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  1. #1
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Multichannel Playback - ideas and music?

    Hi guys, wondering how you all are running multichannel rigs and what format you're enjoying?

    Like others have expressed, I also wish there were some way to integrate multichannel into the Squeezebox system. Awhile back I remember that if I tried to play a 5.1 song through SqueezeServer/LMS, it would hang the system and put up a bug tracker tag. I hope this bug has been fixed.

    Although I have both SACD and DVD-A players, I've ripped the collection and serve the multichannel FLACs these days through foobar running on the HTPC in the room connected to my NAS server (in adjacent room so I don't hear it). Controlled on my tablet with "FoobarCon Pro" on Android. HDMI audio sent to Onkyo and decoded there... Preamps out to my stereo end and the Onkyo amps to drive center, rears, and feed sub. Works generally OK although on occasion I may lose the first couple seconds of a song or foobar gets confused with audio output device.

    Are you folks doing multichannel streaming/playback like this? Still playing SACD/DVD-A/Blu-Ray directly?

    Any favourite albums on multichannel?
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  2. #2
    Member Audiotic's Avatar
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    Hmm, I do not use the Squeezebox for multi-channel at all. I use the SACD and DVD / BluRay - way for this. I have a lot of DSD files that in principle are multi channel files but have the 2 channel in them. This is played through Audirvana and a USB connection. As stereo.
    My DAC can only handle stereo, the DAC in my pre-amp can decode multi-channel but that's only used for movies :-)
    Marantz NA-11S1 PCM/DSD streamer with Squeezebox Touch front-end - Marantz UD9004 / AV8801 / MM8003 & CI Audio D-200 MkII (front only) - Nubert NuVero & R.E.L. R-528SE - Siltech & ProLine custom made Silver & Gold, XLR where possible

  3. #3
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Yeah, just to clarify. No Squeezebox in the multichannel pathway for me either. The only place the signal intersects with the stereo gear is thru the preamp in home theater pass through mode to play the front channels.

    Sounds good.

    If anyone hasn't done so, check out some of the upsampled DTS conversions from stereo CD (you can find some as SPEC conversions). Little Feat's 'Waiting for Columbus' is a good one. Sounds almost like a pro mastering to me!
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    The only way to get multichannel is ac3 or dts files compressed as flac or wav .
    Thats what toslink or spdiff supports

    But with so many third party players aviable with hdmi capable hardware ,
    Maybe its time to support 5.1 flac files ?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Main hifi: Rasbery PI digi+ MeridianG68J MeridianHD621 MeridianG98DH 2 x MeridianDSP5200 MeridianDSP5200HC 2 xMeridianDSP3100 +Rel Stadium 3 sub.
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    (spares Touch, SB3, reciever ,controller )
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    http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

  5. #5
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    I am not a fan of multichannel. Ok for movies.
    Check it, add to it! http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/

    SB Touch

  6. #6
    Senior Member Pascal Hibon's Avatar
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    I'm not interested in multichannel music. I don't care about multichannel for movies either.
    The hassle of the increased number of cables and speakers just doesn't justify it for me. I prefer a decent stereo system, even for movies. I find a good quality recording way more important than multichannel music. The industry seems to have a lot of difficulties of providing good quality recordings. I would prefer they would focus more on that part instead of high res and multichannel.
    Yamaha A-S3000 (sliver) -> Focal Electra 1028 Be
    1 x SB Boom, 1 x SB Radio, 1 x SB Touch and 2 x RPI 2B
    1 x SB3 and 1 x SB Touch in storage
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    piCorePlayer on RPI 4B as LMS server
    iPeng on iPhone, SqueezePad & iPeng on iPad, Material Skin
    http://www.last.fm/user/phibon

  7. #7
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archimago View Post
    Hi guys, wondering how you all are running multichannel rigs and what format you're enjoying?

    ......

    Are you folks doing multichannel streaming/playback like this? Still playing SACD/DVD-A/Blu-Ray directly?

    Any favourite albums on multichannel?
    To answer your questions:

    I have a home theater set up which uses an older Marantz HTR (which still works fine) with front, center and rear speakers plus a subwoofer. Playback is via either an Oppo blu-ray player (for SACD, DVD-A, DVD and blu-ray) or through a SB Touch (for DTS encoded flac files)

    Multi-channel for the most part is pretty much a joke - for movies and videos the rear channels have almost no content except for sound effects or crowd noise (sports broadcasts). About the only good thing is the center channel which does provide for nice clear dialog. For music it's pretty much equally useless with the rear channels just providing a little ambiance, which is more often than not barely audible.

    As for favorite multichannel albums I've heard one that actually uses the extra channels with any degree of artfullness: Bj÷rk's Medulla (on SACD). On Medulla any and all of the front, center or rear channels can be used as the primary point of origin for the music. Gimmicky? Yes but at least the rear channels get to do something besides play some barely audible "ambiance".
    Living Rm: Transporter-SimAudio pre/power amps-Vandersteen 3A Sign. & sub
    Home Theater: Touch-Marantz HTR-Energy Veritas 2.1 & Linn sub
    Computer Rm: Touch-Headroom Desktop w/DAC-Aragon amp-Energy Veritas 2.1 & Energy sub
    Bedroom: Touch-HR Desktop w/DAC-Audio Refinement amp-Energy Veritas 2.0
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    Garage: SB3-JVC compact system
    Controls: iPeng; SB Controller; Moose & Muso
    Server: LMS 7.9 on dedicated windows 10 computer w/2 Drobos
    Last.fm

  8. #8
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    ...
    As for favorite multichannel albums I've heard one that actually uses the extra channels with any degree of artfullness: Bj÷rk's Medulla (on SACD). On Medulla any and all of the front, center or rear channels can be used as the primary point of origin for the music. Gimmicky? Yes but at least the rear channels get to do something besides play some barely audible "ambiance".
    Thanks for reminding me of Medulla. I'll have to have a listen again. I remember listening to this in my old house before the improved multichannel setup. Some of the surround/rear effects were downright freaky (whispering, heavy breathing and such). Nice bass as well.
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  9. #9
    Senior Member get.amped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archimago View Post
    Hi guys, wondering how you all are running multichannel rigs and what format you're enjoying?

    Like others have expressed, I also wish there were some way to integrate multichannel into the Squeezebox system. Awhile back I remember that if I tried to play a 5.1 song through SqueezeServer/LMS, it would hang the system and put up a bug tracker tag. I hope this bug has been fixed.

    Although I have both SACD and DVD-A players, I've ripped the collection and serve the multichannel FLACs these days through foobar running on the HTPC in the room connected to my NAS server (in adjacent room so I don't hear it). Controlled on my tablet with "FoobarCon Pro" on Android. HDMI audio sent to Onkyo and decoded there... Preamps out to my stereo end and the Onkyo amps to drive center, rears, and feed sub. Works generally OK although on occasion I may lose the first couple seconds of a song or foobar gets confused with audio output device.

    Are you folks doing multichannel streaming/playback like this? Still playing SACD/DVD-A/Blu-Ray directly?

    Any favourite albums on multichannel?
    My multi-channel system is (almost) completely separate from my SB-based two channel stereo. Which means there are a lot of speakers in my living room. And since there's no "W," WAF is not a factor.

    I rip DVD, BR and DVD-A discs to ISO images and store them on the same server that I use for LMS. It has HDMI out to the Denon receiver I use for HT. When I want to play one of those titles, I mount the ISO to a virtual optical drive using Alcohol 52% Free and play it using PowerDVD (my old version 9 install still plays DVD-A). I expect I could use almost any player software since the ISO looks like a shiny disc to the OS. I also have NAD and Denon players capable of playing DVD-A discs but I almost never use them anymore.

    In practice, I only use the multi-channel for video with it's accompanying audio and that generally means live concert video as far as music is concerned.
    Home: Win7Pro(x64)[3.3Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD system, 15TB storage], LMS 7.9.0 -> Logitech Squeezebox Classic V.3 -> Cambridge Audio DacMagic -> NAD C160 -> 2 x NAD C272 -> Quad 22L2
    Portable: FreeNAS 9.3 [HP Microserver Gen8, 10GB RAM, 16GB flash boot, 120GB SSD for LMS 7.9.0 in FreeBSD jail, 5 x 4TB WD Red HD ZFS RAIDZ1] -> Logitech Squeezebox Classic V.3 -> Cambridge Audio DacMagic: XLR out -> Soundmaster Diamond 12-2 mixing board -> P.A.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by get.amped View Post
    My multi-channel system is (almost) completely separate from my SB-based two channel stereo. Which means there are a lot of speakers in my living room. And since there's no "W," WAF is not a factor.

    I rip DVD, BR and DVD-A discs to ISO images and store them on the same server that I use for LMS. It has HDMI out to the Denon receiver I use for HT. When I want to play one of those titles, I mount the ISO to a virtual optical drive using Alcohol 52% Free and play it using PowerDVD (my old version 9 install still plays DVD-A). I expect I could use almost any player software since the ISO looks like a shiny disc to the OS. I also have NAD and Denon players capable of playing DVD-A discs but I almost never use them anymore.

    In practice, I only use the multi-channel for video with it's accompanying audio and that generally means live concert video as far as music is concerned.
    Thanks for the info get.amped and atrocity.

    My state of affairs in terms of multichannel is essentially the same as when I posted this about a year ago:
    http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2014/02...c-rebuild.html

    I've ripped all my DVD-A, multichannel SACDs (converted to PCM 5.1 24/88 usually), and music Blu-Rays into 5.1 FLACs in a separate directory. They now all reside on my main music server that runs LMS 24/7 in another room (to avoid too many machines and fans in the sound room); wired ethernet for reliability - high bitrates for 5.1 24/96! Because LMS doesn't do multichannel, I don't include that directory for LMS of course.

    Then that HTPC computer in the soundroom is loaded with foobar, connected to the Onkyo TX-1009NR receiver with HDMI (serves as 1080P MKV video playback as well). With the WASAPI plugin for foobar, I make sure the output is pointed to the Onkyo for playback. Foobar's library is pointed at the multichannel music directory on my server machine.

    The HTPC goes to sleep when not used (vast majority of the time, just press on the keyboard to wake up). I've been using "FoobarCon Pro" on my Android tablet to control foobar for playback of those multichannel FLACs. 90+% of the time this system works without a hitch. No need to turn on the TV at all (just make sure I turn on the Onkyo receiver) unless something goes wrong and I need to diagnose the problem.

    Without dedicated multichannel playback, this is as smooth as I've been able to get it to work. And with the server in another room and the HTPC essentially silent, there's no sonic obstruction.

    As to whether one thinks multichannel is valuable or not, that's one of those ultimate subjective opinions of course. I personally enjoy hearing the labour of the engineers who do the mixes! Certainly very different presentations. To hear the multichannel placement of instruments or the ambience of the live performance in Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" always stuns my audiophile friends (even if it's "only" a 5.1 16/44 lossy DTS rip), or to get a true multichannel audition of Roger Waters "In The Flesh" (SACD rip) is a blast (instead of the Q-Sound enhanced CD for surround effect). Likewise the audiophile perennial demo disk "Dark Side Of The Moon" is highly suited for a surround presentation! Then there's an album like Alan Parsons' "On Air" which was created with surround in mind.

    I'm looking forward to another Roger Waters favourite - "Amused To Death" coming out in discreet multichannel (another Q-Sound CD mix). Even other typically 2-channel albums sound great; for example the recent Bob Marley "Legend" from about a year ago in Blu-Ray sounds very nice in a good multichannel system.

    Getting multichannel done "right" can be a bit of a challenge of course and for practical reasons, will not be for everyone including soundroom setup, WAF, increased cost, etc... I just wish it was easier without all these bits and pieces I've had to cobble together!
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

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