Mr C

Trinnov Amethyst Review

19 posts in this topic

A long time ago, I had been exploring options to improve the 2-channel sound within my home theatre room.  About 2 years ago, I treated the 4 corners of my HT room with the Vicoustic Super-Bass Extreme absorbers.  This reduced the boominess of the room and secured a significant tightening of the bass notes of my music.  Then earlier this year I opted to replace my single Bowers & Wilkins AWS650 sub-woofer (still for sale by the way), with 2 SVS SB2000 subwoofers.  This iteration evened out the bass response of the room, and tightened the sound further than compared to the single subwoofer.  Previously you could easily notice that different seats in the room experienced obviously different bass response.

Then I began to read about how to improve the room response by electronic means.  Prior to trying out the Amethyst in my system I experimented with the Behringer FBQ 3102 Graphic Equaliser.  Unfortunately, after a week of listening to a range of music, I came to the conclusion that I did not like the sound that the Behringer GE produced or should I say introduced.  In short, I lost some precision in the sound, and whilst I was able to reduce the 50-60 Hz peak due to my room … I knew that it was a backward step in terms of what I had before.  So even though I had spent about $300 trying out the Behringer GE to no avail, I thought it was something worth trying.

Along the way, I received much advice from members of the DTV Forum and after a great deal of research, thought and experimentation, I decided to purchase a Trinnov Amethyst to integrate into my hifi/theatre system.  This was after a great deal of help and assistance from David Moseley from WaveTrain Cinemas.  He offered a very good reduction off the new price on a demo Trinnov Amethyst.  He offered a 7 day trial of a demo unit and so I accepted this. 

The Amethyst acts as both a pre-amplifier and a digital sound processor for 2 input channels, and I have now it configured so that it can act in home theatre bypass mode, to permit the use of my Paradigm S6 speakers to be used for both 2 channel and HT duties.  The Amethyst replaces my NuForce P9 preamp and Cyrus Streamline2 music streamer (hmmm shall I sell these?).  The Amethyst is also a music renderer and it is hard-wired to my 6 Tb NAS storage device so I can play all of my digital music, previously played by the Cyrus Streamline2.  The Amethyst does its processing in the digital domain, converts to analogue using high quality DA converters, and outputs the signal to the left and right inputs of my Elektra Theatron, and to output to my two SVS SB2000 subwoofers.

The Amethyst is effectively a computer that accepts signals and does all of its signal processing in real time, optimising the sound as it encounters what is being input.  Graphic equalisers and other similar sound processors simply apply the same ‘mask’ or ‘treatment’ to different music.  Hence the optimisation is unique for different music.

I shall try and keep the technical details to a minimum here. 

The special Trinnov microphone (which was part of the deal that David offered) was quite easy to setup, but it needs a proper microphone stand.  I borrowed a dedicated music stand from Oliver Loweth, a colleague of mine at Hale School who is a music technician-specialist.  The Amethyst comes with a very well illustrated manual, and with this, and lots of questions answered by David (via emails and text help), I was able to get the room measurement and setup done with a minimum of trouble.  To view the results of the room optimisation you need VNC software (so you can see all manner of graphs and settings and control the Amethyst).  I opted to use the Tight VNC software running on my PC and VNC Mocha on my iPad.  I am also using JRiver22 Music Centre to retrieve the music files from my NAS drive, with JRemote on my iPad and on my Android Samsung S5 phone.

After the initial calibration, measurement and optimisation calculations, the Amethyst gives you 5 sound modes, each of which you can customise to the n-th degree.  Actually you can have MORE than 5 sound modes/settings (I think up to 19), but I found that being able to customise 5 is more than what I needed.  I like the NATURAL mode the best, along with the tweaks that I have added.

Okay … here comes the key observations and comments about the sound.  Initially I was blown away by the clarity and coherence of the sound, noticeable mainly in the mid-range.  Certainly the bass response is very even and well bodied, but not over done, which is to my taste. 
[Perhaps I also getting the benefit of the 2 subwoofers in my room].  You also realise that many tracks do not have a great deal of bass on them compared to others.

It is a cliché but I am now hearing sounds I never thought were there.  Of course some recordings are now brutally exposed as being quite poorly done, but this is what you get when you reveal all the details of all the 1’s and 0’s in your music file (or lack of them).  The one negative is that I thought the sound lacked somewhat in ‘warmth’.  Bass was deepened but only when it was there.  However, it sounded a tad too computerish to me, but that was before I got to work on the TARGET frequency graph.  Well well well … you can spend hours and hours here on nudging levels at any frequency you care to target.  David suggested that it is best not to do anything too severe, and he was right.  Boosting is best done in most cases by at most 1 dB and often more effect was found by reducing particular levels.  I settled on reducing some of the low bass frequency levels and boosting some of the high-bass levels by 0.5 dB.  An analogy provided by David is one that struck a chord with me (excuse the musical pun).  The analogy was that how we perceive colour is dependent on what colours surrounds a particular image.  The same can be said with sound.  To reduce my perceived lack of warmth in the sound, I boosted, not the sounds in the range I wanted to change, but in the range NEXT to the range I wanted to change (this being the high-bass levels). 

After a month now, I have almost given up on tinkering with the Target frequency graph, and have told myself that I am very very happy with the sound I have.  It can be quite addictive to continually tinker with many of the settings, but I have learnt not to change too many aspects at a time and then use my ear to tell me if what I have changed is worthwhile.  The level of detail now achieved is fantastic and I can honestly say that I did not think this could be achieved.  It is clear that the Trinnov Amethyst is a genuine triumph of sonic engineering.  The phase correction occurring is superb and contributes to the coherence achieved.  Overall it is hard to fault and I am experiencing a renewal in the enjoyment of my 2-channel music. 

Then I realised that I had to redo the Audyssey calibration with my Onkyo PR-SC 5509 prepro, now that the Left and Right channels being output are now travelling through the Amethyst.  This was important since the real time processing in the Amethyst adds some small delay (about 40 microseconds I think).  After the Audyssey re-calibration, all channels are now in synch, particularly left and right with the centre channel (important for dialogue).  Then I played some bluray discs that have a good deal of music … and whoa what an improvement in music!!

So after a month now, I am in a very contented state.  Regarding the state of my 2-channel music in my HT room, I can declare:  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  The Trinnov Amethyst has been a wonderful acquisition and I can attest to everything that is written about it.  Yes, it is much more expensive than other more limited sound processors, but for me it just delivers.  Those considering the Trinnov Altitude 16 should believe what is written about it.  At the very least they should do is to audition it, learn more about it. 

Now for my eventual upgrade to 4K …. hmm .. perhaps not just yet, reading some of the angst of those on this forum!!  For the time being I will just kick back and enjoy my listening experience.  Cheers!

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I was wondering what you ended up with.  Good to read about your experience with the Trinnov.

My 2 channel took a different path.  As you may recall, I used Multi-sub optimisation to integrate my 2 dissimilar subs. The other major change is getting a Sotm SMS-200 network player which resulted in a big jump in audio quality over my laptop.  I will continue to investigate room correction software, including Trinnov, but for now am doing what you said:

Quote

For the time being I will just kick back and enjoy my listening experience

:D

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Yeah ... I took some time to evaluate my options.  But now is a time to enjoy!!

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On ‎12‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 7:12 PM, Mr C said:

So after a month now, I am in a very contented state.  Regarding the state of my 2-channel music in my HT room, I can declare:  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  The Trinnov Amethyst has been a wonderful acquisition and I can attest to everything that is written about it.  Yes, it is much more expensive than other more limited sound processors, but for me it just delivers.  Those considering the Trinnov Altitude 16 should believe what is written about it.  At the very least they should do is to audition it, learn more about it. 

 

Now for my eventual upgrade to 4K …. hmm .. perhaps not just yet, reading some of the angst of those on this forum!!  For the time being I will just kick back and enjoy my listening experience.  Cheers!

 

Enjoyable read Mr C ; trinnovs professional roots certainly matter .   don't get too comfortable but you haven't tried roon yet :)

http://hometheaterreview.com/trinnov-adds-roon-support-to-prepros/

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6 hours ago, Mr C said:

Ahhh ok ... so you are suggesting that I adopt Roon rather than JRiver Music Centre?

No expert with music server software Mr C but with the Meridian name behind it it should be top shelf ; and its got a free trial . 

Quote

All existing Amethyst and Altitude32 preamplifier/processors can become Roon-Ready with a simple--and free--software update that includes a 60-day complimentary Roon license.

Its also soon to be compatible with another hot codec at the moment - MQA ; and it can handle very high bit depth and sampling rate audio . If its good enough for trinnov ? Even tells you when a signal is upsampled by a component ;sweet ..For those who also like buckets of info about their music .

http://www.techhive.com/article/2923915/home-audio/roon-is-must-have-software-for-hardcore-music-fans.html

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If you've found improvement with Trinnov it's probably a cheaper alternative to the speaker upgrade. I was never a fan of Paradigm speakers...I'm guessing the improvements brought by Trinnov overcome weaknesses in the speaker crossover design, and other elements.

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@Brodricj .......   A few points about your last post:

Overall the tone is not very positive....like some of your other posts when I was evaluating my options.

1.     Your first word  IF  suggests that a possibility that there was no improvement.

2.     Not a good idea to denigrate Paradigm speakers.

3.     Your last suggestion shows that you know little of what the Trinnov does.

 

Edited by Mr C

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25 minutes ago, Mr C said:

...Not a good idea to denigrate Paradigm speakers...

I've heard them (S8), demoed in a dealer showroom, and nothing about that experience impressed me at all. Which is the whole basis for my assessment of the product. A stereo music system shouldn't need Trinnov or other magic EQ box, I've never seen a high-end stereo installation using such a device. The fact of your observations as to the improvement Trinnov brings just leads me to conclude weaknesses in the speaker design, which is consistent with my audition experience.

I do like the Trinnov product, in HT applications. Trinnov Altitude was on my upgrade radar when David offered that generous group buy offer when the product was first released into the Australian market. David's price was cheaper than any US dealer price, got to give him big credit for that.

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32 minutes ago, brodricj said:

A stereo music system shouldn't need Trinnov or other magic EQ box, I've never seen a high-end stereo installation using such a device. The fact of your observations as to the improvement Trinnov brings just leads me to conclude weaknesses in the speaker design, which is consistent with my audition experience.

The issue is not whether a system SHOULD need Trinnov or some other 'magic' box as you put it .... if you had understood the evaluation of my situation, you would realize that I had determined that the ROOM is a significant determinant in what sound you actually hear.  The issue and my finding is that the Trinnov offers a tremendous improvement.  It was my goal to obtain the best from my equipment.  As I have stated, it has been a mission accomplished.

Your conclusion that it was the weaknesses in speaker design, is palpable nonsense.

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To treat the room you use application of passive methods. That is a universal understanding. Trinnov in your application is probably doing a bit of both, taming the room, and as a work-around to weaknesses in the speaker.

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12 minutes ago, brodricj said:

To treat the room you use application of passive methods. That is a universal understanding. Trinnov in your application is probably doing a bit of both, taming the room, and as a work-around to weaknesses in the speaker.

Again .... you did not understand my situation.  I have already used bass absorbers in the 4 corners of my room, and I obtained advice to not do more than that.  I had a consultant visit my residence and listen to what I had done.  This consultant COULD have sold me more passive treatment/products, but told me in good faith that he would not do any more.  So you see I HAVE explored many factors in making my decisions along the way.  The Trinnov is a unique piece of equipment and I would suggest that it would improve most people's listening experience.

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@Mr C

I'm not trying to criticise your choice of product but I don't think it's unique. E.g Australian made DEQX. 

Edited by Satanica

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8 hours ago, Satanica said:

@Mr C

I'm not trying to criticise your choice of product but I don't think it's unique. E.g Australian made DEQX. 

No offence taken.

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Mr C given your wrapped in the effectiveness of this Trinnov device, would you try using it without the Bass traps fitted to just see if they are a necessary component now? Given some readers on this topic may think the Trinnov can do it all without the added Bass traps. I obviously do not know how easy or hard it would be to take then down and try without them but that is what I'd be interested in knowing please?

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4 minutes ago, agelessgoodguy said:

... would you try using it without the Bass traps fitted to just see if they are a necessary component now?

Yes that is a very good point, although I take the view that if something is working beautifully don't tamper with it  i.e. if it aint broke, then don't fix it.  My view is that the bass traps have contributed to the room environment given that they DID provide an improvement PRIOR to the Trinnov being in the room.

Edited by Mr C
clarity

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5 minutes ago, agelessgoodguy said:

Mr C given your wrapped in the effectiveness of this Trinnov device ...

As Kramer would say ....    Oh you better believe it !

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Yes I guess you'd say that and understand why too, I'm thinking here to learn more about the Trinnov than your room in that question Mr.C.

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3 minutes ago, agelessgoodguy said:

Yes I guess you'd say that and understand why too, I'm thinking here to learn more about the Trinnov than your room in that question Mr.C.

When one looks at all of the controls under the bonnet of the Trinnov, it really is mind-boggling.  I have learned enough to know about what it does, how you can tweak various aspects, and what not to fiddle with.  Then it is just all about kicking back and enjoying!

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