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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%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 363 75.9%

  • Total voters
    478

juliangst

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I don’t think 48kHz v 96kHz will make any difference here and having extra AES digital outs is only useful to people with monitors that only have an AES input imo (like genelec 83x1).

When you factor in the 200€ Dirac license and a 50€ Raspberry Pi for that streaming functionality the SHD studio will still be 200€ more expensive.

For people like me who don’t need Dirac and already have a raspberry pi for streaming the flex digital will be the better choice.
 

mdsimon2

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Honestly really don't see much of a reason to go with the SHD Studio these days. Flex has better input functionality (analog + bluetooth), you have the option of user defined FIR filters or Dirac with the Flex where the SHD Studio has no user defined FIR and only Dirac and of course the price difference.

Agree with others that the sample rate difference is not a big deal and actually wish there was the option to run the Flex at 48 kHz with the 2X4HD plug-in to maximize FIR taps.

Michael
 

caught gesture

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I‘ve got an itch that I keep researching. Currently I run a 2.2 system using Dirac Live, but running my bookshelf speakers full range. I’d really like to HPF them and have my subs do all the heavy lifting in the sub 80Hz region. My question is, if I buy the MiniDSP Flex unbalanced and then wait for the Dirac Live Bass Control that is apparently imminent with Live, the Flex is a good option? It seems like a perfect fit. Four outputs, a DAC that should outperform my North Star Design DAC plus the implementation of Dirac across two bookshelf speakers and two subwoofers. Am I missing something? Is there a better solution? In an ideal world, with money not being an issue, I’d sell everything I have and buy a pair of 8361A monitors, but it ain’t an ideal world (by any stretch of the imagination both idealistically or environmentally). It’s not that I don’t really enjoy the music I listen to now. I love my music collection, and Dirac with some room treatment sounds great. It’s just that bloody itch…

 

juliangst

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I‘ve got an itch that I keep researching. Currently I run a 2.2 system using Dirac Live, but running my bookshelf speakers full range. I’d really like to HPF them and have my subs do all the heavy lifting in the sub 80Hz region. My question is, if I buy the MiniDSP Flex unbalanced and then wait for the Dirac Live Bass Control that is apparently imminent with Live, the Flex is a good option? It seems like a perfect fit. Four outputs, a DAC that should outperform my North Star Design DAC plus the implementation of Dirac across two bookshelf speakers and two subwoofers. Am I missing something? Is there a better solution? In an ideal world, with money not being an issue, I’d sell everything I have and buy a pair of 8361A monitors, but it ain’t an ideal world (by any stretch of the imagination both idealistically or environmentally). It’s not that I don’t really enjoy the music I listen to now. I love my music collection and Dirac with some room treatment sounds great. It’s just that bloody itch…

I highly doubt that Bass Control will come to the Flex. It'll probably not even be available for the SHD/ SHD Studio as far as I know.
I'm also really interested in Dirac Bass control. I think the best option would be getting an audio interface with 4 outputs and use Dirac for Windows or Mac.
Until Dirac Bass Control is available you can use EqAPO for the high and low pass filters and apply Dirac Live on top of that. That's what I'll probably do too in the future
 

tonycollinet

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I‘ve got an itch that I keep researching. Currently I run a 2.2 system using Dirac Live, but running my bookshelf speakers full range. I’d really like to HPF them and have my subs do all the heavy lifting in the sub 80Hz region. My question is, if I buy the MiniDSP Flex unbalanced and then wait for the Dirac Live Bass Control that is apparently imminent with Live, the Flex is a good option? It seems like a perfect fit. Four outputs, a DAC that should outperform my North Star Design DAC plus the implementation of Dirac across two bookshelf speakers and two subwoofers. Am I missing something? Is there a better solution? In an ideal world, with money not being an issue, I’d sell everything I have and buy a pair of 8361A monitors, but it ain’t an ideal world (by any stretch of the imagination both idealistically or environmentally). It’s not that I don’t really enjoy the music I listen to now. I love my music collection, and Dirac with some room treatment sounds great. It’s just that bloody itch…

You don't need bass control. You can setup crossovers levels and distances separately in the flex using REW, then run Dirac on the whole system as though it is just full range speakers.

See tutorial here:
 

caught gesture

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I highly doubt that Bass Control will come to the Flex. It'll probably not even be available for the SHD/ SHD Studio as far as I know.
I'm also really interested in Dirac Bass control. I think the best option would be getting an audio interface with 4 outputs and use Dirac for Windows or Mac.
Until Dirac Bass Control is available you can use EqAPO for the high and low pass filters and apply Dirac Live on top of that. That's what I'll probably do too in the future
I currently use Dirac on my Mac. I want Bass Control and realise that isn’t possible with the two channel correction that I am currently doing. I need more outputs on the DAC to feed the two speakers and two subs. At the moment the subs are attached to my integrated amplifier. I’d love to have them be on separate outputs from a DAC, corrected by Dirac within my Mac.
 

caught gesture

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You don't need bass control. You can setup crossovers levels and distances separately in the flex using REW, then run Dirac on the whole system as though it is just full range speakers.

See tutorial here:
Thanks for this! I’m going to have a look at this now.
 

juliangst

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I currently use Dirac on my Mac. I want Bass Control and realise that isn’t possible with the two channel correction that I am currently doing. I need more outputs on the DAC to feed the two speakers and two subs. At the moment the subs are attached to my integrated amplifier. I’d love to have them be on separate outputs from a DAC, corrected by Dirac within my Mac.
You technically could buy a cheap DAC and use both DACs at the same time. One for the speakers and one for the subs and apply filters to each output. I don't know how you do it on MacOS but it's pretty easy on Windows with Voicemeeter Banana and EqAPO
 

dkinric

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I‘ve got an itch that I keep researching. Currently I run a 2.2 system using Dirac Live, but running my bookshelf speakers full range. I’d really like to HPF them and have my subs do all the heavy lifting in the sub 80Hz region. My question is, if I buy the MiniDSP Flex unbalanced and then wait for the Dirac Live Bass Control that is apparently imminent with Live, the Flex is a good option? It seems like a perfect fit. Four outputs, a DAC that should outperform my North Star Design DAC plus the implementation of Dirac across two bookshelf speakers and two subwoofers. Am I missing something? Is there a better solution? In an ideal world, with money not being an issue, I’d sell everything I have and buy a pair of 8361A monitors, but it ain’t an ideal world (by any stretch of the imagination both idealistically or environmentally). It’s not that I don’t really enjoy the music I listen to now. I love my music collection, and Dirac with some room treatment sounds great. It’s just that bloody itch…

I am also running a 2.2 system with bookshelves. Previously, I had no bass control, so I ran the bookshelves full range. Introducing the Flex allowed me to easily set the HP and LP crossovers for all 4 outputs (in REW), then I ran Dirac. The change was substantial, mainly in the bass. Bass sounds much cleaner, less bloated and much more enjoyable. Significant upgrade, highly recommended.
 

caught gesture

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Thanks to everyone who has responded to my questions. I think that I will go ahead and order a Flex unbalanced and retire my ancient DAC! One further question before I place an order. Is there any reason why the Flex will not play nicely with an integrated amplifier? I ask because of this diagram…
1664378658048.jpeg

I am assuming that the Flex has volume control and works as a preamplifier to the power amplifier. Would I set a volume level on my integrated amplifier, as well as the subwoofers, and then use the Flex to control listening volume levels? I’m a bit confused as to what would be the best practice!
 

juliangst

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Thanks to everyone who has responded to my questions. I think that I will go ahead and order a Flex unbalanced and retire my ancient DAC! One further question before I place an order. Is there any reason why the Flex will not play nicely with an integrated amplifier? I ask because of this diagram…
View attachment 233795
I am assuming that the Flex has volume control and works as a preamplifier to the power amplifier. Would I set a volume level on my integrated amplifier, as well as the subwoofers, and then use the Flex to control listening volume levels? I’m a bit confused as to what would be the best practice!
Using it with an integrated amp should be fine. I’m going to do that as well. I’ll just put the knob at 12 o’clock.
I get about 25dB of gain with my denon at this position which is about the same gain as a power amp would have and it’s easy to remember the volume position
 

MarcosCh

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I am assuming that the Flex has volume control and works as a preamplifier to the power amplifier. Would I set a volume level on my integrated amplifier, as well as the subwoofers, and then use the Flex to control listening volume levels? I’m a bit confused as to what would be the best practice!
I would say past -20db in the flex might not have any benefit (see IMD and multitone graphs), but I hope someone knowledgeable chimes in.
 

juliangst

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I would say past -20db in the flex might not have any benefit (see IMD and multitone graphs), but I hope someone knowledgeable chimes in.
Compared to most 100-200€ it’s about the same. At about -40dB which is quite low we still have 80dB of SINAD which should be good enough
 

tonycollinet

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Thanks to everyone who has responded to my questions. I think that I will go ahead and order a Flex unbalanced and retire my ancient DAC! One further question before I place an order. Is there any reason why the Flex will not play nicely with an integrated amplifier? I ask because of this diagram…
View attachment 233795
I am assuming that the Flex has volume control and works as a preamplifier to the power amplifier. Would I set a volume level on my integrated amplifier, as well as the subwoofers, and then use the Flex to control listening volume levels? I’m a bit confused as to what would be the best practice!
That is exactly what I do.

Obviously anything input directly into the integrated amp doesn't benefit from Dirac - so just use it as a power amp by using a single input.
 

caught gesture

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That is exactly what I do.

Obviously anything input directly into the integrated amp doesn't benefit from Dirac - so just use it as a power amp by using a single input.
To clarify, I was thinking I would send stereo left and right to the integrated and mono to the subs from the Flex. When you say a “single input”, you do mean left and right interconnects? Dirac correction would be done by my laptop and would therefore mean a corrected signal arriving at the integrated amp (as it does now, just with no recognition of there being subwoofers in the mix).
 

tonycollinet

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To clarify, I was thinking I would send stereo left and right to the integrated and mono to the subs from the Flex. When you say a “single input”, you do mean left and right interconnects? Dirac correction would be done by my laptop and would therefore mean a corrected signal arriving at the integrated amp (as it does now, just with no recognition of there being subwoofers in the mix).
Yes - sorry for not being clear.

Single (stereo) input to amp from Flex. Direc correction is setup by the laptop, but the filters are then put into the flex which implements them. No need to have the PC connected after setup.

And yes - the other outputs from the flex available to drive subs (I don't yet have a sub in my system)
 

juliangst

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I‘m not familiar with the minidsp software.
Can I apply an impulse response to each channel separately?
With my setup I need to fix a phase issue of my right speaker so I use a FIR filter and the EQ Apo convolver to apply that filter.
Is that possible with the Flex as well?
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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I‘m not familiar with the minidsp software.
Can I apply an impulse response to each channel separately?
With my setup I need to fix a phase issue of my right speaker so I use a FIR filter and the EQ Apo convolver to apply that filter.
Is that possible with the Flex as well?
Every thing can be done per output channel
 
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