Originally Posted by linger63
Just wondering WHY you connect the OPPO's HDMI 1 to your AVR?
You obviously care about video quality and seem VERY happy with the OPPO's video processing.
Why then not just go DIRECT from the OPPO's HDMI 1 to your Panasonic to FULLY optimise your PQ and use HDMI 2 for audio to your AVR?
As with most things in life, the real story is always a bit more complicated than what you first thought.
Actually, I bought the Oppo for several reasons, only one of which was to support HDMI-input of HDTV and benefit from the cleanup/upconvert possible from its video processing. Another reason, as you've suggested, is to be able to use HDMI-2 output for audio-only, while allowing HDMI-1 to be used for video-only (either directly to a connected display, or through an AVR). And yet one more reason I bought it is that the Oppo can decode all of the modern multi-channel source audio codecs to produce multi-channel LPCM output from its HDMI-2 connector.
Although I didn't mention it previously, I don't actually have a loudspeaker-based multi-channel audio system to support my viewing. I do have a 2-channel speaker-based system for "everyday ordinary watching/listening" (supported by "party mode" from my Yamaha RX-V867 AVR), but for serious multi-channel audio listening enjoyment (in the absence of the true 5.1 or 7.1 high-end speaker setup I'd love to have, which is unfortunately impossible to support in my 3rd-floor condo) I have implemented a headphone-based simulated multi-channel substitute.
My headphone system is driven by a Smyth A8 Realiser
, fed with HDMI input via the multi-channel discrete LPCM output from the Oppo's HDMI-2 connector. Since the Realiser does not itself contain any proprietary CODEC decoding capability, it relies entirely on receiving already-decoded discrete 2.1/5.1/7.1 multi-channel input in LPCM format via HDMI. The Oppo is the only box I've discovered that will do that decoding to LPCM with HDMI output, of all the usual 5.1/7.1 source audio formats both lossy and lossless. No AVR I've found will do this.
So in order to support my HDMI-enabled Realiser that drives my headphone system, I needed the Oppo. I could not feed the Realiser from my AVR, since decoded LPCM output to HDMI was not possible from the AVR.
To complete the equipment picture, the Realiser has both RCA analog headphone output (making use of DAC's in the Realiser) which I don't use, as well as optical headphone output which I do use and feed to my external Audio-GD NFB-9 DAC
. I then feed the XLR balanced output of the DAC to the XLR balanced input of my tube-based Stax SRM-007tii headphone amp
, which feeds my Stax SR-009 headphones
If you've not heard of the Smyth A8 Realiser, it is a device whose purpose is to "duplicate how any listening environment sounds, through headphones", as determined by a "PRIR measurement" done using calibrated microphones inserted into the listener's ears, while the Realiser generates a sequence of sweep signals through every speaker in the listening environment. The result is a digital file (i.e. PRIR) which "describes" the characteristics of that listening environment in such a way, and in such precise detail, that when the PRIR is then used "in reverse" (i.e. during playback of any new multi-channel audio source content through the Realiser and that PRIR file) it will appear to the listener through headphones, to sound "EXACTLY" as if that audio was being played through the original speakers in the original listening environment and the listener was in that same chair actually hearing the sound played through those real speakers.
One more measurement (still through the calibrated microphones in your ears) is involved to complete the Realiser's capability of properly reproducing the sound of a listening environment. And that is the measurement of your headphone amp and headphones (my Stax SRM-007tii/SR-009), producing a separate digital file named HPEQ. This file corresponds to your headphone and amp, describing its audio characteristics in such a way that during playback the Realiser can apply the proper EQ adjustments in order to even more precisely duplicate the original listening environment's sound.
So "playback" (i.e. listening to any audio source) through the Realiser involves selecting (a) a PRIR, describing the listening environment itself, and (b) an HPEQ, describing the headphones you're listening through. Believe me, THIS IS NOT DOLBY HEADPHONE!!!!!
The Realiser is not trying to "optimize" anything, so as to produce a "best possible sound". It's purpose is, instead, to DUPLICATE ANY MULTI-CHANNEL LISTENING ENVIRONMENT PRECISELY, THROUGH HEADPHONES... however good or bad that original listening environment was.
So, I was lucky enough (i.e. paid money for 1 hour of high-end studio/theater rental time containing 5.1 or 7.1 speaker systems, so that I could perform the necessary PRIR measurements for that particular high-end audio environment) to be able to "capture" a collection of several different PRIR's at several different "listening environments" in the LA area. So I now have my own private set of PRIR's, each of which "duplicates" the sound of that original listening environment when used to listen to HDTV or BluRay or CD-audio through my headphones. I use a 5.1 PRIR to listen to 5.1 audio source, and a 7.1 PRIR to listen to 7.1 audio source.
As it turns out, I was fortunate enough to be able to get a PRIR created at the remarkable mixing room
of AIX Records in LA
. They produce some amazing stuff, both audio and video. They have both standard 5.1 and 7.1 setups (which I have PRIR's for), as well as THX (which I don't have). Anyway, because of the remarkable sound of their listening environment I have simply reverted to always using my AIX PRIR (either 5.1 or 7.1, as needed for the audio source) whenever I watch/listen to HDTV or BluRay/DVD movies.
Now back to your question. Since I do want to be able to support regular 2-speaker sound for ordinary non-critical listening, I have routed HDMI-1 output of the Oppo to my AVR (rather than directly to my display). HDMI-1 thus contains audio and video to go through the AVR, when I'm just using the 2-speaker arrangement. The Realiser is powered off, so the Oppo routes audio and video through HDMI-1 output.
HDMI-2 of the Oppo goes to the Realiser (which is now powered on), for when I use it. The Oppo senses the presence of a HDMI-2 device and activates "split A/V", sending video-only out HDMI-1 and audio-only out HDMI-2. The AVR (which also has its own two HDMI outputs) feeds my 65VT50 for video from its own HDMI-1 output. The second HDMI-2 output from the AVR goes to my old Sony 34XBR960 which is also still in the setup, although it's due for sale and removal in November.
And when the Realiser is powered off and I want sound through my 2 speakers, the AVR also supports the 2-speaker audio (via "party mode"), down-mixing the multi-channel audio coming from the Oppo's HDMI-1 (along with video, when running in this mode) to 2-channel stereo for delivery to my two speakers. When using the Realiser and headphones for "serious listening", the Realiser is powered on and thus triggers the Oppo to deliver video-only out of HDMI-1, and decoded discrete multi-channel LPCM out of HDMI-2, feeding the Realiser's HDMI input.
The Audio-GD/NFB9 and Stax SRM-007tii/SR-009 headphone setup is truly remarkable to listen to. And the Realiser-based AIX-PRIR "virtual 5.1/7.1 multi-speaker listening environment" is truly like being there. And it's all "digital audio" from source through the Oppo and on into the Realiser where "virtual surround" processing takes place in the digital domain, and then on via optical to the DAC where things audio finally become glorious analog.
That's my story.