Advice for an AV Processor / Pre-amp

YellowStripedTree

Novice Member
I'm in the process of putting in a 7.1.2 system, and need some advice on which AV processor to get. I'll explain a little about the system, as perhaps that will impact your advice on the AV processor. The speakers are all Paradigm. The front speakers are the Persona 9Hs, center is the Persona C, and sub is the Persona SUB. The remaining speakers are the SIG-1.5R v3, all installed in the ceiling. Note that the placement in the room of the speakers is pretty good, but not ideal, so maybe good room correction would be useful here. The amplifiers are McIntosh MC462 for the 9Hs, and the MC257 for the six ceiling speakers and the center speaker. The only component that I didn't get yet is the AV processor, as I couldn't figure out what to get.

I know that the 9Hs have the Anthem Room Correction (ARC). I'm not sure if ARC is offered for the other speakers. Because the 9Hs have ARC, I was thinking that it might be best to go with the Anthem AVM 90 (once it's available) so that its room correction is consistent with the 9Hs. I also looked at the Lyngdorf mp-60, as the reviews all seem to be positive on that AV processor. I am concerned that their RoomPerfect room correction might conflict with or override the ARC of the 9Hs. I also looked into waiting for a new iteration of the McIntosh mx170, once the HDMI 2.1 support is available.

As for HDMI inputs, right now I just envision three gaming systems and a Blu-Ray player (not sure if that connects through HDMI). Output is just to my 4K OLED TV, which I might upgrade eventually to 8K once the price comes way down on those.

By the way, I bought the speakers / amplifiers because I felt they would be very good for a very long time (like maybe I'll never upgrade these again). However, I feel that the AV processor will likely be outdated fairly quickly, so I'm not sure I want to spend so much on one if I'm going to need to upgrade it periodically.

Do you guys have any recommendations on the AV processor? And note that I can wait for a new iteration to come out, as I could use a loaner AV processor until then.

Thanks!


 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The McIntosh processors are within your reach and from a quality viewpoint are the obvious solution, especially if you also want something able to handle audio sources and not just A/V.

HDMI 2.1 is likely to be a while off and at the moment the lack of 8K sources means it's more of an enabler than a necessity, but if you're able to wait, that's another question.

There will be no conflict between the speakers' Anthem Room Correction and the processor's native room correction, provided you set everything up correctly (BTW: speakers with SUB, then processor). I would pay my deal for the setup service. BTW, your SUB also has ARC, the 9C and SIG-1.5R don't.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
It all depends on your budget..AV processors are expensive.

The cheapest is the tonewinner at-300 at £1000. Going all the way upto trinnov altitude at something like £17,000..that and what you said go out of date (and therefore become worthless second hand) made me go cheaper this time round (I bought the tonewinner)

There have been issues with the anthem AV pres and also no stock.

Checkout the monoprice htp-1. I don't know much about the storm or lyndorf
 

Conrad

Moderator
It all depends on your budget..AV processors are expensive.

The cheapest is the tonewinner at-300 at £1000. Going all the way upto trinnov altitude at something like £17,000..that and what you said go out of date (and therefore become worthless second hand) made me go cheaper this time round (I bought the tonewinner)

There have been issues with the anthem AV pres and also no stock.

Checkout the monoprice htp-1. I don't know much about the storm or lyndorf
The Trinnov is entirely software based so won't go out of date for much, much longer than any other processor. Not until an i3 processor becomes unable to process the codecs I would guess.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
The Trinnov is entirely software based so won't go out of date for much, much longer than any other processor. Not until an i3 processor becomes unable to process the codecs I would guess.

Hardware goes out of date though, so it will need hdmi board upgrades... not cheap.

Also you don't know if the company will continue supporting a product (hardware and software)
 

Conrad

Moderator
Hardware goes out of date though, so it will need hdmi board upgrades... not cheap.

Also you don't know if the company will continue supporting a product (hardware and software)
All true. I believe that Trinnov are partly state funded by the French government so hopefully will have longevity. There's always a risk of course.

So far, and for the past 18 years, they've been incredibly supportive, I don't believe any of their products have been deprecated or sunset. The fact that they only have two processors and their architecture allows them to be updated both physically and with software, I don't see them replacing them anytime in the next decade. Mine has the latest 2.0 board I think, and every other processor out there will be eligible for a 2.1 upgrade when it's available. I wouldn't be surprised if that's a free upgrade.

For me, a decade is, what, three "regular" processor upgrades? At 4k a pop for each of those the Trinnov doesn't seem so crazy price wise. And that would only be if it was comparable to the competition, but it's better as well.

Sure, you get some cash back from the sale of your upgraded kit, but we know the hit on those prices. You could also be comfortable with used and stay one gen behind, but that involves its own set of compromises and risks.
 

YellowStripedTree

Novice Member
Thanks for the advice. I like the upgradability of the Trinnov Altitude 16. Comparing the McIntosh MX170 to the Trinnov Altitude 16, which is better?
 

Conrad

Moderator
You're basically comparing the Trinnov Optimiser and Room Perfect as the quality of components between those two will likely be similar. There'll be differences, sure, but I doubt that one is objectively better.

If you love the McIntosh look then that's something, but if you like the more subdued look of the Trinnov then that's another.

I don't think RP is right for me. It has flexibility and control, but it's more of an "apply it and that's what you get" kind of set-up. If you like that, great. There are options to change it with voicings, PEQ but most people just like what it does. The Trinnov almost encourages you to tweak and change things, which is the kind of owner/user I am, so that works better for me.

The Trinnov also has (or is about to have) more channels, is cheaper, and is the only solution that does Atmos decoding in software which means OTA upgrades for any new codecs, plus the remapper which can adjust the stream for discrete channels and objects based on your speaker positions.
 
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YellowStripedTree

Novice Member
Thanks for all your feedback! Okay, I think I've settled on the Trinnov Altitude 16, but only after they release the new version with the HDMI 2.1 hardware.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The Trinnov is an advanced processor with oodles of options for tweaking the processing, but without standard convenience features (e.g. CEC, ARC (audio return channel), multiple zones) and next to no support for analogue audio devices. The McIntosh is a processor / preamplifier with the usual processing features, the full set of convenience functionality and comprehensive analogue audio support (including multichannel input, and LP). Both support more channels than you have speakers.

The substantial differences in what the two devices target makes comparing the two products very difficult, and means that you need to check your requirements against the available features. In my case for example, Trinnov is not an option as it's too highly specific for my more universal requirements (LP, CD, SACD, tuner, even legacy tape, in addition to AV devices), and am hoping to purchase a McIntosh "real soon". I do not know your requirements, so can only recommend that you check suitability vs functionality before committing, especially at this price point.
 

Conrad

Moderator
I'm using my Trinnov in a two zone set-up and there are actually multiple ways to achieve that.
Agreed about the multichannel analogue support though, it's only stereo on the Trinnov.

Also completely agree that whichever is chosen needs to be able to meet the OPs actual needs, or the OP needs to be aware of the gaps.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member

Conrad

Moderator
Interesting - care to explain how? Trinnov's Altitude 16 web page makes no mention of multiple zones (Trinnov | 20-Channel Reference Immersive Sound AV Processor) and there's nothing in the manual about how to control a second zone or do any of the usual things that separate zones require.
Sure, although it might not be a true zone two, but it does what I want/need.

With the Trinnov a Source is basically a connection of an input port to a speaker declaration, and each speaker declaration has a calibration attached to it. In fact you can have the same speaker declaration with different calibrations, as long as you save them correctly.

In my situation I have a dedicated cinema room and my office. I have my PC connected to the Trinnov and I have two sources set up, HTPC and Office PC. HTPC uses the HDMI input and (currently) a 5.1 channel mapping which has a calibration taken in my dedicated room. Office PC uses the same HDMI input but is connected to a 2 channel mapping which is calibrated for my office.

Additionally, my second "zone" (the office) uses the SPDIF output over coax, which is a duplicate of the XLR 1 and 2 outputs, I run that to a little DAC and then on to the amp. This means I'm not even using any additional channels and I still have 16 (soon to be 20) available to me. I could do the same thing again but this time use XLRs 15 and 16 and run them to another power amp in my living room giving me Trinnov processing in three rooms.

Again, not sure that's technically a "zone 2", you can't listen to multiple zones at the same time, for example, but it's close I think.
 

YellowStripedTree

Novice Member
The Trinnov is an advanced processor with oodles of options for tweaking the processing, but without standard convenience features (e.g. CEC, ARC (audio return channel), multiple zones) and next to no support for analogue audio devices. The McIntosh is a processor / preamplifier with the usual processing features, the full set of convenience functionality and comprehensive analogue audio support (including multichannel input, and LP). Both support more channels than you have speakers.

The substantial differences in what the two devices target makes comparing the two products very difficult, and means that you need to check your requirements against the available features. In my case for example, Trinnov is not an option as it's too highly specific for my more universal requirements (LP, CD, SACD, tuner, even legacy tape, in addition to AV devices), and am hoping to purchase a McIntosh "real soon". I do not know your requirements, so can only recommend that you check suitability vs functionality before committing, especially at this price point.
Thanks for your response. At this point, I only envision connecting three gaming systems (PS4, Nintento switch, Nintendo WiU), a DVD/CD player, a Sonos port, and my TV (mentioned above). I don't think I have any audio devices to connect to it. I was originally attracted to the McIntosh because I ordered the McIntosh amps, and figured the McIntosh AV processor would pair well with the amps, but given what I plan to connect to the AV processor (i.e., all digital), the Trinnov seems attractive due to it being upgradable. My perception from what I read online is that McIntosh does not provide upgrades to their AV processor.

I will only have one zone. I have a pair of speakers outside, but they have their own Sonos Amp, and I have a pair of speakers in a gaming room, but those also have their own Sonos Amp. Those Sonos amps will be sitting near the AV processor. I had not planned to control them through the AV processor. I figured if I wanted to play the same music through all the speakers, I could couple all the Sonos systems together (two Sonos amps and the one Sonos port) at the same time. But, then again, I haven't set everything up yet (only the speakers, wires, and DVD/CD player have arrived), so perhaps I would want a configuration that is not convenient to do with the Trinnov. Any feedback/advice is appreciated!
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your response. At this point, I only envision connecting three gaming systems (PS4, Nintento switch, Nintendo WiU), a DVD/CD player, a Sonos port, and my TV (mentioned above). I don't think I have any audio devices to connect to it. I was originally attracted to the McIntosh because I ordered the McIntosh amps, and figured the McIntosh AV processor would pair well with the amps, but given what I plan to connect to the AV processor (i.e., all digital), the Trinnov seems attractive due to it being upgradable. My perception from what I read online is that McIntosh does not provide upgrades to their AV processor.

I will only have one zone. I have a pair of speakers outside, but they have their own Sonos Amp, and I have a pair of speakers in a gaming room, but those also have their own Sonos Amp. Those Sonos amps will be sitting near the AV processor. I had not planned to control them through the AV processor. I figured if I wanted to play the same music through all the speakers, I could couple all the Sonos systems together (two Sonos amps and the one Sonos port) at the same time. But, then again, I haven't set everything up yet (only the speakers, wires, and DVD/CD player have arrived), so perhaps I would want a configuration that is not convenient to do with the Trinnov. Any feedback/advice is appreciated!
Sounds like either device would work in your configuration, as would a Storm Audio ISP MK2.
 
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YellowStripedTree

Novice Member
Sounds like either device would work in your configuration, as would a Storm Audio ISP MK2.
Hmmm, I didn't even know about the StormAudio ISP MK2, but that looks attractive as well. Any idea whether the 16 version has the same processor as the 32 version? One thing that I don't really like about the Trinnov is that it appears they put a lower end processor into the 16 than the 32. It's not like it's that much more for the higher end processor, and at the cost of the Altitude 16, why cheap down like that? Anyone know how the StormAudio ISP MK2 16 compares to the Trinnov Altitude 16?
 

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