Originally Posted by raylfreeman
I have a Samsung BD-C6500 connected to a Yamaha HTR-5830 via 6 analog cables. Should I also have an optical or digital coaxial connected?
Thanks for the assistance!
As with everything else in this world, it depends.
If you're only going to watch disks with multichannel soundtracks (Blu-ray or DVD), using just the 6 analog cables for 5.1 surround will be fine.
Connecting an optical or coax cable would be useful to show a friend how much better lossless is than a DVD's sound - but you could also do the same demo through the analog connection by using the remote's ability to toggle soundtracks with a disk that has DVD-style Dolby or DTS as well a lossless soundtrack.
With DVDs, it's a different story. Some older DVDs use just the front two channels - I even have one that uses just the front center channel.
With standard CDs, only the front two channels will be active.
You can hook up a second connection to use with disks that don't animate the other channels so that you can use the amp's built-in effects or pair the surround speakers with the front speakers.
You can make that second connection either digitally via optical or coax, or stay in analog mode by using a pair of Y-adapters that each have one RCA jack feeding a pair of RCA plugs (on wires a few inches long) to connect the multichannel analog front left and right outputs into the "DVD" (or "CD") jack as well as the front left and front right jacks. This may require boosting the player's output of those channels - or trimming all the others - by a small amount (about 1 db) to compensate for the fact that those outputs are now driving two input jacks.
(Some disk players have another analog alternative, in the form of a separate stereo output - which may or may not be as good as the multichannel front pair.)
Think of the doubling approach as turning the system into a big pair of headphones - or a big car stereo.
In my post a few further down this page, I discuss how, with an old program that was only recorded
in stereo it may sound better to use the stereo track on a disk than to use the surround track on the disk, if the producers of the disk didn't do a good job of re-channeling it. (That's the case with the 1980 Paul Simon Philadelphia concert.)
PS In the unusual case of encoding the sound only into the front center channel - which I've only encountered on one DVD and on one Blu-ray - there's not a lot you can do. Just enjoy it the way it was intended.