can any AVRs use USB instead of HDMI for multichannel?

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ssully

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The last thread I found remotely related to this was

But it's not really germane.

Multichannel USB DACs have existed for years in the pro world. And people have been plugging USB sticks into players (Oppos) to play multichannel files for years.

That's not what I'm talking about either.

I'm asking about replacing a multichannel signal chain such as :

laptop/hard drive + software player + multichannel audio file --> [WASAPI out] ---> HDMI out ---> AVR HDMI in --> D/A conversion in AVR

with

laptop/hard drive + software player + multichannel audio file --> [WASAPI out] ---> USB out ---> AVR USB in --> D/A conversion in AVR


Is that even possible with any AVR models yet?
 
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J. PUPSTER

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The last thread I found remotely related this was

But it's not really germane.

Multichannel USB DACs have existed for years in the pro world. And people have been plugging USB sticks into players (Oppos) to play multichannel files for years.

That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm asking about replacing a multichannel signal chain such as :

laptop/hard drive + software player + multichannel audio file --> [WASAPI out] ---> HDMI out ---> AVR HDMI in --> D/A conversion in AVR

with

laptop/hard drive + software player + multichannel audio file --> [WASAPI out] ---> USB out ---> AVR USB in --> D/A conversion in AVR


Is that even possible with any AVR models yet?
*EDIT THAT WAS JUST A 2 CHANNEL -STILL LOOKING
 

jimfisheye

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It should be just a matter of fact available port.

The AVRs I've seen and read the manuals for all have that USB port disabled as a connection port. (Or... never programmed to be enabled.) They only allow use to serve files, often with further restrictions on file type and sometimes locking out surround formats. Heck, some of these things lock out a full connection to the HDMI port!

Meanwhile you can get a modest USB connecting audio interface aimed at pro use with no restrictions or lock outs. This is apparently "scary looking" to consumers used to AVR style products.

Maybe this is changing? The period of the worst format war stuff and severely crippled AVR products as fallout appears to be ending. Turns out that selling intentionally crippled products maybe isn't such a good look? The consumer has to notice that for that to be true...

Or maybe getting worse? Like the current business of selling you a whole AVR or theater install aimed audio interface to get the Atmos decoder codec hidden in the firmware.

Can you patch an AVR USB port to an audio interface with enough output channels for 7.1.4 and get Atmos output from it? (Ignoring the silliness of duplicating interfaces like that for a moment.) I bet not!
 

ummagumma

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Feeding a USB drive, or computer/NAS/media server, to an AVR seems like a logical & simple thing you should be able to do.
 

jimfisheye

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Feeding a USB drive, or computer/NAS/media server, to an AVR seems like a logical & simple thing you should be able to do.
Exactly. Then you assume and buy the thing. Plug a USB cable to your computer but you don't see the AVR pop up as an available device. Then finally read the manual and discover they tell you that USB port can only be used to connect a hard drive or flash drive. And it might be further restricted to stereo files!

Buyer beware!
 

ssully

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OK, what about this one:


Nope


USB
  • 2 Type A
  • 1 Type B for digital audio (2.0, 24-bit/192kHz Asynchronous)
 

jimfisheye

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I don't mean to promote (or not promote) Tascam products. Just easy examples.

The US-1800 audio interface has 6 analog output channels. USB connection to any computer and you're 5.1 ready. Under $200

The US-16x08 has 8 analog output channels. USB connection to any computer and you're 7.1 or 5.1.2* ready. Around $350

The US-20x20 has 10 analog output channels. USB connection to any computer and you're 7.1.2* or 5.1.4* ready. $500

*(if the Atmos decoder codec is ever released to the public, that is).

Even if you don't need the inputs or the digital I/O this + bring your own amps is more frugal than an AVR. Balanced or unbalanced outputs and pro quality ADC and DAC.

Focusrite and MOTU have similar products.

For home theater use, shop for the number of analog outputs you need.
If you're into ripping from old analog formats or a recording musician, these kind of interfaces will be even easier to justify.
 

ssully

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I don't mean to promote (or not promote) Tascam products. Just easy examples.

The US-1800 audio interface has 6 analog output channels. USB connection to any computer and you're 5.1 ready. Under $200

The US-16x08 has 8 analog output channels. USB connection to any computer and you're 7.1 or 5.1.2* ready. Around $350

The US-20x20 has 10 analog output channels. USB connection to any computer and you're 7.1.2* or 5.1.4* ready. $500

*(if the Atmos decoder codec is ever released to the public, that is).

Even if you don't need the inputs or the digital I/O this + bring your own amps is more frugal than an AVR. Balanced or unbalanced outputs and pro quality ADC and DAC.

Focusrite and MOTU have similar products.

For home theater use, shop for the number of analog outputs you need.
If you're into ripping from old analog formats or a recording musician, these kind of interfaces will be even easier to justify.
You've got to be kidding.

Please describe an actual example setup here. Describe what the source of the multichannel audio is -- the thing that plays the discs or files; how it's connected to the interface; and how the computer ultimately gets the sound to a multichannel speaker array.

It's that, versus this :

multichannel music (HD or player) -->USB ---> AVR --> decoding and processing and D/A and amplification --> out to speakers.

Which is simple (just two hardware devices and a single digital connection), user friendly, and versatile (given scads of decoding and processing options available in AVRs..like, room correction?).

It's what AVRs can do, and are doing, in virtually X.1 (and X.X) home music and A/V setups right now....but only with HDMI. And you're suggesting that for USB, we scrap that for a mini-studio recording setup repurposed for home audio?
 

jimfisheye

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You've got to be kidding.
Um, no?

Please describe an actual example setup here. Describe what the source of the multichannel audio is
Any file or disc you can read with a computer. That's any PCM (or DSD) audio format right now with the sole exception of Atmos encoded PCM audio as they have yet to release the codec to the public.
-- the thing that plays the discs or files;
Your favorite media player app.
how it's connected to the interface;
USB cable
and how the computer ultimately gets the sound to a multichannel speaker array.
Set your OS audio control panel for the speaker array you have connected.
Hit play on said favorite media player app.

Amps and speakers are still amps and speakers. Line out of your audio interface is just like line out of your preamp outputs. Most people know what to do with that. Line level hasn't changed.

Atmos is the ringer right now. It's just channels of PCM digital audio. If you feel that it's reasonable to buy an all in one box unit (AVR) with an audio interface, DACs, preamps, and amp channels to get at their decoder (and even though you might already have that hardware), then there you go! If you don't, then you know what I'm getting on about with all that.
 

jimfisheye

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Computer -> HDMI -> AVR is slick for sure.

As long as you vet the products and avoid the restricted versions!

I think the old school home component style gear stops being easy with surround. Something's going to get a little tech-y, so pick your poison.

The format wars aren't as brutal at present.
Maybe you don't have to watch out anymore for AVRs with literally no way to connect any surround and could only use the surround outputs for built in reverb fx to add to stereo program. (Or do you still? Also, not making that up!)
How about the ones with HDMI ports restricted to video with audio disabled? How about HDMI copy protection that errs on the side of not passing signal?
I know this kind of stuff has calmed down but it's still out there.

I think the separate audio interface and amps lines up more with old school buying separate components. The AVR is the all in one thingy. Just the fact of multiple devices in one box but especially the thing where they hide software in the box like the Atmos decoder leads to treating the AVR as disposable. Amplifiers disposable!? That would almost be like soldering hard drives into computers to make them disposable! Oh wait...

There's no perfect easy solution. Sure come a long way from making the consumer successfully decode analog matrix formats though! :D
 

fcormier

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A computer is a usb host where you can plug in some devices (storage, interfaces, etc.)
An AVR is a usb host you where you can plus in a storage device (flash drive, hard drive)
You can't plug an AVR into a computer because both are USB hosts. You would need an AVR that could be used as a device, an audio interface in this case.
 

LuvMyQuad

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A computer is a usb host where you can plug in some devices (storage, interfaces, etc.)
An AVR is a usb host you where you can plus in a storage device (flash drive, hard drive)
You can't plug an AVR into a computer because both are USB hosts. You would need an AVR that could be used as a device, an audio interface in this case.
This is completely wrong. USB is a 2 way system. The example where you say the PC is a host device where you can use storage devices.... well you can both read and write to those devices. Data can flow in either direction, in and out of the PC.

I can output digital audio from my PC via USB to any device that can accept USB in, including an AVR. The problem is, the AVRs will only accept stereo. Most blueray players however, will accept multi channel.
 

fcormier

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This is completely wrong. USB is a 2 way system. The example where you say the PC is a host device where you can use storage devices.... well you can both read and write to those devices. Data can flow in either direction, in and out of the PC.

I can output digital audio from my PC via USB to any device that can accept USB in, including an AVR. The problem is, the AVRs will only accept stereo. Most blueray players however, will accept multi channel.
I think you misunderstand how it works. Yes, the data can flow both ways, but only one of the two controls the sending and receiving of the data, and that is the host. Like I said, computers, AVR and Blu-ray players are hosts and storage devices are devices. Have you managed to successfully connect your AVR to you computer with a USB cable? If so, I'd like to know which make and model of AVR offers this possibility. The only exception that I know of are phones which can act both as a device (plugged in you computer) and a host (connect a storage device or interface to the phone).

By the way, when you connect a storage device to a computer, AVR or Blu-ray player, you transfer files to it and the host controls the sending and receiving of the files. When you connect your computer to a USB device that is not a storage device, you communicate with the devices in their specific language, be it a scanner, printer, keyboard, mouse or audio interface. In the particular case of the audio interface, the host sends and receives an audio signal (usually in PCM format) over USB, not files.
 
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