HD-A2 using optical audio vs. analog 5.1.. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 12-07-2006, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys...first post. I cannot believe I've never seen this site before.

Anyway, I am convinced(or misled ) that HD-DVD is the way to go and I'm going to get an HD-A2.

Question: Is there anything wrong with using the HD-A2's digital optical output to my DENON 3802 reciever? I do not have HDMI switching and won't for a while (I'll prolly get the 3806/7). I mean, I've been reading a bunch of threads saying how bad Tosh screwed the pooch on the HD-A2 by not putting in the 5.1 analog outputs like the HD-XA2 has. Will I still get DD5.1 sound? Will it sound as good as my DENON DVD-2800's digital optical 5.1 output? I guess I don't understand the problem. I know I won't get TrueHD, but I'll get at least DD5.1, right?

Is it something to do with compression? Isn't digital always better than analog?

Sorry for the n00b questions - I'm still trying to figure out HD-DVD, DDTrueHD, HDMI 1.3 and everything else without wasting my money.
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post #2 of 56 Old 12-07-2006, 09:55 PM
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Will I still get DD5.1 sound?

You'll get DTS 5.1 (or 6.1, depending on the title) @ 1.5Mbps.

Every HD-DVD in existance uses at least Dolby Digital Plus @ 640 Kbps, and many titles use Dolby Digital Plus @ 1.5 Mbps or TrueHD @ 1.5-3.0 Mbps. Through optical output on the A2, you will get this audio run through a DTS 1.5 Mbps transcoder. The sound won't be as good as the output through HDMI, but it is still an upgrade over the Dolby Digital 5.1 you get on DVD.

[For comparison, DVD uses Dolby Digital @ 448 Kbps.]

Denon is expected to announce / demo a number of its next-generation receivers (like the 3607) at CES in January.
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post #3 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 04:47 AM
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I've been a little confused on this as well. Whtat are the most preferred outputs for best surround sound? My receiver has Tos. and digital coax as was as 6 channel direct. I have a 6.1 speaker setup. I have the A1 so what would be the better methd of hook-up. If I use the 6channel direct (5.1) won't I lose the benefit of the rear channels as is DDex or DTS6.1 as thu tos.? I have read thru many, many of these posts....and the more confused I get!!! Would the A2 be a mistake for me audio wise and if so why. This is where I get lost. Thanks in advance!!

Matt
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post #4 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 04:50 AM
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HDMI then Optical then coax are your best digital connection path.
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post #5 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTGOLFER View Post

HDMI then Optical then coax are your best digital connection path.

I do not think the A2 has a coaxial output. Optical, HDMI and R&L RCA are the audio outputs.

Bill

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post #6 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:15 AM
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Why would one want L & R RCA ?
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post #7 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mkellypc View Post

Why would one want L & R RCA ?

Well, to plug into ones analog monitor; while the digital outs can go into ones receiver for ones projector. That's what I do anyway...
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post #8 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:40 AM
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Ah, ok fair enough.

I still don't understand why people say they will be losing out with the A2 as far as audio goes. Doesn't it have opt. out?
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post #9 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:52 AM
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Based on the pic I have seen. The A2 has 1-Optical digital out, 1-HDMI A/V 1.2a out for HD digital audio, no coax digital out (and the analog R&L RCA). Some may need the coax for their system configurations. It is more ususal than not that these players have included coax outs, so it's not an unreasonable gripe.

The A2 lacks 5.1 analog outs, so one must have a receiver with HDMI A/V vers. 1.1 (or above) to fully realize the true potential of the "uncompressed" audio from Dolby and DTS. However, the sound IS much improved even through the optical digital out (as mentioned earlier)

I will be happy to use my optical digital inputs with my forthcoming A2 until I upgrade later.

Once again that's just my take...
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post #10 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkellypc View Post

Ah, ok fair enough.

I still don't understand why people say they will be losing out with the A2 as far as audio goes. Doesn't it have opt. out?

I just think it means less audio options since it doesnt have any analogs outputs. So if you want TrueHD the only way to get it is through HDMI.
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post #11 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigVid View Post

Based on the pic I have seen. The A2 has 1-Optical digital out, 1-HDMI A/V 1.2a out for HD digital audio, no coax digital out (and the analog R&L RCA). Some may need the coax for their system configurations. It is more ususal than not that these players have included coax outs, so it's not an unreasonable gripe.

The A2 lacks 5.1 analog outs, so one must have a receiver with HDMI A/V vers. 1.1 (or above) to fully realize the true potential of the "uncompressed" audio from Dolby and DTS. However, the sound IS much improved even through the optical digital out (as mentioned earlier)

I will be happy to use my optical digital inputs with my forthcoming A2 until I upgrade later.

Once again that's just my take...

Another newb question.... so since it only has 1 HDMI out doesnt that mean you have to run the cable to your reciever and then run another HDMI connection from your reciever to your tv? Wont you loose PQ if you do this on most recievers?
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post #12 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 06:29 AM
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I would go to the receiver (say a Harman Kardon AVR 645 for instance) than run two HDMI video sources from the receiver. Good HDMI cables (such as ones from monoprice) will get you past most problems. Also, if you can avoid HMDI to DVI connections you will save yourself a lot of headaches (from what I've read). HDMI to HDMI is the safe route.

There should be no discernable loss of quality with digital connects if proper care is used. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed...
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post #13 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigVid View Post

I would go to the receiver (say a Harman Kardon AVR 645 for instance) than run two HDMI video sources from the receiver. Good HDMI cables (such as ones from monoprice) will get you past most problems. Also, if you can avoid HMDI to DVI connections you will save yourself a lot of headaches (from what I've read). HDMI to HDMI is the safe route.

There should be no discernable loss of quality with digital connects if proper care is used. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed...

Hehe thats exactly the reciever im thinking of upgrading to from my h/k 635. So I guess it should work fine thanks.
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post #14 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mkellypc View Post

Ah, ok fair enough.

I still don't understand why people say they will be losing out with the A2 as far as audio goes. Doesn't it have opt. out?

optical can't carry all the data that is available with trueHD.

but, on my setup i can't seem to really take full advantage of a1 analog outputs. my receiver has a lot of options on the digital side but basically passes the analog through. so, i can't calibrate the a1 analog output levels on the receiver side.

the a1 allows you to reduce the ouput levels for calibration (which must be done because the sub output is low relative to the others). so, on my setup i end up having to increase the volume level on the receiver to a point where i can get an unacceptable background hiss.

for now i am using optical. i get the best overall results very easily going that route. i plan to invest in a good recevier that fully supports hdmi audio at some time in the future.
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post #15 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoof View Post

Another newb question.... so since it only has 1 HDMI out doesnt that mean you have to run the cable to your reciever and then run another HDMI connection from your reciever to your tv? Wont you loose PQ if you do this on most recievers?


It is a digital domain, there should be zero picture degrading going on at all. Really even with component video where there could be a loss this was mostly a non issue with the vast majority of AVR's that do / did component video switching.
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post #16 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER View Post

It is a digital domain, there should be zero picture degrading going on at all. Really even with component video where there could be a loss this was mostly a non issue with the vast majority of AVR's that do / did component video switching.

To clarify, and in addition to what I said in my post, the digital domain is "lossless"; however, a bad cable can still instill picture actifacts. So, just make sure your cables are adequate. I have had exellent experience with cost-effective (but high-quality) Monoprice cables...
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post #17 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 07:29 AM
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Another newb question.... so since it only has 1 HDMI out doesnt that mean you have to run the cable to your reciever and then run another HDMI connection from your reciever to your tv? Wont you loose PQ if you do this on most recievers?

Many of the "upscaling" receivers do degrade SD signals, because the video circuitry they use costs about as much as a lunch for two at Burger King. However, with the exception of the 5200ES from Sony, receivers don't do any processing on 720p or 1080i HD signals; they just pass the digital video signal through unmodified.

Video processing for HD signals is costly -- i.e. the really inexpensive chips won't do it -- which is why you don't see that capability on most <$1500 receivers.
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post #18 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Great thread - thanks for the quick answers guys.

My wife's not gonna like the fact I need the 3807. I just bought a Sammy 61" DLP 1080P and built a serious gaming computer. Doh.

It's all just never enough is it?
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post #19 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I do not think the A2 has a coaxial output. Optical, HDMI and R&L RCA are the audio outputs.

Bill

Your right but I thought he was asking what are the best digital outputs. I know everyone has HDMI first but at this time I have not chosen to go that route and use optical or coax until the standards are set in stone for all divises from TV's, Sources and AVR and Pre/Pros. When they are standarized I will be the first in line to pick up a new Pre/Pro with HDMI 1.3 or whatever it is at that time.
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post #20 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 09:04 AM
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Having only optical out irritates me. Is it really that big of a deal to include digital coax? Everything is switching to optical only now it seems yet receivers still have equal numbers of both.

My Pioneer 1015 has two optical inputs and two digital coax inputs. The Xbox 360 and PS3 only have optical out. Thank goodness my DVR has digital coax and optical out.

What do I do besides buy an HDMI switching receiver? Are these converters any good at converting optical to digital coax?

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...ormat=2&style=
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post #21 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 09:20 AM
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Optical out only is fine. 99% of the public is happy with DTS 5.1. I'm one of them.
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post #22 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 10:28 AM
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I agree that this has been an excellent thread. I am now encouraged to believe that an optical audio connection between an HD-A1 or HD-A2 and my HT receiver would satisfy my audio needs quite nicely. I have a nearly three year old Yamaha RX-V2400 receiver that don't know nassing bout no steenkin' HDMI.
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post #23 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by LCD1080 View Post

Optical out only is fine. 99% of the public is happy with DTS 5.1. I'm one of them.

What if you have PS3, Xbox 360, DVR, and a BD player? Digital coax and optical both transport the same bitstream. 99% of all receivers have an equal amount of optical and coax. If all the devices start using optical only that causes a problem with not enough inputs.
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post #24 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 12:04 PM
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What if you have PS3, Xbox 360, DVR, and a BD player?

People who have all 4 of those devices make up a tiny part of the overall market. They have my sympathies.
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post #25 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 05:43 PM
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Count me in as "confused" with optical only or analog inputs and the calibration thingie.

I have already calibrated my sound system for my my using a sound level meter and the B+K On Screen Program.

Are you guys saying if I spring for the XA2 for the sake of analog that I must do a SEPARATE calibration for the player itself???

I'm still on the fence about which one to get. I"ve PM'd a few guys and got some opinions, but you all know how this stuff is. Paper or Plastic...............

ARE the analogs really THAT much better to your ears??

I have a good sound system so if that's all it takes...............
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post #26 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 06:25 PM
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Well I have
Sevral items with optical out. I use a mecanical optical selector. Radio shack sells 4x1 selectors I paid like 50 2 years ago, I imagine they are cheeper now.

But I've got
HDDVD
DVD recorder
Xbxox 360
Dvd player
Xbox
But my amp has like 5 optical and 3 coxial digital
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post #27 of 56 Old 12-08-2006, 06:27 PM
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Well I have
Sevral items with optical out. I use a mecanical optical selector. Radio shack sells 4x1 selectors I paid like 50 2 years ago, I imagine they are cheeper now.

But I've got
HDDVD dvd in
DVD recorder analong in for now
Xbxox 360 selector dtv in
Dvd player dvr in via coaxial
Xbox- selector dtv in
Sat box-sat in
But my amp has like 5 optical and 3 coxial digital
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post #28 of 56 Old 12-09-2006, 04:02 AM
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Monoprice sells a 3x1 optical selector for under $8
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post #29 of 56 Old 12-09-2006, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zork52 View Post

Count me in as "confused" with optical only or analog inputs and the calibration thingie.

I have already calibrated my sound system for my my using a sound level meter and the B+K On Screen Program.

Are you guys saying if I spring for the XA2 for the sake of analog that I must do a SEPARATE calibration for the player itself???

I'm still on the fence about which one to get. I"ve PM'd a few guys and got some opinions, but you all know how this stuff is. Paper or Plastic...............

ARE the analogs really THAT much better to your ears??

I have a good sound system so if that's all it takes...............

Yes the analog is better because you're getting DD+ or TrueHD lossless. I don't know if Tosh has improved the calibration process on the XA2 because the A1 just wasn't good in that way. For example, the db level only went up to 0. This was completely inadequate for sbw level as it had to be pumped up to 10 dbs (THX recommended through analog output). I used a THX disk as well to help with crossover and balance.

The difference is noticeable on big sound disks such as Batman Begins. Since I have both the optical and analog hooked up to my Yamaha RX-V550 I have the luxury of immediately changing by a click of my audio remote the inputs from DTS (converted DD+ or TrueHD tracks through optical) to DD+/TrueHD analog. There is clear and unequivocal difference - clarity, cleaner sound, wider sound fied. Those more subtle sounds are brought to the fore and have depth and clarity.

Your receiver should have the capability to callibrate the multi ch input of analog as well to avoid the Tosh calibration limitations (although who knows if the XA2 has fixed this).
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post #30 of 56 Old 12-09-2006, 11:06 AM
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HP,

So I gather you switch back and forth depending if the disc has the TrueHD and DD+ encoding or just the standard DD and DTS?

My B+K is a pre/proc. I guess I would have that same option using the 2 methods of connection somehow...........I"ll have to check that out.

I would still think if I've calibrated my system already I should just be able to connect it up and go, except have to turn up the volume for movies???

Or is it that the player is like the processor all unto itself and "doesn't care" what my pre/proc has the speaker levels ( including sub ) calibrated at?
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