You might say so; I could not possibly comment. ;-)
14 responses Add your response
Viggen - OK, now I think I understand why there's no Theta in your rig (or your refrigerator): 1] Gyros don't have hummus (made from chick-peas) on them, they have tahini (made from sesame seeds), and 2] 'humus' is decayed organic matter that has turned to earth, so I surely hope my Gryo has none of that on it. (A proper Gyro is sliced fresh from the rotisserie while you watch [never order a 'Gyro' from a place without the rotisserie in plain view - they may not have one at all, and that's not a good thing], with lettuce, onion, tomato, tahini, and crumbled feta on top, served on a soft pita, with maybe a hot pepper and an olive or two on the side. Order with fries and a Coke.) Once you firmly grasp these finer points of Greek junk food, maybe there'll be a new DAC in your future and you can sleep easier... (Either that, or you've been eating yours too close to bedtime ;^)
KR: Obviously. I can understand your desire to remain terse on such subjects here, but it would have been interesting to see some examination in the magazine of Theta's position (not that they're the only one) on this matter vis-a-vis the bulk of the rest of the industry. Maybe there's too much at stake, I don't know, but it seems to me that similar sorts of controversies have been taken up within Stereophile reviews in the past. JA in particular has, I believe, written a few seemingly doubtful comments regarding the genuiness of 'upsampling' as a distinct technique or advance. And it can't be denied that at least one other regular contributor has prominently trumpeted the concept as a panacea.
Theta, on their website, seem to finesse the question a slight bit - even though they clearly don't support the terminology - by focusing on outboard 'upsamplers' and their alleged propensity to increase jitter. They don't mention the popularity of one-box players said to incorporate 'upsampling' technology, but then again they're not in the one-box market at the moment, for better or worse. They also skip over the random dither issue and the escalation of bit-depth numbers that get tossed around along with increased sampling rates.
After reading through Theta's website material, I don't really have much of an idea what exactly is new about the Gen. VIII relative to the Gen. V in the digital domain. And I wonder if we should expect any trickle-down to a lower-priced processor, updates to the models below the Generation such as my own DSPro Basic IIIa, or an all-in-one player (CD or universal). But I am generally sympathetic to Theta's position on the upsampling controversy, even though my own experience with the matter can hardly be described as comprehensive.
I must say that no information beyond that which you can see at the website was supplied to me in the accompanying materials so I cannot offer more. My understanding is that earlier "generations" will be upgradeable and that the technology will be and is trickling down into other products such as the Compli player/transport and the Theta pre/pro controllers.
Personally, I am less concerned with Theta's implementation of up/oversampling in a product where it is undefeatable and, therefore, inherent in the product's overall performance. Had it been defeatable, it would have been more of an issue.
I agree with Theta's implied position that one decoding technique - the one they feel constitutes the most correctly implemented and accurate processing they can achieve - is all that is required. It's true that having an 'upsampling' on/off switch at my disposal made for some interesting auditioning during my experience outlined in the above-linked article, but not necessarily for higher-fidelity listening. But it's likewise true that most of the newer players/processors said to incorporate 'upsampling' don't feature a switch to defeat it either (as I guess they shouldn't if the manufacturer believes in the concept, whatever that's purported to be).
What's interesting to me is that I believe the Gen. VIII is the only CD processor or player reviewed by the mag in some time now which isn't said to incorporate something termed 'upsampling'. That observation is made even more interesting by your review results. To me, there is a story in there, even if it doesn't turn out to be a story about bits of data, so much as marketing to capitalize on confusion (perhaps of the intentionally-induced variety). Have audiophiles been chucking out their old players/processors over the past few years in order to rush out and buy the proverbial Brooklyn Bridge (new formats aside)? A designers' roundtable might shed some light, or at least some heat...
...Can the audiophiles who've read the ads/reviews and bought the latest players? ;^)
Anyway, if other manufacturers can't be cornered into providing the explicit definition for such a distinction, then kudos to Theta for having the balls to risk bucking the marketing trend by not caving to expediency and adopting terminology they clearly feel represents a false pretense. I hope their rectitude doesn't come back to punch them in the ear (although the $10K 2-channel scenario might, particularly should anything go awry with their hi-rez digital-input upgrade plans vis-a-vis the industry powers that be...)