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Audison Bit One

A digital processor designed to act as an ideal OEM (factory system) integration device. It can apply high quality Digital Signal Processing to enable the use of filtered and crossed-over input sound signals from complex OEM systems by summing them and 'flattening' the signal for reproduction in a quality aftermarket add-on system. It can apply time-alignment corrections and can also control the sophisticated TH series Audison amplifiers. When used with the Digital Remote Control, four different global settings of tuning may be recalled for use. The device has crossovers with digital alleles of two famous passive crossover alignments, Linkwitz and Butterworth.

You have 31 band equalisers in virtual form at every input and output and the system as a whole may be controlled by way of EQ adjustment happening automatically upon different levels of listening to allow for non linearity of the system's output. In other words, if your delicate setting for quieter use gets a bit raucous as you turn it up, the Bit One can adjust the output automatically to have less prominent highs. Time alignment is powerful too, with all adjustments possible to hear in real time. This is because the processor is a super fast, super powerful 32 Bit Analog Devices SHARC. A few years ago, this was used in the most expensive home theatre processors only.

At time of writing it is by far the most advanced device of its type available for in car use globally.

- 32-BIT Floating point Analog Devices SHARC Digital Signal Processing chip
- Clock speed: 266MHz
- Microsoft Windows (Win 2000, XP, Vista) based software with 'Standard' and 'Expert' operating modes
- Internal flash memory for firmware allows future upgrades
- Two S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital InterFace) digital inputs, one coaxial, one Toslink Optical
- Two RCA Pre-inputs
- USB 2.0 connector
- One High Level 'Phone in' high level momentary audio interrupt for use with hands free cell phone kits with mute function
- Eight High level Inputs
- Eight Output channels on RCA and also on single proprietary digital AD Link connection on Cat 5 S.Lan cable with RJ45 plugs
- Direct digital compatibility with Audison TH series amplifiers via the above
- Remote turn on by signal to ch1 of high level inputs, or by delayed 'key' ignition from front, or by traditional 12V trigger- Outputs its own turn-on voltage for further equipment
- Wolfson Microelectronics brand Analogue to Digital and Digital to Analogue converters
- Wolfson D/A, A/D converters work at 48kHz with 24 bit resolution, enabling accurate algorithm use. (BIG sums)
- Tuning functions can be heard in real time due to speed of processing
- Adjustable input sensitivity on all sources
- 31-band equalisation available for each source at input
- High level inputs can be internally summed and have their combined signal 'flattened' by the DSP for filtered OEM component systems
- Can reconstruct centre channel and subwoofer channels from a stereo input alone
- Each output channel can be phase inverted or switched in and out to hear the difference
- Each output channel may use either a Linkwitz (12/24/36/48dB) or a Butterworth (6/12/18/24/30/36/42/48dB) crossover configuration
- Crossovers may be set between 10Hz and 20kHz as high, low or bandpass
- 31 band equalisation available at each output - plus or minus 12dB in 128-step resolution
- Time Alignment allows up to 22ms delay in 0.02ms steps per channel, = up to 748cm of virtual adjustment
- All outputs can be level adjusted to further tune response
- Advanced Dynamic EQ process changes output curves between low and high volume
- DRC Digital Remote Control unit can access four of your different tuning configuration settings
- DRC also enables access to digital features of Audison TH amps if connected
- Distortion: THD @ 1kHz, 1V RMS output 0.002%
- Signal to Noise ratio: 102dBA
- Channel Separation: @ 1kHz, 77dB
- Input sensitivity high level: 1.2 to 20V RMS
- Input sensitivity low level: 0.3 to 5.0V RMS
- Max output signal level: 4V RMS
- Dimensions: (w)225 x (h)150 x (d)32.3mm
- Mass: 1.345kg

Review by Adam Rayner

To write a full and detailed technical review of how well this device works, would take more space and attention span than most of us have. It is an absolute beast. The heart of the matter is the same chip that Tag McLaren Audio were bragging about when they brought out a class-leading home theatre sound processor to deal with surround sound codecs. It was horribly expensive yet the Audison Bit One is only £500.

And that cash also covers all the posh signal handling plug holes and there are loads. You can go in on a nice clean RCA but if all you have is a fistful of speaker wires, some with tweeters' sound, some with mid and some with weedy bass signals in them, you can connect them all up, add them together and even smooth out the daft huge EQ humps the OEM audio systems can build into their dedicated-equipment and unvarying designs to get around the horrid low quality of the output.

Of course, the device is designed to boss a whole and quite complex set of equipment, both OEM and aftermarket, so is truly pointless to bench test. Thus, I caught up with the device at the EMMA season-opener sound off at Auto Audio in west London. The car was Jas Dahele's of FOUR who import and distribute the high end Audison brand. The car was an Audi with both CD and antediluvian Compact Cassette slot (even more pointless than male nipples these days) in the factory location. What Jaswinder didn't know was that a slot that can eat six CDs through the one hole means that backstage you are talking about a Nakamichi mech. No one else ever made these and Nak have been quietly taking over the ruddy world with the OEM provision of these six disc-through-one-hole players. It also means that the basic quality of the signal coming out is pretty damn good. You wouldn't be able to replace this deck without ripping half the dash apart and losing a whole bunch of woven-in functionality with the car.

This is why 'OEM integration' is such a big issue. The signal was taken from the OEM CD deck and fed to the Bit One which was driving TH Series amps playing a set of Audison Thesis speakers comprising TH 3.0 Voce (�580 a pair tweeters), TH1.5 Violino (�560 a pair midband) and TH 6.5 sax (�950 a pair midbass) plus a TH 10 Basso woofer (�850 each). These are serious HiFi drivers that'd impress if you were to enclose them and play them to a pompous home audio reviewer blind. The install was just delicious with a totally seamless integration into the doors' stock locations with a degree of customisation that just didn't show, so good was the workmanship. GRP enclosures supply acoustic suspension to the midbasses and the HF drivers were so solid that really high speed details shone through.

All of which truly enabled me to hear the different curves that Jas had set in his system. There was a 'flat' setting, a 'competition' setting and Jas' favourite, a slightly raised-dynamics and snap setting which was for his personal taste.

Playing that, we listened to Adele and I fell in love with that god-given voice all over again. The detail was awesome and I just wanted to snog her face off. (She's a scrumptiously sexy lass too, but I digress.) Then there were some odd tracks from the first Audison mad audiophile test disc, complete with a stereo mix of some stuff I have on DVD-A by an outfit who called themselves Studio Voodoo. The sound was incredible, so you can expect a review of the speakers and amplification at some point but what it all meant was that when it came time to try the switching in and out of the whole process, I could really hear what was going on.

I've been privileged enough to go to Japan and hear an early Alpine processor in their special training facility in Iwaki City and I used to be test bench boy at a company that rents out sophisticated studio equipment, called FX Rentals, plus I have heard and reviewed both Audyssey's MultEQ and Lyngdorf's RoomPerfect auto-EQ systems. Back in the day, I would hear Bob Hobson's car gradually come on song as first tunings turned to a few hours – and that was just two legendary 31 Band Audio Control EQTs. Also, I worked on big stadium PA rigs with racks of Klark-Teknik 31 band EQs. So I have some experience in this stuff.

What happened when Jas turned the process off then on again was revelatory. It might not be a super fast quick-fix-o-automation but that's to miss the point. At the level the sophisticated buyers of Bit One are thinking about, they will appreciate some hours need to be spent in tuning their car with golden ears and an RTA (real time analyser) and in aligning the time delays for each speaker.

In a purely UK use of the word, the result is awesome.

The sound went from good but a bit diffuse, to sparkling, more dynamic, with incredible super high frequency detail and fabulously well located imagery across and 'outside' the screen's limitations. Airy, spacious and sweet and almost three dimensional, with front to back depth and even the psycho-acoustic 'con' of some three dimensiality of up and down.

I could wax every yet more lyrical and poetic at this point but the simple truth is the Audison Bit One is an incredibly clever yet straightforward to use piece of kit with simple graphics screens you set by laptop. I just love the filtering-down of technology and down-spiraling prices under Moore's Law that has resulted in this fabulous chip becoming something that we automotive fans can access. Even at �500, Audison's Bit One represents fabulous value for money.

For it's exemplary sound, immense flexibility and unheard-of-in-mobile-electronics processing power, it richly deserves a still-rare-as-hens'-teeth Talk Audio State of the Art Award.

Sound Quality 10.0
Ease Of Use/HMI 9.0
Flexibility 10.0
DSP Power 10.0
Value For Money 9.0
Overall rating 9.6

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State of the art, 9.6, but 2 stars?  Shurely shome mishtake?