Trinnov Altitude - Old versus New

Trinnov Altitude - Old versus New

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Hi, Frederick from Immersive Sound Tech. This is a video for all you Trinnov lovers, Trinov users out there. In this video I'm going to explain how the new ESS Sabre digital converters might be a good thing to upgrade in your setup. So, why am I sitting here in my control room with my crazy TAD Hi-Fi speakers and fine Hi-Fi gear when these units are made for home cinemas? Well, in this video I'm going to be nitpicking about the finer details, the minute differences in sound quality between the new converters and the old converters. So, lucky me I have Altitude 32 here in my setup. So, the

fact that I have them set up in my Hi-Fi / studio setup makes it possible for me to, at the switch of a button, switch between the two units. And you know what? I've even included my two Velodyne DD plus subwoofers in the setup. So, what I'm listening to is a 2.2 system where I can really hear what's happening down in the low-end. But really, shouldn't these units be used in a home cinema? Yes! And if you want my honest first reaction when I installed the exact same converters in a Trinnov Altitude 16, there's a video here or there or whatever in the picture that you also should watch when I'm at my customer Robin's home cinema / HiFi room.

And we listened to how the new converters sound in his room and it was a great experience. But in this setup I am nitpicking between the finer details. So, how did I do the test? Well, I took the settings which I like and are very used to listening to from my unit, imported them into the unit with the new converters. Then I set

up my measurement microphone and I did measurements with the old converters and then I did measurements with the new converters. One measurement each. So, the microphone in the exact same position. Why did I do that? Because it's not just the digital to analog converters that are new. The analog to digital converters are also new. And if you decide

to upgrade your Attitude or Amethyst, you will naturally make new measurements and in effect use the new converters. Of course, you can do many iterations of this. I can use the old measurements in the new machine and I can use the new measurements and move them over to the old machine. But I figured that the best way to do it is to simply do the measurements with old converters, then do the same thing with the new converters. I have measured both units and there's a slight change in level. The new ESS Sabre converters are 0.4

decibels louder. So, when I've done my listening test I've turned down the volume on the upper unit 0.4 decibels. And with my Hi-Fi setup, I've been able to, at the switch of a button, switch between the two units. And

incorporating my two Velodyne subwoofers, creating a 2.2 system, I could actually change between the two units with two clicks. One click on my remote to my preamplifier and, okay, three clicks. Mute, unmute,

with the VNC software in the computer controlling the units. So, I'm pretty much A/B comparing the units next to each other. However, when evaluating the sound quality, you can challenge yourself a little bit and challenge your perception by closing your eyes, listening, take in the sound from one converter like I do here, then stop playing the music, switch, close your eyes and listen to another converter. That way you can actually learn to pick out more differences than when you A/B switch back and forth. I know that you've seen

a lot of videos on YouTube, on Professor YouTube, saying that, "Oh, our oral memory is so short, you have to switch back and forth." Otherwise, it's out the window. You don't remember the sound. Well, you do remember the sound. It's

just a matter of learning how to memorize what you are experiencing. But anyway, that's a subject for another video. So, when I A/B compared these two units, I set them up with Roon. I love listening through Roon. I've done A/B

comparison, switching back and forth between Roon and my AES/EBU digital protocol cable from my soundcard to the Trinnov. And now I really can't pick out any difference in sound quality. So, that's how good that Roon actually sounds. That's not the case with

all streamers who don't get me started. But I really, really love Roon. I love the interface and I love the way that I'm able to pair both Altitudes. I've set them up. So, I've linked them. So, I just start playing music in Roon and it plays on both units and then I can just switch back and forth. So, now you have the background information about the test. So, what are

my conclusions? Is it really worth buying the upgrade and installing the cards? There's actually three cards that need to be changed inside the Altitudes and they're exactly the same cards for Altitude 16 and 32. How do I know that? Because I've changed in both units. So, how do I perceive the difference in sound? Well, starting with the low-end, the bass frequencies, there's actually quite a bit of a difference in sound if you really listen into it. I got two Velodyne DD Plus subwoofers with Digital Servo. So, they tell me even the slightest changes in sound quality down in the low-end. And the way that I experience the new ESS converters is that the low-end is deeper, it's firmer and it's more articulate.

Comparatively, the old Burr Brown converters sound, in comparison, slightly woolly. Both you and I know that they sound great and I mean they're used in many home cinemas and even commercial cinemas around the world. However, now I'm nitpicking and listening to the really fine details and switching back and forth. There is actually quite a bit of difference in the low-end and both I and Robin could definitely pick it up in his home cinema. The other video that I was talking about, where he has four subwoofers and a bigger room that I have and it was quite audible even though we couldn't A/B switch back and forth like I can do now. So, the low- end, it's quite something different with the new converters I really must say. So, how about the low-

mid, the frequency area above the bass frequencies from about 250 Hertz and up to I don't know 800-100 Hertz. The low- mid, that's where a lot of the base tonality in instruments and voices are located. And I have to say that with the new converters it's like the bass, more articulate, slightly more warm-sounding actually and a bit more natural moving the sound stage slightly forward in that frequency area. It could, it's definitely audible in a home cinema when you listen to the voices, the dialogue from the center channel. In this case listening to music, well same thing, vocals slightly pushed forward and I could hear it with the subwoofers in a bass management system but I also have presets where I just flip on my remote control to my preamp and switch back and forth between the converters in a half a second and it's audible there as well. So, what about the upper mid-range from like 1k up to like 6-8k where a lot of the definition in voices and instrument is located. Well, the old

converters, comparatively, we know that they sound great, they sound really good but comparatively the old converters actually sound a little bit harsh in the upper mid range around 5-6kHz. I've picked it up in my system with these old converters and but now I can really hear it switching back and forth between the old converters and the new converters. There's also, and I'm trying to describe it, a shushy sound somewhere between 1 and 2k with the old converters that's simply not there with the new converters. They're more open, they're more articulate, the sound is more dynamic. So, it's actually quite audible in my Hi-Fi system.

And I picked it up at Robin's place with his Altitude 16 with the dialogue and the way that soundscapes and stuff like that was presented. There was quite a bit of difference and now when I'm switching back and forth in my Hi-Fi system I understand why we felt that way. Also, to sum up the upper mid-range, I think that it sounds more engaging both for film and for music and just those new converters that does it. I mean, the old Burr Browns, they are probably 15 years old, those chips and these new ESS converters a couple of years maybe or even newer, I don't know the exact model. So, you can

really hear the development of converters. Listening to myself, I can hear that I'm using a lot of "more" and "open" and stuff like that, words like that in describing the sound. But that's really what it is with these new converters. And in the treble, the high-end, the air of the sound, the new converters sound more open and more natural. To sum up the upper part of the frequency area, the old converters sound more like "converters" whereas the new converters more just sound like sound. That's what I try to accomplish in this setup with these really fine Japanese Hi-Fi speakers. I just

want a wall of sound and not hear the speakers and the new converters, they really help to produce that wall of sound. Whereas the old converters, in my setup, in this crazy Hi-Fi setup, produces a bit more sounding like a converter. And having said that, I have to confess that throughout the years, the last 10 years or so, I really haven't been that impressed with ESS converters.

Personally, I've listened to them in other external DACs and they have always produced somewhat of a polished sound, especially in the high- end, the upper frequencies that I'm talking about now, sounding a little bit glossy, but glossy in the wrong way. But that has changed. I have to eat that straw hat and just conclude that the last couple of years I've been hearing digital converters with ESS converters inside that sound really good. And I can just say that Trinnov has done a great job implementing these converters. I've

spoken a bit to them, always trying to extract as much information as I can from them, being a Trinnov installer. And they've really tweaked their converters as much as possible. And I think that it shows with the sound quality. So two last

things about sound quality. We've got the stereo panorama, the way that the sound is portrayed from left, center to right. And this is interesting. And I think that the old Burr Brown converters sound like a lot of digital converters sound, even quite expensive ones where the phantom center information, the information that's supposed to be exactly the same from both speakers, making you, if you sit in between the speakers, produce a virtual sound that comes from the center, dead center. And with the Burr Browns that center image is rather narrow. It's, I don't know exactly where it is in the picture, but you get the you get the idea. It's

here. And when I switch over to the new converters, the phantom center blooms. It becomes slightly wider because it can portray the sonic information that is available just out of the phantom center. With vocals, there's subtle

stereo vocals effects that are picked up, portrayed by the new converters. Whereas the Burr Browns, dead mono, dead in the middle. Also listening, and I'm really nitpicking here, listening just outside the middle, there's a slight hole with all converters. And now I really got my Hi-Fi sound engineer cap on. But when I switch back and forth, the way I'm able to do it in this setup, it's quite audible. Also, when you get out to the extremes, to the outer side of the of the end points of the stereo panorama, the new converters retain the depth and the definition. Whereas the

old converters, yeah, I'm out here. I'm out here to the far left. Here I am. Then a slight, slight, slight hole in the stereo panorama. Then you get sound, then you're dead mono. And now I'm really nitpicking because you guys you have that have the Attitudes, you know that they sound great, but you're in for a surprise if you upgrade. And finally, the transient

response. The way that the sound from the lowest of lows to the mids, to the high end, the highest frequencies, how well do they sit together? Well, kind of with the with the air with the treble of the sound, the old converters sound like converters. It's nice. Yeah, I can hear everything. It has definition. But when I switch over to the new converters, there's suddenly a whole different depth. And the lowest

of lows sit together really well with the highest of high and plucked instrument and string instruments and drums just sound more natural to me. And I used to be a recording engineer. So I've recorded symphony orchestras and jazz bands, trios and rock and pop music. And I always try to get that cue, that natural cue that okay, this sounds like this sounds like like real. And I get more that feeling with the new converters compared to the old converters, which in my ears sound converters. So there you go. There you have an idea

of what you might experience if you upgrade your Trinnov Altitude or your Trinnov Amethyst. So how about if you're a Trinnov Amethyst user, will the new converters be anything for you? Will you hear the difference? Well, if you're like me in a Hi-Fi setup, I believe that you definitely will hear the difference. No matter if you're just using two speakers, or if you're using two speakers and one or two subwoofers. So wrapping up this long rambling about the new converters. Am I excited about them?

Yeah, I'm super excited about them. There's a gap here in my Hi-Fi rig. I used to have a ten thousand dollar discreetly built DAC, feeding my preamp and my speakers. Ah, it's gone. Wonder why...

So if you found this video interesting, please consider subscribing, hit that notification button and why not send me a Super Thanks comment. That way you will support my quest for the perfect sound financially. Also, if you need help with your Trinnov setup, with your Trinnov calibration, I do remote calibration. I do remote

projects where I take a look at your room acoustics, what can be improved. If you want to maybe add a couple of speakers or subwoofers, I'd be a good person to bounce that back and forth your ideas. Have a look at my other videos. There's some customer videos there which explains in a bit the way that I work with my customers. I'm going to boil it down to a couple of things that I found with these new converters.

Are they worth upgrading to? I mean, that's the question. Are they really worth for you to upgrade to in your home cinema or Hi-Fi rig? Yes, I believe so. For a couple of reasons. The difference in low- end performance, what happens down in the low-end in the bass frequencies, that alone is worth the upgrade. I think. All of you have your nice subwoofer setups out there. They

deserve the best sound they can produce. So the low-end performance alone is worth the upgrade. Then I think that the mid-range, the upper mid-range, the easiness, the naturalness, also worth upgrading to. And,

coming to think of it, when I'm listening now, I'm listening to four channels. Think about your setup. If you are using all those 16 channels, all of them will sound better. As for the stereo panorama

and the transient response, I think that I can hear it here with music. But when I was listening to it at my customers place, at Robin's place with this Altitude 16, and fine speakers, really fine Hi-Fi speakers in a home cinema setup. Check that video as well please. I could really pick up the naturalness and we were both baffled by the difference in sound quality.

So how do you buy the new converters? Well, you can contact me or your local dealer and get that ball rolling. It will be worth the money, I think. So, thanks for watching. Please consider

subscribing. Hit that notification button if you found this video informative. How about pushing that Super Thanks button and support my quest for the best possible sound financially so I can bring you guys more videos like this. Thanks for watching.

This is Frederick from Immersive Sound Tech. Your Sunday-in-the-Sofa Place.

2024-04-21 21:11

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