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Quick question about listening modes

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I recently purchased a new Sony Blu Ray that can decode sacd. I was looking at the Onkyo 606 manual about its capabilities with dsd and I noticed in the listening modes for music "dsd" is a choice along with mono, stereo, all channel stereo, neo 6, classical, etc...
When I put an sacd in and cylcled through the music listening modes "dsd" wasn't an option. When I hit display it said 2 channel dsd so I'm guessing it is playing the sacd layer. Does this sound right?

Here was the other issue - I tried to play it in "direct" mode but there was nothing coming out of the subwoofer. When I chose the listening mode "stereo" the sub kicked in. Why wouldn't it produce any bass in "direct" mode?

Thanks for any help you guys can give!

Thanks,
Drew
post #2 of 11
Q1. Whether you send DSD or PCM is configured by you in the player, not by the receiver. The receiver does not tell the player to send DSD. If it says DSD then it is receiving DSD, but there is no advantage in doing that, and possible some disadvantages.

Q2. That's what 'direct mode' is for, not extracting bass from the mains. If it does what 'stereo mode' does, then there is no difference between the two modes and no need for two different modes.
post #3 of 11
+1. the receiver does not produce bass. It might or might not redirect bass that is already present in the program material from the left and right channels to the sub. If it does not redirect the bass to the sub, then the bass, still fully present in the signal, is reproduecd by the left and right speakers (within their limits.) Generally the "direct" modes are intended to eliminate all processing, like implementing a crossover to the sub, so they don't redirect bass to the sub. FWIW, AFAIK, no receiver can perform bass management on a DSD signal. TH\hey have to convert it to PCM in order to implement bass management, room correction, etc., which a typical "direct" mode will prevent from occuring.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
This all makes sense, so I'm wondering if someone can tell me why I'm not hearing any bass in direct mode. My speakers are Polks - not top of the line by any means but good speakers that should produce some bass, if none is being channeled to the sub. I guess I'm looking for a way to get the sub going while in direct mode so I have minimal processing going on. If I understand all this, in direct mode the receiver is getting the dsd feed from the player and not converting it whereas it is converted to PCM in any other mode?
I just don't know what settings to use on the receiver to get bass going to the sub in direct mode. As mentioned I can't get any bass from a regular cd, an sacd cd, or even streamed mp3s from my computer.

Thanks for all your help,
Drew
Edited by dtutt - 1/28/13 at 11:50am
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtutt View Post

so I'm wondering if someone can tell me why I'm not hearing any bass in direct mode. My speakers are Polks - not top of the line by any means but good speakers that should produce some bass, if none is being channeled to the sub.

It's down to the speakers limitation, placement and room. Did you have plenty of bass before with another AVR or this is your new pair?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtutt View Post

I guess I'm looking for a way to get the sub going while in direct mode so I have minimal processing going on.

You just have to accept this as a fact that you can't unless you wire the sub to the mains. It's by design. What is your concern about STEREO mode? What processing in the STEREO mode you want to avoid? You can turn off Audyssey so what is left you can't turn off?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtutt View Post

If I understand all this, in direct mode the receiver is getting the dsd feed from the player and not converting it whereas it is converted to PCM in any other mode?

not necessarily...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtutt View Post

I just don't know what settings to use on the receiver to get bass going to the sub in direct mode. As mentioned I can't get any bass from a regular cd, an sacd cd, or even streamed mp3s from my computer.

Again, no other settings can be used in direct mode!

Again, use stereo mode!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Kilian - Thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm getting my mind around this. Here's my final question(s) - you mention above "not necessarily" about the player converting to pcm or not based on direct or stereo mode - what do you mean by that?
And second, unless I'm wrong (and I certain can be!), if the receiver is processing the stereo then I'm not getting the direct, pure, dsd, sacd layer (meaning I'm not getting them most possible out of the media) - does this seem right?

Again, thanks for taking the time to help a novice!

Drew
post #7 of 11
The manual is bit vague in what is done to DSD in direct mode. In any case I don't know if the DAC in the receiver can do straight DSD-analogue decoding/conversion. I doubt it so I wouldn't assume it can and there's no easy way to find out.

I have the Onkyo 818 and Sony BDP. From the 818 manual it seems direct mode is more restrictive in processing than DSD mode and since DSD mode can do bass management DSD MUST be convert to PCM first. So there is no advantage at all sending DSD.

If the player is configured to send DSD then it will send DSD from the DSD layer: the receiver's mode cannot stop it! Stereo mode does bass management so it must convert DSD to PCM first.

DSD is not better than PCM. DSD-PCM-analogue conversion is not necessarily better than DSD-analogue conversion.

Most SACDs are not direct DSD but actually from PCM recordings. Editing has to be done in PCM. There is nothing 'pure' about DSD. So DSD is not the holy grail of high res. music, just the format of encoding on the disc.

Don't get too hung up on the DSD conversion. If you want a very pure direct DSD-analogue conversion pathway it's not possible by sending DSD to the Onkyo. You have to use analogue from a suitable player to a suitable receiver or 2CH integrated amp.

Having said all that, the Sony players already can convert DSD to PCM at the highest possible sample rate, at 176.4kHz, which is a lot higher than the 96kHz sample rate used in many SACDs. So there is nothing lost in letting the player doing the PCM conversion and send it to the receiver.

We know the Sony converts at 176.4kHz because the receiver tells us what sample rate is coming in. When the receiver receives DSD and converts to PCM, we don't know how it does it, at what sample rate. So you may end up having a lower PCM sample rate when receiver does the DSD conversion.

There are other issues when receiver decodes DSD but I won't go on. The main message is let the player convert it to PCM and get on with the music listening.smile.gif
Edited by Kilian.ca - 1/29/13 at 2:48am
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
This makes perfect sense. One follow up, since you have an Onkyo as well. In the manual, it says there is a DSD listening mode in music - when I cycle through those choices on the actual machine, I never see that option. Does this happen with yours? Any idea why?
As far has being hung up - I just want to make sure I'm getting a chance to hear all the sacd is capable of (I want to compare it to a normal cd). You've made it very clear how my setup does that, so back to stereo it is (and I can put this to bed in my head!).

Thanks, again, for all your help!

Drew
post #9 of 11
I just had a look on mine (as I don't use DSD stream as explained above), same, no separate DSD mode. It seems the way it works is if the incoming stream is DSD, then it is DSD implied (it shows DSD when you press display button) plus one of the available modes with the restrictions set out in the manual, which the more restrictive set applied.

There's some inconsistency in the way it works because with PCM in 2CH, there's no PCM mode. With PCM in MCH there is a MULTI mode, same with Dolby and dts etc.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
So, since pcm is the way it is going to go, does it matter how it gets there? Meaning, should I set the player to convert the dsd signal to pcm or should I let the player send dsd and have the receiver convert it to pcm (or does it even matter)? I was just wondering if one way was more efficient for my setup than the other.

Drew
post #11 of 11
I thought I explained all that in the bottom half of post 7.

To recap briefly,

Sony player decoding: PCM 176.4kHz for sure;
Receiver decoding: no way to tell, could be PCM 176.4kHz, or 88.2kHz, or 44.1kHz (CD resolution).

Plus receiver may do other things to DSD to reduce final sound quality (has happened on other models) ...
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