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A/V Receiver; HDMI or Optical

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have the following system:

Denon AVR 3312 Receiver
Klipsch RF-82 ii
Klipsch RC-62 ii
Klipsch RS-52 ii
Klipsch R-12D

I am planning to setup my theater system in the next coming days. Originally I was planning to connect all my devices via HDMI to the receiver and then one HDMI connection from the receiver to the TV. But my friend is saying that it is actually better to connect an optical from the source to the receiver to get better audio quality. Is this true? The way he has it set up is that the HDMI from the source (say PS3) here is connecting to the TV and the optical for audio is connected to the receiver. Which way is better?

From the directions and everything I had read it appeared to just connect HDMI from the source to the receiver but I want to make sure I am getting the best possible sound quality.

Thanks,

TVMan1414
post #2 of 15
HDMI source to receiver then a single cable to TV. That is the ONLY way to get lossless audio.
post #3 of 15
Your friend is misinformed.
post #4 of 15
Depends what his friend means by "better audio quality". Note he didn't say lossless as the aim.

So lossless is better? Most people here don't think there is any audible difference between lossy and lossless, so neither is better for a 5.1.smile.gif
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

Depends what his friend means by "better audio quality". Note he didn't say lossless as the aim.

So lossless is better? Most people here don't think there is any audible difference between lossy and lossless, so neither is better for a 5.1.smile.gif

But when you have the option to use 1 cable instead of 2 AND get lossless, why wouldn't you?
post #6 of 15
1 optical [player to AVR] + 1 HDMI [player to TV] = 2 cables
1 HDMI [player to AVR] + 1 HDMI [AVR to TV] = 2 cables

Plus some believe it's better to separate audio from video (2 HDMIs from player would also accomplish that) and some people believe in jitter which is much less with SDPIF.

I know these are very controversial here. If jitter is inaudible it doesn't matter.

Just playing devil's advocate.smile.gif It's not a right or wrong thing.

That said I'd use HDMI with a HDMI AVR, but only if the HDMI cable costs a few bucks not $100.
post #7 of 15
While I tend to agree there's not much difference between lossless and the high bitrate lossy encodes on Blu-ray, that's not to say there's no difference. Besides, here are some discs with multichannel PCM, but no lossless. For example, I personally find the 5.1 PCM track on Black Hawk Down audibly better than the DD 5.1 version.

I guess we should hear why the OP's friend says optical is better. I suspec it's not because of reduced jitter.
post #8 of 15
quote "1 optical [player to AVR] + 1 HDMI [player to TV] = 2 cables
1 HDMI [player to AVR] + 1 HDMI [AVR to TV] = 2 cables"

Duh.... that only works if you have just one source device. If you have 3 or 4 devices, then you quickly are running extra cabling and further you are likely going to exhaust your tv inputs before your receiver as these days, most are designed as HDMI switchers for 5 or six source devices while tv's have 2 or 3.

The prime reason for running HDMI connections (or any connection) to a lot of tv's today is you can set up picture settings specific to that particular source if that is a requirement / need. As far as sound quality, that's probably a personal preference in terms of which is better BUT as mentioned, you can only get lossless decoding through HDMI which includes discrete 7.1 mixes as opposed to "synth'ed" 7.1 processing.
post #9 of 15
Yes, eager to hear what the friend's reason is...

The extra cabling isn't really a big deal: optical and coax cables are cheap and most people have some from the old days anyway. The Denon 3312 has 2 coax and 2 optical and if there aren't enough inputs the OP needs then the HDMI vs. optical question is moot in the first place.

I'm surprised that some (most?) modern HDTVs only have 2 or 3 HDMI inputs only, because my 4 yr old plasmas have 5 HDMI and 1 DVI.

Actually receivers can also have input specific picture settings.

BDs with MCH PCM: players with dts re-encode deal with that for old AVRs.

I already said I'd use HDMI: it's just that the old way isn't so inferior/outdated afterall to the point of instant dismissal and it's not as if HDMI doesn't have problems. While I use HDMI mostly for BDs and MCH SACD I sometimes use optical and old fashioned analogue RCA for 2CH sources (CD, cable box): it's just quicker without the handshaking and missing the first seconds of play. It comes down to preference and what works best for each source.
post #10 of 15
I can't speak for others, but the only reason I weighed in here was because the OP's friend claimed optical is better than HDMI, not simply equal or almost as good. So far, the only support offered for that claim is jitter and is it doubtful that difference is even audible. I will continue to suggest the OP stick to his original plan and use HDMI to connect his player
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

I can't speak for others, but the only reason I weighed in here was because the OP's friend claimed optical is better than HDMI, not simply equal or almost as good. So far, the only support offered for that claim is jitter and is it doubtful that difference is even audible. I will continue to suggest the OP stick to his original plan and use HDMI to connect his player

About a year ago there was a brouhaha here about HDMI jitter. The proponent of this issue was asked to provide reliable evidence of a problem which he apparently never even attempted. So much for his faith in his purported convictions!

Until there is any reliable evience IMO it is a tempest in a teapot.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for everyone's input. My friend didn't really have a reason, other than he said that was what he was told to do when he originally set up his system. Also he said he always heard optic cable was the highest level. He also said that is what others recommended at the time. From everything I have read online and the information that everyone has provided, I believe I will stick to my original plan of using HDMI connections (HDMI cables running from source(s) to receiver and then only one HDMI running from receiver to TV).

Thanks Again,

TVMan1414
post #13 of 15
Optical cable was probably the choice to go for higher quality when there were only RCA components (Y/R/W). However, the cables back then were also very expensive.
post #14 of 15
I don't mean to take over this thread, but since we're on the topic of Optical cables vs HDMI...I have a question somewhat related. A good friend of mine has an older HDPVR Sat receiver and there are no HDMI outs on it. There is an Optical out as well as the usual RCA's. My question is would the Opt cable be better for audio than the RCA's, being that its only Satellite TV anyway? I wasn't sure what kind of audio quality comes through the typical Satellite TV...

Thanks for any help
post #15 of 15
If the source has a DD 5.1track, a digital connection is the only way to send it.
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