Originally Posted by leefarber
the more I read, the more intimidated I am!
>>>>>are you sure it is intimidation rather than suffering from smoke inhalation?
First, my set-up: The 105 is connected via HDMI and 5.1 Analog to my new Marantz 8001 (which goes out to my Sunfire Signature Series II Amp). Also have my Mac Mini music server going in to the USB DAC of the 105. I use HDMI for movies. I use 5.1 Analog for both Stereo and MCH music to take advantage of the DACs in the 105, but I am still experimenting with HDMI for MCH music to see if I like what Audyssey XT32 does for the room.
>>>>> I like some things about Audyssey, but also enjoy the raw unprocessed sound from the analog outs - I plan to use both and switch depending on my mood or until a clear preference emerges. To do this I connect Oppo.hdmi.1 to AV7701.BluRay/7.1 external inputs selected, Oppo.hdmi.2 to AV7701.DVD/HDMI
input selected. I use the Blu-ray input for listening to the Oppo 7.1 (5.1 in my case) outputs and DVD input for listening to HDMI with or without Audyssey. To make sure DSD is working in either case, I set Oppo HDMI to "Split" mode - this is required for DSD over HDMI2 and also required for DSD over analog when any HDMI port is in use, otherwise Oppo HDMI Audio must be set to off - which you don't want to do.
The first question I have is in regards to the dedicated Stereo output: Is there any reason for me to use it if I am already using the 5.1 Analog outs? I don't need to use XLR since it's a small run and I don't have any noticeable noise problems in my system. Is this primarily for people who use a separate dedicated Stereo pre-amp apart from a home theater pre/pro? I just want to make sure I'm not missing out on whatever benefit the dedicated stereo outputs would offer.
>>>>> The dedicated Stereo output has a fairly different sound and I don't think you need "great" ears to recognize it. I have a Zone 2 I want to use, so I must use these outputs set to "Downmix" to have zone2 playback from my Marantz. If you are not using a second zone, you should spend some time comparing the 7.1 DAC to the stereo DAC (set both to FL/FR so they send the same audio) - easy to do with a stereo source and two different unprocessed (direct or pure) inputs on your Marantz - switch between them and the difference should be obvious. You may have to adjust the source input level to match them - I think the stereo DAC may be slightly hotter. The ear will almost always favor a slightly louder source in a comparison, so be careful of that.
>>>>>If you do want a Zone 2, I suspect your Marantz will not down-convert digital inputs to analog, so you will need the Oppo's stereo outputs set to Downmix and also connect to the stereo analog inputs for Blu-ray or DVD on the Marantz (I split them to both since I want a stereo Downmix to zone 2 for either Marantz input).
My next question (and greatest confusion) is about bass management. I am so overwhelmed by all the different attenuations and Subwoofer level changes brought about by things like DSD vs. PCM, XLR vs. RCA, HDMI vs. Analog, etc. I am having the 105 output PCM instead of DSD over HDMI, as it seems outputting as DSD is something of a headache with very little benefit.
>>>>>I had already run Audyssey on my setup before I got the Oppo. I am still waiting for my calibration discs to arrive, but for now what I did was play some unprocessed (direct) material over HDMI, with only the SUB powered on and took SPL levels. Then I played the same material through the 7.1 outputs and set the trim of the Marantz Subwoofer level (rather than the Oppo Trim) to match the levels played over HDMI. I played a lot of material I was familiar with to be satisfied that I got it "close enough". It turned out for me that no SUB level adjustment was required beyond what the Audyssey calibration had already defaulted all inputs to.
I can easily now switch between DSD and PCM and the main difference we should be hearing is the lack of processing by the Oppo since DSD is direct to the DAC whereas DSD->PCM-analog is processed by the Oppo (distance, trim, etc). I like having access to the DSD mix since it is as close to what the mix engineer heard as we can get.
Over HDMI, I am using Audyssey XT32 in the Marantz 8001. Prior to calibration, Audyssey had me lower my SW volume knob to a certain level. After calibration, Audyssey set my front speakers (full range Axiom M60's) to Large with a crossover of 40Hz. I changed this to Small speakers with a crossover of 80Hz. Was this correct to do?
>>>>>For comparison's sake to the Oppo analog, I think this is OK since the Oppo cannot do individual x-overs for different speakers. Later you may want to listen to what works best in your setup and adjust the Fronts to something other than 80. In my room, I like 40 better for the fronts, but for now I am using 80 all around on the Oppo and Marantz to keep listening comparisons reasonable.
When I setup the 105's speaker configuration setting to listen via the Analog outputs, I have selected SMALL and once again set the Crossover to 80Hz. I set the distances using a tape measure. Using the internal test tone, I have my Radio Shack SPL meter set to 70, and raise the volume of the Marantz until the meter reads zero. I then go around to each speaker and adjust the trim so it matches the LF output. Again, did I do this correctly?
So given all this, will I get less bass output if I play an SACD vs. a DVD-A? And is there a way to get SW output when listening to stereo via analog if there isn't a dedicated .1 channel?
>>>>>I "think" I am getting similar bass from both SACD and DVDA (rips). I have Steely Dan's Gaucho in both formats that I have been comparing and they both sound correct over the analog outputs.
I am still trying to understand what happens with the Stereo DAC for non-USB-audiocard style inputs: disc, LAN, USD drives. Bob says the dowmix will throw away the .1 LFE channel and there rarely is one for audio mixes - most engineers do not use LFE. Otherwise, I hear full bandwidth audio from the Stereo DAC when playing back these sources. If I am using the Marantz processing, I get SUB out.
I have also been pleased with the USB DAC, though I'm not sure if it is any better than my Lindemann 24/192 Asynchronous USB DAC. Neither option allows SW output, which is a shame. As much as I like my full range speakers, they can't reproduce the same deep bass that my Hsu VTF-1 SW can.
>>>>>I am using REL Sub with both a SUB input and high-level (speaker level) inputs that can be used simultaneously. They each have their own volume control and the filter only affects the high-level inputs. By setting the REL x-over just below 40 and the Oppo and Marantz x-overs @ 80, the REL high-level inputs never get any bass unless I am listening to a stereo source in Marantz direct or pure. In this case, the REL picks up below 40 and blends well with my main speakers. If your SUB can do this, it may be worth sorting out - it can take a while to dial it in, but to me it is worth it.
Why can't the 105 route any audio it receives below the crossover via USB to the SW instead of the mains?
>>>>>I don't know of any high-quality stereo DACs that do this. They all do 2.0. Apogee, Benchmark, Mytek, Lavry, Lucid,....they all are pretty much 2.0 - which might be telling us something.