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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ron Reda, Apr 23, 2002.
Do you have the production 950 with the updated firmware for the dropouts? I got on the list around when the betas were released. I received an email from Outlaw on 4/11 describing the problems and the additional delay required for the proper fix. Personally I was impressed how Outlaw handled the situation. In the email it said:
A clarification on my 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO comments.
These two modes send, as far as I can tell, identical signals to all the left and right speakers to create a "pseudo-surround" effect, if you will. That is, if you choose 5 STEREO, the L signal is sent to LS as well and the R signal is sent to RS as well and the C channel receives L+R. With 7 STEREO the L is also sent to the LRear and the R is sent to the RRear. At least that's my guess regarding what's going on. All the manual tells you for these modes is "Creates a 5/7 program from any Stereo source" (p.12)
The volume from all 5 or 7 speakers sounded to be approximately the same in the original beta model and, while this might have sounded impressive to the casual listener (since all 5 or 7 speakers are active) it's not really surround. I'm guessing that this is because a lot of people who purchase surround systems often complain that they can't always hear something from all speakers. (A common misconception about the nature of surround sound.) These 5/7 modes address that for those who prefer to hear the sound all around them.
The only thing I use these modes for are some regular TV watching since the effect sometimes makes it easier to hear what's going on (I usually use the 5 Stereo Mode for this even though I realize I'm not getting true surround.)
To answer the Denon/950 comparison question - Yes, the effect of Outlaw's implementation of this 5 Stereo is, as far as I can tell, similar. I used the 5 Stereo on my 5700 (didn't have 7 channels then) for the same effect.
As to why the 5/7 STEREO on the new 950 I'm testing sounds better, I think what they did was to slightly tone down the volume of the "surround" channels which makes these two modes slightly less contrived sounding. I'm willing to bet that there's a bit of psycho-acoustics going on here which prompted my original comment on this.
In any case, the 5/7 STEREO modes are there for those who wish to use them and I feel that they are now set up in a bit more useful fashion. Not steered surround, but they do serve a purpose for some sound sources that one might wish to enhance. You can use it or ignore it.
Hope this clarifies things.
Outlaw has informed me that the 5 Stereo and 7 Stereo modes work just as I had guessed. Left front information is sent to the LS and LR channels and Right Front information is sent to the RS and RR channels. That's why the stereo imaging is maintained.
It's not a true surround situation but some people find it a nice effect for certain non-surround situations. Some dialog (like on regular TV) is clearer, but let's not think that it's surround sound in any true meaning of the word. "Disco Sound", as merc said, is an appropriate term for this. Some will like it and others will avoid it.
I think that volume level changes are exactly what we are dealing with here. The early 950 had to be turned down when I switched to 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO. Now it's more in line with the other settings.
And all I know at this point in regards to the Cirrus settings is that, according to Outlaw, they have been "refined" some more, whatever that means. They sounded fine to me before and the only difference I notice is a bit of a difference in volume from before as well. I can't practically A/B the old 950 and the new ones so any changes in the surround fields are probably very subtle.
My guessimate on this is that, since the 950 doesn't offer the 7.1 processor user tweak-ability of a MC-12's Logic 7 that we are a bit at the mercy of the programmers for what appears on the chip. (But, then again, that's one of the reasons you pay up to 10 times as much for an MC-12). From what I understand tweaking of these chips is something that is going on all the time and when the Cirrus people heard of the down time to fix the dropout problem they suggested adding the new algorithms during the bench time.
However, at some point, you have to cut bait and make a decision to move the process along. So waiting forever is not an option since the product would never be released. One of the things I've suggested to Outlaw over and over, if they decide to go ahead with a more upscale pre/pro somewhere down the line is allowing for this changing environment in a way that the users can actually upgrade - and not the promise of an upgrade that never seems to materialize. This, to me, would be a worthwhile reason to pay more for a pre/pro - assuming that it was backed by some real support. They need a little of the Lexicon mentality in this regard.
I'm hoping that once everything settles down and 950s are in a lot of customers' hands Outlaw will be providing links to other information regarding the inner workings of these processors. Right now let's get them out the door.
I know this is a toughy, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I joined the 950 list on 4/23...in your best estimation, when do you suppose I'll get the e-mail to order my unit? I'm thinking by summer's end.
I have absolutely no idea when this would take place. Hopefully, once the initial units are released you will get some indication of how fast units are being delivered and some sense of how quickly the waiting list is being exhausted.
Normally, I would say that your estimate is a good one, but this whole Outlaw situation has been anything but normal.
You can take solace in the fact that you have added yourself to the queue. If, when people start talking about their 950's and if this causes increased interest in the product at least you are following the advice of the NY State lottery, "You have to be in it to win it."