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fitzcaraldo215
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Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

Kal has delivered yet another excellent review of the Classe SSP Processor in the July issue. As usual, it is a model of clarity and information, without the typical audio hyperbole that clouds most other reviews.

I have no doubt the Classe is as excellent as Kal has indicated. But, one point I think needs further clarification and discussion. I am as big a fan of DSP-EQ as Kal is. I have seen and heard the stunning results achievable by this breakthrough technology with several systems - Audyssey and ARC - in several different rooms. I would never be without some version of DSP-EQ again. It

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

I will do so but, imho, ordinary tone controls and a few acoustical panels are most useful in the higher frequency range since modal effects become statistically random above the critical frequency, 200-300Hz in most rooms. (There are exceptions) If there are narrow band anomalies inherent in the speaker that annoy, perhaps one has not chosen wisely.

Kal

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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

I haven't rec'd my July issue yet, but I'm curious about the Audissey EQ program I have in my Marantz receiver. My understanding is it does not apply in the "direct" analog output mode, but only in DSP, e.g. Dolby Digital. I listen to my hi-rez DVD-A's and SACD's in direct only and use DD for movies (HDMI 1.3). So I've never been curious enough to do the Audissey set-up, tho' it is on my short list of vacation "chores."

BTW, loved the movie- and anything by Werner Herzog. He's the Captain Beefheart of cinema. Awesome.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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I haven't rec'd my July issue yet, but I'm curious about the Audissey EQ program I have in my Marantz receiver. My understanding is it does not apply in the "direct" analog output mode, but only in DSP, e.g. Dolby Digital.

I do not know what Audyssey is in your Marantz but it is probably available in any mode except "Direct." That does not restrict it to DD but any format you can get with HDMI.


Quote:
I listen to my hi-rez DVD-A's and SACD's in direct only and use DD for movies (HDMI 1.3). So I've never been curious enough to do the Audissey set-up, tho' it is on my short list of vacation "chores."

Why not try the DVD-A/SACD music with Audyssey?

Kal

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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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Why not try the DVD-A/SACD music with Audyssey?

Kal

I will at your suggestion. I've tried playing the DD encoded layers of DVD-A's and while not too bad (like on the AIX video tracks) there are slightly noticeable levels of grain and glare at higher volumes compared to the higher res layers, which are uniformly cleaner.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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I will at your suggestion. I've tried playing the DD encoded layers of DVD-A's and while not too bad (like on the AIX video tracks) there are slightly noticeable levels of grain and glare at higher volumes compared to the higher res layers, which are uniformly cleaner.

DD is compressed digital. It will always sound so whether decoded in the player or in the processor. If you are looking for better sound from movies, the dtsHD MA and Dolby TruHD tracks on Blu-Ray are the only way to go.

Kal

rvance
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

Two years ago I purchased a Marantz SR 7001 on clearance for a deep discount. I also purchased a 1080p upsampling DV-7001 "Universal" player at clearance price- I've been listening to DVD-A discreet since 2000 and recently more SACD's. I waited 'til the price dropped to an affordable level. Soon after, Blu-Ray started really rolling, but these machines won't support that format.

I have a 1080i broadcast video signal feeding a nice 55" Samsung LED (edge dimmed) TV, so I've seen some great hi-def video content. The Marantz player actually processes many standard DVD's to near hi-def quality- enough so that I don't miss Blu-ray in the video domain, but I would like to decode the hi-res audio. I just can't afford a new equipment array now.

My next purchase will be a Blu-ray player, but not for a while. Having said that, something will probably break and I'll have my opening. Marantz just repaired the receiver under warranty. The player has been doing a great job on all formats (even Redbook) and it would cost a lot to replace either unit. Tonight I listened to a Netherlands EMI release of Ziggy Stardust on SACD multi-channel and it was sweet.

But I look forward to your column even though I'm behind the technology curve.

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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

What I find interesting is that with KRs systems having super resolving power and the considerable expense he has applied to the 2 systems that he owns that once in a while a new piece of gear enters his systems that take them to "another higher" level of performance, but that improvement does not come cheap.

It only proves that maybe too often the "end", what ever that is", is never achievable and that there is always someting better or "more resolving" which is a merry go round most of us have hopped off long ago.

You have found the secret which is really enjoy what you have and not worry about what you are not hearing. I do enjoy reading his columns and can only imagine what a great experience 5.1 SACD and the other hi-rez formats must sound like in either of his two great systems. Even a good SACD in 5.1 is pretty amazing. The MP3 crowd is really missing what the advent of digital audio can do, other than use math to reduce the file size.

fitzcaraldo215
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

Kal

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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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Kal
rvance
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ

Finally got my issue and read the piece. Based on my trust of your review, the Classe is one of those aspirational/inspirational products that are worth the cost of entry. Great reading...

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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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First, there is the Vivid Audio Giya G1. JA
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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First, there is the Vivid Audio Giya G1. JA
fitzcaraldo215
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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However, these are problems that can be resolved with FR EQ or tone controls as well as with some judicious acoustic panel placements. We do not see any evidence in the spectral decay plots of associated issues so, again, resolving these matters, if you choose to, does not require any heavy lifting from DSP.

...

Well, there is a price. If the problems are room-dependent, then correcting the speaker will corrupt on-axis output (which is less affected by the reflections) to compensate for reflected sound problems. The microphone measurements do show the spatial resolution which characterizes our hearing.

Kal - I completely agree that cancelling side reflections (floor and ceiling, too, if possible) in the room is a good idea, particularly for mid/upper frequency time domain response.

I have one caveat about tone controls though, and I have no idea how the Classe implements this. In my Integra 80.1, the tone controls are also done in the DSP and are either/or with Audyssey EQ. You cannot do both simultaneously. I suspect a number of other prepros are similar in this. And, actually, what is the practical difference of one vs. the other in smoothing the resultant response? EQ has the advantage in agility, because it can deal both wide or narrow band issues. Tone controls, depending on their design, only work on a broader band basis, possibly encompassing frequencies that need no correction.

No matter how tone controls are implemented, they would have the same effect as EQ of boosting or cutting the direct sound in order to balance the averaged sound at our ears.

Then, there are setup issues. "Auto" EQ systems, like Audyssey and ARC, seem to me to deliver very good audible and measured results as long as you follow proper protocols during calibration. Setting tone controls by ear or by manual measurement can be a very long and pain-staking process.

So, I am not clear on the "heavy lifting" comment about DSP-EQ or on the downsides of relying on it for smoother frequency response within tighter tolerances.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Classe SSP Processor - DSP/EQ


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I have one caveat about tone controls though, and I have no idea how the Classe implements this. In my Integra 80.1, the tone controls are also done in the DSP and are either/or with Audyssey EQ. You cannot do both simultaneously. I suspect a number of other prepros are similar in this. And, actually, what is the practical difference of one vs. the other in smoothing the resultant response? EQ has the advantage in agility, because it can deal both wide or narrow band issues. Tone controls, depending on their design, only work on a broader band basis, possibly encompassing frequencies that need no correction.

But the issue is moot with regard to the Integra since it does Audyssey full range. It is moot, too, with the Classe as the PEQ is available. In my setup using bass management, there is less need for LF filters in the main channels (I used only one but more for the subwoofer), so one can use the filters with low Q as the equivalent of "tone controls" or to correct mid-band deviations such as you have pointed out in the 3 speaker reviews.


Quote:
No matter how tone controls are implemented, they would have the same effect as EQ of boosting or cutting the direct sound in order to balance the averaged sound at our ears.

Implementation is all. The mic-based measurement system averages (or uses "fuzzy logic") to combine direct and reflected sounds and cannot provide separate filters for them. However, our ears are more directional and we move our heads all the time enabling us to distinguish direct and reflected sounds (depending on the time intervals, of course). If there is a mid-band correction based on bad room acoustics, it is often possible to hear that the direct sound is colored, as it must be. That is why it is so important that JA is now offering both (quasi-)anechoic and in-room measurements.


Quote:
Then, there are setup issues. "Auto" EQ systems, like Audyssey and ARC, seem to me to deliver very good audible and measured results as long as you follow proper protocols during calibration. Setting tone controls by ear or by manual measurement can be a very long and pain-staking process.

Those are only convenience issues and, I think, almost anyone can tell what is suitable for himself.


Quote:
So, I am not clear on the "heavy lifting" comment about DSP-EQ or on the downsides of relying on it for smoother frequency response within tighter tolerances.

Tongue-in-cheek. The same DSP engine does it all.

Kal

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