Nice-Alpine Dolby ProLogic/Digital 5.1 Decoding
Aug 23, 2005 (Updated Feb 22, 2008)
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Works with any 2-channel input, AI-Net connection, EQ functions, well built.
Cons:Small controller, EQ "Q" could be better, doesn't match clarity of newer models.
The Bottom Line: Recommended. Allows ProLogic 5.1 surround sound from ANY head unit...or Dolby Digital decoding also. Offers lots of flexibility also (center channel optional).
I picked up this unit to replace my previous PXA-H710 DSP/EQ/(DTS/ProLogic II/Dolby Digital decoder) unit and kind of experiment.
Recommend this product?
A slightly older model, the H510 still provides the user with the ability to connect to any stereo or link directly with Alpine AI-Net units if the AI-Net cable is used.
Also provides three (3) direct fiber optic inputs for PCM(digital CD audio-SPDIF) decoding and digital-to-analog (DAC) conversion. Quite nice! Also has multi-band equalizer (EQ) functions for FRONT/REAR/CENTER/SUBWOOFER out channels.
Additionally, provides several DSP ("false") surround modes such as Church, Stadium, and so on. Time delay functions are available for all output channels.
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH IT: Can be used for create 5.1 from any 2-channel source (Dobly Pro-Logic) or decoding Dolby Digital audio from any DVD player with TOSLINK connection and fiber o. cable. Also will provide DAC conversion if you just wanted that. If you need EQ functions, the H510 will allow you to adjust audio using PARAMETRIC EQ functions, but with less flexibility than the PXA-H710, its big brother.
WHAT YOU CAN'T DO WITH IT: You can't decode DTS encoded audio. Also you must use the volume control on the remote control unless you're using a direct AI-Net connection to an Alpine head unit (recommended). That goes for any outboard DAC/decoder you use...you can't adjust volume of a purely digital signal BEFORE the DAC/decoder.
SUMMARY: Nice! Sound is up to Alpine quality, and that's great for most people, but noticeably different to my ears from the PXA-H710, which is a step above in performance, complexity, and cost as well. Good quality, and the unit illuminates when turned on to indicate (with lit logo) which surround mode it is in. Good looking unit...remote is a little small, however (like a typical CD changer remote or etc.).
RECOMMENDED?: Yes, I highly recommend if you don't need DTS decoding and are not too picky on the EQ functions...also at today's prices on eBay it's a really good deal. (below $200.)
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