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post #1 of 12 Old 03-28-2008, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a Samsung 1400 Blu-Ray player. I have a new Onkyo receiver that offer optic inputs. What would I gain if anything from running optic vs standard RCA cables to my receiver? Is there a difference from optic cable to optic cable? Thank you for your help.

John
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-28-2008, 09:30 PM
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Assuming you don't have your player hooked up via HDMI to your receiver, the optical cable will give you regular Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound. I'm not sure what you mean by "standard RCA cables?" Are you talking about regular red and white for stereo or 6 RCA cables for front, surround, center and subwoofer?
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 06:45 AM
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Yes, you need to specify which RCA output you are talking about?
You might have an RCA out that’s labeled S/PDIF, you might also have 5.1 Analog outs, and of course the Red & White John Albers mentioned. They are all RCA outs, but there is a difference among some of those.

The advantage to the Toslink, is interference with cable is removed since it's using light, thats assuming you had any to begin with. In my experience some toslink cables pass light better than others. Jitter can be introduced depending on how your toslink cables (glass/polymer) are made.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 08:04 AM
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If that new Onkyo processes audio over HDMI, that's your best connection. It will give you lossless audio. What model Onkyo did you get? If it's a 605 or greater, then you can get dts-MA using HDMI and the player/receiver both set to bitstream.

If no HDMI, then standard audio cables connecting the six speaker outputs from the player to the analog inputs on the receiver will also give you lossless audio - all types of lossless except for dts-MA.

Optical is next best. It works well, but does not pass uncompressed 5.1 tracks or the new high bit rate codecs such as TrueHD. Optical is limited to legacy Dolby Digital and DTS.

The traditional red and white audio cable pair is perfectly fine quality, but limited to stereo, of course.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I picked up a used Onkyo Integra 5.6. This unit does not have the HDMI connections on it. It does have the toslink. The Blu-Ray player I have is the Samsung BD-P1400. This unit does have the 2 red & white RCA cables but it also has the, I think 8 outputs for FL,Center,FR,L Side, R side, sub, BR and BL. I will run HDMI to the TV for picture but for sound am I still better off using the optic connection? What cables do you think I should look at? Thank you for your help.

John
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 04:32 PM
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Your best bet is the use the 6 RCA cable outs (Front L & R, Surround L & R, Center and Subwoofer) provided you have 5 speakers set up, and hook them up to the corresponding multichannel input on the receiver. This will let you hear the lossless Dolby TrueHD and PCM surround sound tracks (TrueHD and PCM on blu-ray is better than CD quality sound). If you use the optical out, all you will get is regular Dolby Digital and regular DTS.
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 04:39 PM
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+1 on the six analog audio connections. (Your player only supports 5.1 over analog, not 7.1.) You'll get lossless audio from uncompressed PCM and TrueHD tracks, but not dts-MA. dts-MA requires a bitstream transmission to a receiver with HDMI 1.3. You will get the DTS core track instead. With optical, you are limited to legacy DD and DTS, although they are encoded at higher bit rates than you get on DVD and they sound better, as a result.

As for the cables, regular analog audio cables are just fine for these connections. You can get six bundled together or use three sets of the usual red/white stereo pairs.

You will also need to do bass and time management in the player if you use multichannel analog connections. The speaker settings in the receiver are not used when the audio has already been converted to analog in the player.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Your right I just do have 6 channels out on the DVD player. I have FR, center, FL, sub, BR and BL. I looked at the Integra receiver and it has Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS, DTS-ES Discrete, DTS-ES Matrix, DTS Neo:6, DTS 96/24. When I talked with Onkyo they told me it was best to run optic but I thought I remember hearing something about using the decoder in the DVD is better. It does say that it has 7.1 multi-channel input and 7.1 channel output.

What is lossless? What is DTS-MA and True HD? just so I understand it is better to use the 6 RCA cable than optic, correct? What about my old Pioneer Laser disc player than has optic but only 2 RCAs, what is best here? Thank you, I am very new at this and really need some help. Thanks again.

John
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 11:30 PM
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OK - Basic Audio 101:

The new larger Blu-ray discs can accomodate larger audio files - essentially the audio version of HD video. Studios are now putting uncompressed 5.1 PCM tracks on movie discs, exact copies of the studio masters, which are the best possible quality. Uncompressed tracks take up a great deal of space. So, Dolby Digital developed TrueHD and DTS developed Master Audio (dts-MA). TrueHD and dts-MA are "lossless" codecs. They compress the original files to save space during encoding, when they are put on the disc. The decoder in the player or receiver uncompresses them back to the original PCM. These are lossless codecs because no audio data is lost in the process.

Dolby Digital and DTS are older "lossy" codecs developed in the 1990s. Dolby had to really squeeze down the audio files to encode them on the actual film. DTS encoded the audio on a CD that rolled in sync with the film. CDs don't have much space either. DD and DTS are lossy codecs because they have to discard some of the audio data to squeeze the files down to rather small sizes. Quality suffers, as a result.

Optical cables (and the SPDIF protocol they use) lack the capacity for these larger audio files. Optical is limited to the older DD and DTS files and two channels of uncompressed PCM. If you want to send lossless, multichannel digital audio to your receiver, you have to use HDMI. If you try to play TrueHD over optical, the player will use a legacy DD track instead.

However, there's one other choice. If your Blu-ray player can decode TrueHD and/or dts-MA, then you can convert it to analog in the player and send it to the receiver over six separate analog cables, one for each channel. The receiver simply amplifies the signals and sends them to the speakers. Your new Blu-ray player can decode TrueHD, but not dts-MA. So, with analog cabling, you can get lossless audio from uncompressed PCM tracks and TrueHD tracks, but not from those encoded as dts-MA.

As for your old Pioneer player, use optical. It doesn't have the new, larger audio files and there's no advantage to analog cabling.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-30-2008, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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BIslander, thanks for taking the time to explain this to me in you 101 class. One last question that I have is how do I know that a DVD has TrueHD or DTS-MA? Thanks again.

John

P.S. Can you tell the difference with manufacture of the RCA or optic cables?
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-30-2008, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnAlbers View Post

BIslander, thanks for taking the time to explain this to me in you 101 class. One last question that I have is how do I know that a DVD has TrueHD or DTS-MA?

Look on the box. The audio formats will be listed. To select one of these tracks for playback, go to the Language or Audio settings menu on the disc.

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Can you tell the difference with manufacture of the RCA or optic cables?

I don't think so. If you buy from one of the forum sponsors such as MonoPrice, you'll get excellent cables at reasonable prices.
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-30-2008, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, Thanks again to everyone for your help.

John
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