Originally Posted by tallnick
for those of you listening to 2-channel music through the 80.2:
coax, optical, analog rca, xlr?
which sounds best?
I hardly listen to stereo, but in a few brief experiments, I think I prefer coax for CD, but the difference is very slight vs. HDMI. Perhaps I am influenced in my opinion by a theoretical argument. I believe that uncompressed PCM - such as CD - has higher jitter via HDMI than via coax. This has been measured many times and talked about elsewhere. There is jitter suppression circuitry on the Integra's receiving end on all the digital inputs, including HDMI, to help mitigate this, however.
Bitstreamed, compressed signal via HDMI counteracts jitter even more effectively than uncompressed PCM, because the signal is reclocked in the Integra after decompressing the input data stream. As a result, Ialso think bitstreamed, compressed hi rez Blu-ray codecs sound better than hi rez LPCM from older Blu-rays or from transmitting LPCM via HDMI which has been converted by the player. But, no compressed transmission scheme exists for Red Book CD's.
This also definitely holds true for SACDs. Bitstreamed DSD, which is compressed, sounds better than converting DSD to uncompressed PCM in the player. With Oppo's, there is also a volume difference between DSD and PCM transmission which must be compensated for in any valid listening comparisons.
Analog transmission to the Integra is inferior to digital, IMHO. If you use Audyssey, a stereo signal undergoes extra d-a-d conversions for CD, which cannot possibly benefit the sound. They can only degrade it. Turning the DSP and Audyssey off, as in Direct mode with analog input has no advantages that I can hear, but may be the best choice for maximum purity of analog sources, like vinyl. But, it's a tough call. Are the extra a-d, d-a conversions worth it to get Audyssey processing? I don't know, because I no longer listen to vinyl. In any case, analog transmission to the Integra is a second rate choice for digital sources, such as CD.
Bottom line: I bitstream everything that is bitstream-able via HDMI. For CD, I use coax. I use Audyssey and bass management in all cases. If I were to spin some vinyl, actually what I would probably do is bypass the Integra entirely by reconnection of my phono preamp with volume control directly to the main amps. So, I use no analog inputs at all.
For CD, I would think coax would be better than Toslink, but I have done no comparisons, and the difference is not really of interest to me since I hardly listen to CD anymore.