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Bindging on 5.1 music

Discussion in 'Home Theater & Video' started by markshan, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    Some time ago, when DTS and DD audio mixes were first taking off, I gathered some up and checked them out with my modest HT system (a Marantz receiver into an Athena Micra 6 system). I thought it was okay, but not great. As this system was always satisfactory for me with TV, I assumed it was the medium that was "just okay". It never dawned on me that it was my speakers.

    I just finished putting together a new system that still fit my tiny space requirements, but is sounding MUCH larger. I went to a Chinese restaurant (of all places to audition gear) and they had a pair of B&W Rock Solid monitors on the wall. I enjoyed my food, but I really enjoyed the music. I couldn't believe what they did for their size. I kept looking around for the sub. So I came home and did some research and found that they were just smaller than the space I had to put them in. I also found out that there was a center channel speaker in the series. So I went about finding two pairs and the center, all the while wondering if my experience in the restaurant was an anomaly or if I would be as impressed in my living room.

    I had an old Velodyne 100 watt sub that was going to replace the tiny Micra 6 sub, but as I was buying satellites, I got a call from a very kind and generous friend. He had been trying for a while to sell an EmpTek 1010i, and had no takers. Finally he got sick of having it in his garage, so he called me and told me I could take it and flip it. I answered that I would gladly take it, but would much rather use it than flip it. He seemed pleased with that.

    The source and amp are an Oppo DV-980H that I was lucky enough to get cheap last summer and my Denon receiver which sounds great but is overly complicated to set up. Wrestling with it was the only negative in this whole experience.

    So, last weekend I finally got a free day to mount everything and tune the system. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them in every way! I am just thrilled with how musical this combo is. It really packs a punch well above it's size. The EmpTek (which some home theater guys pan because it "only" goes down to 25Hz) is incredibly musical and it reaches up high enough to play nicely with tiny satellites. The Rock Solids are articulate and balanced without being the least bit fatiguing.

    I've been listening to two or three surround albums a night. Anything I can get my hands on. DVD-A, SACD, Blu-Ray, DTS copies of old quad rips. I've been having a blast. I'm behind on my sleep but I haven't enjoyed listening to music this much in quite some time. I know at some point the new car smell will wear off, but right now this is just too much fun!
     

     

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  2. schwarcw

    schwarcw AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Many thanks Mark! Very nice write-up and congrats on a stellar system. Denon, Oppo, B&W and of course the Emptek!
     
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  3. rxonmymind

    rxonmymind AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Congrats! Sometimes we find inspiration in unique places. All my life my ears have been "tuned" to my surroundings and be it in a restaurant or boutique retailer if I hear good sound I'm like a moth to a light. Bam! Ouch... :D

    I'll be dipping my toe into a none to fancy 5.1 myself soon with the Pioneer HPM-100 taking front row. Trick is I'm somehow looking to smoothly pair a center channel and two other speakers with it. Thinking Focals. The heavy lifting will come from Bob Carver amp & pre.

    I need to find so.e old Top Gun dts/DD DVDs. Remember when that's ALL they showed at hi-fi shops with planes going SWOOOOOSH! from.one speaker to another? Lol.

    Again, congrats Mark.
     
    markshan likes this.
  4. highvoltage_

    highvoltage_ Super Member

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    If you have the opportunity, listen to the DTS recording of Hell Freezes Over. Go the the last track "Seven Bridges Road" and turn it up. Amazing sound.
     
    markshan likes this.
  5. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good job. All matched speakers too, which helps tremendously.

    I used to work retail in audio. I typically used the Pink Floyd DSOTM SACD surround disc, to demo the systems for clients. One of the nicest (most popular & cheapest) sounding set up's, consisted of a basic Yamaha surround receiver, along with 5 B&W M1 speakers, and a small 10" B&W sub. People were always surprised at how good it sounded. I sold a bunch of that set up.
     
    tcdriver and markshan like this.
  6. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

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    In addition to unofficial DTS rips of old quad versions of some classic rock warhorses, there are also some interesting unofficial DTS "up mixes" to 5.1 of many old albums that are a fun listen.
     
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  7. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    I listened to an upmix of Aja and it is kind of mind blowing what they are able to do with extractions and remixing. There are parts that you would swear were discrete.
     
  8. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    Those M1s have the same size drivers and are also in a molded plastic enclosure. I suspect they are similar sounding, though the M1s look a lot better. I suspect the look of the Rock Solids didn't help them sell, but my wife is very understanding in that way.
     
  9. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    I here ya. I love my MC SACD's but I've run into a snag. My Denon 2802, which I've had since 2003 and doesn't have HDMI, has 5.i analog inputs but has recently lost it's ability to deal with the coax signal from my Blu-Ray player,which does not have analog outs.

    My Denon 1941 (almost) universal DVD player does, and that's what I use for SACD.

    My Sony Blu-Ray's output MC SACD over HDMI but I can't get a concrete answer as to which AVR's can handle that. So, either I go for decent bucks for a AVR with 5.1 analog inputs ot forgo the pleasure of 5.1 music

    Boy, 5.1 MC inputs aren't as common as they used to be. The least expensive one I can find is a Marantz 5011 but, on the bright side, maybe this'll see me through another 15 years.
     
  10. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    As I understand it, you just look for one which has PCM, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. I believe if it has all three, it can decode anything that comes over an HDMI cable. FWIW, I use the 5.1 in from my Oppo for SACD or DVD-A, and use the HDMI cable for Blu-Ray from a Samsung player I got at the thrift for ten bucks. Not a hiccup yet.

    You may want to start a thread looking for suggestions for receivers with HDMI and 5.1 in. I know there are more than a few.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  11. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    Thanks That helps a lot. I did start a thread a few weeks ago asking that same question and got some response but no real explanation as to what exactly to look for. One kind poster did offer two suggestions for receivers.

    Thinking about it, I just may bite the bullet and spring for one with the analog inputs because I can see an Oppo in the foreseeable future and, besides, I want to be somewhat on the leading edge because I've already got that 4k TV and a 4k Blu-ray player can't be too far away, Besides, If I get as close to the edge as ossible, perhaps I can survive for another ten years or so without needing to replace it.

    If it weren't for this recent glitch, I'd still be happy with my coal fired Denon 2802, which I bought in 2003.
     
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  12. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    I still have my 2802 in the basement. I only replaced it because I had to have HDMI for ChromeCast.
     
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  13. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    If I could get the danged on screen menu to work I wouldn't be looking for a new receiver. When we moved and it was in storage for a few months it lost a lot of it's settings and one needs the remote and menu to do the setup
     
  14. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    Here is the list I got from Crutchfield with the boxes "Multi-Channel analog input" and "HDCP2.2 for 4k video" checked. One of them is even under a grand! :)

    If money were no object, that Marantz SR-7011 would be mine.
     
  15. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    Sadly, money is an object. Being retired sort of puts a crimp on my style. That, plus I'm a cheap SOB to begin with. Remember, I've been happily running this since 2003 with no great desire to upgrade.

    I really only need 5 channels. That's all I have room for.

    A4L has a refurb 5011 for $549, which is a very possible solution.

    My main gripe is that I can't switch the DVD input from optical to coax. To try one last Hail Mary, I have a toslink cable coming. If that works then I'll pull an Emily Litella: "Never mind..."
     
  16. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    I don't think you'll find five channels and 4k video. You can turn off the extra 2-4 channels in the menuing.

    If you do without the 4k video, you can find a lightly used Denon or Marantz from an early adopter for cheap. I paid $80 for mine, with 3 HMDI (I wish it had 4, but oh well), 5.1 in, the remote and the Audessy set up mic. It's a Denon AVR-1909. It is a seven channel, but set up for only five.
     

     

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  17. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    I know I'll have to go for at least 7 channels for 4k. I was just throwing that bit of info as an aside.

    I see stuff out there with 7, 9, and even 11 channels. Where will it end?

    Come to think about it, the 2892 is six channels but 'i'm only using five..
     
  18. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Tomlinson Holman was doing 10.2 surround demos as early as 1999. I seem to remember reading an article by Holman, in a trade paper, about 10.2 being the minimum set-up for realistic surround. Holman recommended a set-up similar to this.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    My mains and surrounds are mounted over the door jams, so that would never work in my room.
     
  20. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    Yeah, well, this is some pie in the sky thinking hat sounds great in theory but falls flat on it's face in the real world.. Some of us have to live in the real world where our home theater has to share space with a living room, Besides, what source that provides the needed channels would he suggest? BTW, I don't see where he accounts for Atmos.
     

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