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Value of having 5.1 System with Analog Connections vs. HDMI Audio

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'd like some opinions on whether or not I'm concerned for no good reason. The subject is analog audio, or rather the lack of it. Thanks in advance for those weighing in with their opinion.

Background: I sold my B&W 802Ds, HTM2D speakers, and Parasound C2 Processor and A51 5 channel amp. I've a Sunfire Signature 600 heading out the door soon, and have given up on ever having the space (at today's price-per-square-foot for residential construction) to be able to justify a dedicated room to properly use my Elite FPJ-1 projector. It's for sale too. Frankly, with 90" flat screens within pocketbook reach, I'm about ready to compromise a little bit on size for a lot less hassle that you all know comes with projection. After all, I can sit pretty close to 1080p, not to mention the 4k stuff coming soon.

For purposes of my question (and even though I have always loved the items recently sold) I've decided to finally move into our current decade, with respect to home theater (HT) and my occasional two channel listening. I'm fairly convinced, that like most other things nowadays it's best for me to now include (other than speakers) HT component purchases as items destined to be periodically discarded, instead of cherished, refurbished or frequently software upgraded. It's sad that consumer electronics have gone the way of many other of our "throwaway" purchases that we deal with nowadays (toasters and string trimmers come to mind). Some of you may remember when it was actually financially prudent to pay someone to repair a bread toaster. Those days are long gone, of course.

Accordingly, I've zeroed in on the Pioneer Elite line of receivers - specifically the SC-77. I know there are other fine receivers on the market, and am not really asking for input on the virtues of others. The Elites particularly (because of the class D amps they house) is what I'd rather use. I've always thought class D to be a good solution for driving speakers (not the 802's of course) that needed less horsepower, given that one could hide them away somewhere and not worry too much about ventilation. The wife loved the Parasounds displayed out in the open, but turns her nose up at cheap-looking black cabinets. That's right - I'm saying it - It's her living room.

Right now, all I have is some cheap builder-installed in-ceiling speakers in the family room. Someday, I'll retire them (either here, or by trading for some future home), and replace the B&W's. If the speaker purchase was soon, I'd either install some BG Radia inwalls (new construction house only), or possibly pick up some Bowers and Wilkins 805 Diamonds with coordinating HTM center across the front. I'm not really too concerned about what's producing the occasional sound effects coming from the rears.

My budget is more or less wide open, but given my new outlook on the "throwaway" aspect of electronics I don't want to go down the road similar to another Parasound type purchase. They and other similar or higher tier manufacturers produce great electronics, but these companies seem to have limited R&D dollars devoted to yearly refreshes, as does Pioneer and many other mass-market suppliers.

My use of HDMI dates back to its early years of video signals only. Nothing wrong there. But, I've always had the need (Parasound C2) to route video and audio separately. I've simply had no experience with audio reproduction through HDMI. I've seen opinions somewhere here on AVS forum (and elsewhere) that the HDMI transfer of audio signals is less than desirable. Or, that while possibly acceptable to most people, the audio is simply not as good as that coming from five separate analog connections.

So, for those who have the time and comparative experience to offer opinion .....

Is having analog audio ability THAT much better than running sound through the HDMI? And, if it's just a minor difference, would it be a deal breaker to you? Thanks again.

Ron
post #2 of 6
Having done such an upgrade to HDMI for audio and while I still retain analog as well,l use an Oppo 105 via its analog outs for 2/ch stereo and all else is done by my Marantz 8801 Halo A21 and Anthem MCA 30. The 8801 handles the audio signal via hdmi with kid gloves regardless of format and add DRC and its all gravy. In my AB comparisons via analog and hdmi I was shocked at the results and my reservation I had unwarranted.

Now's the time! go for it and don't look back wink.gif
post #3 of 6
Quote:
In my AB comparisons via analog and hdmi I was shocked at the results and my reservation I had unwarranted.

confused.gif.........explain
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by braveheart123 View Post

confused.gif.........explain

My Oppo 105 has simultaneous live outputs , I have it connected to the 8801 via XLR,RCA,Optical and HDMI and have them as closely level matched as will allow. The comparison is loosely based only to gauge the quality of the sound, as you can switch on the fly between the various connected methods in the 2/ch mode. When I said I was shocked i meant that the sound was not fatiguing etched or digital sounding , it was coherent and musical had a sound very similar to the analog connection. I know the use of some of these terms are subjective but its only to convey the point to the OP that he need not worry about today's implementation of HDMI for audio as it indeed sounds good. smile.gif
post #5 of 6
Digital allows for the use of room correction such as Audyssey, more sophisticated bass management , and other processing tools not available in most source devices. Those are potentially significant advantages.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
When I said I was shocked i meant that the sound was not fatiguing etched or digital sounding , it was coherent and musical had a sound very similar to the analog connection.

I know the kind of sound you are describing; but I think that is most suited to 2-channel stereo. For movies, HDMI is better. Just my thought
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