Connections Recommendations..


Paul T
Since my new NAD T752 (when it arrives) will have up to date connections vs. my present 11 year old Yamaha which has only RCA analog connections I wondered which would be best.

1.CD Player-11 year old Yamaha, should I use optical or rca? would going optical bypass NAD DAC? I am sure the converter in the NAD is much better then the older Yamaha.

2.DVD- JVC(2 years old) optical, RCA or Coax Digital?

3. Sub-probably 8 years old. Should I go with 14gauge speaker wire with rca ends or Coax with rca ends? Either way will have to split into a Y at sub, there is no single input as in newer subs.


1. Going optical would not bypass the NAD DAC. I am surprised that an 11 year old player even has the option of using an optical cable...I didn't think they were around then. I would think that either the optical or the rca would be difference in sound since a CD is not a digital signal anyway, but there is one thing to keep in mind...many people have reported with the NAD receivers (and other brands as well) that if you use a digital connection with the cd player, the first millisecond of the first cd track is skipped as the receiver tries to figure out what signal (digital or analog) signal it is being sent. If you use the rca, from what others have posted, you will totally get rid of this potential problem.

2. DVD-definately go with either of the digital cables (optical or coax) as you will need these to get the true Dolby Digital or DTS surround sound. As for which one (digital or coax) will sound better, there are many other threads on this board that discuss this topic. In my opinion, both sound nearly the same.

3. I have a monster subwoofer cable (coax with rca end) hooked up to mine, and it sounds fine. The cable that I bought 5 years ago already had a Y attatchment on it.

John A.

I would recommend getting an optical cable and trying both that and the analogue RCA/ co-ax connection for stereo. You will in any case need a digital connection for multichannel. Please post back. It would be interesting to know which sounds best.

From any digital medium (this definitely includes CDs, Johnny!) there has to be a Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC) somewhere, in order to give the amplifier an analogue electrical signal to amplify and send on to the speakers.

Optical cables transmit pulses of light and are always digital. They are less likely to pick up interference than copper wires, no matter how well the latter are screened. Though if there is no interference, a copper co-ax cable gives the same sound; the pulses are electrical, instead, but it is the same stream of pulses.

1. Most likely you are right, and the new NAD receiver will have better DACs that the Yamaha CD player. Therefore use a single digital connection (either sort) in preference to twin RCA co-ax analogue cables. In the latter case you are using the DAC in the player. However, the only way to tell which sound is really better is to try it.

2. Johnny is right, you need a digital connection for multichannel, so the receiver's Digital Signal Processor can process.

3. The Y-attachment at line level (pre-amp level) just splits the single subwoofer signal into two, and the two halves are immediatly joined back together again as an input to the sub's internal power amp. Subs are mono devices. The two inputs are a legacy of the days when pre-amps had separate L and R pre-amp outputs for subwoofer channels: they were either combined in the single sub or you have the L and R signals to two different subs. Each sub would have two, labelled inputs just for convenience. Whether to connect a single sub at line (RCA co-ax) level or speaker level (where L and R still important) is also a matter of trying it and seeing which you prefer. The speaker level connection is simpler for stereo and music, because you don't get into problems of bass management, and the sub just takes all the low frequencies from each channel that the main speakers can't handle. However, for HT, the sub-woofer LFE (Low Frequency Effect) channel is for special effects and is a separate track on the DVD. There, you may wish to reproduce exactly what the engineers put into that track, and therefore opt for the single co-ax, line-level connection. There is no absolute rule. Some sub manufacturers (e.g. REL) strongly recommend the speaker-level method even with HT, but if your receiver then assumes that all other speakers are small, you may mix up some low frequencies from the other channels, and these are certainly there on the recording, especially in DTS.

On my system, having the sub on all the time makes a lot of speech and ordinary broadcasts sound ridiculous, as if speakers are giants with microphones taped to their necks: the signal is transmitted on the assumption you are listening on small speakers in portable radios etc. Close-miking on studio and outside broadcasts makes a series of explosions which are the puffs of air when the speaker sounds e.g. "b" or "p", and these are either not reproduced at all on oridinary radios, or quicky lose energy in real speech. As sub is a pain under such circumstances.

John A.

Yes, you caught my error. I realized it once I read over my posting again...SORRY!! CD's are definately a digital medium. I had someone else trying to talk to me as I was writing and was distracted. Once again, I appologize.

Secondly, John, you are right on with your discussion of hooking up a sub at line level or speaker level. I have read mixed reviews of both. For me, being primarily a HT user, I prefer the line level (using one rca coax, split with a Y adapter). My reasoning is this: at least with my sub (Polk), hooking it up at speaker level makes it so you can't control the level of the subwoofer using the receiver remote. I like to have this control over the sub levels in case of huge explosions or something similar in a movie when I need to turn down the sub very quickly "on the fly" as to not anger the neighbors. If you attatch it at the speaker level, the only way to turn the sub up or down is by the volume knob on the back of the sub itself. This would obviously be very inconvenient while trying to watch a movie.

John A.

That's all correct. Just to make it more complicated, some subs (e.g. KEF) give you a remote just for the sub level.

My own preference is also for the sub connected at line level. But I have quite large main speakers for music and do not use the sub at all for listening in stereo. If someone has small main speakers, then a sub can transform the stereo sound, and it is simpler (not necessarily better) to have it connected at speaker level. REL subwoofers (expensive) let you change that, too, "on the fly", which is probably the best of both worlds.

Paul T
So your saying if I use Optical for CD player it will use NAD's DAT and if I use regular rca left and right connections (does not have a coax digital output) it will use the CD players DAT??

John A.

That is correct, but "DAC" (Digital to Analogue Converter; "DAT" stand for Digital Audio Tape).

The optical cable transmits a digital signal, and therefore has to be upstream of the DAC. The RCA left and right is transmitting analogue and is therefore downstream of the DAC. You have at least two DACs, one is in the player; one in the receiver.

Paul T
I'm sorry, I meant DAC not DAT.. Using a coax digital line (I goofed again, the CD player doesn't have a optical but a coax digital out) will the NAD do the DAC duties instead of the Yamaha's DAC??

John A.
Paul T,

Yes, that's it. Optical is always digital. The coax digital audio cable is electrical, not optical, so it just provides a different route. But the digital signal starts and ends in the same place either way, so there is really no difference (except the co-ax cable is more prone to pick up interference such as hum from electrical appliances and the domestic power supply). Where the digital signal ends is the DAC. After that, everything is analogue. Therefore the analogue input into the receiver by-passes its DAC; the D-to-A conversion has already been done in the player.

Try to two connection methods (digital - either type - vs analogue). Tell us how they sound. it is interesting!

Paul T
Thanks John,
I have everything wired up (even bi-wired since I had extra wire left over to see if that makes a difference or it's just a fallacy :) ) so when my NAD receiver comes Monday all is ready to go and I will report back what I find concerning the analog connection vs digital and also if bi-wiring makes any difference.. Thanks a again John you've been a big help!

John A.

Great. I will look out for your post. If we wish to digress in the meantime, G-Man, I think, has made persuasive arguments that bi-wiring is a total waste of time. But, as always, try it and see!

Today we have obtained about the first Extended Two Towers in Northern Europe, I think, and I shall write something short on that after we've heard/seen it at the weekend. If it qualifies (surely) I will maybe post on What's the best DVD....?, to make up for stalling that interesting thread by recommending absurdly esoteric DVD-Audio discs.

Good wishes for the new receiver. Hope the bugs don't bite!
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