I definitely liked what I heard last Saturday at my friend Dave's home, the Lyngdorf MP-50 SSP, after we applied its Room Perfect optimization.
Dave, your room has gotta be one of the absolute worst in terms of planning the best home theatre sonics (which you readily admit that you have these limitations) given its a super long room, open, living room on one side, kitchen way on the other side, open wall area just past the living room sofa, shutters on the left side (non-open wall to the outside), etc. With young kids and dogs, you have a large entertainment center, with a 77" Sony OLED, components in cabinet below, center speaker above tv in cabinet, main floorstanding left and right speakers just off and next to the cabinet, on the left a large subwoofer right next to the speaker, on the right a stand right next to the speaker, with front left and right speakers perhaps a foot if that in front of the wall. 9' high ceiling. All of your speakers and subwoofers are old, 20 years, built by a great local company (Marcelino) now no longer in business (too bad - they made great sounding speakers). Your 7.1 system has four in ceiling speakers for your side and rear surrounds. No acoustics treatments! See below photos of theatre portion of the long long portion/great room of Dave's home!
Dave once had a MacIntosh SSP with Room Perfect and he felt the Room Perfect Optimization helped; he then replaced it with a Theta Casablanca IV SSP with top D3 DACs for front speakers, but found in his setup that Dirac room correction did not improve the sonics (although many Theta CB owners have found Dirac indeed did improve sonics particularly if they have floorstanding speakers placed more "properly" and away from the walls); so Dave got a Lyngdorf MP50 which he has been burning in without using its Room Perfect optimization for the past 6 weeks or so and Dave has been happy with it and as it burned in he felt it was on par sonically (his ears, his room) with his Theta CBIV SSP.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of going over to Dave's (way on other side of Phoenix from me) and first listening to his system as is; then we did the Room Perfect optimization; then we listened again. Listening tests (Oppo UDP-205) included a few discs that I brought over: CD of Acoustic Alchemy's greatest hits; Bohemian Rhapsody 4k disc (played movie extra 20 minute concert footage filmed for the movie but some of it cut in the movie); some jazz CD which Dave played a lot and was familiar with; Zubin Mehta with Khatia Buniatishvili 4k concert disc & Ready Player One 4k disc (played only after optimization).
Before doing the optimization, we reviewed a review of the MP50 at https://hometheaterreview.com/lyngdorf-mp-50-av-preamp-reviewed/ and the product manual at http://lyngdorf.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mp-50-owners-manual-june-2017.pdf So pre-optimization, Dave's system sounded about as I would expect given his setup limitations - ok, but nothing making me interested in spending time listening to music or watching movies, etc. Sonics correlated like what I was seeing in his setup limitations. Then we did the Room Perfect optimization. You are supposed to take a number of measurements. First from the main center listening position. Then from various random positions, heights, microphone orientations around the room. Random measurements no closer than 1.5 feet to side walls and 3 feet to front speakers. The onscreen display perfectly leads you through the optimization steps. If a measurement has an issue with volume level it tells you, and you reorient the microphone and stand and try again until there's no issue (Trinnov is similar in this respect). The on screen display tells you the percent of optimization achieved, and you are supposed to get at least 95. We did the "focus" main center listening position, and then I think 7 more random measurements. Then the manual states to do several more measurements but within 1.5' of side walls and also ceiling. So we did 3 more measurements randomly again to accomplish this. Then the MP50 did the optimization calculations.
Post optimization: We put on the Acoustic Alchemy CD. We used and compared the "Focus" calculated optimization (for the main listening position), and the "Global" calculated optimization that Dave setup (more for the entire combined listening area). "Focus" really got my attention, sounded very nice, even "audiophile", much better than pre-optimization. "Global" also sounded nice but somewhat louder and not as detailed and clear, "Focus" was clearly better. We found this with another jazz CD that Dave was familiar with that he played. Dave and I moved some off to the left and right of the MLP, and the MLP, and we found in all these positions we preferred the "Focus" setting! Room Perfect optimization clearly transformed Dave's system nicely - you could close your eyes and have no idea of the room's severe limitations. With excellent 3D soundstaging reasonably behind the speakers! Next, onto "Bohemian Rhapsody" 4k disc, the extra concert part, in Doby TrueHD 7.1 (since Dave doesn't have Atmos speakers anyway). Immediately, I noticed how much more real the crowd noise was than before (pre-optimization). Everything, and I mean everything, was markedly sonically better. I forgot just how way better my own theatre sounds, and was transformed almost to the venue thinking how the heck could this room with its limitations and poor setup sound so outstanding! I now had the illusion of being at the live concert to a fair extent - no longer the more 2 dimensional "flatter" sonics we had before. I was stomping my feet, etc and enjoying it! So very musical. Great soundstage. 3D! Next we played the Khatia 4k concert disc, Khatia is one of the world's very best concert pianists. WOW! So very musical and involving! Didn't bother to play this pre-optimization as I could quickly tell the system's sonic limitations and wanted to get the optimization done. That piano sounded like - a real piano. You could hear and feel the decay of the piano notes! You could feel her fingers plucked quickly against the piano. Next we played "Ready Player One" 4k disc. Nice sonics again, but bass slam here one could tell its limitations with only one corner placed 15" subwoofer! By the way, in Dave's system, we played 2 channel CDs in both Dolby and Auro 3D, and both sounded nice. We really didn't so a comparison of one vs the other. Both sounded better to me than straight 2 channel in Dave's system!
Poor Dave. His new MP50 SSP gives him sonics and potential he hasn't had in his system before. And at a great price, $10k msrp (Dave didn't pay msrp, but we are not permitted on the forum to discuss prices below msrp). We discussed how he could improve his system even more - add a 2nd subwoofer in the other front corner; four inexpensive on wall side and rear surrounds, and move his current four inceilings speakers above his sofa for the 4 Dolby Atmos speakers. Dave is able to do all the work himself so that helps. I wonder what the future has in store. Nonetheless, as is his system now post Room Perfect optimization is very nice indeed. Also, once we were all done, we realized that some months back Dave started using some EQ box for his subwoofer, which he left on during Room Perfect optimization. But when Dave setup the box, there is only one measurement position, the MLP. So it makes sense that his system will sound ben better, with better and more accurate mid and low bass, it he take out the box and then redoes the measurement procedure. Because the MP50 does measurements throughout the room, compared to whatever box this is which does one measurement at the MLP only. Which Dave intends to do next time in a few weeks when he gets a day off (Dave is quite busy - when I left he and his wife were taking the boys for their basketball practices - both point guards)! So I suspect that what I heard will get even better!
I still love my current dedicated theatre system (Trinnov Altitude 32 based 5.2.4, in process shortly of being upgraded to 9.4.13) and my Trinnov SSP certainly works for me given my speaker # upgrade and excellent sonics. However, as this thread discusses, the choices for those with say up to 16 speakers are getting more and more, Trinnov, Storm Audio, Lyngdorf, Datasat, soon MacIntosh?, someday Theta (18 channels upcoming CBV)? If I had kept my currrent 5.2.4 configuration, or even upped the speaker count a bit, I certainly could have got nice performance and not spent nearly as much as I am spending!
I admit I am so very impressed by this Room Perfect optimization. And if you have a more typical say living room theatre, with in or on wall front speakers, or even front floorstanding speakers very close to walls/obstructed, perhaps a Room Perfect SSP is right for you! I know Dave is now super thrilled he went this route. On the other hand, in a more "audiophile" setup, perhaps a Trinnov SSP, or a Dirac based SSP might work good for you. Now there's a lot of choice. Although I love my Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP, I think the Trinnov Altitude 16 SSP, retailing I think $17 or $18 grand is just as good sounding if you have up to 16 channels, but also the Lyngdorf MP50 at $10k msrp certainly hits a price point and the sonics I heard yesterday post-optimization were quite astounding! SSPs have come a long way!