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How much will Receivers change by this fall? Next spring? Infinite time?


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   EmetW

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Posted April 13 2003 - 07:11 AM

Hey everyone, I think I have decided to go with a Sony ES receiver/DVD player in August for my new home to match the Sony plasma 42" I have my eye on right now Posted Image I think it will be either the 2es, 3es, 4es, or 5es, depending on what their availability on the used market will be in 6 months and if I have talked myself into "needing" 6.1 or 7.1 over 5.1 by then.

My question is, by this point in time how much will receivers have changed? It seems all of these companies are quickly putting out recivers by the truckload every few months (such as HK with their '10, '20, and '25 series receivers, all of which are almost identical with the exception of a few such as the 325 and 525 adding extra channels). Will receivers change much by August? Or even summer of 2004? Are manufacturers just going to keep adding more channels? Doesn't seem they can do much benefit to receivers as now 192khz processing seems as good as needed, 7 channels is about all we need without a major revamp of surround sound technology itself...and it will be tough for manufacturers to squeeze more watts into receivers to be beneficial enough for a consumer to hear a difference (and they haven't changed much in wattage over a product line of receivers in the past five years or so. The top of the line ES receiver still puts out 120 per channel, etc.).

So I want to hear some speculation for 6 months, 1 year, and infinite time about where the surround sound industry is headed, mainly concerning receivers. Basically, are we in a day and age where manufacturers are perfecting current product lines faster than indirect associations are pulling out new technologies to call for new product lines?

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Jason GT

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Posted April 13 2003 - 07:56 AM

First off, I know very little about the bleeding edge of HT, but here's my opinion anyways Posted Image

If you're concerned about the progress of HT and don't mind spending a bit more money (which, if your plasma desire indicates, you do Posted Image ), you may want to look into separates.
If things do change, like additional channels, you can always add amplifier channels and replace the prepro.

However, I think it's worthwhile to look at what is in movie theaters right now: I don't think that HT will outstrip what you see in theaters. To that extent, I don't think you'll see that 11.2 or 17.2 or whatever.whatever showcase system that ISTR reading about in a THX article.

The current state of the software art is 6.1, and adoption of that has been slow at best (look at the relatively small number of 6.1 releases, and IIRC the number of new releases that are 'only' 5.1). That said, I think you'll be fairly safe with 7.1 for the next little while. IMO the next step to surroundage will be adding a vertical element (like front surround), and that will be a MAJOR paradigm shift; it's even debatable how much cost-effective benefit will be derived from that, and how many people (or spouses Posted Image) will be willing to put up with more speakers.

Hope you didn't fall asleep while reading Posted Image

EDIT: I think for the HT enthusiast, the next step will be more evolution that revolution, such as changes in amplification (digital amps for instance) and such rather than major changes in surround formats.

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 13 2003 - 08:26 AM

Quote:
The current state of the software art is 6.1, and adoption of that has been slow at best

Going by what's in movie theaters right now, the current state of the art is 5.1, not 6.1. DD EX is considered a 5.1 format; check Dolby's site if you don't believe me.

The only true "6.1" format is DTS-ES Discrete, which is only available in the home version of DTS (a completely different format from the theatrical version). More titles are appearing, but it remains a specialty format.

If there are new format developments within the next year or two, I suspect they will be on the audio front rather than with HT software. Otherwise, I think you'll see further refinement of the use of 7-speaker setups at the lower end. (The high end has had this for some time.)

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#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Jason GT

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Posted April 13 2003 - 09:53 AM

Thanks for nitpicking my post, Michael Posted Image

Incidentally, I have an okay feel for what HT sound is (5.1/6.1/7.1), but where can I find information about what is the typical sound setup in an actual theatre?

Thanks,
J

#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 13 2003 - 10:27 AM

I don't consider it "nitpicking". The misuse of 5.1/6.1/7.1 has been the source of more confusion here than almost any other topic. People think that their system is somehow lacking because it's "only" 5.1 (which, no doubt, is part of the goal of the hardware manufacturers when they mix up the terminology). In reality, 5.1 is THE standard format for film sound today, both in the theater and at home. Even DD EX and DTS-ES tracks are mixed for 5.1 reproduction, because that's the standard.

DTS is also partly to blame. I have always considered DTS-ES Discrete to be more of a marketing gimmick than a genuine advance in motion picture sound. And as far as I'm concerned, DTS has tacitly conceded as much by not even trying to develop a theatrical version of ES Discrete.

I think Dolby's site has some technical papers on theatrical installations, and I'm sure THX has some as well. Part of the problem is that there's a wide variety of configurations, because there's no standard for the shape of a theatrical "space".

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#6 of 29 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted April 13 2003 - 11:20 AM

Didn't some one/group just come up with a new channel that goes overhead? I thought I remembered reading something about that a few months ago. Who knows if that will catch on.

Aaron

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted April 14 2003 - 03:06 AM

IMO, the next major feature you will see added to A/V receivers will be multi-channel digital audio inputs (which is already happening in some flagship receivers), and eventually combined audio/video digital inputs/outputs. This will make the interconnection of components much simpler. I do not see any sound format supporting more than 7 speakers (plus subwoofer) being very successful in the home -- how are most people going to fit any more speakers into their rooms?

#8 of 29 OFFLINE   Mark Hedges

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Posted April 14 2003 - 04:03 AM

What about digital amps? I don't really understand that much about them, but I know a couple of companies are touting products featuring them.

Mark

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   JasonMA

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Posted April 14 2003 - 05:23 AM

I wanted to address the question of changes to receiver technology in "infinite time."

I'm not trying to be funny or anything by posting this, and I know it may seem like a stupid idea, but I think that the next major change in home theater technology should be some type of sensory stimulation besides just sight and sound (and for those with good subs the feeling of bass.)

I'm talking about things like water misters, fans, heaters, and machines that can produce different odors. I know it sounds crazy, but imagine watching a movie like "The Perfect Storm" and having the mist machine and the fan blowing moist air around the room, or "Twister" where you actually feel the wind. Or a movie that's set in a garden and you smell roses, or in a garbage dump and you smell the garbage. Or watching "The Core" and feeling the heat around you. I know it's extreme, but don't you think that these types of sensory stimuli would enhance the home theater experience more than a setup with 20 speakers.

Another cool thing would be for furniture that moved around in sync with the movie. Like a couch that would whip you from side to side during the podrace scene in "The Phantom Menace."

I realize that it may be a long time before such technology would become available, or for that matter affordable, but a guy can dream, can't he? I would imagine it would be easy enough to encode a movie with a track to set off the different machines necessary for the effect to be felt. Coming up with a standard for what machines are necessary for such a setup would probably be the biggest factor in getting this set up.

I'm sure the posts on this forum would get very interesting though:

"I just got my Yamaha 5000X receiver and they added 12 new odors decoders and 4 seperate mist levels!"

"Which fan and odor machines go best with my Onkyo T12-345Z"

"DIY modification to change your Lay-Z-Boy into a motion chair!"

"Dolby Digital Olfaction 5 or DTS Scent 5, which is better?"

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#10 of 29 OFFLINE   Jed M

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Posted April 14 2003 - 06:10 AM

OK, I am not going as far into the future as Jason did, but as far as infinite goes I believe the future of most receivers (there will always be a niche for the "old ways") will be an integrated pc/entertainment center (upgraded version of an HTPC). It will be your security system, your lighting system, your entertainment system, your game system, your internet connection, your telecommunications, etc... all from one box. Kinda of like what Microsoft and Sony are trying to start with the X-box and PS2 respectively.

Immediately I am not too concerned with adding more channels because, like others, I think they may have hit a maximum number of speakers that will fit in a room. Maybe 8, but thats about it. What I see is what Scott said, more digital inputs for audio and video and maybe something like a Logic 7 becoming the next DPLII down the road.
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#11 of 29 OFFLINE   Kelly Scott Rickards

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Posted April 14 2003 - 08:09 AM

Without question, there will be some big changes in the next year or so:

1)Digital outputs (firewire perhaps?) for both DVDA and SACD players will mean future recievers will have internal MLP/DSD decoders and firewire ins.....

2)HDMI and or DVI/HDCP inputs and/or switching

Most importantly will be 3)the switch to class D amps in future recievers....

Take a look as Sony's upcoming ES products

http://www.sony-euro....?articleid=897

The flagship TA-DA9000ES will accept a DSD audio digitally from the SCD-XA9000ES Super Audio CD player and decode in internally....the DSD signal remains in its pure digital state until the final analog ouput stage to the speakers...even the amps are digital......there is only a *single* digital to analog conversion and a pure digital audio path....this, I don't have to tell you, is a desirable process...

Digital amps are also quiet, run cool, are smaller, cheaper,easier to manufacturer and are about 90% efficient (as opposed to analog amps, which are around the 60% level) plus they don't have even order harmonic distortions, whatever that means....

Here is a pic of the STR-DA5000ES


http://gallery.consu....mages/GetFile4(1).jpg

Expect to see more products like this, the sharp and pannys 1-bit recievers and the HK 1001 in the future...

*waits patiently for flagship Denon THX2 reciever with the above features*

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   Bill Will

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Posted April 14 2003 - 03:56 PM

I thought I saw an article once stating that some company was working on a way of sending out 100's of different sound waves to different parts of the room thus eliminating the need for rear speakers & etc. Don't ask me how you would calibrate a system like that but maybe the receiver would calibrate it's self like some Pioneer's can do. I think that will be the biggest "new" feature in the future "self-calibration" As for sound waves now that's something that I think every woman would love because they would'nt have to put up with those "ugly" surround speakers, as they might put it Posted Image

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   EmetW

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Posted April 14 2003 - 04:48 PM

Hey, just wanted to say thanks to all of you out there for your feedback and I apologize for not being able to respond sooner. I have considered going with the separates route by buying some older Sony STR-GA900ES's and using their front channels as the power amps (I am almost 100% sure they have Sony's power swapping feature that lets it run direct preamp inputs to these channels) so two together would yield 6 120 watt ES channels of fun for less than $200 most likely off of ebay Posted Image Though I am getting a 42" plasma most likely, I'd like to save on all other aspects as much as possible (except for speakers which I already have thank goodness).

I agree with the comments about the smell/mist incorporation in movies. Although some movies might be interesting if they have this feature...either way that would be funny..."Star Wars re-released, with digitally remastered SMELLtrack!"

For my personal setup:
I like the idea of separates for future upgradability; just not the cost Posted Image My question now is what is a good but inexpensive 6.1 or 7.1 preamp or receiver that has 6.1 or 7.1 outputs? I know a lot of people use the Sony STR-DA4ES, but this is more than I would like to spend on something I will be using only as a preamp. When did Sony start making 6.1 receivers with 6.1 outputs?

#14 of 29 OFFLINE   EmetW

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Posted April 14 2003 - 04:57 PM

Oh, one quick thing, I like the comment about going to digital amps...what about class-T or Tripath amps? Alpine was going to have tripath amps in one of their in dash CD players a couple years ago that would have an RMS output of 4x80 watts from 20-20,000hz!! It would be cool to see this in home amps perhaps, although the space factor is not so big; the preservation of the digital signal all the way to the speaker outputs is such as in HK's new DPR-1001 receiver.

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   Craig_Kg

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Posted April 14 2003 - 06:13 PM

Quote:
My question now is what is a good but inexpensive 6.1 or 7.1 preamp or receiver that has 6.1 or 7.1 outputs? I know a lot of people use the Sony STR-DA4ES, but this is more than I would like to spend on something I will be using only as a preamp.

This is EXACTLY why I use a STR-DA2ES (well, our equivalent - the STR-DB1080) as a prepro. It has virtually all the formats of the 4ES.

I'd rather have holographic projection than smellovision. Posted Image
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#16 of 29 OFFLINE   EmetW

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Posted April 15 2003 - 04:31 AM

Craig-holographic projection does sound cool-have you seen Minority Report? Tom Cruise's character uses a holographic type projector-I can see it now-processors with Dolby Pro Logic for old 2 dimensional films that bring them into a matrixed 3d image and new releases being in 3d...wait, didn't we see that with the multicolor glasses? Posted Image

Hmm, the STR-DB1080, huh? I know we've had DB receivers here in the states that have ES processing with regular Sony amps so time to do some research...

#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Robert McClanahan

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Posted April 15 2003 - 02:03 PM

I think 5.1 might be the "standard" but 6.1 is the state of the art.The theatrical audio mix is also different then what you get when the DVD is released.I remember when laserdiscs were always touted as having the original theatrical mix,like Jurassic park DTS and Casper DTS.I wish the studios would just leave the audio mix alone.That said,I would personally stay away from Sony receivers and get a high current HK or Rotel. Posted Image

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 15 2003 - 04:12 PM

Quote:
6.1 is the state of the art.
The "state of the art" in motion picture exhibition is SDDS-8, which is a true 7.1 format -- but not in a configuration that is anything like what is available for HT, because the additional two channels are in front.

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#19 of 29 OFFLINE   SvenS

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Posted April 15 2003 - 04:20 PM

Quote:
That said,I would personally stay away from Sony receivers and get a high current HK or Rotel.
See here we go again with these posters who blurt out negatives about a whole line of receivers from a certain manufacturer but don't qualify it with a reason why. You obviously have never heard of Sony ES receivers which have high current amps/power supplies (less the 2ES) as do those of Denon, Yamaha, HK etc...

DD-EX and DTS-ES Matrixed are NOT 5.1 audio formats but are in fact 6.1 audio formats that use the rear surrounds as a carrier for the rear center surround which is matrixed. If it was merely 5.1 with the decoder simply doing the 6th channel matrixing itself it would be the same as DPL-11 or DTS-NEO that take a 5.1 audio and by itself matrix a 5th channel out of it.

#20 of 29 OFFLINE   Craig_Kg

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Posted April 15 2003 - 06:39 PM

Quote:
Hmm, the STR-DB1080, huh? I know we've had DB receivers here in the states that have ES processing with regular Sony amps so time to do some research...

The STR-DB1080 is the non-Nth American version of the STR-DA2ES (just as the STR-DB780 is the equivalant to the STR-DA1ES) and it is a QS model. It's just a naming thing (apart from the extended ES warranty)

Check out this spec sheet
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