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SACD & DVD-A with a Toslink Cable? - Page 2

post #31 of 32
^^

Thanks Kilian, for the detailed reply.

I'll have to play around and see what sounds best. I'm leaning towards 1., since that will allow me to play the tracks in high resolution.

I only have a handful of DVD-A disks, so I'm not inclined to upgrade just to play those few disks. My old receiver has MCH in, but I was never connected that way, thinking that TOSlink provided better sound.
post #32 of 32
The general rule is simple: optical S/PDIF, aka Toslink, can ONLY carry multichannel audio when encoded in Dolby Digital or DTS. (Well, technically it could carry more, but the standard prescribes DD/DTS, so no device will be able to do anything with the signal should you be able in sending it across the cable.)

Both DVD-A and SACD have NOT standardised on DD/DTS or their lossless, high resolution counterparts. This means that for both mediums you'll only get 2 channel output. And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how S/PDIF handles 'non-standard' sample rates and/or 24 bits bit depth. I think it depends on the device sending the signal and the drivers used. It may get resampled to 44100 or 48000Hz or it could be transferred as-is.

I'm not really sure it's worth it, with S/PDIF. With SACD you won't be able to play the DSD layer, but only the backward compatible Redbook PCM layer (basically just the CD version). With DVD-A you CAN play the DVD-A part, but like I said only in stereo. You might just as well go with the backward compatible DVD-Video part, which prescribes DD/DTS for surround sound and can easily be transferred to the receiver via passthrough (like when watching a movie). It won't be in high resolution, but at least you have proper surround with no hassle at all. If the surround mix of a particular album is bad you can always switch back to stereo, which may or may not be high-resolution.

If you want to play SACD discs (those have no multichannel DD/DTS fallback) in surround you're going to have to look into a card that supports Dolby Digital Live! and/or DTS:Connect. This will dynamically transcode everything to DD/DTS so it can be properly passed through S/PDIF.

When I still used S/PDIF and discovered HR audio I got myself a nice soundcard with a reasonably good DAC, dumped S/PDIF altogether and went (back, in a sense) to analogue. The audio quality should not suffer and could be improved if you go analogue. As long as you get a card with a DAC that is better than the one in your receiver. With analogue you won't be bound by those weird restrictions that are imposed by S/PDIF. Especially in hindsight, S/PDIF is nothing more than a dirty workound to get digital mutichannel audio crammed though one cable by lack of enough bandwidth.
Edited by LB06 - 6/30/12 at 9:40am
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