Room acoustics and loudspeaker optimizers in high-end audio setup? Run away, its a heretic endeavor andPandora box opening :)…
Over the years I’ve tried and played around with quite few solutions, either from pro audio world or our beloved high-end industry and results were mixed bag and not really inspiring. Despite the practical audible results, as a rule the soul of the music was literally stripped away from the music. I’ve more or less gave up on the idea, although theoretically I do understand and like the approach.
Almost any listening room is far away from being perfect with the theoretical exception of highly fine tuned and fro ground up planned listening environments. Even those, are not exactly what I would called perfect sound surroundings. Why? I’ve had a luxury of visiting quite few crazy expensive and dedicated listening rooms. Sadly the sound never really impressed me. It either went into the direction of studio sound, with the similar chosen reverberation time or it was to chaotic due to the overflow of the absorbing and reflecting panels.
Its not really that easy to achieve balanced sound that would suit to the norms of high-end audio reproduction. Studio monitoring approach is much different from what high-end audio actually trying to achieve. Of course, if someone wants to experience the sound of the control room, thats fine, yet high-end audio goal much on the opposite side and envisions the creation of the grand illusion, reflecting the drama of the real musical events. Here, for the sake of making the point, smaller or bigger scale illusion is not the agenda. Generally we want to come closer to the experience of the real event with the similar energy flow, atmosphere and sense of the real world acoustic spaces. There is certain density in play consisting from multitude of acoustical focus points, translating into the wider array of decays, delays, anchor points etc.
So what about Trinnov Audio? High-End Audio shows might not offer the perfect demoing conditions, but as I’m over repeating for years, they can show heck a lot of what system or any dedicated component can do. This is exactly what happened with getting in contact with Trinnov Audio ST2-HiFi. Three years in a roll during the different shows the impact of ST2-HiFi lingered on after each listening session long after and when Arnaud Destinay asked me to explore their high-end audio oriented processor I’ve happily complied.
Trinnov Audio operate as a team of engineers who are very passionate about audio quality and high performance sound reproduction focusing on the development of innovative solutions that improves the quality of sound throughout the audio system setup. Their extensive Research has lead to five international patents.
We can all agree, how one if not the most weak element of any high-end audio system is room. Usual listening room can introduce up to 10dB of distortion in the frequency response and to put things in the right perspective there is no such thing as loudspeakers with a perfect impulse response.
Trinnov’s goal and pursue with ST2-HiFi deals directly with the acoustic equation, upgraded level of accuracy in the realms of both high performance/high-end sound and acoustic-fidelity.
The ST2-HiFi comes as most advanced stereo processor, room optimizer & DAC in one box, implementing Trinnov’s patented loudspeaker/room optimization technology. ST2-HiFi was particularly designed and refined to work within high-end audio system with easy 4 steps setup process, multi-point measurements, time-frequency analysis, comprehensive graphs flexible fine-tuning that addresses personal taste for sound balance, high performance proprietary audio boards (designed and manufactured by Trinnov) and multiple Remote Control options.
A lot of high tech solution, R & D, funds and time was spent with the development of the Trinnov ST2-HiFi. Trinnov team vividly implemented practical experience from the pro audio industry and result speaks for itself.
Trinnov ST2-HiFi clearly works the best where the hubris of room acoustics is most present and with rooms where there is no possibility of the acoustically treatment implementation ST2-HiFi comes as a mandatory addition.
Many accessories in the form of the panels doesn’t work the best at around 300Hz and below. If they are applicable, their size and appearance makes them really non optimal and here Trinnov ST2-HiFi comes more then handy. It also work expertly in such particular situations where symmetrical positioning of the speakers is not possible during the non mirroring room design.
ST2-HiFi is very flexible with its “tuning” via variety of presets. There are almost unlimited ways to address certain agenda and dedicated presets for classical music, jazz, rock, electronic and other music might interest many of music lovers.
As our listening habits vary and depend on our biorhythm, its also possible to make a special preset for a quieter nigh listening where the subtle absence of bass and details create more optimal listening impact. This “loss” can be easily accented with the “target curve” where a bass and high frequency rage is accented back to the optimal level.
ST2-HiFi is very complex and flexible device with high level of adjustability. It addresses our perception of the sound and how most importantly how sound and music affects us.
Trinnov ST2-HiFi easy operational functionality and measuring system is applicable even to the inexperienced, novice user through the “wizard” feature. Still, this option demands a bit more dedication, yet built in standard preset can offer an instant workable results even without the implementation of the measuring.
ST2-HiFi bring easy connection of the subwoofer and bi-amplification, that will be of interest to more experienced and demanding users. It works via digital built in crossover as Trinnov ST2-HiFi is capable of four channel operations. This morphs it into a very interesting and practical device.
Trinnov ST2-HiFi comes as highly complex and potent device. It can offer instant results, but in order to get the maximum out of the machine one really need to go deeper into the subject matter. When mastered, ST2-HiFi opens up the level of the adjustability where sky seems to be the limit…
All in all this is a product that managed to capture my attention with real world practical results and in absence of a major impact on the sound. Where Lyngdorf, Dirac and other solutions failed to impress me Trinnov ST2-HiFi is instrumental with practical results, that keeps the musicality…
Stay tuned for more detailed and in depth report in the second part of the review.
Text: Matej Isak
Insert the system between your player/pre-amplifier and the amplifiers, and connect the microphone
Run the step-by-step calibration wizard
Select one of the 5 automatically generated compensations
Change the target curves and other optimization parameters
Store up to 6 customisable profiles and 29 user-defined presets
Multi-point measurements of all loudspeakers
Time-frequency analysis: the loudspeaker and the room are separately equalized
Automatic optimization of amplitude and phase response according to Target Curves
Intelligent active crossovers: automatic alignment of delays and gains for every driver
Comprehensive acoustical graphs
Optimization parameters: maximum boost, maximum attenuation…
Manual FIR, parametric and graphic EQs
From any PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android phone (from a VNC client application, through the network)
Using external monitor, mouse and keyboard
Real-time control of the processor
ADC RESOLUTION / SAMPLING RATE 24 bits/96 kHz
DAC RESOLUTION / SAMPLING RATE 24 bits/192 kHz
A/D SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO 119 dB (A-Weighted)
THD+N ADC -103 dB
D/A SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO 118 dB (A-Weighted)
THD+N DAC -98 dB
CLOCK / JITTER Variations under 25ps are recovered, jitter attenuation superior to 50 dB is achieved above 100Hz
POWER SUPPLY Independant for audio and processing sections
SAFETY COMPONENTS AntiPop relays on each analog output
DESIGN AND ASSEMBLY All Audio boards designed and manufactured in France by Trinnov Audio
ANALOG I/O 4 single-ended channels inputs via 4 x cinch (10k Ohms)
4 single-ended channels outputs via 4 x cinch (100 Ohms)
4 balanced channels inputs via 4 x XLR (20k Ohms)
4 balanced channels outputs via 4 x XLR (100 Ohms)
AES I/O 2 channels input via 1 x XLR (110 Ohms)
2 channels output via 1 x XLR (110 Ohms)
SPDIF 2 channels inputs via 1 x cinch (75 Ohms)
2 channels outputs via 1 x cinch (75 Ohms)
PROCESSOR Intel Dual-Core 1,8 GHz
DATA WIDTH 64 bits, floating point
RAM 1 Go DDR3
STORAGE Flash Drive 1 GB
COOLING SYSTEM Custom heat sinks + additionnal slow fans
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PROCESSING CHANNELS 4 channels at 96 kHz
Power supply: 240V AC / 50-60 Hz. Option: 130V AC
Consumption: 90 W max.
– Operating : 0°C – 40°C (32°F – 104°F)
– Humidity : 20% – 80% relative humidity (without condensation)
5 rue Edmond Michelet
TEL: 33 (0)1 47 06 61 37