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AudioControl Maestro X9

Blackdevil77

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Anybody in here know anything about this processor?

https://www.audiocontrol.com/home-audio/immersive-av-preamp-processors/maestro-x9/

It’s cheaper than the Storm Audio unit but a bit, but more than the HTP-1 and SDP-55 etc. You think the cost is justified by the performance? I’d be very curious to see how it measures against the Monoproce and JBL/Arcam options as well as the mega dollar Trinnov and Stormaudio.
 

hmt

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Of course. After all this is the hifi business.
 

JKJ

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It has a few more features than the AV40 / SDP55, but is built on the same basic hardware platform. I think this one gets an ESS9038 DAC chip, but it's still not going to provide the same kind of SINAD you might expect from that hardware in a standalone DAC. I strongly suspect the street price is quite a bit less than the MSRP, but that's probably true for the other units based on this platform too...
 
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Blackdevil77

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It has a few more features than the AV40 / SDP55, but is built on the same basic hardware platform. I think this one gets an ESS9038 DAC chip, but it's still not going to provide the same kind of SINAD you might expect from that hardware in a standalone DAC. I strongly suspect the street price is quite a bit less than the MSRP, but that's probably true for the other units based on this platform too...

The SDP-55 is the most appealing to me as far as those processors go. I wonder if the new XLR board improved things a bit from what the measurements were at the time of the review.
 

JKJ

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I wonder if the new XLR board improved things a bit from what the measurements were at the time of the review.

Your best source for feedback on that is probably the dedicated SDP-55 thread on AVSForum. That's a very active community, and they're not shy about sharing opinions (subjective or otherwise).
 
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Blackdevil77

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Your best source for feedback on that is probably the dedicated SDP-55 thread on AVSForum. That's a very active community, and they're not shy about sharing opinions (subjective or otherwise).

That’s where I found out about the revision to the XLR board. The SDP-55 seems like the best option in the 5-6k price range.
 

hwest

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That is just a rebadged Arcam AV40.
Are you sure this is a rebadged Arcam? It has a different layout, different DAC different specs all-together. What makes it the same as an AV40?
 

hwest

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DSP/Software side is the same as the AV40. DAC, PSU and analogue sections are different.
So the DSP portion for surround sound etc should be ok as the DAC would give us the clean sound with low distortion along with the analogue sections so this unit has the potential to sound much better than an AV40 I would assume.
 

hmt

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Nope since the average SINAD on the AV40 does not look nice but has no impact on the actual sound quality.
 

hwest

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The SDP-55 is the most appealing to me as far as those processors go. I wonder if the new XLR board improved things a bit from what the measurements were at the time of the review.
Can you share some details on the SDP-55 and what makes it a better choice? I have ruled out so many systems based on them being a copy of the cheaper units like Marantz/Arcam/etc.
 

Krobar

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Can you share some details on the SDP-55 and what makes it a better choice? I have ruled out so many systems based on them being a copy of the cheaper units like Marantz/Arcam/etc.

-- Hardware Differences --

SDP-55 vs AV40:
Dante Output
Slightly better DACs (Realistic difference is about 3dB)
Includes Dirac Bass Control ($500 in the Arcam)
Nicer case and optional rack mount available
Promise of better Logic 16 mode multi channel stereo mode (Currently not better than Arcam)

Audio Control X7 vs AV40:
XLR Inputs
Slight Software Difference
Likely some differences in the XLR output board
Includes Dirac Bass Control ($500 in the Arcam)
Rack Mounts Available

Audio Control X9 vs AV40:
XLR Inputs
Slight Software Difference
Better DAC
Different Opamps and likely very different analogue output Section
Includes Dirac Bass Control ($500 in the Arcam)
Rack Mounts Available

-- Software Differences --

JBL Synth:
DSP Firmware - Identical
NET/Streaming Firmware - Identical

Audiocontrol:
DSP Firmware - Slightly Different - Quite possible they use different DAC filters for example
NET/Streaming Firmware - Identical

Audiocontrol users have used Arcam/JBL firmware and it works fine but as mentioned above the Audiocontrol DSP firmware is tweaked slightly (ie. not bit for bit identical).
 
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Krobar

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Would be great if @amirm could review either the X7 or X9. I'm curious to know if the DSP software tweaks may affect the DAC filter measurements and if the other differences affect overall performance.
 

hwest

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-- Hardware Differences --

SDP-55 vs AV40:
Dante Output
Slightly better DACs (Realistic difference is about 3dB)
Includes Dirac Bass Control ($500 in the Arcam)
Nicer case and optional rack mount available
Promise of better Logic 16 mode multi channel stereo mode (Currently not better than Arcam)

Audio Control X7 vs AV40:
XLR Inputs
Slight Software Difference
Likely some differences in the XLR output board
Includes Dirac Bass Control ($500 in the Arcam)
Rack Mounts Available

Audio Control X9 vs AV40:
XLR Inputs
Slight Software Difference
Better DAC
Different Opamps and likely very different analogue output Section
Includes Dirac Bass Control ($500 in the Arcam)
Rack Mounts Available

-- Software Differences --

JBL Synth:
DSP Firmware - Identical
NET/Streaming Firmware - Identical

Audiocontrol:
DSP Firmware - Slightly Different - Quite possible they use different DAC filters for example
NET/Streaming Firmware - Identical

Audiocontrol users have used Arcam/JBL firmware and it works fine but as mentioned above the Audiocontrol DSP firmware is tweaked slightly (ie. not bit for bit identical).
I assume the Audiocontrol X9 isn't an empty suit like the Arcam, this Arcam AV 40 is just ridiculous

g410AV40-o_other1.jpg
 

hwest

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Nope since the average SINAD on the AV40 does not look nice but has no impact on the actual sound quality.
Audiocontrol is touting 136dB + and a THD of 0.0004% >102 dB for the X9, so they have false claims?
 
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Blackdevil77

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Can you share some details on the SDP-55 and what makes it a better choice? I have ruled out so many systems based on them being a copy of the cheaper units like Marantz/Arcam/etc.
Biggest thing with that processor is Dante. I ended up buying a Trinnov Altitude 16. The sticker shock is serious, but I'm anxious to see what it brings to the table.
 

Krobar

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Audiocontrol is touting 136dB + and a THD of 0.0004% >102 dB for the X9, so they have false claims?
I think 136dB is the DAC spec so not really relevant. They claimed 102dB, unless ASR review I doubt it will be checked. Seems like a maybe realistic figure though given the SDP-55 results.
 
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