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Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by inline_phil, Sep 22, 2012.
I would connect a scope and will see by own eyes ...
I was hoping to play pink noise through two sources and using my RTA to demonstrate a measurable effect to the technician but since he verified he heard the issue and he could not tell me how to access the same FLAC file we could not do this.
What would you look for with the scope?
You may well be right but how did you determine the problem is with all HR24s and not just yours? As you have noted, there hasn't been a general outcry against the sibilance you hear in your system. There are some very picky people on this forum. Why has no one else complained? You aren't the only audiophile here.
Everything, I would also run FFT on it (it's a digital scope) and get all freqs going thru.
I'm pretty doubtful that the problem can be corrected. What could the DVR be doing to the signal while it's digital to cause extra sibilance? Maybe recompressing or transcoding? Not something you can fix or will be different in another unit.
I suspect you just aren't going to be happy with DirecTV's audio on your equipment. Your description sounds to me like a complaint about compression. I think your best bet is going to be to apply EQ (like the THX roll-off) to make it more pleasing.
You've tested that the problem remains when you connect the DVR to your preamp with analog cables. This eliminates the HDMI cable or anything involving your TV from being the cause.
If you want to compensate for the problem, downstream EQ or processing will be more predictable and effective than cable changes.
That wasn't the point that I was trying to make.
This is the point that I was trying to make.
A good DAC might well eliminate your nagging problem, that's why. And a well recorded, well processed MP3 feed can sound just fine for TV. Why do you think the line output isn't as cheap as the speaker outputs?
You have tried, no, hearing the sound through the TV speakers? (shudder.)
You have swapped your HDMI cables AND ports on the TV?
inline_phil does have a point about TV sound.
In general, it is very compressed and with poor response at the frequency extremes.
But this is a problem of the source, not the format. I've heard great sound on some programs. Palladia generally has pretty good sound as everything isn't boosted to 0 VU all the time. There is dynamic range on many musical events on Palladia. Also, my local PBS feed can sound very good. Again, it's not driven as hard as a network channel is.
We should not forget that the PCM output of a DirecTV piece is 16 bit 44.1k, the same as a CD, and a farsight better than a MP3.
I agree with you, Laxguy. Especially if he is having problems, I wouldn't discount the possible improvement a good D/A converter can bring. I assume his TV has a Toslink optical output. He'd have to check, but that may well put out the digital stream that is coming from his HDMI inputs.
There is one remaining problem here. Putting a D/A after the television would eliminate his volume control. He's back to needing one. inline-phil, here's one by Keene I've looked at for years. You'd need to buy an American standard wall wart power supply but that should be under $10.
There's not much point in leaving it on if you're going to use a simple stereo connection. Dolby signals in the HR2x (and most all modern source devices) travel uniquely over the digital outputs and the RCA outputs (from the DVR or TV) are probably some sort of unencoded analog mash-up of that signal.
GIGO is very much in play here. Putting a piano wire and a couple of cans (the TV DAC) between the source and the pre-amp is unlikely to be satisfactory.
As a check, you might want to see if the RCA outputs of the DVR sound any better than those of the TV. It is important to figure out if the sound is being colored by the TV so you know where to concentrate.
Well, Carl, since it is no longer 1998, and speaking as a long-time broadcasting Engineer I would have a very hard time agreeing with this generalization. It may apply to some lower-rated channels with low budgets or to SD-only channels that have not upgraded to digital audio chains, but I think the tendency even there is that things have improved greatly over the last few years.
For medium-to-large market broadcast and for 95% of cable networks audio is sent as AC-3 and is likely processed through an all-digital chain prior to that. If not, it is likely processed in a high-quality analog equipment at certain stages. In either case, frequency response is characteristically flat between about 50 to 15K, and in most cases well beyond that.
Also, one of the benefits of digital delivery is that the dynamic range is much greater, and that there is not the need for the conventional level-compression that we saw with analog TV or cable. For most stations and networks, final processing is done very intelligently and effectively, and much, much better than it was just a decade ago.
Digital also allows us to not use compression as a tool to keep levels constant, which was the poorly-implemented goal during the analog era. New equipment uses sophisticated techniques such as BS.1770-2, which aims to keep dialog at the same level, and is exceptionally effective at doing just that. The implementation of the CALM act this year coupled with this technology will very-quickly make uneven audio levels a distant memory, while preserving full dynamic range at the same time.
(And if you were actually speaking about digital compression rather than dynamic range compression, AC-3/DD is far less compressed than MP3 and has a far better quality than MP3; about the only thing that can beat it, and not by much, is DTS. If you want to hear badly-compressed audio, go to satellite radio or Pandora).
Not all sources live up to these new standards just yet, but the vast majority do. Had you made your statement pre 911, I would have to agree with you. But its 2012, and things have changed greatly, at least for the most part.
^ I stand corrected. Nice to know the situation has improved that much.
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inline_phil, have I got the deal for you!
(You know how many stereo salesmen it takes to screw in a lightbulb? Three, but that's today only.)
I got an email from Music Direct this afternoon and they have a great selection of the Pro-Ject Box Design units on close-out. One of them has your name on it.
I assume you are familiar with Pro-Ject, the Austrian audiophile turntable manufacturer. They also make the Box Design line, with a bunch of cool, very inexpensive, application specific, problem solving boxes for sale. I just bought the USB D/A to upgrade my computer sound. It's only $119. Unfortunately, not on sale is the Pro-Ject D/A which I recommended upthread. I'd buy one of those, too.
But for you, inline_phil, they have two very inexpensive remote controlled preamps on sale. Here's your opportunity to banish the TV's volume control from your system. I can guarantee either one of these puppies will make your video system sound a lot better. And if it doesn't, Music Direct has a 30 day return policy.
One is just $199 (reg. $350). It has only two inputs but does have a motorized volume control for the remote. The other has four inputs and an electronic volume control. It's only $249 (reg. $500). If you wanted more inputs, go with this one.
Do it, Phil. Buy one of these. The smaller one probably has an Alps volume control in it. It will sonically stomp all over the preamp/volume control built into your TV.
Bump for inline_phil: act now or forever hold your piece...
...of plastic remote for your TV to adjust your volume.
The better preamp is now sold out. I was looking at it yesterday to replace a NAD 1300 preamp that's stopped exciting electrons in one channel. I bought the NAD used 15 years ago for $130 so I can't complain. The less expensive preamp is still available.
I got in my USB D/A box. It's about as basic as it gets: a USB port and audio jacks. Not a switch on its metal case. I do like the aluminum faceplate. This piece has heft.
The USB D/A sold out in less than a day. BTW, mine is new. There is a model change going on. It seems the difference between the piece I bought and the new one is purely cosmetic.
I'll let you know how it sounds.
The old DVR was swapped today and it fixed the problem. Regarding the replacement preamps, the Dared I have is a bit nicer than the gear you suggested and it does have an RF (not an IR) remote volume control. Line level from the Samsung goes into this preamp, not the variable. At one time, I owned a Pro-Ject turntable and yes I am familiar with the gear. Nice to know that they are still making strides in the high end.
This technician (another one) was amazed at the difference the new unit made also being able to hear exactly what my complaint was.
I've only been watching/listening for a little over an hour and it sounds pretty decent, MUCH better than the old DVR.
Thanks for all of the suggestions and jabs. I am finally happy and that is what matters.
See my eBooks at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=rastocny
and my blog at http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.com/
Thanks for the update. Glad changing the receiver fixed your problem. You certainly went thru a lot of trials to find the problem and it was just what you thought in the beginning.
I dont remember, but was that the only D* receiver you had at your place, seems like just swapping it out would have been something you could have done on day 1...I dont know what your history was before this thread, upgraded from another model, or were a brand new D* customer etc...I have 3 receivers at my place, so it would be very easy to swap one out if I suspected the problem might be a particular unit and not system-wide.