*NOT* the SM V3 teaser thread - Inspired By Comments

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MagnumX

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The only changes I see in the future will be a new DSP chip with a larger capacity as I can then clear out one minor shortcut we had to do. I am thinking of adding a height channel but its a distant maybe thought as I really do not thing many want speakers on ceilings.
Some of us already have speakers on the ceiling, but without HDMI, getting it working with an AVR/AVP could be difficult.

I would think 7.1 output would be a logical next step given many AVRs over the years and some current like from Marantz still do. Logic 7 did 7.1 clear back in 1996, I believe. If the SM really is better than other matrix style decoders, shouldn't it support the full current 7.1 bed layout?


Has anyone tried the SM on ATMOS or Sony 360 recordings?
Easily tested if/when I get a hold of a SM.
 

chucky3042

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Some of us already have speakers on the ceiling, but without HDMI, getting it working with an AVR/AVP could be difficult.

I would think 7.1 output would be a logical next step given many AVRs over the years and some current like from Marantz still do. Logic 7 did 7.1 clear back in 1996, I believe. If the SM really is better than other matrix style decoders, shouldn't it support the full current 7.1 bed layout?




Easily tested if/when I get a hold of a SM.
Hi MagnumX

I really have never had much interest in 7.1 and its bigger cousins as the end presentation was so vastly inferior to 4 channels but with our other system SST (Sweet Spot Technology). Our push and I admit from a tiny operation located in the arse end of the world is what we demo in our Y4 system - the combination of our decode with SST. The end result is sit anywhere plus you get strong side imaging. I know it all sounds like bollocks but right now its difficult to get the message out. As you are probably are aware, it also ditches the center channel
 

chucky3042

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I really like this thread that Timbre4 has created!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Owen Smith

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I know it all sounds like bollocks but right now its difficult to get the message out. As you are probably are aware, it also ditches the center channel
There's no reason to think this is bollocks. UHJ properly decoded to quad manages this with 4 speakers on my system, so it is clearly possible.
 

MagnumX

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Hi MagnumX

I really have never had much interest in 7.1 and its bigger cousins as the end presentation was so vastly inferior to 4 channels
I've never really got that impression of 7.1 given how well 7.1 based Atmos works.

Looking at the Wendy Carlos site and its recommendations on Quad, she actually recommends using 8 speakers for quad (two rear surrounds on each side, not just one) to give more solid phantom imaging in those quadrants (plays along with the idea the human brain doesn't image very well with stereo signals behind it, but it does work well with real speakers). As I mentioned somewhere above, by adding mere summed (mixer) front wide speakers at 45 degrees, I get full side imaging that's nice and smooth with surrounds at 120 degrees instead of 90, which then gives me back coverage (the sounds go in a 360 circle in Dragon Age Origins game on my PS4) so regardless of some of the angle line-up variations, I do see some value in having more than 4 speakers even when playing back a 4-channel recording. My problem here with rear surrounds is they're too far back in the room to make a "circle" with three rows of seats in a 24' long room. It's more like a giant ellipse. So I've utilized my side surround #2 speakers to produce a rear surround signal and it's much closer to a circle and those speakers are closer inward as well. I need to get a new switchbox to be able to make them the only ones playing (for the MLP), though rather than an aid for the 2nd/3rd row seating. I had to disconnect the rear speakers by cable to test it.

Thus, the idea of 7.1 isn't to change what the surround processor is doing (in this case the SM), but rather dole out more physical speakers to give the rear effect a more solid image. Now, I haven't heard it to see if it "needs" a more solid image, but it does seem like in general that more physical speakers in a surround setup sound more 'real' than less speakers. I've seen some of the Ambisonics rooms with 80+ speakers in them (speakers lined up side-by-side so the soundfield can come from a real source all the way around). Personally, I'd love to hear what one of those rooms sound like.

but with our other system SST (Sweet Spot Technology). Our push and I admit from a tiny operation located in the arse end of the world is what we demo in our Y4 system - the combination of our decode with SST. The end result is sit anywhere plus you get strong side imaging. I know it all sounds like bollocks but right now its difficult to get the message out. As you are probably are aware, it also ditches the center channel
Yeah, I'm not ditching my actual center channel for one processor mode (i.e. some alignments move L/R inward to compensate for no center). But whether the center is used doesn't really matter in that sense. Rear centers actually cause issues (you tend to hear the image in front of you instead of behind you for some reason).
 

chucky3042

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Hi All

I have been a bit sidetracked for a few days so I have not had time to contribute some of my thoughts on the grubby issues of HDMI and stuff.

The truth is INVOLVE's real purpose in audio is actually IP sales (our encode/ decode and Sweet Spot Technology) and product sales is a sideline that

1 Helps us stay afloat
2 Spreads the word
3 Increases our acquisition price for a future buyout
4 We/ me/ Bitch and others also enjoy our products and end result

To make ends meet we have also over the years designed all sorts of stuff for other companies, not necessarily audio. I run two (actually 5 but 2 that generate $) companies as some of you know. The other is our solar battery company Zenaji p/l....go to www.zenaji.com . Right now Zenaji is creating the income through domestic battery sales (they last a lifetime- running 6 for my house). Involve subcontracts its staff design/ admin labor to Zenaji. The relationship zig zags , last year Involve was paying for Zenaji, it all helps secure our continuation and staff.

Of all of our sales the stuff we have sold to QQ members has been the most fun and thanks for all the good feedback! It is still tough going and in the last year I have had to put $300K and my partner Dawson has done the same just to keep the ball rolling and buy parts etc. Things are getting better on the solar side we have quadrupled our sales in the last 4 months despite lockouts and some of those funds help keep Involve going and designing new stuff.

So here comes the truth on the good ol SM, due to recent crazy parts shortages the latest cost of components/ packaging alone is USD$250, then you add manufacture, testing packing , dispatch, marketing costs, admin costs, factory rental ($6000 per month, taxes), you get the picture. Somehow along the way we need to pay wages every week of around $15,000. Fortunately much of this overhead is shared between the 2 companies. Oh due to the recent death of our US distributor we lost/ bad debted around $100K of Y4 product (he was uninsured/ cancer blah RIP- really liked him personally). Along the way we are really busy developing a shit load of new stuff.

Early on I / we all hoped that sales through top end surround sound nuts like you great guys in QQ would have a multiplication effect and others from the general community would take your lead and buy our stuff. That really has not happened and it seems you guys tend to keep your little stash of special gear secret!

I hope you do not think this is a winge, its more I am giving you my perspective (total perspective)

The original series of our Y4 surround sound 10 channel amp and system had the wretched HDMI crap, the license fee was originally around $20K per annum . Its now $15K PER ANNUM, plus you have to by the chips from them.

The 3 input, 1 output HDMI looked like this inside the Y4:

1632487792750.png


As you can see its not trivial. Worse yet, it was responsible for around a 25% rejection rate with the product with subtle failures and wobblies, in short it really was a nightmare. Combine that with customer complains of lead issues, incompatibility issues with their stuff it was not something I want to support. That is why on the new Y4 we had adopted optical inputs (at least its stable!) and we sell it with a very good HDMI to RCA/ optical converter that we buy for around $25 I think.

I agree a good product would be a 5.1 to HDMI converter.

We are actively looking at Displayport as it looks a better platform and has a license fee of 0$. It is something we will probably include in the super pre amp for late next year and who knows the displayport might be SM4 maybe but that's 2023.

Please also consider each revision of the SM costs us around $50K of design time and prototyping expenses excluding overhead. The new mini pre amp will cost us around $100K of development time (and that is super cheap) as did the 6 channel 120 W amplifier that is in early manufacture trials.

I am creating this new range as we are targeting more volume sales sub $1K for all and $1500 for the new electrostatic desk speaker. Again we are holding up the flag to be seen. One of our consultants in the USA who was director of licensing at Dolby said that licensing is very rare these days for all companies who's name is not Dolby. His advice was to get noticed with product and get the word in the streets. The mini stuff largely is targeted at those who do not want one of these terrible look alike ATMOS and the rest of the logos receivers. Its mini and it really is simple and different. I do not like "me to" products.

Yes I know I am a late night rambler
 
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kfbkfb

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(from ES TEASER thread):
(I think the Polk T15s have been discontinued though)

Although I played in the orchestra in elementary school and high school, I just never became interested in classical music, I like the popular music that was/is played on the radio (WHB-AM, KBEQ-FM, KRNA-FM, WLS-AM for example) and Disco is my favorite type of music, these Polk T15s + Polk PSW108 work well for that (I didn't know there were so many things in my basement that rattle).


Kirk Bayne
 
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kfbkfb

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One of our consultants in the USA who was director of licensing at Dolby said that licensing is very rare these days for all companies who's name is not Dolby.
Maybe license the SM logic system to DTS, DTS and Dolby seem to be the only companies able to get their MCH systems into most MCH receivers, after all, DPL 2 wasn't developed by Dolby.

Maybe DTS would be interested in adding a system to their portfolio that properly decodes 1970s matrix Quad content and also does a very good job of synthesizing Surround Sound from stereo.


Kirk Bayne
 

MagnumX

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Maybe license the SM logic system to DTS, DTS and Dolby seem to be the only companies able to get their MCH systems into most MCH receivers, after all, DPL 2 wasn't developed by Dolby.

Maybe DTS would be interested in adding a system to their portfolio that properly decodes 1970s matrix Quad content and also does a very good job of synthesizing Surround Sound from stereo.


Kirk Bayne
DTS Master X? :D
 

chucky3042

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Maybe license the SM logic system to DTS, DTS and Dolby seem to be the only companies able to get their MCH systems into most MCH receivers, after all, DPL 2 wasn't developed by Dolby.

Maybe DTS would be interested in adding a system to their portfolio that properly decodes 1970s matrix Quad content and also does a very good job of synthesizing Surround Sound from stereo.


Kirk Bayne
Wrote many letters, phone calls, zero response. Dolby had a romance with another Australian company "lake technologies" on sound girls synthesis stuff that morfed into ATMOS and they have their wagon heavily hitched to that.
 

chucky3042

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Wrote many letters, phone calls, zero response. Dolby had a romance with another Australian company "lake technologies" on sound field synthesis stuff that morfed into ATMOS and they have their wagon heavily hitched to that.
 

MagnumX

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I wonder if that kind of thing is partially a need to get a hold of the "right" person at Dolby or DTS. It's like trying to get a tech question answered by customer service at Apple. They don't know WTF they're talking about, but they'd rather pull five of their own teeth out than forward the question to someone in software or hardware department that actually knows the answer. But if you know a tech guy there and have his own personal email, they can resolve the problem in no time at all. In other words, the people that answer the mail and phones probably aren't the people you need to be talking to, but of course without knowing who you do need to talk to and how to get a hold of them, it's just conjecture.
 

chucky3042

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I wonder if that kind of thing is partially a need to get a hold of the "right" person at Dolby or DTS. It's like trying to get a tech question answered by customer service at Apple. They don't know WTF they're talking about, but they'd rather pull five of their own teeth out than forward the question to someone in software or hardware department that actually knows the answer. But if you know a tech guy there and have his own personal email, they can resolve the problem in no time at all. In other words, the people that answer the mail and phones probably aren't the people you need to be talking to, but of course without knowing who you do need to talk to and how to get a hold of them, it's just conjecture.
Yes that's the difficult bit plus there is the culture of what Dolby surround is supposed to sound like. It's my experience that there are a lot of yes men in there. We need to get some one inside who is prepared to promote something different.

It reminds me of the time we went to Samsung in South Korea. We demonstrated the system in a fully glass room with a huge rectangular table right in the listening area occupying 70% of the room. This is after asking for a typical lounge room. They loved it and said it was the best they have heard but when asked will they adopt it the answer was no. .. It's too good. They wanted a sound that would not scare the customers with precise localisation, they wanted a smear.

All true
 

ar surround

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Maybe license the SM logic system to DTS, DTS and Dolby seem to be the only companies able to get their MCH systems into most MCH receivers, after all, DPL 2 wasn't developed by Dolby.

Maybe DTS would be interested in adding a system to their portfolio that properly decodes 1970s matrix Quad content and also does a very good job of synthesizing Surround Sound from stereo.
Wrote many letters, phone calls, zero response. Dolby had a romance with another Australian company "lake technologies" on sound girls synthesis stuff that morfed into ATMOS and they have their wagon heavily hitched to that.
Yes that's the difficult bit plus there is the culture of what Dolby surround is supposed to sound like.
I have experience now using the Surround Master, Dolby Surround, Auro 3D and 2D, Neo6, PLIIx and Logic7 as upmixers. The latter two are gone from my system, but they had their issues. The other five upmixers remain. If I was forced to keep only one upmixer, it would be the Surround Master:

- SM: It's the only one that is truly different than the others. It always does no harm to the presentation. It does not bloat the bass frequencies. Material that yields unimpressive upmixing can be remedied simply by juicing up the volume of the rears.
- Dolby Surround often exhibits a thinness and "phaseyness" resulting in an ambient mess. On my Marantz AVR (SR7013) , the only adjustment is "Center Spread." I wish there were some other adjustments because I either need to make tweeks or I don't like what Dolby Surround is supposed to sound like.
- Auro 3D often exhibits mid-bass bloat which cheapens the sound. It can be corrected by reducing the Auro 3D Strength setting. Unfortunately, on some material, the strength must be lowered to the point where the presentation makes me wonder why I need all these speakers in the ceiling. Perhaps messing with the crossover point of the ceiling speakers may help, but will doing so adversely affect Dolby Atmos material? [EDIT 28Sep21: I made a few adjustments to the system and then re-ran the Audyssey calibration. I am happy to report that the mid-bass bloat that was prevalent before the rerun is now totally gone. I have run Auro 3D strengths as high as 14 without any excessive bass issues. I've even gone to full strength at 16 without excessive bass, although this setting can be a bit freaky.]
- Auro 2D...I would say that it does-no-harm but is not nearly as impressive as Auro 3D at its best.
- Neo 6: I've actually become more appreciative of Neo6 as executed by the Oppo 205. I find it to be a very acceptable upmixer. It does tweek the bass freqencies a bit, but I've never found it to be intrusive as with Auro 3D.
 
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fredblue

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I have experience now using the Surround Master, Dolby Surround, Auro 3D and 2D, Neo6, PLIIx and Logic7 as upmixers. The latter two are gone from my system, but they had their issues. The other five upmixers remain. If I was forced to keep only one upmixer, it would be the Surround Master:

- SM: It's the only one that is truly different than the others. It always does no harm to the presentation. It does not bloat the bass frequencies. Material that yields unimpressive upmixing can be remedied simply by juicing up the volume of the rears.
- Dolby Surround often exhibits a thinness and "phaseyness" resulting in an ambient mess. On my Marantz AVR, the only adjustment is "Center Spread." I wish there were some other adjustments because I either need to make tweeks or I don't like what Dolby Surround is supposed to sound like.
- Auro 3D often exhibits mid-bass bloat which cheapens the sound. It can be corrected by reducing the Auro 3D Strength setting. Unfortunately, on some material, the strength must be lowered to the point where the presentation makes me wonder why I need all these speakers in the ceiling. Perhaps messing with the crossover point of the ceiling speakers may help, but will doing so adversely affect Dolby Atmos material?
- Auro 2D...I would say that it does-no-harm but is not nearly as impressive as Auro 3D at its best.
- Neo 6: I've actually become more appreciative of Neo6 as executed by the Oppo 205. I find it to be a very acceptable upmixer. It does tweek the bass freqencies a bit, but I've never found it to be intrusive as with Auro 3D.
interesting findings! thank you for sharing 🤗
until I got my SM i used to far prefer PLII to DTS Neo.. i can't remember what Dolby Surround was like on my old receivers, not great's my recollection but whatever it was like the latest incarnation of Dolby Surround on my new Yammy AVR is absolutely terrible! everything's lumped into the Centre the whole time, i don't know what its supposed to be doing but the end result is truly dreadful..!!
 

ar surround

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interesting findings! thank you for sharing 🤗
until I got my SM i used to far prefer PLII to DTS Neo.. i can't remember what Dolby Surround was like on my old receivers, not great's my recollection but whatever it was like the latest incarnation of Dolby Surround on my new Yammy AVR is absolutely terrible! everything's lumped into the Centre the whole time, i don't know what its supposed to be doing but the end result is truly dreadful..!!
With Dolby Surround using a Marantz SR7013 in a 7.1.4 configuration and Center Spread "on", it most definitely does not lump everything into the center. So I really wonder what is going on with this codec in the various receivers / various configurations. @CINERAMAX said that he hated DSU until the latest incarnation of Denon and Marantz TOTL receivers ($$$) released last October. And he said that's with using Front-Wide speakers in the latest version.

I did not like Neo6 until I employed the version included in the Oppo 205. I don't know why I didn't like the version of Neo6 in my old Lexicon processor. I suspect it was because I didn't take the time to make adjustments especially given my love affair with Logic 7.
 

fredblue

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With Dolby Surround using a Marantz SR7013 in a 7.1.4 configuration and Center Spread "on", it most definitely does not lump everything into the center. So I really wonder what is going on with this codec in the various receivers / various configurations. @CINERAMAX said that he hated DSU until the latest incarnation of Denon and Marantz TOTL receivers ($$$) released last October. And he said that's with using Front-Wide speakers in the latest version.

I did not like Neo6 until I employed the version included in the Oppo 205. I don't know why I didn't like the version of Neo6 in my old Lexicon processor. I suspect it was because I didn't take the time to make adjustments especially given my love affair with Logic 7.
i can't work out what its doing but basically not one of the Dolby, DTS or Yamaha's own DSP settings are worth bothering with on my new RX-A2A, i just go back to "Straight Stereo" for anything not in Quad/5.1/Atmos.
 

MagnumX

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- Auro 3D often exhibits mid-bass bloat which cheapens the sound. It can be corrected by reducing the Auro 3D Strength setting. Unfortunately, on some material, the strength must be lowered to the point where the presentation makes me wonder why I need all these speakers in the ceiling. Perhaps messing with the crossover point of the ceiling speakers may help, but will doing so adversely affect Dolby Atmos material?
- Auro 2D...I would say that it does-no-harm but is not nearly as impressive as Auro 3D at its best.
If you're using a crossover/sub setup, the solution with higher strength settings is to simply reduce the LFE/sub output temporarily while you're using the mode.

On my Marantz 7012, there's an option button that lets you modify it in real time and that model (and earlier) also has a separate sub setting to store 2 sub settings as well, although they removed this in newer models as apparently some consumers were heavily confused as to how to use it, which was stupid. It simply stores an alternate subwoofer level setting that behaves identical to the one in the outputs so it's not relative to that setting like the option one, but a true alternate one that never changes. I think it's awesome, but people close to D&M like that JJ guy on AVS begged them to remove it as they were getting complaints it was a useless stupid control that changed things completely. Yeah, that's the whole dang point (shakes head). I keep one setting for perfect Dolby flat level bass and one for "wimpy 2-channel" music, but one could just as easily keep a setting there for high strength Auro settings. But with the option button, it's not hard to turn down the subwoofer level temporarily (and the option settings can also be stored in the 4 Memory settings so you could have modified bass for 4 strength settings even that recall at a button touch).

Auro-2D has no strength control so whatever bloat it might have, it's stuck with it at all times.

I took REW measurements that show exactly how the bass changes as the strength setting is turned up. As you can see, the strength setting doesn't just affect bass either, but at higher settings the overall output as well, but then one assumes that has to do with the surround speakers being more active and contributing to the level increase (which may be true internally of the LFE signal, which would be a mistake in the decoder to not account for that to keep bass levels even). The "stereo" curve is slightly different as I forgot I had the mains set to "large" in 2-channel mode PLUS subwoofer output, which oddly created a better controlled signal at the MLP (slight peak, but a far less severe dip at 50Hz), but otherwise, they're all the Auro outputs. The peaks are almost 10dB higher in some places with the maximum strength setting of 16. Auro-2D measurements are also included and appear to be around +3dB above flat. I also included DSU and Neural X comparisons on the graph as well below. Keep in mind bass is turned up above flat to begin with and it's in Audyssey "Reference" mode so the top-end is rolled off.

Surround Vs Immersive Surround Modes.jpg



As for center spread mode, etc. on DSU, if you have 3 identical mains, it's not needed. It's whole purpose assumes your center speaker is inferior to your main speakers and so it moves more of the signal out of the center and into the mains. If you have 3 identical front speakers aligned correctly, its sounds identical from the MLP regardless of the center spread setting since 3 identical speakers sound the same as 2 identical speakers sitting in the sweet spot. The demand for this setting proves most people are using "center speakers" that are inferior garbage compared to their mains or placed in weird positions that ruin the stereo imaging. Identical centers don't harm the image at all.
 
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