Listening to Audio CD's .... Analog vs Digital

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Joe Mihok, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. Joe Mihok

    Joe Mihok Second Unit

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    I am just curious. I've got a Denon 1803 reviever and Norcent DVD Player (which I use for Audio CD's and DVD's). I've been running digital coax for everything (Audio Cd's and DVD's) and have been very happy. I was just curious though, when listening to Audio CD's, would it be better to run a high quality analog cable to my reciever ? I know the digital coax is need for DD/DTS tracks, but are Audio CD's designed for use with stereo analog (meaning they would sound better this way) ???
     
  2. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Joe, here is the deal. You can try your analog outs from your DVD player into your Denon 1803 (just use a different input)and just switch back and forth and determine which one you like best.

    More than likely, your 1803 will digitize the analog inputs anyway (read, an extra D/A conversion). Now if the 1803 has true analog inputs (meaning no D/A conversion first), what you will be hearing will be the true analog signal from the DVD player. That would provide a meaningful comparison to the digital connection (no necessarly better mind you).

    What I am trying to say in way to many words is I think, in your case, you probably are already using the best connection.
     
  3. Joe Mihok

    Joe Mihok Second Unit

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    I know my amp has 5-channel analog inputs ("ext. in" for SACD or DVD-Audio). Could I simply plug the 2-chan analog output from the DVD Player into the 2 front channels for "ext. in" ?
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yes. When playing stereo material, only the two main channels will carry any signal.

    It is difficult to say which will sound better. I used to prefer my 222ES's DACs over my Marantz 6200, but when I moved to an 8300 (much better DACs than the 6200), it actually sounds better via coaxial dig. Now, the interconnects you are using will have a small influence on the sound as well, which is why I say your results may vary. The only way to really know is to try both out.

    If you are already happy with the sound, I wouldn't worry too much, just a little time passing experiment.
     
  5. Joe Mihok

    Joe Mihok Second Unit

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    I tend to do this alot. It's fun I guess. lol

    But I'll try them both when I get home and post my results. My Paradigm monitor 7's seem to take advantage of very little changes to my setup (because of how clear the mid/high range is).
     
  6. Joe Mihok

    Joe Mihok Second Unit

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    Oh, one last question. The "ext in" 5-chan inputs are true analog right ? they shouldn't bypass to the internal DAC ?. I just wanna make this clear to myself [​IMG].

    And here are the spec on my reciever in case it helps to answer my question:

     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    In general, using the preamp inputs is pure analog, and should not pass through any other circuitry. That's what it SHOULD mean, but I can't give you a 100% guarantee of that with your receiver.
     
  8. HienD

    HienD Stunt Coordinator

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    If your dvd player is the ones you can get at walmart for ~$40, your best bet is digital cable. I highly doubt your dvd player has better DACs then the Denon 1803. The analog ouput circuit probably isn't very good either. If you've got a decent rca cable laying around, you could try both and see with one sound better. I personally wouldn't spend any money to try it though.
     
  9. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    What it really boils down to is the DACs, the DACs, the DACs. Interconnects, etc. will have a MUCH smaller effect on overall sound. The only way to find out which you prefer is to hook your Norcent player up to your Denon receiver via both its analog outs and digital out and do a comparison. Sit down with some of your favorite CDs and have a little listening session. The difference may be quite noticable or it may be subtle. Which machine has the "best" DACs is really subjective when you get right down to it. What matters is which sounds best TO YOU.
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    This is exactly how I have my SACD/CD player setup for CD playback -- Sony 555ES SACD/CD player connected to a Pioneer Elite 47TX receiver. I use all six analog inputs, so I get stereo SACD, multi-channel SACD and stereo CD all through the analog bypass inputs of the receiver. For stereo SACD and CD, only the 2 front channels are used.

    In my case, I prefer the sound of the Sony's DACs over those in the Pioneer for CD playback. The sound is smoother, with a less harsh "digital" sound (for lack of a better way to describe it).

    With my older, low end, Sony CD player, I actually preferred the Pioneer's DACs for CD playback. So, the only way to know which sounds better is to try both.
     
  11. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    Doesn't the 1803 have a 'Direct' mode? (like my 3803) If so you can use that with any analog source at it will maintain the analog path.
     
  12. Joe Mihok

    Joe Mihok Second Unit

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    I tried this last night and analog sounded like pure SHIT! lol

    Oh well, it's a cheap $40 Walmart player ...... I'm not gonna cry over it [​IMG].

    Thanks for all of the feedback!!
     
  13. Jonathan Dagmar

    Jonathan Dagmar Supporting Actor

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    I have a Pansonic XR25 all digital reciever, which I understand even some Audiophile have been very impressed with, despite it's low price. I didn't know that one I bought it, but it's made me feel pretty confident in my purchase since.

    I also have a Panasonic F65 DVD player, which I consider a a mid-range model.

    I have breifly tested the sound quality from analog cables, and an optical connection when playing standard CDs. I found the digital connection to be far, far superior. However, I do not consider this a complete test the analog cables I used were the cheap ones that shipped with my DVD player, and it seems possible that better cables would have made a difference.
     
  14. Laurence_C

    Laurence_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a dedicated Sony CD player, CDP-X111ES, that has an Optical out as well as the fixed and variable analog outs. I use the optical out exclusively and can honestly say it sounds better than the analog outs. This CD player is over 10 years old and still sounds better than any DVD player I've had in my system, including the most current, a Panasonic RP-91. Besides it cuts down on the wear and tear on my DVD players by allowing me to just use my RP-91 for playing DVD's.
     
  15. Jonathan Dagmar

    Jonathan Dagmar Supporting Actor

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    Laurence: I am confused. If you are using the digital out on your cd player, then it's your reciever that is doing all the work. How it sound better when playing CDs than any other DVD player?

    If you were to say that you CD player sounds better than any DVD when using analog connections, I woudn't question it. But with digital it doesn't make sense.
     
  16. HienD

    HienD Stunt Coordinator

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    Something called jitter that affects sound quality. Do a search on that topic and you'll get a few threads about this. I was under the same impression you are until I read the threads. Still not %100 convinced about how big a difference jitter actually makes.
     
  17. Laurence_C

    Laurence_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Jonathan, I think you are misinterpreting what I have said or maybe I wasn't clear enough. When comparing the digital out on my CD player with the analog outs on the same player I hear a difference. Whether that sounds better to others is a different story, to me it does, maybe it's just me thinking that the optical is supposed to be better sounding and it's all in my head. As for saying it sounds better than any DVD player I never said that, I said it sounds better than those players that I have had in my system. Again it just may be me thinking that a dedicated CD player should sound better, but to me it does, maybe it's one of those Amplifier break-in questions. I have never heard a difference in my two amplifiers after 5 years, broken in or not, others say they can, who am I to dispute what they hear and if it makes one all warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe it's the idea of it being a dedicated unit and having read too much on the home theater forums.[​IMG]
     
  18. Jonathan Dagmar

    Jonathan Dagmar Supporting Actor

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    You're right Laurence, I did musunderstand what you said. I totally understand and agree with your comments about digital sounding better on the same player, as that has been exatly my experience and echos my comments above.

    I am still a little unsure though, When you say that your cd player still sounds better than any dvd player you have tried, do you mean when using analog connection, or digital? If it's the former, I don't have any reason to doubt you, however if you mean it sounds better than the dvd players when using a digital connection, I am still skeptical. I have read about so called "jitter", but I am unconvinced that it has any audible effect on the sound...
     
  19. Nathan J

    Nathan J Stunt Coordinator

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    Many people think that a cd player sounds better than dvd players that play cd's.

    I have not done that many comparisons, but with my little bit of experience on the matter, I would have to agree.


    I recently listened to a NAD cd player, and it was amazing.


    I dont think my panny rv-32 can even come close to the sound performance of that NAD cd player.
     
  20. Jonathan Dagmar

    Jonathan Dagmar Supporting Actor

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    Again, Nathan, was that CD player using Analog connections? Or digital? If digital, where they connected to the same reciever as the dvd players you claim it sounds better than?

    To draw any legitimagte conclusion you first need to eliminate the variables.
     

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