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Home Theater Update (Read 7776 times)
Pale Rider
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Home Theater Update
03/23/13 at 14:43:40
 
Just a brief update. I have a few new components I am going to be trying in my system: (1) the Lumin [don't get me started on pricing policies, but a close friend who tracks with me on this hobby pushed me hard to give it a try]; and (2) the Baetis Revolution media server.

The Lumin interests me as noted before for its ability to match the PWD's network playback and to play DSD. Its downside is that it is limited to 64x for the foreseeable future. If the Lumin works out, well, we will see. If it works out, then the Mytek can be placed in my headphone rig, which is about to get its new Taboo.

The Baetis is a very interesting device. I stumbled across it as I was looking for ways to make it easier to play and manage my growing BluRay library [a large part of which is BluRay audio]. Although it is possible, and not terribly difficult to rip BR discs, I would prefer to keep the originals intact and simply make it easier to play them. The Oppo 105 does a superb job of doing that, but then there is that disc-swapping thing, that grand chasm that so divides Lon and me in this mortal veil. Grin So, the Baetis will let me manage my BR library with the same facility as my DVD and audio library, maybe even better [and that's saying something for this Mac guy], and it may permit me to consolidate it all together. I spent fair bit of time writing and speaking with the developer. He hasn't yet had a chance to see how the Baetis will do serving files over Ethernet to network players like the PWD and Lumin, so we are both going to learn something here.

I am also going to investigate whether an Emotiva pre/pro can take the place of both my Outlaw & Zektor. It appears it can, due to the apparently well-engineered Emotiva Direct Audio mode. There is no question it appears to be a better, faster video signal switcher, but whether its audio switching is as good as the Zektor's superb passive relays remains to be heard. I won't know until I actually stick it in the system. A/B comparison will be impossible, and likely fruitless, so it will probably require a little attentive listening, some note taking, etc. But it would be great if I could consolidate two boxes.

I will post before/after system diagrams if anyone is interested.

[X_POSTING ALERT: I also posted this info over in a thread about the PS Audio PWD.]
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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: Home Theater Update
Reply #1 - 03/23/13 at 18:34:35
 
FWIW, here is a diagram of the system as it will be at the end of this week. Right now, there is an Outlaw 975/Zektor MAS7.1 where the Emotiva is planned to be, and the Baetis and Lumin are both still inbound. Within about a month, the 411+ will be replaced with an 1812+.

Not included in the diagram are PS Audio Power Plants and a Mac mini with external drive.

Edited to correct diagram.
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« Last Edit: 03/23/13 at 19:12:26 by Pale Rider »  

20130323_GLH_AudioSystemDiagram.jpg

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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beowulf
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #2 - 03/26/13 at 01:04:05
 
I must say, you are a real pioneer when it comes to this stuff ... with all those packages coming it must be like Christmas every other day at the "Rider's" residence!

By the way, the layout/legend is awesome and I can see a lot of thought and effort has gone into it.

I will be SO curious to see what components are going to unltimately be left in the mix for optimum system synergy and ease of playback! Smiley
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beowulf
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #3 - 03/26/13 at 01:11:07
 
Ok, so let me get this straight ...

1. The Baetis is repacing the Mac Mini as a means of sorting all your different playback formats?  For the price of this guy it seems like it could/should do more.

2. The Emotiva is replacing the Zektor as your switching device (depending on how it performs in comparison).

3. You have both the Lumin and PS Audio as Network streaming through the Beatis which is also accessing data stored on the Synology and pulling DAC duty as well.

Am I missing anything here? Smiley
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« Last Edit: 03/26/13 at 02:00:28 by beowulf »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #4 - 03/26/13 at 03:51:51
 
beowulf, the Baetis is doing a bit more than that, especially with respect to BluRay archiving, serving, and management. Granted, it's not cheap, but when one compares it to an optimized CAPS server as spec'ed by Chris Connaker over at Computer Audiophile, and considering it has a full warranty and support, it's actually reasonably priced. And much as I am a Mac guy, the Baetis/JRMC combo is better at delivering bit perfect hi-res files, including DSD, over a network, than the mini. In fact, there is no easy means for the mini to do that. Right now, some of that is being done by the MinimServer on the Synology NAS, but if one actually reviews the Baetis capabilities, they are quite deep. Right now, there is no comparable capability on the Mac platform.

I will have the ability to test streaming to both the Lumin and the PWD from both the Baetis and the Synology. Should be an interesting comparison.

Otherwise, you've got it! In all candor, had I not seen/heard the Baetis backing up the Teresonic Ingenium speakers at a demo, I might have been less persuaded, but that was compelling.
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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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JD
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #5 - 03/26/13 at 16:37:28
 
Pale Rider my friend you should charge admission I'm sure the sound is something else.

JD
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Pale Rider
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #6 - 03/26/13 at 21:58:45
 
I dunno JD, this seemed the only way I could get people to come visit!
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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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beowulf
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #7 - 03/26/13 at 22:35:08
 
Quote:
PR,
the Baetis is doing a bit more than that, especially with respect to BluRay archiving, serving, and management.


You know, I went back to their website and I have to agree with your statement after going through the tremendous amount of information they have.  I actually learned quite a lot about setup and what one should be looking to do if trying tackle something like this for themselves.  I can see a lot of thought went into it such as isolated connections, power supplies, etc. I also see it can take advantage of the Red Wine Audio external Black Lightning High-Current Battery Power Supply that I've been hearing about Cool

If they could add a RAID storage array it could replace the NAS as well ... I don't know if they would ever go that route, but to me it's only one step away from an audiophile/videophile dream NAS.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #8 - 03/27/13 at 13:25:04
 
beowulf fantasized:
Quote:
If they could add a RAID storage array it could replace the NAS as well ... I don't know if they would ever go that route, but to me it's only one step away from an audiophile/videophile dream NAS.

TBH, I was surprised they included the hard drive they did, though I am glad they did, because it really completes the experience as a total server. In effect, Baetis is saying: "If you need more space than this, god bless you, but you're on your own." The drive market is a tough place to play as a vendor, and I am not sure I would want to be supporting anything more than an external drive. The 1.5tb drive they include is small enough that it likely doesn't impact the placement of the unit, and it meets specific throughput requirements. But if you start to get larger or more complicated, I think you begin to run into problems with everything from placement to support. Also, as a small operation I would bet that Baetis is a long way from being able to beat consumer prices on drives [the latest WD Red NAS drives I just added to my NAS are only $160 at Amazon; wish the 4tb were available].

Also, different folks like different NAS types, based primarily in my view on their software feature sets. If I were Baetis, I would not want to be in that guessing or support game. [In my use of my Synology NAS, I am often amazed at how difficult it is on the forums to diagnose and solve problems, and to communicate about them, deal with all the network issues, etc.; "So, is it a Raid 1, a 6, or an SHR?" "Hmm, not sure, how do I find out?"] In contrast, their choice of JRiver has strong market and user community support. And although they do undertake a consultative support role, it's essentially limited to the device they have built. Granted, they could do that with an NAS, but I think that's begging for trouble. There is no clear #1 NAS to mimic; with JRiver, that appears to have been an easy decision.

FWIW, I chose to upgrade the internal SSD to 256gb and to go with 16gb RAM. I am migrating my 411+ to the 1812+ tonight. The 1812+ will be purely dedicated to music & video. The 411+ will be dedicated to file backup and service for non-media. The Lumin is now in-system and breaking in with music. 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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Pale Rider
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #9 - 04/02/13 at 14:13:28
 
Another incremental update. After spending a little time installing and configuring the Cisco SG300-10 [including link aggregation for the Synology 1812+], I noticed a dramatic improvement in network performance. That's no real surprise, of course, because that's one of the purposes of such a switch. The performance improvement is amazing. My NAS [even while it is chugging along on a multi-day volume expansion task] is serving up the PWD [tested with 192/24 files], the Lumin [tested with DSD files], and the Oppo for video [BluRay rips], with no apparent performance degradation for any renderer. This is a lot of data moving through the network at one time.
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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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beowulf
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #10 - 04/03/13 at 04:26:18
 
Quote:
PR,
Another incremental update. After spending a little time installing and configuring the Cisco SG300-10 [including link aggregation for the Synology 1812+], I noticed a dramatic improvement in network performance.


Hi PR, so is this a regular cable or dsl line and does the switch get plugged into a generic cable/dsl modem or is that upgraded as well?
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Pale Rider
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #11 - 04/03/13 at 13:43:58
 
beowulf, I have cable for my internet service, and I have a relatively recent Comcast modem with DOCSIS 3.0, like this one, though I have a request into Comcast for a modem without wireless. I use a couple of Airport Extremes to distribute wireless around the house. The Cisco is plugged in to the cable modem, and I use it to distribute internet access and segregate certain network traffic.
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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: Home Theater Update
Reply #12 - 04/04/13 at 00:59:03
 
Another update: I added the Emotiva UMC-200 in to the system last night. It was able to replace the Outlaw 975 and the Zektor MAS7.1. I believe on home theater, it has noticeably better unprocessed sound than the Outlaw, and its DSP capabilities are remarkably robust for a unit of its price. It easily exceeds my older Denon AVR. In fact, my preliminary pass with its room EQ suggests it may give the DSPeaker Anti-Mode a run for its money at basic sub management. Probably not completely, once I get a chance to fully run the DSPeaker in [it arrived today], but it's good enough on the 5.1 home theater where audio SQ remains excellent, and the first pass of automatic EQ was very impressive. The DSPeaker will be dedicated purely to stereo playback in my listening room. I have the Emotiva already programmed to be able to send EQ'ed home theater to my Decware Ultra, non-EQ'ed SACD/BlueRay/DVD-A audio to the Ultra, EQ'ed stereo through the DSPeaker, and non-EQ'ed stereo straight to the Ultra. Should be fun.

Also, in Direct Mode for audio inputs, its SQ is certainly the match for the Zektor, which is to say, it is as though both are not in the system when switching between unprocessed audio inputs.
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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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beowulf
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #13 - 04/16/13 at 08:13:25
 
Quote:
In fact, my preliminary pass with its room EQ suggests it may give the DSPeaker Anti-Mode a run for its money at basic sub management. Probably not completely, once I get a chance to fully run the DSPeaker in [it arrived today], but it's good enough on the 5.1 home theater where audio SQ remains excellent, and the first pass of automatic EQ was very impressive. The DSPeaker will be dedicated purely to stereo playback in my listening room.

Also, in Direct Mode for audio inputs, its SQ is certainly the match for the Zektor, which is to say, it is as though both are not in the system when switching between unprocessed audio inputs.


Wow PR, this is getting interesting.  You are setting new ground in the integration of tube/analog based home theater.  It's also nice to see that there are companies out there like Decware that can give good bang for the buck (considering that the Emotiva UMC-200 is relatively inexpensive compared to a lot of other processors out there).

Quote:
I have the Emotiva already programmed to be able to send EQ'ed home theater to my Decware Ultra, non-EQ'ed SACD/BlueRay/DVD-A audio to the Ultra, EQ'ed stereo through the DSPeaker, and non-EQ'ed stereo straight to the Ultra. Should be fun.


OK, are we talking easy setup?  It's like each component you have is setup to process differently.  Was the interface pretty straight forward to setup?

Also, when it comes to the DSpeaker and you say EQ'ed Stereo, what is processing/EQ'ing before it gets to the DSpeaker?
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Pale Rider
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Re: Home Theater Update
Reply #14 - 04/16/13 at 14:55:10
 
beowulf: setup is surprisingly straightforward. Although the Emotive OSD is not exactly like working on a Mac, once you understand the interface, assigning inputs and modes is easy.

I have updated and altered my listening impressions a bit. The Emotiva is good, surprisingly good, and at its price is quite the bargain. What they have packed into this device for $600 is very, very impressive; it does indeed define "bang for the buck." But it is not on a par with Decware, and while that may not be obvious on casual listening or during home theater, it is apparent during high quality audio such as BluRay. Its Direct Mode is also good, but it appears to control gain in Direct Mode digitally, and leaving it set at 0 is not pragmatic. So, I plan to insert a Zektor switch in between the Emotiva and the Oppo, so I can run 5.1 from each into the Ultra. This way, the Oppo, the AppleTV, and the Comcast DVR can all benefit from the Emotiva's DSP, but for serious listening out of the Oppo, I can bypass the Emotiva.

Still, as a home theater pre/pro, I am actually very impressed with the Emotiva; I may yet upgrade to a more mid-level processor, but I might not. If Emotiva manages to incorporate TacT processing, with PC/Mac integration, into the $1499 XMC-1 pre/pro, they will sell a ton of those, and I will be one of the buyers. TacT in a 7.2 system at that price would be killer, and it would be a direct corollary to the DEQX on the 2.0 side. The UMC-200's room/sub management is pretty good, but I have focused that use on 5.1, am happy with its outcome, and do not intend to muck with it on the 2.0 side. So, I cannot say really how it compares with the DSPeaker 2.0; as compared between home theater and 2.0, I would say the Emo is effective, and manages to improve room/bass interaction in a way that is comparable in significance.

The Baetis Revolution arrives today. I have officially run out of room on my ZRACKs  :-/ But I am looking forward to adding it to the system.The Baetis will have three definite uses in the system, and maybe a fourth:

1. BluRay server [this one I am pretty psyched about], and depending on how well it does this and storage allocation on the network, as well as parental controls in the JRiver MC the Baetis uses, I may integrate BluRay & DVD into the one device;

2. As a direct play into the PWD;

3. As a network stream for the Lumin and the PWD [this will be a work in progress].

4. The Baetis may also become the hub of whole-house service. We shall see. I like the designer's philosophy, no-BS approach to high quality audio, and the value he is building into his machines. Funny, my first PC in years, and it's an HTPC. A lot of this may depend on just how flexible the Baetis is as a home theater processor.
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« Last Edit: 04/16/13 at 15:28:37 by Pale Rider »  

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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