Originally Posted by edorr
Thanks for jumping in Dan. To avoid any confusion, let me reiterate what I said.
For Blu Ray sources, I have no way if knowing if a modded Oppo into an Trinnov MC over 4 x S/PDIF HDMI will be any better than HDMI into an ADA Reference.
For SACD, I have an empirical basis to assert the modded Oppo route will be superior, in particular when the Trinnov MC is upgrade to 192/24. This NOT because any inherent superiority of the Trinnov MC over the reference (the Reference has a Trinnov MC inside). This is because the modded Oppo can send a 176/24 signal with proprietary DSD -> LPCM conversion into the Trinnov MC, which the HDMI link between Oppo and ADA reference cannot.
I have personally compared the two in my system, and the proprietary DSD conversion at 176/24 is superior to the standard Oppo DSD coversions. So the superiory of the modded Oppo signal path on SACD has everything to do with the Oppo side of things, not the downstream ADA hardware. If a modded Oppo came along that could send a 176/24 proprietary DSD conversion over HDMI, the playing filed would be even again.
Interesting points on the seemingly inherent limitation of HDMI. Even though the internal connection between the ADA and Trinnov in the reference is all digital, it seems that the HDMI input is the limiting factor. Am I understanding this correctly? If so, then is there any difference in the following two paths:
1. Oppo HDMI out to ADA Reference internally connected Trinnov
2. Oppo HDMI out to Theta, Theta Digital Out to Trinnov MC digital in
It appears that for an HDMI audio signal, the path is essentially the same. If so, then it would seem that a Theta with Digital out to Trinnov MC has the following advantages:
a. Allows for modded Oppo for 176/24 input
b. Promise of actual 11.1 DTS Neo X processing (at least Theta has announced)
c. Dirac processing (I know it's essentially redundant with Trinnov MC, but why not have the option if the cost is comparable)
d. If you really wanted to go crazy, I suppose you could even get digital out on the Trinnov MC and use the Theta Gen VIII in lieu of the Trinnov MC DACs.
Perhaps for many, a, b, c (especially d) aren't important, but why not try to get these other benefits if the cost of the Theta and Trinnov MC are comparable to a ADA Reference? With the Theta as the front end for other HDMI devices, you retain virtually the same benefits of the Reference for a main controller. What would be the negatives associated with going to a Theta & Trinnov MC vs ADA Reference?