Digital and Analog outputs on a CD player - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-26-2008, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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1) If I use the digital output on my CD player, does the sound just get "passed" to rmy receiver for the receiver to do all the processing? (If the Source Direct setting is used on the receiver then the receiver does not do any processing and simply "amplifies" the sound to the speakers?)

2) What processing occurs in the CD player and receiver when the analog output is used?

3) Am i correct in thinking if the receiver is "better" then I should use the digital output of the CD player and if the CD player is "better" then I should use the analog output of the CD player?

I currently have a Denon 2910 and a Marantz SR8002, though I am currently in the process of purchasing a Denon 3910 with the Reference Audio mods Premium Mod Package.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-26-2008, 07:53 PM
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The only way you'll avoid the receiver's DAC (digital to analog converter) would be to use the analog outs on the CDP through some sort of analog direct/analog bypass/stereo bypass feature on the Marantz. Using a digital connection from the CDP will mean the receiver converts the digital signal into an analog signal. If you use the analog outs on the CDP into one of the inputs on the receiver, then 1) the CDP will convert digital to analog, 2) pass the analog signal to the receiver, where 3) the signal goes through an analog-to-digital conversion, and then 4) the signal is converted back to analog before heading to the amplifier stage.

That's my understanding of how it works...I'm sure others will chime in to clarify
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-27-2008, 05:03 PM
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I think the original poster is trying to get an answer to the same question I'm wondering, in a way, but nobody here seems to know the answer to...

The Marantz 8002 has both a "source direct" and "pure direct" mode which bypasses bass management, EQ, and turns off all non-amp features, and basically turns the receiver into strictly an amp (pure direct is about the same, but turns off the video signal to reduce more distortion). Some newer Onkyos have this too. I (and I think the OP) are wondering if it would be better to use the analog outs from a CD player, or to use HDMI from a player like the Oppo 980H. That player has the ability to DSD the SACD information to the receiver for it to do the decoding.

I've asked this question in several threads, and nobody seems to know if the ability to do DSD from an Oppo would basically make it meaningless to spend a boatload of money on an expensive player from Marantz, Cambrige Audio, or whomever, that can't DSD the feed.

I'm just guessing... but wouldn't it depend on how well the 8002 can convert that digital signal compared to a more pricey CD player like the 7001?

I really wish that if someone knows how the Oppo via HDMI DSD streaming to a Marantz SR8002 sounds compared to analog outs on a good SACD player like the Marantz 7001, they would speak up and let us know!

It could save me a lot of money to buy the Oppo -- I could care less about the Oppos analog outs, which I know are inferior to the Marantz 7001. The Oppo can also do more that a mere 2 channels, should I desire it. The 7001 CD player only does 2.

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-27-2008, 05:29 PM
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I (and I think the OP) are wondering if it would be better to use the analog outs from a CD player, or to use HDMI from a player like the Oppo 980H.

The technical answer is, it doesn't matter. D/A conversion is completely transparent, so it really doesn't matter where you do it.

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I've asked this question in several threads, and nobody seems to know if the ability to do DSD from an Oppo would basically make it meaningless to spend a boatload of money on an expensive player from Marantz, Cambrige Audio, or whomever, that can't DSD the feed.

It does not make sense to spend a boatload of money on digital, period. None of the latter will sound better than the Oppo.

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It could save me a lot of money to buy the Oppo -- I could care less about the Oppos analog outs, which I know are inferior to the Marantz 7001.

Well, see, there's your problem. As long as you "know" this, you're stuck without an answer. Once you "know" there's no audible difference between the two, all your other questions are answered.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 18 Old 04-28-2008, 07:29 AM
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If you want to use digital out to your receiver then the Oppo is a good way to go. If you want to use analog outs, the Oppo is definitely not the way to go. If you have a nice receiver such as the SR8002 then that will perform good D/A. Check out Kal's description in Stereophile of the Oppo 980h using DSD, I think he preferred pcm out to dsd?

I don't believe you need to spend a boatload of $$ (everyones definition is different) to get great digital playback either, however do not disregard a good CD player as being irrelevant either. Of all the CD players I've looked at recently the cheapest I would even consider was about $300 while most are in the $500 - $900 range.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-28-2008, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darcraver View Post

1) If I use the digital output on my CD player, does the sound just get "passed" to rmy receiver for the receiver to do all the processing? (If the Source Direct setting is used on the receiver then the receiver does not do any processing and simply "amplifies" the sound to the speakers?)

2) What processing occurs in the CD player and receiver when the analog output is used?

3) Am i correct in thinking if the receiver is "better" then I should use the digital output of the CD player and if the CD player is "better" then I should use the analog output of the CD player?

I currently have a Denon 2910 and a Marantz SR8002, though I am currently in the process of purchasing a Denon 3910 with the Reference Audio mods Premium Mod Package.

You are correct in your assumptions. With your 'future' system I would assume you'd want to use an analog connection for CD playback as the modded 3910 would have the superior dac's. Of course the ext. connection will be analog as well.

For pure direct mode's on AVR's, this does not turn the AVR basically into an amp, but rather directs the AVR to use the least amount of circutry in the processing of the signal. Many players have this feature as well. When doing critical listening, I turn both my Denon 2900 and Denon AVR 2807 to their respective pure direct modes to get the cleanest processing that I can.

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post #7 of 18 Old 04-28-2008, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the response guys. I also found a good thread discussing the subject here:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...gtl&1178938438

For CD output I'm going to use the analog outputs from the Denon and the Pure Direct setting on the Marantz. For SACD and DVD Audio I'm going to use the multi-channel analog outputs from the Denon and the 7.1 Multi-Channel setting on the Marantz. For Dolby Digital and DTS I'm going to use the digital output from the Denon and the Auto + Audessey setting on the Marantz.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-28-2008, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darcraver View Post

Thanks for all the response guys. I also found a good thread discussing the subject here:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...gtl&1178938438

For CD output I'm going to use the analog outputs from the Denon and the Pure Direct setting on the Marantz. For SACD and DVD Audio I'm going to use the multi-channel analog outputs from the Denon and the 7.1 Multi-Channel setting on the Marantz. For Dolby Digital and DTS I'm going to use the digital output from the Denon and the Auto + Audessey setting on the Marantz.

That's exactly how I had my Denon 2900 configured with my Outlaw pre/pro...you should have good results with that
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-28-2008, 05:20 PM
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Does using DSD totally remove all Harmonic Distortion coming from the CD Player end?

"Any reviewer that didn't rail against this [Young Guns Blu-ray encode] should be sued, and Lionsgate should be ashamed of themselves. " - msgohan
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-30-2008, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darcraver View Post

Thanks for all the response guys. I also found a good thread discussing the subject here:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...gtl&1178938438

For CD output I'm going to use the analog outputs from the Denon and the Pure Direct setting on the Marantz. For SACD and DVD Audio I'm going to use the multi-channel analog outputs from the Denon and the 7.1 Multi-Channel setting on the Marantz. For Dolby Digital and DTS I'm going to use the digital output from the Denon and the Auto + Audessey setting on the Marantz.

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Originally Posted by Summa View Post

That's exactly how I had my Denon 2900 configured with my Outlaw pre/pro...you should have good results with that


+3

That is how I've set up my Denon DVD 2900 to my Denon AVR 2807

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post #11 of 18 Old 05-01-2008, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Baccusboy View Post


I've asked this question in several threads, and nobody seems to know if the ability to do DSD from an Oppo would basically make it meaningless to spend a boatload of money on an expensive player from Marantz, Cambrige Audio, or whomever, that can't DSD the feed.

I'm just guessing... but wouldn't it depend on how well the 8002 can convert that digital signal compared to a more pricey CD player like the 7001?

The answer is that one shouldn't expect any difference between the DAC's and that setting things up either way should product the same audio at the speakers. DAC's are a mature and perfected technology. Expensive DAC's don't do anything audible that inexpensive ones do. In other words, take your pick.
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post #12 of 18 Old 05-01-2008, 10:28 AM
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I've been back and forth with Oppo and NAD on DSD use. I'm using the 980h to send DSD (you get a choice) via HDMI to my NAD pre/pro and as NAD says, their DSP does indeed decode it. It's decoded as it was encoded and no more so it is displayed on my display as "Direct". I can still use Audyssey with it, volume and treble if desired but no other listening modes. Sounds really, really good.

I used the same disc, switched to PCM at the Oppo and listened. DSD was better to me on my system (B&W 703's, HMT7, DS7's, ASW 750; NAD T175, Outlaw 7125 and the Oppo).

I ran cables and did a 5.1 output using the analog outputs form the Oppo and it was by far the worst sounding of all but it was still pretty good, if you catch my understanding. I don't know Kal Robinson's tastes or equipment and I don't read Stereophile so I have no idea what he thinks but my ears definitely say DSD is better.

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post #13 of 18 Old 05-01-2008, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

The answer is that one shouldn't expect any difference between the DAC's and that setting things up either way should product the same audio at the speakers. DAC's are a mature and perfected technology. Expensive DAC's don't do anything audible that inexpensive ones do. In other words, take your pick.

I disagree wholeheartedly in saying a DAC is a DAC is a DAC.

I reject your reality and substitute my own.

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post #14 of 18 Old 05-02-2008, 08:21 PM
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Well, I just got the Oppo 980H, and paired it with my Marantz SR-8002 receiver.

My goal was to send DSD sound from the Oppo to my Marantz.

Had to update the firmware (easy process... thanks OPPO).

I had a DEVIL of a time getting DSD to work!

The problem, as it turns out, was my television. After reading into the Oppo manual, there is a caveat that says you must have your TV's resolution set to one of the HD settings to work. The confusing thing is that there is no on-screen menu for this.. it's all done via remote when you hit the HDMI button. So until you choose the proper TV video resolution, the DSD and 5.1 audio will not work properly.

The TV I have is an LG PC50D model which accepts a 1080i signal, but when I set the Oppo to 1080i, I get a picture fine, but the DSD output will not work. I can only assume this is some kind of odd HDMI handshaking issue.


When I set my Oppo to 720p output, I got full 5.1 channels and DSD output.

I am now happy, and very relieved -- my wife is probably happy that she didn't hear me swear once.
I had a bit of a time setting it up correctly, but once I figured out that I had to choose my TV resolution using the HDMI button on the Oppo remote, I finally got DSD to work (it won't work until you do this). I also updated the firmware through a search on this site.

My thoughts on DSD sound:

For regular CDs, I've found the differences are slight, but on the upper mid-range, I am enjoying slightly better channel separation, and am maybe hearing little nuances that I didn't hear before. My PS3 plays slightly brighter on the extreme top end, almost a little brittle, but the bass on the PS3 might be just slightly better - just a minute hair -- not much to care about, IMHO. I have to do more listening to tell, but it's darned hard to do that when switching between HDMI sources adds seconds of a pause between sources.

For now, I'm talking about with general DVD viewing... I am watching my old Eagles: When Hell Freezes Over in DTS, and the separation in the Oppo sending DSD is a slight improvement over the PS3 via LPCM. A side note... I wasn't able to get the sub to work in Source or Pure Direct modes when watching from the PS3 over LPCM. When sending DSD from the Oppo 980H over HDMI, I do get the sub on some more things ... am thrilled about that! That has added to the sound improvement. I'm also getting additional display lights to light up on my Marantz SR-8002 which I wasn't seeing over PCM from my PS3. I'm getting DTS logos, etc.

This is all a wonderful thing.

I would love to try this set-up matched against a much more expensive CD player, like the Marantz 7001 or 8001 to compare. I really wonder if DSD to a receiver with nice DACs inside negates the need to spend a lot more on a high-end CD player.

We really need some magazines to do some comparisions on this. SACD from the Oppo 980H to my Marantz SR-8002 via DSD sounds great.

"Any reviewer that didn't rail against this [Young Guns Blu-ray encode] should be sued, and Lionsgate should be ashamed of themselves. " - msgohan
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post #15 of 18 Old 05-04-2008, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Baccusboy View Post

Does using DSD totally remove all Harmonic Distortion coming from the CD Player end?

No there will always be THD.

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post #16 of 18 Old 05-04-2008, 06:24 PM
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No there will always be THD.

Just not enough to matter. (Unless you want some, in which case a tube output stage is the ticket!)

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #17 of 18 Old 05-05-2008, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weekendtoy View Post

I disagree wholeheartedly in saying a DAC is a DAC is a DAC.

This is a thorny issue.


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post #18 of 18 Old 05-06-2008, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Just not enough to matter. (Unless you want some, in which case a tube output stage is the ticket!)


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