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Datasat LS10 AV Processor Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the "high-end" Datasat LS10 Audio/Video Processor (AVP). It is on kind loan from a member. The LS10 is a shrunk version of the Datasat RS20i and came out in 2015. I think it costs US $12,500 but I am not certain. Read some place that Dirac EQ was thousands of dollars more (?). Anyway, it is not cheap. :)

The LS10 looks a bit industrial but fine otherwise:
Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor surround multichannel AVP Review.jpg


The high resolution display is touch sensitive which is very nice. What is not very nice is that you can NOT configure the unit with it! Yes, you read that right. Whether using the remote or the touchscreen, all you can do is operate the unit. No programming of the device whether it is bass management, EQ, input names, etc. To configure it you must use a VNC (remote desktop) software over its Ethernet connection. There is a web interface but it is extremely primitive and only lets you change the volume and such.

The VNC interface is not very attractive either:
Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor VNC User Interface Audio Measurements.png


And kind of non-intuitive. Trying to type in levels did not work for example. I had to use keyboard arrows to change them. There is also a 1 second delay before menus open which is a bit annoying. Still, it does the job.

The back connection shows departure from all legacy connections:

Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor surround multichannel AVP Back Panel ...jpg


You basically have all of these parallel channels to use as you wish. Dirac Live is provided for automatic EQ. Thank heavens as I can't imagine sitting there hand optimizing some 15 channels of audio!

While I did not test it, I believe this is the first AV product I have seen that can act like a USB DAC.

It is assumed that this processor is sold by a system integrator which does all the setup for you.

Overall reliability was not bad although I found that the S/PDIF input would lose lock at 48 kHz and would not work until I switched to HDMI and then back. Also, there is something rattling in there. Likely a screw or something.

Datasat LS10 AVP DAC Measurements
As usual we feed the device a 1 kHz digital signal and with no processing see what it can do out of its analog output:

Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor SPDIF Audio Measurements.png


Above is with S/PDIF. Same performance exists with HDMI:
Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor HDMI Audio Measurements.png


One channel has worse second harmonic distortion which knocks the SINAD (figure of distortion+noise) enough to give the LS10 second place ranking:

Best high-end home theater processor review.png


Not bad or broken but certainly nothing to brag about for a product in this price range.

One thing that is different about this product is that gain management is exposed to the user to some extent. Ordinary AV products mess with how much analog amplification exists combined with digital headroom in order to perform their channel mixing (e.g. routing sub output to mains if you don't have a sub or converting multichannel into stereo). The LS10 is not the same. Changing the unit from 2 channel mode (used above) to 5.1 caused the output to shoot up to 6 volts. Also, at times, turning up the volume made no difference at all in the output. It would get louder up to certain level and then stay there.

One nice thing about the LS10 is that it acts like a Pro audio interface in being able to pump out a lot of voltage. Indeed, max was over 16 volts! This should let you squeeze the best performance out of a few amps that measure best with high inputs (Benchmark AHB2, Hypex amps without buffer boards, etc.). To see if there is a trade off here, let's sweep the input digitally and measure the output at full volume (2 channel mode):

Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor THD+N vs Output Level Audio Measureme...png


Signal to noise ratio is a bit disappointing:
Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor HDMI Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


We are almost 20 dB shy of state-of-the-art desktop DACs in $600 to $1000 price range.

IMD vs level shows mass-market AV product peformance:
Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor SPDIF IMD Audio Measurements.png


Linearity is good in one channel but not the other:

Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor SPDIF Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Jitter is fine:

Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor Filter HDMI Jitter Audio Measurements.png


Only one DAC filter is provided and it is the typical chip filter which is steep (good) but a bit lazy (not so good):
Datasat LS10 HIgh-end balanced XLR Dolby Atmos Processor Filter HDMI Audio Measurements.png


Good attenuation though and typical of what we get in just about every desktop DAC.

Conclusions
This Datasat LS10 review shows what we have known for a while: that the AV industry walked away from great technical performance long time ago. What we have here is what we get in mass market AVRs. Going so much higher in price gets you XLR output, more channels perhaps and more professional looking product.

Nothing is broken here per se so I can't give the LS10 the lowest score. But I am not going to recommend it either.

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

Went to the garden today to see what is left to harvest and noticed the our Dahlia plants are trying their best to still flower although the cold and rain has essentially doomed them. Picked a few to surprise my wife:

Dahlia Flowers.jpg


Appreciate any kind donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Blumlein 88

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All this is depressing in that it appears there is no possibility of equaling top notch stereo DAC performance from $100/channel DACs or $50/channel recording interfaces in any AV products unless you spend huge money and probably not even then. As you say AV just walked away from real performance.

What bothers me is with only a tiny amount of care you can probably make a product that doesn't throw away performance for the exact same money or maybe only 10% more.
 

wwenze

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Piggy-bank Panther, for sure...

To me a negative rating should only be given when there are alternative products. I don't know if there are other 15 channel processor with this level of performance.

Whether the $$$ is worth it is another thing. *Panther shrug* But many non-audiophiles also look at us with the same eyes.
 
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Alice of Old Vincennes

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To me a negative rating should only be given when there are alternative products. I don't know if there are other 15 channel processor with this level of performance.

Whether the $$$ is worth it is another thing. *Panther shrug* But many non-audiophiles also look at us with the same eyes.
Blinder eyes I trust.
 

FactorFiction

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Using this device properly would mean matching to amplification that could take 12-13 volts in, that eliminates many amplifiers, so I’m wondering how may integrators took that into account.

For AV gear that can act as a DAC, the Emotiva XMC-1 and current models have Stereo asynchronous USB DAC support.
 

pavuol

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Mostly there are reviews of its more expensive brother RS20i, this one with some measurements.

As for prices, from a SteveG 2015 review of RS20i:
Now, with the Datasat RS20i you can have a professional-quality decoder in your home system. The price is $19,000 (£19,000 in the UK), but if that's too steep, consider Datasat's more affordable home model, the LS10, which runs $11,000.
So probably higher now.
 

pavuol

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Article about Auro-3D tech, incorporating "height layer" of speakers.

This new processor shares the same audio quality found on the more expensive RS20i but drops Dirac Live and eliminates some of the flexibility of the RS20i, which just wouldn't be used by most consumers. The LS10 can handle Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio at 5.1 and 7.1, along with DTS Neo:X at 11.1 and Auro-3D up to the 13.2-channel configuration.

image.php

image.php


In the video within that article they also explain "wife acceptance factor" "significant other factor" (#154), which they considered (..argument for adding additional 4 height speakers to existing 5.1 setup)
 
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3125b

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Well, that‘s actually not too bad.
But then again, if I had 11000£ burning a hole in my pocket, I‘d buy a car :)
Seriously, the margin on these things has to be huge.
 

Sancus

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Article about Auro-3D tech, incorporating "height layer" of speakers.

All very old stuff, all the Denon AVRs starting at 4000-series, the Monoprice HTP-1, and plenty of other AVRs have Auro3D.

This thing doesn't appear to do anything that the more recent 16-channel AVPs don't, at a fraction of the price, but of course, released 5 years ago makes it a dinosaur in AVR terms so I'm sure it was attractive in 2015.
 

martijn86

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Seriously, the margin on these things has to be huge.
Must be, because it certainly didn't go to their User eXperience department. You must VNC into a consumer product to configure it!
 

Robbo99999

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The main problem I have with these products is their sky high cost, I'm not so critical of the SINAD numbers. Seems like a boat load of money is related to features & appearance (as well as the empty image marketing appeal of some brands/units). I've heard here at ASR that DIRAC costs a boat load of money in licensing.....it's just a ****** overall market/model to find ourselves in really......I'd like to see it simplified & opened up to increase flexibility & reduce costs.
 

pavuol

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All very old stuff, all the Denon AVRs starting at 4000-series, the Monoprice HTP-1, and plenty of other AVRs have Auro3D.

This thing doesn't appear to do anything that the more recent 16-channel AVPs don't, at a fraction of the price, but of course, released 5 years ago makes it a dinosaur in AVR terms so I'm sure it was attractive in 2015.
From "home cinema" crowd view point yes, but for millions living in small apartments who depend on mono sounding TV-embedded speakers or soundbars it looks like sci-fi even nowadays. :)
 

wwenze

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Must be, because it certainly didn't go to their User eXperience department. You must VNC into a consumer product to configure it!

Maybe it's like a filter so only those who know what they're doing get to do what they're doing. I miss the days when we had to add mscdex.exe into autoexec.bat
 

Dan1210

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Would be very interested to see how the new breed of high end processors measure like the Trinnov, Storm and Lyngdorf, any of these up for review amirm?
 

audioBliss

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IMO the SINAD graph should include at what measured voltage the SINAD was obtained. As it is now it’s a bit misleading. At lot of these AVR/Ps are measured with 2V where others at 4V. I'd like to see both in the graph. For example the HTP-1 is 97dB SINAD at 4V but 105dB SINAD at 2.3V. And then we have this unit which can produce 16V which is very useful information. Most of the AVRs in the list can't even exceed 2V or sometimes 1V-something.
 

Krobar

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I returned a second hand RS20I nearly a year ago because the noise floor wasn't good enough with my relatively sensitive Hypex 502MPs. Looking at the results above seems they were a bad match.
 

restorer-john

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@amirm Are there any HT processors out there with remotely SOTA performance figures?

It's not my field or interest, but surely there is an opportunity for one of the big boys to step up with a truly excellent performing processor, one that can actually be upgraded (not just one that promises "slots for upgrades" that never happen). One with an open platform, plenty of firepower and a ubiquitous set of "slots". Think IBM PCXT standard but 35 years on.
 
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