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5 channel vs. Digital output

 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 68
Registered: Apr-05
Is there any sound quality gained by connecting the DVD via the 5.1 channel output vs. the Digital output to the Amp? I didn't thing anything will be more pure and distraction free than a digital connection, so why do a 5.1 connection?
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 387
Registered: Jun-04
Yes and no. For movies, it is often better to use digital (optical or coaxial). This is for taking advantage of receivers signal processing capacity.

The 5.1 analogue is aimed at transferring high-resolution audio. SACD and DVD-A are not sent to digital out. Reasons for this are S/PDIF protocol capacity and also copy protection.

IMO analogue interconnect is better than digital iff:
- Equipment is decent, i.e. not "HT in a box"
- Audio quality better than CD
- Decent cables

Some reference points: I experienced this (i think...) on my humble combined HT and audio gear (< 2000$), using 44.1 KHz/16 bits (i.e. CD), 48/24 and 96/24 (equiv. DVD-A) material. With cheap-o cables a found analogue being slightly better than digital interconnect for 96/24 audio. With mid-end cables analogue was clearly better for 48/24 and 96/24, and I even sensed an improvement for CD.

Cheers
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 70
Registered: Apr-05
Arnold one of my DVD players has a 5.1 output, but doesn't do SACD. So what gives? Do I connect to 5.1 or stick with the digital optical?
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1915
Registered: Aug-04
Stof

Either is okay - you may find the decoders (dd/dts) better in either the player or the receiver - by using the coax or optical, you are using the receiver's decoders and using the 5.1 analogue output you are using the player's decoders.
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 388
Registered: Jun-04
Exactly. Also, a part from decoding there are also other signal processing, F.e. digital bass and treble control or distance to loudspeakers. I think receivers are in general better at all this, but you never know...

I found it interesting to compare digital and analogue interconnect. But maybe you prefer not to spend money just for the sake of experimenting? Then you can start with comparing player and receiver specifications on the following points:

1. DACs (Digital to analogue converter chips): Manufacturer? Speed (KHz/bits)?
2. Bass management: is crossover frequency adjustable or at least suitable for your speaker system?
3. Speaker distance settings: Available?
4. Speaker volume settings: Available?
5. Compatibility with formats: Dolby Digital? DTS? DTS 96/24? MPEG audio?

Please let us know if you find it difficult to understand any of these concepts.

Good luck
AL
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1918
Registered: Aug-04
Yes, thanks for being on the ball Arnold, I forgot to mention the speaker, bass, and delay set-up for the analogue out usage. It was late and I was tired - that's my excuse. Cheers.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 76
Registered: Apr-05
Arnold since I won't pretend like I understand all of these, I have copied and pasted from my Marantz sr8400 manual the following:

Q1)

DTS 96/24 allows for 5.1channel sound tracks to
be encoded at a rate of 96kHz/24bits on DVDVideo
titles.
When DVD-video appeared, it became possible to
deliver 24-bit, 96 kHz audio into the home, but only in two channels, and with serious limitations on picture. This capability has had little use.
DVD-audio allows 96/24 in six channels, but a new
player is needed, and only analog outputs are
provided, necessitating the use of the D/A
converters and analog electronics provided in the
player.

DTS 96/24 offers the following:
1. Sound quality transparent to the original 96/24
master.
2. Full backward compatibility with all existing
decoders. (Existing decoders will output a 48
kHz signal)
3. No new player required: DTS 96/24 can be
carried on DVD-video, or in the video zone of
DVD-audio, accessible to all DVD players.
4. 96/24 5.1-channel sound with full-quality fullmotion video, for music programs and motion
picture soundtracks on DVD-video.

Q2)I believe yes
Q3) Yes
Q4) Dolby Digital, DTS DTS 96/24. One of my DVD players doesn MPEG but it is not the one that has the 5.1 output
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 390
Registered: Jun-04
Q1:

I believe your SR8400 has 192 Khz/24 bit DAC chips. Bypassing them with analogue interconnect would only make sense if your player has even better DACs. Some claim there are differences between DAC brands, but you also have to take into account signal loss in the analogue cables.

Q2-Q5:

If your player has all these features, it can basically do the same thing as receiver. Yet again a question of chips: if your player DSP and its implementation are better than your receiver's, there could eventually be an improvement using analogue interconnect. But don't take it for granted.

I'm not familiar with your receiver, but my experience with the much inferior SR4300 is that it isn't worthy to use digital interconnect for movies, nor for CD listening.

Now since you have this fine receiver and are interested in high quality audio, would you allow me to suggest checking out hi-rez? Here's a hint on how to try something equivalent to DVD-A:

1. Get a DVD with 96/24 stereo Linear PCM Track. They are rare, but for instance the DVD-A edition of Queen "The Game" (DTS Entertainment) would do.
2. Rip and burn the DVD-Video part of the disc, to remove flag for automatically downsample of 96/24 to 48/24 when sending to digital out.
3. Listen on your best DVD player, sending it via digital coaxial to receiver.
4. You can also listen to it using analogue stereo interconnect from player to receiver, to compare.

Cheers
AL

BTW, the manual is describing an audio format which is more related to another chip, the DSP. I think it has to be >= 32 bits (among other things) to decode DTS 96/24. This format compresses 6 channels of 96/24 audio on disc. It then fits into S/PDIF transfer at 192KHz/24 bits. I.e. can be sent via digital (optical or coaxial) cable.


 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 83
Registered: Apr-05
This may take a while since my DVD player with 5.1 connection is kaput again (thanks Sony). I will have to wait to test this out on a new DVD player.
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 392
Registered: Jun-04
Stof, you can still check out hi-rez audio (I'm supposing you haven't, please forgive me if I'm wrong). The method I described can be used on any DVD player that outputs 96 KHz/24 bits audio.

Cheers
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 87
Registered: Apr-05
But I thought in comparing analogue to digital your point was that I compare the 5.1 output to the digital?
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 393
Registered: Jun-04
No Stof, my little experiment just suggests a way to check out hi-rez audio, without buying a DVD-A or SACD player. It would be 96 KHz/24 bits per channel in stereo, which is quite nice IMO. And also a way for plunging into comparision of digital and analogue interconnect, without buying 5 + 1 cables. Just remember that this test has its limitations. For example, it is a comparision of main channel DACs only, and some players don't have identical chips for main and surround channels.

Cheers
AL
 

New member
Username: Gamedr04

Tucson, Arizona

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jul-05
I have just a few questions about audio hook-ups... Right now, everything meets at my PC which acts as a hub for all things audio and video. However, I'm tired of having to have my computer on to play XBOX. So, I'd like to get a receiver but it has to have at least three digital inputs. I've found a Sony with said specifications - It has 4 but three are coaxial. Does the coaxial output carry 5 channels..?
 

Anonymous
 
yes 5.1 or 6.1 indeed
 

Anonymous
 
I need some advice. My sound system comprises an amplifier with 5 speaker outputs, but I use a pair of front speakers only. I recently attached a coaxial cable from my DVD player to the amplifier, in addition to the red and white RCA analog cables. I noticed an improvement in the sound quality when I played my CDs through the DVD player (on digital). However when I watched music DVDs on digital, the sound quality seems inferior to analog. My guess is that DVDs have multi-channel sounds on digital, and when played only through 2 speakers, the sounds from the other channels are missing, and that is why the DVDs sound inferior to analog stereo. Is that correct?
 

Rantz
Unregistered guest
You need to go into the DVD player's menu and set it for 2 channels and select only the main speakers in the set up (if those options are there), otherwise select 2 channel on the DVD disc menu when the option is available.
 

Troy M
Unregistered guest
Can I leave my analog 5.1 an optical cables in my reacever so I can switch between the two for movies an SACD for my music. I have a yamaha HTR-5840 reacever an a sony dvd player? Just don't want to fry anything. Thanks.
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 437
Registered: Jun-04
Yes Troy, that's the way to do it.

Cheers
AL
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