The amount of time, research and proper equipment chains is absolutely staggering and spot on. Personally I’ve been after a 5300 for years ever since Disclord raved about them on the lddb forums as the best matrix decoder he had ever heard. A lot of what you’ve stated makes perfect sense with what he stated and the various forums and manuals I’ve read over the years. I had no idea 4K77 had a brand new edition and now this makes it a must to play on my system since I play matrix LD tracks almost daily.
I’d be very interested to know your thoughts on PLIIx hairyhen and how you think it does with not only providing the correct channel separation but also how well it works with mono surround tracks by using all four surrounds in a 7.1 system. At first I felt it was weird but then I realized that when speakers are properly separated IIx does a great job at preserving the correct feel. Of course it does have some instances of dialogue/effect bleeding at times and has occasionally stereoized/panned the rear a bit on a few tracks but since I thought I’d never get a chance to use a 5300 that it was as good as I could do. The movie mode is supposed to be an even more accurate formulation than regular PLII and far more than the theatrical version which pretty much stopped with SR. Thus I would suggest that movie mode is a better choice if you have to upmix but for this track it should be unnecessary since all the hard work has already been done. Music mode, while it doesn’t seem to pan rears, is more of a gimmicky format designed to wrap two channel music around the listener and not at all accurate like movie mode.
Also I’m glad to see you worked out the digital to analog and back issue. I’ve often wondered about how using one of these older units in my system would work since I always stay in the source format which in this case would be digital and all units are analog only.
So far what interests me most is the ability you had on this new version to more fully separate anything from being lost in the channels by being diverted into the LFE AND prevent centering. IMO this is arguably the biggest issue you can run into with matrix tracks on any decoding unit as there is the tendency to sum everything towards and through the center and send far too much information the the subwoofer which then loses details. For example, in any Jabba dialogue in ROTJ his voice and especially laughs boom right down into your sub and immediately you lose ambiance and even effects detailing etc.
Ultimately in short this should be INCREDIBLE…
I sooooooooooooooooo need a 5300! In fact I think I saw that same ebay listing and was put off by the local pickup only. 😉
EDIT: HH, have you ever thought about or tried running through an actual Dolby cinema processor? That would be the only other thing I can think of to try and should provide an interesting result if you could ever figure out how to get a recording run through one.