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Yamaha RXV 1800 multichannel inputs issue

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Recently, a work colleague of mine who has a home theater with a Yamaha A/V receiver and Definitive Technology speakers started looking into the purchase an Oppo Blu-ray/Universal player, on my recommendation. I own a BDP-93 for my dedicated two-channel (Classe/Bryston/B&W) audio system and I'm extremely happy with it.

For my HT I use a two-year old Samsung that, so far, works fine with every Blu-ray I've played in it. I've explained to him that in my A/V receiver I use separate inputs for audio and video -- for no other reason than the fact that my Yamaha A/V receiver does not have HDMI inputs. I'm very happy with my setup and have no degradation going TOSLINK or coax from the source to the receiver, with the video being fed directly into the flat-screen HDMI inputs, with sound turned off. He's heard my HT system and knows the quality of sound I'm getting.

Adapt or perish, as they say.

I am not an engineer, just a fanatical hobbyist. However my colleague is. He was curious about the multi-channel analog outputs on the back of the Oppos (93 and 95) and read in another forum that regardless of the nature of the input the A/V receiver would pass the signal to its DSP anyway and not go a straight analog path.

Common sense, at least to me, would dictate that if you have an analog input into the preamp stage the signal path should be straight to the amps and then the speakers. To confirm this he wrote a support email to Yamaha and they, incredulously, confirmed this. Here is the (edited for clarity) thread, Yamaha's responses in italics:

I have a Yamaha RXV 1800. This receiver has multichannel inputs. Is there any benefit sound wise, in using the multichannel inputs over the HDMI inputs? I am considering buying an Oppo 95 which is a blue ray player regarded as having excellent analog outs. If I connect this blue ray player using the multichannel inputs, is the analog signal converted in the receiver at any point into a digital signal? I hear that the sound is converted to a digital signal in the receiver and since it's converted to digital, there is no benefit over HDMI. Is that the case or is the analog signal kept intact?

The Yamaha receiver can do DTS-HD, Dolby True HD and DSD (SACD) via HDMI so there is really no reason that you would need the analog inputs.

Does the Yamaha turn the analog signals back to digital inside the receiver?

It is not reprocessed but it does go through the digital audio chip sets.

I sent my own email to Yamaha:

I own a Yamaha receiver as well and I need to understand this correctly: you are stating that your A/V receivers with 5.1 or 7.1 ANALOG inputs are going to take the already decoded and converted ANALOG signal it receives from the 5.1 or 7.1 ANALOG outputs of a source component, and then reconvert that already converted signal back to DIGITAL through the DSP and then reconvert it back to ANALOG for output to the speakers?

Huh?

Why on Earth would you do such a thing?!

Here is what they replied:

It has to go through the chips, no way around that one, there is no direct analog path.

I need to understand why Yamaha, and Lord knows how many other A/V processor manufacturers, are doing this. Am I wrong to think this really stinks? What is the point of the analog outputs if Yamaha and others are going to crap all over that signal.
post #2 of 36
Multi-channel analog inputs used to, in most cases, completely bypass the digital stage. This was for economy, because an 8 channel ADC would have been needed otherwise.

STEREO analog always goes through the digital stage, unless it's in pure direct mode on Yamaha receivers.
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Multi-channel analog inputs used to, in most cases, completely bypass the digital stage. This was for economy, because an 8 channel ADC would have been needed otherwise.

STEREO analog always goes through the digital stage, unless it's in pure direct mode on Yamaha receivers.

So if his Yamaha receiver has "pure direct mode" in the multi-channel input it will bypass the DSP and output analog only?
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

Am I wrong to think this really stinks? What is the point of the analog outputs if Yamaha and others are going to crap all over that signal.

Digital processing on the 5.1 analog inputs can be beneficial for some people. Many universal/Blu-ray players cannot support level adjustment or time delay on the analog outputs. If the receiver runs this signal through its own ADCs, then it can perform these functions.

To some, the trade off might be worth it. This was really only a problem 10 years ago. Now that HDMI can pass all audio sources, it is typically best to use HDMI for all multi-channel sources. Note, not all receivers process DSD via HDMI.
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

So if his Yamaha receiver has "pure direct mode" in the multi-channel input it will bypass the DSP and output analog only?

I have never seen a schematic of a Yamaha receiver with ADC on the MC inputs. I have to question the concept that all their receivers with MC inputs are converting them to digital to to the added cost, for a feature not many people use.

They have been known to answer questions incorrectly. Many regs on this forum seem to know more than the technical support department of some of these electronics giants.

Might be easy to test. Do something like maxing out speaker distance on some channel (which adjusts delay,) and if you don't get an obvious delay on that channel, the MC inputs are probably not digitized.

If they are, it's possible pure direct would stop that, but I have no idea without seeing that explained in a manual, or seeing the services manaul.
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

Now that HDMI can pass all audio sources, it is typically best to use HDMI for all multi-channel sources.

The Oppos have a better DAC on board than most A/V receivers. What you are saying, then, is that I don't have a choice in the matter if I don't want to use HDMI for audio.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post


The Oppos have a better DAC on board than most A/V receivers. What you are saying, then, is that I don't have a choice in the matter if I don't want to use HDMI for audio.

That's not really true. The DAC in the Oppo is not an improvement over the DAC in the AVR. Companies often advertise superior DACs but it's mostly a marketing scheme. In most cases you would not be able to tell the difference in a blind listening test between the two DACs
post #8 of 36
Most AVRs simply do not have the processing power needed to convert 8 channels of analog to digital, with or without further DSP. And as Michael stated, nor do they have an 8-ch ADC in the first place. So it's true that by definition all multi-channel inputs are "direct".

I think there have been one or 2 of the Yamaha Z series that are exceptions. Likewise, a "direct analog" path in most Yamahas is nonexistent. But these are 2 different things, the later refers to the stereo analog inputs, which are always sent through the ADC whether DSP is in use or not. Again the exceptions are a few of the Z series Yamahas.

All that aside, it's also true that there's no credible reason to use analog inputs when HDMI is available. Bypassing YPAO and DSP is simply not a good idea, and any theoretical differences in the DACs is rendered moot by the loss of EQ, bass management and room adjustments.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

The Oppos have a better DAC on board than most A/V receivers. What you are saying, then, is that I don't have a choice in the matter if I don't want to use HDMI for audio.

That's why I said "typically". Yes, the OPPOs are often better than most receivers, that's why I have a few of them myself
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Most AVRs simply do not have the processing power needed to convert 8 channels of analog to digital, with or without further DSP. And as Michael stated, nor do they have an 8-ch ADC in the first place. So it's true that by definition all multi-channel inputs are "direct."

I need to ask this: Do the Oppos multi-channel outputs send and analog signal or a digital signal to the AVR? If it's an analog signal then the AVR wouldn't need an ADC, right? Analog in, analog out to the speakers. Are you saying that the actual design of the AVR precludes this?
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

I need to ask this: Do the Oppos multi-channel outputs send and analog signal or a digital signal to the AVR? If it's an analog signal then the AVR wouldn't need an ADC, right? Analog in, analog out to the speakers. Are you saying that the actual design of the AVR precludes this?

Multi-channel outs, by nature, are analog.
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post


I need to ask this: Do the Oppos multi-channel outputs send and analog signal or a digital signal to the AVR? If it's an analog signal then the AVR wouldn't need an ADC, right? Analog in, analog out to the speakers. Are you saying that the actual design of the AVR precludes this?

You're making judgement calls about me writing for a magazine and also about superior DACs but you don't even know that multichannel outputs from an Oppo are strictly analogue. There's no way they could be digital.
post #13 of 36
I'm not going to argue with you about DACs. The difference you are hearing is not in the DACs. It's the differences in bass management between the Oppo and an AVR. It doesn't matter what brand the AVR is. That multichannel Oppo connection is old school and isn't even needed anymore. You're using inferior bass management using that multichannel connection.
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

Are you saying that you hear differences between two modern DACs?

All I know is that, with my five desert island reference discs, my Oppo (in my two-channel rig), going straight in to my preamp has better results than through my DAC. I like the sound better. And I didn't like the sound -- straight in to the analog inputs of my preamp -- from my old Marantz SA8260 as much as I do my Oppo. I'm sorry for being subjective but there it is.

BTW, this not what this thread is about. I want to use my multi-channel analog outputs into my AVR without additional, unnecessary digital processing. What AVR, currently sold today, supports this mode?
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

All I know is that, with my five desert island reference discs, my Oppo (in my two-channel rig), going straight in to my preamp has better results than through my DAC. I like the sound better. And I didn't like the sound -- straight in to the analog inputs of my preamp -- from my old Marantz SA8260 as much as I do my Oppo. I'm sorry for being subjective but there it is.

The sound may be different, but as several others have already mentioned, the difference is not because of the differences in the DACs.

Bass management or other DSP is most likely the reason(s).
post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

The sound may be different, but as several others have already mentioned, the difference is not because of the differences in the DACs. Bass management or other DSP is most likely the reason(s).

I was referring strictly to music discs (CDs, SACDs, and DVD-As), not movies.

Once again, this not what this thread is about. I want to use my multi-channel analog outputs into my AVR without additional, unnecessary digital processing. What AVR, currently sold today, supports this mode?
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

I was referring strictly to music discs (CDs, SACDs, and DVD-As), not movies.

Once again, this not what this thread is about. I want to use my multi-channel analog outputs into my AVR without additional, unnecessary digital processing. What AVR, currently sold today, supports this mode?

Not sure why you think movies would be any different than music.

That said, what you are asking for isn't in much demand with the advances in DSP - a few posts describe the potential to use a unit's "pure audio" function and brand specific multi channel analog functional options. You might need to do your own research here to see which units work the way you prefer.

BTW, if you didn't want to discuss DACs, it would have been better if you hadn't made an erroneous statement about DAC quality - that's where the sidebar began.
post #18 of 36
Said very well. Thank you.
post #19 of 36
Many AVR's still will not digitize it.

Yamaha's do all sorts of things I don't like. Many Yammy's convert everything to 96K internally too.

The AVR manufacturers can't win.....
If they don't AtoD the Multi-Channel analog people gripe they can't bass manage or apply processing.
If they AtoD the Multi-Channel analog others like yourself gripe because they are altering the original analog before it is amplified for the speakers.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

BTW, if you didn't want to discuss DACs, it would have been better if you hadn't made an erroneous statement about DAC quality - that's where the sidebar began.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

Said very well. Thank you.

You are both being presumptuous as to what I can and cannot hear in my system. I have owned five different DACs since 1993 and there was an incremental improvement in the sound from my music discs every time I upgraded. The Oppo is only the second disc player in my system (the first was my CAL Audio CD player) that I listen to without an external DAC. It's that good.

Movies played through the Oppo in two-channel mode sound fantastic, as well. But movie sound reproduction and music reproduction are NOT the same and will never be.

That said, again, are there any models out there that support what I want and not what you think is right for me?
post #21 of 36
Note room correction is done in the digital domain so any signal must be converted... IME room correction has a bigger impact on the sound than the DACs.

Some AVRs do have ADCs and Pure Direct (e.g. my Pioneer SC-27) but I don't know about the rest. I suspect the majority do not due to the expense and relatively few (and getting fewer) users that use the analog inputs but I do not know. I did try a quasi-blind test with my Oppo 83 (had my son switch inputs and keep track) and the result was I could not tell HDMI vs. analog. I did much prefer having room correction. YMMV. - Don
post #22 of 36
If you wish to rely entirely on the Oppo's DACs for music and movies, then you simply need to engage "Pure Direct" on the Yamaha. This bypasses all processing and conversions in the AVR. You will have to set the Oppo's settings appropriately for speaker size, distance and bass management as none of that will be done by the Yamaha.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

You are both being presumptuous as to what I can and cannot hear in my system. I have owned five different DACs since 1993 and there was an incremental improvement in the sound from my music discs every time I upgraded. The Oppo is only the second disc player in my system (the first was my CAL Audio CD player) that I listen to without an external DAC. It's that good.

Movies played through the Oppo in two-channel mode sound fantastic, as well. But movie sound reproduction and music reproduction are NOT the same and will never be.

That said, again, are there any models out there that support what I want and not what you think is right for me?

Ya know....

People are trying to help you here, and so far, have mostly avoided pointing out that you seem deficient in your understanding of how modern AVR's and sound processing works. The whole thread title was misleading, and it's gone downhill from there.

If you want to believe you have "golden ears", ok, but when you make statements like "movie sound reproduction and music reproduction are NOT the same and will never be", it's hard to help you. Do you think electronics know or care that the signal they are reproducing is a movie or music?. Even if they were different (would like your explanation of that), why wouldn't you want to correct both for better alignment with your in room acoustics?

Probably time to go do your own research, since the ideas put forward about how to get the best out of your gear aren't of interest to you. Technology has moved on.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

So if his Yamaha receiver has "pure direct mode" in the multi-channel input it will bypass the DSP and output analog only?

Yes. See the RX-V1800|RX-V3800 Pure Direct Block Diagram on Page 2 of the RX-V3800 New Product Bulletin.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

Sure, orchestral recordings made in Symphony Hall in Boston are EXACTLY the same as the artificial construct of a movie soundtrack. Therefore, the reproduction of either could be handled in identical ways.

Yup, you know a lot.

Please give me a concise explanation of how a player or AVR treats them differently

Do they use different 0's and 1's for concerts than movies? Is there a flag on the media that says, this recording is a symphony, process as such? Or do you switch from a "music" cable to a "movie" cable in your system?

I'll wait....
post #26 of 36
I don't have total confidence in that block diagram where the multi-channel inputs are concerned even though it seems to confirm it works the way the op wants it to.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER View Post

I don't have total confidence in that block diagram where the multi-channel inputs are concerned even though it seems to confirm it works the way the op wants it to.

If we are talking RX-V1800, I know that line of receivers pretty well at the schematic level

Stereo analog gets converted to digital BUT can be bypassed
MC analog inputs go directly to a volume control chip after going through a switch, then on to the power stage front end as memory serves [They can never go through the digital stage, there's no ADC for the MC analog inputs]
post #28 of 36
This thread needs some clarification and updates..
1. All AVRs digitize the 2-Channel analog sources, so that its audio can be processed by the audio DSP for bass management, Room EQ and surround processing
2. The majority of AVRs only have 2-Channel digitizers, however several years back Harman/Kardon introduced an 8 Channel digitizer so that 8 Channel analog sources could have its audio processed by the audio DSP. Also it could take a 5.1 digital source and post-processing the back L/R surround channels to 7.1
3. 5.1 and 7.1 Direct analog inputs are being deleted as they are no longer required for most users as HDMI is the typical I/O port. In the earlier times, before 5.1/7.1 HD audio processing was done in the AVRs it was done in the source component usually an optical player. And this was connected to the AVR through its 5.1/7.1 Direct inputs.

CONCLUSIONS
91% of the home theater systems installed today utilize a loudspeaker system consisting of satellites/subwoofer, and this requires a bass manager for handling the bass redirection processing plus Room EQ. Regarding an AVR having a Pure Digital only mode, this is more of a marketing fluff feature addressing the purists..
Though it may sound different, the issue is it better sonically.. Keeping in mind that 71% of the market are using an AVR that sold for <$699, so to address the higher-end sonic focused market segment requires a significantly higher HT system investment, most importantly including an expensive, high resolution, quality loudspeaker system. And this segment is rapidly becoming a small minority as the CE home entertainment market shifts to HD video, game and internet driven functions..

Just my $0.02...
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER View Post

I don't have total confidence in that block diagram where the multi-channel inputs are concerned even though it seems to confirm it works the way the op wants it to.

If we can't trust Yamaha, I guess the next option might be to choose separate power amps plus a "very basic" eight channel analog volume control ("PreAmp") with no distance|tone|bass adjustment capabilities--something like the MSB Technology MVC...?

post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by glmoneo View Post

Sure, three-mic RCA Living Stereo orchestral recordings made in Symphony Hall in Boston are EXACTLY the same as the artificial construct of a movie soundtrack. Therefore, the reproduction of either could be handled in identical ways.

Yup, you know a lot.

Why would it matter? Once anything is recorded digitally, it's nothing more than a series of ones and zeroes representing an audible signal. All a DAC has to do is convert those ones and zeroes into an analog waveform. That is the beginning, middle and end of a DAC's job.

Just because you spent money on a new DAC (five times) and think you heard an improvement each time, doesn't make it necessarily so. The unfortunate reality is the human brain is easily deceived by preconceived notions, but there is no arguing with the science.

I want to be clear about one thing: I am not saying every single DAC sounds the same as every single other one, many of them seem to have been built with equalization (for example a bass boost) that makes them more pleasing to audiophiles who think it's a good idea to buy an entire chain of components which each colors the sound, but the majority of mainsteam DACs (especially when it comes to the ones found in AVRs) are just designed to do their job without artificially coloring the sound and among those, you will never, ever hear a difference.
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