4:04 Pm (Saturday)
4:04 Pm (Saturday)
4:10 Pm (Saturday)
I spent several hours with the unit last night, going through the set up menu, listening to different modes, doing comparisons with the still operational SDP-5. They definitely sound different.
This may have more to do with the ability to send 7.1 analog signals to the AV2, which is not possible with the SDP-5. This means the Oppo BDP-83SE is doing the DAC audio processing for the AV2, while the SDP-5 still requires some of the DAC processing to be done internally.
I'm going to check out a couple of BD movies to see what effect if any I can experience from the soundtrack, then do some SACD, DVD-A, DTS, and stereo (analog bypass) listening. After that, it's time for digital inputs (coax and optical) to see what the AV2 does with digital signals in its many modes, including L7 and PLIIx.
PLIIx is another major step up in the AV2, as the SDP-5 has PLII. IME, the "x" makes a world of difference.
Just for fun, I'll run some HDMI audio in to see if I can perceive any benefit.
As it stands, I'm happy with the AV2 and hope to be happier as I get to know it. I already like it more than the SDP-5, so it's at least a better interim solution until JBL/Lexicon produce a true HDMI 1.3 processor that handles TrueHD, etc.
How much did it cost because this isn’t showing-up on Google product search.
Nice looker. So what happened to the other one did it blow-up?:dont-know
but that's kind of a gauche question, innit?
Apparently, if you just do a search for JBL AV2 processor - this comes up as nearly the top link -
The link contains a press release tagged "September 4, 2008 � For Immediate Release"
about 80% of the way down that page it says -
JBL AV2 Preamplifier/Digital Surround Processor: A Flexible Home-Theater Control Center
The new JBL Performance Series AV2 is a 7.1-channel preamplifier/digital surround processor that is designed to deliver exceptional audio and video quality, along with ease of use and flexible configuration options.
The AV2 features an extensive complement of digital and analog audio and video connections, including HDMI� inputs and outputs, to accommodate complex home-entertainment systems with multiple high-definition program sources. The preamp/processor incorporates DCDi� by Faroudja digital video processing to provide upscaled and enhanced 720p or 1080i output from all video sources with extraordinary image quality.
The AV2 can connect directly to a computer via its USB port, enabling users to enjoy playback of streaming audio files and to access the music files on their computer via the AV2 and its remote control. In addition, the AV2 includes an interface for the iPod that enables enhanced playback and control capabilities when a compatible iPod (not included) is connected using an available optional docking station for iPod.
The AV2 incorporates a host of additional features, including independent multizone operation; RS-232 ports, multiple DC trigger outputs and an IR input for integrated system control; automatic speaker setup and calibration; and proprietary Logic 7® surround-enhancement technology for enhanced sonic realism from matrix-encoded and stereo audio sources.
The JBL Performance Series AV2 preamplifier/digital surround processor is currently available at a suggested retail price of $2,000.
2ch: Oppo981, DDE3DAC, JoLida 502CRC, VonSchweikert VR4 & MG2Cs
7ch: Oppo BDP103D, B&K amps, 2pr UREI 809A, TF600 & JBL 4641
It's the JBL-branded sibling of the $2,999 Lexicon MV-5.
The SDP-5 still works fine, but it's a bit long in the tooth:
- No HDMI
- No 7.1 analog input
- No 7.1 analog bypass
- No Dolby PLIIx
- No analog bass management
- No USB input for digital media
- No iPod direct input
Obviously, the AV2 has all of this and more.
Once JBL/Lexicon comes out with a full HDMI implementation in a processor, I'll start saving for it. When that time comes, I'll move this unit downstream to the Performance Series gear, where I'll take advantage of an additional feature that it has that the SDP-5 does not: autocalibration by direct mic input.
There is a supply of these available from an authorized dealer at less than MSRP. It's up to the interested party to follow up. I will PM the info to anyone who needs it.
No tire-kickers please!
I will post a longer series of impression later tonight.
Odd its not showing up on Google UK product search? When was this model released?
All its new features are (firmware) updateable as and when.
I think that’s just over £ one grand UK.
So how you any bluray titles that are encoded Dolby7.1?
The AV2 set up menu is similar to the SDP-5, with new options and settings as appropriate. It definitely helps to use the OSD on an external monitor. This speeds things along nicely.
I set up one input for DVD-A, SACD, and DTS audio playback. I set another for DVD/BR playback, a third for OTA HDTV, and a fourth for LD. Finally I set another for CD two-channel playback.
The DVD-A/SACD/DTS input defaults to 7.1 analog input and 5.1 analog bypass output. If I want, I can change the output to allow L7 or PLIIx to generate a 7.1 analog bypass output.
The DVD/BR input defaults to digital optical in and has the full bank of DTS, Dolby, and L7 options available. If I want, I can change to HDMI audio input or to 7.1 analog input. Depending on the source material and my whims, I can output 2.0, 2.1, 5.0, 5.1, and 7.1.
The OTA HDTV input defaults to digital coaxial in and PLIIx 5.1/7.1 out.
The LD input defaults to digital optical in and PLIIx 5.1 out. I can change the input to analog and output DD.
For the CD input, it defaults to 2 channel analog in with 2 channel analog bypass out. I can change that to digital optical in and output L7, Dolby, or DTS signals via 5.1 or 7.1 out.
With the new Av2 remote, this is a pretty easy process, much more facile that with the SDP-5 remote.
One thing the AV2 does not do is offer THX surround, which the SDP-5 does. Since I never use it, it's no loss to me.
Due to the distance from the OTA HDTV receiver to the rest of the equipment, digital coax is the best solution for getting digital audio into the sound system. An optical cable would be too long, and running a redundant RCA stereo analog cable makes little sense if I can get a clean digital signal via coax.
Broadcast audio continues to improve, and the AV2 with its PLIIx makes easy and excellent work of whatever audio is thrown at it. The older PLII on the SDP-5 works well, but is limited compared to PLIIx. It's really no contest.
Using L7 on the SDP-5 I can get a full surround from broadcast audio, but IME, the PLIIx handles the audio better, especially those encoded in Dolby 5.1.
For over the air (OTA) broadcast audio, the AV2 is clearly an improvement over the SDP-5. Even my GF, who doesn't know there's anything new in the rack, commented on how good the audio was on the Golden Globes and how realistic the sounds were on 60 Minutes tonight. She thought we were just getting better reception.
There is some apparent improvement in the audio due to the enhancement offered by PLIIx. However, in regular stereo, there's no real difference.
Interestingly, the Faroudja video section of the AV2 offers some useful composite video enhancement that slightly improves the LD picture quality. It's not HD by a long shot, but it's more watchable than on the SDP-5.
This is an area I am really interested in, as I used the special stereo analog outs from the Oppo BDP-83SE to the Input 1 stereo analog ins, then through 2-channel analog bypass and back out. It's a very impressive combination.
The soundstage is more organized, it's broader, and it's very clean. Upon initial listening, I was mesmerized by the sound. I clearly felt the urge to listen to stereo music, so I popped in a number of favorites and had a blissful experience. Eventually, I felt it was lacking some solidity in the bottom. There was sufficient bass, but not the kind of authoritative bass that I've come to expect out of that system.
I'll comment on this again in the next post.
Again, with the Oppo doing the work, I could finally hook up a full 7.1 analog output into a 7.1 analog input and run it through bypass. The sound was delicious, with an openness and clarity beyond expectations. I listened to some complete multi-channel discs of each type.
As with CDs in two-channel bypass, eventually, the bottom seemed a little thin. In fact, I began to wonder if the AV2 was deficient in the bass department. This would be a deal-breaker.
As an experiment, I switched from bypass to L7 Music, and the system thundered to life. Well then, what's this about?
Obviously, I'll need to spend some more time digging through the settings. It could just be that the SDEC4000 is not calibrated to work with analog bypass settings. Or it could be that I need to tweak some settings in the Oppo. Or that the Synthesis® system isn't the best for listening to multichannel music in native mode. Or that full range speakers would be better. Or... :dont-know
Wow! This is where the AV2 and the Synthesis® system really shine.
I watched portions of several movies, including Top Gun, Master and Commander, Star Trek, House of Flying Daggers, The Matrix, 2001, Gladiator, 300...
...and the sound was the best I've heard out of my system. The same LF authority was there, and the rock solid front soundstage was as impressive as ever. It was the surrounds where the AV2 really picked up its game over the SDP-5.
This was really evident on the very first movie I watched: Top Gun. It's always been a loud, sonically demanding movie, but in DVD and even BR I thought it a little flat and one dimensional. Poor mixing, I guessed. Well, not now.
Without being obnoxious or intrusive, the surrounds were alive with information I'd either missed or just had not been able to hear before. There was a whole added dimensionality to it.
This wasn't TrueHD; it was DD 5.1 with L7 Film. And it was stupendous.
Someday, when the HDMI consortium figures out what it wants to be when it grows up and it comes up with something better than the asinine DRM schemes that nearly break the value of the technology, then JBL/Lexicon/Harman will likely produce a full-blown HDMI capable processor.
When that happens, I'll be back in the market. Until then, it looks like the AV2 is here to stay.
Considering the SDP-5 can still be purchased new for over $5k (MSRP is around $8k), at $2000 the AV2 is a real bargain. At under $2k from an authorized dealer, it's more like a steal.
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