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Hytram

Dirac: XMC-1 vs Nad T758 vs Nad C658 vs.......

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this is kinda a 2ch problem with 5.1 gear, never mix the 2 they say....

After having 5+ sets of speaker, 5+ Amps , lots of subs, cables and sources, REW and an UMIK-1 in my living room over the last 18 months one thing is clear, My room sucks.

 

I have massive hump between 1 to 5Khz that just makes 2Ch listening unbearable, Yamaha YPAO does settle it down but sucks all the life out of the music. The room needs lots of treatment, that's not going to happen, maybe a little but not to the extent that it needs.

I have been playing around DSP/EQ with JRiver on a PC using 
REW with aUMIK-1 over the last week via a Music Fidelity M5si amp and actually got a reasonable result,  it can be better, and has proved to me that DSP room correction does work.

the equipment chain is as follows,

Sources, HTPC, BluRay, CD, HDD Music, Spotify/Tidal (on the Yamaha) into a Yamaha RV-X 1081 used as Preamp only, > Emotiva XPA-5 > either Ambience Superslims 1400 or Quad S5 for the mains, 2 x REL R3 Subs running from the Yamaha in mono via a DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 Cinema and stereo line-level in from the Mains (Ambience don't need the subs). Centre is an old Quadal that I still love, the rears are Mirage Omi 350.

for those that aren't 
Familiar with the REL subs, they have a .1 RCA input with volume only that you run from the AVR and a Line-Level input with Volume and Freq that you run from the speakers, you can run them both at once and tune them in. Best of both worlds

the Quad S5 with the REL T3 running in stereo via line-level in are my pick ATM, that combo just suits rock a little more
the Ambiences are very picky with the room, so I need to run them both via Dirac to see which ones I keep. Jury is still out on that one, but one set has to go.

the MF M5si is now gone, fantastic amp but it didn't fix the hump (silly of me thinking it might) and had to go to finance the next step 

I am not massively into movies much these days, but still enjoy Concerts on Bluray and multi-channel music a bit, the 5.1 system gets used more for Netflix and Tv more than anything and I'm really heavily getting back in to 2Ch, hence the change.

 

music is mainly Prog rock to Jazz, I don't consider myself a Audiophile, but what to get the best out of my gear.

Budget, about $2.5k tops.

scenario #1
Nad C658 between the Yamaha RV-X 1081 and the XPA-5 on the main chs only, the analogue in on the C658 can be set up as a HT Bypass, so the 5.1 will be basically untouched but 2 ch Spotify/Tidal and HHD music will all be running via the C658. Dirac will be limited to the mains speakers and line level in of the subs only.
but this is probably the best 2ch solution. 

cost ~$2300 to $2500 with Dirac full

scenario #2

Nad T758 v3
get rid of the Yamaha RV-X 1081 and replace with the T758 as a pre amp only (maybe use the amp stage for Atmos, but Atmos is not really on the radar ATM)
this will give me a better 5.1 system, allow me to get rid RV-X 1081 and the DSPeaker Anti-Mode.
Hearing rather good reports on the T758 with Dirac as a music pre, but it can't be as good as the C658 you would think (or could it?)  but their feature set is basically the same on both with Bluesound built in for all streaming/HDD duties.
because will sell the RV-X 1081 and the DSPeaker Anti-Mode this could be less that $1500 with full Dirac

 

scenario #3
Emotiva XMC-1
Emotiva are selling refurb XMC-1 pre's with 4k video and full Dirac for $1100USD, I can go via a friend in the states if they don't deliver to Aust (no Aust distributor listed on their website no more), problem they are out of stock, they were not yesterday, they are today....bummer
replace the Yamaha with the XMC-1 and have a killer 5.1 and 2 ch system but will have to buy something like a Bluesound Node 2i to do the Streaming duties as the XMC-1 does not do that.
selling the Yamaha and DSPeaker Anti-mode might pay for the Bluesound Node 2i, so with delivery it will still cost around $2k


both the Nads are thin on the ground ATM, cant find a C658 to demo but have found a hi-fi store that has the T758 and a C388, they are willing to set both up as 2ch preamps via separate Power amps to see if the T758 holds up as a 2ch pre.


I really like how Spotify runs via the Yamaha, for backgroud music. I can use the Spotify app on my phone and its turns on the Yamaha automatically and plays, this is a big plus to the wife as she hates having to touch any of the remotes or gear, so in a way I want to T758 to sound great because it should operate similar. I really have to make it simple.
the XMC-1 will require turning things on manually via remote methinks.... but there is a Sonus One lying around somewhere if it gets too hard 😉


so, any other options or directions?

which would be your choice?

 

 

ta

 

Marty

Edited by Hytram

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I won't touch on your room or treatment at all but from I can see you've had some average sources and average preamps in the mix, shame the MF had to go because long term that may have been your best shot at superior 2ch sound, but I also get why it had to go.

 

For 2ch I'm with you option 1 should in theory give you the best performance.

 

But  you also said you like concert movies (as I do) and I'd be surprised if the yammy could do those justice given the same room issues.

 

that pushes me to number 2 as an all rounder and as a first step, as you've said you get Dirac for both 2ch and surround and you have some money left over which may be used to purchase a Node 2 and an external Dac like a Klein (both in classifieds for around $850) these added should improve the 2ch performance again which is what I've experienced when adding them to my surround set-up.

 

id forget the emo route, they are refurbished for a reason and I wouldn't like to have a big black box that needed to be shipped os every time it needed warranty support.

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If you can accept the 1 year warranty on the XMC1 and o/s servicing the ones on offer are not strictly refurbished but trade ins checked out from people trading up to the new series [Emo are very generous] . The good thing about a XMC1 is with a bad room you can do a REW cal with your Umik  [the XMC1 has a special laptop download that works in concert with REW to use its PEQ ] then after using one of your 2 PEQ presets you can then use dirac on top of it to really knock down any freq humps ..

 

The other thing about a XMC1 is its 2ch dual differential circuitry which unlike all the alternatives at this price point does not have any single ended circuitry at all ;including my present Yam 5100 . Oh and its got 2 independent sub outs for your REL's ; no cheap spliced single lfe channel 

Quote

 The Left and Right main channels are fully balanced with no balanced-to-singled-ended conversion taking place. This is a great feature of the XMC-1 and it was very expensive to include. This allows balanced two channel audiophile listening.  It is also worth noting that this is a pure analog path with no AD/DA conversion, unlike many other products. In fact, the 7.1 inputs are pure analog, which is great for multi-channel SACD listening.

The XMC-1 supports two sets of speaker presets, each of which has 11 bands of independent parametric EQ. The EQ values can be entered manually or they can be imported from the software room-calibration tool Room Equalization Wizard (REW), which can be found on the web.

Heres a review if you decide your comfortable with an o/s option ; whatever your comfortable with counts.

 

HOMETHEATERHIFI.COM

Emotiva, Emotiva XMC-1, Surround Processor, Preamplifier

 

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I suggest going back to basics and firstly simplifying your 2 Ch music chain, then look at 5.1 and whether it should be integrated together.  While mixing and matching different bits gives you flexibility, it makes for a complicated setup.  Adding any HT gear to the 2 Ch chain will be a compromise.

 

I do not like Option 1, using the C658 to convert an analogue signal  from the Yamaha for the sake of using Dirac.  The Yamaha has already severely compromised your 2 Ch signal and it is further compromised by doing a A2D stage. The C658 is excellent, but should not be used this way.  Maybe you should redesigning your setup using this as the centre piece?  

 

I have the NAD T758V3 and it is excellent for movies and reasonable for 2 Ch.   If that I was all I had, I could live with it for 2 ch.  If your source DAC is good, it is better to feed the NAD analogue and pay the price for an A2D conversion to enable Dirac to be applied.  The T758V3 should be ok as a prepro, though it will not match a 2 channel preamp for the same price.

 

p/s  I have a separate 2 Ch system because that is my focus. And my systems are in living room, so appreciate the issues you are facing.

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@Snoopy8 with option 1 doesn’t the c658 act as the streamer and 2ch pre with ht bypass directly into the emo amp, which for 2ch would be the cleanest and easiest 2ch path?

 

A method usually strongly suggested for integrating 2ch and HT systems.

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4 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

@Snoopy8 with option 1 doesn’t the c658 act as the streamer and 2ch pre with ht bypass directly into the emo amp, which for 2ch would be the cleanest and easiest 2ch path?

 

A method usually strongly suggested for integrating 2ch and HT systems.

 

you save me the reply on this one, Option 2, all 2Ch music would not go anywhere near the Yamaha

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11 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

I won't touch on your room or treatment at all but from I can see you've had some average sources and average preamps in the mix, shame the MF had to go because long term that may have been your best shot at superior 2ch sound, but I also get why it had to go.

 

 

Yeah, average gear, but has some Amazing loan gear like Arcam Tube CD and Audio Research and Arcam Pre-s which up the sound but didnt solve the problem!

room treatment will be a different thread later down the track, doing Renovations ATM the Louge room will be last

I will regret selling the MF, but money says otherwise

 

Quote

For 2ch I'm with you option 1 should in theory give you the best performance.

 

Agreed

 

Quote

But  you also said you like concert movies (as I do) and I'd be surprised if the yammy could do those justice given the same room issues.

 

its not bad believe it or not, the YAPO does an 'OK' job but not brilliant

 

Quote

that pushes me to number 2 as an all rounder and as a first step, as you've said you get Dirac for both 2ch and surround and you have some money left over which may be used to purchase a Node 2 and an external Dac like a Klein (both in classifieds for around $850) these added should improve the 2ch performance again which is what I've experienced when adding them to my surround set-up.

 

have read great things about the Klein but if the Pre in the T758 is no good then its a moot point

 

Quote

id forget the emo route, they are refurbished for a reason and I wouldn't like to have a big black box that needed to be shipped os every time it needed warranty support.

these refurbs are not dead units, they are from their upgrade program, so they are refurb 2nd hand units...actually, whats worse?!

but, yes. the sending back to the US could be an issue, but they do work with you and local repairers for warranty work I believe

 

 

 

 

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I would go with option 2 to simplify things at a lower cost than option 1.
I'm sure option 1 is good but I think it's an overpriced product as NAD will probably sell only a handful of C658's compared to the T758V3 .

Edited by Satanica

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7 hours ago, cwt said:

If you can accept the 1 year warranty on the XMC1 and o/s servicing the ones on offer are not strictly refurbished but trade ins checked out from people trading up to the new series [Emo are very generous] . The good thing about a XMC1 is with a bad room you can do a REW cal with your Umik  [the XMC1 has a special laptop download that works in concert with REW to use its PEQ ] then after using one of your 2 PEQ presets you can then use dirac on top of it to really knock down any freq humps ..

 

The other thing about a XMC1 is its 2ch dual differential circuitry which unlike all the alternatives at this price point does not have any single ended circuitry at all ;including my present Yam 5100 . Oh and its got 2 independent sub outs for your REL's ; no cheap spliced single lfe channel 

Heres a review if you decide your comfortable with an o/s option ; whatever your comfortable with counts.

 

thanks for your reply,

the XMC-1 gives me a lot of flexability  but a lot of complexity too 

 

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FWIW, the XMC-1 has an excellent DAC, and it isn't that complex to set up. Also, Dirac > YPAO by several orders of magnitude, but you'll have to fork out $100 for a licence to use it with the XMC.
 

 

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14 hours ago, Hytram said:

I have massive hump between 1 to 5Khz

A "massive hump" at these frequencies cannot be caused by "the room".

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1 hour ago, davewantsmoore said:

A "massive hump" at these frequencies cannot be caused by "the room"

So you are saying room acoustics can not cause a harsh sound that shows up in a waterfall graph across those frequencies? 

 

Maybe I need to move the elephant first? 😛

 

Edited by Hytram
Speeling

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1 hour ago, vagabond said:

FWIW, the XMC-1 has an excellent DAC, and it isn't that complex to set up. Also, Dirac > YPAO by several orders of magnitude, but you'll have to fork out $100 for a licence to use it with the XMC.
 

 

Yes, if YPAO worked as good as Dirac we wouldnt here.... Actually we probably be in another thread talking about other stuff

 

I have factored in the $100usd for full dirac in the costings

 

Everything I have read about the XMC-1 SQ is fantastic, including the DAC. 

 

I wish I could demo the T758 and XMC-1 head to head.. Seeing I am probably not going to leave the digital realm for 2ch for source material it would be great to compare... The XMC-1 would blow the NAD out of the water with 2ch analogue in. 

Edited by Hytram

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18 minutes ago, Hytram said:

So you are saying room acoustics can not cause a harsh sound that show up in a waterfall graph across those frequencies? 

Room sound will (of course) be visible in such a plot.

 

... but what it won't do, is cause a "massive hump" in the overall SPL between 1 and 5khz.

 

So... it depends on exactly what you are referring to.

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I am probably using the wrong term.. Maybe a massive amount of ringing in those frequencies? 

 

The standard SPL graph in REW is reasonably flat, far from perfect, no massive hump in that range.. 

 

In the waterfall graph, between those frequencies the decay time (?) on those frequencies linger far more that any other above 200hz... 

 

Para eq values via REW put into Jriver or even the 10 band EQ in Jriver not only made a huge audio difference, but cut the decay(?)times on the WF graph too.. 

 

But the para eq in jriver made the sound compressed, normal 10 band eq and also a 16  band plug in was OK.  (only OK) 

 

After trying an amazing amount of different gear in different configurations, nothing solved the issue, different soundstaging, transparency, musicality and all those good things, but always harsh.. 

 

Only 2 things have solved it so far.. DSP and the Mirage Omi 350.. They have their midrange angled up at 45 degrees, problem went away, crap imagining and an average sounding speaker though.. 

 

So with that thought, Puting blocks under the front of the Quad S5, ambience ribbons and a pair of Martin Logans to angle them up a bit reduced the problem, but reduced the soundstage too. 

Edited by Hytram
Removing naughty words

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4 hours ago, Satanica said:

I would go with option 2 to simplify things at a lower cost than option 1.
I'm sure option 1 is good but I think it's an overpriced product as NAD will probably sell only a handful of C658's compared to the T758V3 .

Agree, I think the c658 is overpriced too, hard to tell if it’s Dirac making these products appear good or the unit itself.
 

for my money I’d be looking at the minidsp Dirac products too, some cost effective options there.

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1 hour ago, Hytram said:

I am probably using the wrong term.. Maybe a massive amount of ringing in those frequencies? 

 

The standard SPL graph in REW is reasonably flat, far from perfect, no massive hump in that range.. 

 

In the waterfall graph, between those frequencies the decay time (?) on those frequencies linger far more that any other above 200hz... 

 

Para eq values via REW put into Jriver or even the 10 band EQ in Jriver not only made a huge audio difference, but cut the decay(?)times on the WF graph too.. 

 

But the para eq in jriver made the sound compressed, normal 10 band eq and also a 16  band plug in was OK.  (only OK) 

 

After trying an amazing amount of different gear in different configurations, nothing solved the issue, different soundstaging, transparency, musicality and all those good things, but always harsh.. 

 

Only 2 things have solved it so far.. DSP and the Mirage Omi 350.. They have their midrange angled up at 45 degrees, problem went away, crap imagining and an average sounding speaker though.. 

 

So with that thought, Puting blocks under the front of the Quad S5, ambience ribbons and a pair of Martin Logans to angle them up a bit reduced the problem, but reduced the soundstage too. 

All these things are foreign to me and I enjoy my sound given my modest setup, do you live in a glass box?

 

what are the actual problems with the room? Mine is a no symmetrical open ended family room which is far from perfect but the sound is fine for me.

 

Ive hesitated getting dsp for this type of reason, being obsessed over the dots, dashes and graphs, would do my head in!

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5 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Agree, I think the c658 is overpriced too, hard to tell if it’s Dirac making these products appear good or the unit itself.
 

for my money I’d be looking at the minidsp Dirac products too, some cost effective options there.

 

I forgot to mention MiniDSP , I have looked seriously into them, the Dirac enabled SHD was a contender, it would have fit in the same as the C658 but it has no HT Bypass. its about $1800 AUD delivered

 

with its 4 outputs I could have played around with by-amping which is something I have always wanted to play with

 

or using a DDRC-24 or DDRC-88A in line between the Yamaha and XPA-5 was an option but the Yamaha would still be there and that is one of the weak points in the 2ch setup

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9 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

All these things are foreign to me and I enjoy my sound given my modest setup, do you live in a glass box?

 

what are the actual problems with the room? Mine is a no symmetrical open ended family room which is far from perfect but the sound is fine for me.

 

Ive hesitated getting dsp for this type of reason, being obsessed over the dots, dashes and graphs, would do my head in!

I dont know what the actual problem is, except everything else has been changed and the issue stays

5mt wide, 8mt long

Front wall is rendered brick

rest is plaster

back wall has large glass covered painting on it, probably doesn't help

bay window on one side closer to the front 1/3

2.5mt opening on the other side closer to front 1/3, room in there is floorboards

carpet everywhere except last 1.5mt which is floor boards

 

I wasnt going to bring any of this up yet as the room will be remodelled in 12 -18 months, I can do diffusion panels on the brick wall (behind speakers) but not much else unless its hidden

 




the advantage with Dirac, it does most of it for you, but you do know have to drive A PC

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Hytram said:

I dont know what the actual problem is, except everything else has been changed and the issue stays

5mt wide, 8mt long

Front wall is rendered brick

rest is plaster

back wall has large glass covered painting on it, probably doesn't help

bay window on one side closer to the front 1/3

2.5mt opening on the other side closer to front 1/3, room in there is floorboards

carpet everywhere except last 1.5mt which is floor boards

 

I wasnt going to bring any of this up yet as the room will be remodelled in 12 -18 months, I can do diffusion panels on the brick wall (behind speakers) but not much else unless its hidden

 




the advantage with Dirac, it does most of it for you, but you do know have to drive A PC

 

 

 

Doesn’t sound horrendous maybe apart from the brick front wall but I’m no acoustics expert!

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9 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

for my money I’d be looking at the minidsp Dirac products too, some cost effective options there.

That's important going forward and its in the interests of brands like NAD too . The XMC1 is locked to a proprietary version of dirac live and those with dirac2.0 apart from the enhanced 2ch phase correction algorithm is designed to make easier upgrades in the future like the new sub bass management module coming out [ not that this applies to Martys problem per se];) They have said 1 upgrade a year ; however unlikely..

 

Chances are the old design t758 will be on runout when the new upgraded T778 turns up very soon ; as will the 777v3 both handily with bluos etc :) 

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17 hours ago, cwt said:

The XMC1 is locked to a proprietary version of dirac live and those with dirac2.0 apart from the enhanced 2ch phase correction algorithm is designed to make easier upgrades in the future like the new sub bass management module coming out [ not that this applies to Martys problem per se];) They have said 1 upgrade a year ; however unlikely..

 

 

what does this really mean to a maybe purchaser of a xmc-1?

 

does it give us an inferior Dirac, or just what is out there now with no upgrades? 

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1 hour ago, Hytram said:

 

what does this really mean to a maybe purchaser of a xmc-1?

 

does it give us an inferior Dirac, or just what is out there now with no upgrades? 

The reason Dirac introduced 2.0 was to amalgamate all the different proprietary solutions like Arcam ;NAD and Emotiva have into 1 simplified code set going forward so they could implement add ons like the sub bass management tier system more easily :)

Really there is little difference between Emo's and 2.0 at the moment but I wouldn't expect any improvements going forward as Emo now has the RMC1; XMC2 etc to accept the new 2.0 [when it turns up ; they are still waiting for a non beta code from Dirac :whistle: just like Arcam wont launch  Dirac until sometime next year for their new lineup..]

Also a factor is the XMC1's Momentum data system /texas instruments architecture which is different to the new line ups so complicating any modular additions to the old line I suspect ?

 

 

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to throw another one into the mix..

I only realised last night that I should have  40% discount card on Emotiva Processors on file with them from when I bought the UMC-1 off them years ago, they a looking into it

it cant be used on the Refurb XMC-1 but can be used on the XMC-2 which will be around $3K to $3.3AUD (depending on duties/GST) landed

the XMC-2 has Dirac "coming soon" and as EQ that works with REW.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Hytram said:

the XMC-2 has Dirac "coming soon" and as EQ that works with REW.

 

 

XMC-2 is probably a better unit (hardware-wise) than the XMC-1 (which I have).  There are some fundamental differences that may mean it doesn't suit: it only has XLR outputs, and no 7-channel inputs.  It also has the same firmware as the RMC-1 and nobody seems completely happy with that even this far down the track.

 

And of course no Dirac yet: "soon" has no strictly temporal meaning when it comes to Emotiva, it is simply a tensed term that means "after today".  It could be delivered next week or the Earth could spin into the sun before it arrives.

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      Comes with all accessories and original box.
      I have two of these and love them, have been very impressed with the sound and build.
      DAC is fantastic and comes with a MM Phono preamp built in (never used as I have a seperate MC preamp).
       
      Happy to post.
       
      Product link:
      https://nadelectronics.com/product/c-368-hybrid-digital-dac-amplifier/
       

      Photos: 
    • By Thelastjedi
      Item: NAD C 268 Power Amp
      Location: Brisbane
      Price: $600
      Item Condition: As New
      Reason for selling: NLR
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
       
      Extra info: Was going to keep for backup system but no longer required. Has been kept in perfect condition and sealed in original box for months now. Prefer to sell with local buyer first. Add extra for shipping.

      Photos: 

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