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Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

cosmosphere, modified 4 Years ago.

Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Youngling Posts: 6 Join Date: 9/28/11 Recent Posts
Hi there,

I am building a home theater setup. Just waiting for a 55" OLED screen to arrive with Pioneer BDP-LX58 Blu-ray disc player with coax / S-PDIF digital audio output (it's bigger model and Pioneer's flagship BR player BDP-LX88 would have 2x balanced XLR out). The player has listed audio support: Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio.

I already have a pair of Genelec 8260A speakers with GLM system. But I'm new to home theater setups as I haven't even owned a TV in a decade, so I'm just starting to study these... But I would rather invest money into extending my home studio's Genelec system than a separate hi-fi surround speaker setup.

I just read reviews for some great surround AV preamp/processors like Marantz AV7701 / AV7702 and Anthem MRX 510 / 710. But I'm a bit puzzled, would I need such or does GLM system understand Dolby encoded signals – in the Genelec DSP system operating manual there is only one mentioning of "Dolby Digital and DST encoding formats"...?

So what other gear I would need with that BR player to be able to use DSP speakers as 5.1 or 7.1 setup? And what smaller speakers would you recommend as companion with this 8260A pair?
digipete, modified 4 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 99 Join Date: 6/18/11 Recent Posts
I just run everything from my computer, a std. Mac Book Pro laptop.

All I need is:

a) Bluray drive for playing / ripping

b) External soundcard with 8 channel AES/EBU

c) External disk aray for storing music, films and backups.


I can't be bothered with all that old-fashioned equipment- it becomes obsolete all too fast?
cosmosphere, modified 4 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Youngling Posts: 6 Join Date: 9/28/11 Recent Posts
I just run everything from my computer, a std. Mac Book Pro laptop.

All I need is:

a) Bluray drive for playing / ripping

b) External soundcard with 8 channel AES/EBU

c) External disk aray for storing music, films and backups.


I can't be bothered with all that old-fashioned equipment- it becomes obsolete all too fast?


That is a handy minimal setup, so far I've had similar. But the topic / question here was how to build surround sound home theater setup with DSP speakers...?
digipete, modified 4 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 99 Join Date: 6/18/11 Recent Posts
That is a handy minimal setup, so far I've had similar.
But the topic / question here was how to build surround sound home theater setup with DSP speakers...?


My rig does just that!

5.1 surround, screen or projector and DSP room kompensation through GLM and 82XX series monitors.
VLC or Blu-ray Player decodes Dolby or DTS and delivers PCM to the external soundcard that in turn feeds AES/EBU to the monitors.

Software
VLC http://www.videolan.org/
Blu-ray Player http://www.macblurayplayer.com/

Soundcards
Weiss AFI-1 http://www.weiss.ch/products/afi1
Lynx Aurora 8 http://www.lynxstudio.com/product_detail.asp?i=2
Lynx AES16e http://www.lynxstudio.com/product_detail.asp?i=16

Suppliers
Europe http://www.thomann.de/
US http://vintageking.com/

All just examples of good options.
cosmosphere, modified 4 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Youngling Posts: 6 Join Date: 9/28/11 Recent Posts
That is a handy minimal setup, so far I've had similar.
But the topic / question here was how to build surround sound home theater setup with DSP speakers...?


My rig does just that!

5.1 surround, screen or projector and DSP room kompensation through GLM and 82XX series monitors.
VLC or Blu-ray Player decodes Dolby or DTS and delivers PCM to the external soundcard that in turn feeds AES/EBU to the monitors.

Software
VLC http://www.videolan.org/
Blu-ray Player http://www.macblurayplayer.com/

Soundcards
Weiss AFI-1 http://www.weiss.ch/products/afi1
Lynx Aurora 8 http://www.lynxstudio.com/product_detail.asp?i=2
Lynx AES16e http://www.lynxstudio.com/product_detail.asp?i=16

Suppliers
Europe http://www.thomann.de/
US http://vintageking.com/

All just examples of good options.


Interesting... So I have (for now) 2 x 8260A, Prism Sound Titan USB-interface, Pioneer BDP-LX58 as 3D Blu-ray / disc player (which has S/PDIF audio out) and I was looking up Pioneer SC-LX58 as AV-receiver which does Dolby decodings (also has room correction) and has individual pre-amp line outs which could be wired individually to active speakers.

But you are watching movies with your computer's Blu-ray player. I have a separate home theater player for that, which feeds out HDMI (it even might transmit the audio signal via HDMI). ...I was wondering this but haven't stumbled a solid piece of info yet, that what is I would capture the S/PDIF signal via Titan – would it work it work, how and what then...?
digipete, modified 4 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 99 Join Date: 6/18/11 Recent Posts
I'm sorry to have to tell you - You have done a royal fuck-up on all your purchasing !!!

The 8260's excluded - they are the best bang for the buck monitors in this price range (along with the 8351's).


Why?
82XX monitors need sound in digital format: AES3 (also known as AES/EBU).
AES3 and s/pdif shares the same protocol and can be converted using simple converters:
http://www.neutrik.com/en/accessories/a ... nsformers/

The problem is that you only get stereo s/pdif on both Prism Titan and your Blu-ray player.


You should choose one of the clean solutions:

a) The professional solution with computer, blu-ray drive and a sound card capable of 8 channel AES3.

b) The consumer solution with what ever equipment capable of 8 channel s/pdif + converters to AES3.


Volume and room correction by GLM (and a computer) in both solutions.

I strongly advice against mixed solutions !!!
ilkka-rissanen, modified 4 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Yoda Posts: 2558 Join Date: 3/23/09 Recent Posts
Hi there,

I am building a home theater setup. Just waiting for a 55" OLED screen to arrive with Pioneer BDP-LX58 Blu-ray disc player with coax / S-PDIF digital audio output (it's bigger model and Pioneer's flagship BR player BDP-LX88 would have 2x balanced XLR out). The player has listed audio support: Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio.

I already have a pair of Genelec 8260A speakers with GLM system. But I'm new to home theater setups as I haven't even owned a TV in a decade, so I'm just starting to study these... But I would rather invest money into extending my home studio's Genelec system than a separate hi-fi surround speaker setup.

I just read reviews for some great surround AV preamp/processors like Marantz AV7701 / AV7702 and Anthem MRX 510 / 710. But I'm a bit puzzled, would I need such or does GLM system understand Dolby encoded signals – in the Genelec DSP system operating manual there is only one mentioning of "Dolby Digital and DST encoding formats"...?

So what other gear I would need with that BR player to be able to use DSP speakers as 5.1 or 7.1 setup? And what smaller speakers would you recommend as companion with this 8260A pair?

Hi Janne,

Sorry about the late reply, I just returned from my summer holiday. :)

DigiPete pretty much covered your options and requirements for a computer based system but if you want to stay with stand-alone hi-fi equipment, here's what you need to know. Genelec DSP speakers do not have any Dolby or DTS decoders inside them so they can't be fed with undecoded signals. One needs an AV processor/receiver in between the BD player and speakers for this job. There are probably hundreds of different models available, for example the ones you mentioned above. Pre amplifier outputs are the required features but for example when it comes to room response equalization, our AutoCal (built inside our DSP speaker, operated through the GLM software) does a really good job there, so you are already in good hands in that sense. Depending whether you want to (sooner or later) upgrade to Dolby Atmos, Auro3D, DTS:X etc, you might want to check if the device is capable of handling these future formats and speaker layouts as well.

BD player should be connected to the AV receiver via HDMI cable instead of coax/S/PDIF because it will provide you both video and audio signals in best possible quality. A separate cable for audio is not needed any more.

When it comes to speaker layout, our general recommendation is that the LCR speakers should be of the identical model, in your case the 8260. If a centre channel (typically difficult to place such a large speaker, especially with a traditional TV) speaker needs to be different, one model step smaller speaker, 8250 can be used there. For surround channels, up to two model step smaller speakers can be used, which means 8240 in your case. Naturally I recommended a full DSP setup for a best possible result, but depending on your budget, for example surround channels speakers can be replaced with analogue range models (such as 8040) without making a huge compromise in audio quality. Depending on your SPL requirements, a subwoofer (or multiples) can be required too.

Let me know if you have any more questions!
talex, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 41 Join Date: 8/27/15 Recent Posts
Hi Ilkka,

I face a similar dilemma and have a few questions related to building a 5.1 HT setup.

1. I see that you are recommending a preamp that does Dolby DTS decoding.
Would something like this do the trick: http://www.marantz.co.uk/uk/products/pa ... tid=av7702 ?
Or are the options that handle Dolby/DTS and output AES/EBU?

2. I understand the DSP speakers would favour digital input via AES/EBU. Typical Dolby/DTS preamps output balanced analogue signal. My understanding is that would require an additional A/D and than D/A conversion inside the speaker for the DSP to do it’s job.
Would you say that that degrades audio quality?

3. Typically AV preamps (such as the Marrantz) also pack room correction features. How would you compare the capabilities of the room correction builtin the preamp with the one in the Genelecs?
Why I’m asking is that if the additional flexibility of GLM is not needed (multiple calibrated positions, real time control, etc.) and only one time calibration is required with the speakers in place and AV Preamp calibration is adequate, the budget saved from the DSP versions can be routed into buying better analogue monitors and not compromising on areas such as surrounds if budget is tight….

Thank you & Best regards,
Alexandru Tudose.
ilkka-rissanen, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Yoda Posts: 2558 Join Date: 3/23/09 Recent Posts
Hi Ilkka,

I face a similar dilemma and have a few questions related to building a 5.1 HT setup.

1. I see that you are recommending a preamp that does Dolby DTS decoding.
Would something like this do the trick: http://www.marantz.co.uk/uk/products/pa ... tid=av7702 ?
Or are the options that handle Dolby/DTS and output AES/EBU?

That Marantz model is very popular now because it's one of the best ones that can handle both Dolby Atmos and Auro3D formats. There are not too many ones that can output AES/EBU, I can think of one: http://www.datasatdigital.com/consumer/ ... /rs20i.php But it costs about $19000. :)


2. I understand the DSP speakers would favour digital input via AES/EBU. Typical Dolby/DTS preamps output balanced analogue signal. My understanding is that would require an additional A/D and than D/A conversion inside the speaker for the DSP to do it’s job.
Would you say that that degrades audio quality?

99% of our customers do it like this and they are very happy with the audio quality.


3. Typically AV preamps (such as the Marrantz) also pack room correction features. How would you compare the capabilities of the room correction builtin the preamp with the one in the Genelecs?
Why I’m asking is that if the additional flexibility of GLM is not needed (multiple calibrated positions, real time control, etc.) and only one time calibration is required with the speakers in place and AV Preamp calibration is adequate, the budget saved from the DSP versions can be routed into buying better analogue monitors and not compromising on areas such as surrounds if budget is tight….

Thank you & Best regards,
Alexandru Tudose.

Obviously if you are asking me, I will say ours is much better. :) But I hope someone less biased will chime in and give his comments.
talex, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 41 Join Date: 8/27/15 Recent Posts
Thank you for the reply Ilkka, this is really helpful for me in planning my future system.
A decent AV preamp + Genelec monitors seems like a 5.1 dream :-)

Now I am a bit confused now by the SAM monitor lineup. I am in the situation that now i need to purchase the 2.1 part of the system, whereas later (aprox 1-1.5yrs) when i finish the home theatre room I would more the speakers complete the setup to 5.1.
I see some products have been updated to 83xx while some are still 82xx.

1. If i am to buy the 2.1 part oh my 5.1 setup and than complete the lineup when i move to the dedicated room, seems to be a better bet to go with 83xx products in order to "future proof" the purchase?
As i see that already 82xx are referred in the documentation as "legacy", and seems that they would be slowly updated to 83xx ?
That would mean that if i buy the 2.1 part with 82xx, than I would not be able to procure similar pairs in the future to complete my set... :/

2. About monitor selection. My to be room is to be around 98m3:
- 5.2m the wall with the screen,
- 6.5m long and
- 2.9m high.
Main seating position would be around 3m from the screen.

From your monitor setup guide i see that that kind of room volume already pushes me to 5x1032B which would more or less bankrupt me : ))
I was wondering on what basis that recommendation is made.
If the recommendation is made on the account that a certain SPL level is needed for example, in my case I almost never listen above 70db at ear level and i am more concerned with sound quality than loud volume without distortion.
In this kind of situation, would 5 x 8330 with a 7350 do the trick? What would you recommend?
What would i loose as compared with going with the recommended 1032Bs ?

3. Besides the 5.1 setup, I would also need to built a stereo setup for a different room.
It's not 100% clear for me how to choose between smaller monitors with a woofer versus a pair of bigger monitors.
For example, for a near-field setup made for stereo listening (on the desk/slightly behind the desk), when would you recommend 2 x 8330 + 7350 versus just going with a 2 x 8250? Budget wise the two choices are equivalent. Which option has a chance to sound better / be more easily tuned to a challenging listening room?

Sorry for having so many question but i am really eager to building my current & future home around Genelec monitors. Had a chance to audition them recently and they really knocked me off my feet :)
Thank you again & Best regards!
ilkka-rissanen, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Yoda Posts: 2558 Join Date: 3/23/09 Recent Posts
Hi,

1. I would recommend looking at 8300/7300 series as they are the latest and greatest what we have to offer. Other older series will be sooner or later faded out.

2. That is not the smallest room and 3 meter listening distance requires preferably at least 8x40 sized front (LCR) speakers. You could start with 8330 + 7350 setup and upgrade front speakers to 8x40 or even 8x50, and move the 8330s to surrounds. Of course you will then need a bigger subwoofer too. I would forget the 1032Bs since they are already old design.

3. I will always recommend going with larger speakers because they will produce most of the spectrum instead of subwoofer which will only produce maybe the lowest two octaves. With larger speakers you will have better sound quality, more SPL capability, lower distortion, more directivity etc which smaller speakers + subwoofer won't be able to offer.
talex, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 41 Join Date: 8/27/15 Recent Posts
OK, Thank you for this information, it's really helpful!
zomb, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Youngling Posts: 7 Join Date: 7/30/14 Recent Posts
My home theater project is finally ready – if such a thing is ever ready. I will go through the process of doing the sound and maybe little of picture too since, they effect each other a bit. I hope this will help some of the readers on this forum or present some new questions :).

The room is 3.8m x 5m height 2.8m there is a balcony door and window on the short side of the room. When facing the window there is bookshelf for the whole length of right side in the room. Material is typical concrete used on the early 70's flats in Finland – so not very optimal for sound. It is multipurpose room doubling as living room as well. Watching distance is about 3 m maybe little less.

I was listening a lots of different speakers, but I could not get any passive speaker with acceptable woofers to sound good from the corner of the room. Bass was just off the wall. Most of them sounded good if I had them on the speaker stand off the walls. Anyhow for the everyday life the speakers would have to be placed next to the walls. I test listened Genelec 8040's and I was sold. They did not sound bad in the corners – and that without any room compensation. So I started to listen different Genelec models.

8260's were too big for me and out from the budget anyway. So the actual race was between 8240 and 8250. I finally chose 8250's since they sounded better when you were off from the optimal listening position. Difference was not big, but definitely notable. Also they sounded better as pure music speakers. (8351's were not out when I did my selection little over year ago).

Screen: I wanted tab tensioned ceiling mounted screen that would come down in front the window. One of options was to get a woven screen and place left and middle speaker behind the screen, but after testing the screen materials woven was not an option as picture quality deteriorated compared to the solid screen. Micro-perforated could not be considered due the space required between speaker and screen and you could see the micro-perforated holes from my watching distance. With the longer watching distance the woven screen might have been an option. Also the fact that left speaker would have been behind the screen and right not would have resulted a little different sound above 10 kHz. Should the speaker be adjusted screen down or screen up position?

Going for the solid screen means that center speaker is placed below the screen, about 40 cm lower than L and R. It is upright tilted slightly up. L and R are outside the screen area. L is about 15 cm out of side wall and R speaker is in bookshelf. Where it has 1m x 1m x 0.30 m space.

In the center of the system I run Yamaha CX-A5000, balanced outputs, XLR connections. no Atmos but I'm not planning to place any speakers to ceiling anyway. Surround speakers are 8020C's as bigger one's would have needed too much changes to the bookshelf.

Yamaha is doing no automatic room corrections. 8250's have been adjusted with GLM (L and R had 2 huge bass spikes up +16 db) I kept my old small Velodyne sub-woofer. Sub is only used with 5.1. When I listen music (about 80% to 90% of the use) I use system in 2.0 configuration. After GLM adjustment was done the system was adjusted manually. Only thing I wonder is the one extra DA AD conversions due DSP speakers, but so far I have not been bothered by it. The ability to have the bass in control weighs more in my scale. Also the amp is nice for day to day use, remote control (I use logitech harmony, or just control the amp from the phone) radio etc. Next project is the use the zones to get the sound to other rooms as well.

As a final touch, 30 mm Konto acoustic boards were added. Left side has one piece 100x50 cm and the Right side the 3 sides of bookshelf and the sided wall has been covered. I would say the separation is better than before the boards were installed, some of that could be placebo as well :). Boards do not really change the appearance of the room.

Anyhow big thumbs up for ISO POD and Genelec closures allowing easy installation to suboptimal speaker placement spots.

Petteri
ensoniq, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 42 Join Date: 5/30/15 Recent Posts
Going digital native with 5.1 or 7.1 on DSP Models is kind of an exaggeration with no (!) additional audiophile advantages compared to an analog setup includig DSP speakers with analog inputs.

I don´t want to start computers or several Preamps, DSPs, Audiointerfaces , specific Software etc. I want to sit down, turn on my equipment with a single switch and watch movies or Blueray concerts with audiophile quality.

When building my Home Cinema the goal was simpicity and quality : "Controll everything with one single app by using only one highend grade BlueRay player as the central Hub for all Media and Formats". Mission accomplished !

So here comes my setup:

Oppo 105D (Blueray Player, DAC , DSD player, Dolby Surround Master) Front channels into Gene 8260 (Oppo XLR Out into 8260 Analog In)
Oppo 105D Center channel into Gene 8350
Oppo 105D Rear Channels into Dynaudio BM15A
Oppo 105D Subwoofer Channels into Gene 7060s

All Surround Channels (except Front Channel = XLR- XLR ) are connected by using Mogami Chinch to XLR cable (no voodoo, reasonable price, studio grade audiophile quality)

-All Surround Formats such as True HD 7.1, 5.1 , DTS etc are supported by the Oppo 105D. And btw: the video quality of this Player is awesome too ! (connections? 2 HDMI out, 1 HDMI in, asynchronus USB input, up to 352,8khz/24 bit , USB input for USB devices, DAC ...)

-Speaker setup is configured and controlled by the Oppo 105 D (speaker distances, delays, crossover frequencies , etc, etc) .

-All functions and configuration-setups can be controlled by using Oppo´s remtote controll or alternativly Oppo´s iOS or Android App
talex, modified 3 Years ago.

Re: Building surround sound home theater with DSP speakers?

Padawan Posts: 41 Join Date: 8/27/15 Recent Posts
Hi,

Wanted to run a question by you guys as i see you are very knowledgeble in Bluray playback :-)
I also wanted to thank DigiPete for writing about Macgo as i’ve found it to be a very good player and i use it now for all my playback needs.

I still have an issue that i don’t really know how to get around regarding the .1 channel.

I have a pair of Genelec 8330s with a 7350 subwoofer that i feed from my Mac from the optical out, trough a toslink to AES interface and than to the AES Digital IN of the subwoofer that performs bass managemnet and feeds the 8330s.
All fine and dandy, just that Macgo and, it seems, all other players, drop the LFE channel from the 5.1 or 7.1 tracks so the stereo downmix that gets sent digitally to the 7350s barely contains anything for the subwoofer to play.
The subwoofer is more active during music playback than with blueray movies, which is a bit funny.

I was wondering if you also ran into this problem or if you know anything about keeping the LFE channel in the mix when downmixing multichannel tracks to stereo ouput.

Thanks!