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post #1 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a nice audio system with a McIntosh Preamp/amp. Stereo only. No AVR and no surround sound. Changing out the preamp isn't really an option.

I'm going to be getting a new TV, and like most these days it has only optical audio out. Unfortunately, the TV doesn't have a "PCM only" output mode. Sometimes it's PCM and sometimes it's Dolby Digital.

I've got a little cube thing from Gefen that does that conversion, but it's a little cheapo solution whose quality is not that high. I'd like something a bit better but I apparently don't know the right thing to google because I'm coming up empty.

Surely there has to be a moderately high quality solution to this that would fit in better with the McIntosh than the little Gefen GTV-DD-2-AA?

Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Roy
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 01:57 PM
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I don't know of any high end product to do that and, frankly, for stereo only, I doubt there's much of a market for it.

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post #3 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 02:07 PM
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If your new TV doesn't have an option for PCM only or analog audio outputs... you're SOL.

Do you have a problem, anticipating a problem or just seeking "something better" for some reason? The reason I ask is there could be a few answers depending on your setup and TV make/model.

1) Are you using the TV's internal tuner?
2) Are all of your external devices (DVD/Bluray...) connected directly to the TV?
3) what is/will be your broadcast TV source (cable, satellite, FiOS, OTA)?
4) what other devices will be utilized "through" the TV?

The point being is that "most" TV's will automatically convert to PCM stereo from externally connected devices. The exception is only when using the TV's internal tuner will it remain Dolby Digital.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmongiovi View Post

I have a nice audio system with a McIntosh Preamp/amp. Stereo only. No AVR and no surround sound. Changing out the preamp isn't really an option.

I'm going to be getting a new TV, and like most these days it has only optical audio out. Unfortunately, the TV doesn't have a "PCM only" output mode. Sometimes it's PCM and sometimes it's Dolby Digital.

I've got a little cube thing from Gefen that does that conversion, but it's a little cheapo solution whose quality is not that high. I'd like something a bit better but I apparently don't know the right thing to google because I'm coming up empty.

Surely there has to be a moderately high quality solution to this that would fit in better with the McIntosh than the little Gefen GTV-DD-2-AA?

Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Roy

How do you know that the Gefen does not do a sonically transparent job of converting digital to analog?

Here's the specs:

Frequency Response.........< +/-0.5 dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio........> 90 dB (20 Hz - 20 kHz A-Weighting
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

How do you know that the Gefen does not do a sonically transparent job of converting digital to analog?

That was never stated or asked. Don't put the cart before the horse until we (you?) get a little more info from the OP.
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Haven't bought the TV yet, so just anticipate the problem. Panasonic VT50 plasma manual says sometimes optical output is PCM, sometimes Dolby. No mention of an option to force PCM.

Right now it's U-verse and Oppo BDP-95 to TV and (hopefully) TV to stereo.

It's not really a matter of the Gefen's sonic character. It's a matter of it being a little flaky. With my last TV sometimes it just wouldn't seem to sync in with the TV; no sound would come out. I would have to turn the TV's audio out on and off a couple of times to get the converter to work. Of course, I suppose that could have been the TV as well. Time will tell.

Still, I can't be the only guy with stereo equipment. TV's are dropping analog outputs left and right. I presume it's to be able to make the panels thinner. What do folks do?
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 03:24 PM
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If you're not using the TV's internal tuner, it's likely that everything that's externally connected gets converted to PCM stereo via the optical out on the TV. YMMV

As for the "reliability" of the Gefen converter? I don't think you will find anything that's "better" (without major expense).

Best bet if things don't work out? Run the analog audio outputs from the U-Verse box and Oppo directly to the Pre/Pro.
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah. I was hoping, though, for a solution that was perhaps more future proof (and where I didn't have to worry about lip sync).

So what's "major expense"? Is there a name for this sort of product that might help my google? So far all I've found are equivalently cheap solutions, designs for circuit boards, and advice to buy an AVR.

There are boatloads of standalone DACs, why nothing that can decode Dolby?
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal rubinson View Post

i don't know of any high end product to do that and, frankly, for stereo only, i doubt there's much of a market for it.

+1

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post #10 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmongiovi View Post

Yeah. I was hoping, though, for a solution that was perhaps more future proof (and where I didn't have to worry about lip sync).

So what's "major expense"? Is there a name for this sort of product that might help my google? So far all I've found are equivalently cheap solutions, designs for circuit boards, and advice to buy an AVR.

There are boatloads of standalone DACs, why nothing that can decode Dolby?

The device that decodes Dolby is not jsut a DAC or a collection of DACs but something far more complex. They are usually called surround adaptors, or surround decoders or multichannel processors or something like that.

The leading kinds of devices that convert surround signals into multiple channels of analog are called A/V Receivers (AVR). Ironically, you can buy an AVR for far less money than a simpler version of the same thing without the power amps, tuner and etc.
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 02:02 PM
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Here you go: This is as good as it gets for AC3 decoding.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dolby-DP562-...#ht_500wt_1202

These sold for $4K new. I'd gladly take it at that price but I already have one.

Post back if you are serious about buying this because there are a few more odds and ends you will need to use this in your application. Like an optical to SPDIF converter and an AES unbalanced to balanced transformer. Plus the analog outputs are +4db balanced. At a minimum you would need some XLR to RCA cables and possibly an level attenuator as well. You could spend another $200 just getting this integrated to your system - but hey it's high end.

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post #12 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 05:26 PM
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Or one of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Technics-Ste...item20c468231e

I have one in my closet somewhere.

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post #13 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Or one of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Technics-Ste...item20c468231e

I have one in my closet somewhere.

Yes, much more practical

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post #14 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Yes, much more practical

Yup. It is how I got into surround, way back when.

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post #15 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! Much food for thought.
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post #16 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Or one of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Technics-Ste...item20c468231e

I have one in my closet somewhere.

I have one too. Funny, I bought it based on Kal's suggestion a few years back. Mine was $30 on eBay.

I was going to suggest it, but I wasn't sure if it would decode DD5.1 and then down-mix to stereo. I use it to decode DD5.1 and then feed all six channels into three old stereo power amps (3x Sansui BA2000).
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post #17 of 26 Old 04-06-2012, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Or one of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Technics-Ste...item20c468231e

I have one in my closet somewhere.

I have the AC300 (Dolby only) AC500, (Dolby+ DTS) and the competitive Sony unit kicking around. The two Technics units are great jitter-fighting stereo DACs on the worst days of their lives.
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post #18 of 26 Old 04-06-2012, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I have the AC300 (Dolby only) AC500, (Dolby+ DTS) and the competitive Sony unit kicking around. The two Technics units are great jitter-fighting stereo DACs on the worst days of their lives.

Am I to correctly infer from your comment that you believe Jitter to have an audible affect?
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-03-2014, 11:21 AM
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I also have a vintage stereo that I am loathe to render obsolete.  Santa got us a new plasma TV that only has a fixed volume digital audio output.  I bought a converter last night at radio shack to get us started, but now I have to get up and down to adjust the volume which is a pain you know where.  Have you found anything to work with your McIntosh?

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post #20 of 26 Old 01-27-2014, 11:17 AM
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hey man, I bought a stereo amp and a dac to connect to my tv, & it's working for some movies but not others, same file type & everything, do u have any idea why?
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post #21 of 26 Old 01-27-2014, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sha3sha3y View Post

hey man, I bought a stereo amp and a dac to connect to my tv, & it's working for some movies but not others, same file type & everything, do u have any idea why?

Depends on the audio track format that it is outputting.  If it is PCM stereo, the DAC will process it.  If it is Dolby 2.0, most DACs cannot handle it.


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post #22 of 26 Old 01-28-2014, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I have the AC300 (Dolby only) AC500, (Dolby+ DTS) and the competitive Sony unit kicking around. The two Technics units are great jitter-fighting stereo DACs on the worst days of their lives.


Am I to correctly infer from your comment that you believe Jitter to have an audible affect?

If its bad enough,yes. It isn't often bad enough.
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-28-2014, 02:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sha3sha3y View Post

hey man, I bought a stereo amp and a dac to connect to my tv, & it's working for some movies but not others, same file type & everything, do u have any idea why?

Are you just playing movies over the air, off cable, or via the web?

Kal is right - most DACs don't handle Dolby or DTS.

This one does:

http://www.amazon.com/D07-Advanced-Digital-Analog-Converter/dp/B00BB4AECI



The DAC I recommended above does handle PCM and Dolby but not DTS which is now legal for broadcast., A later model the SHAC-500 also handles DTS. But so does the D07 which has credible converters and an attractive size and price.
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post #24 of 26 Old 01-28-2014, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Are you just playing movies over the air, off cable, or via the web?

Kal is right - most DACs don't handle Dolby or DTS.

This one does:

http://www.amazon.com/D07-Advanced-Digital-Analog-Converter/dp/B00BB4AECI



The DAC I recommended above does handle PCM and Dolby but not DTS which is now legal for broadcast., A later model the SHAC-500 also handles DTS. But so does the D07 which has credible converters and an attractive size and price.

So how do I know if the file is stereo or dolby, & can I convert it? Cuz I live in Egypt & it'not that easy to buy a DAC here, I paid about $150 for that one
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post #25 of 26 Old 01-28-2014, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sha3sha3y View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Are you just playing movies over the air, off cable, or via the web?

Kal is right - most DACs don't handle Dolby or DTS.

This one does:

http://www.amazon.com/D07-Advanced-Digital-Analog-Converter/dp/B00BB4AECI



The DAC I recommended above does handle PCM and Dolby but not DTS which is now legal for broadcast., A later model the SHAC-500 also handles DTS. But so does the D07 which has credible converters and an attractive size and price.

So how do I know if the file is stereo or dolby, & can I convert it? Cuz I live in Egypt & it'not that easy to buy a DAC here, I paid about $150 for that one

You probably have no practical way to control the files you play, and just need to figure out how to get the $50 part into your system.
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post #26 of 26 Old 03-04-2014, 10:21 AM
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For those who are interested in optical digital audio to stereo rca, you way wish to see the following related topic:
Viera Audio out, Or Viera + Samsung DTB-H260F to 2.0 sound system?

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