DPL IIx - Let's remember how lucky we are :)

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  • Aussie Geoff
    Super Senior Member
    • Oct 2003
    • 1914

    DPL IIx - Let's remember how lucky we are :)


    DPL IIx is about to ship for the RSP-1098, RSP-1068 and RSX-1067 (hopefully this weekend). However It has been frustrating for many of us waiting for DPL IIx with the will they or wont they rumours and misinformation. Indeed, in some other forums there have been some quite angry threads re this. However, since updating the Club Rotel RSP-1098 Wish List research for V4.0 (now in Beta ) – I thought it worth doing a reality check on this whole issue.

    We are one of the first to actually get Dolby ProLogic IIx in a Pre-Processor.
    There has been lots of hype and some announcements but little actual delivery. Let’s take a look based on what I can gather from some extensive web-site research at all the listed vendors web sites:
    • Anthem AVM-20 – Not yet even announced as forthcoming. Rumoured to be included in their forthcoming D1 processor due in the 2nd half of 2004.
    • B&K Ref 50 - Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • Lexicon MC-8 and MC-12 – Not yet even announced as forthcoming (but hey we’re talking Lexicon here so it’s bound to arrive in a future upgrade at some stage).
    • Parasound Halo C1 and C2 – Not yet announced as forthcoming, though our HT Guide colleagues over in Club Halo / Parasound inform me that it is being worked on and expected as a firmware update.
    • Krell Showcase – Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • Integra Research – They have announced their new DTR-10.5 Processor with DPL IIx (not yet shipping). There is no announcement for their existing RDC-7 processor.
    • Theta Casablanca III – New product, replacing Theta Casablanca II, now shipping and including DPL IIx (not available for Casablanca II)
    • Classe Audio SSP-75 and SSP-60 – Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • Outlaw Audio 950 – Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • Sherbourn PT-7000 – Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • EAD Ovation and EAD TheaterMaster 8800 – Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • Moon Stargate and Attraction processors – Not yet even announced as forthcoming.
    • Sunfire Theater Grand IV – New product, replacing Theater Grand III, now shipping and including DPL IIx (not available for Theater Grand III)

    Even in the HT Receiver range (which normally lead the processors in the “feature war” stakes) the announcements lead the delivery my a long way and except for Denon’s flagship 5803, I am not aware of any HR Receiver supplier who is delivering a DPL IIx upgrade for existing models. Receiver manufacturers are often feature driven with a new model each year and for those that have announced DPL IIx it is generally some of the new 2004 model(s) that (may) have it and only a few are actually shipping that model now.

    One of the known characteristics of DPL IIx is that the code requires a relatively large amount of memory and processing power (since unlike DPL II it operates on every source type including DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1). Many existing processors are understood to be too close to their memory limits to have DPL IIx added without dropping existing features, or have slightly older generation DSPs and don’t have the processing cycles to perform DPL IIx in all modes (like the RSP-1066).

    Bottom Line: We will be one of the first HT Processor users to get DPL IIx and it is likely that many of the completion will require new models to do this.

    Cost of Upgrades
    So far Rotel has had a history of providing upgrades for free, or a nominal cost where dealer support / hardware change is required. Let’s compare this:
    • Integra Research - $500 for their THX Ultra 2 and DTS 96/24 upgrade for their RDC-7 AV Pre-amp processor. Now this required some hardware modifications. Customers who had purchased the similar DTS and DPL II upgrade got a $50 credit.
    • Lexicon – Around $500 retail for their MC-8 and MC-12 Version 3 upgrade. This is a new EPROM and some software.
    • Anthem AVM-20 – They have a history of offering mix of free upgrades for software features and chargeable upgrades for hardware (e.g. going to their V2.0 involved a new processor chip to get the extra speed required). Software upgrades are downloadable free
    • B&K Ref-50 – They offer return to manufacturer upgrades to include new features etc. There is no downloadable free software updates.
    • Denon 5803 – They have offered several hardware upgrades for DPL II, new DACs, Firewire and now DPL IIx. Most have (understandably) been return to support centre jobs but there have been a couple of free firmware updates.

    Bottom Line: Rotel’s upgrade practice and policy (while not well communicated) is better than most, and equal to the best available.

    Use of Dolby Pro Logic IIx
    Lots of people are excided by DPL IIx for their 5 channel systems. According to Dolby Labs Engineer Roger Dressler in www.hometheaterforum.com:
    “Our local Onkyo rep. claimed DPLIIx was better even for 5 channel systems due to better steering of the signal. Is this true?”

    No. The steering is exactly the same.
    There are further quotes to the effect that that if the supplier has a good implementation of DPL II on a 5 channel system there is no difference having IIx. Any improvements would relate to correcting problems with the original DPL II implementation on that supplier’s equipment.

    “Does anyone know how DPL IIx will compare to NEO:6? I am building a 6.1 HT from scratch (about to buy an A/V receiver) and am curious if I should wait and buy one with DPL IIx so that all 6 speakers are being utilized.”

    With a 6.1 speaker system you will not get all the benefit that PLIIx has to offer. The "Movie" mode is standard Dolby EX, but there is also a Music mode which can also be used for movies where the Ls/Rs of the source are very correlated (tending towards mono), and this prevents the sound from piling up in the lone back speaker.

    If you are still in construction, I'd encourage you to add one more back speaker for a 7.1 set-up. Then the spatiality and localization benefits of PLIIx will be present.
    There are further quotes to confirm that the best improvement with DPL IIx is with a 7.1 system where the IIx logic can move the sound between the two center back speakers for better localisation (DD-EX and DTS-ES currently duplicate the same signal to both centre back speakers, DPL IIx will modify this). On a 6.1 system. You get a new centre back channel for music etc, but for things like DD-EX and DTS-ES you don’t see the improvement from DPL IIx.

    Bottom Line: You need at least a 6.1 system to see improvements over DPL II and unless you have a 7.1 system you won’t get the full benefits of DPL IIx.

    Communication by Rotel
    Here there is understandably much confusion as Rotel has been both not very forthcoming with information over things like when or whether DPL IIx will be available for the RSP-1098 and RSP-1068. The range of contradictory messages has been bewildering: “RSP-1098 definitely will...” vs “RSP-1098 definitely wont...” and “hardware upgrade required..” vs “No hardware upgrade required”.

    In my view there is no really acceptable excuse for this. However the damage is primarily to Rotel (not us ) since it creates confusion in the market. For example Rotel, despite announcing the RSP-1068 at CES with DPL IIx etc didn’t even have it on their web site until after it started shipping and have made (as of Friday 27 February 2004) no announcements re the disparity of the CES brochures and RSP-1068 manuals with DPL IIx and the shipped product without it. Dealers and Rotel Technical Support representatives are confused and giving conflicting advice.

    Bottom Line: Hopefully this incident will help Rotel “do better” with their marketing and communications to dealers and current and potential Rotel buyers. Still, as long as they continue to do so well with the sound quality and upgrades – I can (personally) forgive a little confusion....

    Rotel looks like continuing its history of useful upgrades to its surround processors with IIx on the RSP-1098, RSP-1068 and RSX-1067. We will be amongst the first to get this technology in the dedicated pre-processor market, and I would expect (consistent with the RSP-1066 buyers experience) to continue to enjoy upgrades until we read the technology limits of the processors. Then (doubtless) Rotel will have a next generation product for those of us that “have to have” the latest....

    What more could we ask

    Geoff Costello

  • Kevin D
    Ultra Senior Member
    • Oct 2002
    • 4601

    Bravo.. Well said!

    Kevin D.


    • Scarp
      Senior Member
      • Mar 2003
      • 632

      Nice written piece, but ....

      Lexicon has Logic 7 which still is considered superior to DPL IIx. So why upgrade if you have had this possibility for many many years.

      Parasound has no official announcements, but they are working on it (which is generally known). Most likely a free firmware update.

      Denon made annoucements that they will have upgrades for their top units.

      DPL IIx is only intended for 6.1 and 7.1, so yes, only if you have such a system then you will get some benifits from it.

      You forget to mention Meridian, which has free software updates and implements the algorithms themselves on standard DSP's, which does not require hardware changes for such a thing as DPL IIx (unless the DSP power becomes to limited). For their new G Series and for the 861, DPL IIx is available. For the 500 series models its still in development.

      TagMclaren has had an free update for DPL IIx for download since september 2003 and all new units since that time have it factory installed. Mind you that the cheapest TagMclaren models are almost the same price as the RSP1098.


      • Aussie Geoff
        Super Senior Member
        • Oct 2003
        • 1914


        Thanks for the extra info.

        Re Lexicon I won’t enter the DPL IIx vs Logic 7 debate (there are some posts / reviews that rate DPL II ahead of Logic 7 for movies though). However I have cheated and discretely updated my original post above to acknowledge the expectation that Lexicon is going to update their flagship processor with IIx – they couldn’t not, given their position in the market and the sheer level of processing power available in the MC-8 and MC-12.

        Re Tag McLaren - for the others reading this thread let me quote from their web site

        As ever, TAG McLaren customers can take full advantage of the continual advances in Home Cinema technology and processing. Pro Logic IIx can be added to an AV32R Dual Processor or AV192R via a simple software option code at just £149.95.

        AV32R DP / AV192R Processors1 leaving the factory after 1st September 2003 have Pro Logic IIx already installed.
        So, DPL IIx is shipping and as an upgrade it's chargeable . It's also not available on their older processors.....

        Re Meridian I keep forgetting them (mental block perhaps) because in Australia at least their price is just "silly" with (for example) their lovely 861 processor a "bargain" at $21,999 compared to the 800 V3 DVD Player at $31,098 for a “workable” configuration.

        However - you're right - Meridian claim to be the first to release DPL IIx in their new product (9 September 2003 on their G68 and 861 processors) and have one of the industries best upgrade programs - free for firmware and chargeable for hardware and they do their best to find ways to update their older products. Something to look up to if you can afford it.

        Re Parasound - As the Club Halo / Parasound’s co-moderator I'll take your word on DPL IIx coming soon and have (discretely) updated the text of my original post to reflect this


        Geoff Costello


        • Chris D
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Dec 2000
          • 16877

          True, you Rotel guys do have it good. Nice public customer response from Rotel--very good public relations, in no small part due to this club here, of course. Lots of upgrades put out for free as well.

          Scarp and I keep our fingers crossed as Parasound moderators that the various inside information we've been running across about Parasound updates are true, and that we'll be seeing them soon.

          Luke: "Hey, I'm not such a bad pilot myself, you know"

          Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
          - Pleasantville


          • Scarp
            Senior Member
            • Mar 2003
            • 632

            Indeed ... u have to pay for the upgrade on a Tag. Strange, since new ones get it already installed....

            Btw, you mention australian or american dollars? Do mind that the 800 series have lots of options and the cheapest starts at a "reasonable" price, but full features is incredibly expensive indeed.

            Btw, I talked to some people who have it on Tag and Meridian and according to them its also better in 5.1 compared to DPL II.


            • Aussie Geoff
              Super Senior Member
              • Oct 2003
              • 1914


              Sorry - The Merridian prices are in $AUS where for a base DVD we are talking $25K but to be able to use to for DVD-A etc is over $30K. No Idea what the $US prices are but they are many thousands of pounds in the UK where they are made....



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