For the last week or so I have revisted the DSD vs. PCM comparison. Recently when listening to stereo SACDs I have found the SQ lacking using the stereo mode with Audyssey (flat). I decided to give the DSD setting another shot and decided to try the EXT. Input of my 4311 instead of HDMI. I'm finding that the music is not as congested with DSD/EXT Input as when using the stereo mode with Audyssey/HDMI. I recently bought Laura Nyro's Angel in the Dark SACD. This SACD is an excellent sounding stereo SACD that I find to be a great disc for this comparison. I used track 10 Ooh Baby, Baby for the comparison as it has LN's vocals, piano and cymbals to focus on. Although switching the 103 from PCM to DSD and HDMI to EXT In takes about ten seconds I'm finding there is a difference. The difference is very subtle but what I'm finding is a bit more clarity and air around the instruments. Vocals have a more natural feel to them that with PCM/Audyssey. I'm finding that the SongTowers sound excellent in full range and I do not miss the sub.
When I checked earlier in this thread for the low DSD issue I only used HDMI and had not checked the EXT Input. So with just my sub playing I played Steely Dan's Gaucho SACD and found that the low LFE level with DSD is also present. I found the difference to be about 5-6 dB which surprised me as I thought the signal from the 103 to the 4311 would be untouched when using the EXT Input.
I will continue to listen to multichannel SACDs with the PCM setting and Audyssey/HDMI. I find with 5.1 SACDs that Audyssey does an excellent job of EQing my sub. My surrounds also blend better with my LCR speakers as well. The BM and speaker settings with the 103 are not as fine as when using the 4311 so that is a big factor as well.
I know it is a PITA to be switching from DSD to PCM and to switch from the EXT Input from HDMI but I'm finding that the effort is worth it. Of course my thoughts on this could change as quick as the Maine weather