the NAD to analogue input, Stereo with Dirac Live enabled.  It was significantly better than using the Oppo 103 playing the SACD, feeds PCM to NAD with Dirac enabled.

 

Not so good was NAD set to analogue bypass (i.e. no Dirac Live) instead of stereo.  Dirac Live makes a significant difference.

 

@Raffinator  the T758V3 has the pre-outs but the amps in them are decent (Full Disclosure Power (all channels driven simultaneously)  7 x 60W (0.05% THD, 20-20kHz).   

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8 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

My starting point was an AVR and went looking for better 2ch. I went down the integrated route via ht bypass which was a bit of a nightmare for the family and me at times so o set my path for the most powerful AVR that I could afford that could also pass analogue signals untouched by any analogue to digital conversion and added a dedicated DAC for 2 channel. I settled on a Cambridge CXR200 and a Klein SE and couldn’t be happier.

 I am on the same page as this. I had 2 different Int Amps with HT Bypass for 2 channel for the small improvement it made the hassle of integration into system wasn't worth it so like this I got the most powerful amp I could afford, Integra 60.6 ( had to go back a few models form current to get the juice) DAC of choice, in my case Pro-ject Box S2 and the biggest improvement in my opinion was 2 subs management by a DSPeaker Cinema mode but any other type of management would work.

I found that all modern AVR's that i tried from Denon, Yamaha, Anthem just didn't cut it for 2 channel music or maybe there was just too much fiddling with settings to get it right. 

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2 hours ago, halfordd0 said:

 I am on the same page as this. I had 2 different Int Amps with HT Bypass for 2 channel for the small improvement it made the hassle of integration into system wasn't worth it so like this I got the most powerful amp I could afford, Integra 60.6 ( had to go back a few models form current to get the juice) DAC of choice, in my case Pro-ject Box S2 and the biggest improvement in my opinion was 2 subs management by a DSPeaker Cinema mode but any other type of management would work.

I found that all modern AVR's that i tried from Denon, Yamaha, Anthem just didn't cut it for 2 channel music or maybe there was just too much fiddling with settings to get it right. 

Yeh agree I also have twin subs for two channel and they made a huge difference .

Edited by Hi-Fi Whipped

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14 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

@Hi-Fi Whipped got me curious.  Tried the Gross feeding into my NAD T758V3 via analogue RCAs.  While it lacks the warmth of my AR LS17SE preamp, the NAD did well.  The best outcome was setting the NAD to analogue input, Stereo with Dirac Live enabled.  It was significantly better than using the Oppo 103 playing the SACD, feeds PCM to NAD with Dirac enabled.

 

Not so good was NAD set to analogue bypass (i.e. no Dirac Live) instead of stereo.  Dirac Live makes a significant difference.

 

@Raffinator  the T758V3 has the pre-outs but the amps in them are decent (Full Disclosure Power (all channels driven simultaneously)  7 x 60W (0.05% THD, 20-20kHz).   

Interesting that the 2ch pre sounds better than the Dirac tweaked signal from the Nad

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7 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Interesting that the 2ch pre sounds better than the Dirac tweaked signal from the Nad

Not surprised that the AR LS17SE is better than the NAD T758V3, but one is a dedicated 2 channel valve preamp while the other is a generalist AVR.  And the LS17SE is many times the cost when new.  It says a lot about how good  the T758V3 is when combined with Dirac Live. 

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33 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Not surprised that the AR LS17SE is better than the NAD T758V3, but one is a dedicated 2 channel valve preamp while the other is a generalist AVR.  And the LS17SE is many times the cost when new.  It says a lot about how good  the T758V3 is when combined with Dirac Live. 

Yeh agree not surprised in that regard but I thought maybe your room required some room eq given the clear Dirac improvements. Might be the case that in a lot of situations room eq only becomes relevant to improve sound quality that’s average to begin with?

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20 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Yeh agree not surprised in that regard but I thought maybe your room required some room eq given the clear Dirac improvements. Might be the case that in a lot of situations room eq only becomes relevant to improve sound quality that’s average to begin with?

Probably getting OT, but I do room correction for the 2 CH bass using MSO and a DSP.  Had MSO not fixed much of the bass problems, I would have considered getting a miniDSP with Dirac Live sooner.  

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21 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Probably getting OT, but I do room correction for the 2 CH bass using MSO and a DSP.  Had MSO not fixed much of the bass problems, I would have considered getting a miniDSP with Dirac Live sooner.  

That explains it 👍🏼

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Hello, I am speaking without experience of prepros, but thought I would throw the new Yamaha A5200 into the mix. Prepros tend to be overpriced IMO, but this one maybe not.

 

Regards

Grant

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Hello, I am speaking without experience of prepros, but thought I would throw the new Yamaha A5200 into the mix. Prepros tend to be overpriced IMO, but this one maybe not.
 
Regards
Grant


Grant, I did consider this, especially as they are doing a $500 hand-in-your-old-avr deal for the next few months.

I may have to go for a listen sometime soon.

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