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Monoprice HTP-1 Home Theater Processor Review

rccarguy

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I sent a email to ATI a while ago regarding my 2000 series they replied it's 1.6v for XLR input
 

stevenswall

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Is there anything like this closer to $1000 that just had 4 outputs and supports room correction, DIRAC or not?

I'm having a heck of a time justifying $4k plus for Dirac Live going to a 2.2 system when most systems are $4000+ and have 8+ channels... and these $4000 units (this and the JBL) don't seem to get great reviews here.

Man I wish MiniDSP would get DLBM on their SHD stuff.
 

Vasr

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I'm having a heck of a time justifying $4k plus for Dirac Live going to a 2.2 system when most systems are $4000+ and have 8+ channels... and these $4000 units (this and the JBL) don't seem to get great reviews here.

I don't think there are many choices to get down in price because it is 2.2. Either you have a Stereo or a 7.1 or a full 16 channel. Very few inbetween.

This is definitely an overkill for 2.2 unless you needed all the Codecs for a full HT system but the review here shouldn't bias you against it either. In my opinion, this review (the subjective part) was one of the very few misses on this site and the issues that were considered to ding it aren't relevant to most people. This is one of the few units at this level that seems to work without glitches which is a huge problem in these complicated pre-pros.

The addition of DLBC to SHD may not be all that it is hyped up to be over the bass management that SHD already does with the DSP BM from miniDSP, especially if you have to pay the full price for it.
 

yourmando

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Is there anything like this closer to $1000 that just had 4 outputs and supports room correction, DIRAC or not?

I'm having a heck of a time justifying $4k plus for Dirac Live going to a 2.2 system when most systems are $4000+ and have 8+ channels... and these $4000 units (this and the JBL) don't seem to get great reviews here.

Man I wish MiniDSP would get DLBM on their SHD stuff.

You could get around that price point with a Denon 5.1 AVR w/ Audyssey xt32 + the $20 Audyssey app + a miniDSP HD 2x4 for optimizing your 2 subs.

DLBC's main strength is narrowing the large search space of subwoofer level, phase, polarity, etc combinations automatically using genetic algorithms to prune the search space.

But you can do multi-sub optimization the traditional way with hours of measuring and tweaking variables to jointly optimize both together. You could:

1. Model the room & sub placement in REW to get a starting ball park. If your room is rectangular-ish.
2. Iterate on parameters w/ miniDSP hd to get the best summed result. Might take a few hours. Could use tools like multi-sub optimizer to help.
3. Audyssey xt31 + app should handle the rest pretty well.

You could also get one of the midiDSP dirac devices, but you'd still be doing sub optimization manually within the miniDSP. But then you might still need a receiver if you need to switch HDMI inputs, have a master volume control, etc. Though the miniDSP box solution could work alone if you're just using a single source, such as a home theater PC or something.
 

yourmando

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I don't think there are many choices to get down in price because it is 2.2. Either you have a Stereo or a 7.1 or a full 16 channel. Very few inbetween.

This is definitely an overkill for 2.2 unless you needed all the Codecs for a full HT system but the review here shouldn't bias you against it either. In my opinion, this review (the subjective part) was one of the very few misses on this site and the issues that were considered to ding it aren't relevant to most people. This is one of the few units at this level that seems to work without glitches which is a huge problem in these complicated pre-pros.

The addition of DLBC to SHD may not be all that it is hyped up to be over the bass management that SHD already does with the DSP BM from miniDSP, especially if you have to pay the full price for it.
Yeah, I'm scratching my head about the headless panther on this one.

I think it's because it's Amir doesn't make features the focus, and whether the overall unit works well for the main customer use cases. The measurements are the focus.

This generally works great for single purpose gear like DACs and amps, but in an AVR/pre pro, whether the thing works well is the main variable for most people. In this case, it's seems odd to give a headless panther because of one issue where gain structure could be better, which is relevant to people using low gain pro gear that also doesn't have jumper settings to adjust. Sure, could be an issue, and yes, it would be better to have 8v out to cover all of the bases. Is that 1 variable the most important thing?
 

bigguyca

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That's just another one of those hifi myth, that XLR is always better. It may be, but I have seen measurements that show either way, for short runs of cables. Just search S&V for devices measured that have both RCA/XLR and you will see the results are not consistently better for XLR in terms of THD+N and even just SNR. For two channel systems, if balanced is available, I would always use them. I like the click (not all do though), and the theoretically better noise rejection whether that makes any difference or not.

One benefits often cited is that XLR, if from fully balanced (end to end) amps, you will theoretically have less even harmonics because of the cancellation. Even so, it may not result in audibly better sound quality, as it depends on how low the distortion is to begin with. Also, some people may actually prefer to have some low order even harmonics, and some thought that would make the sound "warmer", and/or more "airy" so those people may not prefer the cancellation of even harmonics.

Please provide more details about this claim. What are the overall details of the circuitry you are describing, In particular, where is the distortion created and where does the cancellation take place?

It is not a claim, it is a fact, though I do not believe it matters practically speaking. Cancellation is not total in practice either, it just help reduce some of the even harmonics presented to the amp. I am not going to speculate on how and where they are created, but certainly there are there from the preamp output. FFTs show them..

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1506979

There are lots of details in the TI article:

https://www.ti.com/lit/an/sloa054e/sloa054e.pdf?ts=1600894882794&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

On page 6:

"Reduced Even-Order Harmonic Distortion Expanding the transfer functions of circuits into a power series is a typical way to quantify the distortion products. Taking a generic expansion of the outputs and assuming matched amplifiers, we get: Vout+ = k1Vin + k2Vin2 + k3Vin3 + . . . , and Vout– = k1(–Vin)+ k2(–Vin)2 + k3(–Vin)3 + . . . . Taking the differential output Vod = 2k1Vin + 2k3Vin3 + . . . , where k1, k2 and k3 are constants. The quadratic terms gives rise to second-order harmonic distortion, the cubic terms gives rise to third-order harmonic distortion, and so on. In a fully-differential amplifier, the odd-order terms retain their polarity, while the even-order terms are always positive. When the differential is taken, the even order terms cancel. Real life is not quite this perfect. Lab testing of the THS4141 at 1 MHz shows that the second harmonic at the output is reduced by approximately 6 dB when measured differentially as compared to measuring either output single-ended. The third harmonic is unchanged between a differential and single-ended measurement."

Gene of Audioholics.com has written something about that in one of his review on the fully balanced Denon AVP, but I could not find that article.


The point of the post actually was the balanced characteristic of the circuitry that you cited. Balanced means that that the impedance to ground from the two lines is equal. That's it. The TI product in the link is a Fully-Differential Amplifier. Differential signaling and a balance circuit are not the same thing, as I'm sure you know, although they often exist in the same circuit. If a discussion turns to any sort of critical thinking about products the use of incorrect terms isn't helpful.

There are a huge number of unfortunate references to balanced circuits, fully balanced, circuits, etc. in posts and on websites. This is doesn't refer to you, but often these terms are used by people who have no understanding of what they mean. Incorrect usage leads to nonsensical analysis of various products.

One website has a Herr Dr. (not an MD, give me a break) who constantly refers to balanced circuits as if they would save the world. Too many individuals just repeat the terms with little knowledge of what they mean, or that terms may have no meaning anything at all. Anyway, enough of that...
 

peng

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There are a huge number of unfortunate references to balanced circuits, fully balanced, circuits, etc. in posts and on websites. This is doesn't refer to you, but often these terms are used by people who have no understanding of what they mean. Incorrect usage leads to nonsensical analysis of various products.

One website has a Herr Dr. (not an MD, give me a break) who constantly refers to balanced circuits as if they would save the world. Too many individuals just repeat the terms with little knowledge of what they mean, or that terms may have no meaning anything at all. Anyway, enough of that...

Of course, I don't really like the term fully balance either, heck ATI even used another good one, "pure balanced". http://www.ati-amp.com/manuals/at6000manual.pdf, why don't they get together and stick with "differential" instead of "balanced" for amps that actually use fully differential drives, who knows?

Now, try telling people, and that would include reputable manufacturers to stop referring to average power as rms power too.:D
 

krizvi786

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Please correct me if I am wrong: Monoprice AMP are neither differential nor balanced. However, HTP-1 is both fully differential and fully balanced.

Is that right?
 

bigguyca

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Please correct me if I am wrong: Monoprice AMP are neither differential nor balanced. However, HTP-1 is both fully differential and fully balanced.

Is that right?

No

The analog signal flow is:

AK4493 DAC IC (+) and (-) (differential) (example +1V and -1V)

to:

opamp filter circuit (input differential - output single-ended (SE) - not differential or balanced) (example now 2V SE)

to:

one channel of 8-channel Cirrus Logic Volume control (input and output SE) (example 2V in, 2V out at 0dB gain)

to:

opamp stage with gain of -6dB (SE output is (+) output of XLR (pin 2) - this is also the single-ended output with an adapter (example 2V in, 1V out)

to:

inverting opamp stage (SE output is (-) output of XLR (pin3) (example 1V in, -1V out)

Output is differential from pins 2 and 3 of XLR output (+1V and -1V)


Overall from DAC IC differential then single-ended until after buffer stage for XLR output.

Balanced is a more complicated question that isn't answered with a yes or no answer. The overall quality of a balanced circuit depends on both the quality of the output circuit and input circuit. For example, well matched, which typically means high precision resistors, are required for a low output on each leg of the output. Well matched, higher value resistors, high precision resistors, are important at the input, as well as other factors. Very low noise output and input circuitry, which means more expensive opamps, is required. The better quality implies greater expense. How good does a balanced circuit need to be for use in high quality audio; good question.

The output of the HTP-1 balanced. It hard to judge the quality of the "balance" or its importance overall. Measurements don't usually explore balance. The output of a preamp is measured with a superbly balanced, high impedance Audio Precision input. A power amplifier is measured with the superbly balanced, low impedance output of AP gear. The goal is to test the electronics in the gear, not the interface. The test setup appears directed at minimizing the effect of the interfaces. At best, output impedances and input impedances are measured, but these tell only a very small part of the story, but that may be enough.
 
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bigguyca

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Unfortunately, we have been adding too many features to keep it up to date. We will publish a newone in October, that will need to be updated once DTS X Pro gets added, etc.

The good thing is the manual that's built into the unit is up to date with all the latest information.


It's a bit (very) hard to understand why the user manual presented to the owners and the user manual presented online aren't the same at all times. Most products just reference a common manual that is available online. Why keep the actual, current, owner's manual a semi-secret?

One obvious issue is that without access to the current manual potential owners certainly find it hard to evaluate the product for potential purchase. Purchasing an HTP-1 in order to read the manual to learn details of the product's features order to understand if the HTP-1 fits with the intended use seems a bit extreme, even though the product has a return period.
 

MonolithGuy

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It's a bit (very) hard to understand why the user manual presented to the owners and the user manual presented online aren't the same at all times. Most products just reference a common manual that is available online. Why keep the actual, current, owner's manual a semi-secret?

It's obviously a grand conspiracy and I want only the owners to understand all the HTP-1 secrets. ;)

We should have the online manual updated and sometime in October. As I've stated before, the manual and help guides that are built into the HTP-1 interface are fully up to date.

.
 

Vasr

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It's obviously a grand conspiracy and I want only the owners to understand all the HTP-1 secrets. ;)

We should have the online manual updated and sometime in October. As I've stated before, the manual and help guides that are built into the HTP-1 interface are fully up to date.

.
I suspect this has to do with different entities having control over updating online download vs in the unit in this particular case. :)
 

krizvi786

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Quick question: I am using Apple TV 4k with HTP-1.

do I used biased or indicated for pcm setting in input menu?
I want to avoid the low level muting issue. Biased sometimes gives static. Does pcm indicated avoid low level muting also?

thanks
 

rhollan

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I have been following this thread as I am looking to add Atmos to my theater.

My system is currently 7.1, but rather odd: I take an HDMI signal, convert it to SDI with an SDI02, that conveniently strips HDCP. From SDI, I can extract four sets of two channel AES/EBU digital audio at up to 24 bit, 48 kHz sampling rate. With this, I can run through a MiniDSP DDRC-88D (or a pair of nanoAVRs prior to conversion to SDI), and then the DAC and speakers of my choice.

Right now I am using a 0.005% THD Symmetrix Lucid DAC8 Dac (85 dB SINAD), and a set of Crown (75 dB SINAD) and Outlaw audio amps. Despite the poor numbers, it sounds amazing. But, the more important thing is that I can substitute any DAC (and amps) that I want. A unified preamp/processor without digital outputs (The Storm 32d.32 AES edition has them, with Dirac Live, at an eye-watering US$16k or so) limits me to whatever SINAD I can get out of it's DACs (and associated circuitry). The Monoprice HTP-1 with better than 100 dB SINAD at 2 Volts for $4000 is a steal compared to anything else. It truely is an example of engineering being the Art of Compromise.

Would I love to have seen great figures at 4V? Sure. Are commensurate amps that insensitive? No. Can you drive them to full power with the output of the HTP-1 without going into excessive distortion? Yes. Thermal noise justifying a high level signal starts to matter when you seek to reach 110 to 120 dB SINAD.

Comparing a pre/pro like the Emotiva RMC-1, with slightly better measurements, but continued bugginess is a no brainer: the HTP-1 wins on stability without giving up too much in the way of performance (and adds in the way of functionality with eARC). Can we do better? If I seek to continue my design with an alternate 7.1 non-Atmos path, I'm left going to Okto DAC 8s (US$1200) and some type of switch ($1000 will get you a Broadcast Devices 8 channel relay switch, with about 105-110 dB noise (from control components)). But while the Okto DAC8 beats this, if you want a convenient switch between 7.1 and Atmos, you're now paying $2000 extra (plus the cost of existing processing nanoAVRs or a DDRC-88D and SDI to AES deembedders, at $1500 to $2000) FOR THE SAME QUALITY YOU'RE ALREADY GETTING OUT OF THE HTP-1 with a lot more complexity. You can have 7.1 118 dB SINAD if you don't want to switch between that and Atmos, but the minute you do, the switch will trip you up. So, you consider eliminating a mechanical switch and, damn it, brute-forcing ADCing the output of the HTP-1, switching digitally, and then running everything, except perhaps Atmos height signals, through something like Okto DACs. Actually, a Lynx Aurora 8 would be up to the job, being about as good as the HTP-1, and can be had for around $700 used. You still need the DAC (As the Aurora is about as good as the HTP-1 on the ADC/DAC sides), so $1200 there. You can't win unless you get something like a Storm Audio pre/pro, the 32 channel AES upgrade package (because it's DACs are WORSE than those in the HTP-1) AND a decent DAC like an Octo DAC8. You're looking in the neighborhood of US$17k.

So, from my perspective, the Monoprice HTP-1 is the best value for dollar. Doing better will require you to either give up stability (Emotiva), or spend at least four times as much (Storm Audio). I am not willing to pay around $1000/dB for 12 dB better SINAD figures. Your mileage may vary, but I think an HTP-1 is in my future.

One very nice feature the Storm Audio pre/pro has, that I wish the HTP-1 did, is the ability to run multiple active left, center, and right speakers. This is useful if you want to have dedicated stereo subwoofers just for the left and right channels, crossed over a bit higher than 80 Hz (say 120), so they are localizable. One can use the subwoofer high-pass outputs, of course, but it is not clear how good their quality is. (I'm looking at you: Rythmic XLR2 plate amp.)
 
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stunta

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I have been following this thread as I am looking to add Atmos to my theater.

My system is currently 7.1, but rather odd: I take an HDMI signal, convert it to SDI with an SDI02, that conveniently strips HDCP. From SDI, I can extract four sets of two channel AES/EBU digital audio at up to 24 bit, 48 kHz sampling rate. With this, I can run through a MiniDSP DDRC-88D (or a pair of nanoAVRs prior to conversion to SDI), and then the DAC and speakers of my choice.

Right now I am using a 0.005% THD Symmetrix Lucid DAC8 Dac (85 dB SINAD), and a set of Crown (75 dB SINAD) and Outlaw audio amps. Despite the poor numbers, it sounds amazing. But, the more important thing is that I can substitute any DAC (and amps) that I want. A unified preamp/processor without digital outputs (The Storm 32d.32 AES edition has them, with Dirac Live, at an eye-watering US$16k or so) limits me to whatever SINAD I can get out of it's DACs (and associated circuitry). The Monoprice HTP-1 with better than 100 dB SINAD at 2 Volts for $4000 is a steal compared to anything else. It truely is an example of engineering being the Art of Compromise.

Would I love to have seen great figures at 4V? Sure. Are commensurate amps that insensitive? No. Can you drive them to full power with the output of the HTP-1 without going into excessive distortion? Yes. Thermal noise justifying a high level signal starts to matter when you seek to reach 110 to 120 dB SINAD.

Comparing a pre/pro like the Emotiva RMC-1, with slightly better measurements, but continued bugginess is a no brainer: the HTP-1 wins on stability without giving up too much in the way of performance (and adds in the way of functionality with eARC). Can we do better? If I seek to continue my design with an alternate 7.1 non-Atmos path, I'm left going to Okto DAC 8s (US$1200) and some type of switch ($1000 will get you a Broadcast Devices 8 channel relay switch, with about 105-110 dB noise (from control components)). But while the Okto DAC8 beats this, if you want a convenient switch between 7.1 and Atmos, you're now paying $2000 extra (plus the cost of existing processing nanoAVRs or a DDRC-88D and SDI to AES deembedders, at $1500 to $2000) FOR THE SAME QUALITY YOU'RE ALREADY GETTING OUT OF THE HTP-1 with a lot more complexity. You can have 7.1 118 dB SINAD if you don't want to switch between that and Atmos, but the minute you do, the switch will trip you up. So, you consider eliminating a mechanical switch and, damn it, brute-forcing ADCing the output of the HTP-1, switching digitally, and then running everything, except perhaps Atmos height signals, through something like Okto DACs. Actually, a Lynx Aurora 8 would be up to the job, being about as good as the HTP-1, and can be had for around $700 used. You still need the DAC (As the Aurora is about as good as the HTP-1 on the ADC/DAC sides), so $1200 there. You can't win unless you get something like a Storm Audio pre/pro, the 32 channel AES upgrade package (because it's DACs are WORSE than those in the HTP-1) AND a decent DAC like an Octo DAC8. You're looking in the neighborhood of US$17k.

So, from my perspective, the Monoprice HTP-1 is the best value for dollar. Doing better will require you to either give up stability (Emotiva), or spend at least four times as much (Storm Audio). I am not willing to pay around $1000/dB for 12 dB better SINAD figures. Your mileage may vary, but I think an HTP-1 is in my future.

One very nice feature the Storm Audio pre/pro has, that I wish the HTP-1 did, is the ability to run multiple active left, center, and right speakers. This is useful if you want to have dedicated stereo subwoofers just for the left and right channels, crossed over a bit higher than 80 Hz (say 120), so they are localizable. One can use the subwoofer high-pass outputs, of course, but it is not clear how good their quality is. (I'm looking at you: Rythmic XLR2 plate amp.)

I am really hoping to see the Anthem AVM-60 measured by @amirm. It is the one reasonably priced ($3K USD, which seems to be low for good units in this category) pre-pro that might meet many people's requirements if 13 channels is enough.

Besides that, I agree that the HTP-1 does seem like good "value" at $4K USD. I too, wish it had multiple active LCR support, but I am considering compromising by letting Dirac figure things out across my 3 subs.
 

rhollan

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I am really hoping to see the Anthem AVM-60 measured by @amirm. It is the one reasonably priced ($3K USD, which seems to be low for good units in this category) pre-pro that might meet many people's requirements if 13 channels is enough.

Besides that, I agree that the HTP-1 does seem like good "value" at $4K USD. I too, wish it had multiple active LCR support, but I am considering compromising by letting Dirac figure things out across my 3 subs.
I prefer Dirac to Anthem Room Correction, and don't think the AVM60 even measures as well as the HTP-1. -60 dB THD+N at full output of 8V and -95 dB THD+N at 2V output.

Support for multi-way LCR is something the Storm Audio units have, but they are spendy. You could do it with an outboard DSP but would need a very good ADC/DAC on the order of 105 dB SINAD or better. The Aurora 8 gets there but you still need the DSP filters. An option is Xilica FR1 and QR1 units with associated modules, but their analog unit's sport 0.002% THD (94 dB SINAD) at +4 dBu, distortion limited to be worse above that. So, you'd need a good external DAC. Multi-mono subs properly tuned are much cheaper. Do you really want to cross over stereo subs above 80 Hz where they become directional? Invest in full range speakers instead.
 
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stunta

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Do you really want to cross over stereo subs above 80 Hz where they become directional?

I have 3 subs and two of them are Rythmik FM8s which are designed to go up to 250Hz. I've built full-range mains with a pair of subs + standmounts. Easier to swap out smaller speakers when upgraditis hits.
 

rhollan

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I have 3 subs and two of them are Rythmik FM8s which are designed to go up to 250Hz. I've built full-range mains with a pair of subs + standmounts. Easier to swap out smaller speakers when upgraditis hits.
Do you use the high pass crossover in the plate sub amp for each of the mains or an external crossover?
 
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