Surround Sound

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SurroundSound.jpg

Contents

Introduction

The Davaar 55 software release introduces Surround Sound (multichannel) support to all existing DSM products that feature both HDMI and Exakt functionality.
This document gives an overview of the surround feature and provides examples of the various configuration options available.

If you are using Exaktboxes, from Linn DSM firmware Davaar68 (Jan 2019):

  • The Exaktbox can EITHER be:
1. Configured as to drive a speaker as a digital crossover.
  • The supported loudspeakers that are listed HERE
  • In this configuration any 'unused' outputs(s) CANNOT be assigned to a " 6/8-channel passthrough" channel, (point 2. below)
or
2. Configured as either a "8 x channel passthrough" or "6 x channel passthrough" speaker.
  • In this configuration ALL of the outputs of the Exaktbox are used and cannot be configured for a "digital crossover" in the same Exaktbox. (Even if you are using only ONE output for a Surround Channel the Exakt box is totally dedicated to this configuration


  • Speakers can be driven from any combination of:
  • Direct analogue output from the DSM;
  • Exakt Speaker;
  • Exaktbox configured with crossovers for one or two speakers;
  • Exaktbox configured as passthrough for up to 6 or 8 surround speakers.
Examples of speaker setups can be found HERE



  • The Exaktbox-sub can only be used with sub-woofers,


The factory supplied products will only support decoded PCM surround audio. That is, already decoded into seperate surround channels.
However:

For bitstream decoding (Dolby/DTS):

The Linn Surround module is sold only as an upgrade to any:

Akurate or Klimax DSM


The full list of supported devices is:

Akurate Products
Klimax Products


  • The HDMI-2 boards have been fitted as standard since September 2016 and are available as an upgrade to all Akurate and Klimax DSM's.


Sneaky/Sekrit/Kiko & Majik Products
This Linn Surround Module upgrade is either not available or is not supported in these products.

Requirements

To support surround functionality:

  • The DSM must have an Exakt interface to allow multiple speakers to be connected.
  • The DSM must have an HDMI interface to enable delivery of surround audio content. A 3rd party source device (ex. Blu Ray player) must be used to deliver surround audio to the DSM via HDMI.
  • The source device must be capable of delivering (non-encoded/uncompressed) PCM multichannel content if the Linn DSM does not gave the Linn Surround module upgrade.

Terminology

Surround speaker configurations are expressed using two numbers separated by a dot (example "7.1"). The first number indicates the quantity of full frequency range (FFR) speakers in the system and the second number indicates the quantity of low frequency (subwoofer) speakers. A 5.2 system would therefore contain 5 FFR speakers and 2 subwoofers. Linn surround systems support a maximum of 7 FFR speakers with no limit on the number of subwoofers. Each speaker in the system has a specific role (type) which dictates the audio content that it plays.

The available FFR speaker types are:

  • Front Left (FL)
  • FrontRight (FR)
  • Surround Left (SL)
  • Surround Right (SR)
  • Rear Left (RL)
  • Rear Right (RR)
  • Centre (C)

The available subwoofer (sub) speaker types are:

  • Sub Mono (LFM)
  • Sub Left (LFL)
  • Sub Right (LFR)
  • Sub LFE (LFE)

Rules

When configuring a surround system the following rules apply:

  • No FFR duplicates: Only one of each FFR speaker type can be used.
  • No partial groups: The speaker types FL/FR, SL/SR, RL/RR, LFL/LFR must always exist in pairs.
  • Fronts must be present: FL and FR must always exist
  • No Rears without Surrounds: The RL/RR pair cannot be present if SL/SR are not present
  • Only one type of Sub: You cannot have a mix of MONO, Sub Left, Sub Right or LFE in the same system

If these rules are not adhered to, the surround speaker configuration will be invalid. The front panel will indicate this by displaying a "!" near the volume display. The audio may also be muted automatically.

Songcast does not share any surround audio.

  • If you are listening to a Stereo source then this is shared to other rooms.
  • If you are listening to a Surround Source this is NOT shared to other rooms by Songcast.

Room Setup

The following diagrams show a range of typical valid surround room setups, indicating speaker types and positioning. Also shown are some invalid setups that break one or more of the rules outlined earlier.
Channel assignment and speaker offsets are set up in Konfig

Symbol Key

Key (Room Setup)

Stereo 2.0

Room2-0.jpg

Stereo 2.1

Room2-1.jpg

Surround 3.1

Room3-1.jpg

Surround 4.0

Room4-0.jpg

Surround 4.1

Room4-1.jpg

Surround 5.1

Room5-1.jpg

Surround 7.1

Room7-1.jpg

Surround 7.2

Room7-2.jpg


Invalid Surround Setup (No Fronts)

RoomNoFronts.jpg

Invalid Surround Setup (No Surrounds)

RoomNoSurrounds.jpg

Invalid Surround Setup (Partial Front Group)

RoomPartialFronts.jpg

Invalid Surround Setup (Partial Surround Group)

RoomPartialSurrounds.jpg

Invalid Surround Setup (Partial Rear Group)

RoomPartialRears.jpg

Speaker Setup

In a traditional hardware surround system, speakers are assigned their type implicitly by the physical output they are connected to. With Exakt, any type can be applied to any speaker, using Konfig, regardless of how the speakers are physically connected. The following diagrams show various typical speaker connection examples for a range of surround configurations.


Symbol Key

SpeakerSetupKey.jpg

An Exaktbox/Exaktbox-I that is "Configured for Surround" will have ALL of its outputs available for PASSIVE speaker operation. That is, full-range audio is available for each audio channel.

  • When used in this mode you CANNOT have the same Exaktbox used for Aktiv/Exakt'ed speakers.

Factory specification Linn DSM (NO Surround Module Upgrade)

The following diagrams show various typical speaker connection examples for a range of surround configurations for a standard Linn DSM.

Note: The only surround audio accepted for this setup, (no Linn Surround Module Upgrade), is Multi-channel LPCM audio. This is where the audio has already decoded from Surround audio bitstream and split into different channels.

When the Exakt Box is configured "Surround speakers" this is Konfig filter type "6 x channel passthrough" or "8 x channel passthrough". No other filter can be loaded into the Exaktbox to drive any other speaker at the same time. This means that all of the Exaktbox outputs are dedicated to an audio channel playback. The Linn DSM audio outputs can also be used as any audio channel as well as Exakt loudspeakers and/or other Exaktboxes setup with filters for other loudspeakers.

Stereo 2.0

Speaker2-0.jpg

Surround 3.1 With Non Exakt Centre and Sub

Speaker3-1Mixed.jpg

Surround 4.0 All Exakt

Speaker4-0.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts & Exaktbox "Surround" speaker

5-1 Surround Exaktbox Front Exakt.jpg

Surround 5.1 With analogue Fronts & Exaktbox "Surround" speaker

5-1 Surround Exaktbox Front Analogue.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts

Speaker5-1.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Non Exakt Centre and Sub

Speaker5-1Mixed1.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts & Surrounds, Non Exakt Centre & Sub

Speaker5-1Mixed2.jpg

Surround 5.1 With ExaktBox for "Surround" speaker

Speaker Exaktbox Surround 5-1.jpg

Surround 7.1 With Integrated Exakt Centre And Sub

Speaker7-1IntFronts.jpg

Surround 7.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts, Surrounds And Rears

Speaker7-1IntGroups.jpg

Surround 7.1 With Non Exakt Centre And Sub

Speaker7-1Mixed.jpg

Surround 7.1 All Exakt Box

Speaker7-1NoInt.jpg

Surround 7.1 All ExaktBox set for "Surround" Speaker

LSM-ALL 701 SURROUND EXAKTBOX.jpg

Linn DSM with LINN SURROUND MODULE upgrade

The following diagrams show various typical speaker connection examples for a range of surround configurations with the LINN SURROUND MODULE installed:

Note: Encoded Bitstream are formats such as DTS, Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic etc.

When the Exakt Box is configured "Surround speakers" this is Konfig filter type "6 x channel passthrough" or "8 x channel passthrough". No other filter can be loaded into the Exaktbox to drive any other speaker at the same time. This means that all of the Exaktbox outputs are dedicated to an audio channel playback. The Linn DSM audio outputs can also be used as any audio channel as well as Exakt loudspeakers and/or other Exaktboxes setup with filters for other loudspeakers.

Stereo 2.0

LSM-Speaker2-0.jpg

Surround 3.1 With Non Exakt Centre and Sub

LSM-Speaker3-1Mixed.jpg

Surround 5.1 With All Exakt

LSM-Exakt-Speaker5-1.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts & Exaktbox for "Surround" Speaker

Surround Module and Surround Exaktbox.jpg


Surround 5.1 With Exaktbox Fronts & Exaktbox for "Surround" Speaker

LSM 5-1 Surround Exaktbox Front Exaktbox-speakers.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Front analogue and Exaktbox for "Surround" Speaker

LSM 5-1 Surround Exaktbox Front Analogue.jpg

Surround 5.1 With Exaktbox for "Surround" Speaker

LSM-Speaker5-1.jpg


Surround 6.0 With Exaktbox for "Surround" Speakers without centre

LSM 6-0 Surround Exaktbox Front Analogue.jpg

Surround 7.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts, Surrounds And Rears

LSM-Speaker7-1IntGroups.jpg


Surround 7.1 With Exaktbox for "Surround" Speaker

LSM-ALL 701 SURROUND 1EXAKTBOX.jpg

Encoded Setups

Some HDMI source devices (e.g. Sky Q) only output encoded audio streams. To use these devices with a Linn DSM without the Linn Surround Module, a 3rd party AV processor or HDMI repeater must be used to decode the stream. The diagrams below indicate how these setups may be connected.

Encoded 7.1 Without Exakt

SpeakerEncodedNoExakt.jpg

Encoded 5.1 With Integrated Exakt Fronts

Speaker5-1EncodedExakt.jpg

FAQ's

Operation

Linn DSM products with HDMI Audio pass-thro and surround processing

Release Davaar 4.2.3 (14th Oct 2011)

The Linn DSM products HDMI output will:-
1. Pass-throu the HDMI audio when the Linn DSM is in Standby.
2. Pass-throu the HDMI audio when the Linn DSM is listening to an Analogue or Digital Audio input.
3. BLOCK the HDMI audio to the TV if the the DSM is listening to a HDMI input.


From Davaar50 (Sept 2016) the 'stripped' surround audio is no longer fed out of the Linn DSM - HDMI OUT to a surround processor. This is now processed with Exakt speakers, check Surround speaker setup.
The HDMI pass-throu and HDMI block still occur as above.


Common setup

The Klimax Exaktbox has 6 outputs, can I use each output to drive a loudspeaker in my 5.1 surround system?

Yes if your Linn DSM has Davaar68 or higher firmware. This will allow you to setup individual surround channels for specific outputs of the Exaktbox.



I have an exclamation mark icon (!) on my DSM display. What does this mean?

Your DSM has not detected all the speakers that were originally configured for surround. Open Konfig, select your DSM then the Exakt tab to see which speakers have been detected.
If you have removed a speaker from your system (e.g. a centre channel), you may need to temporarily change channel assignment of another speaker. When you return this to its original value, Konfig will allow you to save the new surround configuration.

Do my front left/right speakers always have to be Exakt speakers?

No, you can configure the analogue outputs of you Majik/Akurate/Klimax DSM to feed the front left/right and the Exaktbox/Exakt speakers for any other channels. However this will not be the best Musical option as the passive speaker will never sound as good as the fully Exakt'ed speakers.