Originally Posted by thrang
I have tried what you have posted, at least with HDMI, and cannot for the life of me hear any difference with these video modes on or off at this point. And my dealer openly calls me a pain in the ass for the number of issues I uncover with all the gear I buy from him!
Re: Video conversion/modes - Tried various sources, and had someone change the options without me seeing what was active/inactive. No differences whatsoever. I'm not being argumentative, and you seem like a super nice guy, but without multiple reports of the same issue, or, at this point, without some measurable comparison, not sure what more can be gained on this.
Re: Different Inputs - I'm not sure, but are you expecting MCH analog in and other interfaces to sound exactly the same given all other settings being "equal"? I don't think that's the right expectation. MCH analog in has no A/D/A conversion, so it (theoretically) passes through nothing but the (analog) volume control. For HDMI, even in Pure Direct,, there is D/A conversion, so there is some level of digital domain processing going on. If anything maybe you're hearing a difference in the 8801's DAC in or out of the chain, or distance controls being in affect vs analog (where they are not). And using the Oppo 105 direct to your amp changes the volume domain to a completely different device, so its difficult to ascertain the differences introduced.
Also, you're using the 8801 in a way that likely well over 90% of the buyers here would not - MCH analog in with no Audyssey. That's your preference, and no issues with that, but it is tough to gain traction on this since so few (I'm presuming) are doing the same.
I have emailed my contact at Marantz to see what he can clarify regarding the differences between the analog multi channel inputs vs others.
I do hear a difference having the 8801 process my two channel audio (via digital out from my Mac Mini) vs USB through the McIntosh D100 to XLR analog inputs on the 8801, but there are tons of other things different than just which DAC is being used (among them, Direct/Integer asynchronous USB out to the D100 and the 8-channel quad stereo balanced deployment of the ESS Sabre in the the D100) , so I cannot make any reasonable comparative assessment that way.
I still have the odd disappearing OSD issues (seemingly related to frequent resolutions changes from native mode on my DirecTV), but have refrained from posting further on the topic since no one else seems to be experiencing it, and am dealing with Marantz directly. If others post similar issues, I would chime in again.
Having said this, I will see if I have time this weekend to connect the RCA outs from McIntosh D100 DAC or Oppo 103 to the MCH 7.1 analog inputs on the 8801, and compare with the HDMI (Oppo) and Analog XLR inputs (Oppo/D100) on the 8801. Nonetheless, it wouldn't surprise me if there were small differences, given the straight analog vs D/A path of the different approaches. But you're even saying there are differences between COAX and HDMI? AKAIK, they would be passing through the same D/A path, so at the moment, this does not compute.