I'm hoping folks here can help clarify a few questions I have about SACD playback and also corroborate issues with the BDP-53FD.
My current set up includes Pioneer Elite SC-27 AVR, BDP-23FD BDP and DV-49AV SACD player.
The DV-49 is connected to the SC-27 via HDMI. As near as I can glean from the SC-27 manual, it will accept and decode a DSD bitstream from the player via HDMI. But, it appears evident that the receiver is taking the DSD bitstream is then converting it to PCM before being finally converting again to analog for playback.
I notice on the SC-27 display that DSD and PCM are illuminated during SACD playback (and the correct channel indicators reflect the setting for the mix of the disc in question, i.e. Stereo or Multi Channel).
Here are my questions:
1. Is there a reason why it is necessary to convert DSD to PCM as opposed to convert directly from digital to analog from DSD?
2. Are they are any advantages/disadvantages to going to PCM from DSD?
3. When setting the receiver audio mode to "stream direct" does this now result in direct DA conversion from DSD (in spite of the PCM indicators on the front display) or does this result in the signal still being converted to PCM but any other signal processing (as opposed to decoding) is disabled for the receiver?
4. The manual or the unit does not indicate what PCM bit rate and sampling frequency is being used for the PCM from the DSD source. The sound quality is clearly superior, so I can only assume a higher bit rate and sampling is being used than standard CD audio (16 bit, 44.1 kHz). The receiver manual indicates that it will support PCM decoding up to 24 bit and 192 kHz. Does anyone happen to know what bit rate and sampling frequency is being used for the DSD->PCM conversion by the SC-27?
Now for the BDP-53FD. I recently upgraded to this player, mainly because I was wanting the faster load times for BDs, the new video processor, internet streaming, and the ability to play all disc formats, and in particular to be able to take advantage of PQLS for SACDs.
First, I wanted to confirm that PQLS is supported with the 53 for SACDs and also wanted to confirm whether or not the player will send a DSD bitstream out the HDMI interface and if not, what bit rate and sampling frequency it uses when converting to PCM.
The reason I'm not able to tell if PQLS is supported for SACDs or if the player is sending a DSD bitstream via HDMI is because the player won't detect SACDs!
It detects and plays BD, DVD and CDs without any problem, but I tried well over a half dozen different SACDs and the player would not recognize any of them. It grinds a bit, then appears unable to read the SACD layer and displays UKN DISC. I saw that a few others have run into this issue, perhaps sporadically. I took the player back assuming I just got a defective unit.
I was thinking of having Best Buy order me a replacement, but now I'm not sure, especially after reading some of the reports of surround channel playback problems on SACDs.
The only other thing about the 53 I didn't like was the disc tray. It seems a lot less sturdy and solid than the 23, although this is a minor issue.
I'm very excited to upgrade my player and get the new features, but wanted to find out if most owners are having a good experience or if the 53 is a problem child and best avoided.
Many thanks for the help and feedback!