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DVD-Audio on Pioneer 563-A Not so hot?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC

Post Number: 13
Registered: Jul-04
DVD-Audio on Pioneer 563-A Not so hot?

I have a well reviewed Beethoven dvd Audio (actually 3 of them) by Abbado. The sound on these DVD-A discs is supposed to be 9 out of 10 according to one review. I have regular cds that sound better.

Maybe I hooked up or set up my Pioneer 563-A wrong? SACDs sound pretty good.

I am playing both in stereo currently - I do need a new receiver to get better sound and to get surround sound. It is on the way.

I have one other DVD-audio disc (Bartoli the Vivaldi Album). It sounds alright but not great. It sounded pretty good on my old dvd player that could not play dvd-A. So, maybe I haven't set up the Pioneer right?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 766
Registered: Dec-03
mine works just great on dvd-a.

all of my speakers are set to large with sub on.
maybe that will help.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 47
Registered: Jun-04
Donald,

If you are just doing stereo with a DVD-A disc, I have read somewhere that you must set up the player properly or it sounds really bad (for ANY DVD-A or SACD player, not just Pioneer). I think it has more to do with the surround info not being part of the stereo mix like it should be and resolution. I have never tried DVD-A or SACD on a stereo system, so I don't know how it should be done. Page 21 of the manual says for the "D.MIX" display:
"During multichannel audio playback, indicates that the output signal has been "downmixed" from the original audio source. This is an automatic function performed by the player in order to present the most appropriate audio mix to the speakers present in your system."

I don't know beyond that. I have an SACD of the Atlanta Symphony doing the Firebird Suite and it sounds wonderful. But I have a proper 5.1 channel speaker setup and the Pioneer player is setup for 5.1 Multichannel in the Initial Settings. So, my playback will not be "downmixed" to a lower resolution but will play in "5.1 channel" (higher resolution) even though it is only a stereo recording (it is an SACD stereo recording and that makes all the difference).

Your player is most likely trying to play the full DVD-A but the player is automatically downmixing it to the CD redbook standard. You are going to have to try playing with the settings in the Pioneer - maybe shutting off the downmix and turning on or off the 2-channel/5.1 channel. You can also try using the Front L&R analog port channels with the 5.1 Multichannel on (but you will not have a Center channel).

When you give up, maybe even write to Pioneer tech support!

goldenarrow
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 48
Registered: Jun-04
I forgot to mention, DON'T hook up the coax from the Pioneer to the stereo if the stereo system does not have a corresponding coax connection - you could damage your speakers from the loud computer hash noise.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 49
Registered: Jun-04
Also,

When you get to the point of going Multichannel, you might want to read our discussion on the 563A multichannel quirks:

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-video/56777.html

It might help you plan for your future system upgrades.

goldenarrow
 

Bronze Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC

Post Number: 16
Registered: Jul-04
Thanks goldenarrow. Receiver is supposed to get her tomorrow and then I will try multichannel.

But my wife doesn't want all those speakers all over our SMALL living room - so I will have to learn the two channel setup.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 18
Registered: Jun-04
DK, there is hope. It's just 3 more speakers and a hideable sub. Key issue is actually abundance of cables, believe me...

This is what I did while female unit was on business trip: Picked up the smallest AudioPro pack, fairly good design in the same cherry color as furniture. Cables carefully put away in plastic tubes along walls.

Last important step: Before her arrival, you get some suitable DVD's. Love Actually and a 007 with Timothy Dalton could make the trick. Be sure to turn up the center channel for clear dialogues.

Good luck
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC

Post Number: 23
Registered: Jul-04
Thanks for the support :-)

I actually had some pretty small KLH speakers which got decent reviews. I hooked them up to test the system and my wife wondered why I didn't attach them to the wall instead of temporarily putting them on the bookcase where the toddler could "modify" them.

So, I guess she is ok with small speakers and the medium small Polk Audio bookcase used for the center channel that is sitting on the window sill. (All my old speakers and yard sale finds ended up being useful).
 

Bronze Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC

Post Number: 24
Registered: Jul-04
By the way the Onkyo 501 makes all my cds sound like SACDs now!!! What a difference the receiver can make. DVD-audio sounds fine - thought the SACDs still sound a little better in my small comparison test.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 19
Registered: Jun-04
Glad to hear. It's not just the Onkyo, the powerful chips in your DV563 upsamples CD PCM, like an internal remasterization.

According to my experiences, CD should though not reach DVD-A / SACD quality. The latter yields at least a greater definition ("oh, I never noticed that instrument or that little tune on this record before"). If not, you still have some setup to do.

Cheers
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC

Post Number: 25
Registered: Jul-04
The pioneer sacd player sounded better on my old receiver. The new receiver makes it sound even better.

I think the SACDs still sound better - I am just reveling in the improved sound of the "red book" cds.

What does "the powerful chips in your DV563 upsamples CD PCM, like an internal remasterization" mean. Can you explain it in almost elementary school terms? "See electronics, see electronics run. Electronics are happy."

I am guessing you mean the regular cds get read better - with better quality due to improved electronics over my old 1999 toshiba player?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 21
Registered: Jun-04
Part of the answer is to be found in the 56777 URL, but that thread is just as complex as it is interesting. So here we go, quoting goldenarrow on june 23rd:

"The DSP of the Pioneer is really advanced. It is built around STi ASIC which provides many functions - MPEG processing with progressive scan, Dolby Digital, DTS, MLP (DVD-A) decoding and data expansion from 16 bit to 24 bit for redbook CD. This DSP uses 128 Mbit of external SDRAM which buffers (not compressed buffering) and re-clocks the data from all PCM sources. This practically eliminates jitter and the need of "Super Clocks"."

Basically, it is about elimiating small variations in sample frequency. These variations are heard as distortion, the typical "cold, digital sound". Taking them away gives a natural, more analogue sound.

Also, the CD represents the analogue sound pressure curve digitally, using 16 bits (i.e. any number below 2^16) 44000 times per second (44.1 KHz). Impressing numbers, but not 100% accurate. The digital curve has tiny "sawtooths", which is similar to harmonic distortion.

Let's say we multiply the bits by 1.5 and quadruple sample frequency, obtaining 24 bits at 176 KHz. And then we apply some algorithms and interpolations to rebuild the curve, smoothing out the "sawtooths". Result is less perceived distortion, when converted to analogue and sent to speakers.

I don't know for sure if DV563 performs this latter trick, but I believe so.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 59
Registered: Jun-04
Donald,

To add to what Arnold said, the frequency rate controls the smoothness of the computer waveform being recorded. A higher recording frequency, the smoother and more lifelike the sound. The bit depth seems to control dynamic range. So a recording done at 16 bits will not be as loud or soft as a 24 bit recording (the loudness will be louder and the quietness will be quieter with 24 bit recordings).

According to that guy Alex Paychev (whom I was quoting), the Pioneer 563A can do full 192k/24 bit playback of SACD's (stereo) and 96k/24 bit in multichannel. But only if all speakers are set to Large in the Pioneer Initial Settings Menu. My guess is that Pioneer put too many good features into the Pioneer and tried to cripple it so it would not cannabalize their mid-range lineup. Then they discontinued it, maybe because it WAS too popular and maybe because the parts were too expensive.

Don't know if that helps but that is part of the background.

goldenarrow
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 455
Registered: Feb-04
"According to that guy Alex Paychev (whom I was quoting), the Pioneer 563A can do full 192k/24 bit playback of SACD's (stereo) and 96k/24 bit in multichannel."

goldenarrow, I think you mean DVD-A instead of SACD here.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 816
Registered: Dec-03
hey guys i did not realize the 563a upsampled cd's.

i was thinking of getting an exteranal dac for
redbook cd playback. but if what you are saying
about the internals of this little guy are true.
i think goldenarrow is right and pioneer made
this unit to nice for it's price range.

what do you guy's think of getting an external
dac for this unit, useless?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC

Post Number: 26
Registered: Jul-04
So the 563a actually reads more times and fills in detail not on the original cd so that it sounds smoother and louder and softer than a regular cd player can do?

Also, on a 192k/24 disc the stereo will sound better than the multichannel?

I think I followed what you all said. I got mine for $99 at Best Buy. Good deal!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 60
Registered: Jun-04
To everyone,

If I see the sun rising in the sky, that MUST mean that the sun rotates around the earth, right?

The context of the quotation from Alex Paychev was concerning the DOWNmixing of DSD (SACD) playback in the Pioneer 563A when the speakers are set to anything except "Large". As far as I can tell, he said nothing about upsampling of CD redbook playback. So, I conclude that the 563A does NOT upsample CD redbook because it was not even discussed. I suggest that people do their own due diligence and go to the Audiocircle.com web site, look up the sidebar for APL HiFi, and read all the threads about the quirks of the 563A.

http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewforum.php?f=71&sid=52322dd7f04cc5a3d7310d cad2ea60b7

Arnold,

I think you got the wrong conclusion from the quotation from Alex Paychev. I suggest that you read the Audiociricle.com threads and let me know if I am wrong in my understanding. Perhaps you can dig up some new information from there that I missed, there is a LOT of info there. I understand from those threads that the 563A has lots of nice parts in it that a mid-level player would have but that is all. No upsampling of CD redbook. Also, Alex is discussing some very specific things because he does his own modifications to equipment for a living, so he knows everything in great detail. Therefore, it is very, very easy to get lost in the details and not understand the context of which he speaks.

My Rantz,

The context of the quotations was definitely about DSD (SACD) playback being downmixed to 88.2 kHz (essentially crippling the SACD playback quality of the 563A). DVD-A was not affected by this quirk of the machine. Please read the audiocircle.com threads if you want to verify that info.

Thank you for reading. It is enjoyable to discuss these things with you all.

goldenarrow
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 61
Registered: Jun-04
Also, Alex sells a modified 563A for $800 which probably has all kinds of good things in it, one of which is better CD redbook playback. So part of the context may have been talking about that modified machine. The bottom line is that the stock Pioneer unit does not do upsampling of CD redbook.

goldenarrow
 

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 177
Registered: Mar-04
goldenarrow, all,

For the $99 I paid, I really didn't expect it would have done that. However for the $99 I paid, it makes for a very fine listening experience.

Anyone who has one, or is thinking about picking one up before they're unavailable, remember to have the firmware upgraded. There are a few discs out there that will not play in DVD-A mode unless this is done. Here's how to check
https://www.ecoustics.com/cgi-bin/bbs/show.pl?tpc=2&post=100863#POST100863
Thanks goldenarrow for reserching this. :-)

 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 457
Registered: Feb-04
goldenarrow,

I'm not disputing the context of the quotations, however the specs "192khz/24bit for stereo and 92khz/24bit for multi-channel are the maximum parameters for DVD-A. So, SACD in the following is incorrect: "According to that guy Alex Paychev (whom I was quoting), the Pioneer 563A can do full 192k/24 bit playback of SACD's (stereo) and 96k/24 bit in multichannel."

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) the process for SACD is based on 1-bit sigma-delta modulation, and operates with a sampling frequency of 2.8224 MHz (This is 64 times the 44.1 kHz used in a normal CD!).
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 63
Registered: Jun-04
My Rantz,

Yes, you are right, DSD is different. Sorry about that, I got confused between DVD-A and DSD specs! I'll try to not let it happen again.

According to the context of the quotations, the Pioneer 563A does convert the DSD signal to PCM at 88.2 kHz unless one has all speakers set to Large, then it would be "pure DSD" at the frequency you stated. The interesting thing is that the replacement for the 563A, the 578A, does not allow the user to bypass the PCM conversion. So, the 563A can output a pure DSD signal before the analog conversion if the speakers are set right, which is pretty cool beans!

goldenarrow
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 458
Registered: Feb-04
goldenarrow

No problem, I thought it was only an error and not a misconception. The whole hi-res thing can be a bit confusing, but at the very least, it's a worthy addition to audio.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 824
Registered: Dec-03
so what do you guys thing then?
i could benefit from a quality exteranal dac for
redbook cd's?
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 140
Registered: Dec-03
An external DAC module may have an improved analog outout stage. That is where the 563 is lacking.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 828
Registered: Dec-03
that's what i was thinking.

i have seen what realy look like some nice units
on audiogon.com "used" around $300 or less!

any suggestions?
anything to look for in a dac? upsampling or etc.
anything i should know?

strictly 2 channel.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 65
Registered: Jun-04
Kegger,

Supposedly, Alex Paychev knows all about this topic. I thought I read on that Audiocircle forum that:

- he designed major parts of the popular Toshiba 1000 player
- when Toshiba could not fix a bug in it, he was the only one who could fix it and they implemented his fix
- the CES officials asked him to design the Digital Audio area at the latest CES 2004 show in Las Vegas

It sounds like he knows his stuff but I have never used any of his modifications. I also read that he is so backlogged right now (he is a one man business) that his health is suffering from it. But all his customers seem to like him a lot. You might want to ask him some basic questions. And I don't think his mods are cheap but they are cheaper than buying a $3000 "audio salon" brand. On Audiocircle, look for the APL HiFi sidebar.

goldenarrow
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nealm

Post Number: 33
Registered: Jun-04
donald,
glad to see youre happy with the improved performance of your new receiver over your old sony. after all that debate on the other thread i was not sure what choice you would make.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 842
Registered: Dec-03
golden i'm not sure if you understand what i'm
asking about or giving me an alternative.

neither is bad but just wanted to clarify.

what i was thinking about was a dedicated external
dac that you just go from the digital output of
any source then it does the d to a conversion
then out to your preamp.

bipassing the dacs in the system but no mods are
done to the player.

it's a seperate unit with it's own case,power supply
and connectors etc. basically another component.

sorry if you allready new this but i wasn't sure
what you were suggesting to me!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 23
Registered: Jun-04
goldenarrow, I think when sun arise in sky, we can at least assume it's daybreak...

My first conclusion from the AP quote was based on the mentioning of "re-clocks the data from all PCM sources" etc. If this AP guy is right (seems to me a guru...), I trust the low jitter to be part of the explanation to why CD sound so good on DV563/565A.

The second part of my post aimed to explain what could be done with upsampling to improve the digital image of analogue sound pressure. As told at end of post I do not know, only believe that DV563/565 do this. However, the AP qoute is actually mentioning "data expansion from 16 bit to 24 bit for redbook CD". Hence it's DSP chip is capable of it (question is: did Pioneer implement it it?)

Anyway, this discussion continues to be interesting. The hint on 88.2 conversion for bass management helped me to get over what I started to believe was a slight harmonical distortion generated somewhere else in my equipment. Thanks/AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 24
Registered: Jun-04
Since there seems to be some interest on DACs, here's more info on what's inside our beloved Pioneer player:

AP quote mentions Burr-Brown 1791, but he is probably referring to L&R channels only. HiFi News (Jan 04) claims inferior 1702 is used for center, sub and surrounds. Here each DAC covers two channels, so we end up with one BB-1791 and two BB-1702. Manufacturer specs confirm DSD handled as such by both models.

Product information links:

http://focus.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/dsd1702.pdf
http://focus.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/dsd1791.pdf

Have fun!
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 68
Registered: Jun-04
Kegger,

Yeah, I get confused until someone explains things in excrutiating detail. Thanks! The external DAC sounds like a versatile component to have (but I have no experience with them). I am still working on low-budget-multichannel-nirvana.

Later
 

Bronze Member
Username: Goldenarrow

Post Number: 69
Registered: Jun-04
Arnold,

I meant by the sunrise comment that I hope that I don't have to have an astrophysics degree in order to know important and practical/useful things about the planet. Yet, somehow I feel that this industry wants to make us feel like we need an electrical engineering or acoustical physics degree in order to know and buy good equipment (maybe to make us dependent upon gurus, as you mention Alex to probably be?). I sure get confused easily and I suspect I am not alone! I hope you or other people were not offended by that so that we all can dig into the details and get to something ordinary people can understand and use.

Regarding "data expansion", I seem to remember Alex writing with customers (or prospective customers) that his modifications make the 563 into something more than it was and that CD redbook becomes much more than it was. His $800 mod makes it compete with $3000 CD players, so he must be taking advantage of some combination of stock parts and ones he replaces. He mentioned keeping certain parts, like the transport, which is used in higher end models. And he replaces other parts. I don't remember what he said about the DSP. He also mentioned that the replacement, the 578A, cannot be modded to his liking but he did not detail why. Don't know if that helps but that is what I remember.

goldenarrow
 

Bronze Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 25
Registered: Jun-04
goldenarrow, I fully agree. AV industry gives us mouthfuls of impressive specs. It takes a lot of knowledge to see through the smoke they're pouring out. But isn't it great that we've gotten together, a bunch of guys who all have started with a low-end multiplayer to explore hi rez? Each time I connect to this forum and read the latest posts, I feel a bit more prepared for coming upgrades. Hope you do too.

Regarding AP's view on 578A, he says DSP is inferior to DV563's and that 578's DACs do not support DSD. Seems we've caught Pioneer red-handed downgrading.

88.2 KHz is on the other hand not so bad. It's close to 96/24, which can be quite stunning even for classical music (I'll post some reviews on the new thread on disc ratings). Reason for not choosing 96 KHz is just that 88.2 is a better multiple (64) of DSD bit rate. If 578A has a decent bass mgmt, wouldn't say overall quality differ that much.

Cheers
AL
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