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I keep hearing from people saying PowerDVD3 sounds better than WinDVD - But Cineplayer sounds even better...


Is this argument void if you're using the SPDIF passthrough to an external decoder?

In other words, is there only a difference between all the players if the DD/DTS decoding is done internally by them?


I just can't see how each player would sound different if they're simply passing the SPDIF bitstream out to an external decoder...


Do I understand this correctly? Or do the players alter the SPDIF bitstream for some reason?


Thanks!


-Ryan Dinan
 

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â€Do I understand this correctly? Or do the players alter the SPDIF bitstream for some reason?â€


Ryan,


The sound quality difference is with the S/PDIF pass-thru. Many of us in the forum have been trying to determine what caused the SQ difference for well over a year and have not been able to find an answer. We even had an engineer from Dolby Labs helping and could not determine the reason.


It’s real, but we don’t have an answer to why. If you have never compared the players on the same sound system using S/PDIF I’m sure it will be hard to believe.
 

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Thanks for replying Cliff,


Actually, I've compared WinDVD, PowerDVD and Cineplayer 4, and cannot really tell a difference. I'm using a Denon 3802 receiver connected using an optical interconnect.

I consider myself to be pretty keen on hearing subtle differences, but I just can't tell. I guess that's good for me? :)


I just don't see how the SPDIF signal could get altered by the player......It's digital 1's and 0's right? Doesn't the player just read the data from the disc, and send it out through the SPDIF out to be decoded? I don't understand where in the chain the sound could 'degrade'. Besides the fact that some people claim to hear a difference, how do we know there's a difference? Have people measured different SPL's? Frequency responses?


Could it actually be a problem with the sound card's driver in conjuction with a specific player? Because I've heard some people say WinDVD sounds better than PowerDVD, and vice versa. Maybe the driver of the sound card is not handling the SPDIF signal the same way from all players...? But I thought the whole point of SPDIF was that it couldn't be altered...either all or nothin'.


-Ryan
 

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I suspect Ryan, and this is just a thought off the top of my head, this has to do with how the disc is read and the speed/way different players need to read/decode the picture information. I have to say in my experiance the difference in sound "quality" is more noticeable through a co-ax feed rather than optical. I have been playing with and listening to HiFi equipment for many years and to me the difference in sound is more a taste of style rather than one player being better than another.


My advice, go with what ever,

a) looks best.

b) sounds the most natural to your ears.
 

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Ryan. interesting results. I am using Optical out of my optional I/O daughter card to an SB Live! card with a Denon 3600 receiver. PowerDVD and Cineplayer's S/PDIF passthrough sounds "similar" and really sounds great. WinDVD for some reason (including WinDVD 3.1), sounds not as good. There is definitely some kind of difference for me. If I had to describe it in words, it sounds like there is overall more depth in the audio and the rear speakers SEEM to sound clearer and work in better harmony with the rest of my speakers. Sorry for the lousy description :) It's hard to describe in words what I hear.


Anyway, this is just my experience.
 

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I'm wading in way over my head here, but...


I recall following a thread on this forum (in June? I can't find it now) where the difference in S/PDIF sent from the sound card was discussed. People were then wondering how the SBLive did S/PDIF wrong, if it's only ones and zeros. Then a forum member who was way overqualified explained one possibility. (Perhaps he's reading and can bail me out on this?)


In my memory, it goes like this: The sound card not only sends the zeros and ones of the signal for the receiver to decode, it also sends blank packets of info to preserve the time spacing of a chunk of sound (to make sure it doesn't play 2 seconds worth of sound during one second of real time). Each "chunk" of sound sent has the same filesize, irrelevent of content. The receiver expects exactly the right size "chunk" of sound being sent. If too much blank spacing is sent along with the SPDIF content, the buffers on the receiver overflow, dropping out real sound content. The difference in digital information can be very small and still have an audible effect on the sound.


So, while the real sound content is unprocessed by the sound card, additional information (spacing) must be added by the card. This is where differences lie. I don't know if this would be software specific or only hardware specific.


I don't even know how true this is. But it works as an explanation for me.
 
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