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External DTS Decoder

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Lyle Marshall, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. Lyle Marshall

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    Does anyone here have any experience with an external decoder?
     
  2. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Adam
    Some of our members may have had experience with external DTS decoders in the past (Denon and Millennium, for example) but they're quite uncommon these days. Did you have any specific questions you wanted answering?

    Adam
     
  3. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I use a Technics SH-AC500D but the problem is that it doesn't do things such as bass management (neither did the millenium), down-mixing channels (for those that don't have a center channel this really is bad), and no dnr (for those who might want to compress the tracks due to neighbors and late night listening). Even with all these problems, the listening level I normally listen at my decoder still sounds better than most AVRs under $1000 I've heard but most likely this is due to the near field listening and separate amps that I employ.

    I highly recommend checking out some of the minor features you might be interested in as this might be the point to make a decision between upgrade your processor or live with the deficiency of the DTS decoder.
     
  4. Lyle Marshall

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    well my receiver does not have DTS, so I was just wondering how good these external decoder's are. I will probally be better off buying a receiver that supports DTS.
     
  5. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Robert

    As far as the Technics mentioned goes, it dose allow for small and large settings for center, mains, surrounds. The crossover Hz selection is "fixed" and the same for any channels set small tho, (small=fixed 100Hz I belive) and the sub picks up from their down. You can run large front, small center, small surrounds, and sub, or any combination, ect.

    If you mean (separate selectable crossover settings) for all the channels, (60,80,100,120Hz, etc,) when a channel is set small, NO it dose not allow for this. Anything small is 100Hz as I remember.

    It DOSE have "DR-Compresion", but only works in DD-5.1 not DTS. Works very good, but ONLY accessable with the remote.

    It DOSE also offer channel level volume setting with it's internal test tone noise and delay.

    The Technics SH-AC-500D is an excellent stand alone digital DPL, DD, DTS, decoder and also offers Stereo along with pass threw stereo and 2-channel line out.

    Trying to remember the extras as I own one, but it's not in use at this time and the manual is in the upstairs filing cabinet. If you might want some info Robert, let me know and I will go dig the manual out.

    Lyle
    In order to use an external decoder like the 500 talked of here, you must have 5.1 inputs on your current receiver. The Technics SH-AC500D is the best sounding, now cheaply priced decoder I've heard to this point. Listened to the Onk, Yammi-DPII, and another brand, and the 500 kicked their but. Seems strange, but it did sound the best and all were used on the same Pro Logic DD ready Yammi receiver and Emerald speakers at the time.
    The pro reviewers also thought it was an incrediable steal at it's price when introduced, with excellent decoding SQ.

    They can be had at Ebay and Audiogon ever now and then for around 80.00 to 130.00 or so (for one in very nice condition).

    If your not interested in the newer latest and gretest formates. Neo-6, DPII, DTS-ES, DD-EX, L7, Circle Sound, etc, and only looking for DTS, a DTS external decoder may be your cheapest route.

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  6. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I own and still currently use it Geoff and have two copies of the instruction booklet (I bought mine from Bestbuy as a return item and for some reason had two instruction booklets). What I meant by no "dnr" was for the DTS decoding (I was referring to it in that context), it also doesn't do bass management for DTS tracks (you are correct about DPL and DD, small is 100 hz), and though it will compress DD or DPL to two channels it won't do this for DTS (and again won't allow a no center channel option for DTS tracks as it will reblend it back to the main channels). I thought I'd post some of the limitations of the DTS realm as these are the type of info that someone considering to buy this decoder might want to contemplate on before purchase.

    Now as for DD or DPL decoding it is quite exceptional imho, the only thing I didn't like was the way one had to balance the left/right but can adj by level increments for the center, sub, and rears. The other nit I have is that if your DVD player pushes out bitstream instead of raw then you will only get a stereo playback for those movies that only have a dpl tracks.

    One note of caution for those that want to use this as a pre-amp/decoder is the 5.1 inputs are pure pass thru and not controlled by the volume control. If one doesn't need component video switching radio shack has a 6 in and 2 out AV switcher (both composite/S-video, analog, and digital optical) that will up mix the composite video to S-video as well as analog audio to pcm digital (thus those who are using analog cable boxes, vcrs, sat boxes, and game consoles can use this for DPL processing). These two items literally makes this the cheapest way to enter the realm of separates from the processing point of view. A/V Switcher
     
  7. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Hi Robert

    Looks as tho I just misunderstood most of your first post regarding the 500! :b

    You made clear all of it's short comings very well in your last post. My niches with it are the same as yours. But I must say what it dose do aside from the minor irratating niches you mentioned, it dose very well.

    The 500 is, gosh like 5+ years old since it came out. It wwould be nice to see them make another with all the current formats and address all the issues you, I, and others I'm sure, find irratating!
    Better bass management #1...!

    Have you ever seen the same decoder, but it carried he Panasonic logo and a different model #, also was cased in a brushed aluminum silver cabinet?

    I saw one, but don't belive they sold them in the states, they may have tho!????
    The one I saw, a guy had in Japan and was purchased their also. Had switchable voltage on it unlike the 500.

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  8. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately never saw that particular decoder but have been waiting for 7.1 decoder only box (similar to the Outlaw but much cheaper similiar to the klipsch 5.1 decoder) that would do all the current formats plus a few extraes (maybe a parametric eq, 7 chan stereo, and maybe even software upgradeable; yeah right...).

    With the popularity of HT PC you'd think someone would come out with a USB connection to take advantage of a computer's processing just for the audio purpose in addition to what most are using it as (video scaler) for the purposes of parametric eq, delays, bass management, and maybe even an auto calibration. If you think about it one could even come with a software upgrade periodically to make extra money for that firm.
     

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