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Trinnov Altitude 16 Review (AV Processor)

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Trinnov Altitude 16 AV Processor. I received one sample from a kind member after which Trinnov also contacted me and sent me another with an improvement (see below). The Altitude costs US $17,000.

In contacting me Trinnov expressed that they had made an optimization to the DAC that resulted in better measured performance but not audibly. For this reason, they have not promoted this change. They plan to make a more substantial revision of the DAC to come out later that they will offer as upgrade to current customers. They have asked me if I would participate in testing that and of course I said yes.

The Altitude 16 does a great job of hiding the fact that it is built on a PC architecture with a beautiful front panel and controls just like any "appliance" version of the same:

Trinnov Altitude 16 Review Dolby Atmos Optimizer HDMI Home Theater Processor.jpg


The display has a very high resolution and elegant look that I liked. It is a bit to fully refresh but the interface was responsive. On start up there is a faint fan noise but it goes away once it boots. The back panel shows all the balanced I/O you would expect in a high-end AV Processor:

Trinnov Altitude 16 Review Dolby Atmos Optimizer HDMI Back Panel XLR Home Theater Processor.jpg


Now you can tell its PC guts given the standard I/O panel on bottom left. But again, you don't really notice that there is a PC in there.

The measurements you are about to see were reviewed by the company and were agreed upon as being representative. On that note, the company was exceptionally nice to work with and brought a constructive attitude which I much appreciated. Support is a big deal for such expensive purchases and it is good to see it be available from Trinnov.

Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements (DAC)
As usual, our focus is the hygiene of the basic audio pipeline in these AV products. We feed it a digital signal and turn off all effects and processing and see what the DAC is capable of doing compared to other AV products (and desktop DACs):

Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements HDMI Home Theater Processor.png


As usual, I adjust the output to 4 volts which is the standard for desktop/stereo DACs (over balanced output). Performance here is competent and inline with other better AV processors I have tested:

best home theater processor rated.png


Hopefully in the future we get performance in "blue" region of our performance buckets.

Sweeping the input we see that performance gets to where we measured and stays there for good bit until it clips above 6 volts:
Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements THD+N vs Level Toslink Home Theater Processor.png


Dynamic range is good:
Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements Dynamic Range HDMI Home Theater Processor.png


DAC filter showed a strange but minor kink:
Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements Toslink DAC Filter Home Theater Processor.png


Trinnov has figured out the cause of this and is working on a fix. It was not important enough for me to hold up the review.

For the rest of these tests I used Toslink input as HDMI out of my measurement computer truncates to 16 bit. Let's start with IMD:

Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements IMD Distortion Toslink Home Theater Processor.png


Here is our jitter test on both Toslink and HDMI:
Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements jitter HDMI Home Theater Processor.png


Both show room for improvement although in the case of jitter it is not an audible concern due to very low levels that are below threshold of human hearing.

Linearity shows some inaccuracy:

Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements Toslink Linearity  Home Theater Processor.png


So we get the magical 18 bits again.

Here is our THD+N versus frequency:

Trinnov Altitude 16 Measurements THD+N vs Frequency Toslink Home Theater Processor.png


I could not run my multitone test because it has a 192 kHz sampling and Trinnov Altitude 16 is not able to play anything above 96 kHz. You have to move up to Altitude 32 to get the processing power it needs for that.

Conclusions
We have been waiting a long time to test any Trinnov processor as it is considered the pinnacle of high-end AV processors. It was great that it came to pass and I did not find anything broken in there. We have our answer that high-end AV processors as they exist today do not bring better measured performance in their basic DAC pipeline. Good news is that Trinnov is among just a couple of companies that has promised new generation of DACs to provide better performance. And that our testing has motivated that.

On the strength of excellent company support, future direction and good measurements, I am going to put the Trinnov Altitude 16 on my recommended list.

Time permitting, I plan to test the Room Optimizer in there which is the main reason behind the strong reputation of Trinnov processors.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

blueone

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#3
Every time I look at your AV products SINAD chart it makes me chuckle. NAD occupies the best and worst positions, with a difference of 55db.

$17,000 is a lot of money...

How easy is it to set up with so few controls? Does the remote help?
 

MZKM

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#4
I received one sample from a kind member after which Trinnov also contacted me and sent me another with an improvement (see below). The Altitude costs US $17,000.

In contacting me Trinnov expressed that they had made an optimization to the DAC that resulted in better measured performance but not audibly. For this reason, they have not promoted this change. They plan to make a more substantial revision of the DAC to come out later that they will offer as upgrade to current customers. They have asked me if I would participate in testing that and of course I said yes.
So why have you test this revision and the future one and not just the future one? To simply get the word out so as to potentially not lose customers in the mean time?
 

MZKM

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#6
Because he was sent this processor by someone, should he just refuse because a newer model is coming up?
I may have misunderstood, it reads like Member A sent one to Amir, Trinnov then sent Amir one with slight improvement and then asked if Amir would also review a future version.
 

abdo123

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#8
I may have misunderstood, it reads like Member A sent one to Amir, Trinnov then sent Amir one with slight improvement and then asked if Amir would also review a future version.
Oh no, from what I understood, Trinnov disclosed with Amir that there will be future models soon with better DAC implementation. Not that it’s available now, or that he already recieved it.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #9
How easy is it to set up with so few controls? Does the remote help?
The menus are few and easy to navigate. I used the front panel controls but the remote works just as well.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #10
So why have you test this revision and the future one and not just the future one? To simply get the word out so as to potentially not lose customers in the mean time?
??? There is no "future one." There is only the past which the owner had, and the current which is what Trinnov is shipping now. I thought it is more useful to test what is current and to avoid people saying, "you tested the old version."

I suspect the future one is a year or more away.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #11
And to be clear, I sent the owner/older one back to him. I thought of testing it some point but I just don't have the time. And it was taking up huge amount of space. :)
 

abdo123

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#12
??? There is no "future one." There is only the past which the owner had, and the current which is what Trinnov is shipping now. I thought it is more useful to test what is current and to avoid people saying, "you tested the old version."

I suspect the future one is a year or more away.
Sorry this is still a bit obsecure, is this review measuring the member’s device or a device that was sent by Trinnov?

if it’s the earlier then you did ‘measure the old version’ and it’s the ethical thing to do so kudos to you.

And if so, Are they sending a slightly improved version soon?
 

MZKM

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#13
??? There is no "future one." There is only the past which the owner had, and the current which is what Trinnov is shipping now. I thought it is more useful to test what is current and to avoid people saying, "you tested the old version."

I suspect the future one is a year or more away.
Ok, I thought the “plan to make a more substantial revision of the DAC to come out later“ would be relatively soon, as the model the member sent you didn’t have the current version.
 

franspambot

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#14
It would be interesting to see how the DSP here compares to those already scrutinized. It's kind of hard to see how this unit is justified at the price it commands other than if you need to process 16 channels. I am always bummed by seeing "not broken" being a real bar these things have to pass.
 

Matias

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#15
Now we need this level of performance in a 2k AV processor please.
 
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#16
I’ve been waiting for this review for a while as I had also offered to send a Trinnov Altitude 16 to Amir a few months ago as well. I love the science aspect of the reviews and it was interesting to see how the Altitude measures.

What I can say is, numbers be damned, the Trinnov Altitude 16 took my room’s acoustics to a whole new level. I’m not talking marginally either (as I had expected) but substantially better sound quality that was immediately very obvious and not just new purchase bias. My prior processors were a Denon X4300, Marantz 7703 and Marantz 8802 with and without the Audyssey app.

I found the Trinnov optimizer relatively easy to use. There is a tremendous depth to it in terms of the ability to do whatever you want. As good as I have it now with the Altitude 16, I believe that a pro could get even a little more acoustic bliss out of it.

I’m running a 7.2.4 setup with Kef Reference 205, 203, 201 and 202c speakers, PSA TV42 subs and Crowson Tactile Transducers in an acoustically treated room. Every single time I sit in my theater, I am amazed at how incredible everything sounds. Everything is just so much more accurate, dynamic, precise, etc.

As Amir mentioned, the Trinnov support team is world class. I’ll bet you could get help from them on any question within 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and want each owner to get the most out of their “machine” (must be a French thing).
I’d been strongly considering the Marantz 8805, the Monolith HTP-1, the JBL SDP-55 and am so incredibly thankful I got off the never ending upgrade cycle by virtue of purchasing the Trinnov. I genuinely believe it is an end-game processor as they continue to make improvements that are free to existing owners and they stand behind their products. In the long run, I’ll probably end up better off financially as compared to upgrading to the latest and greatest new pre-pro every 3 to 5 years with the satisfaction of having enjoyed my Altitude in the interim and the belief that, with continual free upgrades, my Altitude will always be the latest and greatest without another big expenditure.

Trinnov has a new 5 year warranty extension program where they will refresh / upgrade your Trinnov to new specs at a very reasonable price. They will also offer new HDMI replacement cards (once everything is ironed out with the new standard) at reasonable “cover their cost” type pricing rather than “boutique” type pricing. I’m not aware of any other AV company that does something similar.

In general, my understanding is that Altitudes are sold at MSRP through integrators as part of a package that may or may not include acoustic calibration. That being said, if you’re considering purchasing an Altitude vs. any other moderately priced product, contact some dealers as you may become very intrigued if you’re willing and able to do your own calibration and buy a calibration microphone. It will still be a LOT of money but you may be pleasantly surprised.

So back to the science aspect, I’ll offer somewhat of an analogy using speaker reviews. For any given “X” number of speakers, I would hands down take the Altitude 16 with Revel F208s vs. a Marantz 8805 or anything else with F228Be or F328Be speakers if I wanted the best bang for the buck sound quality. Regardless of what you have for speakers, I believe the Altitude 16 will wring out every last bit of performance from your speakers and never leave any doubt about that.
 

digicidal

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#17
Now we need this level of performance in a 2k AV processor please.
Even before the current chip shortage (well and everything else as well) you would be unlikely to be able to do that even if you were the manufacturer - i.e. even in lots of 10K units.. there's probably more than $2K in cost (or at least close to it).

However, I agree with the sentiment... $17K is prohibitive for me as well - I'd much rather spend that on speakers and settle for an outdated prepro or buy the HTP-1, RMC-1, etc... even knowing I'd be losing out on some options and customer support. Great to see it performs for that price however... I just don't think it's worth considering unless your overall theater budget is close to six figures.
 

abdo123

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#18
I’ve been waiting for this review for a while as I had also offered to send a Trinnov Altitude 16 to Amir a few months ago as well. I love the science aspect of the reviews and it was interesting to see how the Altitude measures.

What I can say is, numbers be damned, the Trinnov Altitude 16 took my room’s acoustics to a whole new level. I’m not talking marginally either (as I had expected) but substantially better sound quality that was immediately very obvious and not just new purchase bias. My prior processors were a Denon X4300, Marantz 7703 and Marantz 8802 with and without the Audyssey app.

I found the Trinnov optimizer relatively easy to use. There is a tremendous depth to it in terms of the ability to do whatever you want. As good as I have it now with the Altitude 16, I believe that a pro could get even a little more acoustic bliss out of it.

I’m running a 7.2.4 setup with Kef Reference 205, 203, 201 and 202c speakers, PSA TV42 subs and Crowson Tactile Transducers in an acoustically treated room. Every single time I sit in my theater, I am amazed at how incredible everything sounds. Everything is just so much more accurate, dynamic, precise, etc.

As Amir mentioned, the Trinnov support team is world class. I’ll bet you could get help from them on any question within 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and want each owner to get the most out of their “machine” (must be a French thing).
I’d been strongly considering the Marantz 8805, the Monolith HTP-1, the JBL SDP-55 and am so incredibly thankful I got off the never ending upgrade cycle by virtue of purchasing the Trinnov. I genuinely believe it is an end-game processor as they continue to make improvements that are free to existing owners and they stand behind their products. In the long run, I’ll probably end up better off financially as compared to upgrading to the latest and greatest new pre-pro every 3 to 5 years with the satisfaction of having enjoyed my Altitude in the interim and the belief that, with continual free upgrades, my Altitude will always be the latest and greatest without another big expenditure.

Trinnov has a new 5 year warranty extension program where they will refresh / upgrade your Trinnov to new specs at a very reasonable price. They will also offer new HDMI replacement cards (once everything is ironed out with the new standard) at reasonable “cover their cost” type pricing rather than “boutique” type pricing. I’m not aware of any other AV company that does something similar.

In general, my understanding is that Altitudes are sold at MSRP through integrators as part of a package that may or may not include acoustic calibration. That being said, if you’re considering purchasing an Altitude vs. any other moderately priced product, contact some dealers as you may become very intrigued if you’re willing and able to do your own calibration and buy a calibration microphone. It will still be a LOT of money but you may be pleasantly surprised.

So back to the science aspect, I’ll offer somewhat of an analogy using speaker reviews. For any given “X” number of speakers, I would hands down take the Altitude 16 with Revel F208s vs. a Marantz 8805 or anything else with F228Be or F328Be speakers if I wanted the best bang for the buck sound quality. Regardless of what you have for speakers, I believe the Altitude 16 will wring out every last bit of performance from your speakers and never leave any doubt about that.
To be clear, this processor is still capable of completely reproducing all 16 bit of the CD format.

Considering that dB is logarithmic, 100 dB is more than any person would realistically need for transparent reproduction.

No need to consider this review fraudulent or something like that you just need to interpret it properly.

Try to focus less on how high the numbers are and more on whether there are breaking faults in the design.

Glad to hear that you’re enjoying your Trinnov with such passion!

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/the-shoutometer.2555/
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #19
Sorry this is still a bit obsecure, is this review measuring the member’s device or a device that was sent by Trinnov?

if it’s the earlier then you did ‘measure the old version’ and it’s the ethical thing to do so kudos to you.
It is the one from Trinnov. If I had the time, I would have measured both but did not.
 

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