Originally Posted by ecsobar61
Can you explain what you mean by analog-digital-analog conversion here? I basically want to play CDs (digital) on the Oppo and hear them on the headphones (DVD and BD a plus).
The OPPO has both Analog and Digital audio outputs. Headphones (like regular speakers) need Analog audio. The content you are playing (e.g., CDs) is Digital audio.
The hardware that converts Digital audio to Analog audio is called a DAC -- a Digital to Analog Converter. More expensive DACs do this job better.
When you listen to the Analog audio outputs of the OPPO, the high quality DACs built into the OPPO are doing that conversion. So all you need between the player and the headphones is cables and, possibly, an Analog audio headphones amp.
When you listen to the Digital audio outputs of the OPPO (HDMI, Optical or Coax), the conversion to Analog must be done external to the player. Volume control ALSO must be done external to the player -- the Volume adjustment in the OPPO only applies to its Analog audio outputs. So to connect to your headphones you need cables and a device which is *BOTH* a DAC and a headphones amp. The point made above is that INEXPENSIVE boxes like that probably don't include particularly good DACs.
So since you want to save money, but still get high quality audio, use the Analog outputs of the OPPO, either cabled directly to your headphones, or, even better, through a good quality Analog headphones amp, perhaps like the one I cited above.
RDGRIMES post was pointing out that you DON'T want to get an inexpensive "digital" amp, which takes Analog audio output from the player, converts that BACK to digital on input, amplifies it using digital audio circuitry, and converts THAT result back to audio with its own DACs. You've thus got two conversion steps being done by that inexpensive hardware and that's just asking for poor quality.
Discussion of particular headphones amps should be taken to the other thread, cited above, where people hang out who follow such stuff.