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Combining MiniDSP with an AVR

itz_all_about_the_music

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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.
I agree with your valuable suggestions to jaakkopetteri and especially your comment "...but always with the cost of some transparency or other faults like a less dynamic and less clear sound". I'm from the straight-wire-with-gain era and often (always?) find myself closest to the music/performance/space when using Direct on my Denon AVR-X4000 (as a pre-pro -> several stiff amps - > some famous large monitors in a 5.2 setup with room treatments).

I often wonder why the transperancy/dynamics/clarity/space tradeoff that, in my experience, comes with common DSP room correction tools isn't spoken about more often at ASR. Am I not reading the most valuable threads in this regard? Is it that my front end is that antiquated (relative to what most/all others here are employing)? Would, for example, a newer AVR with measurably better dsps lead to "near Direct" sound quality even with processing active?
 
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jaakkopetteri

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FWIW I went with the simple 2x4HD option so far. The Canton Smart connect seems like a nice addition, if only it was cheaper. But Plex seems to include LFE in the downmix so I don't see the need for now. Adding a loudness compensated track with ffmpeg also works great. While at it, I could also apply a fixed EQ for the Fletcher-Munson compensation. I found this blogpost that mentions that a 2nd order low-shelf filter with a corner frequency of 147Hz and Q = 0.4 with a gain equivalent to half the drop from 83 dBSPL is a good approximation. If I understand correctly, it would be better to cut down the higher frequencies rather than boost the bass to prevent clipping, though?

Also, any recommendations on cheap remotes that work with LG OLEDs and the MiniDSP?
 

Vacceo

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If the AVR already works with Dirac and has two sub outs (Arcam for example), is is even worth to get a miniDSP?
 

abdo123

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FWIW I went with the simple 2x4HD option so far. The Canton Smart connect seems like a nice addition, if only it was cheaper. But Plex seems to include LFE in the downmix so I don't see the need for now. Adding a loudness compensated track with ffmpeg also works great. While at it, I could also apply a fixed EQ for the Fletcher-Munson compensation. I found this blogpost that mentions that a 2nd order low-shelf filter with a corner frequency of 147Hz and Q = 0.4 with a gain equivalent to half the drop from 83 dBSPL is a good approximation. If I understand correctly, it would be better to cut down the higher frequencies rather than boost the bass to prevent clipping, though?

Also, any recommendations on cheap remotes that work with LG OLEDs and the MiniDSP?
I’m using the remote of my LG OLED just fine with miniDSP.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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I’m using the remote of my LG OLED just fine with miniDSP.
Interesting. I couldn't get the 2x4HD to learn controls from my AN-MR19BA remote. Which remote model do you have?
 
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jaakkopetteri

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The one that came with the LG GX, but the TV has to be on for the remote to give out any sort IR signals.
Mind checking the model under the battery cover? I have a B9 but I bought it used, so not sure if it's the original remote
 
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jaakkopetteri

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Funny, this remote seems backward compatible with the B9 - how can it work with the MiniDSP while mine doesn't? And I don't think your SHD (?) is any different than the 2x4HD when it comes to IR learning, either. I guess I'll just have to try the MR20 (or MR21) :)
 
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abdo123

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Funny, this remote seems backward compatible with the B9 - how can it work with the MiniDSP while mine doesn't? And I don't think your SHD (?) is any different than the 2x4HD when it comes to IR learning, either. I guess I'll just have to try the MR20 or even the MR21 :)
The remote works well with both the MiniDSP 2x4HD (my previous device) and the current MiniDSP Flex that i currently own.

I recommend you give your current remote another try, when you press the learn button keep holding the button on the remote to blast the device with IR and make sure you're pointing it directly at the IR receiver of the miniDSP.

Use the functionless buttons (the colored ones that don't do anything), these worked the best for me.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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The remote works well with both the MiniDSP 2x4HD (my previous device) and the current MiniDSP Flex that i currently own.

I recommend you give your current remote another try, when you press the learn button keep holding the button on the remote to blast the device with IR and make sure you're pointing it directly at the IR receiver of the miniDSP.

Use the functionless buttons (the colored ones that don't do anything), these worked the best for me.
I gave it one more attempt but got nothing. The MiniDSP seems to learn commands from the SMSL AD18 remote no problem, so I guess the problem has to lie in the LG remote.
 

peng

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That's just another reason why I pulled my 2X4 HD after realizing none to not noticeable sonic gain yet with the spaghetti junction of additional wires and the inconvenience of having another piece to control. That's mainly because I find XT32 SubEQ HT and the Editor App is good enough for me as shown by many many REW graphs, but of course the saying ymmv always apply.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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I gave it one more attempt but got nothing. The MiniDSP seems to learn commands from the SMSL AD18 remote no problem, so I guess the problem has to lie in the LG remote.
I got a VINABTY brand MR20GA replacement remote from Amazon for 15€ and it seems to work great with the MiniDSP! Also has a better wheel. No pointer (which I only realized when it arrived) but I don't think I'll miss it...
 

Lbstyling

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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
I have done exactly what you are doing. I have also done various different versions with small and large changes such as all combinations of the following:

OLED (LG C1 77)
Plex on PC
Plex on Nvidia shield
AV amp
Hypex fusion digital active amps
Minidsp HD
J River on PC
Kodi
Umik 1
Octo 8 DAC on PC
5.2 surround
7.2 surround
16 channel sound card with 16 amp channels and J River convolution active speakers

You name it, I've done it.

What you want is either:

A)
Plex set to server mode on Nvidia shield to TV. (Shield natively transcodes all files so you can play everything inc Atmos)
TV set to optical out + tv speaker out.
Hypex fusion amps to speakers
EQ on fusion. (No extra ADC to DAC conversion stages.)
External my passport hard drive on the shield with utorrent or similar streaming direct if you choose.
Vol control is $30 for a fusion and it can control as many fusion units as you like. It's also one of the highest scoring amps and DACs on ASR to boot.

The fusion is a little fiddly to setup at first, but brill once you get going with features like no pops on start up, presetable source selection and vol on startup, option to convert your speaker crossovers to digital active when you want a project later, infinite expansion options: fusion amps will daisy chain together, so you set one master unit and it controls as many units as you like later.

Downside: limited to 2 channel. As many subs as you like, but can't go 5.1 or more.

B) as above but use a surround amp via HDMI from the shield.
Advantage-
Can go to full Atmos with lots of channels.
-Expensive and lower SQ (likely not audiably)
-Set and forget
Disadvantage:
-Not very interesting.
-cant use your umik and REW skills, and as a consiquence, your never really sure if the room correction is done that well.
-Poor mic and done at distance. Correction is usually done on the compounded original and reflection points combined. No evidence that this improves SQ over the shrodinger frequency in blind tests. (DIRAC is a possible exception.... Maybe)


C) Use a PC running JRiver Instead of the shield, and a octo 8 DAC or multi channel sound card (up to 60 channels+)
Advantage:
-can run 7channels or more and as many subs as you like.
-Can play any file (apart from Atmos audio) (as shield can)
-Can do the room EQ better than any AV amp, including time correction of impulse (far in advance of DIRAC.)
-Can do digital active speaker crossovers via advanced convolution (best option for SQ for any money)
-Dynamic EQ, multi room, etc. All the options you have ever heard of plus a thousand more you haven't including advanced upscaling that no TV can come close to. AI colour brightness scaling that fixes the 4k or 10k nit brightness scaling that many films are set in that no TV can currently show correctly.
-Built for UMIK and REW.
-can be set to run like a shield or similar box, so it loads directly to JRiver not showing windows at all.

Disadvantage:
-Not user friendly like PLEX's UI
-complex means things will go wrong sometimes and need reseting.
-Doesnt have all the streaming services that we all use these days. (This is the reason I'm sadly going away from mine)

For me, the perfect combo doesn't exist yet. It would probably be shield with a fusion that takes an Atmos signal, or the streaming services making full SQ and PQ options available to PC users.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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I finally bought a used Canton Smart Connect and moved the MiniDSP to handle only the subs. The difference in LFE is crazy. I guess it's no surprise, but downmixed tracks are garbage compared to what I'm getting now - no matter which ffmpeg script I use.

The Canton has an awful UI but I'm really liking features like speech clarity and night mode so far. I haven't done proper comparisons, but the virtual surround also seems to make my stereo setup more immersive. I can now also try adding surrounds. Too bad Canton doesn't offer wireless receiver modules like Nubert does :(

WAF isn't the highest though, as changing volume is pretty slow and the volume doesn't show up on the TV. But the bass alone makes up for it so far
 

NirreFirre

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I have done exactly what you are doing. I have also done various different versions with small and large changes such as all combinations of the following:

OLED (LG C1 77)
Plex on PC
Plex on Nvidia shield
AV amp
Hypex fusion digital active amps
Minidsp HD
J River on PC
Kodi
Umik 1
Octo 8 DAC on PC
5.2 surround
7.2 surround
16 channel sound card with 16 amp channels and J River convolution active speakers

You name it, I've done it.

What you want is either:

A)
Plex set to server mode on Nvidia shield to TV. (Shield natively transcodes all files so you can play everything inc Atmos)
TV set to optical out + tv speaker out.
Hypex fusion amps to speakers
EQ on fusion. (No extra ADC to DAC conversion stages.)
External my passport hard drive on the shield with utorrent or similar streaming direct if you choose.
Vol control is $30 for a fusion and it can control as many fusion units as you like. It's also one of the highest scoring amps and DACs on ASR to boot.

The fusion is a little fiddly to setup at first, but brill once you get going with features like no pops on start up, presetable source selection and vol on startup, option to convert your speaker crossovers to digital active when you want a project later, infinite expansion options: fusion amps will daisy chain together, so you set one master unit and it controls as many units as you like later.

Downside: limited to 2 channel. As many subs as you like, but can't go 5.1 or more.

B) as above but use a surround amp via HDMI from the shield.
Advantage-
Can go to full Atmos with lots of channels.
-Expensive and lower SQ (likely not audiably)
-Set and forget
Disadvantage:
-Not very interesting.
-cant use your umik and REW skills, and as a consiquence, your never really sure if the room correction is done that well.
-Poor mic and done at distance. Correction is usually done on the compounded original and reflection points combined. No evidence that this improves SQ over the shrodinger frequency in blind tests. (DIRAC is a possible exception.... Maybe)


C) Use a PC running JRiver Instead of the shield, and a octo 8 DAC or multi channel sound card (up to 60 channels+)
Advantage:
-can run 7channels or more and as many subs as you like.
-Can play any file (apart from Atmos audio) (as shield can)
-Can do the room EQ better than any AV amp, including time correction of impulse (far in advance of DIRAC.)
-Can do digital active speaker crossovers via advanced convolution (best option for SQ for any money)
-Dynamic EQ, multi room, etc. All the options you have ever heard of plus a thousand more you haven't including advanced upscaling that no TV can come close to. AI colour brightness scaling that fixes the 4k or 10k nit brightness scaling that many films are set in that no TV can currently show correctly.
-Built for UMIK and REW.
-can be set to run like a shield or similar box, so it loads directly to JRiver not showing windows at all.

Disadvantage:
-Not user friendly like PLEX's UI
-complex means things will go wrong sometimes and need reseting.
-Doesnt have all the streaming services that we all use these days. (This is the reason I'm sadly going away from mine)

For me, the perfect combo doesn't exist yet. It would probably be shield with a fusion that takes an Atmos signal, or the streaming services making full SQ and PQ options available to PC users.
Excellent post and myself - as probably quite a few other in here - have been in similar waters with various combination-of-boxes and usability being a top priority, having the complexities of the hobby taking place in the family media room is always a risk prone business One must plan, research, test and then plan some more so I appreciate the main options you listed for jaakkopetteri.

Even though the requirements didn't mention it, I do suggest you add "no easy way of getting gaming consoles' audio in to the chain" as a con to A and C but as a pro to B. (MiniDSP AVR was close but couldn't handle Sonos optical audio). Kids, a Switch and Zelda means I will add B (Onkyo TX-RZ50) to C (JRiver MC, MiniDSP 2x4 and miniDigi and optical Sonos) when it's released here in Sweden in January. I see a PS5 in our future..

@Lbstyling, I'm curious what streaming service is not available in a PC's web browser? Or are you referring to not getting 5.1, high quality audio like one does via various boxes/smartTV/Google TV?
 

tvih

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WAF isn't the highest though, as changing volume is pretty slow and the volume doesn't show up on the TV. But the bass alone makes up for it so far
I'm using a miniDSP too (as per the link in my signature). The EQ in my AVR is limited, so in a solution similar to what you were pondering in the origina post I just EQ the front two channels with the miniDSP (from the AVR pre-outs) and feed both the main speakers and subwoofer through it. And indeed - the rest of the EQ isn't all that, but integrating the subwoofer and eliminating the completely insane room gain spikes in the sub-80 Hz range gives me good even response down to 20 Hz, and that's just great! The only real remaining obstacle from enjoying the sound is living in an apartment building with very poor soundproofing... and that's not changing in the foreseeable future. Sigh.
 
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jaakkopetteri

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tvih: Curious, don't you find the lack of a separate LFE channel disappointing as opposed to using the miniDSP just for the subs? Probably reasonable to limit bass response in a poorly soundproofed apartment though
 
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