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Old 02-18-2007, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rockin' STEREO Systems

I'm on a mission. The idea is to transpose all that I have learned about home theater, and dump it on an unsuspecting yachting public. Of course, the larger the yacht, the more likely you are to find someone willing to portend their 'expertise,' as they simply adapt their 110v/220v residential systems to accomodate this increasing market demand. I know of just one fellow in Washington state, and one in Louisiana (Trinity) who actually excell at this.

I'm here to eat their lunch!

The majority of boats won't require anything much more complex than a good ("water-proofed") automotive style system. But, 'More is More' to most 'gearheads,' and the last thing I want to find myself doing is placing some stupid "wakeboard towers" on the flyrails, or mounting the equilavent of a double-boom box in the ice box, just because some geek wants more bass, just to annoy the Sea bass...

Therefore, I have to look at this from all directions. To excel at this we must incorporate, and accomodate a lot of variables into the mix. (Or 'mux' if you prefer streaming-digital media.) After all, what would be more fun than watching your private web-cam in Barbados, from your laptop at the Starbucks in Marina Del Rey?

So, I paid a tribute to see the wizard, Jim Fosgate, just a few days after he had completed his patent filing on "ProLogic II." We studied the phenomenal response he was getting in his 19'x 24' basement. Behind the curtain, was a stack of the nastiest old Dynaco tube amps you ever saw. (Enough weight to sink a sunfish.) And we looked at the most bizarre array of speaker drivers ever placed in one box. Perhaps 30 transducers per channel. All-up, Jim's primary system was so "LIVE' it was no less spectacular than having Aretha flippin' us hotcakes, with Donald 'duck' Dunn pouring out the maple syrup on the Bass guitar.

For us mere mortals, Jim's commercial products "can barely cut-it," by his admission. The underlying problem is that today's best, and lightest digital synthesis can't hold a candle to the old 1-5w single-ended tube amps. But, we do observe several advantages, first the expansion of the dynamic-range, (from 64dB to upwards of 100,) and a far more intense spacial sensation, PROVIDED we actually do utilize all the benefits available in 'surround.'

...See: "Gone With The Wind."

It's haul-out time. You are looking for a turn-key resource that has mastered all of the above. And they are probably veterans of the automotive sector. Who else has -any- experience in attenuating curvilinear spaces? First, let's assemble a hardware package. By my figures, we can outfit a decent sized fish boat with a -Stereo- package that starts to sound great at about $1,399. It matters not what conveniences you requested, because I'm going to treat the assignment as if she were mine. You do need the wired pilot house remote, the Sat, iPod and TV input capabilities. And, you need all of your disk-media at arms reach, somewhere dry.

Next, assume you really do want 'headroom,' and you are willing to go another full, $1,000. step to get there. The only New US company to address all of my needs therein, is "JL Audio." And the only off-retail full-line supplier (with a family-style outlook) I've found is here: http://www.bethel-marine.com/

Meanwhile, it appears I'll have to go see an installation from these bad boys at JL, as they are the only ones I can find who go the last-yard in the 4-ohm world. "Clarion" appears more seaworthy than JBL, and I'll also need to interview end-users to learn what's best over time. Lastly, we come to the 'aesthetic details,' which is where I actually hope to shine, (*assuming Lars will cut me in on his fancy teak grille supply.)

-Your comments, and debate gladly appreciated!
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Just to give you a hint of what is normally installed, here is one supplier of sound systems to yachts from about 80 feet:

http://www.linn.co.uk/

The larger yachts has tailor-made fully computerized systems, not necessarily with better sound, but feeding a whole yacht with sound and pictures from huge digital libraries of music and film, on top of hundreds of satellite channels is almost a science in itself...
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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OK, so we move on up to 8-Ohms.

I knew the first response would lead us to 100v/220v solutions. Here's my favorite brand, assuming you want to get anything serious accomplished: http://www.ada.net/

Linn are sold in Memphis, but we don't see many of them here. You see, I'm fairly Germanic in my tastes, for a southerner. I do love the lore of British Audio, but the market has gone to the Chinese. Anyway, I've got to come to terms with the wet end of this market, where the DIY's get very particular, where every ounce counts.

I was planning to throw away all of the dead-weight power supplies, but of course, mine is a product that doesn't yet exist.
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Linn is certainly as good as Lexicon!

Ok, you're right. Linn's basic passive approach is, IMHO, a better choice than Lexicon, assuming you want 'balanced' inputs, (meaning three-pin low-noise professional,) and, assuming the client wants to SEE the loudspeakers, then you can add the active amplification at these speakers, as you wish. ...all w/232 control.

(We've already added four vital features the sports fisherman doesn't know he needs.)

ADA's got you covered on all these points, but with some deadweight I'm afraid. So, what's all this to do over video servers? Must we can't forget that poor bloke who's paddling around the Caribbean, with his 6 new DirecTV receivers, plasma screens and nothing to watch on TV?
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Is this all ?

I'm an old computer 'guru' and I'm wondering, all the acustic system are working analog like 50 years ago.

Why not going digital ? You know mp3, iPos etc..

Let's stream your central computer system all media in your board network,
having little digital receivers an the rooms with integrated amplifiers.

For analog lines and a speaker with 4Ohm you will loose power.
With 1mm Cu wires over 20 m you have
2 * 20 * 0.0178 = 0,712 Ohm -> 18% for heating the wires
and long antennas for receiving noises

Take heavy and short wires!

Back to digital systems.. anything on the market?

Gerhard
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes, and No...

Now we're dealing with the core issue which is why I mentioned my obsession with the wiring harnesses earlier. Every current option I know is a multi-step hybrid, leaving us with nothing but excess complications. "Wireless," per se, certainly ain't the answer. Plus, I'm hindered in my race to rely on the streaming servers, because of MP3, avec, 'YouTube'-quality images.

(Let's save the world's priciest stuff 'till last, even if your boat is the Queen Mary II.)

Lars brings our focus on Linn, because you can send a low-voltage 'balanced' line signal to the speakers, and place your low-noise amps there. That's fine, but I get the feeling this application is best for the secondary speaker array; Zones 2, 3, etc. I still want a *****in' power amp for the main galley and the open bridge. With the Linn suite you can do both.

Mainly, we need one source for overall background music. How about a "Parasound- 6/12CH" amp, whereas I know I can deliver a clean 40w/rms @ 8 ohms, over a total of 1,000 ft.+ of 14ga wire?

"Russound" says, "Wait, we can run the signal via Cat5 to the Amplified local volume controler, giving you all the sources on demand." (But for your Mains, it sounds exactly like a Craig car unit, so we're back to exploring 4-Ohms.) "Geffen" makes a whole series of analog to Cat5, or fibre converters, so you could place these about your remote areas, (select your sources via keypad,) and get that Russound sound on your laptop, or remote stereo. This makes sense because their dedicated keypad system is cheap, reliable, and simple to program with multiple scenes; day, nite, all on on arrival, all off...

Plus, with a local A/V receiver, everybody gets the best local control, such as H-DVD-RGB to their TV. (That's why the guy bought those 6 HD sat receivers.) Add a pair of "Jensen," consumer to 'balanced' adapters and you won't hear radio, or -spike interference.

ADA goes all this one step further, with their "Suite 8," as you will set/re-set all of your scenes, via a 232 control at your main computer. I mention it first, because we're going to end up with a hybrid, and we don't need Crestron, or AMX to achieve full automation. Their "iHome" open-platform unit most closely parallels your current media delivery issues. http://www.ada.net/products/av/ihome.php

As with the migration to 'HD', very few early adopters who sought and paid for 'quality' actually ended up with RGB at their TV's. (Except $$$ AutoPatch, + Crestron environments.)
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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paranoid

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxResolution
... you can send a low-voltage 'balanced' line signal to the speakers, and place your low-noise amps there. ...
Is it NOT paranoid ... starting with digital media (CD, DVD), getting the analog output and convert it to digital for transfer and then ....

On my little home theatre I have a DVD/CD player with HDMI output to the amplifier and then with HDMI to my projector .. all with 1080i.

Forget youtube etc..

Cat5 is nice and nice to have IP networks.
A new device is this http://www.netgear.com/Products/Ente...s/EVA8000.aspx .. but I miss a lot.
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Closing the loop

Paranoid about 'lossy' conversion? You bet!, I'm the dude sitting on the shoreline, with his turntable, Adcom amps, and the 3-way powered Mirage OM5's.

I called the President of "Escent" when they entered the scene, because they were the first to claim: "Transfer your entire CD collection to Hard drives at variable bit-rates, with no appreciable loss." Surely his 'secret' was MPEG IV, with pre-sets for; "good, better, best," not unlike Kodak's still photo CODEC. Being a true music lover, we mostly spoke about the historic qualities of Carnegie Hall, and how to get the best 'chello' sound.

And, supposedly, there is a video version that does the same thing with HDMI, or is it crippled by the much dreaded DIVIX?

So, the benefit of using your HDMI cables is clear. One cable to your amp gives digital -thru-video to TV. A second source, (DBS,) is then switchable at the amp, and the TV is just a dumb monitor. It's secondary inputs might be Navigation, or cameras, possibly modulated as several channels (NTSC=480i). But what about the analog speaker output for throughout the ship? Is this a simple, 'zone 2' concern, or a different, global player/server?
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Exclamation put fire on it ...

okay

i put fire to the discussion, but we are only two to discus this :-)

In practice we stay between "nice to have" and "I can get this" or "I can pay this".

I see a slow movement from analog to digital. In 'old times' we had shielded wires to active speaker boxes with amplifieres inside. Digital all should be easier?

Please don't force me ... okay this was my fire.

I like to have an embedded UMPC to control my A/V equipment, to select media sources from local servers, from streaming sources (radio, tv) over internet, from digital receivers, from board cams etc... Why switch on a big screen or projector for radio stations? All with best quality and HD.
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Old 02-21-2007, 04:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ten months of research, I'm almost there!

Wow! Yesterday I struck gold. I may have even found gainful employment! These guys are kickin-butt at the high end. http://www.intelect.tv/ Check out their completions list. They claim to have been the first to achieve a digital end-to-end solution.

You mentioned an embedded (dedicated) PC controller. I don't know of such software that makes this into a continuous background with just a single main PC, where a set-up interface for a stand-alone system does apply. The A/V would be best handled by a Crestron, or C-Bus type product, with a family of single-purpose dedicated boxes which drop screens, operate drapes, dim lights, etc.

"The most exciting developments are in audio and video on demand from pioneers like Audio Request and Kaleidascape. Their hard drive systems also offer portability of content between the home and yacht." (also, iHome, Escent, etc.)

But, the the pro prob blem wi th d digit al ist a the dro pouts. As if 'baluns' and consumer fibre transceivers weren't bad enough, along comes some wireless product like the Netgear rig posted above. Yikes!

I have only experienced the low-end of the 'via Cat5' chain, and know of nothing in-between that and Pro formats like, AES/EBU audio and SDI video, where bandwidth is obviously overkill for the end user. Once I sat behind a Phillips switcher, even the best (SD) DBS images have left me cold, not to mention the pixellation on TIVO and the dreaded, 16-bit conspiracy of an ordinary CD. Luckily, we are 200% ahead of where we were in 1999.
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Good luck in the new job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxResolution
... and the dreaded, 16-bit conspiracy of an ordinary CD. Luckily, we are 200% ahead of where we were in 1999.
16 bit is ok for the masses, SACD and DVD Audio exists but with small market shares.

PS: I'll go to holiday on the Canarian Islands now for 2 weeks and will see than what has changed with A/V in this time
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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SACD vs HDVD audio

Yes, BOTH are appreciably better audio formats to use. SONY, (in trying to be too many things to too many people,) lost a lot of their US market share for playing out this propriatary 'format war.' Consequently, several TV Networks now use Panasonic, and JVC-Pro HD Cameras, DVR's, Editing gear, etc.

"HDVD" uses what, less compressed video, with MP4 audio?

A standard DVD movie uses MPEG II (like Satellite TV) with MP3 audio, all of which is comprimised in the MUX, because of the variable bit-rate, alternating between action screen-effects, and/or denser audio patterns. That's why a nice quiet movie will often look, and sound more convincing than a hastily produced thriller. Essentially, there is not enough space to do more. (...Enter: "Blue-Ray.")

On Satellite 'Premium HD' channels are treated much the same way, robbing bandwidth from some other channel, (like Network News) as the screen-action and the audio effects increase in density. First, you will see this in the lack of skin detail of moving faces. And when you record this on a TIVO, it looks like -. (Re-compression)

"DTS" is remarkably well suited to cure all of the above, but again, it won't fit on a standard DVD. It's amazingly lifelike when the Master Tracks are processed by Dolby (D/E?) and played back on a D5 Broadcast DVR.

But, it really comes down to conventional means. How can I, the consumer, achieve better?

My gripe begins on the Soundstage itself. I've taken this stance from the beginning. Nobody, and I mean nobody, not Robert Fripp, not YES, not Santanna, originally designs their music in surround. I know of just two recordings that fully benefit from the technology, and this only because the audience itself arises to fulfill the '3D' capabilities of the medium. And, in both cases, you can hear the guitarist's strings cry,- from HIS performance position- .

One label said: "Enough"! We don't care about the current limitations of the end user. The master tape must be recorded and encoded in DTS, or better. Their artist list is unique, and their discs will impress you on any player. Try the demo's, and you might even hear the difference on your iPod!

AIX Records - Audio Fidelity Beyond Reality http://www.aixrecords.com/

Now, THAT's why you bought all that Linn gear in the first place!
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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1080p ? -Not so fast!

At Circuit City many of the newest Plasma and DLP TV's are proudly displaying the 'HD" specs for 1080-progressive imaging capabilities. I thought it appropriate for me to comment about this, because I was especially --blown away-- when the first monitors to offer this feature were on display at NAB, back in 2002.

At the Panasonic release party, they demonstrated a prototype which required the equalivent of 9 additional desktop PC's that were required to process a '1080p' image up to this new screen resolution specification. Essentially, you are now witnessing the consumer version of 'Super HDTV.'

Before I go further, let me explain the process by which all video images are born. Take for instance, the well known characteristics of the very first digital cameras offering "1 Million pixels" ...compared to today's "4 Million pixels" versions. Clearly, the files themselves are larger, and the memory chips are much denser, and faster than anything previously available. However, it is primarily the 'imaging chip' -resolution that is responsible for the number of dots per inch, which is essentially our primary concern as we look at the print.

Thanks to the Blu-Ray DVD player, we can now 'master' material ideally suited to this end-user screen image. And, we are unconcerned about all of the other technical BS it may have taken to make the final disk. The images are nothing short of phenomenal, so quit reading, get in your car, and go buy the 46" SONY XBR-model today!

But, wait. What sort of premium am I paying, at $3,700., to enjoy the latest thing? Well, the best thing about this is that --ordinary, 720p -models-- are now just $1,700.! And most, but not all are delivering near post ISF -calibration results! (Except the Mitsubishi, and HPs.)

Also note that nobody is all that excited about the deep-cabinet design of standard DLP's. But, the fact is they are a full -stop BRIGHTER than any plasma in rendering the denser, HD progressive image. The answer, (back to the example above) is that there are much fewer white dots on that page. In essence, projected light is simply much more contrasty, and that is the MOST IMPORTANT point to observe about 'plasmas' in the event you are viewing it in or near sunlight, like on the bridge.

Nobody liked the first LCD's touting just 340nits of brightness. In a laptop, this would be considered a boat anchor. Today, 600nits is the norm for your basic/high-end (Furuno) navigation display. Sure, 650, 700, 740-nits would be better, but there comes a point of diminishing returns to the manufacturer, just as to the consumer who once thought it prudent to buy a (720p) "HDTV" for $5,000. and up. Most of which are junk, just 6 to 8 years later.

Now, here's the kicker. What you are really going to be watching is a whole lot of NTSC 480-line compressed satellite noise, all of which is manifest as serious, and yet 'tack-sharp' screen garbage. Compounding this problem is that you probably don't have anything but 'Video' feeding to these TV's. The first thing you need is either, HDMI, or 'component' cables from your receiver to the TV. If you are building, or refitting at this time, THIS is the most important issue for you to address now. To answer that, you must ALSO decide:

Which is more important, using the TV as a dumb 'monitor,' whereas I might have only 2 inputs in total, both of which are -the same format.- OR, will I load the inputs heavy, using any and all sources I have -DIRECTLY- to the TV?

In the first case, you only need one button to instigate a dual-image 'PIP' scenario, and a second button to 'swap' it to full-screen view. -NO confusion for the end-user. Now, you say, I don't have that problem, since everything is switched through the controller. Fine, so you have 'Global HDMI' and just the one input? Or, maybe just the one 'receiver device' in each berth, or viewing location?

To date, all of my systems have been double-redundant, and I speak with considerable experience about the 'PIP' since I have to deal with sports-freaks. Later, I'll discuss the ideal remote control solutions, but I've got to go to catch this cool episode of "Walker."
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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"Time is Money"

OK, you are tired of reading and ready to watch TV. Here's a product that directly addresses the entire gamut of native format 'up-conversion' issues, whether you realize a serious problem or not. http://www.meridian-audio.com/faroud..._dvp-1080.html

Voila! For a grand or so, you can now get the best possible picture on any existing TV.

Like I said above, 'Escient' http://www.escient.com/ (I'm partially dyslexic) entered the market to store and stream audio in as pure a form as possible. The 'spec' says merely MP3/iPod. And according to their reps it's still the best sounding item in its class. Wisely, they have uniquely positioned their product not as a 'A/V server,' but as an interface platform to organize your iPod/DVD/CD's avec cover art, much like a Tivo, by list, or icon-views. What they really do best is provide a steady stream of background music, until you're ready to watch TV. Your DVD's are played on a *SONY 400-disk player(s),* directly to a TV, or through a distributed video signal, throughout. The SONY- platform has, IMHO, always provided the best player-to-player daisy-chain network for years. No, it's not 'skip-proof.' But, I've seen the SONY's interlaced 'S' video output look even better than a local, Panasonic Reference DVD's progressive component-out.

(*An 'uncalibrated TV' input is usually the culprit with poor color and contrast! If you are really into learning more on this, See: http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/ If you already know your high-dollar TV's picture sucks, check with Susan, or Joel @ 'ISF,' in Boca, for a calibrator near you: http://www.imagingscience.com/ )

There you have it. I've only found the one source, "Inteligent" ( further above) that I can strongly recommend you might contact for full Mega-yacht support. 'AVIA,' in Lauderdale, is good too, but I feel I'm way too creative to fit in with their current team.
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Audio-Video Discussion

I'm curious about the particulars concerning the A/V equipment here because I intend to make a career of these issues from today forward, and my on-board experience is limited as anyone can see. I have no problem with the suitability of these interior appointments, and I'm sure she's just fine the way she is for some owners.

The focal-point of the grand galley is this wall with the Lionesse painting, which IMHO, is crying out for a 50" plasma TV. In addition, something very graphic, (on the order of Nautalus, 'Trinity,' or Eyris speakers) should sit atop the pedistals on either side. The effect becomes even more compelling by replacing the pair of sconce lighting, with dimmable down-spots. This 'up-date' would not be detracting from the symmetrical formality as shown.

Additionally, I can't possibly imagine the current audio performance being up to par with the boat itself. Neither the recesses, nor the ceiling appear to be optimized for this general need. So, who, if anyone, is using the 'invisible speakers' in ceiling situations such as this? I simply think that this space needs to sound every bit as good as possible. Consider this the very first moment that I have fully come to terms with all of the elements that these engineering challenges represent to me.
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