Myryad Home Theater System

      Date posted: November 10, 2000

Myryad MDP 500 Digital Preamp/Processor

Myryad MDP500 Digital Preamp/Processor

Sugg. Retail: $3995 (CAN)

Myryad MA360 3-Channel Power Amplifier
Sugg. Retail: $3499 (CAN)

Myryad MA240 Stereo Power Amplifier
Sugg. Retail: $2499 (CAN)

Artech Electronics, Myryad MA 360 3-Channel Power Ampflifier
1870 St. Regis Blvd. Dorval,
Quebec, Canada H9P 1H6
(514) 421-6448 FAX 421-1231

(Reprinted from the Almanac 2001 Issue)

      Intended to beat obsolescence by being both versatile and modular, the Myryad home theatre system offers whatever combination of 2- and 3-channel amplifiers you need, with a processor that can accommodate up to 7 channels plus subwoofer. The MDP500 provides 9 stereo analog inputs with an additional 7.1 (8, in fact) set for DVD audio or any other format that might come along. Internally it does Dolby Digital and Pro Logic, as well as DTS. There are DSP modes named Natural, Club, Concert, and Party, as well as Cinema Re-EQ to tame bright soundtracks.
      It also boasts 6 digital inputs (4 coax, 2 optical), and 6 video inputs, with each having both composite and S-video jacks. Outputs include 2 for monitor, 1 of these without OSD, and an additional out, all with both composite and S offered. Audio outputs include 3 for recording, and a full 7.1 set for pass- through of future discrete formats. For those with other Myryad components, the proprietary My-Link control RCA jacks are also provided, and the universal remote will operate all Myryad gear without programming. Of course, it will assume other brands’ command sets, as well as learning individual commands and control sequences. There is also an RS-232 input on the MDP500 for integration into sophisticated home theatre setups, and provision for power triggers for screens and other accessories.

      Speaking of setup, it’s quite easy with this system, once you read and follow the instructions for activating the remote, something I’ve never had to do with a home theatre component before. As when programming the codes for other brands, a 3-digit number must be entered on the keypad. The reason for this is that the remote control is sourced from outside, though I don’t know why they don’t perform this task at the factory before shipping (actually, the distributor has informed me that the remotes are shipped already programmed; mine was an early sample).

      Looking at the remote, you can pretty well see how it works, with the usual selector buttons at top, Volume and Channel buttons below, with cursor buttons underneath. There are enough specialized buttons to comfortably run everything from CD to satellite and all in between. The 4-character LCD window at top helps keep you informed on input and other status conditions.

      The two amplifiers are very similar from the front, but a little different in their rear panel inputs, the MA240 having balanced inputs (there are no corresponding outputs on the MDP500) in addition to the RCAs. Both have RCA outs for possible bi-amp connection, while the MA240’s 2 channels can be bridged for more than twice the power at the press of a button. Power output for both amps is 120 watts rms per channel, with 400 watts available in the 240’s bridged mode.

      As it turns out, Artech Electronics (the Canadian and U.S. distributor) also supplied me with the Acoustic Energy Aegis surround speaker system, consisting of the pair of Aegis 2s reviewed in the Summer/Fall 2000 Issue, Aegis 1 bookshelf speakers for the rear, the Aegis Centre, and the Aegis Sub. With identical mid/bass drivers and tweeters all around, timbre matching was assured.

      I hooked the system up using Kimber 8TC at front and 4TC at rear, with various sources, including Star Choice digital audio, my portable Panasonic DVD-L10 player, and the Pioneer DVL-90 DVD/LD player, which also outputs a 96- kHz/20-bit digital signal in addition to Dolby Digital and DTS (CD/LD only). Images were passed through the MDP500 in S format to our 51″ Pioneer SD-5193 ISF-calibrated RPT.

      Watching several DVD movies, including new releases High Fidelity, and The Cider House Rules, I noted the excellent S-video signal that came through the MDP500. Its sound quality was very good, too, with clear, well separated Dolby Digital, and a clarity of sound that tells us a new generation of chips is inside this processor and others like the Sunfire Cinema Grand II.

      Most aspects of operation were pretty much intuitive after initial setup, and I never thought that the Myryad system was trying to take control of me, as I have with some other HT processors. I’m sure you know that feeling, when the component does what it wants, making watching a movie a battle of microprocessor wills.

      The MDP500 automatically selected surround mode with each input by sensing the signal, and though it did decide it would rather give me optical-input Dolby Digital on CD input rather than DVD after a few days, it was otherwise un-idiosyncratic (if you don’t mind such a word).

      I checked out the DTS CD playback, and it sounded better than most processors I’ve heard, though it still couldn’t restore resolution to these pathetically inadequate recordings on classical music; adding channels does not replace lack of detail. As an aside, using the same kind of limited bitstream for Digital Audio Broadcasting actually sounds quite good because only 2 channels are using the information; with it spread over 5, the resolution is just adequate for movie soundtracks, and barely so for music.

      The sound of the Myryad solid state amplifiers was excellent, with plenty of dynamics and punch, and the subwoofer added to this impression with its very clean bottom foundation. I might choose different speakers for my own system, but the budget Acoustic Energy Aegis matched quintet aquitted itself quite well.

Andrew Marshall

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