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Newbie question about cables

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I just stumbled across this site and now have it bookmarked! smile.gif


I have finally added a cd player (Yamaha CDC-585 gently used) to my home theatre...

My receiver is a Yamaha HTR-6190 (which I was told is pretty much the same model as the RXV-1800).

My question is, would it be better to use a quality optical cable or RCA stereo cables to get this going. I always thought that the better cable (digital) would give better sound, but my Google search on this topic has confused me with DAC's etc...

I'm not inclined to try both out and hear the difference first hand, as getting behind my nightmare of cables and connecting and disconnecting will be a huge pain in the butt...

I use Polk RTI-8's as my fronts so I should notice the difference in DAC's right?

I am sorry if this question has been answered in a different thread.


Anyhow thanks in advance for your help!!
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by groovyfa View Post

Hi everyone, I just stumbled across this site and now have it bookmarked! smile.gif


I have finally added a cd player (Yamaha CDC-585 gently used) to my home theatre...

My receiver is a Yamaha HTR-6190 (which I was told is pretty much the same model as the RXV-1800).

My question is, would it be better to use a quality optical cable or RCA stereo cables to get this going. I always thought that the better cable (digital) would give better sound, but my Google search on this topic has confused me with DAC's etc...

A good general rule is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to the speaker terminals as possible. I hope that some day this rule becomes obsolete because we generally have speakers with digital inputs.

Your AVR already has a good set of converters in it, and in most cases all analog inputs are routed through it anyway, so there is at least a theoretical advantage to use digital signals and save uncessary conversions to and from the digital domain.
Quote:
I'm not inclined to try both out and hear the difference first hand, as getting behind my nightmare of cables and connecting and disconnecting will be a huge pain in the butt...

You no doubt have better things to do with your time, but people who have done things like this under ideal conditions and while using the best testing procedures generally find no difference or a very small difference that is easily eclipsed by doing far more worthwhile things like improving your speakers and room acoustics.
Quote:
I use Polk RTI-8's as my fronts so I should notice the difference in DAC's right?

No. There are probably no differences that you would notice if you had the best speakers in the world. Good modern equipment has DACs that are good enough that problems elsewhere in the chain of equipment for production and playback are far more important. While your RTI-8s aren't the best or most expensive speakers in the universe, even the best speakers have built in failings that are generally far greater than the differences between good DACs.

Frankly, some of the most difficult problems to overcome tohear differences among good modern DACs are built right into your hearing.

External DACs were first devised in the early 1980s to create cash flow for high end audio dealers. At that time they only made sense for use with CD players and even the better CD players of those distant days from the past didn't have any audible problems.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much for your help!

And the RTI-8's may not be amazing but they were the best I could afford lol.
post #4 of 19
A couple numbers from manufacturer:
THD 0.04% for AVR RXV-1800. That's 68dB, less than actual 12 bit resolution. No matter that you play 16 or 24 bit sources.
THD 0.003% for CD CDC-585. That's 91dB, more than 15 bit resolution.
Your choice of what you use. I would use a pair of good headphones on the CDC. Leave AVR for movies.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
THD = Total Harmonic Distortion?

If so you're saying that the CD player gives a cleaner sound?

Like I said I'm a newbie at this so forgive my lack of knowledge...


I'm not really a fan of wearing headphones tbh.
post #6 of 19
What he is saying is that the second unit has a lower level of harmonic distortion. However, the distortion is nowhere near audible for either unit. There is a difference in specifications but no difference in sound. Neither unit has a sound.
post #7 of 19
^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW. SoNic can easily hear the difference between 0.04% and 0.003% THD. If you don't believe it, just ask him.







wink.gif
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW. SoNic can easily hear the difference between 0.04% and 0.003% THD. If you don't believe it, just ask him.

biggrin.gif
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW. SoNic can easily hear the difference between 0.04% and 0.003% THD. If you don't believe it, just ask him.

Not only that but he is apparently unaware of the fact that the 0.04% number he is throwing around is for full rated power, and THD becomes much less at typical listening levels.

I couldn't find a lab test online for the RXV-1800, but I did find this test result for one the cheapest AVRs in Yamaha's recent line:

http://www.hometheater.com/content/yamaha-rx-v371-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures



From this we can see that 0.04% THD corresponds to about 80 watts output, but for power levels below 50 watts which are more likely to be used, THD is more like 0.003%. IOW in typical use, this AVR has about as much THD as a CD player. The apparent rise at low levels is just noise.

Just to add a little fuel to the fire, I have the service manual for this AVR and its output stages are the much-maligned Sanken power amplifier chips with up to 3 complete power amps per <$20 (1 up) chip. Doesn't even have discrete transistors! Oh, and its made in China.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
you guys are hardcore! smile.gif
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW.

wink.gif

My wife keeps telling me to turn it down so it must be true.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW.

wink.gif

My wife keeps telling me to turn it down so it must be true.

Not necessarily. Your wife may suffer from hyperacusis, or hyper-hearing which means that she finds sounds that a normal listener would tolerate, to be painful or objectionable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperacusis

http://www.aitinstitute.org/hypersensitive_hearing.htm
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW. SoNic can easily hear the difference between 0.04% and 0.003% THD. If you don't believe it, just ask him.







wink.gif

 

"Night and day" wasn't it?  :)

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by groovyfa View Post

THD = Total Harmonic Distortion?

If so you're saying that the CD player gives a cleaner sound?

Like I said I'm a newbie at this so forgive my lack of knowledge...


I'm not really a fan of wearing headphones tbh.

 

There's some good-natured banter going on in this thread, but I am sure you will realise which posters on AVS know what they are talking about and which have no real clue, other than a very strong belief (faith) in their own ability to be right.  The general principle with all AV electronics is that the measured spec is only relevant where the measurements produce audible differences. IOW, if you can't hear 0.01% distortion, then a component or unit with 0.00001% distortion is only 'better' in terms of the marketing needs of the manufacturer. 

 

The biggest gain in sound quality always comes from taking care of the room and the speakers. The room is the most important component in your system and the one where changes have huge potential impacts on the SQ you hear. Acoustic treatments are one way to improve the room but for various reasons (WAF) not everyone can manage to treat their room. Failing that, careful attention to speaker placement can bring very rewarding improvements by ensuring the speakers interaction with the room is optimised. I’d also recommend you use a good subwoofer as this can not only give you better bass, but also takes the strain off your amps and speakers because they don't have to do the very heavy lifting which deep bass requires. A sub also has the virtue of being able to be placed in the best location in the room for SQ, whereas the main speakers have to be at the front, for good imaging. (Google 'sub crawl').  Another good way to compensate for the room's failings is to use one of the built-in auto-equalisation systems such as Audyssey MultEQ, MCACC, YPAO, ARC etc. Of all of those, my view is that Audyssey XT32 is the top of the line, but it is only found in higher end AVRs, with, IIRC, the cheapest option being the (soon to be replaced) Onkyo 818.

 

So ... room and speakers... don't worry about electronics so much - they have the least impact on your SQ these days.

 

EDIT: Incidentally, you don't really need a separate CD player these days  because a decent Bluray player will play CDs just as well. Getting the 1s and 0s off the disc these days isn't any sort of problem, and once that is done, keeping the signal in the digital domain (HDMI, SPIDF, Toslink etc) as far as possible through to the speakers gives a level playing field.


Edited by kbarnes701 - 9/5/13 at 9:17am
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by groovyfa View Post

you guys are hardcore! smile.gif

Awww, just give us someone who is totally convinced of their superior expertise and chronically just plain wrong and its like throwing raw meat at hungry lions! ;-)
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW. SoNic can easily hear the difference between 0.04% and 0.003% THD. If you don't believe it, just ask him.

wink.gif

"Night and day" wasn't it?  smile.gif

No comments about a wife in the kitchen who could hear it all quite clearly? ;-)

That would be an example of being a legend in one's own mind. ;-) This is an erroneous state of mind that is encouraged by the high end press, manufacturer base, and most online forums.

I've pursued the issue of the threshold of audibility of nonlinear distortion and found that even under the most ideal conditions, hearing below 0.1% distortion is very challenging to say the least.

Under more typical conditions low order distortion > 3% can easily slip by a trained listener. Right now 10% THD is commonly being used by professionals as some sort of criteria for subwoofers. I think this is a little high for general use, because it is partially conditional on the fact that much bass program material has more harmonics than fundamental, so there is more spectral masking in the human ear. But, it is a practical number.

For decades I was mystified by the relatively poor performance that was going undetected by our listeners in ABX tests. BTW, if you try to plumb the classic knowledge about thresholds of hearing from sources like the Fletcher Munson curves, you can duplicate their results with ABX tests. However, those sources are often highly optimistic evaluations of the sensitivity of the human ear because they don't include the effects of concurrent spectral masking.

Once I learned to a apply the knowledge about hearing thresholds that can be discerned from Zwicker and Fastl's Psychoacoustics, Facts and Models, it all made sense.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
I had a decent sub (Klipsch RPW10) that decided to take a permanent nap and stopped producing sound but is powering on so it's not the DIY fuse fix... frown.gif

Thankfully it has a 5 year warranty and will be repaired for free when I get around to it!

I had set the LFE to be sent solely to the sub in my AVR to help ease strain on everything else already so maybe I'm not a total newbie after all lol. smile.gif

Anyhow, thanks again for the help everyone, and for the entertainment via banter!!
post #18 of 19
I think you may find that the speaker may have a 5 year warranty but the amp has less. I would check it out. You may have to get around to to it quickly.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

^That's because you're half-deaf, FMW. SoNic can easily hear the difference between 0.04% and 0.003% THD. If you don't believe it, just ask him.

wink.gif

"Night and day" wasn't it?  smile.gif

No comments about a wife in the kitchen who could hear it all quite clearly? ;-)
 

 

I think that is one he hasn't used yet, to be fair :)  Have we had the automobile analogies yet?  I can't recall... ;)

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