Originally Posted by stereo_gun
Tim - you are right. Below is the snapshot from the manual:Analogue audio connections
Connect the left and right outputs of your source equipment to the left and right inputs.
Multi -ch annel DVD-A/SACD Inputs:
Connect the audio outputs of your DVD-Audio or SACD player to these input sockets.
These are available for formats requiring eight channels. Currently no formats are available requiring these connections, which are provided for future compatibility.
The multi-channel input is intended for use with sources that decode the surround channels internally, such as DVD-A or SACD players.
The AVR350 switches these analogue inputs directly to the analogue outputs via its own volume control circuit. This direct path maintains the best possible sound quality for DVD-A and SACD sources; it has the side-effect that there is no bass-management for DVD-A or SACD players. In this case, the bass-management functionality of the player itself should be used.
1. Should I be worried about using Oppo's de-coded multi-channel analog output as a source for HD audio?
2. Can you please through some light on "You need a true analoge pass through to realize the sound quality of a good player"
Since the oppo will be doing the decoding and the DA conversion for you multi-channel material, you will be hearing the sound of the oppo player and not the Arcam. Maybe it won't be as critical for movie playback, but you won't be getting the same sound quality from multi-channel through the Arcam as you will with the stereo digital connection because the Arcam is no long doing the conversion and you aren't using the Arcam's analoge stage. Arcam says what is says about the multi-channel analog inputs with the expectation that your player will have a good DA section and that you don't want those inputs mucked with. As far as I know, the oppo has been praised as a digital transport, but not so much for it's analog outs. Not that the anlog outs will sound horrible (very little does these days), but it won't be the same as if you had the Arcam being feed the audio via HDMI.
For point two, think of it this way. If you had a player that had a better D to A stage than your AVR, you want to make sure that the AVR doesn't also run that signal through it's DACs before the signal reaches your speakers. If you don't use a pure pass-through connection, then you are having the player convert from D to A, the AVR then converts the A back to D to process the signal, then from D back to A to your speakers.
Many AVRs will convert the incoming analog signal to digital to do things like bass management (setting the cross-over to the sub). But in your case it is a non-issue since you are have the AVR do the DA conversion for stereo.