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Review Questions for Flagship Processors: Trinnov, Storm, JBL, Lyngdorf, Datasat

Spocko

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In anticipation of Amir's review and measurements of the Trinnov Altitude 16, I wanted to collect the follow up questions ahead of time so that Amir can address them all in one sitting (sorry @amirm but you can pick and choose what makes sense to you!) rather than piece meal after measurements are posted and unit packed away. For example after reviews of the Monoprice HTP-1 and Emotiva processors were posted, there were some excellent follow up questions related to voltages and the like, but many measurements could not be taken because the units were respectfully returned to their owners (maybe you can take inspiration from those questions?). Additionally, these questions could serve as the standard battery of questions for those prepared to pay over $10,000 for their dream cinema processor so that when Amir receives the Storm Audio ISP Mk2, Lyngdorf MP-60 or Datasat at some point in the future, we can have some solid apples to apples data points to talk about! And as the owner of this particular Trinnov unit Amir is reviewing, I'm equally as excited to find out how Trinnov compares to the HTP-1 (my alternate choice).

And maybe most importantly, I do plan to have the Trinnov rep on my YouTube channel to not only discuss the strengths and unique features of the Altitude, but also any measurement discrepancies or concerns we may uncover here on ASR - some manufacturers may be hesitant to face the wrath of anonymous posters on ASR, but may take more kindly to participate in an open dialogue with me.

Also PLEASE limit this thread to discussions concerning the questions and measurements you'd like Amir to address rather than the value or merit of buying any $20,000 processor.

Here's my question: What output voltage setting provides the best sound quality, or does it matter?
 
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RichB

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Here are some HT processors measurements:
  • Center channel measurements in pure/direct mode (if that exists). This is the most used channel in HT
  • Surround right/left measurements in pure/direct
  • 7.1 channel measurements with 80 Hz Crossover engaged to test the system with DSP engaged
  • Simple PEQ measurement as a standardized test (much like Stereophile's simulated speakers)
- Rich
 
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Olli

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The Alt16 has a SPDIF out to connect an external DAC for the mains. If that output is clean would be interesting.
 
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kernelpanic

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Great idea Spocko! These are my suggestions:

SINAD and Dynamic Range for the following:
Front L/R XLR output at ~4 volts
Front L/R XLR output at ~2 volts
Center L/R XLR output at ~4 volts (to see if different DAC performance exists vs. Front L/R)
Center L/R XLR output at ~2 volts (to see if different DAC performance exists vs. Front L/R)
Room Correction On
Room Correction Off
Upmixing On
Upmixing Off

A base test of each input type, HDMI, Optical/Coax, Analog
 

Pinox67

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I would repeat some measurements (graphs of: module & phase, intermodulation, harmonic distortion, bit resolution, crosstalk) without DSP, L+R channels, for different levels of output: 2 and 4 Vrms for XLR and 1 and 2 Vrms for RCA, as already stated by Kernelpanic.

And even if it is not an "official" measure, I usually also check the step response, obtained from the frequency response measured with a swipe from 10Hz to 96KHz (192KHz sample rate).
Inspecting the transient, you can have an evidence of how neutral the device is: how fast it is and if it "softens" the oscillations (and then the sound) of the band-limited input signal, overlaid for comparison.
Qualitative data useful when they are compared to other devices in the same situation.
 
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TGB

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Ensure to test it with bypass enabled (also ensure no PEQ filter are on).
 

amirm

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Hmmm.... These devices are the most time consuming ones to measure given the myriad of outputs, modes, inputs, etc. Suggesting that I repeat the same tests this way or that way will hugely explode the amount of work it takes to test them. I assumed the purpose of OP was to see if there are critical aspects to test, not just broaden the effort to any and all things these boxes do.
 
OP
Spocko

Spocko

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Thank you @amirm for clarifying this, my intention was not to broaden the test but rather focus on some relevant measures that may be important or overlooked for comparison purposes when shopping these processors - I honestly don't know what those measurements should be by the way! Maybe we can identify them here given the in depth discussions we've had previously regarding the HTP-1 and what's relevant and what isn't. For example, if we list the top 5 measurements which ones have the greatest effect on perceivable sound quality?
 

abdo123

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Hmmm.... These devices are the most time consuming ones to measure given the myriad of outputs, modes, inputs, etc. Suggesting that I repeat the same tests this way or that way will hugely explode the amount of work it takes to test them. I assumed the purpose of OP was to see if there are critical aspects to test, not just broaden the effort to any and all things these boxes do.

I know this thread might be in bad taste already considering that you’re doing all of this for free already in your own leisure.

But please, measure the devices outside of ‘Pure Direct’ and ‘Amplifier off’ modes. People pay for the entire package that includes digital processing and amplification.

While the company might appreciate you showing their products at their best light, the typical user will probably want to use the features they paid for.
 

Chromatischism

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I know this thread might be in bad taste already considering that you’re doing all of this for free already in your own leisure.

But please, measure the devices outside of ‘Pure Direct’ and ‘Amplifier off’ modes. People pay for the entire package that includes digital processing and amplification.

While the company might appreciate you showing their products at their best light, the typical user will probably want to use the features they paid for.
I have to agree. Pure Direct means no subwoofers can be used, so in a home theater context, that mode doesn't make sense. Well, I'd argue the same for 2-channel music as my system is unchanged regardless of source content.
 

bigguyca

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I know this thread might be in bad taste already considering that you’re doing all of this for free already in your own leisure.

But please, measure the devices outside of ‘Pure Direct’ and ‘Amplifier off’ modes. People pay for the entire package that includes digital processing and amplification.

While the company might appreciate you showing their products at their best light, the typical user will probably want to use the features they paid for.

First a note: FYI, processors are the subject of this thread. Processors don't have power amplifiers.

You are missing the point of the measurements in pure direct and in pure analog configurations. The concept is to isolate the performance of portions of the product. The ASR measurements isolate the basic analog performance and basic digital performance. These measurements are very valuable. If a unit under test has problems in the analog or basic digital modes, those won't somehow magically go away when the equipment is used in more complex ways. Owners of poorly measuring equipment seem at times to make this magical case.

Most of the processors that are measured in ASR have results that range IMO from very good (7), to poor(1), and that is using a very easy grading scale, not against two channel DAC's. None of the products would rate excellent(10). It seems doubtful that many, if any AVP/AVR manufacturers, are overjoyed with the measurement results in ASR.

It will be more difficult to prepare apples-to-apples comparisons between units using sound processing, since the actual details of the digital processing in many of these units is not public, but the data would be interesting. The standards for comparison are also not clear.

Exactly what data should be in the the left surround channel with a stereo input, which in itself can be in many forms, sent to the processor and up-mixed using various forms of Dolby or DTS processing. Is there a standard Dirac test case with established standard outputs?

Since you made these suggestions then perhaps you can supply some of the required data to evaluate the results.
 

Chromatischism

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The concept is to isolate the performance of portions of the product. The ASR measurements isolate the basic analog performance and basic digital performance. These measurements are very valuable. If a unit under test has problems in the analog or basic digital modes, those won't somehow magically go away when the equipment is used in more complex ways.
Thanks for explaining. That makes sense, but a lot can go wrong in other important areas that are not often tested by any publication, for example when it was found that NAD had implemented bass management incorrectly in their AVRs (now fixed due to user measurements and feedback). I completely understand that Amir, like all of us, has limited time. But at least this isn't some limited corner case but something fundamental to the primary use case of the device. So this isn't meant as a critique but further elaborating on an important point.

Yes, it is important to verify that the basic workings of the device are up to our standards in terms of power and distortion because this has long been a misunderstood and misleadingly advertised area. And that may be all you need to know for a simple amplifier. But that is far from all I need to know about a more complex device such as an AVR or processor.
 
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RichB

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Hmmm.... These devices are the most time consuming ones to measure given the myriad of outputs, modes, inputs, etc. Suggesting that I repeat the same tests this way or that way will hugely explode the amount of work it takes to test them. I assumed the purpose of OP was to see if there are critical aspects to test, not just broaden the effort to any and all things these boxes do.

If I had to pick one additional measurement, it would the Center channel crossed at 80 Hz since this tests both the center channel and DSP. Almost all users of AVP/AVRs will apply bass management to the center channel. The Revel Voice2 is a very capable 3/way center channel and the manual recommend bass management at 80 Hz.

- Rich
 

kernelpanic

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Oh another request would be an evaluation of the included room correction and how well it works. This would probably be a separate post/review like the Audyssey one. But it would be great if we had a review for each room correction software out there.
 

amirm

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If I had to pick one additional measurement, it would the Center channel crossed at 80 Hz since this tests both the center channel and DSP. Almost all users of AVP/AVRs will apply bass management to the center channel. The Revel Voice2 is a very capable 3/way center channel and the manual recommend bass management at 80 Hz.
I hear you but my analyzer can only test two channels at once. To test a third channel, then I need to re-run all the tests again with that one channel. Is that what you are asking? Things like jitter, IMD vs level, etc., etc.?
 

MZKM

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I hear you but my analyzer can only test two channels at once. To test a third channel, then I need to re-run all the tests again with that one channel. Is that what you are asking? Things like jitter, IMD vs level, etc., etc.?
Just THD vs level if you can manage, with 80Hz crossover enabled and if possible the room correction active (may not be possible unless you go thru the mic setup, no need to go thru that if so).

Center channel is the heavy lifter, would be nice to see that performance is good.
 
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RichB

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I hear you but my analyzer can only test two channels at once. To test a third channel, then I need to re-run all the tests again with that one channel. Is that what you are asking? Things like jitter, IMD vs level, etc., etc.?

I second @MZKM. SINAD for the center channel is enough with the crossover enabled in a standard or Auto mode.

- Rich
 
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tparm

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I’d be happy simply seeing results of the HTP-1 (and maybe XMC-2) in their current firmware state and an AVM 70 that simply functions. But the other suggestions, especially center channel with crossover engaged would be great to see.
 
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