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Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Dear readers,

My setup consists of the following hardware

B&W CM10s2 speakers
B&W DB4S Subwoofer
Rotel RC-1590 Preamp
Rotel RB-1582 mkII Poweramp

I play music from my HTPC (Foobar with RoomEQ) and occasionally from TV (youtube, live TV etc.)

My problem is that I have some room modes that are bugging me, my main speakers introduce them, my subwoofer is properly compensated for room modes. Because the CM10's play fullrange, I have have trouble balancing this out the right way.

The RC1590 preamp has no tone controls other than bass/treble.

I recently bought a MiniDSP 2x4HD unit and it does exactly what I want (Measure with REW and compensate for that in the EQ en apply a highpass filter).
This unfortunately comes at a cost, and that is noise. Even when properly setup the noise of the MiniDSP idling was just too much to my liking. When I sat in the chair I was constantly hearing the hissing of this unit through the speakers. So this unit is on it's way back.

I would like to know if there are better alternatives to this MiniDSP unit. There is a balanced version, but it about 3 times the price and even then it has no XLR connectors but Phoenix connectors, but I can live with that, but I heard that the noisefloor could be about the same level.

If I only had decent highpass filtering with (almost) no additional noise introduced I would be quite happy already, because the frequency range is quite good already.
I looked at for example the Behringer DCX2496 but what I read is that the digital part of the unit is quite good, but the AD/DA stage is quite lo-fi. There are all kinds of modifications available but that is not my cup of tea.

Do you have good advise for me?

PS. Ditching the preamp is not an option by the way ;)

Re: Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Reply #1
I've tried out the Behringer DCX2496 as a replacement for my dbx Driverack PX (as EQ and crossover to my subs), and I had to send it back because of noise issues. It's not a hugely annoying issue, but I'm using active monitors on my desk, so any noise is immediately noticeable.

Compared to the DCX2496, the Driverack is dead quiet, even when on the -10dBV input setting, which amplifies the input up to +4dBu line level. I can put my ear right up to the tweeter and hear absolutely nothing. The PX isn't made anymore, but there is a PA2 model, which has a lot more parametric EQ bands to play with, and isn't as limited in functionality as the PX.

Keep in mind that all three of these devices have only ordinary parametric+graphic EQ, they don't have anything approaching the room correction powers of a Dirac-capable devices, such as the MiniDSP DDRC-24 or their dedicated Dirac devices. If those are equally as noisy as the 2x4HD, I guess those wouldn't be good choices, either.

Re: Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Reply #2
Thank you for your thoughts about it.

I have been thinking about the 4x10HD, but spec wise apart from balanced inputs there is not much difference so I expect the same problems there, and it's quite expensive in the Netherlands with 665 euro's. compared to 250 euro's for the 2x4hd.

Too bad the MiniDSP is the only DSP I know of that supports REW correction files and is affordable, but the price is noise.

Re: Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Reply #3
Parts Express has something that might be similar to the MiniDSP but I don't know anything about it.

Re: Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Reply #4
Since you have digital in on your preamp, have you checked out the all-digital units from MiniDSP? Less noise I would assume, but I don't know if they have the features you require.

Re: Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Reply #5
If I understand your setup correctly: you have a pre-amp with sub out but no option "if I use a sub, send any thing below 80 to the sub and anything above it to the speakers"

You can try stuffing the port of the CM10, reduces the bass
Maybe a simple analog high pass filter to the CM10
But of course these kludges are no match for DRC

There are hardware solutions but most of the time rather pricey:

What you need is a good multi-channel DAC. Maybe this link gets you started:

Re: Alternative to MiniDSP hardware?

Reply #6
Thank you,

A separate DAC is not an option, I'd like to keep using my preamplifier. the Preamp does have 2 subwoofer outputs indeed, that are just mono outputs (but I use the 4 XLR outputs, but there is no option to highpass the output for the mains.

Stuffing the ports of the CM10 with the provided foam bungs is already in place, but that's not enough.

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