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Does Denon Link Really Matter?

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

If you don't want to read the whole thread, skip to some of my later posts like here and  here. Hint: the answer to my question is "Yes", DenonLink3rd matters in that it improves music SQ.  AnyDenonLink4th player/AVR is backwards compatible to DL3rd.


The following Denon players have DenonLink3rd (which adds MC SACD capability) are often available used at reasonable prices:
DVD-3910CI
DVD-3930CI

DVD-2930CI-not recommended as it has poroblems reading the SACD layer of hybrid SACDs

 


Hey guys, if I've missed a thread on this elsewhere please let me know. I have an AVR A100, which is DL4 capable. Currently I spin my shiny discs on an OppoBDP83SE connected via HDMI. I must say the system sounds great for BR (bitstreamed), SACD (DSD sent to A100 for decoding) and DVDA. Most redbook CDs reveal a big step down for SQ, though exceptionaly well-recorded ones are listenable. I've done some reading in the DBP-4010UDCI thread and elsewhere on this topic and would specifically like to hear from those with experience.

I do not care about DACs or video processing in the player, I'm just looking for the best digital transport/transmission to my AVR.
Questions:
1. Would Denon Link offer audibly better SQ than what I have?
2. If so, does that apply to some media (such as RBCDs) more than others (BR)? If so, could you recommend a DL3 capable player that would fit the bill?
3. If not, are there less expensive DL4 capable players than the DBP-4010UDCI? IOW how cheap is the buy-in?


I would love to hear from those who have done the A/B test of DL4 ON vs OFF for BR.

Same for those who have done the A/B test of DL3 vs HDMI and SPDIF for SACD, DVDA and RBCD.


Edited by SoundofMind - 7/1/12 at 10:00am
post #2 of 81
I have a 4310 receiver and a 3910 player. I use DL 3 because it's a single wire solution for playing SACDs. I have no problems with the sound quality, and it works fine with an inexpensive Ethernet cable.
post #3 of 81
I don't have considerable experience on the topic but from reading Denon's stuff on DL3 and DL4 I'd guess that the use of it would make less sense with SQ material than with HQ (=high bandwidth) material.
Does the Oppo do any processing to audio material (e.g. upping sample frequency)? If so, can you turn it off? It might well be that "double" treatment gets applied, thus worsening sound quality.
post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post
I have a 4310 receiver and a 3910 player. I use DL 3 because it's a single wire solution for playing SACDs. I have no problems with the sound quality, and it works fine with an inexpensive Ethernet cable.
Hi. I can't sort out the connection options on that player as described here. Are you able to A/B compare HDMI vs DL3 for SACD/redbook?
post #5 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyespy39 View Post
...Does the Oppo do any processing to audio material (e.g. upping sample frequency)?
Hi. No such processing is taking place in the Oppo.
post #6 of 81
Is the 4310 DL3 or DL4?
post #7 of 81
Thread Starter 
^The 4310 and 4311 have the latest, DL 4, which adds BR capability. BTW, you use both HDMI and DL4 cables for BR. But pbarach's 3910 player is DL3.
post #8 of 81
I don't think the bandwidth is saturated, so wouldn't the only possible improvement of DL over HDMI be clocking?
post #9 of 81
Thread Starter 
^Hi Jeff. I believe that's correct. And there is debate as to whether that can or should make a difference, despite Denon's claims. My intent is not to spark theoretical and technical debate so much as elicit real-world listening reports to guide purchase decisions.
post #10 of 81
Maybe too technical for my feeble brain?

http://www.denon.com/Pages/GlossaryDetail.aspx?GId=14

Just glancing, not sure what it does?
post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post
^Hi Jeff. I believe that's correct. And there is debate as to whether that can or should make a difference, despite Denon's claims. My intent is not to spark theoretical and technical debate so much as elicit real-world listening reports to guide purchase decisions.
Hi SofM ;cant speak in real world terms sorry but theoretically [if you think jitter -and that is what denon purports its for- is a factor] there is considerably more jitter in lpcm than a compressed bitstream that the 83se can supply

I note also 2 of the new pioneer bd players[if released;plenty of speculation] makes note of pqls bitstream clocking. Probably proprietary as usual though like the last gen
post #12 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splicer010 View Post
http://www.denon.com/Pages/GlossaryDetail.aspx?GId=14
Just glancing, not sure what it does?
Nice link, thnx.
post #13 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwt View Post
... theoretically [if you think jitter -and that is what denon purports its for- is a factor] there is considerably more jitter in lpcm than a compressed bitstream that the 83se can supply...
Hi. Interesting point. A few times in the past, I've switched BR ouput from bitstream to LPCM and seen no difference at all, and heard no difference at all once level-matched. That has been reported on lots of equipment by lots of folks as well, but I've never seen a report of DL4 vs bitstream vs LPCM.

Sending SACD DSD vs PCM to the DSD-decode -capable AVRs I've had (2809, 4310 and A100) there is a distinct improvement.
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

Hi. I can't sort out the connection options on that player as described here. Are you able to A/B compare HDMI vs DL3 for SACD/redbook?

The 3910 player cannot send SACD over HDMI (it's only v1.1). The sound from RBCD sounds exactly the same whether the connection is DL3, HDMI, or digital coax. BTW I have two BluRay players, and RBCD over HDMI or coax sounds exactly the same as the 3910 does over any of its digital connections. One of these players also does DVD-A over HDMI, and this sounds exactly the same as the DVD-A does from the 3910 over DL3.

So my conclusion is that you should expect exactly the same sound quality over any digital connection from any player you choose, since the same DAC in your AVR will do the conversion regardless of what connection method you use. (some people say HDMI audio is high in jitter. Even if this is true, I have never seen any jitter measurements for DL3 or DL4, so there is no way to compare these with the jitter via HDMI).
post #15 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post

So my conclusion is that you should expect exactly the same sound quality over any digital connection from any player you choose, since the same DAC in your AVR will do the conversion regardless of what connection method you use. (some people say HDMI audio is high in jitter. Even if this is true, I have never seen any jitter measurements for DL3 or DL4, so there is no way to compare these with the jitter via HDMI).

Have a look here:http://www.avforums.com/forums/blu-r...l#post10199775

Written by user "Welwynnick"
Re: Denon's DVD-A1UD: Universal (SACD/DVD-A/DVD/CD) Blu-ray player
I thought it might be time to update my list of HFN jitter measurements, as the results for the A1UD are very interesting, and Paul Miller has done us proud.

Jitter over analogue:
30ps Denon A1UD

Jitter over SPDIF:
10ps Classe SSP800
15ps DCS Scarlatti
37ps Pioneer SC-LX81
40ps Cambridge DACMagic
50ps Arcam AVR600
121ps Sony SCD-XA5400ES
183ps Yamaha RX-V3900
250ps Denon 2500/AVP-A1
430ps Onkyo PR-SC886
470ps Onkyo TX-NR906
485ps Audiolab 8000AP
560ps Denon 3808A

Jitter over HDMI:
5ps Arcam AVR600
21ps Classe SSP800
50ps Pioneer SC-LX81
125ps Denon A1UD over DL4
200ps Sony XA5400ES HATS on
1360ps Denon A1UD over HDMI
2200ps Denon 2500/AVP-A1
3700ps Denon 3808A
3860ps Onkyo TX-NR906
3920ps Onkyo PR-SC886
7660ps Yamaha RX-V3900
8000ps Sony XA5400ES HATS off
8490ps Audiolab 8000AP

Presumably, the A1UD was measured in conjunction with an AVP-A1HD. The HDMI result is reasonably good, but DL4 shows an order of magnitude improvement. Thats because the audio clock isn't being carried from the transport to the DAC over HDMI (just as I've been saying all along). In this case, the jitter is essentially that of the processor only. Its not the jitter of the player + connection + processor.
However, the analogue measurement is better still, and very good indeed. In this case, it shows the level of jitter from the player only, which is performing better than the processor in this respect. Notwithstanding the contribution of the D to A conversion, this slightly points towards the A1UD performing best in the top-drawer Denon system with an analogue, rather than any digital connection. I was hoping that Zepherman might be able to confirm this for us....
post #16 of 81
Thread Starter 
^Hi deckarep. Thnx for the link, very interesting stuff.

As for comparing jitter and SQ to analog, MC analog, with its tangle of cables, does provide good SQ for many but does not interest me. If I wanted that, I'd get an Oppo BDP95. But with my untreated and acoustically challenged room, room correction DSP always beats a pure analog path so I end up with an extra ADC/DAC in the AVR to apply Audyssey anyway. That was the point in buying up to XT32.

So I'm trying to optimize the digital path.
post #17 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post

The 3910 player cannot send SACD over HDMI (it's only v1.1). The sound from RBCD sounds exactly the same whether the connection is DL3, HDMI, or digital coax...

Thnx, very interesting.

I would like to hear from those who have done the A/B test of DL4 ON vs OFF for BR.

Same for others who have done the A/B test of DL3 vs HDMI and SPDIF for SACD, DVDA and RBCD.
post #18 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

3. If not, are there less expensive DL4 capable players than the DBP-4010UDCI? IOW how cheap is the buy-in?

When I spoke with Jeff Talmadge last fall, he indicated that Denon would revisit the BD transport concept it tried a few years ago. Presumably, a new universal BD transport would have HDMI 1.4 and Denon Link 4 outputs. Considering what the competition (read: Oppo) offers for $500-$1000, I would expect the Denon to come in well under $1000. But Denon Link is a closed ecosystem; if you want it, you have to go Denon all the way. And D&M Holdings may see that as an opportunity to charge a premium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

*Blu-ray transport: A few model years ago, Denon intro'd the 2500BTCI, a Blu-ray "transport" -- no DACs or analog audio out, no component video out, just HDMI out. Jeff agreed w/ me that the idea was ahead of its time and said that Denon will produce a universal (i.e. SACD & DVD-A) Blu-ray transport again in the near future.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...postcount=3839

AJ
post #19 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

Thnx, very interesting.

I would like to hear from those who have done the A/B test of DL4 ON vs OFF for BR.

Same for others who have done the A/B test of DL3 vs HDMI and SPDIF for SACD, DVDA and RBCD.

I had a denon 4010 that I sold in error, and posted few times now the main thing I miss dropping back to first the sony 5000es and then the oppo 95 is DL4.

the denon 4010 is EOL but if denon brought out a replacement with DL4 I would reconsider getting back on the wagon.

It was worth it for both audio and video with my denon avp I believe it a step forward from the oppo 95
post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

When I spoke with Jeff Talmadge last fall, he indicated that Denon would revisit the BD transport concept it tried a few years ago. Presumably, a new universal BD transport would have HDMI 1.4 and Denon Link 4 outputs. Considering what the competition (read: Oppo) offers for $500-$1000, I would expect the Denon to come in well under $1000. But Denon Link is a closed ecosystem; if you want it, you have to go Denon all the way. And D&M Holdings may see that as an opportunity to charge a premium.

AJ

Maybe charge denon fanboys a premium, but everyone else is happy with their Oppos and not about to switch.

And does Oppo offer anything for $1k?

Jeff
post #21 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

When I spoke with Jeff Talmadge last fall, ...
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...postcount=3839

AJ

Hi AJ. Thnx for reminding me of that quote from JT (DenonJeff). I bought the A100 partly based on that as well as upon the recommendation of that model by someone at Audyssey. And the fact I found one for the price of a discounted 4311, $1.5K. I love the SQ, it is a BIG step up from the 4310.

I wonder whether the DL system would translate into audible improvement, how much improvement and in what media. Then there's the question of cost.
So far I'm into this HT upgrade about $10K for about $22K MSRP worth of equipment.
post #22 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

...does Oppo offer anything for $1k? Jeff

Yes, Oppo's "top of the line" model BDP95 which I mentioned above. The added cost is all aimed at optimization for analog output. My BDP83SE was its predecessor at $899 MSRP. I am still considering a new Oppo BDP93, at $500, as I would not need all the hi-end analog capability but would like the streaming capability in a fast, "poor man's reference" universal/BRP.
post #23 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alebonau View Post

I had a denon 4010 that I sold in error, and posted few times now the main thing I miss dropping back to first the sony 5000es and then the oppo 95 is DL4.

Hi! I read one of your posts lamenting your lost 4010 and that is part of the reason for this thread. When you had it, did you happen to do any of the A/B comparisons I listed at the bottom of the first post of this thread?
post #24 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

Yes, Oppo's "top of the line" model BDP95 which I mentioned above. The added cost is all aimed at optimization for analog output. My BDP83SE was its predecessor at $899 MSRP. I am still considering a new Oppo BDP93, at $500, as I would not need all the hi-end analog capability but would like the streaming capability in a fast, "poor man's reference" universal/BRP.

Ah yes, the SE. Paired with a newer high-end Onk or Denon receiver/processor, the upgraded analog circuits are not needed. So $500 is the number, and for that the Oppo 93 measures and performs flawlessly. I use the original screaming bargain, the BDP-80, with my 5508. For Blu-ray, SACD and DVD-Audio, the 80 does everything I need and it was $300.

Jeff
post #25 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

I must say the system sounds great for BR (bitstreamed), SACD (DSD sent to A100 for decoding) and DVDA. Most redbook CDs reveal a big step down for SQ, though exceptionaly well-recorded ones are listenable.

The Oppo 83SE has jitter from 7 to 10ps according to hometheaterhifi review, which beats all the figures in the SPDIF category quoted earlier, and especially the DL4 jitter which is an order of magnitude higher.

Based on the above statements, you're only unhappy about CD SQ over HDMI so it looks using digital coaxial gives the lowest jitter. I'm not saying jitter difference is audible here, but the preceding discussion of jitter seems to be the only reason for using DL at all.

As you are already bitstreaming over HDMI for BR and SACD, jitter should not really matter.
post #26 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post


The Oppo 83SE has jitter from 7 to 10ps according to hometheaterhifi review, which beats all the figures in the SPDIF category quoted earlier, and especially the DL4 jitter which is an order of magnitude higher.

Based on the above statements, you're only unhappy about CD SQ over HDMI so it looks using digital coaxial gives the lowest jitter. I'm not saying jitter difference is audible here, but the preceding discussion of jitter seems to be the only reason for using DL at all.

As you are already bitstreaming over HDMI for BR and SACD, jitter should not really matter.

What people obviously don't realize is dac jitter ie in a player is only one side of the coin. Dac jitter is only relevant when using the players analog outputs. If using the player as a digital transport, the jitter due to timing errors between transport and dac clocks improbably the largest source of error. Sure some dacs will try to re clock. But that's really like yelling at the horse after it's bolted.

Quoting individual item jitter is irrelevant unless going off analog outputs off a player. If after some in-depth discussion on jitter and effects seek out amir's thread here on this forum. It's quite enlightening
post #27 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by alebonau View Post
Sure some dacs will try to re clock. But that's really like yelling at the horse after it's bolted.
Not exactly. Both re clocking (e.g. DSP buffering or asynchronous SRC) and rate control (e.g. i.Link PQLS, Denon Link, HDMI H.A.T.S.) are jitter "solutions." But, for several reasons, re clocking is arguably superior.

1. Re clocking at the sink is source agnostic -- it can function with almost any digital source.

Alternatively, rate control requires both source and sink to support the same (often proprietary) standard. The latter limits component compatibility and restricts functionality largely/exclusively to optical disc based media (i.e. it does not function with disk/network based streaming).

2. Re clocking can occur directly upstream of the DACs, either in DSP or in a dedicated asynchronous SRC. This allows all DSP activities to function normally and, because re clocking is the last step prior to D/A conversion, jitter induced anywhere along the digital signal path can be reduced.

Rate control, on the other hand, does not extend beyond the digital receiver upstream of the DSP, as rate control most likely cannot continue through the operations of the DSP. Indeed, the jitter reducing effects of rate control can be potentially undone by clock instability in the DSP or can be redundant because of effective re clocking downstream.

If rate control does extend to the DACs, then most/all DSP activities must be bypassed (i.e. listening mode is limited to a "pure direct" type).

Case in point vis Ã* vis the efficacy of re clocking, the oft cited Pioneer SC-LX81 (Pioneer Elite SC-07) as an AVR with very low jitter levels compared to those of its AVR brethren accomplishes this by way of a TI asynchronous SRC just ahead of the DACs.

All told, jitter at levels typically found across a wide spectrum of audio components is, audibly, probably much ado about nothing. But it does present an example of how to alarm with statistics. When a jitter level is put forth as 5000 ps, at first glance, that might look really poor. But remember that 5000 ps is the same as 5 ns, which is a whopping five billionths of a second.

To further illustrate how you can skew statistics to be perceived as either good or bad, try this example. Which amp produces lower measured distortion, an amp that, at 1 kHz at 1 W into 8 Ω, produces a third harmonic at -90 dBW or one that produces the same third harmonic at 1000 pW?



AJ
post #28 of 81
since when was re clocking superior to actually having a system that minimises clock errors in the first place by just using one master clock or using a clock signal to keep things in synch.

just using re clocking is like looking at a four legged animal and guessing whether it is a horse, donkey or camel. and yes as stated if not using any synch lock or clock/rate control method anything you do after that is after the fact. the horse has bolted...and then again that horse you thought you saw could turn out to be a donkey ! hehe

re clocking and using schemes to minimise jitter within dacs has been going on for a long time. as has been using synch locks or common singular clocks.

the point I am making that seems quite obviously missed by quite a few is looking at an item and saying oh gee look how low its jitter is. is silly when jitter is also creation because of multiple devices used with clocking errors that do occur between them. it is why all the makers including pioneer have developed these schemes eg clock synch and rate control in the first place. And by no means do they then abandon all other means of jitter minimisation.

good digital design you will find utilise not only utilises jitter minimisation at dac and within internal digital processes but also for transmission between devices with multiple clocks.
post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by alebonau View Post

since when was re clocking superior to actually having a system that minimises clock errors in the first place by just using one master clock or using a clock signal to keep things in synch.

I just explained above how re clocking can be superior to rate control. Re clocking has definite advantages and avoids certain disadvantages of rate control. Did you read my explanations? Do you comprehend them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alebonau View Post

just using re clocking is like looking at a four legged animal and guessing whether it is a horse, donkey or camel. and yes as stated if not using any synch lock or clock/rate control method anything you do after that is after the fact. the horse has bolted...and then again that horse you thought you saw could turn out to be a donkey ! hehe

Nope. Do you really think that, in this day and age, it is that difficult for a PLL to recover an accurate clock from a moderately jittered serial data stream? Heck, home audio sample rates are almost always either 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, occasionally 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192 kHz. Thus, a PLL has to recognize and regenerate only six different sample rates.

Furthermore, your four legged animal recognition analogy is inapplicable (or at least obtuse). If you think that it does apply, please elaborate.

AJ
post #30 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

I just explained above how re clocking can be superior to rate control. Re clocking has definite advantages and avoids certain disadvantages of rate control. Did you read my explanations? Do you comprehend them?



~

bull dust, is what I read, your personal take of what is important. nothing else sorry. As with anything jitter along the way is jitter, anything you do along the way is only trying to makeup on lost ground. It is much better to not get yourself in the bulldust in the first place. And then ofcourse any bulldust you pickup along the way helps to dust it off


Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

~

Nope. Do you really think that, in this day and age, it is that difficult for a PLL to recover an accurate clock from a moderately jittered serial data stream? Heck, home audio sample rates are almost always either 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, occasionally 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192 kHz. Thus, a PLL has to recognize and regenerate only six different sample rates.

Furthermore, your four legged animal recognition analogy is inapplicable (or at least obtuse). If you think that it does apply, please elaborate.

AJ

yes it is very bloody hard. Its been hard for donkeys years (yes four legged animals) its why the likes of esoteric & dcs make master clocks for cd players and transports costing mega bucks. and yes thats for just a simple 44.1 khz sample rate its why no manufacturer in their right mind will ever claim they can totally eliminate jitter and will only claim to minimise it

and no its not just about detecting regenerating sample rates for gods sake, my antique early 90s dac could do that

sounds to me you need to perhaps do some reading to understand the complexities yourself. as suggested the threads by amirm on the topic you might find very enlightening ....
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