• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Home Theater Architecture


New Member
Dec 26, 2023
Hi one and all, and seasonal greetings to whom they apply!

This is my first post here after browsing as a guest for quite a while. I hope you'll go easy on me. I also hope I picked the right forum to post in (I tried), if not, feel free to move my thread.

I am wondering about the architecture of home theater as our needs/wants for signal processing seem to be on a path to exceed the fairly basic (except for licensing and copy protection) need for the input signal to be decoded and distributed into discrete channel outputs.

It's possible sole basic solution eludes me. I've researched for months, but often that is difficult if you don't know that key term that unlocks results. It's also possible (even if remotely) that I might have a point.

For use as an example, I plan to build a living room home theater that doubles as stereo music listening setup. It'll likely be 9.4.4. LCR will likely be identical four way speakers that are quad amp-able.

This setup likely will require some external DSP just due to four subwoofers, but if I do end up going all out and replace the passive crossover in my four way LCR speakers with DSP channels as well, either I'd need DSP box after DSP box, or a very large DSP.

And if I do end up with something like that, it kinda begs the question - why then pay for an AVP? Essentially, all it'll do is source switching and deciding of the audio stream. It seems like these things "should" be possible without the premium price tag of an AVP, for example by a PC and a few switches. But decoding then is difficult due to licensing (nowhere to really buy that as a consumer) and probably copy protection will make it impossible or a nightmare to implement a PC centric solution.

Can it really be true that this is so difficult in 2023 (a little while longer)?

And if so, what do you guys do? Trinnovs and JBL Synthesis solutions or something more budget friendly? Keen to know, especially of the most suitable architecture for such a system.

Kind regards,
There are a few avrs that now handle four subwoofers independently. Check the Anthem avm 90 and the new Denon av-A1H
Regarding the price for simple switching and decoding, all the licensing is what makes it so hard and pricey. HDMI DRM plus all the different decoders, plus the room correction software. They don't really sell it for PC because they don't want people to pirate movies.
Thanks for your replies thus far. I think I should clarify my question better - English isn't my first language, as is probably obvious, so I apologise if it is unclear.

I consider a product like the miniDSP Flex HTx and notice it has HDMI and analogue inputs, so some switching capability I assume. It also has DSP, obviously. It has balanced and unbalanced outputs. It has presets, which could also be very handy. (Something like a simple version of what Anthem is doing with profiles).

I then imagine; if this product had a built in decoder and supported more channels, it could replace some AVPs. If it had even more features like for example being able to output digitally to discreet power amps, more inputs, more outputs, it seems it could replace all AVPs. But likely it would be at a fraction of the price and judging by Amirs tests, probably better.

An equally appealing solution would be to be able to buy these as individual boxes that are synced by some means, and managed in a unified way. Including being able to buy a decoder box which could then individually be replaced for new formats, etc.

So my question essentially is if I'm overlooking such a product category (one or the other) due to my blissful ignorance as to what that category might be called or what to search for?

And if not - if something like this doesn't readily exist - doesn't it kinda seem like it should? (Typically this would indicate that such a product would come into existence given some time)

Or is it solely a matter of price? For example, are Trinnov and Synthesis - both solutions I am aware of but have no further knowledge of - able to do what I ask, including fx splitting discreet channels further by applying crossovers and timings to individually amplify each driver in a given speaker channel?

Or is there only the one way; buying some expensive AVP essentially only for it's decoder, and daisy chaining it with a bunch of DSP boxes, in which you must accept that the channel to channel timing/delay must reside in the AVP, even if your DSP boxes could do it better/easier?

It just seems like the current methodology (as far as I'm aware) involves paying big money for many boxes whilst using only a portion of each box's capability.
Top Bottom