Digital from input to output?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by GeorgeTW, Nov 17, 2002.

  1. GeorgeTW

    GeorgeTW Stunt Coordinator

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    Now that digital is more than just a buzzword in Home Theater, I was wondering if anyone has seen or heard of a completely digital system? How much better could the sound be if the DSP(processing and separating) chips output to a digital coax or toslink connector? It would eliminate problems with speaker wire.

    In the musician's world, this has already been accomplished. The digital PA systems that transmit light instead of electrons have phenomenal sound in a small package. The D-A processor is so small, it adds nothing to the volume of a self-powered speaker. When will consumers see this in the HT market?
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Meridian already has one of these.

    The 'receiver' actually sends the signal digitally to each speaker where a D/A circuit feeds separate monoblock amps for each driver.

    The receiver has tons of adjustments as level and equalization control can be applied to each driver independently of the others. I belive a PC can be connected to the receiver to do all the setup/adjustments.

    A disapointing thing, the cables to the speakers are not ordinary cat5 cables, but networking cables with special connectors which means you have to buy their cables at a hefty price.

    The system, about $12,000 for a 5.1 setup.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Analog, if done right, still sounds better. Many audiophiles will tell you vinyl is still the best, so I don't think digital really buys you that much.

    Digital to an amplified speaker would be fine, but as noted, it won't be inexpensive either.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  5. GeorgeTW

    GeorgeTW Stunt Coordinator

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    I won't disagree that vinyl can't sound good but the only analog system that realized this to my ears was expensive.
    Made by Linn, it was the only flawless playback of an LP I had heard. To this day I keep an old Hafler preamp around in case I need to make a digital copy of an LP, but my turntable is a very old BIC that constantly needs attention.

    If I could find a new turntable for a modest price, I would invest, but the median market for these seems to have disappeared. They are either cheap, or esoteric. I know of no middle ground product.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    george -
    if you're looking for a good middle-ground turntable, check out the rega and music-hall brands. i belive they can be hand for the 200-300 range. i was going to buy one, but my plans fell through.
    here's a thread i started a while ago if you're interested:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=84150
    or just do a search in the audio/video forum.
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Why would you want this though? All this would do would be to move the D/A conversion to the speakers. You are stuck with extremely expensive, and large speakers, and you can't mix and match amps etc that you like. You are stuck from start to finish with this system. Now, sure, a meridian system would probably be extremely nice, but its the same thing as wireless speakers... it really doesn't change anything. The ONLY weakness that it might eliminate would be analog interconnects. I guess I dont see the point in this...seems kinda silly to me.



    ?? What problems? For 12 grand for a meridian system, you could stick with what you've got and buy some DAAAAMn nice speaker cable.... Really, the only thing that having d/a conversion at the speaker would do, would be to physically move the d/a and amp stages to the speaker... again, HUGE cost, very limited options...seems pretty dumb to me...
     
  8. GeorgeTW

    GeorgeTW Stunt Coordinator

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    well, I may not be up on current events, but

    1. impedance loading
    2. damping factor
    3. watt loss

    could be improved by self-contained speakers where long connections and crossover networks are eliminated.
    Direct amping isn't new, and it sounds as though Meridian has moved in that direction.

    Remember when crossover designers stopped treating speakers as a resistive load, and started considering actual impedance of a driver that varies with frequency? This is the sort of quantum leap forward that a pure digital system could allow.

    I don't believe the cost would have to be huge, as compact ampflier stages would not take up any more room than the elaborate, expensive crossover stages did before them.

    Consider that self-powered subs are a direct amplification straight from the HT receiver.
    The mid/hi frequencies don't need huge power. The lion's share of every full-range amp is reproducing lower Hz. Remove that from the equation, and the mid/hi requirement can be significantly reduced in weight/size. Additionaly, the A/C cord needed to get a powered cabinet to an outlet is no larger than the speaker cables we already run, and we all know the diminuitive Toslink isn't affected by AC.

    As was already mentioned, some of the Meridian's cost is tied up in its interconnection, but as Bob mentions, none of this is exotic. Without knowing Meridian, but knowing the industry, I suggest that some of the proprietary expense in the Meridian system was put there deliberately to prevent a smarter consumer from saving $$$. They could have used Toslink, or even plain old XLR audio cable to move their control signals, but instead they choose a method that is not availble to the masses. Remember the cost of a 3' optical cable when MiniDiscs were first introduced in 1993?

    Those are the reasons I want to see 'digital' all the way thru. Thank you for taking the time to respond, and take care.
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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