Originally Posted by **Amused**
Hi everyone, I need a piece of advice from the audio experts here. I asked the same question in the Panasonic UB900 thread.
I recently bought a KEF speaker system and a Marantz AV NR1606 receiver, all hooked up to my Sony ZD9 tv. Player wise, I am using the Sammy K8500 which, as you probably know, doesn't offer anything in the audio department apart from digital outputs.
For the sake of better sound, I am thinking of selling the Sammy and going either for the Panny UB900 or the Oppo UDP-203. My intention is to use the player's DAC for conversion and then output the signal via the analog outputs to the Marantz. The assumption is that both of these players have a better DAC (32/192 with DSD) than the Marantz (24/192).
However, the Panny has dedicated stereo outputs, whereas the Oppo does not and the down conversion to stereo would have to be done by the Oppo's internal software.
My questions are:
1. Which of the 2 players have a better DAC? I know Oppo uses AKM from Japan, but I am not sure who the DAC maker for the Panny is.
2. Would the analog signal be processed as such by the Marantz AV receiver, amplified and sent to the speakers, or would the AV receiver convert it back to digital, then process it via it's own DAC before sending the signal to the speakers?
That may be up to you and the Marantz. If you use Audyssey room correction, it will have to be converted back to digital for Audyssey to apply its corrections and then the Marantz will use its own DAC to convert the signal back to analog. I also don't know if your Marantz has an analog volume control but if if doesn't it will have to convert to digital and then back again. You're going to have to do some digging in your Marantz's manual or ask Marantz themselves.
3. Should I expect a significant sound quality improvement by sending the audio via the player's analogue outputs as opposed to sending it via HDMI?
Maybe. A lot depends on other things like your room and the benefit of applying room correction. It's possible that the advantages of analogue output may be less than the advantages of using room correction if you have a room with a lot of problems. There's advantages and disadvantages to both approaches and which approach wins depends on the circumstances and even on personal taste to some degree.
P.S. another option for me is to get a separate external DAC (I am thinking Musical Fidelity V90), output the sound from the Sammy K8500 to the DAC via spdif, and then use the analogue stereo outputs on the DAC to send analogue signal to the Marantz receiver for amplification.
That will run into the same issues as those above plus it's a 2 channel solution only.
What you can do is this, since it sounds like you're only interested in analog for 2 channels:
Connect the 203 to the Marantz via HDMI and also by a pair of analog interconnects connected to the FR/FL analog outputs on the 203 and you will then be able to swap between multichannel digital output and analog output from the 203 by selecting different inputs on the Marantz and do your own comparisons.
If stereo analog output is important to you, you may be better off waiting for the release of the 205 since Oppo's 05 models have better stereo analog output than the 03 models. The 205 may be a better option than buying a separate external stereo DAC, but the price difference between the 203 and the 205 may be more than you are considering spending on a separate DAC and only you can tell whether you think you're getting more value from a 203 plus separate DAC than from a 205, or whether you think that digital output from the 203 and using the DAC in the Marantz or analog from the 203 straight to the Marantz is good enough for your tastes and that spending more is worth it to you.