Originally Posted by rwinner
I'm glad this came up again since I'm feeling dense about what's the best option in this situation. I, too, have a Nova with a 93 on the way, and I understand that there are licensing restrictions in the output from SACD's. Am I right that I can get the 93 to output (96K?) PCM derived from the SACD stereo layer through the s/pdif output? If that is the case, then what are the options for Nova/93 owners playing SACD? I can think of several:
(1) output the SACD's CD layer via (1a) s/pdif PCM or (1b) FR/FL analog
(2) output the SACD stereo layer converted via (2a) s/pdif PCM or (2b) FR/FL analog
(3) output the downmixed-to-stereo multi-channel layer, but I'm not sure via (3a) s/pdif but probably allowed via (3b) FR/FL
(4) output the FR/FL tracks only from the multi-channel layer via FR/FL analog.
Here's what I understand and please correct my errors:
(A) (1) is no different from playing a regular CD
(B) (2) may be better than (1) but this is controversial. I assume it is true; otherwise, this discussion is moot.
(C) not sure if (3) differs from (2), and if so if it's better or worse
(D) (4) is not desirable.
(E) If my assumption that the 93 can convert the SACD stereo track to PCM is incorrect, I might need to get an HDMI audio decoupler that can do the conversion. I have found the Atlona AT-HD570 and the Kramer FC-46, which are respectively expensive and more expensive potential solutions. I really prefer not to have to do this on the chance of a slight improvement in sacd sound.
I am guessing (F) 2a > 2b > 1a > 1b where ">" means "is better than". I've no idea about (G) ?: 3a > 2a.
I hope for someone to inform me if all these are allowed and possible with the 93 and to opine which of the allowed options is likely to produce the best result, that is, whether (F) is correct and all are allowed and similarly (G). You can assume no interest in multichannel (>2) audio and that I have SACD's. Most of the music I listen to classical, but that may not be relevant.
From the manual:
Due to copyright restrictions, SACD audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. To listen to SACD, please use the HDMI or analog audio connections.
Your option 1 will work, but at that point you're really listening to a CD, not a SACD.
Option 2a is not possible, option 2b is.
Option 3a is not possible, option 3b is.
Option 4 is not desirable as, depending on the specific SACD, you'll be missing quite a bit of the content.
(B) 2b can be better than 1 because you're working with a better quality source signal. But the end result will depend on the exact equipment being used.
(C) IMO, 2b is better than 3b in most cases. But this is a try it both ways, pick what you prefer sort of thing.
(D) Correct - you'd be potentially throwing a way a lot of important content.
(E) The 93 can convert DSD to PCM, but it will only send it out over HDMI (or analog after the PCM is passed through the DAC). It can also convert DSD direct to analog through the internal DAC.
But the bottom line is that you can't get SACD in any form over the coax or toslink digital outputs on the 93 due to licensing restrictions.