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Old 16th August 2013, 11:54 PM   #1
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Default Hard to spend money

I finally saved up and decided it was time to do major upgrades to both of my main systems. After bricking my Panasonic Blu-Ray trying to get it to test all the WEB streaming stuff, I upgraded the firmware on my Pioneer, so now it does not play some of my disks. That was the "cover" I needed: OPPO 103.

As many may remember, I hate everything. Nothing is good enough. WOW. Makes DVD look almost like Blu-Ray. Boots and operated without a coffee break between every step. I bought it for stability and speed, blown away by video quality. Step one done.

THought I'd get that Sony or Sandgen HDFM tuner. Nope. They are all gone. Looks like HDFM is dead.

Next was to convince my better half that the living room is for serious music and the TV is only for the news, the guest room is for serious movie watching.

So, fixed a few issues in the Rotel 1055 I use as a preamp in the living room including adding a pot to level match the FM tuner to the rest of the inputs. Adding a Channel Master RF amp, new Xantec remote etc. Using the Rotel from the front panel is such a pleasure. The remote is worse than the old Denon. As TV becomes secondary in there, I won't build a center and may even pull the surrounds out.

Wanted a TV lift in the living room so we can see the window. Nope. Lifts only lift about their height and I need to go higher. I have a couple pf designs in mind. THe first went south when I found the cost of a 3/4 inch Acme drive rod. Back to pipe, cable, and a cheal reversable drill. If it works, I'll post it. THe trick is everything is hidden behind the curtains.

In the guest room I popped for an Emo AV preamp. So far I am duly impressed. It switches the FIOS and oppo within only a few seconds. Grabbed an HCA 750 off e-bay for the fronts, and dropped in the Z3 off my work bench for now. I have to get busy and make matching rears to my fronts (Seas/Daytons) A bit more room tuning and new carpet I should be good to go.

I am not happy with the first results of the Emo auto eq, but no surprises there. Wife (uber golden ears) confirmed from the other room, Sounds FLAT! The lesson may be that if you correctly tune the speakers and the room, you don't need all the fancy eq computer stuff anyway. Maybe a vote for the Outlaw over the Emo.

So what was hard? Well we still listen to FM. The Rotel still has direct FM presets on the front panel which is why it is staying in the living room. You can walk up and pick a station without going to a remote or on one AVR, actually bring up a menu on the TV!. Finding an AV preamp with the features, acceptable performance, and costing less than my house was just plain tough. Even for the big bucks, you just don't get the buttons. Maybe the Anthem, but too much money. Emotiva goes as far as no volume knob, but push buttons. Almost went Outlaw, but I wanted to try the auto eq stuff.

Hard again was a programmable remote. Bought a Harmony 650. FInally easy to program; slick. Seemed to work. Then it started. Things would get out of sync with it's state engine. It would not turn off the preamp because it thought it was off. I control the FIOS from two rooms, ( IR bugs taped together), so it was never right. Gave up for about the fourth time. Until remotes are RF and bi-directional, they just plain won't work.

Now looking for decent small 5 channel amp. Actually good news there in under 150W amps. Anthem, Outlaw, ATI, Parasound, and maybe Emotiva all look viable. Only hard thing is paying for it.

Next hard: I want to put my antenna back outside. Surprise! no one makes FM antennas any more. I am going to stockpile a couple left on e-bay. but the biggest is a 6 element and I still have an 8. ( bottom of a hill with trees and houses between me and the antennas in DC.

So he good old Denon 3802 was going to the workshop. I decided to reset the microcode to see if it could clear the FM tuning issues. Nope. Worse and now no sub out, so it is basically useless. Less than 5 gallons of gas got an old Kenwood 880 tuner I can use with an old integrated and get a decent radio for less than a pizza and a beer. Ironic, one of maybe the top 20 tuners ever made in a woodshop as a cheap radio!

What else is hard? Well I really would rather grab a 5 channel Parasound as I am rather hooked on them now, but they still get real money for even an old 1205 on e-bay. Opening the checkbook is still hard. I can try the Emo for the the maximum risk of return shipping. Maybe the Outlaw.
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Old 25th August 2013, 01:28 AM   #2
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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OK, so I need a new la[top. THR FOcusrite drivers were just too much for my old Toshiba.
Store one: Spent half an hour convincing me Windows 8 was not completely terrible and which laptop was just what I needed. Great. No, they did not have it and I would have to drive 30 miles to another of their stores. (Office Depot)

Store two; Clerks talking to each other. No help at all. (Staples)

Store Three: They were actually prepared to take my money. They did. Best Buy Surprise!

Update: three resets later the Denon worked perfectly and I already sold it.
Sent the Emo back as it's actions were not stable. Ordered the Outlaw.
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Old 25th August 2013, 05:52 AM   #3
nezbleu is offline nezbleu  Canada
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What part of that is DIY audio?
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Old 25th August 2013, 02:19 PM   #4
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Nez, This is the Lounge so it is not specifically DIY, but conversations between DIY enthusiasts. Notice topics like food, drink, opinions on life, etc.

All these are part of my various audio systems including the laptop which is my main measurement tool. I used it this morning to begin tweaking the crossovers in my Dayton 150/Seas 27TDFC/Dayton RSS265 set and so I can breadboard the notch filters I need for the room nodes of 54 and 152 Hz. The Emo had a full set of parametric filters, but the Outlaw has no eq in it leaving it to me. I really wish the Emo had been stable as feature-wise it did everything I need.
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Old 30th August 2013, 02:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post
I really wish the Emo had been stable as feature-wise it did everything I need.
Maybe one of its feet was missing?
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Old 1st September 2013, 04:50 AM   #6
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Adding a pot to a Rotel 1055 "to level match the FM tuner to the rest of the inputs" sounds like authentic DIY Audio activity.

I feel like I should be making a joke about Emo gear. Can it play other styles of music?
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Old 1st September 2013, 10:59 PM   #7
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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After the Emo, I bought the Outaw 975. It was much better, but still did not switch reliably. It is going back. Picked up a Marantz AV7005 for about half price ( last years open box). it DOES switch and sync every time so far. Slow, but works. Maybe I am making progress. Just did the Audessy setup. It decided my 3 inch Fountek rears should be crossed over at 40 Hz. Not impressed. I am not sure how much it will let me tweak. It did a decent job on the levels and the imaging is back on.

Keeping the Rotel 1055 in the living room using my external crossover. Looking at the schematic, it looks like the sub crossover in it is analog so I can tweak it a bit and eliminate my external crossover. I thought the .1 stuff was part of the digital processing, but in this one it is analog.

It does look like the poor specifications and lack of compatibility on HDMI 1.4 is causing problems. Outlaw I expected more from as they are a processor company that happens to make good amps, where Emo is a good cheap amp company trying to make a processor. One rep did give me a heads up that Pioneer are famous for low HDMI outputs causing issues. Another hint from a re-seller was their strong suggestion for Cambridge over NAD for the switching if I went to a receiver, and yet another salesman who owns an Arcam says it is sometimes flakey, but the sound is worth the issues. He was the one who sold me the Marantz as he could not bear to see me downgrade from the HCA 750's I am using to a receiver. Curse you John, I am spoiled.

I really wished the Emo worked. It's feature set was perfect. I guess we can commend them as it could screw up from Blues to Filk to Zappa quite equally.

Two days effort and several free utilities, a couple of registry hacks and Windows 8 works like a real computer again. Hope.
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Old 6th September 2013, 08:02 PM   #8
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Still working through the upgrade. With the Marantz AV5007, I proved for my application, Audessey is useless. Boosted bass, not fixing room modes etc. Audessey, or the folks who implement it, don't believe we are worthy of our own adjustments, so they limit us.

I do need to complement three companies. Emotivia, Outlaw and, yes, Best Buy. All three were quite stand up and worked with me until I gave up and then accepted the products back.

Lots of research on the chipsets that handle HDMI and HDCP. My best guess it Emo and Outlaw are using early chips and may not be applying them well. Newest chips switch in under a second. Heck, it seems a $250 Denon AVR can now switch reliability. Shame on these folks. I hope Emo gets it right on their soon to be released high end unit. Two in a row duds is tough on business. Three may be the last straw.

55 inch Visio gets here next week, and just now trying out my wonderful new movie watching lounge, memory foam bed. Both were all to easy to buy. Back to stereo for now while I wait for the Anthem MXR 310 or NAD T578 receivers. NAD is shipping, but their WEB pages are obsolete. Amnthem is not shipping yet. Even Parasound was late getting their new Halo P5 preamp posted. If you are a stereo person, check it out!

Parts came for me to build my surrounds so sawdust time.
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Old 8th September 2013, 05:03 PM   #9
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Ordered a NAD 757. NAD claims it used their top end HDMI out of the 777 that is rock solid and fast. We shall see.

Used an old 31 band eq to get a baseline on the sub eq.
I can now build a black box with the same results.

Darn, new foam mattress is killing my back.

Back to the wood shop to glue up my surround cabinets. At least when I make something myself I have no one to get mad at for shipping products that do not work as advertised.
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Old 10th September 2013, 09:55 PM   #10
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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NAD T757 came. Almost disappointing. It works. Nothing special. It works. Proof there is no excuse for "drama" when switching.

Salesman told me to stomp on my mattress to limber up the base poly foam. It is actually working. I hope so, as a Temper was not in the budget.
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