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DVD Player and External DAC

 

Silver Member
Username: Falp

Portugal

Post Number: 126
Registered: Mar-04
Hi! :-)

I'm planning to buy a new DVD Player to be used as my music source for a new system.
Since playing music in a DVD player even using the AV Receiver's DACs is not the same as a dedicated CD player I'm planning to buy a good used External DAC.

Question: is it worth it? As anybody tried this?
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 104
Registered: Feb-05
No don't buy it. Most DAC's at least the affordable ones like the Entec number cruncher have a 20bit maximum resolution. In your AV receiver the DAC will be 24 bit. This is superior so the added expense is not worth it. Put the money in something more important like speakers or a sub. E.Ramsey
 

New member
Username: Tfvimalan

Al-Birk, Assir KSA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-05
Please give me a suggestion to connect my sony dvd player coaxial digital output to 5.1 channel audio system.
with regards
Francis
 

Anonymous
 
Hey Ramsey,
I have a sony scd c555es and a sony str da5000es digital receiver. Question is...would you recommend coaxial or analog connection when listening to a regular cd? Are the DACs in the CD player superior to the amp DACs? I never use optical coz I break the flimsy doors all the time.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 327
Registered: Feb-05
Anon: I prefer the coaxial over fiber optic for digital connections for several reasons, see https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/accessories/1118.html If i'm not mistaken both of these Sony components will employ a 32 bit processor for digital signal processing. You could try both the analog and digital connections and see which one you like best, that's what I would reccomend. It is likely that you will prefer the digital connection and if so go with the coax connection.
 

Anonymous
 
Thank you for you suggestions. One more question what type of speakers would you recommend mainly for music. Speakers should be good for Easy listening, light rock/jazz and vocals. thinking about klipsch RB75 bookshelf but not sure. I dont want floorstanders. Speakers should also be excellent in SACD surround sound reproduction. Any ideas?
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 328
Registered: Feb-05
Anon: I really can't suggest a good speaker since you have to listen for yourself and decide. I will say however that I do like the Klipsch especially their reference line.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmwiley

Post Number: 1242
Registered: Feb-05
Eric, that is excellent advice. Wish more of the forum regulars would offer it instead of posting their biases as the gospel truth.


The MOFO has spoken.
 

JackHo9
Unregistered guest
Eric et all: If Falp is after audiophile quality sound, I beg to differ.

Most DVD players (even expensive ones) spend most of their design time getting the video and surround sound right, but don't do classic audio justice. While it is true that DVDs now mostly have 24 bit dacs, they typically have a major flaw that negates the advantage of the extra 8 bits (for the record the advantages are a lower noise floor and less conversion in the least linear part of the DAC): the flaw, partly due to poor filtering and partly to poor component choice and layout, results in awful 1KHz distortion+noise figures - often in the 85 to 90dB range - which audibly degrade the analog output when played through a good system.

Nothing to worry about if you want to play the output through a 5.1 home theater system that cost less than a grand. But quite unacceptable if you are trying to achieve excellent musical reproduction. In this case, feed the digital audio out through any good external DAC designed in the last 5 years (all right, 10 years - but no older) such as the Benchmark DAC-1.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 368
Registered: Feb-05
JackHO9: Please explain what you mean by "classic audio"? It is not possible to decode 96KHz/192KHz 24 bit audio with only a 16 bit decoder so it is obvious that the extra 8 bit wordlength capability in the chipset of the decoder is entirely necessary and usable. While it is true that stand alone DACS which cost up to tens of thousands of dollars will far outbest the chipset of a run of the mill $200 dvd player,in terms of build quality there is still the disparity between the resolution of recording and playback. All DD or DTS soundtracks are recorded at either 96kHz/192kHz 24 bit but in actual testing the playback resolution seldom exceeds 20 bit even with the highest quality decoding chipsets and DA and AD converters. The same holds true for dvd audio which when it's playback resolution is tested it will yield a bit rate of about 19 bits. Many of the Denon receivers employ Burr Brown AD/DA converters and some employ the 32 bit Analog Devices SHARC processor. Also some of the HK dvd players use the Wolfson DACS. All three of these manufacturers Burr Brown, Analog Devices and Wolfson are well established and rave reviewed in the audio and semiconductor industry. Typically, the THD of even a $100 dvd player will be a number in the hundreths of one percent, and a good one like the top end Denons will be in the thousandths of one percent! For most purposes a 1kHz spec is utterly useless and meaningless especially for an amplifier evaluation or a speaker performance test.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 1181
Registered: Sep-04
Eric

I disagree with what you say I'm afraid. I find that a Chord DAC64 knocks spots off any AV receiver I've heard running in 2-channel mode. OK, sop the Chord DAC64 is expensive, but it shows that the resolution of the medium is not all that counts in the reproductive chain. The Chord DAC64 (and others such as dcs) uses unique technology which involves upsamples and reclocking. The result is remarkably good. One of the best solutions I've heard is using an Arcam DV29 DVD player into the Chord DAC64.

So sorry, but I think you're quite mistaken about the possible gains of adding a DAC into the equation.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 428
Registered: Feb-05
Here we go again Frank. Your viewpoint of a audio salesman is again demonstrated. Where on the other hand my viewpoint, someone trained in electronics, is at odds again,with yours as usual, as these differing viewpoints will often be. If you read my post again you will see that I did not negate the benefit of a stand alone DAC unit. For someone with a >$1000 receiver it just doesn't make sense to spend this or most likely more on a stand alone unit. Many AV receivers such as the Denon units have Burr Brown DACS which are top shelf for a receiver and well reviewed by the audio and semiconductor industry alike. I sought merely to save the average "joe", who doesn't have a high end system from an frivolous expense which no tangible "audible" difference will be realized.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 1184
Registered: Sep-04
Wrong again Eric. :-)

Generally speaking it is preferable frm a music point of view to use the DVD player's or CD player's own built-in DACs. Although, as you rightly say, the DACs in the receivers appear to be better on paper, they are optimised for surround sound performance which has a distinct hit in terms of 2-channel music performance. Furthermore, the S/PDIF and Toslink interfaces, used in transmitting the signal to the AV receiver, are directly responsible for introducing significant amounts of jitter which has an immense consequence on music. This is so significant that it is preferable to use the builtin dac of the DVD player and use the analogue connections tot he AV receiver which is also set in Stereo only mode to lower the noise in the system.

The external DAC may also suffer from extra jitter since they often use the same S/PDIF and Toslink interfaces (the Chord is one of only two exceptions to this and then it requires a dedicated transport to take advantage of the paralleled BNC connections).

I guess that in the lower end DACs may not be such a good idea. There are few DACs I consider truly musical, but in theory adding a DAC that does clever stuff like reclocking the signal should improve the quality of the music. Incidentally, adding any DAC will make a tangible difference to the music, detrimental or otherwise, simply because different engineers make different decisions on implementation.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 429
Registered: Feb-05
That's probably true in the case of the case of the Chord Frank, which uses a computer grade connection. While a better clock(oscillator,it's electrical component term btw), will reduce jitter sometimes to a noticable level this will,which is certainly a good thing,but do really nothing it terms of data quantization,24 bit will still yield only 24 bit wordlength,maximum. You can upsample a signal all day and use noise shaping techniques but what goes in must come out,you cannot add info to a recording as this will result in excess noise. This is performed by an ic chipset itself not the clock,although the clock,of course, is essential for the timing of the operation of the ic. The Chord, I don't doubt is a high quality component made of high quality parts, and yes the quality of parts used in a digital circuit design carry as much importance as the analog components in the construction of an analog design such as power supply for an amplifier. I had an Audio Alchemy DAC for a few years which I used between an analog(Pro Logic) HK receiver and a CD player. It is a cheap DAC and 20 bit but it made a huge difference. I simply don't feel that this would be the case today with digital surround receivers employing ever better DACs such as Burr Brown, Wolfson, Cirrus Logic and Motorola. I would bet if you had a room full of people hear a cd/dvd player connected through a receiver and switch between analog and digital connections most would prefer the latter. I'll side with you in a higher end system it would definately make a difference,because this is a higher level of playback quality in terms of equipment, resolution, noise floor, etc. The Arcam is a rather expensive DVD player, it seems unreasonable that any external DAC should be necessary to improve it's sound dramatically, which given it's cost should be first rate to begin with.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7418
Registered: May-04


"While a better clock(oscillator,it's electrical component term btw), will reduce jitter sometimes to a noticable level this will,which is certainly a good thing,but do really nothing it terms of data quantization,24 bit will still yield only 24 bit wordlength,maximum. You can upsample a signal all day and use noise shaping techniques but what goes in must come out,you cannot add info to a recording as this will result in excess noise. This is performed by an ic chipset itself not the clock,although the clock,of course, is essential for the timing of the operation of the ic."


And timing of the ic is the essential step in getting any resolution from the rest of the system. Jitter reduction has been shown to be the first point of attack in the circuitry on virtually every high end" player or after market device over the last twenty years. No matter how high the bit count or sampling rate, if the jitter has distorted the signal coming into the DAC's, it is like playing solitare without any 7's.

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