Datasat LS10 vs. RS20i, Scotland UKDatasat LS10 vs. RS20i, Scotland UK

The Datasat LS10 showed its strength in surround sound in my recent test against my benchmark processor for sound the Anthem D2V but lost out in native stereo performance.  The Anthem ARC room equalisation helped a great deal for the surround sound presentation and between the Datasat and the D2V the sound presentation was different but still very accomplished on both.

With the Datasat RS20i now installed as part of my main showroom system I have had the opportunity to compare the performance to the more consumer based Datasat LS10. The setup of both units is slightly different as are the inputs and outputs but when up and running these differences are minor – save the remote on the LS10.

First off native stereo performance appears to be all but identical ( this is with no Dirac on the RS20 or EQ on the LS10) . Running a digital feed from the Lumin network player delivered a solid and engaging sound. There was a hint of extra tautness in the bass and a fraction more clarity with the RS20 but it was very subtle. Essentially there was nothing to get excited about and the musical side of these processors reminded me of cinema products like the Lexicon MC12 where the strength is AV and the hi-fi element is a by-product. With Dirac room eq enabled on the RS20i the performance is far greater as to be expected.

The Datasat products will mostly be installed in higher performing home cinemas and home theatres and this is where their strength lies. The LS10 was set up with adjustments to levels and distance but with no eq and as with the previous test delivered a clear and punchy sound that kept me involved in the movie. There was plenty of good quality steering of effects and a good integration of all speakers across the mix in my 9.2 PLIIz configuration. Swapping to the RS20 without eq enabled and the sound was all but identical to the LS10 but with Dirac Room equalisation one of the main features on the RS20 I cannot see anyone using the processor like this.

Setting up the RS20 with Dirac is slightly more involved than the standard auto setup on your £2000 AV receiver but not so involved that you are left doubting the end result. With Dirac enabled (a simple toggle on/off) the sound takes a massive leap forward and settles way beyond my expectation. What previously sounded coherent and full now appears veiled and bloated. The front five speakers are brought together far more accurately than I have ever experienced with a true balance of soundtrack, speech and effects.  The bass (provided by a Velodyne DD18+ and a DD10+) is just right and the subwoofers are invisible in the mix with no hint of direction save the air pressure created when the volume is on the way to obscene.  The surround speakers neither shout or feel lacking and help bring the sound around you rather than draw attention to their location. Many cinema products can blend the speakers into a seamless mix but the Dirac on the RS20 really does polish that act to a greater degree.  The overall experience is stunning and without question quickens the pulse – a magnificent cinema sound.

Tested

For the stereo tests I used the Lumin Network Player as a source Plinius SB-301 power amp along with the following speakers: Usher AC10, PMC Twenty:26 and Dali Rubicon 5. I was working through C in the music collection and used a variety of tracks from; Corrine Bailey Rae, Cujo, Craig Armstrong, Cypress Hill and The Counting Crows.

For surround sound I used nine channels of AB amplification, Velodyne subs and Triad speaker system – sources were an Oppo 105D and Kaleidescape Movie server. I watched scenes from Final Destination 2,Pacific Rim, Blade Runner, Dirty Harry, The Hobbit and Chris Botti in Boston

Visit the Datasat website HERE  

Visit the Triad website HERE

Visit the AB Amplification website HERE

Next test LS10 vs Storm SSP16