CDs better through multichannel analogs than optical? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-25-2007, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Recently, in another part of AVS, someone asserted that listening to stereo cds is better (all else being equal) through the player's multichannel analogs rather than sent bitstream to the AVR via optical (or HDMI). Listening tonight, the analogs on my Panny BD10A did sound good but whether it's better I can't say. Is there a reason why the analogs would be better? Less DA conversions?

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post #2 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 12:04 AM
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I'll take a shot.If you connect the cdp via analog you'll be using the cdp dacs.If you connect it digital you'll be using the rec. dacs.So i guess in the end it depends on the player.I for one like the analog.This way i can also go thru the dif. modes like 5ch stereo if i desired.but mostly i do 2ch.
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post #3 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 05:59 AM
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It depends on which unit has the best DACs.

My Arcam CD's are better than my Sony PrePro - so I use the analog inputs. OTOH, the Sony's are better than my DVD unit's; so it is hooked up via optical.
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 06:25 AM
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Assuming there's no bass management issues either way, have you checked the ouput levels using both scenarios?

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post #5 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky1 View Post

I'll take a shot.If you connect the cdp via analog you'll be using the cdp dacs.If you connect it digital you'll be using the rec. dacs.So i guess in the end it depends on the player.I for one like the analog.This way i can also go thru the dif. modes like 5ch stereo if i desired.but mostly i do 2ch.

My AVR will do 5 channel stereo through optical but not via multichannel analogs.

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post #6 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Assuming there's no bass management issues either way, have you checked the ouput levels using both scenarios?

My AVR is a Denon 887, so I use the +10 db sub boost for multichannel analogs. The receiver is new, so i haven't done full comparisons yet. The THX certified calibrationist will be here in 2 weeks to calibrate everything.

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post #7 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy McNasty View Post

It depends on which unit has the best DACs.

My Arcam CD's are better than my Sony PrePro - so I use the analog inputs. OTOH, the Sony's are better than my DVD unit's; so it is hooked up via optical.

I suspect the Panny BD10A's DACs are comparable to the Denon's, though the latter are perhaps a little better.

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post #8 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 03:15 PM
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There is one more thing to consider that hasn't been mentioned. Most HT receivers convert analog to digital to do all of the processing, then reconvert back to analog for output. If you use the analog out from your CDP, it ends up back in the digital domain anyway, so you are much better off using the digital out to avoid DAC->Analog->ADC->DAC-Analog.

The only place this doesn't happen is when you have a 5.1 direct input that bypasses all conversions, including bass management. I re-read the original post and it did say you were using the multichannel out. It doesn't say that it is going to the multi-in. It is the receiver end that matters.

On my rig, I only use the receiver input for full 5.1 analog input or digital, all stereo goes straight to my tube pre-amp. 24/96 PCM stereo sounds great this way.
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trackman View Post

My AVR will do 5 channel stereo through optical but not via multichannel analogs.

You know what i misread your post,sorry about that.I thought you were referring to a cd player being connected either dig. or analog(cd),not the multichannel.
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy McNasty View Post

It depends on which unit has the best DACs.

Actually, it depends upon which DACs the end-user deems to sound the best. The "better" DAC may not necessarily sound better to the end-user.

Admittedly, because of numerous variables, it is very difficult to accurately and honestly determine which DACs really sound the best with ANY degree of certainty. So all that is really left for the end-user to ascertain is which "pathway", the digital pathway from the player through the receivers DACs and other circuitry and it's various settings, or the analog pathway from the player's DACs, through its various circuitry and settings, and into the receiver's analog inputs and on through more circuitry and settings, sounds the best to him (or her).

Good Luck!

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post #11 of 18 Old 07-26-2007, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacster View Post

There is one more thing to consider that hasn't been mentioned. Most HT receivers convert analog to digital to do all of the processing, then reconvert back to analog for output. If you use the analog out from your CDP, it ends up back in the digital domain anyway, so you are much better off using the digital out to avoid DAC->Analog->ADC->DAC-Analog.

The only place this doesn't happen is when you have a 5.1 direct input that bypasses all conversions, including bass management. I re-read the original post and it did say you were using the multichannel out. It doesn't say that it is going to the multi-in. It is the receiver end that matters.

On my rig, I only use the receiver input for full 5.1 analog input or digital, all stereo goes straight to my tube pre-amp. 24/96 PCM stereo sounds great this way.

The multichannel out of the BD10A is going to multichannel in of the 887 which passes the signal unaltered to the speakers. The only thing the Denon does is add +5 to +15 dbs to the sub level (mine is +10)

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post #12 of 18 Old 07-27-2007, 04:22 PM
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My 2 channel system is mid-fi at best. I'm using an Oppo 970 as the CD transport to a Pioneer 84 TXS to Gallo 3.1's with the standalone bass amplifier. I use the Oppo because it supports all formats..DVD-A, SACD and HDCD. The HDCD support intrigued me, I don't have any HDCD's but based on my reading, the processing was supposed to improve the sound of redbook CD's too, but this support was only available through the analog outs from the Oppo. I run the Pioneer in Pure Direct mode so in theory it passes the signal through without processing. I connected the analog outs to the Pioneer and I was extremely disappointed. The bass got muddy and the mids and highs almost shrill and unlistenable. I A/Bed about 10 CD's that I listen to often and the result was the same for each. I might add that I was very happy with the original configuration. The HDMI connection beats the analogs hands down. I can't find any way to defeat or alter the HDCD processing in the Oppo menus or anything else to adjust the Oppo, I guess the DACS aren't very good. I know there are mods available for the Oppo but that doesn't make sense for a $150 player. On the other hand, for $150, waht can I expect?
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-27-2007, 08:12 PM
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I have the Oppo 970 as well. I only use it with 2 channel, so I haven't tested multichannel with it. For CD or DVD audio I go digital from the Oppo -> Musical Fidelity X-DACv8->Musical Fidelity A5 integrated. For SACD I have to use the Oppo DACs and go Oppo->Musical Fidelity A5 int. Now the Oppo analog outputs don't compare to a DAC costing 10x as much as the Oppo player, but they aren't horrible either. For a $150 player they are pretty good, and better than most mid-fi receiver DACs I have heard. Of course there is the whole analog path in the receiver to contend with, in my case I am using the same analog paths through the Integrated regardless of which DAC I am using.
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-28-2007, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcemanDallas View Post

I connected the analog outs to the Pioneer and I was extremely disappointed. The bass got muddy and the mids and highs almost shrill and unlistenable. I A/Bed about 10 CD's that I listen to often and the result was the same for each. I might add that I was very happy with the original configuration. The HDMI connection beats the analogs hands down. ..............I guess the DACS aren't very good. I know there are mods available for the Oppo but that doesn't make sense for a $150 player. On the other hand, for $150, waht can I expect?

All other things being equal, there shouldn't be that big a difference between your analog connection from the Oppo vs. an HDMI connection. If there is such a huge difference, it's not becaue of the DACs. Most likely the difference is due to any of the myriad of other factors (which I discussed in Post#10, above) which can affect the sound via both connection "pathways".

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post #15 of 18 Old 07-28-2007, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iostream View Post

For .......DVD audio I go digital from the Oppo -> Musical Fidelity X-DACv8->Musical Fidelity A5 integrated.

How do you pass DVD-A via digital to your DAC?

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post #16 of 18 Old 07-28-2007, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

All other things being equal, there shouldn't be that big a difference between your analog connection from the Oppo vs. an HDMI connection. If there is such a huge difference, it's not becaue of the DACs. Most likely the difference is due to any of the myriad of other factors (which I discussed in Post#10, above) which can affect the sound via both connection "pathways".

It surprised me also but I equalized the paths as much as possible. I used "quality" RCA cables on the analog outs from the Oppo and the receiver was set to pure direct mode for both inputs.
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post #17 of 18 Old 07-28-2007, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

How do you pass DVD-A via digital to your DAC?

Actually, I meant DVD-V audio, as I listen to several concert DVDs on that system, but now that I mention it, the player is set to give the DVD-Audio layer priority, and I still get the Beatles Love audio through my DAC, it is the only DVD-Audio I have. So it seems that it might actually pass it somehow... I will have to investigate.
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post #18 of 18 Old 08-14-2007, 09:19 PM
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In my place, I try to route as much as possible digitally to the dac i've got running (the Motu 828 mkII). The dac on that is quite stunning and offers an extremely high resolution process at a nice oversampling rate that you can sync to your external clock or to the clock of your output devices -- well lots of options. I suppose if you are too godly and electrically elite for the common clocks you can do what a friend at work has done, and that is sync to the atomic clock at night (only works at night, but for the time both the clock and you are at night it's as perfect as man can achieve! very cool dealo he has going on indeed!)
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