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Audiopraise VanityPro Review (HDMI Audio Extractor)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 3.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 11 8.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 69 52.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 48 36.4%

  • Total voters
    132

amirm

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This is a review and measurements of the Audiopraise VanityPro HDMI audio extractor. It was kindly sent to me by their distributor, JVB Digital and costs US $1,599.
VanityPRO Review Audiopraise  Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg


The VanityPro is a compact device, not much bigger than typical desktop audio products. Its main functionality is to extract audio samples from HDMI interface and pass those on over digital interface of your choice. I asked for the AES/EBU balanced output version:
VanityPRO Review Audiopraise Back Panel AES Digital  Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg


As you see, there is independent power supplies using USB-C connectors for HDMI and audio output as the latter is galvanically isolated from the former (to break nasty ground loops and noise). HDMI interface provides pass through with optional ability to "lie" to the source giving it its own configuration as opposed to that of the target device (so you can extract 8 channels even if your display is only advertising stereo). Clock interface is provided should you want to synchronize other devices to it.

What I really love about this device is its extensive diagnostic information about the HDMI signal. I am absolutely lost most of the time trying to get this out of an AVR or AV Processor. Beyond the above home status screen, you also have these other:

VanityPRO Review UI 6 Status Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg


VanityPRO Review UI 4 Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg


And a lot of things you can configure including DSD to PCM configuration:
VanityPRO Review UI 3 Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg



VanityPRO Review UI 2 Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg


And nice set of meters:

VanityPRO Review UI 5 Levels Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.jpg


Company provides extensive documentation on measures it takes to reduce jitter over HDMI. To give some background, HDMI was a revision of DVI computer monitor interface that did not have audio capability. Audio samples were buried in the unused section of video frames and as such, was slaved to video clock (which also mandated that even if you are just playing audio, you must have video present). Extracted video clock does not need to be super low jitter as the position of pixels on screen is fixed. For audio though, the output is analog and requires very low jitter especially if we are talking about 24 bit audio at high sample rate. To reduce jitter, high performance processors/AVRs resample the audio as otherwise jitter can be quite extensive. VanityPro provides internal buffering and reclocking to reduce jitter. We will measure this.

VanityPro Measurements
My Audio Precision APx555 has the ability to extract jitter over its digital input. This data can then be analyzed as if it were analog audio using such tools as FFT to see the spectrum of jitter. So here is out standard j-test signal playing over HDMI, going to VanityPro, and then from AES/EBU to Audio Precision:

VanityPRO Measurements Jitter FFT Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.png


Green is the baseline measurement of the analyzer itself. In orange we have the VanityPro spectrum of jitter. The J-test signal has a buried 250 Hz square wave which triggers jitter sidebands to show up across the full spectrum. This may seem alarming seeing how it is worse than audio analyzer itself but keep in mind that the worst case spike is just 11 picoseconds. Let's compare this spectrum to Topping D10 converting USB to S/PDIF (in blue)

VanityPRO Measurements Jitter vs Topping D10 FFT Multichannel HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.png


As you see, VanityPro has much lower jitter. Seeing how I have shown D10 output to have jitter well within what a good DAC can tolerate and filter, we are in vary good shape with respect to VanityPro's performance.

Here is another comparison against Minidsp UDIO-8:

VanityPRO Measurements Jitter FFT Multichannel Minidsp UDIO8 HDMI Extractor DSD PCM.png


Now the baseline noise floor has shifted way up due to random jitter.

So while not instrument grade, VanityPro is performing very well in this department. What jitter is left is easily handled by a half-decent DAC.

Conclusions
Since data is transferred as is, all we care about in digital to digital "bridge" product such as VanityPro is jitter. And here, it is one of the best performing devices I have tested. Using this box, you can integrated audio from your video devices (assuming you do decoding in software), allowing much easier integration into a high-performance audio system. Yes, it costs a lot of money but if you are going all out, it is a reasonable price to pay. Personally I love to have this box just for its diagnostic capabilities!

I am going to recommend the Audiopraise VanityPro.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Dennis_FL

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So I can route my Oppo SACD player HDMI output to the Vanity and then use my external DAC instead of the cheap one in my AVR receiver?
 

Azathoth

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I have extra HDMI ports on my graphics card. Probably can route audio through there and run a another stack for absolutely no reason other than I could if I had 1500 and willing to spend it to do such a thing.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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So I can route my Oppo SACD player HDMI output to the Vanity and then use my external DAC instead of the cheap one in my AVR receiver?
Yup.
 

debord

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Very nice, this seems like precisely what I've been looking for. Is it possible to swap the output modules unscrewing those two screws in the corners? Is it possible to purchase individual output modules on their own? I can't really tell just from looking at the reseller and the user manual. That would definitely 100% sell it for me if so.
 

Sprint

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So one might pair this with some, what, Genelecs?
Depends if you are looking for a 2ch, 5.1ch or Atmos. 2ch and 5.1 ch from a source like Apple TV will work easily.

If it is 2ch and your source is not Apple TV but a source like streamer, then a cheaper solution is a combo of RPI + Topping D10s which I have as well.

I was almost about to pull trigger to buy this instead of a AV processor with balanced out like IOTAVX AVX17 or Yamaha CX-A5200. Plan was to use this device for a 5.1 set up feeding decoded 5.1 or stereo signals from Apple 4K TV to my Genelecs..I have a minidsp Dirac for sub correction - 2 SVS subs.

I spoke to the owner who is a nice Gentleman...From their forum it seems a few are doing this from Apple 4K TV already and it works...

I spoke to Genelec reps....Their recommendation was this is excellent but I would have a better sonic enjoyment in my set up if I go for Dolby Atmos, which I am considering in a year or two. Unfortunately, Vanity pro supports only 8 channels whereas I would need atleast 9 + 1 LFE channels for an Atmos set up. If there had been one more AES/ebu output and an option to re-configure SBL/SBR channels to two ATMOS, it would have fit perfectly for a 5.2.4. I could have used a AES splitter to get my LFE channel and in Genelec I would have set a high pass to filter everything under 80hz coming into Genelec.

But now comes the next catch, Apple 4K TV decodes only to 5.1 DD or 2ch stereo however it can send other higher lossless signals like Atmos in an encoded format which needs a software.

Next issue, I watch lot of You tube music which is 2ch. AV processors offer up-mixing via their surround decoders like Neo6 or Dolby to 5.1. I would badly miss this.

So looks like there is no way avoiding an AVR. Getting ATMOS via HTPC is not possible as well that I learnt.

Looks like I still have to live with a AVR for few more years, unless until Vanity Pro supports ATMOS with more AES outputs, Apple 4KT TV sends decoded or Vanity Pro offers decoding possibilities.

I would also be ready to pay few hundred euros more to go for a Vanity Pro instead of a AVR as Genelecs would love the pure digital signal, if it offers the following:
- a couple of more HDMI inputs
- atleast one additional output for Projector.
- support ATMOS with minimum 1 more AES/EBU and reconfigure SBR/SBL to Atmos
- a multichannel decoder
 
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aj625

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It does but converts it to PCM.
Then it's not good. Some universal player can transmit pure dsd stream to AVR. Currently there is no way to capture dsd stream of sacd except through old version of PlayStation. Sacd is encrypted at physical pit level so no dvd drive can decrypt it except players supporting sacd playback.
 

MZKM

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Seems like an awfully expensive piece for a very narrow purpose.
A small niche pretty much guarantees high prices, in any field. Cost of production per unit is much higher and you need to make enough profit to keep the business afloat; as even if it cost 1/10 the price at $160, I doubt their customer base would increase meaningfully.
 

ZolaIII

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Then it's not good. Some universal player can transmit pure dsd stream to AVR. Currently there is no way to capture dsd stream of sacd except through old version of PlayStation. Sacd is encrypted at physical pit level so no dvd drive can decrypt it except players supporting sacd playback.
DSD can bit perfect convert to PCM (64:16) and DoP is perfectly fine.
Edit: you must have been long time out, plenty of tools for SACD extraction now days including Open Source one's (suitable also for educational purposes) .
 
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SDX-LV

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Very interesting, only the limitation on 7.1 and HDMI 2.0a is hard to accept - both pros and consumers are interested in having some Atmos capability in 2022. Otherwise this is a perfect companion to https://www.minidsp.com/products/dirac-series/ddrc-88d (just add another 1k+ :) )
Plus they sell this in Europe as well :)

If I am not mistaken the only alternative to go all digital today is:
Can someone confirm that SDP-55 and D16R combo works to transmit Atmos with Dirac processing and everything over to AES input studio monitors?
 

holbob

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Ah, ambassador you are really spoiling us with this review of this 1600 dollar hdmi audio extractor!

Have you reviewed a 15 quid hdmi extractor? And if you do, and its bit-perfect, can you please revisit this review ;)
 

Feyire

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Very interesting, only the limitation on 7.1 and HDMI 2.0a is hard to accept - both pros and consumers are interested in having some Atmos capability in 2022.
I consider it dead-on-arrival due to it being limited to HDMI 2.0a.

A product like this needs to be fully HDMI 2.1 compliant in order to be as future proof as possible and in order to include support for eARC (Enhanced audio return channel), so that sources with DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos can be extracted.

The next step-up after that would be to include the following:
  • Ability in the device to control the conversion parameters to PCM
  • Ability to do custom down-mixing (e.g. 7.1 to 2.0, but including the LFE channel)
  • Ability to specify a desired output delay (e.g. if you are separately splitting the HDMI video signal prior to the HDMI signal coming into this device for audio splitting)
 
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SDX-LV

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Ah, ambassador you are really spoiling us with this review of this 1600 dollar hdmi audio extractor!

Have you reviewed a 15 quid hdmi extractor? And if you do, and its bit-perfect, can you please revisit this review ;)
This is actually very true. Only the true test for cheap HDMI audio extractor is:
  • The whole point of "cheap HDMI audio extractor" is to get TV volume control to "losslessly" control volume on your custom 2ch audio system. This is actually a big deal. If you DACs do have remote volume control then it is possible (good luck) to convince your family to use 2nd volume remote or universal remote control, and then just use Toslink output from any TV.
  • So the test would need to look at degradation of Toslink signal from the cheap HDMI audio extractor as HDMI volume is reduced to low levels.
  • Finally this "cheap HDMI audio extractor" also must support eARC and should be available globally :)
 
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