Originally Posted by discodol
Now that the 105 has been announced can the beta testers comment on their impressions of the SQ from the DACs in multichannel and stereo modes and if you think SQ has improved from the 93 to 95 to 105?
Is analog played back differently on the 105 than on the 95 and is there a difference in how the dacs handle multichannel and stereo playback(processing) on the 105?
I think the Analog output from the 105 sounds better than the 93 (I never had a 95).
The basic functionality of the Analog output of the 105 is almost identical to the 95. The most important difference is in how attenuation is handled for the Subwoofer output of the multi-channel set. (This is true for the 103 as well). In the 95, +15dB of boost was needed regardless of the settings in the player. The idea was to apply that external to the player. If all speakers were set to Large (thus no bass steering due to Crossover processing), 5dB of that attenuation was not actually needed for clipping safety, and so you could safely apply +5dB volume trim to the Subwoofer output in the player, and thus only need +10dB additional boost external to the player.
In the 103/105, if all speakers are Large (or Off), then the multi-channel Analog Subwoofer output needs +10dB boost external to the player to match the other outputs. This is the standard attenuation for LFE. This is also the case during DSD-Direct-to-Analog-Conversion playback of SACD discs, since speakers are treated AS IF they were large in that case (since no processing is possible when DSD is sent to the DACs).
If any speakers are set to Small, and you are NOT sending DSD to the DACs, then the multi-channel Analog Subwoofer output needs +15dB boost external to the player to match the other outputs. This is the standard attenuation for LFE plus an additional 5dB attenuation to provide headroom for bass steered into the Subwoofer output from those Small speakers (i.e., due to the functioning of the Crossover).
Now, there are other audio improvements in the 103/105 which carry over to the Analog outputs. For example, the decoder in the 103/105 is more fully featured. Additional media file formats are handled, and certain limitations of the decoder in the 93/95 no longer exist. E.g., the rare, DTS-HD MA 192KHz 5.1 track format actually gets decoded as 192KHz (rather than 96KHz as happens in the 93/95).
And the new players have INPUTS that you can use to get digital audio decoded and played through the Analog outputs of the player.
The new players are also FASTER, which helps minimize the gap between the end of one media file and the start of the next.
And the new players have subsidiary application support such as 5.1 output from Netflix streams.
And the new players are DLNA Digital Media Renderers -- meaning you can "push" file streams to them using the UI on your favorite DLNA server.
So there are other audio-related advantages to the newer players beyond simple comparison of audio output quality.