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Audiopraise VanityPro Review (HDMI Audio Extractor)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 2.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 15 10.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 73 50.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 54 37.0%

  • Total voters
    146

egradyh

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Jan 22, 2022
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I received my unit on Thursday and have been using it the last couple days. It has the latest firmware and the multichannel XLR output board. So far I haven’t experienced the dropout issues reported by others with the previous version of the firmware.

My setup is described briefly below.

Blu-ray player {configured to output LPCM and for SACDs, DSD} >> VanityPro >> Okto DAC8 Pro

In my listening tests so far I’ve had the VanityPro configured to convert DSD to PCM with 176.4 KHz output sample rate and using the Slow HB filter.
Ultimately, I had to return my VP because of dropouts. New firmware didn't fix the problem. Random dropouts with SACD, converted to PCM 24/176, and blu ray audio. My Berkeley Alpha DAC 3 also had problems with its precision clocking locking with the VP. I went back to my GeerFab and everything works fine. All I can figure is there is an incompatible issue with the VP/Berkeley combo.

An earlier post asked about HDCP. The GeerFab is and will accept Dolby True/DTS-MA via bitstream from my Oppo. The VP will not, you have to convert them to LPCM. I suspect that means the VP isn't HDCP compliant.
 

PavelV

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Feb 8, 2022
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Hi all,
Allow me to quickly react to your posts.
Ultimately, I had to return my VP because of dropouts. New firmware didn't fix the problem. Random dropouts with SACD, converted to PCM 24/176, and blu ray audio. My Berkeley Alpha DAC 3 also had problems with its precision clocking locking with the VP. I went back to my GeerFab and everything works fine. All I can figure is there is an incompatible issue with the VP/Berkeley combo.

I have to admit, it is still in my to-do list to contact Berkeley to ask them how their clock recovery works and if any thing can be done on either side to make the Berkeley work without any occasional dropouts. So far it is the only DAC that is still a little sensitive even after we have tweaked the digital clock loop in the VanityPRO.

The GeerFab is and will accept Dolby True/DTS-MA via bitstream from my Oppo. The VP will not, you have to convert them to LPCM. I suspect that means the VP isn't HDCP compliant.
The VPRO is not designed to pass non-audio data-streams such as Dolby True/DTS-MA through, but I believe some software tweaks might allow that.
However I think I may have identified a bug in the SACD 4.0 downmix implementation.
You are right, as I confirmed on our forum, there is a little bug in the algorithm that downmixes the rear channels instead of C/LFE into the front channels. It will get fixed in the new firmware version. Or maybe we will make it a little more flexible to allow for more downmix scenarios.

Could you create up/downsample options so that OCKTO DAC users had an ability to match the output rate of the VP to the output rate of the OKTO? This would attempt to remedy the issues of the OKTO needing to have its input and output rates match (AES/USB mode). One would up/downsample the source rate in the VP to match the output rate of the OKTO (maybe even by remote, or automatically somehow).
And last, but not least, we have decided to design a new output board with 8-channel USB Audio Device and ASRC to not only fix the output rate, but make it controlled from the host PC via USB. This will turn the VanityPRO into a multichannel HDMI to USB Audio converter with ASRC, so anyone with multichannel PC based room processing can hook up the VanityPRO to the PC and use any USB DAC independently. Here is the preview of the board:
VPRO_USB_Output_Module_small.png

More info can be found on our forum: https://www.audiopraise.com/forum/read.php?17,2569
Regards,
Pavel
 

Nattage

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Mar 28, 2021
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I currently have Genelec digital speakers connected digitally for stereo music, stereo source -> Digital Sub -> Digital Left -> Digital right (a daisy chain of 3 speakers despite being only a stereo source).
The sub takes the stereo SPDIF/AES and passes on left and right.
For surround they're all hooked up via analogue XLRS, from a Tonewinner AT-300 processor, adding centre and 2 surrounds. The Sub then has a discrete input.

If I were to replace the AV processor with this and make everything digital (yay!), would I then need a source that would extract sub level audio, when playing 2 channel stereo audio, to send out of the Sub/Centre output, to my sub, to get it to be used in stereo playback? (something I really want as it's tuned well with the L/R speakers using Genelec's GLM tuning)

I've been mocking this up in a visio diagram and seems like I'd have to switch digital XLR cables when playing music from a ROON endpoint, to when playing HDMI ARC from my TV or movies/streaming from my NVidia Shield.

I think I'd have to swap the digital input to my the Genelec sub when using a stereo digital source (where I want the sub involved) and then swap the input to it (and the so also the Left/Right digital input cable) to the Sub/Centre XLR out and Left/Right XLR out from the Vanity Pro.
 

Kal Rubinson

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If I were to replace the AV processor with this and make everything digital (yay!), would I then need a source that would extract sub level audio, when playing 2 channel stereo audio, to send out of the Sub/Centre output, to my sub, to get it to be used in stereo playback? (something I really want as it's tuned well with the L/R speakers using Genelec's GLM tuning)
Yes.
I think I'd have to swap the digital input to my the Genelec sub when using a stereo digital source (where I want the sub involved) and then swap the input to it (and the so also the Left/Right digital input cable) to the Sub/Centre XLR out and Left/Right XLR out from the Vanity Pro.
Errr. Something like that.
 

PabloT

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Nov 9, 2020
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Location
Guadalajara, Mexico
I currently have Genelec digital speakers connected digitally for stereo music, stereo source -> Digital Sub -> Digital Left -> Digital right (a daisy chain of 3 speakers despite being only a stereo source).
The sub takes the stereo SPDIF/AES and passes on left and right.
For surround they're all hooked up via analogue XLRS, from a Tonewinner AT-300 processor, adding centre and 2 surrounds. The Sub then has a discrete input.

If I were to replace the AV processor with this and make everything digital (yay!), would I then need a source that would extract sub level audio, when playing 2 channel stereo audio, to send out of the Sub/Centre output, to my sub, to get it to be used in stereo playback? (something I really want as it's tuned well with the L/R speakers using Genelec's GLM tuning)

I've been mocking this up in a visio diagram and seems like I'd have to switch digital XLR cables when playing music from a ROON endpoint, to when playing HDMI ARC from my TV or movies/streaming from my NVidia Shield.

I think I'd have to swap the digital input to my the Genelec sub when using a stereo digital source (where I want the sub involved) and then swap the input to it (and the so also the Left/Right digital input cable) to the Sub/Centre XLR out and Left/Right XLR out from the Vanity Pro.
If you are using Genelec subs and want a full SAM setup, they make just the product.
 

pseudoid

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This whole thread (and many others that are WHOLLY dependent on software upgrades) is being raised as a "challenge" to Chief Panther Herder.
I think in the future, the firmware/software versioning of the actual tested hardware need to be an entry point in the original post.
In the case of HDMI hardware (splitters/extractors/etc) reviews; unfortunately, also need to delineate the version-level of the unit itself. (Backward compatibly: not withstanding!:(
 

Nattage

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If you are using Genelec subs and want a full SAM setup, they make just the product.
Of course they do! I'd forgotten about it. That would be the perfect solution if I go this route. Thank you. My wallet doesn't thank you.
 

Nattage

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Hopefully relevant to this thread, which devices can decode streaming service's surround sound formats to PCM?
Seem NVidia Shield Pro can't, it defaults to stereo if your "receiver" can't decode.
 

Nattage

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question should have read which devices can decode streaming service's surround sound formats to multi-channel PCM?
Seems the NVidia Shield Pro can't, it defaults to stereo 2.0 PCM if you tell it your "receiver" can't decode. Which you'd have to with the Vanity Pro.
Neither can my year old Sony TV with google TV. But unlike the Shield Pro, it can't even do this for locally stored files by using Kodi.

Bit of reading around suggests the Apple TV, new model and last generation, can do this for the streaming services but only up to 5.1. But it can't do it for locally stored files with DTS HD MA files etc.
So you'd need both streaming devices.
So you'd need an HDMI switch into the Vanity Pro.

Wish list before I think the VanityPro has me checking my savings:
Ability to decode the popular multi-channel audio formats. I know this would add costs and complexity, but it seems sources are reluctant to do it themselves now.
Or 1 or 2 more HDMI inputs, so you can attach the devices that can, if they don't do the above.
ROON endpoint readiness, or an AES digital input to take input from one. I'm yet to be convinced the VanityPro could do as well with an HDMI output from a ROON ROCK's onboard HDMI out, as well as feeding a DAC from a dedicated ROON endpoint with SPDIF or AES out.

Caveats on my biases:
Movies and TV I'm fine with 5.1, so I'm not interested or asking here for upscaling to 7.1 or more.
For music I prefer just stereo and to let Genelec SAM systems manage bass.
 

voodooless

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Bit of reading around suggests the Apple TV, new model and last generation, can do this for the streaming services but only up to 5.1.
It can do LPCM 7.1 decode as well, but only for DD+ content (without Atmos metadata). So any Atmos track will be decoded as DD+ to 7.1 LPCM.
But it can't do it for locally stored files with DTS HD MA files etc.
I think it may work with special software like Infuse.
 

Nattage

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thanks voodooless.
Sounds like the ATV4K would need to be the main source with a VanityPro.

So for my setup, I'd be replacing the At-300 Processor with the VanityPro, replacing the Nvidia ShieldPro with an ATV4k, adding a Genelec 9301a and probably keeping the Shield on the network to serve my ripped movies to the ATV4K for Infuse to play.
And I'd likely still be swapping the L/R XLR cables back and forth for when I want to play music from my dedicated streamer (allo digi hat on a RPi4 with a backend Roon server running on a silent NUC).
It's doable but a few too many device changes to keep track of for returns, if I decide the improvement isn't worth it.
 

Sal1950

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It's doable but a few too many device changes to keep track of for returns, if I decide the improvement isn't worth it.
Amazing how complicated our rigs get. No one outside a magician could walk in a do the simplest of things without guidance.
 

Sprint

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thanks voodooless.
Sounds like the ATV4K would need to be the main source with a VanityPro.

So for my setup, I'd be replacing the At-300 Processor with the VanityPro, replacing the Nvidia ShieldPro with an ATV4k, adding a Genelec 9301a and probably keeping the Shield on the network to serve my ripped movies to the ATV4K for Infuse to play.
And I'd likely still be swapping the L/R XLR cables back and forth for when I want to play music from my dedicated streamer (allo digi hat on a RPi4 with a backend Roon server running on a silent NUC).
It's doable but a few too many device changes to keep track of for returns, if I decide the improvement isn't worth it.

I was leaning towards VanityPro to have an all digital inputs. Since VanityPro could not do ATMOS, I dropped the idea. Because One of the Genelec reps said it is better to upgrade my 5.2 analog set up to ATMOS 5.4.2 with a AV processor which will give a better sonic improvement over all digital 5.2. So I went for Yamaha CX-A5200 processor which has ATMOS capabilities and dropped the idea of going the VanityPro route. I am yet to set up Atmos though and will in the radar.
 

Nattage

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Both valid points.
I've got both the wired volume knob and Genelec remote. Don't use the wired one because it stops the wireless one doing anything but switch things off. But back to the original topic...

If the VanityPro had a remote and/or eArc simply for power and volume control, my TV remote would do everything, so very family friendly.

I'm very happy with 5.1. 3.1 there's too much missing. Sure Atmos brings more, but this is my living room and bauke at having 6 boxes with me, would prefer to see just 2 or somehow none (which I once achieved with in wall Genelecs) I do wonder if Genelec promoting Atmos setups, just serves to sell more speakers. I've experienced just how good Genelecs are with rejecting jitter from so so digital sources and making a very good sound from poorish analogue inputs, most of which I wonder if I'd notice for surround movies, but haven't been tempted too live with for stereo music. For stereo music I have to give them their best. But sonic improvements coming from more speakers not better sources? Come on Genelec, you're just saying that because multi channel digital sources are like hens teeth and saying that leads to sales of other speaker systems.

So I will trial a VanityPro to see if there are worthwhile sonic improvements to my 6 channels for TV and Movies. it'll be just me who notices not the kids or Mrs

For now the rears will be 8020s paired with a topping Ex5.
 
Last edited:

Trell

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I do wonder if Genelec promoting Atmos setups, just serves to sell more speakers.

Sure Genelec wants to sell more monitors and subwoofers, but they do target the pro audio market for the most part.
 

Sal1950

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I do wonder if Genelec promoting Atmos setups, just serves to sell more speakers.
It is a fact that Atmos can add a lot to the enjoyment of good recordings.
That is not a reason to stone Genelec.
 

Nattage

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I think Genelec's speakers add more to the enjoyment of good recordings, than the number of speakers.
I'd rather have 5.1 Genelecs, than 7.2.4 of something else.
Short of being in a dedicated room, that would still stand for 7.2.4 Genelecs, because I'm an aesthetics snob.:)
I'd be there thinking it sounds great, but when I open my eyes, I'm in a cluttered room.
Generally Genelec advice is sound. Whist digipete was blazing this trail years ago, you'd have Ilkka-rissanen suggesting to stick with traditional analogue processors.
 

Sprint

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I think Genelec's speakers add more to the enjoyment of good recordings, than the number of speakers.
I'd rather have 5.1 Genelecs, than 7.2.4 of something else.
Short of being in a dedicated room, that would still stand for 7.2.4 Genelecs, because I'm an aesthetics snob.:)
I'd be there thinking it sounds great, but when I open my eyes, I'm in a cluttered room.
Generally Genelec advice is sound. Whist digipete was blazing this trail years ago, you'd have Ilkka-rissanen suggesting to stick with traditional analogue processors.
I can understand why Ilkka-rissanen suggesting to stick with analog. Just want to share a hearing test I did between 2.ch stereo fed by XLR analog input and 2.ch stereo fed by AES digital input into Genelec 8340 LR speakers. I hardly noticed any difference in the sound. I did level matching with my DB meter.

The minute Apple 4KTV allows bitstreaming instead of ripping ATMOS meta data and VaintyPro will accept 11 channels, I will shift from AVP to VanityPro.

However if you do not plan to go for ATMOS, then I agree with you that VanityPro is a very interesting device. I was in touch with them in Feb this year. Their customer representatives in Netherlands were very friendly and supportive. I had also requested them to send their device for testing at ASR. They mentioned that they already knew about ASR and had planned to send.

I am happy to see that it faired very well here in ASR tests.

I am a big Genelec fan boy :). Anything Genelec reps will say, I will immediately get convinced. I love this company for their engineering.
 
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