Music in the Round #98: Trinnov Altitude 32 & Essence Evolve II-4K Contacts

Sidebar: Contacts

Trinnov, 5 rue Edmond Michelet, 93360 Neuilly-Plaisance, France. Tel: (33) 147 066137. Trinnov USA, 201 West High Street, East Hampton, CT 06424. Web:

Essence Electrostatic, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701. Tel: (727) 580-4393. Web:


Anton's picture

If I had the wherewithal, that review would be enough to make me simply buy and enjoy! Then I read about the set up effort. When I think of the infrastructure involved and what you as an expert had to go through to make it work, it strikes me dead where I stand.

Color me lazy, but interested! The review was exceedingly insightful and made me want to hear this thing!

I am holding out hope that this will all someday be wireless, I can buy something like this, toss a few dozen powered speakers around the room in 'convenient' locations, and let the device set my room up while I go for a margarita.

The only cords will be for AC power and otherwise all wireless.

This is my dream.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

That dream could become a reality sooner than we think ........ Think multi-room set-ups like Sonos, Blue-OS, Denon HEOS, B&W Formation Suite etc. ..... Same type of set-ups could be used for multi-channel audio also, in the very near future :-) ........

Apple and Google could also get into the mix :-) ...........

Kal Rubinson's picture

Yeah but none of those, afaik, can do what the Trinnov does. (Of course, you can also assert the inverse.)

stevebruzonsky's picture

The beta firmware with the easy setup has been available for some months now. I bought my Alt32 - 16 channels and had it sitting for months as I was intimidated. But last Feb I got in the beta program and got the easy setup. First, I read the manual again over and over. Then I did the setup the hard way. then I went to the easy setup feature, and guess what - it was easy, led me through all the basic steps I had already done! My understanding is the non-beta firmware with this should be out soon!

This damn SSP sounds so good that I sold my Theta Casablanca SSP of many years (since 1997) and I do not look back or miss it one bit! And I had the Casablanca IV-A SSP's best D3 DACs and also had their Generation VIII Series 3 DACs as well for a time!

What's really nifty is no more entering speaker distances/delays or measuring speaker levels - its all automatic and perfect as far as I can tell! ANd as you have stated you can quickly calculate and enter different seating positions, I use a front row for video, a back row for music (ROON).

With my prior SSP, I used an expensive Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical USB out into a Berkeley Audio Alpha USB to digital converter for two channel ROON music; and a custom built Computer Audiophile computer HDMI out for multi-channel ROON music (I used JRiver and changed to ROON going on 4 years ago). Multi-channel music via HDMI was nice but didn't sound nearly as good as two channel. NOW with the Altitude 32, using ROON Ready ethernet, two and multi-channel music sound as good as it gets, better than ever, and equally sonically. I sold the Sonore and Berkeley pieces because I found ROON Ready to sound just as good!

Do not forget the Altitude 32's Auro-3D mode particularly for music via ROON! With my prior SSP I never care for Dolby and DTS expansion modes for 2 channel, listening in strict 2 channel almost always. With the Altitude 32, I don't care for expension in Dolby and DTS, but I love using Auro-3D for both 2 channel and multi-channel. The front soundstage, instruments, vocals lose nothing and I only gain re dynamics, ambience, etc using Auro-3D. Its amazing! I have five Aerial Acoustics 7ts, floorstanding, currently, with four in ceiling KEF speakers. The Altitude 32 has a processor display via VNC that shows you the channels input and output, too! Using Auro-3D for two channel music via ROON, I can see that the front left and right share with my front center pretty equally, with other channels used for ambience and effects, and again musically its wonderful.

I find the volume control on the Altitude 32 to be so very transparent. As I turn it up or down I just don't hear harshness at all, even better than my prior SSP. Its simply a question of what level do I want to listen at. I go to a lot of live concerts, especially jazz, at excellent local acoustic venues and its amazing how Auro-3D adds to the illusion of being there.

Note Auro-3D by design only "expands" up to 96-24 stereo. If the track is higher resolution, say 176-24 or 192-24, it will just play in stereo. I find the sonic difference between 192/176 and 96/88 to be very minimal compared to the benefits of Auro-3D at 96/88,so I have ROON set to downsample to 96/88 (88 for DXD and DSD), and play up to 96/88 at native rate.

For a lot less money you can get the Altitude 16, limited to 96-24 resolution and "only" 16 channels, and ROON Ready, too! Sonically should sound the same! Glad I got the Altitude 32, because this allowed me to upgrade to 24 channels, and my dedicated home theatre is about to undergo a major remodel, from 5.2.4 to 9.4.13 (3 Aerial Acoustics 7t floorstanders, 6 Aerial Acoustics 7LCR on wall, 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers, 2 Paradigm Persona subwoofers, 13 Triad inceiling Silver Rotatable/Sat 9 speakers) (in current system already have the 7ts and JL Audio subwoofers). So I must warn you, save money and buy the Altitude 16 and limit yourself to 16 channels - buy the Altitude 32 even the 16 channel version and you will be more easily hit with the upgrade virus/bug and add channels and add amps and speakers. Its costly!

Distinctive's picture

Kal, given your review of the Trinnov - is the Bryston SP4 in queue for a review?

Kal Rubinson's picture

Kal, given your review of the Trinnov - is the Bryston SP4 in queue for a review?

Not at this time.

JMR's picture

Hi Kal
Great review, many thanks for the interesting insights. I had the Altitude 32 set up in my room for a day but the unit was faulty and I was unable to really assess it. I had also had a StormAudio I.ISP 3D.16 set up in my room for a few days about a month previously. I was impressed with the StormAudio and Dirac sound but was not able to make a direct comparison.
I have been a long term user of a Tact Audio system and use a TCS3 and a combination of Tact 2150 amps and Boz 216/2200 amps. I am very happy with my Tact system sound and feel that it still compares favourably with the two systems I mention above although I was not able to do them justice in terms of tweaking etc due to the short time I had them in the room.
My interest in the Trinnov and StormAudio is due to my concern with the longevity of the Tact system as the company no longer exists. The Trinnov is very flexible and appears to be more comprehensive wrt crossovers etc than the Dirac system but I have no experience with Dirac V2. Trinnov is closer to what I am used to with the Tact system albeit it much more advanced features and modern components which is understandable.
As a keen follower of you column I am aware that you have used Dirac previously and am interested to know your view on the final multichannel audio capabilities of the Trinnov system vs Dirac. To your ears are they comparable or is there a clear winner?

Kal Rubinson's picture

As a keen follower of you column I am aware that you have used Dirac previously and am interested to know your view on the final multichannel audio capabilities of the Trinnov system vs Dirac. To your ears are they comparable or is there a clear winner?

It is hard to declare a winner because it is hard to make a fair comparison. Trinnov is always linked to specific hardware implementations, none of which are configured as I would find ideal. DiracLive, otoh, can be employed using a number of embedded hardware implementations (none ideal, imho) or as an application/plug-in in a computer-based player.

The other difference is that DiracLive seems to be quite user friendly but somewhat inflexible compared to Trinnov which is flexible (almost to a fault) and is only now approaching user-friendliness with the new Set-Up Wizard.

I have no experience with the yet-to-be released DL 2.0 but I can say, speaking out of both sides of my mouth, that I have obtained greater satisfaction with the audible results of Trinnov but prefer to use DL for practical reasons. I'd love to see a purely software release of Trinnov and compare it with DL 2.0.

Gort's picture

Curious...have you done a comparison with the Datasat RS20I with the new software?

Kal Rubinson's picture


retro's picture

" I'd love to see a purely software release of Trinnov "

Do you think that will ever happen..maybe you have some inside information..;)..?

swolpert98's picture

Given the cost of the Trinnov, it'd sure be nice to know how it sounds when playing a simple stereo source. I understand the Trinnov's design goals and purpose, and that playing simple stereo music is not that primary design goal. Assuming Im like most listeners and that surround sound constitutes a small part of my listening, who is going to dole out $26,000 for this if the Trinnov is weak compared to a non-surround high end $26,000 preamplifier? Would I be better off with a DiracLive professor of say, $4,000, and a standard stereo preamp of $22,000?

Theodor's picture

Hi Kal,
Could you please possibly comment on the following: considering that Essence Evolve II-4K cost nearly 10-times less then OPPO UDP-205 on E-Bay these days how does Essence sound in comparison with UDP-205 multi-channel audio output?
Thank you!