Surround Master v2: Thoughts and Impressions

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fredblue

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I bought an AV Amp with 5.1 analogue inputs, a Pioneer SC-LX86 in 2013 (was about £2000). Unfortunately they are becoming rarer and most that are available are 'top of the range' or close to, so cheapest I have seen now is the Marantz SR7015 at around £1500, another is the Denon AVC-X8500H at about £3000, and I think Yamaha has a couple with 5.1/7.1 analogue inputs.
i wouldn't have another Yamaha AVR for a gift now. they all sounded nice enough but three examples all with HDMI issues now shunted off to goodwill to let some other poor trucker have the headache (for free, mind you) was three AVRs too many for my blood! 👍
 
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hobie1dog

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i wouldn't have another Yamaha AVR for a gift now. they all sounded nice enough but three examples all with HDMI issues now shunted off to goodwill to let some other poor trucker have the headache (for free, mind you) was three AVRs too many for my blood! 👍
My Yamaha receiver has also had HDMI issues but is working okay at this point, but there are 2 display issues where the number five and six are doubled up and don't go away all the time when you turn the unit off, so I don't know how much time I have left on it before quits working all together. I just took a big Pioneer Elite receiver to Goodwill that had two channels that were going out. it seems I've had problems with just about every audio-video receiver that I've owned.
 

4-earredwonder

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My Yamaha receiver has also had HDMI issues but is working okay at this point, but there are 2 display issues where the number five and six are doubled up and don't go away all the time when you turn the unit off, so I don't know how much time I have left on it before quits working all together. I just took a big Pioneer Elite receiver to Goodwill that had two channels that were going out. it seems I've had problems with just about every audio-video receiver that I've owned.
Just a thought: do you have your components plugged into a power conditioner with surge protection?
 

fredblue

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My Yamaha receiver has also had HDMI issues but is working okay at this point, but there are 2 display issues where the number five and six are doubled up and don't go away all the time when you turn the unit off, so I don't know how much time I have left on it before quits working all together. I just took a big Pioneer Elite receiver to Goodwill that had two channels that were going out. it seems I've had problems with just about every audio-video receiver that I've owned.
same here to be fair, in addition to the 3 Yammy AVRs i've kissed goodbye to a Cambridge Audio, a Sony and a Denon and i'm left with only one fully-functioning Denon... ahh, they don't make 'em like they used to (in the 70's!)
 

Wunlow

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In the previous SQ Tate vs Involve shootout, I also noticed some tracks had more vocal leakage into the rears and this wasn't me isolating the channels or sticking my ear to a speaker. (Although I did so afterwards to confirm, ;) )

I agree with Fred's and others previous suggestions: A rear blend option or recommended default logic setting with the ability to adjust would the best of both worlds. Options are always good.
 

ar surround

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same here to be fair, in addition to the 3 Yammy AVRs i've kissed goodbye to a Cambridge Audio, a Sony and a Denon and i'm left with only one fully-functioning Denon... ahh, they don't make 'em like they used to (in the 70's!)
Not very encouraging. So who makes a bullet proof AVR these days?
 

chucky3042

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Ok, so how are you guys hooking this up to a newer receiver that does not have 5.1 analog inputs ? or are you only connecting this to legacy equipment?
I have a Lexicon RV-9
We are lookinh at Displayport.
It's a display alternative to HDMI and supports multichannel audio.
Also relatively easily converts to hdmi I think. Anyway, it's an idea.

DisplayPort - Wikipedia
 

MagnumX

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The thought occurs to me recently that a major problem with using 7.1 analog inputs alone on modern AVR/AVPs is that they generally will not utilize any added bass management features, room correction or expanding surround modes like Neural X or DSU. While I'm pretty sure it's too late to add it now, what would be even better than optical inputs on the Surround Master would be HDMI outputs (with internal ADC) to output directly to a typical receiver's standard inputs, which it could then use to further expand to even more channels via Neural X or the like (imagine an awesome 2-channel mix converted to 5.1 and then further expanded to 30.2).

This is where I think getting a company like D&M to invest in an Involve Audio built-in processing to their AVR/AVP models would blend right in given the closest thing out there to a surround music mode is Auromatic and it's more about reverb than expanding the soundstage (something DSU and Neural X don't do a very good job of on their own, but they do expand into the height speakers and rear surrounds quite well from 5.1 material and hence I have the feeling they could further enhance the output for larger room setups beyond mere 5.1 layouts). I was thinking of using a y-adaptor to least engage my rear surrounds when I get one for the mid/rear row seats, but I'm thinking Audyssey room correction and bass management will be lost no matter what (short of getting some kind of ADC box that could convert it all to digital first).
 

chucky3042

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The thought occurs to me recently that a major problem with using 7.1 analog inputs alone on modern AVR/AVPs is that they generally will not utilize any added bass management features, room correction or expanding surround modes like Neural X or DSU. While I'm pretty sure it's too late to add it now, what would be even better than optical inputs on the Surround Master would be HDMI outputs (with internal ADC) to output directly to a typical receiver's standard inputs, which it could then use to further expand to even more channels via Neural X or the like (imagine an awesome 2-channel mix converted to 5.1 and then further expanded to 30.2).

This is where I think getting a company like D&M to invest in an Involve Audio built-in processing to their AVR/AVP models would blend right in given the closest thing out there to a surround music mode is Auromatic and it's more about reverb than expanding the soundstage (something DSU and Neural X don't do a very good job of on their own, but they do expand into the height speakers and rear surrounds quite well from 5.1 material and hence I have the feeling they could further enhance the output for larger room setups beyond mere 5.1 layouts). I was thinking of using a y-adaptor to least engage my rear surrounds when I get one for the mid/rear row seats, but I'm thinking Audyssey room correction and bass management will be lost no matter what (short of getting some kind of ADC box that could convert it all to digital first).
I understand and agree but the issues of HDMI are many. First of its $20,000 to join the club and the annual license fees for something that changes on you and may not be forwards compatible. In our first generation of Y4 surround systems around 30% of the reject boards came from HDMI sections that just refused to work properly, yet others were perfect. Just a misery. But yes to join hands with a big boy is the best concept.
 

DuncanS

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The thought occurs to me recently that a major problem with using 7.1 analog inputs alone on modern AVR/AVPs is that they generally will not utilize any added bass management features, room correction or expanding surround modes like Neural X or DSU. While I'm pretty sure it's too late to add it now, what would be even better than optical inputs on the Surround Master would be HDMI outputs (with internal ADC) to output directly to a typical receiver's standard inputs, which it could then use to further expand to even more channels via Neural X or the like (imagine an awesome 2-channel mix converted to 5.1 and then further expanded to 30.2).

This is where I think getting a company like D&M to invest in an Involve Audio built-in processing to their AVR/AVP models would blend right in given the closest thing out there to a surround music mode is Auromatic and it's more about reverb than expanding the soundstage (something DSU and Neural X don't do a very good job of on their own, but they do expand into the height speakers and rear surrounds quite well from 5.1 material and hence I have the feeling they could further enhance the output for larger room setups beyond mere 5.1 layouts). I was thinking of using a y-adaptor to least engage my rear surrounds when I get one for the mid/rear row seats, but I'm thinking Audyssey room correction and bass management will be lost no matter what (short of getting some kind of ADC box that could convert it all to digital first).
I understand and agree but the issues of HDMI are many. First of its $20,000 to join the club and the annual license fees for something that changes on you and may not be forwards compatible. In our first generation of Y4 surround systems around 30% of the reject boards came from HDMI sections that just refused to work properly, yet others were perfect. Just a misery. But yes to join hands with a big boy is the best concept.
A big problem for the user with HDMI is the ****ing HDCP copy protection, its (absolute :poop:) designed to ****-up everything and it does that really well. My expensive AV amp has HDCP 1.3, my NUC has only HDCP 2.2 so won't talk to the amp, so the NUC is useless. My Sky Q satellite box won't export 4k video to my Sony TV if I connect to my amp to get sound, as the amp is not HDCP 2.2 (if anything anywhere in the chain is detected as not being HDCP 2.2 HDMI is blanked). One of the principles of engineering is maintaining backwards compatibility, which has been dumped at the altar for HDMI/HDCP :mad:
 

chucky3042

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A big problem for the user with HDMI is the ****ing HDCP copy protection, its (absolute :poop:) designed to ****-up everything and it does that really well. My expensive AV amp has HDCP 1.3, my NUC has only HDCP 2.2 so won't talk to the amp, so the NUC is useless. My Sky Q satellite box won't export 4k video to my Sony TV if I connect to my amp to get sound, as the amp is not HDCP 2.2 (if anything anywhere in the chain is detected as not being HDCP 2.2 HDMI is blanked). One of the principles of engineering is maintaining backwards compatibility, which has been dumped at the altar for HDMI/HDCP :mad:
Truth is my view on HDMI is that it was a reaction by the big boys to keep the little guys out of the market. The circuitry required for it is quite complicated and costly even after the license fee is paid . Further its a symptom of how surround has gone the discrete path with the myriad of cables required, creating a hell of a mess if you dont use HDMI.

It is one of our messages that if the stereo matrix system sounds as good (encode to decode) as the discrete as we have internally proven then the wiring becomes really simple again.......Just take a look at the back panel of our new Y4, any cretin - even me can quickly wire it up. Its got RCA, 3.5 mm, optical, Bluetooth - all stereo interfaces. If you are stuck with a TV that needs HDMI video we supply the external converter. At least we can then upgrade the external converter on each of their non backwards compatible "upgrades".

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jaybird100

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The thought occurs to me recently that a major problem with using 7.1 analog inputs alone on modern AVR/AVPs is that they generally will not utilize any added bass management features, room correction or expanding surround modes like Neural X or DSU. While I'm pretty sure it's too late to add it now, what would be even better than optical inputs on the Surround Master would be HDMI outputs (with internal ADC) to output directly to a typical receiver's standard inputs, which it could then use to further expand to even more channels via Neural X or the like (imagine an awesome 2-channel mix converted to 5.1 and then further expanded to 30.2).

This is where I think getting a company like D&M to invest in an Involve Audio built-in processing to their AVR/AVP models would blend right in given the closest thing out there to a surround music mode is Auromatic and it's more about reverb than expanding the soundstage (something DSU and Neural X don't do a very good job of on their own, but they do expand into the height speakers and rear surrounds quite well from 5.1 material and hence I have the feeling they could further enhance the output for larger room setups beyond mere 5.1 layouts). I was thinking of using a y-adaptor to least engage my rear surrounds when I get one for the mid/rear row seats, but I'm thinking Audyssey room correction and bass management will be lost no matter what (short of getting some kind of ADC box that could convert it all to digital first).
You are correct. The bass and treble controls are bypassed when using the analog multichannel inputs on an AVR, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. My Marantz receiver is old enough that it doesn't offer such nice features as room correction, My speakers can handle significant bass anyway, so bass management isn't a factor. Simplicity is a nice factor. My ability to use the SM with this receiver is only complicated by needing to use a switchbox to select between which inputs feed the SM; my turntable, with an external preamp, my CD recorder's analog output, and an additional auxiliary connection for my computer. That's really not a complication; it just lets me use the receiver as an amplifier.

Most of today's new AVR's offer no connection for the SM, but there are still plenty of older ones out there that will work just fine with it. I don't see why the receiver manufacturers felt the need to eliminate those inputs. I doubt removing them saves them a significant cost, and bringing them back would add to the usefulness of these receivers. Let's see them brought back, since the new surround modes on these receivers are useless for legacy music surround modes.
 

MagnumX

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You are correct. The bass and treble controls are bypassed when using the analog multichannel inputs on an AVR, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
It's not necessarily a good thing either. Most home theater setups are not using full range speakers. That's the entire point of bass management. Now my mains in my home theater are rated down to 35Hz, which is usually fine for music (Carver system upstairs plays down to 26Hz without a sub), but my REW graphs do show a significant improvement in overall room response using Audyssey room correction (+/- 2.5dB at the MLP which goes to more like +/- 5dB without it. That's not horrible given most speakers are +/- 3dB at best (My PSB speakers are rated +/- 1.5dB over most of the range), but it's still up to a 10dB difference in frequencies, which isn't exactly small (double/half the perceived volume possible between frequencies). It would be nice if receivers had an ADC section and offered all their modes with analog signals, but most don't since in 2021, almost all signals are digital save perhaps the "comeback" of the LP.

My Marantz receiver is old enough that it doesn't offer such nice features as room correction, My speakers can handle significant bass anyway, so bass management isn't a factor. Simplicity is a nice factor. My ability to use the SM with this receiver is only complicated by needing to use a switchbox to select between which inputs feed the SM; my turntable, with an external preamp, my CD recorder's analog output, and an additional auxiliary connection for my computer. That's really not a complication; it just lets me use the receiver as an amplifier.

Most of today's new AVR's offer no connection for the SM, but there are still plenty of older ones out there that will work just fine with it. I don't see why the receiver manufacturers felt the need to eliminate those inputs. I doubt removing them saves them a significant cost, and bringing them back would add to the usefulness of these receivers. Let's see them brought back, since the new surround modes on these receivers are useless for legacy music surround modes.
Marantz receivers like my 7012 still have 7.1 analog inputs on them (one of the significant differences between them and Denon models despite the same parent company these days). Most receivers have dumped them due to most people having no use for them. They were originally designed to allow receivers to be used with Dolby Digital and DTS decoders that were just starting to become available in the 1990s and were "5.1 Ready" (and later 7.1 ready), which was a bit like early HDTVs not having built-in tuners and were "HD Ready". There weren't many external 7.1 decoders made. I actually bought one to use with my Yamaha AVR which was from 2006 and didn't have HDMI inputs and of course it bypassed its own room correction system (which was never very good) and bass management, but soundtracks already have LFE so the bass thing wasn't quite as big of a deal, particularly if the surround decoder already had bass management built-in (like my old Technics DD/DTS unit I still have connected to my Carver system for occasional surround use (with Klipsch surround speakers). With KODI, it basically works with everything as KODI will generate a Dolby Digital signal from everything including Atmos sources.

I suppose the SM could offer similar conversion for optical digital output (which would work with receivers bass management and room correction and most of them still offer Optical/Coax inputs), but 5.1 is then no longer "lossless" and despite decent 640kbps rates sounding pretty good to my ears (transparent most of the time), there is of course a stigma associated with all forms of "lossy" by the industry (even when they shoot themselves in the foot towards streaming needs now) regardless if it's audible or not because like audiophile equipment, marketing lossless as "better" (whether you can hear it or not) is a marketing strategy to sell more crap (ironic as they want to ditch disc formats).
 
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