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Still curious about THX UItra 2 (1 Viewer)

Aaron E. Smith

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Aaron E. Willson-Smith
I've done some reading on THX Ultra 2 and I still feel unsatisfied about my knowledge of what it offers. From the sound of it, Ultra 2 should be somewhat of a competitor for Lexicon's Logic 7. Now that Ultra 2 is filtering down to more units, has anyone else managed to gather a little info. about this aspect of Ultra 2?

Thanks!
 

Camp

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Ultra 2 should be somewhat of a competitor for Lexicon's Logic 7.
That's my impression too.

I agree, it is a bit confusing. Is it a Logic 7/DPL2 type format or is it just an update to the THX spec? I don't know.
 

Aaron E. Smith

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Yea, that's exactly what has annoyed me. If it competes with Logic 7--even if it is inferior--I will probably kiss Lexicon goodbye. However, I really love a 7.1 setup and it seems that without some sort of proprietary processing, the extra speakers are mostly a waste.
So let's hear some more folks! Camp and I are interested!
:)
 

Dave Moritz

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Hey Aaron,

Why would you concider giving up your Lexicon for THX 2 ? If they are competing formats and basicaly do the same thing? I would keep the Lexicon hands down. I only wish I could afford to go the Lexicon route. My later down the road I will have the Lexicon in my system. The Lexicon gear I have heard to date has been awsum but to tell you the truth I do not remeber the specs. Is your Lexicon 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 ?
 

Anthony June

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Aaron the thing to keep in mind about the two is that logic 7 is based off of the proprietary algorithms that have been designed by Lexicon and based off their Pro and acoustic experience. They are not competing formats.

THX is not as flexible with the the way you can listen to that sound mode as logic 7 is, Ultra 2 is designed to allow you to have an enhanced experience for multi channel movies/music on a standard sound format DPII,DTS,etc
 

Mike Burke

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Hey Guys,

What attracts me most of Ultra 2 is that is not limited to 1 manufacturer like Logic 7. Outside of Lexicon's Logic 7, Lexicon units can be beat by other competitors in other facets of Home Theater/Audio and having companies like Bryston, Aragon, and Tag McLaren offering Ultra 2 (either now or in the near future)in a "affordable/sub$5K" price range is very attractive to me. Now if budget wasn't the issue a MC-12B would be my 1st choice.

I have only heard Ultra 2 once and the dealer was not using the recommended direct fire rear speakers (they had dipoles running) so I would say I walked away not impressed but again it was an improper setup for a demo.

Mike
 

Camp

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Ultra 2 is designed to allow you to have an enhanced experience for multi channel movies/music on a standard sound format DPII,DTS,etc
Yea, OK...sounds good...so just what does that mean?
Sounds like most of us agree that Ultra 2 is going to be a Logic 7, Circle Surround, DPL2, 6 Axis type of format? One that takes stereo sources and makes it sound like 5.1 or better. Right?
I think confirmation of that opinion is really all Aaron was looking for (along with more detailed info). I know that's all I was hoping for! ;)
 

Cliffk

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Hi guys,
From THX's website:
NEW THX® ULTRA2 PROVIDES OPTIMUM PLAYBACK
OF ALL MULTI-CHANNEL MUSIC AND MOVIE FORMATS
INDIANAPOLIS, September 7, 2001 — Establishing a new performance benchmark for home entertainment systems, THX® today introduced THX Ultra2.
The THX Ultra2 specification provides uncompromised eight-channel playback of any multi-channel program, whether movie soundtracks or music over the widest possible seating area. In addition, all Ultra2 controllers and receivers incorporate video switching capable of handling all wide-bandwidth sources, including HDTV and progressive scan DVD, without degrading the picture. The first THX Ultra2 certified products to be marketed will be two AV receivers from Pioneer Elite — the VSX-49TX and VSX-47TX, both scheduled for October delivery — and a home theatre speaker system, pending certification, from Snell Acoustics comprised of the XA1900 LCRs, the AMC900 in-wall dipole surrounds, and a new dual 12-inch powered subwoofer.
"THX Ultra2 is a breakthrough in home entertainment technology — a single entertainment system that accommodates current and future multi-channel formats for both music and movies," said Mark Paddack, Director of Licensing, Lucasfilm THX Consumer Division. "Its advanced technologies deliver the best possible performance while making it easier than ever to extract that performance."
"The new THX Ultra2 specification goes hand-in-hand with Pioneer’s dedication to providing the most accurate multi-channel audio reproduction for both movies and music," said David Bales, Marketing Manager, Pioneer Elite. "Current technology makes it possible to deliver a truly three-dimensional audio experience, but it’s more than just adding amplifiers and speakers. It’s about making a variety of sources work accurately with a variety of speaker configurations. THX has provided our products with that advantage."
THX Ultra2 uses seven channels of amplification to play back any multi-channel-encoded program through a single fixed seven-speaker/one subwoofer layout. In the new THX Ultra 2 Cinema mode or THX MusicMode, all program material with 5.1 channels or more is auto-detected and proprietary processing is applied that blends the directional and ambient surround information prior to replay through four surround speakers — two at the side and two at the back. Ultra2 receivers and controllers also feature switchable Boundary Gain Compensation (BGC) to alleviate "boomy" bass performance that can occur with near-wall listening positions.
David Smith, President and Chief Engineer of Snell Acoustics, said, "We are pleased to be among the first to offer a product that meets the new THX Ultra2 specification. THX Ultra2 has an emphasis on response smoothness and high output with low distortion, so we felt that our XA1900 LCRs, AMC900 surrounds and new subwoofer would be ideally matched to the specification. Having been the first THX loudspeaker licensee some years ago, it is fitting that we revitalize our THX connection with the new Ultra2 specification."
THX has drawn on its considerable experience in the design and certification of professional mixing and monitoring facilities to redefine the performance standards needed for the highest quality home speaker systems. The directional characteristics of the new THX Ultra2 LCR and rear surround speakers have been revised to minimize any changes in perceived timbral balance over the widest possible listening area, and Ultra2 subwoofers now have bass extension down to 20Hz, to better reproduce the very low frequency information increasingly found in modern digital multi-channel recordings.
The THX Division of Lucasfilm Ltd. is dedicated to achieving superior presentation quality in theatres and homes through its unique certification program and services. The THX Theatre Program works with the exhibition and post-production community around the world to deliver the ultimate cinema experience by building certified theatres that adhere to comprehensive and proprietary THX standards. Home THX allows consumers to replicate that experience at home through Certified THX home theatre and multimedia products available from leading audio/video and PC manufacturers. For studios and filmmakers, THX provides comprehensive quality assurance services for theatrical film releases through its Theatre Alignment Program (TAP), and for DVD, laser disc and videotape releases through its award-winning THX Digital Mastering Program.
Home Theater Mag has a pretty thorough write up in their May 2002 issue, including a good sidebar on Ultra 2 itself.
Here's a link to the web version of the article:
http://www.hometheatermag.com/showarchives.cgi?116
Notably, Ultra 2, which includes a scheme for 7.1 post processing, extends to much more of the playback chain (speakers, amps, subs, etc.) than does Logic 7 (which is just proprietary post processing).
Hope this helps.
-Cliff
 

Aaron E. Smith

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For those that asked why I would give up the Lexicon, the answer is simple. I want DVD-Audio and SACD. That rules out the DC-1, DC-2, and MC-2, unless I'm willing to wire on the external Sony box, and I don't care to do that. Thus, if I want Logic 7, I have to lay down thousands of extra dollars for the MC-12. Now I know it is a great unit, but I think the folks at Lex are taking it in the arm if they think I'm going to spend that kind of money if I have even a somewhat inferior alternative. That's why I'm trying to figure out about Ultra 2. If it really can compete with Logic 7, then my Lexicon days are over for the time being.
 

Ricky T

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Aaron,

That goes without saying, if THX Ultra2 (or any other new surround mode) can compete with Logic7, then why would any of us get a lexicon? We still don't know exactly what Ultra2 is doing; and Ultra2 seems to only apply to 5.1 sources. Logic7 also works on 2.0 sources.
 

Camp

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So, would Ultra2 work over DVD-A or SACD? That might be interesting.

Whatever I get I'll miss Logic7. It's great but I'm not willing to choose a processor just because it has it.
 

Dave E H

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I dunno about Logic 7 - never owned a processor capable of this - but I think that Ultra 2 really makes the back rear surrounds worth it. I love the effect on regular old 5.1 channel movies - it really goes enhance the soundfield and make the rear channel much more seemless. I finally feel that I have a 'soundfield' in the rear, rather than just some rather localizable surround effects. My room's rather wide - the Ultra 2 processing really makes the rear channel come to life, IMO.
 

Robert Elliott

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Can you actually state that Ultra 2 is really a sound format? I don't think so since it rests on top of the actual decoding - whether it be Dolby Digital or DTS. I find the THX marketing blurbs to be very misleading - it would appear they just apply some post-processing to modify the implementation of the original sound format. This was the case back with Ultra as well.
 

Anthony June

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I am sure that in the near future you will see a replacement for the MC1 that allows for DVD Audio and SACD.
The MC12 allows you to process the incomming 5.1 anolog signal with Logic 7 or THX EX.
So dont be suprised if on the next update as well as the next Pre/Pro from lex that you will be able to do both.
Can you say cake and eat it too!;)
 

DexS

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Hi

I am too in a big crossroads on whether to go for a used MC1 or a new Tag processor with THX Ultra 2 processing. I have heard Logic 7 many times and like the way it steer the effects to the rear channels. My preference is to always engage L7 on 5.1 materials. The thing with MC1 is its an old model and it may go obselete in 3 years time. The quality of Lexicon is no doubt the best for HT processors. The pricing of the Tag will be the deciding factor now coz I may not be able to hear the difference between L7 and Ultra 2 Cinema. If I can save huge I will choose Lexicon MC1.

My 2cents

Regards
 

RichardMA

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Unless THX Ultra 2 can somehow (and I know it can't)

properly decode where specific sounds should be, it's

the same (more or less) as the theatrical method of

simply adding more speakers on either side of the surround

field. ONLY DTS ES Discrete adds a true, centre surround

channel. It's no wonder THX still insists on using dipoles

in home theatre, they want to maintain that diffuseness

that essentially saturates the rear field with non-directional sound. It's great for speaker sellers, they

get to make you buy 7 speakers instead of 5, but it's nothing more than another variation on ancient Pro-Logic

applied to the left-right rear surrounds. I remember reading an article by an audiophile about why people like

listening to their 4, 6, 8 whatever multiple speakers in

their cars, despite there being only two channels; Because

they like the cozy feeling they get from being surrounded by the sound.

But it's not directional, it's not realistic, just "comfortable."

THX is not a sound format. It's a manipulation of pre-existing true, discrete 5 channel Dolby or DTS sound formats, just like Yamaha and Sony, and everyone else has

offered for years with their various DSP modes.

If people really want more channels, they have to wait for

more DTS ES Discrete software to come out, or wait for

Sony to start making 8 channel SDDS home software and equipment.
 

Mike Burke

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I agree with RickyT!

Since we don't know what Ultra2 is going to be like from the "big boys". I would recommend holding off until products like the Bryston SP-1.7 and Aragon Stage One are available for review. I am not knocking the Pioneer recievers that have it BUT the "toys" we are discssing here are of higher quality and it's unfair to compare.
 

Richard Burzynski

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Camp:

The popular Pioneer 49 receiver allows for a 7 channel "mode" of SACD/DVDA. It does this by performing an A>D, D>A conversion. Is this mode THXU2 specific? I'm not sure, maybe Obi will see theis thread and reply as he owns a 49.

Rich B.
 

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