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Combining MiniDSP with an AVR

jaakkopetteri

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I'm building a 2.2 setup to use with Plex on my LG OLED and would like to use a MiniDSP for room correction and MSO. I already have a UMIK-1 and I've enjoyed playing around with REW. However, I would also appreciate dynamic EQ, CEC and preserving the LFE channel, so I understand I need an AVR.

I could just run the MiniDSP from the AVR pre-outs, but I assume I'd need a separate remote for volume control and a separate amplifier. However, if I get a two zone AVR like the Marantz NR1711 (which being slim is nice), I could run the MiniDSP back to analog inputs on the AVR and route those to the Zone 2 outputs, so I need nothing separate.

Am I missing anything here? It seems like an unconventional setup, but even a used AVR with good room correction (and more bulk ) would cost me almost a grand. A used 2-zone Marantz and a 2x4HD would cost half of that, or still a fair amount less if I go for Dirac on the MiniDSP. I've also considered using only the MiniDSP and just downmixing my files with loudness normalization, so I'd only have to worry about having two remotes. Or, I could only use the MiniDSP for the subs and let MultEQ (or other budget correction) handle the speakers, but they seem to do a rather poor job compared to MiniDSP
 

Sancus

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I could just run the MiniDSP from the AVR pre-outs, but I assume I'd need a separate remote for volume control and a separate amplifier.
Volume control works fine with AVR pre-outs, so no, you don't need a remote. You do need an amplifier, certainly.
Am I missing anything here?
Your plan is to feed stereo to the miniDSP. You won't consistently get LFE if you do this, or at least not something that resembles the real LFE. The old DD standard discarded LFE when downmixing to stereo, and modern Atmos has a seperate mix for stereo which won't include the same amount of bass.

Attempting to manually downmix is complicated and requires you to run the whole system at -10dB in the preamp to avoid digital clipping. I don't recommend getting into this mess.

The only way to do this properly is to use a miniDSP with at least 3 inputs and 4 outputs(L/R + LFE -> L/R + Sub1/Sub2). So, the 8-channel one since the 4x10 has been out of stock forever.

The other option is that you only use the miniDSP for optimizing the subs (LFE -> miniDSP -> Sub1/Sub2) with MSO, and drop the idea of using Dirac.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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Then all you need for your endavors is the regular MiniDSP 2*4.

Or an AVR with two subwoofer outputs.

Not sure why you’re complicating things too much.
Like I mentioned in the OP, MiniDSPs don't allow for DEQ, CEC or proper downmixing. AVRs with good EQ, particularly with dual subs, cost a fortune.
Volume control works fine with AVR pre-outs, so no, you don't need a remote. You do need an amplifier, certainly.

Your plan is to feed stereo to the miniDSP. You won't consistently get LFE if you do this, or at least not something that resembles the real LFE. The old DD standard discarded LFE when downmixing to stereo, and modern Atmos has a seperate mix for stereo which won't include the same amount of bass.

Attempting to manually downmix is complicated and requires you to run the whole system at -10dB in the preamp to avoid digital clipping. I don't recommend getting into this mess.

The only way to do this properly is to use a miniDSP with at least 3 inputs and 4 outputs(L/R + LFE -> L/R + Sub1/Sub2). So, the 8-channel one since the 4x10 has been out of stock forever.

The other option is that you only use the miniDSP for optimizing the subs (LFE -> miniDSP -> Sub1/Sub2) with MSO, and drop the idea of using Dirac.
Thanks! For some reason it didn't occur to me the 2x4HD doesn't have enough inputs for LR+LFE. So you're saying just setting the L/R speakers to large in the AVR (i.e. feeding them the presumably full signal) and handling the crossovers for the subs etc. in the MiniDSP is not a good idea?
If so, discarding the AVR and just downmixing the surround tracks beforehand with ffmpeg seems like a better idea, if a bit tedious.
 

abdo123

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Like I mentioned in the OP, MiniDSPs don't allow for DEQ, CEC or proper downmixing. AVRs with good EQ, particularly with dual subs, cost a fortune.

Thanks! For some reason it didn't occur to me the 2x4HD doesn't have enough inputs for LR+LFE. So you're saying just setting the L/R speakers to large in the AVR (i.e. feeding them the presumably full signal) and handling the crossovers for the subs etc. in the MiniDSP is not a good idea?
If so, discarding the AVR and just downmixing the surround tracks beforehand with ffmpeg seems like a better idea, if a bit tedious.

Not really it’s 2022.

The Denon S660H is 500$ with two subwoofers out.

Would be cheaper than whatever you’re planing to do. And honestly just as effective.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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Not really it’s 2022.

The Denon S660H is 500$ with two subwoofers out.

Would be cheaper than whatever you’re planing to do. And honestly just as effective.
Are you sure? To my understanding, basic MultEQ seems to do a rather poor job, particularly with dual subs.
E: But then again, you might be right in that the result might be good enough. The Denon being full-size complicates things, does it do anything better than a slim Marantz since I don't need high SPLs?
Yeah, seconded. Just use a MiniDSP.
You mean using it alone?
 

abdo123

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Are you sure? To my understanding, basic MultEQ seems to do a rather poor job, particularly with dual subs.
a MiniDSP 2*4HD with an UMIK-1 will cost you around 350$, I just wanted to bring up how cheap decent AVRs are right now.

You can always pay a little more if you want for the models with better EQ. but in my opinion most rooms just need a tiny bit of EQ below 200Hz and you're good to go.

That's why honestly for anyone not doing active speakers crossovers MiniDSPs are more or less redundant. Unless you're 100% only planing to do stereo, then the flexibility of the product is obviously welcome.
 

abdo123

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E: But then again, you might be right in that the result might be good enough. The Denon being full-size complicates things, does it do anything better than a slim Marantz since I don't need high SPLs?
the S660H provides ~100W @ 4Ohm below 1% Distortion, again there is obviously more expensive models with more power if you need.

But for a speaker with 86db/W sensitivity (typical) 100W is enough to reach reference levels at 2 meter distance. You didn't share how large your room is by the way, and how far do you plan to sit from the speakers.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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a MiniDSP 2*4HD with an UMIK-1 will cost you around 350$, I just wanted to bring up how cheap decent AVRs are right now.

You can always pay a little more if you want for the models with better EQ. but in my opinion most rooms just need a tiny bit of EQ below 200Hz and you're good to go.

That's why honestly for anyone not doing active speakers crossovers MiniDSPs are more or less redundant. Unless you're 100% only planing to do stereo, then the flexibility of the product is obviously welcome.
Thanks, I appreciate the input. I already have a UMIK-1 (as mentioned), so the cost of the 2x4HD isn't such a big deal. The AVC-S660H is 600€ here.
You're right about sub-schroeder frequencies being the most important, but there are multiple examples here of basic MultEQ doing a poor job, particularly with dual subs. On my desktop setup, room correction made a huge difference and I wouldn't want to miss on that.
the S660H provides ~100W @ 4Ohm below 1% Distortion, again there is obviously more expensive models with more power if you need.

But for a speaker with 86db/W sensitivity (typical) 100W is enough to reach reference levels at 2 meter distance. You didn't share how large your room is by the way, and how far do you plan to sit from the speakers.
It's a 300 sqft room (2600 cubic ft) with a distance of 2,5 meters. We live in an apartment and my GF is super sensitive, so just the 75dBC calibration in REW is more than loud enough for us - which is why dynamic EQ would be also nice.
 

abdo123

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Thanks, I appreciate the input. I already have a UMIK-1 (as mentioned), so the cost of the 2x4HD isn't such a big deal. The AVC-S660H is 600€ here.
You're right about sub-schroeder frequencies being the most important, but there are multiple examples here of basic MultEQ doing a poor job, particularly with dual subs. On my desktop setup, room correction made a huge difference and I wouldn't want to miss on that.

It's a 300 sqft room (2600 cubic ft) with a distance of 2,5 meters. We live in an apartment and my GF is super sensitive, so just the 75dBC calibration in REW is more than loud enough for us - which is why dynamic EQ would be also nice.

You can always get the cheaper MiniDSP 2*4 if you’re not happy with how the two subs are managed. But i guess we just went a full circle here didn’t we? Lol.
 

syzygetic

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Are you sure? To my understanding, basic MultEQ seems to do a rather poor job, particularly with dual subs.
E: But then again, you might be right in that the result might be good enough. The Denon being full-size complicates things, does it do anything better than a slim Marantz since I don't need high SPLs?

You mean using it alone?
Yeah- for a 2.2 system, it seems the SHD alone would be plenty… I use one for my 2.2 system, and it’s amazing. SHD does the volume, and I stream to it via Roon. For your AVR replacement needs, it has tons of inputs too.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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You can always get the cheaper MiniDSP 2*4 if you’re not happy with how the two subs are managed. But i guess we just went a full circle here didn’t we? Lol.
Yeah, this is probably a decent option and something I could go back to if the loopback stuff doesn't work out.
Yeah- for a 2.2 system, it seems the SHD alone would be plenty… I use one for my 2.2 system, and it’s amazing. SHD does the volume, and I stream to it via Roon. For your AVR replacement needs, it has tons of inputs too.
The SHD seems great but the price is a bit too much. A used XT32 receiver might do a better job for cheaper
 

peng

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Yeah, this is probably a decent option and something I could go back to if the loopback stuff doesn't work out.

The SHD seems great but the price is a bit too much. A used XT32 receiver might do a better job for cheaper
Agreed, if you have not more than two subs, the miniDSP won't likely make any audible difference (better or worse...) as long the used AVR you are considering comes with XT32 Sub EQ HT and is compatible with the $20 App.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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Agreed, if you have not more than two subs, the miniDSP won't likely make any audible difference (better or worse...) as long the used AVR you are considering comes with XT32 Sub EQ HT and is compatible with the $20 App.
Indeed, it's just that even used AVRs with XT32 cost almost twice as much as a cheap AVR + 2x4HD
 

Tangband

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I'm building a 2.2 setup to use with Plex on my LG OLED and would like to use a MiniDSP for room correction and MSO. I already have a UMIK-1 and I've enjoyed playing around with REW. However, I would also appreciate dynamic EQ, CEC and preserving the LFE channel, so I understand I need an AVR.

I could just run the MiniDSP from the AVR pre-outs, but I assume I'd need a separate remote for volume control and a separate amplifier. However, if I get a two zone AVR like the Marantz NR1711 (which being slim is nice), I could run the MiniDSP back to analog inputs on the AVR and route those to the Zone 2 outputs, so I need nothing separate.

Am I missing anything here? It seems like an unconventional setup, but even a used AVR with good room correction (and more bulk ) would cost me almost a grand. A used 2-zone Marantz and a 2x4HD would cost half of that, or still a fair amount less if I go for Dirac on the MiniDSP. I've also considered using only the MiniDSP and just downmixing my files with loudness normalization, so I'd only have to worry about having two remotes. Or, I could only use the MiniDSP for the subs and let MultEQ (or other budget correction) handle the speakers, but they seem to do a rather poor job compared to MiniDSP
For best sound : do correct installing of your loudspeakers including the subs. 10 cm does make a big difference . Place the loudspeakers where they sound the best and use your ears and real music while doing this - no measurement mics.

No dsp and certainly not minidsp HD is 100% transparent meaning that correction can make something in the sound better - but always with the cost of some transparency or other faults like a less dynamic and less clear sound .

Some gains with room correction can be had from listeningposition if the dsp is good enough ( like Genelecs GLM or Linns space ) and if you only do corrections below 80 Hz , if you have a really bad room .

But the best is no correction at all - if you have a good room and skills in installing loudspeakers its not impossible .

Dont waste money on a budget minidsp - do correct installing and buy better speakers or a better source instead.
 
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kevin1969

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Will any miniDSP solution give me any significant improvements over the Audessey MultiEQ XT32 that my Denon x4700 already has?
 
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