Originally Posted by Bob Pariseau
A suggestion: For the best comparison of the processed, Stereo Analog (and HDMI) choices here you should set the Audio Surround mode in the D2 to STEREO, not to Anthem Logic - Music. That will produce sound on the Left Front / Right Front and Subwoofer only. Press Mode and use the Arrow keys to cycle through the choices -- or set Stereo as the default choice for 2 channel input in Setup > Mode Presets for that Source line.
I.e., engage ARC processing but do NOT also engage Anthem Logic - Music surround sound processing (which converts Stereo input to more speakers output).
For the processed Analog case (Stereo Analog input re-digitized so as to allow ARC processing), also be sure to check your setting for how the D2 does that re-digitizing. See Section 3.9 of the Manual. By default, the D2 re-digitizes Stereo Analog input at 44.1KHz. Raise that to 96KHz. This is particularly important when the Source material is recorded at a higher sample rate to begin with -- as with SACD. (The Multi-channel Analog input already re-digitizes at 96KHz by default.)
Thanks Bob! Following up on your suggestions, I have confirmed that the D2 was already set to process all 2.0 signals at 96 kHz.
I listened to an SACD (DSD) orchestral recording using the following four settings:
A) PCM Stereo (HDMI input, Stereo 2.1 channels output)
B) 2-channel Analog Direct (Analog-Direct input, Stereo 2.0 channels output, no ARC)
C) 2.1 channel from Analog source (AnlDSP input, Stereo 2.1 channels output, ARC Processing of analog 2-channel signal coming from Oppo 105D), and, just to relate to my previous listening test,
D) 4.1 channel derived from analog source (AnlDSP input, 4.1 channels output, AnthemLogic-Music mode, ARC Processing of analog 2-channel signal coming from Oppo 105D).
Here is how I ranked them:
1st. 2-Channel Analog Direct, no processing. The sound was much more engaging and musical than any of the other settings.
2nd 4.1 Channel Analog (AnthemLogic-Music, AnlDSP coming from Oppo 105D’s 2-channel analog). This setting was closer to the 2-channel set up than any of the others.
3rd 2.1 channel Analog (Stereo 2.1 channels, AnlDSP, coming from Oppo 105D’s 2-channel analog).
4th PCM Stereo (Stereo 2.1 channels, HDMI input). This setting lacked bass, not a deep or wide soundstage, in fact, the music was not very engaging.
My conclusions from this test are the following:
The analog output from DSD sources provides better sound than digital PCM even though the analog DSD requires reconverting to digital (i.e., double processing).
The quality of the DACs in the Oppo is superior to those in the D2. That should be expected though, because the DACs in the D2 are already aging technology, meanwhile, the Oppo uses some of the best DAC technology of today.
ARC is doing its job, but it cannot make up for the aging DAC technology inside the D2. The 4.1 AnthemLogic-Music mode sounded better and fuller than the 2.1 Stereo when using the same analog source. With 2 extra speakers to work with, ARC is able to do a better job.
I love my D2, but it is obvious that it has not kept up with the times. The D2V is also an old by A/V processor by the standards of the times. I am still hoping that Anthem has a strong replacement of their flagship unit coming VERY
soon (hint: a good showing at CES this January for example). Hope is the last thing that dies…