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Author Topic: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)  (Read 4419 times)

Antman1313

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Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« on: December 03, 2004, 03:49:41 pm »

Greetings all:

Ok, here's the situation. I've never created a 5.1 mix, but I've got a project that calls for it; basically, sound design for theatre. I've done tons of sound design, but stereo only. I've also had a good deal of experience with live audio, but again, nothing in the realm of setting up a large-scale 5.1 system.

Anyway, I'm looking to rent a good 5.1 decoder that will take optical in, decode an AC-3 signal (from a DVD player, theoretically), and send it out via distinct line outs (L, R, C, LR, RR, Sub). Anyone know where I can find something like this? Make? Model number? I've found a nice unit from the folks at DTS, but I can't create a DTS stream. This is a budget production (live theatre, eh?), and I'm using Bias Deck, A.Pack, and DVD SP3.

I'll mention the following just for the sake of it, although I really don't want ot go this route. Barring a decoder, I could run it through a home decoder/receiver and use DIs to go from speaker level to line level. Yeah, I know, "yuck", but does anyone have any other ideas along this line?

Thanks in advance!

--Ant.
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Magnus Söderman

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2004, 04:46:49 pm »

some of the Yamaha home hifi amps have line out level jacks for all the channels
you might find one on ebay ?  The Yamaha  RX-V650 ( as its called in Europe)
has line outs for all channels .

or, if you're playing from a computer, why not use the Sonica Theater or the
Revolution 5.1 from M-Audio. They have 3,5mm outputs but that shouldnt be
a problem . .


// magnus
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Antman1313

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2004, 05:00:27 pm »

Thanks for the tip. The retail price of the Yamaha may be lower than the rental price of any pro unit worth its salt. However, it would still be cool to have a balanced signal on the other end of the decoder. Of course, I could put a bunch of DIs on the outputs...

It's good to have options though. Thanks again!

--Ant.
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Magnus Söderman

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2004, 05:19:42 pm »

you're welcome . .

samson has a 2 channel DI for computers that is named " S-Convert"  2 x RCA in
and 2 x XLR outs with gnd-lifts and +4 / -10 switches.

it's cheap in sweden and shouldnt be expensive in the States either. .

// magnus
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Tom Reid

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2004, 05:29:42 pm »

Panasonic made a little box ...SHAC500D.
3 digital ins, 6 outs.
Dolby surround, Stereo, DTS decoder.
RCA outs.

Well, it's line level, consumer grade.
Might do the trick.
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tom

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Charles Johnson

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2004, 06:17:56 pm »

Antman1313 wrote on Fri, 03 December 2004 15:49


I'll mention the following just for the sake of it, although I really don't want ot go this route. Barring a decoder, I could run it through a home decoder/receiver and use DIs to go from speaker level to line level. Yeah, I know, "yuck", but does anyone have any other ideas along this line?



FWIW, both of the DVD players I have here at my house have outputs for all 6 channels on the back of the unit, so a standalone decoder may not be necessary Smile

FWIW,

Charles Johnson
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Robert Schoneman

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2004, 06:33:19 pm »

Two years ago we had to setup a DVD player to run through a large scale projector and have the outputs go to a series of self-powered  Meyers. The product you want is the Dolby Professional DP564 decoder. It accepts 75OHM BNC AES audio inputs as well as Toslink optical for AC-3 digital. It outputs on 8 analog XLRs. It will decode Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Pro Logic. It will certainly cut it for what you want to do but you may not like the price. MSRP is, as I remember, about $5000 on this puppy. I was not in charge of acquiring it so I couldn't tell you where to nail one down but armed with the model number, google and some information on www.dolby.com it shouldn't be too tough.
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Cheers,
Robert Schoneman

Karl P(eterson)

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2004, 08:50:42 pm »

Dolby makes a dolby-only decoder, as does DTS (I believe). The one commercial company I would recommend would be Lexicon. They used to make a less hi-fi gear looking piece that I saw a few times, but the current model is the MC-8B All concievable formats (pretty much). Balanced outputs, good sounding unit.

I have also seen a Meridian 800 series unit loaded with balanced audio cards once, I shudder to think how much that one cost.

If this is a temporary thing, probably best to rent (some production rental houses will have this) or get a cheapish reciever and a bunch of 85's

Karl
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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: Pro 5.1 decoder (for live use, not home theatre)
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2004, 01:25:31 pm »

I can not see the problem you have with a solution incorporating unbalanced outputs and DI boxes (or better one rackmountable multichannel DI).

If you need to SWITCH between multiple sources (eg computer outputs, DVD,...) AFAIK you have two choices: either take a consumer-grade surround receiver with all the necessary inputs (both digital and analog) and analog 6 channel outputs or (secondly) get all the signals decoded separately and use a mixing console with sufficient routing capabilities to feed your speakers.

If you need to MIX multiple sources, you will need a console and separate decoders for every source, obviously. Getting all devices with decoders built-in will likely keep the price lower than getting an extra decoder for every source.

Another thing you could consider is a system fully based on one computer with a professional multichannel soundcard. You could play your DVDs from it as well as music and pre-programmed sound-FX (if needed; you mentioned theatre as its application)

HTH, Thomas
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Thomas Albenberger
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