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#43343 - 12/08/02 01:12 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
I haven't made the leap to a SACD of DVD-A player yet. I'm sitting on the sidelines for awhile till a good 2nd or 3rd generation universal player comes around. I do deal with surround music in my work, however.

I personally do not really like to have an active center channel when playing multi channel music, preferring to have a 'phantom' center. One reason for this is the physical difference in the placement of the center speaker. Mine is lower than my main left and right speakers, other people may have it above the mains, on top of a TV or whatever. This is not ideal if a seamless soundfield is the goal. Phantom imaging is actually extremely good provided you sit in the 'sweet spot', and for me at least, the front soundstage is more seamless with the front speakers running in stereo.

That said, I haven't a clue about the mixdown capabilities of the current players for the center channel. It will certainly influence my purchase decisions when I am ready to buy. The player will have to have the option to disable the center channel for SACD and DVD-A, yet have the center channel in operation for movies, where I prefer to have a 'hard' center for dialog. I think that is going to be a tall order, and I'm not holding my breath for one player to come along that meets all my needs.

I think in the end, I am going to have to design and construct a simple summing 'mixer' to do the job, with a switch to enable or disable the center speaker accordingly. Such a project would only require a few op-amps.

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#43344 - 12/08/02 05:01 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
charlie Offline
Desperado

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176
I'd have to agree. This is (oddly enough) why I decided to go with a center, in that my HT is not a studio, or to put it differently, there may be 8-12 folks in here trying to enjoy the show. After experimenting around with a lot of different configurations I decided the only simple way to get reasonable dialog_in_center for a variety of locations was a center speaker.

Obviously my requirements are different than yours since I'd assume it's no problem for you to sit near the sweet spot.

I've done some active crossovers and other simple op-amp circuits in the past. I'm thinking about building a pair of centers and locating one on each side of the screen, then doing some tiny bit of mixing left into left center and right into right center. It would be cool if studios would do this (8.1?) but if I get time it sounds like a fun project.

Actually rather than x.1 I'd like to see the 'next' generation of bitstream audio data contain waveforms and location info, then the processor could map the waveforms to transducers as it deems best. All we need to do is tell the processor where the speakers are and it could figure out the rest.

Then we could set our systems up to meet the requirements of our room/audience without fiddling with downmixing etc.

If you do the mixer, any chance you might release the design into the PD?
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Charlie

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#43345 - 12/08/02 06:48 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Charlie:

If and when I do a design, I'll be sure to post it. It would be as simple as possible since I don't want the signal to go through more circuits than necessary.

The metadata idea is a good one. Dolby already has an "E" variation on DD which has a metadata bitstream which could be used for this kind of waveform steering. It's used in broadcast mostly at this point.

I very rarely have more than one other person in my HT other than myself at a time, so the sweet spot is not an issue.

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#43346 - 12/08/02 07:51 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
charlie Offline
Desperado

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176
Actually the mixing left and right into center left/right probably wouldn't work out like I'd want it. What I would like is better dialog steering, but in most soundtracks I'm pretty sure they mostly dump any dialog near the front into the center.

The metadata deal is IMO probably as close to the 'final' word as we'll get in the foreseeable future. It's not an original idea, as you already know. I think I first saw it mentioned in relation to a PC gaming API IIRC. In any case, locating the source of sound in at least 3 degrees of freedom would allow the theater processor to do as good a job as possible with whatever the input is. For instance if you have a 240.2 system with a full hemisphere of transducers and I have a speaker in each corner we could both get the most out of our systems.
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#43347 - 12/08/02 08:27 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Charlie:

If and when I do make a center dialog steering mixer, it would most likely make use of pan-pots to place the channels exactly as wanted.

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#43348 - 12/09/02 08:06 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
Paul J. Stiles Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 279
Loc: Mountain View, CA, USofA
I presently do not have a center channel speaker in my 5.1 system for a different reason: I do not know what reasonably priced (under $700 or so) speaker would be an acceptable match to my front speakers which are Acoustat 2+2 electrostatics. I would not expect the center channel to reproduce below 80Hz or so.

I would like to ge a center channel for movie dialog and for those multichannel SACDs that I may purchase that have center channel content.

Paul

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the 1derful1
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#43349 - 12/11/02 12:30 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
quattro Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 13
Loc: White Bear Lake, MN
I was debating on either buying a SACD/DVD Video player (probably the $249 Sony piece) or getting the Marantz universal player (normally $1,500, however, my friend sells Marantz, so I could get it for about $800).

After looking at what titles are available, I'm leaning towards the Sony. DVD-A selection is really weak. In addition to this, I see a lot of SACD's coming in 2003 and with the price of this Sony, it makes SACD look quite attractive. Does anybody else have thoughts on this?

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#43350 - 12/11/02 01:15 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
MCH Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 02/14/02
Posts: 128
Quattro:
If you don't need the DVD part of the player I would suggest the Sony CE-775 SACD player if you can still find one. I bought the XE-670 (Canadian single version of the multidisc player CE-775) for $150 CAD ($78US?). This entry player has gotten very good reviews (has the Burr/Brown DACs-1702s?). I am very pleased with the sound. If SACD does become more popular (for me I can only find discs online (PITA)), you can always upgrade to the next generation of players. Or do a mod; this player apparently is very mod friendly and the results are apparently outstanding.
my 2 cents

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#43351 - 12/11/02 02:31 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
Mike Raub Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 7
Loc: Champaign, IL
I just picked up a Pioneer Elite 45A universal player for <$400 on line. Works great. DVD-A and SACD both sound great. The Eagles DVD-A "Hotel California" sound like the band asked you to sit on stage with them so you could hear better. I was also impressed with the multichannel SACD of Carol King's "Tapestry". I haven't tried any stereo SACD's yet. If these formats are to succeed, I think multichannel must be the standard. I doubt there is a sufficient market to sustain high resolution stereo.

MIKE

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#43352 - 12/12/02 02:01 AM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
Paul J. Stiles Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 279
Loc: Mountain View, CA, USofA
I also bought Carol King's Tapestry album (a glaring omission in my music collection) on sacd. I thought the mutichannel presentation was tasefully done and while I enjoyed the presentation, I thought the recording was "dry". I'm not one to use high-end audio teminology a lot, but I knew that something was on the tip of my mind's tongue (If my heart can have a heart, it's only fair that my mind have a tongue to tell you about it). I listened to Tapestry a couple of more times in the next week and still could not describe to my satisfaction my thoughts on the recording. A few days later, the word "dry" just popped into my mind about this recording and I knew that I had found THE word.

I am looking forward to new sacd releases. I hope there will be a wide variety of NEW material out on sacd. As far as reissues of old recordings, I would love to have the Beatles on sacd. Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lets: YEAHHHH BABY!!! Generally speaking, the Stones are not my cup or tea, or gin.

I have been buying fewer and fewer cds in the last few years because I have been increasingly dissatisfied with my old cd player. The sacd player does a much better job on redbook cds: my cd purchasing may go up.

I think sacd and dvd-a will remain boutique audio media untill a significant percentage of NEW MAINSTREAM POPULAR recordings are released on the medium. I do not know how much clout Sony or Philips has in the music recording, etc. area (Sony is in that business, too), but things are moving slow, it seems.

Paul

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the 1derful1

[This message has been edited by Paul J. Stiles (edited December 12, 2002).]
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the 1derful1

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