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#283021 - 2019-02-22 15:36 Re: MiniDSP U-DIO8 Multichannel USB to 4x SPDIF Interface [Re: Alikris]
Registered: 2018-04-11
Posts: 46
Alikris Offline
Mostly harmless
Alikris Offline
Mostly harmless

Registered: 2018-04-11
Posts: 46
Loc: Northumberland, UK
Ok so, my MiniDSP U-DIO8 has arrived.

I used some adaptors as the UDIO snake has BNC connectors



I then plugged the UDIO-8 into the MD1 (digital SPDIF multichannel) input of the G61R. Using the Meridian Config Program I created a generic multichannel digital source and in the software connected it to the MD1 input. I set the default DSP to Discrete.

I also created a virtual two channel (stereo) source using the D1 input (front left/right of the MD1 input). This allows the UDIO-8 to be used as a stereo source (using just channels 1 and 2). It also allows Meridian 2 channel music DSP (eg Trifield) to be used. the Multichannel MD1 input will accept two channel audio but because it's a multi input, only multichannel surround sound DSP presets are available (eg, Cinema). Hope that makes sense?

Initial findings:

It's DTS/AC3 transparent, in other words it can pass a DTS or AC3 encoded signal to a Meridian Processor (in my case G61R) which will then automatically sense and decode the DTS or AC3 stream using the Meridian DSP engine. The DTS/AC3 signal is accessed using the Virtual 2 channel input. DTS/AC3 sensing and decoding is not available directly from the MD1 input.

The Meridian G61R correctly routes 4 channel audio (quadraphonic)!!!! shocked What I mean by this is that in 5.1 channel audio, channels 3 and 4 are the center and LFE channels. In 4 channel audio, channels 3 and 4 are Rear Left and Rear Right channels.

The Meridian G61R correctly senses when there are only 4 channels being sent into the MD1 input and correctly routes channels 3 and 4 to RL and RR. I've confirmed this using a 4.0 channel identification test track. I must say, I was very pleasantly shocked it does this, this capability is not mentioned anywhere in the G61R instruction manual. I'm really looking forward to listening to the Chicago Quadio Boxset (Which I have as 4 channel FLAC files) as well as my extensive collection of other 4 channel material smile

Am I maybe the first person to discover that the Meridian Multi-digial inputs correctly route discrete 4 channel audio?

B-Format Decoding Yep, using a B-Format test track I can confirm the Meridian G61R can decode 1st Order B-Format files played using the B-Format music player. More experimentation needed for other B-Format types. The "Ambisonic" setting is not automatically chosen, but it's easy to manually select it. The 'row' option is not available (unlike with 2 channel UHJ material)


As an aside, I should note that setting up the U-DIO8 requires some knowledge of setting up soundcards and routing audio in Windows, as well as creating MD inputs and virtual inputs in the Medidian Config software. I use Foobar2000 as my main audio player. Once the output settings are set correctly, it works perfectly. I can't speak for other audio players though. I suspect it's just as straightforward due to windows seeing the U-DIO8 as a multichannel audio device (once the drivers are installed of course).

One thing I really find confusing is that on the Meridian Config Software, on the 'products' page which gives a visual diagram of all the sources and connection, virtual sources are not shown. Which is really not at all helpful.

Ali.


Meridian G61R, Behringer A500 amps & DEQ2496 DSP, MiniDSP U-DIO8 audio interface, B&W DM2 Mk2 Speakers (3 pairs), Sony CD, Sony DAT(x3), Alesis Hard Disk Recorder, Sony APR5003 Reel to Reel Recorder. Akai AT93 Tuner & GX-95 MK2 Cassette Deck, Technics SL-1200 Turntable, Valve Phono stage, Denon DL-110 cartridge.

Ambisonic user since the 1980's
Edited by Alikris; 2019-02-23 09:40.
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#283030 - 2019-02-23 02:13 Re: MiniDSP U-DIO8 Multichannel USB to 4x SPDIF Interface [Re: Alikris]
Registered: 2005-09-14
Posts: 843
Kal Rubinson Offline
Pan-dimensional being
Kal Rubinson Offline
Pan-dimensional being

Registered: 2005-09-14
Posts: 843
Loc: NYC/CT, USA
Originally Posted By Alikris
I use Foobar2000 as my main audio player. Once the output settings are set correctly, it works perfectly. I can't speak for other audio players though. I suspect it's just as straightforward due to windows seeing the U-DIO8 as a multichannel audio device (once the drivers are installed of course).
I've used it with JRiver and with Roon.


Kal Rubinson
"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
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#283050 - 2019-02-23 11:14 Re: MiniDSP U-DIO8 Multichannel USB to 4x SPDIF Interface [Re: Kal Rubinson]
Registered: 2018-04-11
Posts: 46
Alikris Offline
Mostly harmless
Alikris Offline
Mostly harmless

Registered: 2018-04-11
Posts: 46
Loc: Northumberland, UK
Thanks Kal.

I have a further finding. Playing 2 channel DTS encoded material into the Multi Digital input results in the G61R correctly identifying it as a DTS stream and automatically selecting the DTS decoding DSP. Using a DTS channel identification test reveals that the 2 channel DTS is decoded correctly. This is not mentioned in the user manual, so I consider it a 'hidden feature'. When playing DTS encoded material, as well as the automatically selected DTS decode DSP, both 'Cinema' and 'THX' and 'Discrete' settings are available. 'Cinema' and 'Discrete' (with default settings) appear to treat the DTS stream identically to the DTS setting and have no additional effect, THX appears to add some 'air' or 'width' to the soundstage, but in all these settings, the DTS stream is still correctly decoded.

Oh, just to clarify one point in my previous post regarding how the G61R routes channels 3 and 4 to the rear speakers with 4 channel audio. The G61R Manual says the 2+2+2 setting:
Quote:
Allows you to specify how DVD Audio channels 3+4 should be interpreted: Off ignores them, 5.1 and 7.1 use them for centre and LFE, Side uses them for the side speakers, 7.1 adds side speakers to 5.1.

As I say, this is incorrect. With four channel material (from a non Meridian source), 3&4 are sent to RR & RL even when the 2+2+2 setting is set to 'off'. (I don't have side speakers so am unable to test what happens with a 7.1 layout).

I don't have an HD621 or UHD722 so I am unable to test if these features are available using them. Also, I only have a G61R but it wouldn't surprise me if other G or 800 series surround processors also support these 'hidden' features.

Ali.



Meridian G61R, Behringer A500 amps & DEQ2496 DSP, MiniDSP U-DIO8 audio interface, B&W DM2 Mk2 Speakers (3 pairs), Sony CD, Sony DAT(x3), Alesis Hard Disk Recorder, Sony APR5003 Reel to Reel Recorder. Akai AT93 Tuner & GX-95 MK2 Cassette Deck, Technics SL-1200 Turntable, Valve Phono stage, Denon DL-110 cartridge.

Ambisonic user since the 1980's
Edited by Alikris; 2019-02-23 11:23.
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#283068 - 2019-02-23 15:04 Re: MiniDSP U-DIO8 Multichannel USB to 4x SPDIF Interface [Re: Alikris]
Registered: 2001-05-23
Posts: 2,845
Gianni Offline
Great Green Arkleseizure
Gianni Offline
Great Green Arkleseizure

Registered: 2001-05-23
Posts: 2,845
Loc: North London, United Kingdom
Thanks for posting this stuff Ali - please keep it coming.

How difficult was it getting the BNC to RCA converters in place? There is not a lot of room between the MD1 connectors.


"Wonderful perfect quadraphonic sound with distortion levels so low as to make a brave man weep" - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council
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#283074 - 2019-02-23 15:44 Re: MiniDSP U-DIO8 Multichannel USB to 4x SPDIF Interface [Re: Gianni]
Registered: 2018-04-11
Posts: 46
Alikris Offline
Mostly harmless
Alikris Offline
Mostly harmless

Registered: 2018-04-11
Posts: 46
Loc: Northumberland, UK
Glad you've found my findings useful!

Not bad. No there's very little room but just enough. I admit, it is a tight fit and the connectors are just touching each other but it's not deforming the phono sockets at all.



The cable coming out of the U-DIO8 is quite heavy, especially with 8 BNC sockets hanging off the end, so the cable may do with being tied up to something to take the weight off the phono sockets.

Ali.


Meridian G61R, Behringer A500 amps & DEQ2496 DSP, MiniDSP U-DIO8 audio interface, B&W DM2 Mk2 Speakers (3 pairs), Sony CD, Sony DAT(x3), Alesis Hard Disk Recorder, Sony APR5003 Reel to Reel Recorder. Akai AT93 Tuner & GX-95 MK2 Cassette Deck, Technics SL-1200 Turntable, Valve Phono stage, Denon DL-110 cartridge.

Ambisonic user since the 1980's
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