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Minidsp Flex Review (Audio DSP)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 0.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 2.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 99 20.7%
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    Votes: 363 75.9%

  • Total voters
    478

mike70

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You do both realize that any resampling does not in any way damage the benefits of the mastering?

And it is pretty much only the mastering that Amir recognizes as a benefit of high bit rates ...

Going to science ...

https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195

Double blind test with a 44.1/16 "bottleneck" digitalization after hi-res analog output showed that CD quality was transparent

The real difference seems to be the original mastering/recording.
 

Blew

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Going to science ...

https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195

Double blind test with a 44.1/16 "bottleneck" digitalization after hi-res analog output showed that CD quality was transparent

The real difference seems to be the original mastering/recording.
That's not a reliable study. See Amir's criticism of that science for details of why that study cannot be relied upon in the thread below.
In it he notes:
Lost in that is one tester who managed to get 8 out of 10 right meaning there was 94.5% probability that he was identifying the proper source and not guessing. This is so close to 95% threshold that it should have been noted as significant and countering the larger conclusion but was not. Two other testers managed 7 out of 10 correct selections. These were all dismissed as exceptions and the total number of trials/listeners incorrectly relied upon.
Amir cites a further, more rigorous study on the matter and notes:
The results show that mere filtering of the high sample rate track to that of CD's 44.1 KHz and video’s 48 KHz had audible effect (to the stated statistical significance).
Since first posting in this thread I have concluded that high resolution audio does make a small but noticeable difference to the sound quality in reproducing audio when all other things are equal. This is due to audio artefacts that are introduced by the reconstruction filter. See Amir's post for details on that. The difference is noticeable up to 96KHz, but some people claim that they can tell a difference up to 192KHz. The artefacts are is most noticeable on cheaper DACs that don't have as good filters. More expensive DACs with better filtering algorithms can substantially improve this. I suspect that this is why some people say there is no difference between CD and hi-res audio and other swear black and blue that there is.

I'm still considering buying a MiniDSP Flex to use without Dirac to enable resampling at 96KHz. I don't think it's worth spending the money on this and a Dirac license then being limited to resampling everything to 48KHz. I'm also tempted to go the DIY route here though:
 

Mattknz

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I'm currently using an AVR with Audyssey XT32 for listening to music with a 2.2 setup.
I'm hoping someone has gone from a similar setup to a Flex (probably with Dirac for me) and can comment on whether they found much or any of an improvement/difference.
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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I'm still considering buying a MiniDSP Flex to use without Dirac to enable resampling at 96KHz. I don't think it's worth spending the money on this and a Dirac license then being limited to resampling everything to 48KHz.

If resampling at 48khz with Dirac enabled makes it unacceptable for your ears, other options within Minidsp lineup are the SHD or SHD studio (depending what you are looking for) that resample at 96Khz with Dirac enabled.

In my system and environment, Dirac processing (with minidsp Flex resampling at 48KHz) brings important sound reproduction enhancements. Way more valuable to me and noticeable than hypothetical subtle micro differences that 96Khz resampling might bring.
 

mike70

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Amir cites a further, more rigorous study on the matter and notes:

the AES test is not rigorous because is too much rigorous? ... i don't understand. 95% threshold is ... 95% threshold.
 

Blew

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If resampling at 48khz with Dirac enabled makes it unacceptable for your ears, other options within Minidsp lineup are the SHD or SHD studio (depending what you are looking for) that resample at 96Khz with Dirac enabled.
They're a lot more expensive than the Flex and Dirac is not optional.
In my system and environment, Dirac processing (with minidsp Flex resampling at 48KHz) brings important sound reproduction enhancements. Way more valuable to me and noticeable than hypothetical subtle micro differences that 96Khz resampling might bring.
The resampling differences are not hypothetical. See above. If you don't notice them then that's fine for you. However, I'd rather have my cake and eat it too.
 

amper42

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The limited hi-res audio capabilities of the FLEX is one of the features I miss. It gave me a better appreciation for the 768kHz capabilities of my RME ADI-2 and D90SE. Trading hi-Res audio for Dirac isn't the worse trade off but it's one I would rather not have to make.
 

MarcosCh

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They're a lot more expensive than the Flex and Dirac is not optional.
I see the flex as the entry level 2x4 HD with much improved functionality and a better dac for a bit more. I believe it sits pricewise midway between the 2x4 and the SHD. For many people this is exactly what they want and need.
If you want the features of a SHD (that btw is a family of 3 products with different functionalities to choose from)... well you will have to pay for it.
I find minidsp's range fair and adequate, just imagine this company wouldn't exist!
But nowhere you get top of the line features for entry level price....
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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Trading hi-Res audio for Dirac isn't the worse trade off but it's one I would rather not have to make.
You must have a graal environment (e.g. perfect room dimensions and passive treatment, perfect speakers, perfect electronics) and golden ears to make such statements.

You're lucky.

I am way less lucky than you.

I must rather have poor hearing and bad setup to not being able to detect noticeable/differenciative/enjoyable improvements with hi-res music content while I detect (and enjoy) important enhancement with a DSP processing such a Dirac, using regular lossless 44.1/CD content.

Everyone focuses on different matters :)
 

mike70

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You must have a graal environment (e.g. perfect room dimensions and passive treatment, perfect speakers, perfect electronics) and golden ears to make such statements.

You're lucky.

I am way less lucky than you.

I must rather have poor hearing and bad setup to not being able to detect noticeable/differenciative/enjoyable improvements with hi-res music content while I detect (and enjoy) important enhancement with a DSP processing such a Dirac, using regular lossless 44.1/CD content.

Everyone focuses on different matters :)

MQA, hi-res, ... marketing to sell blockbuster recordings again and again.
Nyquist / Shannon finded what you need to recreate audible frequencies since decades ago.
 

sebna

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I am currently using MiniDSP 2x HD to EQ two of my SUBs for HT duties (without DIRAC).

Would you say balanced FLEX would be an improvement and worth it? (I have 10m+ cable runs to Subs and they have balanced inputs)?

Let me know guys what are your thoughts if you can.

Am I right that it would be compatible with BEQ as 2x4 HD is?
 

diablo

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I am currently using MiniDSP 2x HD to EQ two of my SUBs for HT duties (without DIRAC).

Would you say balanced FLEX would be an improvement and worth it? (I have 10m+ cable runs to Subs and they have balanced inputs)?

Let me know guys what are your thoughts if you can.

Am I right that it would be compatible with BEQ as 2x4 HD is?
I have recently replaced my DDRC24 (2x4 HD with Dirac added) and it seems an improvement, though hard to say as I had to set it up again - and I tend to get better at these things. I use them to EQ the mains and subs.

My old DDRC24 is now in use for the subs only in my cinema room. It works fine for that and I don't think another Flex would improve anything.

The Flex, in non-Dirac mode works exactly the same as the 2x4 HD.

Oh yes, one of the subs in my lounge is on an unbalanced 11 metre cable. I get no pickup of noise on it.
 

juliangst

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Are there any EU stores that don't sell the Minidsp for outrageous prices? The balanced Flex costs 750€ on Audiophonics and I haven't seen it anywhere cheaper. I generally don't like importing such expensive equipment from China or USA in this case
 

MarcosCh

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Are there any EU stores that don't sell the Minidsp for outrageous prices? The balanced Flex costs 750€ on Audiophonics and I haven't seen it anywhere cheaper. I generally don't like importing such expensive equipment from China or USA in this case
Have you calculated how much it would cost you to order from minidsp direct these days? My country -in EU- has a relatively low VAT and it would be ca 700eur after taxes fees etc.
I think audiophonics price is quite good now (you get local support + 2 years warranty instead of one for probably less than 50 eur more...)
 
Last edited:

vicenzo_del_paris

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For balanced Flex + 20% VAT + DHL fees, at current dollar/euro exchange rate, it would make around 725 euros all included.
Audiophonics got their reseller discount since the Flex was released and now proposes at about 765 euros with shipping.
As @MarcosCh says, it now makes sense to order at Audiophonics (while few months ago, ordering it directly at minidsp was 250 euros cheaper).
 

juliangst

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For balanced Flex + 20% VAT + DHL fees, at current dollar/euro exchange rate, it would make around 725 euros all included.
Audiophonics got their reseller discount since the Flex was released and now proposes at about 765 euros with shipping.
As @MarcosCh says, it now makes sense to order at Audiophonics (while few months ago, ordering it directly at minidsp was 250 euros cheaper).
Their price seems okay but other people here said that they didn’t have to pay customs. So I’m not sure if it’s worth to order from audiophonics or directly from minidsp
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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Their price seems okay but other people here said that they didn’t have to pay customs. So I’m not sure if it’s worth to order from audiophonics or directly from minidsp
There is no customs fees to import device such as minidsp ones in Europe.
There is only VAT to pay and DHL processing fees (about 15€).
 
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