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Coming soon: MiniDSP Flex with HDMI input

kadajawi

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Mine has arrived today. The Samsung S95C does not output surround PCM through the internal apps, though according to Rtings it should at least do passthrough.
The NVIDIA Shield (unless I messed up somewhere) also does not output surround PCM through Netflix and the likes.

Compared to the internal DAC of the Audiolab 6000A it appears to sound crisper, more detailed (using the 6000A as power amp).

I wonder what the material on the front plate is... could be glass, but somewhere I'm thinking plastic.
 

rybking

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Mine has arrived today. The Samsung S95C does not output surround PCM through the internal apps, though according to Rtings it should at least do passthrough.
The NVIDIA Shield (unless I messed up somewhere) also does not output surround PCM through Netflix and the likes.

Compared to the internal DAC of the Audiolab 6000A it appears to sound crisper, more detailed (using the 6000A as power amp).

I wonder what the material on the front plate is... could be glass, but somewhere I'm thinking plastic.
Hi! I also have S95C and Nvidia Shield. And look at minidsp ht. I spent a lot of time searching for information.
Have you tried plex tv or sending sound from PC?
 

kadajawi

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Hi! I also have S95C and Nvidia Shield. And look at minidsp ht. I spent a lot of time searching for information.
Have you tried plex tv or sending sound from PC?
Sending from PC should work, but it's not convenient enough. Plex I haven't tried yet, I doubt it will work though. I think Kodi should give you a better chance, however I also need it to work with streaming services, so even if Kodi did work, that's not going to solve all problems.
 

Left

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I may be very wrong here, but would the Canton Smart Connect work? It has an eARC output. The price in Europe is less than half what various U.S. outlets sell it for. Less than $600, I believe. In some ways the unit is grossly overpriced, but on the other hand, is there anything comparable? Performance in the analogue domain is middling to poor though perhaps a pure digital output can be coerced. What does make it a good fit is that the Canton does not have any real room correction.

Added: The discontinued Denon HEOS AVR appears conceptually similar.
 
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vicenzo_del_paris

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I may be very wrong here, but would the Canton Smart Connect work? It has an eARC output. The price in Europe is less than half what various U.S. outlets sell it for. Less than $600, I believe. In some ways the unit is grossly overpriced, but on the other hand, is there anything comparable? Performance in the analogue domain is middling to poor though perhaps a pure digital output can be coerced. What does make it a good fit is that the Canton does not have any real room correction.

Added: The discontinued Denon HEOS AVR appears conceptually similar.
The canton smart connect is an AVP.
I tested version 1 about 3 years ago and had to send it back as it was buggy and not mature enough.
Maybe the version 2 fixed all issues.
But remember, the smart connect is just a an AVP that do bitstream decoding and not comparable to minidsp products that are real DSP products.
 

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The canton smart connect is an AVP.
I tested version 1 about 3 years ago and had to send it back as it was buggy and not mature enough.
Maybe the version 2 fixed all issues.
But remember, the smart connect is just a an AVP that do bitstream decoding and not comparable to minidsp products that are real DSP products.
I was thinking of using it as a DRM-compliant front end to the MiniDSP if the eARC is able to be redirected.

Thinking how difficult this has all become, I have considered just using the TV SPDIF out to a two channel miniDSP and then daisy chaining the output to a second miniDSP configured as a sloppy matrix decoder (L-R, delay, highpass above 200, lowpass below 7K). Idle foolishness.
 
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kadajawi

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I do not think the Canton will decode to multichannel PCM and output that to eARC... there's surely some useless piracy protection stuff in the way (I wonder why they just don't give up at this point, at least when it comes to audio).

You could use the Canton to decode to multichannel analog (or use the Cinema 70s, etc.), and then go into a Flex 8 to do the DSP stuff. But you'd be losing sound quality as neither DAC is particularly good.

But really, why don't you just get an Apple TV 4K? That should do the trick, plus, well, you get an Apple TV 4K. The best streamer there is.

I continued with my testing:
S95C does pass through, if all involved cables are HDMI 2.1 (very important). However none of the apps will output anything but 2.0 PCM.
The Shield TV 2019 (perhaps older models too) will do multichannel PCM with Kodi and Plex. All other (mainstream) streaming apps won't. You might be able to use Kodi plugins for streaming services and they might work, but yeah, not ideal. The Shield can upmix the 2.0 signal to 5.1 again, and I guess it will work better than your plan, but it's not what was recorded, so I don't want it.

What should absolutely work is the ATV 4K, as that should just output multichannel PCM, which the S95C will pass through. The only thing you'd be missing out on would be internal apps (but most of them exist on ATV and perform significantly better there... except for the Samsung own TV channels, but they will be stereo only anyway) as well as anything coming through the built in tuner. I'm using IPTV anyway, so I can use the ATV for that. And given that the price of the ATV is reasonable...

Volume control over the TV remote works well, the MiniDSP turns itself on when I turn on the TV and off when I turn it off. It's a pretty decent experience, apart from the foolishness of not doing bitstream decoding.

I hope I get to try the current Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K tomorrow... I have it here, but I need to find the time to do so. I don't have much hope though, and even if it did work, I'm not keen on using it.
 

jaakkopetteri

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The Shield TV 2019 (perhaps older models too) will do multichannel PCM with Kodi and Plex.
Thanks for confirming this. Might just be enough for me to make the switch from a Smart Connect. I would only have to play around with the compressor to create a pseudo night mode (and I wish there was a way to implement dynamic EQ too)
 

kadajawi

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Does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap power amp to go along with the Flex HT? The fronts are currently powered by an Audiolab 6000A, and when it arrives (fingers crossed), a Benchmark AHB2. however the rears also need amplification. And good enough is good enough. Those cheap Chinese amps that seem to be quite decent tend to be integrated amps though, which is not entirely necessary IMHO.
 

jaakkopetteri

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Does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap power amp to go along with the Flex HT? The fronts are currently powered by an Audiolab 6000A, and when it arrives (fingers crossed), a Benchmark AHB2. however the rears also need amplification. And good enough is good enough. Those cheap Chinese amps that seem to be quite decent tend to be integrated amps though, which is not entirely necessary IMHO.
How about some of the 3E audio offerings with PFFB?
 

kadajawi

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Hm, interesting. Not sure if I want to go the DIY route though... (for example what about trigger input?) but I'll think about it.

I have done some more testing with the Amazon Fire TV 4K 3rd gen. Kodi works, no issues. Sadly, the same can't be said for other streaming apps. It's weird, cause you can set the Fire TV to Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and PCM. With PCM it explains you set it to PCM to get stereo or multichannel PCM. Just... I'm not getting any. The HDFury Arcana is set to demand 7.1 PCM. Of course, with the Fire TV 4K you'll need to manually switch refresh rate, which is quite annoying (but it's the same with the Shield TV... an Android limitation?). That's why I'd love to use Tizen on my TV, because Tizen just works flawless and switches the frame rate automatically.

Maybe I've overlooked a setting, but typically on the internet it's people trying to get rid of multichannel PCM rather than trying to get it.
 
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Does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap power amp to go along with the Flex HT? The fronts are currently powered by an Audiolab 6000A, and when it arrives (fingers crossed), a Benchmark AHB2. however the rears also need amplification. And good enough is good enough. Those cheap Chinese amps that seem to be quite decent tend to be integrated amps though, which is not entirely necessary IMHO.
The Outlaw Audio amps have been very favourably reviewed by Amir, and represent a good watt/$ value proposition.
 

RickyC34

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For surrounds, if you want to go cheap one of the Fosi offerings should be just fine and can be had for less than $100! Not sure how much power you need but here's the review of the Fosi V3. If you get the upgrade bug down the road can always use the V3 for a nice desktop setup down the road.
 

kadajawi

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For surrounds, if you want to go cheap one of the Fosi offerings should be just fine and can be had for less than $100! Not sure how much power you need but here's the review of the Fosi V3. If you get the upgrade bug down the road can always use the V3 for a nice desktop setup down the road.
Sadly no trigger input though. But yeah, I was thinking along those lines. I need something that can be turned on without changing the volume though (thus excluding the Aiyima a07 Max or so). There is no non-DIY power amp version, is there?

And at this point they might as well just offer a bundle with the Apple TV.
 
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This is a very interesting device.

However, I would love a cheap small box running Dirac, without DACs, and HDMI out.

I know this can be achieved with a mini PC running Dirac. However, I think there is a market for a well made pre-configured device.

I’d love to see a miniDSP Dirac box with hdmi in and hdmi out. Output could easily be passed to legacy receivers. Apple TV->dirac box->avr, via pcm over hdmi. This easily turns A LOT of existing legacy systems into Dirac-enabled systems.

This moves Dirac and miniDSP down the audiophile social hierarchy, but it also opens a large potential installation base.

It gets more complicated with multiple subs. :)
 

kadajawi

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That wouldn't work. Only eARC AVRs support multichannel PCM, so legacy devices are entirely out of the window. Such a MiniDSP would have to convert the audio to a lossy bitstream format, ideally AC3 so that Toslink could be used. But then again, do you really want to do that? Especially with a signal that has gone through some room correction?

Also, keep in mind that almost all AVRs are vastly inferior to MiniDSP in terms of DAC quality. IMHO a Flex HT with 3 power amplifiers would make more sense and give you better quality. Even cheap amps are probably better than what most AVRs have, and they don't suffer the power limits of an AVR.
 

zuker81

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Wait a second, Apple TV 4K does this (Shield only for stereo). Is there a reason people are not just getting the ATV with the Flex HT?
On top of being the obvious combo for the HT, ATV is excellent as a 2ch listening platform IMO. The UI (at least with the Apple Music app - haven’t tried the other streaming apps) is smooth, visually pleasing and easily facilitates open ended exploration.
 

RickyC34

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Sadly no trigger input though. But yeah, I was thinking along those lines. I need something that can be turned on without changing the volume though (thus excluding the Aiyima a07 Max or so). There is no non-DIY power amp version, is there?
$10-$20 smart plug with an IFTTT command to turn on and off anytime the tv does is a workaround for a nontrigger input device.
Not sure I follow - You need a device that can be turned on "without changing the volume"? I figured you would just set the volume dial on the amp during calibration and never touch it again. Controlling volume via the Minidsp or TV remote if using earc.
 
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kadajawi

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$10-$20 smart plug with an IFTTT command to turn on and off anytime the tv does is a workaround for a nontrigger input device.
Not sure I follow - You need a device that can be turned on "without changing the volume"? I figured you would just set the volume dial on the amp during calibration and never touch it again. Controlling volume via the Minidsp or TV remote if using earc.
If a trigger input exists, that would make things easier. But yeah, there are ways around it.
The Ayima or so is turned off by turning the volume dial... so unless the power socket is controlled, you can't turn it off or on without changing the volume.

If you only want to listen to music, I'd simply get a Wiim mini. Support for Tidal Connect is essential, and I don't think the ATV offers that?
 
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