Your questions on audio processing for high end home cinema and the Datasat RS20i answered in this useful list of frequently asked questions.

Home Cinema

What is an audio processor?

An audio processor is a system that enables the audio playback of movie soundtracks, DVDs, Blu-ray and digital music through your home cinema system. The processor should be capable of playing back digital and analog content in a wide array of sound formats. Modern audio processors also have the capability to accommodate 3D and HD content.

Why do I need an audio processor for my home cinema?

Most home cinema systems will come with basic audio playback facilities. These will provide you with digital surround sound but you will not be able to reproduce the quality of sound that was originally intended. An audio processor will enable you to get the same level of experience from your audio as your home cinema delivers with the visuals.

Datasat creates cinema processors. Why is that important to me?

Datasat’s experience within the professional cinema industry means that we have an understanding of more than simply reproducing a high quality, transparent sound. We know how to deliver the sound into all shapes of room to provide an unbeatable listening experience. We believe that if our technology is good enough for sound engineers then, it is good enough for home listeners.

How many channels should be included in an audio processor?

As a minimum, an audio processor will be required to play back 5.1 digital surround sound. That means that the processor needs at least 6 channels of input and output. As the variety of content that you wish to play through your system and surround sound develops, a 16 channel audio processor becomes necessary. For example, the Datasat RS20i includes 16 channels of digital and 8 channels of analog inputs allied to 16 channels of digital and 16 channels of analog outputs.

I was told that I should choose 5.1 surround sound. What does this mean?

The easiest way to think about this is that it is the ratio of speakers to sub woofer. So, 5.1 represents five speakers to one sub woofer. This is the standard lay-out for surround sound. However, surround sound has advanced and you’ll see 7.1, 9.1, even 12.2 configurations. For your audio processor, this is important as each of the speakers – in this set-up – requires its own channel. So, if you wish to set up a 9.1 surround sound configuration, you’ll need a 16 channel audio processor.

What features should my home cinema processor have?

Apart from the number of input and output channels your require, you will need highly granular control of the sound through equalization – both third octave and parametric – phase control and audio delays. Look for a range of management features that make it as easy as possible for you to receive the sound you want. In addition, you should check to make sure that your audio processor includes expansion slots so that you can add to it as new varieties of sound and content appear.

Do home cinema processors only play movies?

No. Today, an audio processor must be capable of delivering a whole range of content – including 3D and HD video.

What is room optimization? Why is it important?

The basic way to control sound is through equalization. That changes the pitch, volume and quality of the sound. However, it doesn’t necessarily deliver the best sound in a room. Each room has its own auditory behaviors. Your audio processor also needs to be able to control the behaviors of the room in order to deliver a great listening experience. It’s possible to have beautifully tuned audio that sounds terrible in the wrong space. Room optimization technology overcomes these issues and should be an essential component of the home cinema processor you select.

I want to play DVDs, Blu-Ray, HD TV and music through my home cinema. Do I need to re-tune the room each time I switch content?

No. The audio processor you select should include a range of memory presets. This will allow you to tune the room once for each content type and then simply switch the preset at the press of a button.


How many audio channels are available with the RS20i?

The standard RS20i features 16 channels of digital and analog input and output.

What types of content can I play through the RS20i?

The RS20i supports a wide range of audio and video formats. The RS20i contains five HDMI connectors for video pass-thru in addition to support for consumer formats such as DVD and Blu-ray.

Can I play video content through the RS20i?

Yes. The standard RS20i contains five HDMI connectors for video pass-thru. It supports HDMI 1.4e compliant digital audio with video.

Can the RS20i assist with room optimization?

Yes. The RS20i is one of the few audio processors to feature Dirac Live®, the leading room optimization technology. It delivers true working impulse response correction and mixed phase filter technology to produce a transparent and true-to-source sound.

Can I save room settings for different forms of content?

Yes. You can establish profiles that identify inputs, outputs, filter and channel gain settings. You can then transfer a profile to an identical room and load the profile there through a USB drive.

What management features does the RS20i contain?

The RS20i comes with extensive touchscreen controls. In addition, it can be managed remotely through RS232 or Ethernet networking. However, it’s key management capabilityies are delivered through its Virtual Network Control (VNC) that allows control from smart phones, tablets and laptops.

What sound controls are included within the RS20i?

You receive 31 bands of third octave equalization and three bands of parametric equalization per channel. In addition to channel gain and phase inversion control, there are also individual bass and treble controls. There is also low, high and bandpass to deliver incredible sound clarity on every channel.

Installation & support

Can I install a audio processor by myself?

Yes. But, we would not advise you do so. An audio processor is a sophisticated and feature-rich system. To get the most from it, it is highly recommended to have your processor installed by a trained engineer from your supplier or dealer.

Where can I find the latest software version for my unit?

The latest software version information is given in the documentation section of Training and Support.

What does the warranty cover?

Depending on its serial number, every Datasat product is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for 12 months to three years from date of purchase. All requests for repairs or replacements should be directed to your authorized Datasat dealer. If a new unit becomes defective BEFORE 90 days of service, Datasat will warranty a repair or exchange of the item at no charge. After 90 days, Datasat will repair and return the item at no charge.

Where can I get the latest pricing and parts information?

All pricing and parts inquiries should be directed to your authorized Datasat dealer. If you do not have a dealer, use our ‘Find a dealer’ form to find a reseller close to you.

Are Datasat products WEEE compliant?

Yes. Datasat Digital Entertainment Ltd has registered with the relevant authorities and our compliance number is WEE/CE0052TQ. Our UK customers can bring product back to us and we will dispose of it accordingly.