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Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater (Read 8917 times)
mac5u
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Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
03/06/11 at 22:56:03
 
One of Steve's audio papers, IDEAS for TUBE based HOME THEATER , suggests using a stock DVD player feeding 3 ZBoxes via the 6 analog outputs which goes into 3 Zen amps, and 1 ZBox channel is left to feed a powered sub.

Has anybody tried this?  What were the results?

Most DVD/Blu-ray players have limited bass management capabilities.  Most rooms have issues and could either benefit from room treatments or a modern pre-pro such as the Marantz AV7005 could be used to good effect to correct the room nodes and assist with the bass management.

Has anyone successfully integrated either a pre-pro (or receiver and by-passed the amp section) and sub with their Decware 2-channel rigs?
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« Last Edit: 03/06/11 at 23:00:59 by mac5u »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #1 - 05/07/11 at 18:29:06
 
Hey macSu. Your question is similar to one I have been wondering about. Right now, I have a cube sub with plate amplifier. Tolerable for casual listening, but I plan to replace it with a Wicked One, and as I move away from my Denon-centered system (with its system-tuning pre-pro capabilities—note, Steve is completely right that such capabilities are very limited, and tha on any given recording or movie, the likely are fairly inaccurate), I will have the same issues.  In addition to bass management questions, I am also curious about center channel amplification. As you know from other threads, I plan to have my Oppo BDP-95 feed the Ultra preamplifier. Elsewhere, Steve has suggested the possible use of dual ERRs firing towards the wall as the center channel. That is probably not an option for me, as much as I would love it. Instead, I need to consider somethng that will be tonally similar to the ERR, probably driven by a mono block, perhaps the Zen Triode. While I think it will be easier to manage the center than the bass, and Steve describes some ways to do so on the Ultra page, I still expect a learning curve. And probably some room treatment. My wife is very supportive of my hobby, but I haven't said anything about room treatment.  ;)
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #2 - 05/08/11 at 21:30:26
 
Pale Rider, you are getting 5 ERRs, right?  At least I thought you were.  Optimally, Steve suggested using two ERRs for the center but that may have also been for a specific application, I can't remember right off.  Anyway, you could do three as the LCR and probably achieve good results.  If, at a future date, you could add the 6th for the dual-center.  If/when you ever decide to sell, you could sell all six or in pairs.  Might easier than trying to sell just 5.  Maybe?  Finding something tonally similar might be tough.  I think someone asked ZYGI that once but not sure on that either.
 
I'd wonder if Steve would consider doing a multi-channel amp as a natural follow-up to the Ultra Zen?  It could be either three or 5.  

Every possible solution has its trade-offs, and until the Ultra Zen gets into production and until we get some real-world user comments, I am taking a wait-and-see posture.

I have to admit, I am not sure what I am looking forward to reading about more:  You getting the Ultra Zen or Outlaw finally releasing its next A/V Pre-pro.  Not that I am holding my breath on the latter -- anyone familiar with Outlaw will know what I mean.  I am living vicariously right now through all you guys until after Zen Fest.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #3 - 05/09/11 at 00:28:27
 
mac5u (sorry, just realized I have been spelling your nickname wrong; my apologies!), at the end of the day, I will probably opt for 3 pairs of ERRs. Five would be the magic number, but I don't think Steve sells them that way, and buying three pair will force me to deal with the center channel issue the right way.

I was unaware of Outlaw Audio until you mentioned them. Interesting website. I like their approach, though I confess I cannot imagine returning to SS.
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #4 - 05/16/11 at 01:49:11
 
No worries, Pale Rider.

I read in another thread you have ordered your first pair of planned six ERRs.  You also have, what, a pair of Zen Toriis, and the Ultra Zen in queue too?

Thanks for being, I think, the first regular forum member to go all in for HT with Decware equipment.  I look forward to reading about your experiences.  With the pair of Zen Torii, that covers four of the six channels which is your target.  What are your amp plans for the dual center?

Outlaw made some great equipment but a number of other companies have pushed far ahead of them in introducing new products.  They had planned on introducing a new Pre-pro some time ago using Trinnov for room correction but implementing that technology proved too difficult for their primary partner and time and resources were lost.  Their forum members are a lot like the guys here:  Loyal and enthusiastic, but they also a bit impatient for their new pre-pro.  

I mentioned in the Ultra Zen thread my preference for solving some room issues in the digital domain using a modern pre-pro and HDMI rather than analog but Outlaw is coming out with an updated version of the ICBM, their six-channel bass management system.  This still leaves me with looking for another solution for room correction but maybe a few judicious room treatments will be almost good enough?

The introduction of the Ultra Zen does make one wonder:  Can a three or five channel Decware amp be far behind?
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« Last Edit: 05/16/11 at 23:29:45 by mac5u »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #5 - 05/16/11 at 03:25:10
 
Quote:
The introduction of the Ultra Zen does make one wonder:  Can a three or five channel Decware amp be far behind?


You and me both. I am hoping for that, but as you can tell from my orders, I am not waiting to find out. Wink

I suspect, before I am through, I will go with dual ERRs for my center channel. When I get there, if Steve hasn't announced a >2 channel amp, I will likely pick up a Zen that can be configured for mono.

At times, I wish I had the right room adjustments available in the digital domain. My current Denon's somewhat primitive capabilities are in some respects better than an uncompensated room.
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #6 - 05/16/11 at 23:52:33
 
That's alota tubes...
Cool
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #7 - 05/17/11 at 14:19:41
 
Quote:
That's alota tubes...


No kidding! I fel like I have tubes coming out of my ears in anticipation of the Ultra and the Toriis. I asked this question elsewhere, but how do people store their tubes? I saw some nice cases at Tube Depot, but wondered what folks do.
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Lon
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #8 - 05/17/11 at 14:38:17
 
I haven't done this, but I thought at one time (when I was really scratching the bite of the tube-rolling bug) of putting them on a spice rack. . . would be nice way to display.
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #9 - 05/17/11 at 22:04:12
 
I have used a spare camera bag with a block of foam.  I cut holes in the foam to hold the tubes.  However, I don't have near as many tubes as you are likely to have, so if you have access to a wood working shop, get a piece of pine and do this:


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« Last Edit: 05/17/11 at 22:19:07 by mac5u »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #10 - 05/18/11 at 05:12:14
 
Thanks mac5u. That reminds me of a cribbage-board drilling project I did in Industrial Arts in junior high. But it's perfect.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #11 - 05/30/11 at 19:34:13
 
My apologies for the thread wandering here, but mac5u, given your interest in correction, have you looked at ambiophonics? There is some info on it posted in the Room Treatment forum, but if you get a chance, take a look at this paper; it sure has me thinking about my setup.

I admit I am reluctant to inject a bunch of DSP into a chain in which I have invested a fair bit of analog effort, but it is interesting.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #12 - 05/30/11 at 20:00:04
 
Interesting but also the object of more than a little derision on the AVS website ( but if you read through that thread, the derision is softened over time and eventually becomes curiosity and even respect). Of course, early stereo had its detractors, as well.
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« Last Edit: 05/30/11 at 20:14:22 by Pale Rider »  

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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #13 - 05/31/11 at 16:45:24
 
Pale Rider,

Yes, I have heard of ambiophonics but haven't given it much thought given the constraints on speaker placement. Thanks for the link.  I am going to read through it today as I took a day off from work.

I still think that most rooms need EQ if not treated.  However, I am beginning to think that maybe Room EQ is not as necessary with the ERRs or Walsh Ohms as it might be with more traditional forward-firing speakers.

Like a lot of people, I am constrained by budget so I am unable to get both a Marantz AV7005 and the Zen Ultra to try           side-by-side, and room aesthetic requirements (room treatments are going to be minimal except for traditional room furnishings).

I asked a question over on Audiogon about whether Ohm users found using modern Room EQ beneficial.   As might be expected, some said yes and some said no or they hadn't tried it.  Maybe in bass management, it might be the most helpful? If that might be the case, then there are analog routes to go such as the Outlaw ICBM-2 and getting the Marantz becomes less of a priority.  Dunno.

Since you bring up ambiophonics, Pale Rider, one thing that has long interested me is the Bongiorno Trinaural Processor.  It has been described as a pure analog 3.1 version of Meridian’s Ambisonic DSP.  I’ve not heard either.  

From the Owner's Manual:  "...it is a 3-ch L/C/R processor which uses cross-canceling in the L/R channels in order to reduce the amount of C signal in the L/R speakers. This is another way of saying the L speaker has L-xR and the R speaker has R-xL, where x is some scale factor. If x=1, the you have passive surround in L/R, but the speakers are opposite phase."  

It is over my head a bit but it appears that the center channel is not a simple summed mono and that all three front main channels are processed via the designer's proprietary algebraic formula.   What has heretofore steered me clear of this processor is that Bongiorno states your best speaker must be the center channel.  

With matched pairs of ERRs, that might not be a problem, at least for music.  Three (L CTR, RT) with the SST Trinaural Processor may be a big improvement over 2 CH, but deriving four or five (movies, multi-channel) out of two is probably too much to ask.

For someone like me who is interested in multi-channel music, the availability today of discreet channel formats is likely the better route to go; for someone interested in staying in the analog domain, the Trinaural Processor or Meridian's Trifield processor might make one re-think "Stereo" only.  

So much equipment, so little time (and money).
Sad

While you might not be interested, per se, I thought I would return the favor, in Spades, I guess, since it is a fair amount of reading I am giving you but if anyone else is interested, the links below are a good follow-up to the link you provided above.

Some links:

http://www.ampzilla2000.com/trinaural.htmlhttp://www.ampzilla2000.com/trinaural_manual.html

http://www.ampzilla2000.com/trinaural_manual.html

http://www.ampzilla2000.com/sedonaskysoundreview2.html

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=67462.0

http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/304round/index.html

http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/904music/index.html

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?rprea&1144721220&read&keyw&zztrinaur...

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?bhome&1076773766&openfrom&1&...

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« Last Edit: 05/31/11 at 17:01:32 by mac5u »  
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opnly_bafld
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #14 - 05/31/11 at 22:29:27
 
The center speaker can be the best speaker (as per JB) and also be the same as the L/R speakers.
Any multichannel system that uses an inferior center speaker is...... well, inferior.

Lin
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #15 - 06/02/11 at 03:28:58
 
Yes, of course, the center can be the better speaker or the same as the L/R.  My guess is that most often it is neither.  And for those who employ large floorstanders as L/R, very few also employ a floorstander as the center.


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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #16 - 06/02/11 at 05:21:17
 
Quote:
The center speaker can be the best speaker (as per JB) and also be the same as the L/R speakers.
Any multichannel system that uses an inferior center speaker is...... well, inferior.

Lin, I think you are correct, and I have sure proved it. Although I have had center speakers that were "as good as" my L/R, it was only because my L/R weren't that great (Cambridge version of HTIAB and the Orb alternative to HTIAB). Otherwise, they have not been as good. The ERRs are going to be a new dimension for me, and the decision to use ERRs as the C speaker will be interesting.

Michael, thanks for all those links. I plan to start reading them ASAP. The Bongiorno was new to me. Interesting approach. Here is what I think I will be doing. I plan to set up AudioMulch on a Mac mini, and test out its ambiophonic capabilities using the Ultra's two-channel setup. Listen and make some notes. Then run the Ultra in 5 or 5.1/2 and make some more notes. Make some decisions. Because I ain't swapping them back and forth, and I ain't moving speakers back and forth or in and out every time I want to switch sources.

Greg
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opnly_bafld
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #17 - 06/02/11 at 23:37:25
 
mac5u,

If the center speaker is the same as your front L/R, it is the "best" speaker even though they are equal. "Better" would make it something more. In every trade show that I'm aware of, SST has used 3 identical speakers across the front.

There are quite a few companies that make their center speakers with basically the same drivers as their floorstanding speakers, perhaps with the exception of the size of the woofer(s).
3-way center speakers with a vertical tweeter/midrange (even when paired with same company/voicing 2-way L/R) make a dramatic improvement over WTW horizontal 2-way center speakers IME.
Of course if it is possible to have 3 large floorstanders across the front....... Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

Considering the forum we are on I assume that if individuals are serious about their multi-channel system they are not going to mate a $200 or less center channel with high quality L/R speakers. Shocked

Lin Smiley
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #18 - 06/03/11 at 01:53:26
 
Lin,

You and and I are not in disagreement.  And for James Casler or Brian Cheney (or whomever) to NOT demo the SST without three identical speakers across the front defeats the very purpose of the Trinuaral processor itself.  I am thinking, however, of the common configuration of HT set-ups, some by individuals who are serious about their mutlichannel systems where the room serves a dual purpose of 2-channel and HT use AND there is a TV, not a projector, between the L/R speakers.  

Sure, I could put another floorstander there but it would make for a difficult movie viewing.

Wink
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opnly_bafld
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #19 - 06/03/11 at 22:19:06
 
I have it, a custom speaker made of plexiglass, so only the drivers block the screen. Grin

Lin Smiley
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #20 - 06/03/11 at 22:55:49
 
LOL. Funny you mention this Lin, because it ended up affecting what sort of flat panel wall mount I chose. I would have preferred a true flat mount that puts my screen as close to the wall as possible, but because the ERRs will "force" my screen a little higher up the wall, I have to get a mount that affords some tilt capacity. Hmmm. Maybe I should just buy my own movie theater.............. Grin
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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Donnie
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #21 - 06/04/11 at 00:13:42
 
Pale Rider,
Here is the nearst theater to you that I could find for sale.
http://www.redding-real-estate.com/LargePhotoPages/cascade-theater-redding.html
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Owner of the infamous RED TORII
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #22 - 06/04/11 at 04:18:40
 
ROTFLMAO!

Thanks for the good laugh Donnie!
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #23 - 06/04/11 at 23:54:54
 
Lin, Donnie -- you guys are killin' me.

Smiley
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #24 - 01/07/12 at 18:10:12
 
Been a while since I visited this thread. As you guys know, I have the Ultra preamp driving both my 2.0/5.0 system (the sub build is just about to start). I have three pairs of ERRs, with the front L/R and the rear L/R being standard ERRs, with the center channel being reproduced by two ERRs built with their ribbons firing toward the TV screen on the wall, i.e., firing backward. The center channel effect works very well, with actor voices and sound placement cues well-localized, while sounding as big as the screen. I was always frustrated by the visually and aurally-discernible effect of small point source center speakers. The screen is a 65-inch Panny plasma, so correct sound placement is discernible.

I am having servo subs built to roughly match the ERRs. I am still experimenting with placement options and how best to integrate. I recently came across the DEQX line of products, and I confess I am fascinated by their possibilities in an Ultra-based system.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #25 - 01/07/12 at 20:01:16
 
And I am looking hard at the Trinaural Processor. It is very interesting, all-analog, and can be integrated into a multi-channel HT setup. The question is, do I have the right kind of speakers for this, or are the ERRs all wrong for this appoach, or maybe I already have all the imaging I need. Probably the only way to find out is to try them and make sure I have return privileges.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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mac5u
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #26 - 02/01/12 at 01:22:14
 
Hey PR, it's been awhile since I've been on this forum.  Interesting to see you thinking about trying the Trinaural Processor.  I wish I could give you an answer to your question as to whether adding it would be a benefit or not with the ERRs.  Every post I have read by anyone using it has always involved a conventional speaker with a forward-firing tweeter.  

Speaking of the ERRs, I was hoping to read more about your experience with them and the Ultra in an HT /MC set-up. I'm just going to have to figure out a way to get over the the West Coast.... Wink
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Pale Rider
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #27 - 02/01/12 at 13:49:37
 
Hey mac5u, good to hear from you again. The Trinaural Processor remains interesting to me, but I need to find a way to audition it or be able to return it.

The Ultra, the Toriis, and ERRs remain wonderful and just seem to get better. Lately, I have done much more 2-channel listening with the PerfectWave DAC. But probably 2-3 times per week, we either watch BluRay or play a surround disc.  The sound is just amazing. Even without subs, six ERRs can pump out some serious sound. I am having some subs built using the Rhythmik subs and GR Research amps in downfiring cabinets designed to closely resemble the ERRs.

In addition to looking at the Trinaural, I am considering the DBQX processor. I think it could have a significant impact on my system. We shall see.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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Steven Nolan
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Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #28 - 02/14/12 at 11:16:29
 
Home theater is always best of its quality. There is no need to do changes or modifications in it.
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Dealing with hum
Reply #29 - 04/08/12 at 02:27:04
 
Hello to all,

If you have a cable box hooked up in any system, this could be the most important thing you can do for a purer sound.

A cable box commonly will introduce some degree of hum into a system, and will completely ruin your listening experience. This may be why some avoid having a cable box in the same system as their higher-end components, since cable box hum can literally spread to those components like a disease.  But why does this happen?

In my system I had a hum that drove me nuts.  The hum was present with input from both my cable box and my bluray player (but not from an iPod), all going through a decware switchbox.  

** What was really weird was that even when the bluray player was NOT PLUGGED IN it still sent hum to the amp! **

I didn't know the source of hum until I realized there was probably a difference between the input cable ground potential and the AC ground potential.

I finally figured out that the hum from the unplugged bluray player was actually from the cable box, because the hum from the cable box went via HDMI to the flat screen, and then from the flat screen via HDMI to the bluray player, and then from the bluray player via analog cables to the amp. Tricky.

Then after some internet searching I discovered the ISO-MAX VRD-1FF Cable TV Ground Isolator, made by Jensen Transformers.

It is a small ground potential matching device that attaches to the cable itself, and it works wonders.  It's not that expensive for what it does (about $60 as I recall), and all you do is put this little bit of magic between the input cable and the cable box and it automagically eliminates the hum.  What a HUGE difference when the hum goes away.

Unfortunately, the ISO-MAX does NOT work with a satellite-based cable system - it only works with standard cable.

In general, I would say if you have a cable box the ISO-MAX is a MUST in any non-satellite system, even if there isn't a noticeable hum, and whatever else you have in the system. A very low, minor hum your ears will hear but your mind may not notice, and this can distract a lot more than you may realize; kind of like the sound of a refrigerator at a distance that you don't notice, until it goes off.  Then all of a sudden your ears say, "Ahhhhhh...".  

After the ISO-MAX, my ears said "Ahhhhhhh...".  And it's not really a quantifiable thing - it's more a "feeling" of depth and clarity, more of a "punch" that wasn't there before.  It's hard to describe. And it sounds like more power now from those two little watts.

And my flat screen looks better too, clearer and sharper with more depth, since AC hum is not going into it.

Thanks, and happy listening,

Gary

Decware SE84C+ (with cce)
Decware switchbox
EVS modified Sony BDP-S570 blu-ray player
Audio Nirvana 15" Alnico full-range drivers in open baffles
Home-made speaker cables from Belden top line CAT5 cable
Paul Speltz Zero Anti-ICs
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« Last Edit: 04/08/12 at 18:42:36 by Coherent Sound »  

Forget about distortion-free sound. All sound is distortion. If one seat at a live performance sounds different than another, what is the "original" pure sound? There is no such thing. In the end all that matters is, what kind of distortion makes you smile?
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Pale Rider
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Posts: 1272
Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #30 - 03/23/13 at 14:38:07
 
It was funny to come back and read this post, because a few weeks ago, I finally ran to "ground" [sorry, couldn't resist] the last remaining hum in my system. And it was the cable box. Gary couldn't have been more right.

Anyway, I ended up buying this little insert on Amazon, and it worked flawlessly. If I hadn't done it myself, I would have thought it was magic. My kids thought so.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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Pale Rider
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Posts: 1272
Re: Ideas for Tube-based Home Theater
Reply #31 - 04/15/13 at 04:43:20
 
Over in RoyMercer's man cave thread, I mentioned I have also decided to try a DEQX Mate in my system. My first focus will be the 2.2 part of the system, but am hoping I can get some benefit from it in the 5.2 part as well.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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