Question Somebody pick apart my latest whacky idea please...

exponential

Well-known Member
Hi all.

I hope this question is posted in the correct section.

Hope you are all well. :smashin:

I've posted a couple of threads regarding this idea and am at the final stages of planning how it's going to work so some final constructive criticism/suggestions are needed if you have the time.

I own an Arcam SR250 and have enjoyed using it immensely over the last 12 months but I'm getting more and more into my music and I think it's time to change things up a bit and set up a more dedicated music listening experience.
I want the music to come first with movie watching being a totally separate aspect.

I want to go to a separates system and, before you say it, the irony is not lost on me in that I'm considering selling an item that does both movies and music in one box to two separate boxes that achieve the same result. :)

Here is my plan......

1: Musical Fidelity M6si dual mono integrated with HT bypass using Spendor A7 speakers.
2: Marantz NR1606/7/8/9.
3: MINIDSP NanoAVR with DIRAC built in.

All of my music listening is done via an Innuos Mini Mk3. This acts as my cd ripper, music storage (FLAC & WAV files) and ROON core using TIDAL HiFi as a source.

The Innuos is connected to my RME ADI-2 DAC via asynchronous USB.

The Innuos will be connected to the MuFi M6 via balanced XLR.

That completes the music side of things.

For movie watching:

Marantz NR**** connected to the MuFi M6 via the HT bypass.
This essentially turns the M6 in a power amp.

All my digital (HDMI) sources will be connected to the Marantz and it will do all my decoding and HDMI switching.

DIRAC: Having DIRAC in my life for the last 12 months has left its mark and I can't go back to audyssey or anything else as I feel it is inferior (my personal, subjective opinion).
This is where the NANOAVR comes in.
I have two items that output DD+/DTS MA/TRUEHD etc etc. A now tv box and an nvidia shield.
The nvidia shield is running a plex server and has two HDD's attached to it containing all my MKV files.

The NANOAVR has two HDMI inputs, I will plug the above two devices into it which will allow me to use DIRAC for my movie watching.
This in turn will be input into the Marantz to do all the decoding as the nano will only process LPCM.

I can also set up different profiles for music if I decide to play music through the nvidia shield as that also acts as a ROON endpoint.

I use a PS4 too which will be connected via optical to the RME DAC as this DAC is far far superior to the DAC in the Marantz.
Using optical also negates any ground loop issues that may have occurred otherwise as it won't pass an electrical current.
This is probably unnecessary though.

Here is a picture of how I see it being set up...

IMG_20190923_225350.jpg


That's the plan.

Does anyone see a flaw with this idea? I feel it will be an upgrade as far as music listening is concerned and, although the Arcam is a good amp, it's still an AVR so has its issues/compromises as all AVR's do.
I know that the box count will go up but the quality and enjoyment will go up with it.
Plus, I'm a serial tweaker so playing with the miniDSP will please me greatly as I use REW quite competently so can copy any EQ settings I create and pass them onto the EQ of the miniDSP at will from my phone/laptop.

As always, questions are more than welcome aswel as constructive criticism.

Thanks for taking the time to read this...

Mike.
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
I think it may have been mentioned already in one of your other threads but I would consider looking at the Marantz SR5013/4 as it has HDAM which the NR models do not. I moved from Denon to Marantz for this as well as more power, etc and it makes a big difference to sound quality.
 

exponential

Well-known Member
I think it may have been mentioned already in one of your other threads but I would consider looking at the Marantz SR5013/4 as it has HDAM which the NR models do not. I moved from Denon to Marantz for this as well as more power, etc and it makes a big difference to sound quality.

Hi Russ.

The only reason I'm going for a slimline AVR is purely for audio decoding and HDMI switching.
I can't fit another full size AVR in my TV cabinet anyway but I completely get where you're coming from.
The Musical Fidelity in HT bypass will be providing the sound quality as the Marantz will be acting as a pre-amp.
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
I see. Are you wanting to add more channels for surround at some point? If not, why not keep your SR250 and just add the M6si? I think the small Marantz may not be as good as the Arcam.
 

exponential

Well-known Member
I see. Are you wanting to add more channels for surround at some point? If not, why not keep your SR250 and just add the M6si? I think the small Marantz may not be as good as the Arcam.

No mate, I originally started with 5.1 in the old days but decided to go 2 channel a while back. Not planning on going back to multichannel at all.

Unfortunately, I'm not made of money so the sale of the Arcam and another item in my set up will be funding all this so it's one or the other I'm afraid. :(

Can you explain what you mean when you say that the Marantz won't sound as good as the Arcam?
In what regard? All the Marantz is doing is decoding the multichannel mixes from my MKV files and downmixing to 2.1.
I'll be using miniDSP with DIRAC for room correction (same as the Arcam but much more user friendly with more tweakability).
The Marantz is going to be a pre-amp/processesor but, in my mind, its the amp that provides the sonic signature. Unless I'm very much mistaken that is? If I'm wrong about this then I'm happy to be corrected... ;)
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Daft question, if the nano avr only accepts lpcm, how does it process/correct DTS master hd etc?

I would agree with Russ, I think going down to slimline receiver would be a disadvantage. You are using the DACs at this point to convert the movie audio, that's going to be a point of compromise. Also the processing isn't necessarily going to be as good, there is more than just the room correction.

There is a big thread on people asking about the sonic characteristics of amps and whilst I am not siding either way here imo the amps processing room correction aside play a large part of that. The same way you hear differences in the dacs.
 

exponential

Well-known Member
Daft question, if the nano avr only accepts lpcm, how does it process/correct DTS master hd etc?

I would agree with Russ, I think going down to slimline receiver would be a disadvantage. You are using the DACs at this point to convert the movie audio, that's going to be a point of compromise. Also the processing isn't necessarily going to be as good, there is more than just the room correction.

There is a big thread on people asking about the sonic characteristics of amps and whilst I am not siding either way here imo the amps processing room correction aside play a large part of that. The same way you hear differences in the dacs.
Hi.

The miniDSP doesn't decode any audio, it just passes it through unaltered (minus the room corrretion/DSP) then the marantz will strip the layer of audio and decode it for me.

Your comment on the performance of the Marantz is a hot topic of debate.
Is the DAC in the Arcam better than the Marantz?
And does it really matter when watching a movie?

My feeling on the "sound" of an amp is that it ultimately is the analogue amplifier curcuitry that gives you your final sound characteristics otherwise, a tube amp with inbuilt DAC wouldn't still sound warm, rich and mellow compared to say a class D hypex (without fancy sonic sound altering chipset) would sound.

That's my take on it anyway... Rightly or wrongly.
 
Have you looked at splitting your AV & HiFi into separate systems / rooms? For 10 years I tried to get a system like this to work and it was fine for movies but fell apart with 2 channel. In the end I split my systems as per my signature into two separate rooms and this became my own personal Nirvana.

Be careful with the RME DAC, I has one for a while, exceptional sound quality but when I purchased my Naim amp I had all sorts of ground / hum issues, so bad I had to sell the DAC!

When you get your new amp check for any hum from your speakers, I am sure you will have no issues but thought I would give you a heads up.
 
Will you cut out the sub for 2 channel listening?
 

exponential

Well-known Member
Have you looked at splitting your AV & HiFi into separate systems / rooms? For 10 years I tried to get a system like this to work and it was fine for movies but fell apart with 2 channel. In the end I split my systems as per my signature into two separate rooms and this became my own personal Nirvana.

Be careful with the RME DAC, I has one for a while, exceptional sound quality but when I purchased my Naim amp I had all sorts of ground / hum issues, so bad I had to sell the DAC!

When you get your new amp check for any hum from your speakers, I am sure you will have no issues but thought I would give you a heads up.

There's nothing I would like more than to split the system but I haven't the room for it.
It's all set up in the lounge and that was an achievement in itself as I had to combat the wife!

I'll keep an eye on the RME as, if it does start to misbehave I'll be sending it back! The first thing I'll do is listen out for an strange him or hissing...
 

exponential

Well-known Member
Will you cut out the sub for 2 channel listening?

Yes mate. My speakers play low enough for music really unless you're listening to organ music or something like that which I don't... Should be OK.

My bk xxls400 have hi level input so I could experiment I suppose....
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
The miniDSP doesn't decode any audio, it just passes it through unaltered (minus the room corrretion/DSP) then the marantz will strip the layer of audio and decode it for me.

Maybe I have misunderstood what the miniDSP is doing so apologies if I have got the wrong end of the stick.

I will rephrase it slightly differently. How does it apply the room correction?

On a simple basis room correction alters the frequency responses and may tweak timing etc of a given channel. It does this for each channel to optimise it for the room.

If you send it a DTS-Master HD signal via HDMI, then, first of all, it needs to extract the signal as its sent along with the video signal. It then needs to decode the compressed audio (even though it's lossless) so it can apply the room correction changes to it. Ok you have two channels only ultimately but whether it does it to all of them or just 2 downmixed it still has to do this.

And does it really matter when watching a movie?

I'll play devil's advocate, why does it really matter when listening to music then?
 

exponential

Well-known Member
Maybe I have misunderstood what the miniDSP is doing so apologies if I have got the wrong end of the stick.

I will rephrase it slightly differently. How does it apply the room correction?

On a simple basis room correction alters the frequency responses and may tweak timing etc of a given channel. It does this for each channel to optimise it for the room.

If you send it a DTS-Master HD signal via HDMI, then, first of all, it needs to extract the signal as its sent along with the video signal. It then needs to decode the compressed audio (even though it's lossless) so it can apply the room correction changes to it. Ok you have two channels only ultimately but whether it does it to all of them or just 2 downmixed it still has to do this.



I'll play devil's advocate, why does it really matter when listening to music then?

Hi.

The miniDSP I'm going to get has DIRAC room correction built in to it.
It's DIRAC that applies the room correction based on the sweeps it does at the various mic positions.
I suffer with room modes (as most people do) so I get DIRAC to get those as flat as possible for a more pleasing sound in the low end.
DIRAC will also correct the response of my two subs combined which is great for LFE so I don't have any nasty holes in the bass.
I only apply DIRAC up to 400hz as opposed to full range as I don't want to alter the true sound of my speakers.
It can sound very robotic in my opinion if you EQ full range.
As you mentioned, it also corrects the impulse response of both speakers and subs so there is no timing issues. It really is an invaluable tool to use for movies.

The MiniDSP will not process any DTS/MA/TRU HD at all. It passes it through and on to the AVR for processing.

I won't be using it for music at all. The miniDSP is connected to the HDMI devices that deal with movies. The Now TV and nvidia shield.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Right, understand that you are wanting to get more into music but in this case, you are throwing movies out the window. For me, the sound whether be 2 channel or full Atmos etc on a movie is 50% of the experience and soundtracks can be more complex than 2 channel audio. I would also go for the lossless track in each case i.e. DTS Master HD even if it is downmixed. It's better quality end of.

This isn't going to work the way you expect it

With your proposed solution you are:-

1) Not going to have room correction for DD, DTS, DTS Master HD, Atmos etc from either Nvidia Shield or Now TV. Do they even support LPCM output?
2) No room correction for your PS4
3) No 4K Support?

All the Marantz is doing is decoding the multichannel mixes from my MKV files and downmixing to 2.1.

I would argue that better DACs are needed for the movie side than the music but even if you disagree you should not skimp on them.

You already recognise the DAC is better in your dedicated DAC but its more than the chip itself that contributes to the sound output. The whole design of it does so, for example, the power supply stability and whether noise gets onto the analog stages. There are noticeable differences IMO between AVRs.
 

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