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RADIOLEE 15th August 2002 08:20 PM

Home theater without a receiver
Has anybody ever tried using the 5.1 outputs on a DVD player that is so equipped to supply discrete signals to three seperate stereo amps for home theater?

I want to use my tube amps for home theater and this seems to be a way of doing it without having to buy a DTS or Dolby Digital receiver or seperate preamp......

The question then becomes how to control six channels of amplification simultaneously.

Six in, six out. I can't think of anything with that capability that is readily available. I think I'll be stuck with three volume knobs.

All this would be possible with a DVD player like the Apex AD800(which we sell at the store) since it does have the six channel outputs. By the way, it's also a progressive scan machine with component video output, independent horizontal and vertical incremental zoom, and has a ton of other features, all for 150 bucks. A good unit for experimentation.......

Thought I'd throw this one out at y'all....


tiroth 15th August 2002 09:01 PM

An alternative is to use an outboard decoder, such as the Technics SH-AC300 that I currently use. It has a single volume control that handles all six channels.

A more ambitious project (that I am in the midst of!) is to use such a decoder and upgrade the DACs.

BTW, how is the video quality on that Apex? I bought one of their earlier models but sold it shortly thereafter because the video decoding quality was very poor--a lot of blockiness that frankly drove me nuts. It was especially apparant in dark backgrounds or anime.

Coulomb 15th August 2002 09:26 PM

I use a Sony Decoder, but you can look at the ICBM by Outlaw Electronics. I can not recall if it has an overall gain control, it is essentially designed as a Bass Management device for DVD-A & SACD.

RADIOLEE 15th August 2002 09:42 PM

Hi tiroth-
We use these Apex's all around the store and we are generally pleased with the video on them.

I am curious what model Apex you had. There was one that had an interesting feature- a secret menu that allowed you to defeat the copyright protection. The FCC put a stop to that and they are now highly sought after. EBay won't allow anyone to sell them.

Apex went from nowhere to number two in DVD sales in the world in one year. Their products are loaded with features for the money, but you have to consider them on a model by model basis.

They have the first DVD that will play both SACD and DVD audio.

I would love to have an outboard decoder/preamp, but they go for as much as a receiver (or more).

Thanks for the reply!

By the way, I was born in New Castle.


RADIOLEE 15th August 2002 09:51 PM

Hi Coulomb

Looked up the Outlaw--

Does not appear to have a gain control for all channels...

Getting closer though!



tiroth 15th August 2002 10:13 PM

Another former Pittsburgher. :)

Outlaw also makes a full featured decoder, I believe. You can generally pick up AC300s on Ebay for $50-$100. Actually a nice decoder...I measured THD+N to -95dB.

Yeah, I had one of those "highly sought after" ones...ended up selling it at a profit. ;) Thought it was terrible quality, even though most others didn't seem to think so. Maybe I've just trained myself to see artifacting though...I've dabbled quite a bit in digital video. I'll have to check out the new for $150 sounds nice. Do you know what deinterlacer they are using?

RADIOLEE 15th August 2002 10:27 PM


You got me on the deinterlacer....
Is it a chip?

Actually this is an older model, but still current.

Interesting on that AC 300.
What type of digital input does it have?

It sounds like what I need, but I've never seen any preamps that cheap.

What I really need is a vacuum tube Dolby Digital decoder....


tiroth 15th August 2002 11:51 PM

Yes, the deinterlacer is a chip. Some of the really nice progressive DVDs use the Faroudja FLI2200 IC, very nice, but hard to find stateside.

AC300 and AC500a have RCA and toslink digital inputs, the 300 only does Dolby Digital, the 500 does DTS as well. 300 has only analog pass-through (useless), not sure about 500.

If you check out the woefully underpopulated I/V section on my
DAC page you'll find a link to a tube I/V. Build your own DACs on top of the ACx00 or another decoder and you can put anything you want downstream. ;)

There is some useful info on the AC300 on my site as well:

RADIOLEE 16th August 2002 03:46 AM


Very interesting reading, even if it is a little over my head...

There's a couple of those 500s on eBay currently, so I'll keep an eye out for one. I appreciate your pointing them out to me. I've always been a Technics fan and it's kinda sad to see Panasonic dumping the brand name after 30 years. When you think about it, Japanese hifi has only been around for 40 years or so, making Technics one of the older names there....

I like the idea of bringing vacuum tubes to the home theater scene....multi channel sound, center channels and surround channels have been utilized in movie theaters since the thirties,and the heyday of Western Electric, so it's kinda retro(!)

Just one question- how many vacuum tubes would it take to construct a tube version of a Dolby Digital decoder??????



tiroth 20th August 2002 03:36 AM


Originally posted by RADIOLEE

Just one question- how many vacuum tubes would it take to construct a tube version of a Dolby Digital decoder??????

Got a spare room handy? (maybe more like a spare house!)

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