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AV8 questions for Mr Dawson

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by kaspj, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. kaspj

    kaspj
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    Hi,

    The AV8 looks a great processor. Just a few questions please:

    1) When will the DD 5.1 EX software be available (i.e. without THX post-processing)?. Do you know when this will be shipped with AV8's? -I might wait.

    2) Are there THX modes on the AV8 specifically for Pro Logic II and DTS 6.1 discrete?

    3) I'm aware that software/firmware upgrades are performed via the serial port. Will this, and any other firmware upgrades, future formats etc, be available to home users (as opposed to dealers only) via CD-Rom? A big sticking point will be the ease of upgrade and support (see Tag McLaren). The thought of having to take the AV8 to a dealer everytime will be a major push towards buying Tag McLaren. Will you offer a similar service?

    4) Will the AV8's modular design allow a replacement DSP board to be fitted in a few years time (or when more horsepower is required)?

    5) How do the twin 24 bit DSP's compare against 32 bit designs used elsewhere? (They must be powerful to cope with THX Ultra 2). Whilst not really a major concern, but more as an indicator of processing ability/performance, can they not cope with DTS 24/96? If not, how will the hardware cope with future demands?

    (I'm also considering a FMJ DV27+). Hope you will find time to answer my questions. I'm sure this info will be helpful to others on the forum considering Arcam also. I look forward to your reply.

    Thanks in advance.

    JP.;)
     
  2. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Hi JP

    The brief answers to your questions are as follows:

    1)Plain DD5.1 is already supported without THX post processing if you wish - it's the EX version that needs a switch to disengage THX. It's not difficult to do this but making sure everything interfaces correctly with the GUI is a challenge! We are working on this as I write and the next SW release is on target for the early new year.

    2) You can engage THX post processing for these signals / algorithms, so the answer is yes.

    3) For most users it will be best if they liase with their dealer over applying SW upgrades. There is no need to dismantle the system as most dealers will have a laptop and can visit the installation. It's another reason to try to buy products like these locally if you can.

    Having said that, there are always customers who live a long way away from any dealer and there are some, including readers of this forum for sure, who may well be perfectly competent to do their own upgrades. In these cases the owner should talk first to our support team and, if everyone is then happy, we can e-mail or post the relevant SW and instructions.

    What we are reluctant to do is to post the SW on an open website, not so much for security reasons but because this encourages people who ultimately turn out not to be fully competent to "have a go" at upgrading a system on a wet Saturday night. These SW upgrades are similar to upgrading a computer's BIOS and there are risks for the unaware; if you do screw it up you have thousands of pounds worth of dead metal on your hands and a return to the factory is probably required.

    4) Yes

    5) The DSP engine is a very good one, and includes double precision processing (48 bit) where appropriate - e.g. in the bass manager. It's what's used by Lexicon in the MC12 for DD and DTS decoding BTW. As to the DTS 24/96 issue - this is very horsepower intensive and was not around when the HW was designed - the chipset can now do it but only by respinning the HW significantly. Since the DTS 24/96 signal can be decoded at 24/48 anyway we don't think this is a major handicap. There are better ways forward in the long term - see (4) above.

    I hope this answers your questions satisfactorily.

    Looking forward to welcoming you as an owner,

    Sincerely,

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  3. kaspj

    kaspj
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    Thanks for taking the time to reply so promptly.

    I've been studying the pdf owners manual. The AV8 seems like a very comprehensive design and a great product. Very tempting!.

    Could you please clarify the latest THX post-processing options.

    I'm not sure whether these are part of the Ultra2 spec (or just general THX revisions), but does the AV8 offer THX Matrix 6.1 and THX Discrete 6.1? (offered on the Denon THX Ultra2 A1-SR for example). I have THX Ultra decoding at present, and if a apply THX to 6.1 DTS I get THX Surround EX matrix decoding (instead of 6.1 discrete). I believe there should also now be a version of THX for Pro-logic II (the review pictures in the press suggest this is the case looking at the AV8's display shown).

    I'm encouraged to hear that ARCAM are working on a SW update to allow DD 5.1 EX to be selected without THX (I've had this on my Denon A1-SE for two years?). I intend to demo the AV8 after xmas, but ideally would like to (possibly) purchase an AV8 with the SW update.

    On a separate matter, If my dealer (Leicester Hi-Fi) orders a FMJ DV27 (rather one from stock) will this guarantee me the latest 'revised' model? Any info on DVD-R compatability (recorded on a Panasonic E30).

    Thanks again.

    J.P.:)
     
  4. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    JP -

    Here is a cut and paste from our AV8 SW expert:

    OK.. you can apply THX cinema to DTS ES discrete and matrix. There is no "THX Discrete or THX Matrix". THX EX I suppose could be considered THX matrix but there is no THX discrete. As THX Surround EX is a matrix decoding to extract a rear channel it cannot be applied to something which has already has a rear channel whether it has been extracted by matrix extraction or is a discrete channel as the result would be 2 versions of the back channel extracted by different methods and THX EX on a 6.1 dts stream is not allowed in the Ultra 2 spec anyway. If THX is applied to a DTS 6.1 stream then you do not get THX surround EX you get either DTS ES Discrete or Matrix with THX Cinema post processing (i.e. filters only).
    You can apply THX Cinema processing to Prologic 2 Movie, but cannot apply it to Prologic 2 Music (as per Ultra 2 spec).

    Got that?

    As to the DV27, all new DV27s shipped in the past month or so have included the Vaddis 5, so this should not be a problem. AFAIK there should be no problem playing DVD-Rs.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  5. kaspj

    kaspj
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    I got it! (honest) Thanks for the info.

    One final thought, I assume all THX Ultra2 certified products have to implement the full suite of decoding modes laid down by THX. Or put another way, the AV8 offers the same post-processing as Denon Ultra2 products, and one product cannot offer more THX options than another (despite Denon's manual referring to THX Matrix 6.1 and THX Discrete 6.1 hence my question)?.

    JP. :p
     

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