Decoder and Multichannel Amp

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

saikat

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
178
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Hello,
Most receivers are doing the dual duty of 1)decoding various types of signals (is decoding the correct term?) and 2)being a multichannel amplifier.

Every few months there are better formats/protocols etc which keep coming out. Is it possible to separate these two sections into a decoding section and a pure multi-channel amplifier? This way the next time there is a new format/protocol there wont be a need to dump the entire receiver.

Im sure there will be multi-channel amplifiers, but what about just decoders?

Any thoughts?

Regards,
Saikat.
 
Last edited:

amol12

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
404
Points
28
Location
Pune
What you are referring to as a decoder is called as a pre-amplifier. Typically so expensive that replacing them would be costlier than replacing a receiver!
 

saikat

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
178
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
So a pre-amp accepts all the signals and decodes them is it? Lets say DTS/THX/HD video processing etc etc processing is the job of the pre-amp?
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,167
Points
113
Location
Chennai
Saikat:

Equipment that decode Dolby, DTS and other surround sound formats are called by different names. The most common is Preamp/Processor or Pre/Pro. Some companies also call them Surround Controllers.

Just like a 2 channel pre-amplifier, the Pre/Pro accepts inputs from a DVD or other sources, and processes both audio and video. Modern Pre/Pro can decode all flavours of audio codecs, including Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio via HDMI. These equipment come with multiple DSP chips to handle audio processing and digital-to-analog (DAC) conversion on multiple channels (upto 12 channels, I think). They also come with room acoustic correction methodology such as Audyssey. Some of these Pre/Pro also allow setting of individual channel to your liking by controlling the treble and bass. Some of them support multiple sub woofers.

Most of these Pre/Pro come with extensive controls mechanism. These include Ethernet for connectivity, RS-232C port for control, Infra Red Input/Output, and what are called 12-volt triggers. This is a simple mechanism by which you can turn an equipment on or off in conjunction with another. For example if you switch on a power amplifier connected by a 12 volt trigger to a Pre/Pro, the Pre/Pro will also power on immediately.

What about new formats? Various manufacturers follow different methods for upgrades. Some follow software upgrade methods by which you can download software and load it on to the Pre/Pro. Some companies make their Pre/Pro like a computer with slots inside. Every now and then they introduce a new processing board, and you plug that in in replacement for the existing board.

Some of the Pr e/Pro have the capacity to process for multiple rooms. In other words you could be watching a movie in your HT room, while someone else could be watching a TV program in a different room. This is becoming popular in the US and other countries, where all the TV connections and processing is centralised with such equipment and then distributed to various display and speaker units across the house.

Companies that make such equipment include Onkyo/Intergra Research, Anthem, Meridian, Theta, Classe, Emotiva, Lexicon, B&K, etc.

You need multi channel power amplifiers to work with with these equipment. In comparison, an AVR comnbines the job of audio and video processing and sound amplification.

As Amol has mentioned these Pre/Pro and the power amp combination are usually expensive. At the same time, through upgrades and other methods, companies such as Lexicon, B&K, Theta and other others promise to save your equipment from obsolescence.


Cheers
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,167
Points
113
Location
Chennai
Hello everyone,
Some more information. Just got to know of a decent pre-amp from Outlaw Audio (Outlaw Audio). They have also announced a price drop..:D

Cheers!
Saikat.

Just a word of caution. Outlaw products are made ofr the US market only. Their input is 120V, 60Hz only I spoke to them about a year ago when I was in the US. They said since they are an Internet based company, they are not interested in nor will be able to service any customers outside the US. They said they are worried about their reputation, and do not want the complication of answering queries from half a world away

Cheers
 

dillihifi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
1,039
Points
83
Location
DELHI
hi,

I was considering the sonodyne processor and power amp combo which is approximately priced at 40k+. Any views on this
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,167
Points
113
Location
Chennai
I was considering the sonodyne processor and power amp combo which is approximately priced at 40k+. Any views on this

Though Sonodyne makes good equipment, their multichannel processors are vary basic, and can handle only a few Codecs and will not be able to hanlde the new HD Audio Codecs. If you are happy with basic Dolby Digital and DTS and a couple of other formats, I suppose the Sonodyne will deliver. But receivers such as those from Yamaha, Onkyo, and Denon will process the basic formats as well as the new HD Audio formats.

If you are looking at a competent processor cum amplifier, you are looking at between 1.5 to 2.0 lakhs minimum.

Cheers
 

dillihifi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
1,039
Points
83
Location
DELHI
Though Sonodyne makes good equipment, their multichannel processors are vary basic, and can handle only a few Codecs and will not be able to hanlde the new HD Audio Codecs. If you are happy with basic Dolby Digital and DTS and a couple of other formats, I suppose the Sonodyne will deliver. But receivers such as those from Yamaha, Onkyo, and Denon will process the basic formats as well as the new HD Audio formats.

If you are looking at a competent processor cum amplifier, you are looking at between 1.5 to 2.0 lakhs minimum.

Cheers

Thanks for the reply. I wanted to know if the hd audio codecs give an o/p to a basic 5.1 speaker system or for that we need only the dd and dts. As I am not considering 7.1 speakers due to space constraints
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,167
Points
113
Location
Chennai
Thanks for the reply. I wanted to know if the hd audio codecs give an o/p to a basic 5.1 speaker system or for that we need only the dd and dts. As I am not considering 7.1 speakers due to space constraints

HD Audio Codecs work mostly on 5.1. In any case you can start using HD Audio Codecs only when you start using Blu-Ray media. Most DVDs come equipped with DD and/or DTS. At times, Neo 6 is useful for sending a stereo signal to all 6 channels of a 5.1. Each Codec has its own use. You have to decide what you need and how much you are ready to spend.

Cheers
 

spirovious

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
12,415
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
A simple solution for seperate system-

Source- BDp with all on brd decoders
Amp - Any Budget AVR with 5.1(7.1) ana in or HDMI for the same.

Next time if you see new codecs,upgrading new player with its decoder is enough.
 

dillihifi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
1,039
Points
83
Location
DELHI
HD Audio Codecs work mostly on 5.1. In any case you can start using HD Audio Codecs only when you start using Blu-Ray media. Most DVDs come equipped with DD and/or DTS. At times, Neo 6 is useful for sending a stereo signal to all 6 channels of a 5.1. Each Codec has its own use. You have to decide what you need and how much you are ready to spend.

Cheers

Just wanted some more clarification on the HD Audio codecs could you please point me in the right direction. Are they 5.1 or 7.1. I understand that neither is a mandatory codec on blue ray. Any 5.1 AVR which do HD Audio decoding ?
 

vishanv

New Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
134
Points
0
Location
Dubai / Chennai
Just wanted some more clarification on the HD Audio codecs could you please point me in the right direction. Are they 5.1 or 7.1. I understand that neither is a mandatory codec on blue ray. Any 5.1 AVR which do HD Audio decoding ?

both Dolby True HD and DTS HD Masteraudio support 5.1 & 7.1.

I dont think there is a 5.1 AVR with HD Audio decoding, but you can always use a 7.1 HD Audio capable AVR with only 5.1 channel speaker set-up. You just need to select the appropriate down-mixing audio format from the source (blu-ray player).
 

hemantwaghe

Banned
Joined
Sep 23, 2007
Messages
3,659
Points
0
Pulz Audio makes 5 channel Power amplifier .I remember reading the review IN AV Max - this can be connected to decoder or DVD with 5.1 out...
any users/ First hand expereince?
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,167
Points
113
Location
Chennai
Just wanted some more clarification on the HD Audio codecs could you please point me in the right direction.

Google returns over 29 million hits for True HD and DTS-HD !! Anyhow here are some good links:

Dolby - What is Dolby TrueHD?
Dolby - TrueHD* Audio Processing in Blu-ray Disc Players
Dolby TrueHD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dolby and DTS' new audio schemes worth it? | The Audiophiliac - CNET News
DTS (sound system) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
DTS | DTS Audio Formats | DTS-HD Master Audio
www.dts.com/~/media/B962F033C9254AD4B62ECFC6293C9E86.ashx

Are they 5.1 or 7.1. I understand that neither is a mandatory codec on blue ray. Any 5.1 AVR which do HD Audio decoding ?

Both Dolby True HD and DTS HD are designed for 8 channels, though they will certainly work on a 5.1 AVR.

Unless you are looking at brands such as NAD, Arcam, or CA, most popular AVRs such as those from Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo have 7.1 channel processing and amplification. Only their lowest models have 5,1 and those don't support HD Audio.

There is no harm in buying a 7.1 receiver and using just 5.1 channels.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

dillihifi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
1,039
Points
83
Location
DELHI
After going through the posts regarding the dennon 1910 and yamaha 863 I still hold the view that purchasing the pre power combo of sonodyne will do the trick. As regards the newer codecs I think getting a BD player with the decoders will do the trick. The only thing I can think of is that the player should have analog inputs as the sonodyne pre power combo does not do have any HDMI i/p. The pre power combo is good vfm stuff at around 45k
 
Top