List of Multichannel Configuration / Chain (current)?

If I get enough responses I’ll throw this up in a file or database somewhere. I’ve been researching multichannel for a while now and it gets very fuzzy on what works the deeper down the rabbit hole I go. I have no way to play multichannel with my current gear so I must go buy. I just don’t know what to buy. Can you help?

What I’m trying to put together is a definitive guide of current (meaning produced and distributed by a manufacturer today so DBP-205 is out) gear and it’s capabilities. An example chain: .dsf file DSD converted to PCM on Core, network, Roon Bridge on NUC, HDMI to Marantz model XXX supports multichannel PCM no DSD no DTS.

I’m sure I’m missing something in that chain. I know there are some configurations with multiple DACs and/or multichannel DACs which then require a pre with multi-analog in. I’d be interested in those solutions as well. Also, please specify the format or encoding that is being used along the way. For example, if your system is using DoP please call that out as it would be beneficial to know which processors/receivers support that.

Thank you much in advance for this.

I use a NUC with rock as a bridge with hdmi to an Anthem MRX 720.

I have five MCH systems in our home, plus a MCH headphone setup. Some of this is current and some I simply buy in the aftermarket.

In all systems, DSF files are downconverted by Roon to 24/176.4 to apply convolution filters.

My main system uses a Small Green Computer CAPSZuma server as the Roon core and source (i7 processor running WS2019 and Audiophile Optimizer). The other systems each use sub $200 reconditioned Dell Windows based i5 PCs as the source running Roon bridge.

In my main system, which uses two subwoofers, the signal path is:

Server -> USB out -> miniDSP UDIO-8 interface -> stack of four Musical Fidelity V90 DACs (the interface clocks them as a single 8-channel DAC) -> Marantz AV-8802A analog inputs -> amps

I will be replacing the interface and V90 stack this summer with an Okto Research DAC8pro when it arrives in several weeks.

In system 2, the signal path is:

PC -> HDMI -> Marantz AV-7702 -> amps

I’ve also used there:

PC -> HDMI -> Essence Evolve II-4K DAC -> Sherwood R-972 receiver analog inputs

In system 3, the signal path is:

PC -> HDMI -> Marantz AV-7005 -> Marantz SR5000 receiver analog inputs

In system 4, the signal path is:

PC -> USB out -> miniDSP uDAC-8 DAC -> Outlaw Audio 1070 receiver analog inputs

In system 5, the signal path is:

PC -> HDMI -> Integra DTR-40.3 receiver

For MCH headphone listening, the signal path is:

PC running Redscape Audio MCH software -> USB out -> Pro-Ject PreBox S2 -> headphone amp analog inputs

Hope this helps. JCR



What software did you use to measure convolution filters?

And was it simple to get this software to “see” all the different channels, to do measurements and create filters for each separate channel?

And easy to get Roon to map to these correct channels?

I’m planning something like your system 2. With the AVR in ‘pure direct’ mode and going to hookup AVR directly to each drivers of a pair of 2-ways. So software handling both DSP crossover and DRC.


What software did you use to measure convolution filters?

Originally, Audyssey XT32 in the Marantz prepro. Then, filters from Thierry at HomeAudioFidelity. Most recently, filters generated by Audiolense XO software.

And was it simple to get this software to “see” all the different channels, to do measurements and create filters for each separate channel?

Depends. In my main system with 5.2, it has been difficult to get a Roon, the filters and the setup to play nice with MCH tracks. See this thread for an example of problems, not yet resolved. Audiolense Filters in Roon, Revisited — Build 537

I take it you don’t plan to use a sub? In the Marantz, the two sub outputs are Y connected together except for Audyssey measurement use. If you are doing tweeter / bass for each main speaker, that would be a 4 channel setup. For a Marantz prepro (which I know pretty well), I’d put left tweeter in the front left main output, right tweeter in the front right main output, bass left in left surround and bass right in right surround. Audiolense can help you identify channels separately and create filters to route to those channels. If it works with Roon. You might have to edit the filters as described on the other thread.

And easy to get Roon to map to these correct channels?

Maybe, maybe not, as described above. For example, in my main system of 7 channels — two of which are subs, we successful edited Audiolense filters to work for FLAC six channel material. But, DSF files for reasons yet unknown won’t work correctly, as noted in the other thread I reference above.

I’m planning something like your system 2. With the AVR in ‘pure direct’ mode and going to hookup AVR directly to each drivers of a pair of 2-ways. So software handling both DSP crossover and DRC.

I’m not sure Pure Direct does anything. I use it, but really hear no sonic difference. Just remember that if you go back to a monitor to set up speakers or anything else in the Marantz, you have to leave Pure Direct mode to see anything on-screen.

With what you seem to plan on, you’ll want to set the speakers as full range in Marantz so the crossover in the Marantz is defeated. In my main system, I do use the Marantz crossover for stereo in a 2.2 setup, but treating the subs as one complex sub as my stereo DAC is a 2-channel Bel Canto streamer. Be aware that Audiolense only works with USB DACs. So, if you decide you want the precision Audiolense can do, you can’t measure with HDMI.

To give you an idea of how good Audiolense works, below are the measurements for 2-channel in my second system — LH Labs Geek Pulse Xfi DAC, Marantz AV-7702 prepro, Carver AX-705 5-channel amp, Carver Sunfire True Subwoofer Mark IV And KEF LS-50 mains. Sounds great. JCR

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Perfect! I use this too! Just for DRC, not DSP crossover yet.

Correct, for this particular project, no sub.

Perfect, this is invaluable info. I’ll do exactly this.

Thanks for all the tips!


Oops, I missed this rather important part…

So I’d need to use my USB DAC to do measurements for left and right tweeter, connecting the DAC outputs to inputs of the AVR, outputting to ‘left main’ and ‘right main’?

Then do another round of measurements with left and right woofer, connecting the DAC outputs to inputs of the AVR and outputing to ‘left surround’ and ‘right surround’?

So 2 separate sets of measurements? That’s not really a big drama. I’d just have to unplug woofer speaker cables for tweeter measurements and unplug tweeter speaker cables for woofer measurements.

And then somehow tie it all together in Audiolense to output the 4 correct channels. And hopefully map those 4 channels with Roon.

Nope, you can’t do them separately. AL will run 5 frequency sweeps, one for each channel and then one with all four running at once for time domain synchronization.

You’ll need to purchase a USB MCH DAC to do the AL measurements. The miniDSP u-DAC8 is cheap ($255) and will do fine. It may or may not be better than the HDMI MCH DAC in your Marantz prepro.

Otherwise, for AL, you have to measure the speakers as simply full range and not tweeter and bass separately. But, still with a USB DAC. Or use the HAF service which as I noted uses REW to measure and sweeps play out through Roon and thus can work with HDMI. JCR

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Thanks, I think this is the path I’ll have to take. I like Audiolense, so happy to try the DSP crossover stuff with it (need to do the critical first step of measuring for ideal crossover).

I also see you use HQPlayer and do convolution! I use HQPlayer too. Does this mean you can do all your channel mapping stuff in HQPlayer instead of Roon?

Let HQPlayer do all the DSP?

I’m just learning about HQP and really considering it for 24/192 vinyl with convolution in HQP. If I can’t get that to work, I don’t think I will purchase HQP as it brings more complexity to my already complex enough world. :slight_smile: JCR

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What Software are you using to play the multichannel files? Roon plus HQPlayer?

Yes, @Magnus_Back, Roon and HQP for my main system and den system. The other three systems just use Roon without HQP. JCR