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How do you listen to SACD 2-Channel?


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#1 of 30 Leo

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Posted April 19 2003 - 06:01 AM

I'm currently fiddling around with settings on my Pioneer Elite DV-45a and was wondering how do you guys listen to your 2-channel SACD's? I have gone from trying 5.1 output, speakers set to Small and subwoofer On, to 5.1 output, speakers large subwoofer off. And the music I listen to is mainly jazz (trio/quartet) and some classic rock but all 2 channel recordings. System in the link in signature.

So how do you listen to your 2-channel SACD?

#2 of 30 KeithH

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Posted April 19 2003 - 09:12 AM

Leo, let me ask you this. Which way sounds better to you? I like to avoid extraneous processing, so I would probably go with the speakers set to large and no subwoofer. I assume on the '45A this would correspond to what Sony calls a "direct" mode. Also, does the '45A have stereo analog outputs in addition to the 5.1-channel outputs? If so, you might try the stereo analog outputs in case Pioneer included a better analog output stage there in comparison to the 5.1-channel outputs. Just another option to consider.

As for me, I have a Sony SCD-C555ES split between a home-theater system and a separate stereo system. So, I run RCA cables from the stereo analog outputs to my stereo system to listen to CDs and stereo SACDs. Then I run RCA cables from the 5.1-channel outputs to my home-theater receiver to listen to multi-channel SACDs.
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#3 of 30 Joe Casey

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Posted April 20 2003 - 12:09 AM

I use the 2-channel output of my player into a straight-wire-with-gain. Well, almost. Like Keith says, try and minimize any processing and see which way sounds better.
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#4 of 30 Doug_B

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Posted April 20 2003 - 05:09 AM

I use the 2 channel analog outs of my Sony 'C555ES for 2 channel SACD listening. I set my pre-amp in analog direct / bypass mode. I do not use bass mgmt in the Sony; instead, I use an ICBM between my pre-amp and amp. I use the 2 ch outs instead of the 5.1 outs because I have better interconnects on the 2 ch outs (and use the same interconnects for these 2 channels thru the entire path), and my 5.1 outs are also switched with my DVD-A 5.1 outs (with RatShack switches).

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#5 of 30 Leo

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Posted April 20 2003 - 09:15 AM

Ok so I should experiment using the Left and Right of the 5.1 channel vs. the left and right 2-channel. I would have thought the Left/Right 5.1 which connects to the analog in of my system would be the correct choice for left and right audio without any additional processing.

#6 of 30 Jim_F

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Posted April 20 2003 - 10:08 AM

My TA-E9000ES has no analog direct option, so I run the two channel output from my S9000ES through a Creek OBH-10 volume control to one of the extra 2-channel inputs on each of my TA-N9000ESs (running in BTL mode) from there the signal goes to my SVS 20-39PC's speaker level inputs, using its crossover for the low end and then to my B&W N805s.

This sounds so much better than anything I've ever had before, that I have no desire to upgrade my front soundstage. Surround SACD is tempting, but I can wait a while before making the necessary changes and upgrades.
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#7 of 30 Steve_AS

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Posted May 03 2003 - 07:06 PM

IN the 45a I set the fronts speakers to small (becasue they are, NHT Superones) and the sub to ON. Bass of SACDs and DVD_A stereo (and CD stereo tracks too, though I tend to use the digital out for that and let the receiver do BM) is routed to the subwoofer, in this configuration, when listening via the 6-channel analog outputs.

#8 of 30 Steve_AS

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Posted May 03 2003 - 07:10 PM

Quote:
Ok so I should experiment using the Left and Right of the 5.1 channel vs. the left and right 2-channel. I would have thought the Left/Right 5.1 which connects to the analog in of my system would be the correct choice for left and right audio without any additional processing.

It is. Any processing has already been done in the player.

I don't recall what happens when you set the player to do BM but use the 2-channel output -- but I would expect that no internal BM is done on that signal, since where would the bass be output from?

#9 of 30 Scott_N

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Posted May 05 2003 - 04:44 AM

I have my Sony 333ES in my 2-channel system so I use the analog outputs directly to my preamp. When it was in my HT system I hooked it up to my Marantz SR-18 in the analog CD input and used analog direct mode on my reciever. That sounded best to me.

#10 of 30 David Berry

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Posted May 05 2003 - 07:12 AM

Well,

I have mostly sold my home theater system (now have 2 speakers/DVD player, and TV). Two channel listening became more of an obsession than home theater. I now play my 'C555ES (just the stereo output) into a 2-channel tubed preamp and into a stereo SS amp.

#11 of 30 Charles Gurganus

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Posted May 05 2003 - 07:12 AM

I would think the Pioneer outputs the SACD through the 5.1 analog outputs for both 2 channel SACD and 5.1 SACD. The 2 channel analog outputs are probably for CD only or downmixed.
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#12 of 30 Steve_AS

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Posted May 05 2003 - 09:14 AM

Quote:
I would think the Pioneer outputs the SACD through the 5.1 analog outputs for both 2 channel SACD and 5.1 SACD. The 2 channel analog outputs are probably for CD only or downmixed.

Not in the case of the 45a, at least. The 2 channel analog outs will output the 2-channel SACD layer just fine (as well as the CD layer), in my experience. Should you require bass management of this output, it has to be done by the receiver, though. If you play the multichannel layer of a disc, the 2-channel analog out can be configured to output a downmix, in some cases (sometimes disc encoding prevents downmixing, or so I'm told, especially on DVD-As).

The front L&R analog outs of the 6-channel panel will also output the stereo SACD layer (or CD). If BM is enabled in the player, the bass frequencies of the stereo track will be output via the subwoofer out of the 6-channel panel.

#13 of 30 Steve_AS

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Posted May 05 2003 - 12:47 PM

Quote:
Not in the case of the 45a, at least. The 2 channel analog outs will output the 2-channel SACD layer just fine (as well as the CD layer), in my experience. Should you require bass management of this output, it has to be done by the receiver, though.

Correction! (because I just checked it on my player with Peter Gabriel's 'So' SACD) : speaker size settings *also* affect the output from the dedicated 2-channel analog jacks. In other words, if you set the fronts to 'small ' on the player, the output from the 2-ch analog jacks will have less bass than if you set them to 'large' ; the same situation applies to the front L/R of the 5.1 channel panel of course. Verified this with a sound level meter -- though there was nothing subtle about it.

I presume this also applies to stereo CD and DVD-A sources.

This seems like another example of nutty design, but there it is. Looks like to get proper playback from the dedicated 2-channel jacks, with the speakers set to small, you'd also have to somehow access the subwoofer output from the 5.1 jack panel (e.g. via direct connection of the sub out jack to a powered sub).

However, there's an Audio Output Mode setting in the player to force 2-channel output of any source, but I haven't played with that one yet. Possibly this overrides speaker size settings, sending full-range to the 2-channel outs by default.

[Note added later: it does.]

For now, when I play stereo SACD or DVD-A, because I use a satellite/sub system, I can either

1) set the speaker sizes to LARGE (with sub OFF or ON, it doesn't seem to matter) in the player and let the receiver do bass management on the dedicated 2-channel output via the CD in jacks; this involves an A/D->D/A conversion in my receiver.

2) set the speaker sizes to SMALL (with sub ON) and use the 5.1 outputs and receiver 5.1 passthrough inputs. In this case the player's BM crossover (which is factory set at a different point from my receiver's, I notice) is in play.

#14 of 30 John Geelan

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Posted May 05 2003 - 12:59 PM

I have my Sony CE775 running cables from the 5.1 outputs to a ICBM and then into my Denon 3300 receiver's 5.1 analog input.
I also have the 2 channel outputs from the Sony running directly into the Denon as ypu would with any cd player.

I notice their is better bass if I use the 5.1 (6 CH EXT) when listening to 2 channel SACD's than if I use the DIRECT switch on the Denon.

There in lies the problem, their are 2 ways to listen to a 2 channel SACD. Which is better? Which gives you the more accurate representation of the SACD?
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#15 of 30 Steve_AS

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Posted May 06 2003 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
I have my Sony CE775 running cables from the 5.1 outputs to a ICBM and then into my Denon 3300 receiver's 5.1 analog input. I also have the 2 channel outputs from the Sony running directly into the Denon as ypu would with any cd player.

I notice their is better bass if I use the 5.1 (6 CH EXT) when listening to 2 channel SACD's than if I use the DIRECT switch on the Denon.

There in lies the problem, their are 2 ways to listen to a 2 channel SACD. Which is better? Which gives you the more accurate representation of the SACD?


There's a couple of issues to address.

-I'm not sure what the DIRECT setting means on this receiver. I interpreted your post as meaning, you have the 2-channel outs of your player connected to the CD in jacks of your Denon. Is this the case? Does DIRECT mean, no bass managment is applied to that input?
- the setting in your player. Since you're using the ICBM, I assume that you have all speakers set to LARGE, and letting the ICBM do the bass management. If not (if you hav ehte player's speaker sizes set to small) , then you might be getting two layers of BM on 5.1-output stuff (player BM + ICBM), and one layer (the player's) on 2-channel-output stuff.
- alternately, if you have your receiver doing BM, its crossovers may be different from the ICBM's. Therefore the two outputs would sound different, because most receiver's don't do BM on the 5.1 analog inputs.

If you describe yoru setup in more detail, I might be able answer your question.

#16 of 30 larry crimmins

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Posted May 06 2003 - 06:22 AM

I use the 5.1 direct inputs for 2 channel SACD and multi- channel SACD as well as all Redbook CD's. I leave it set that way no matter the format. I connect the speaker level inputs for my sub as well as the speaker cables to the front channel amps and set the sub to work only below 40 hz.
That way there is no chance of the receiver digitizing the outputs from my Sony ce775, the fronts (Sonus Faber Concertino's) play as full range as they provide and whatever comes from the player is fed to the speakers. Had I an ICBM I would probably rethink this. But as it is, the less processing my Arcam receiver does, the purer the signal being sent to the speakers. Nothing wrong w/ the Arcam and I use the processing for movies but for music, less is more. Just my opinion.

#17 of 30 John Royster

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Posted May 06 2003 - 07:59 AM

KeithH,

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#18 of 30 Leo

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Posted May 06 2003 - 08:34 AM

Glad to see so many folks still enjoy 2 channel audio. For my 45a I just use the 5.1 L/R channel for my 2 channel audio with Sub off. I'm using the PSB Image 4T's powered by Marantz MA500. As far as multichannel goes, it's ok for movies for me, but I like my music 2 channel. I play with multi-channel just to show to friends, but my personal pref is 2 speakers, amps and a source.

#19 of 30 John Geelan

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Posted May 06 2003 - 09:29 AM

Quote:
- the setting in your player. Since you're using the ICBM, I assume that you have all speakers set to LARGE, and letting the ICBM do the bass management. If not (if you hav ehte player's speaker sizes set to small) , then you might be getting two layers of BM on 5.1-output stuff (player BM + ICBM), and one layer (the player's) on 2-channel-output stuff.


Thanks Steve,

I checked how the speakers were configured in my Denon 3300 and they were on "small".
I switched them to "large" for all speakers (front/center/surrounds) and they sound is now more full. I guess I wasn't using my ICBM to full advantage. Now there is plenty of solid bass on the 2 Channel recording of Peter Gabriel's Shaking The Tree.

My system has always sounded good on Multi-Channel recordings because I used the (6 CH EXT IN) switch and the recording would go thru the ICBM.

2 Channel SACD's never sounded as good. I think your solution has hit the nail in the head.

Thanks!
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#20 of 30 Steve_AS

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Posted May 07 2003 - 12:14 PM

Quote:
I checked how the speakers were configured in my Denon 3300 and they were on "small".
I switched them to "large" for all speakers (front/center/surrounds) and they sound is now more full. I guess I wasn't using my ICBM to full advantage. Now there is plenty of solid bass on the 2 Channel recording of Peter Gabriel's Shaking The Tree.

My system has always sounded good on Multi-Channel recordings because I used the (6 CH EXT IN) switch and the recording would go thru the ICBM.

2 Channel SACD's never sounded as good. I think your solution has hit the nail in the head.

Glad to hear it, but I'm still not sure I understand how this worked out.

-looking at the 3800's owner's manual (available at the Denon site), it *looks* (from the 'surround mode and parameters' table ) as if any speaker size settings you make, and any subwoofer settings you make, *also* apply to the 6/8-Channel analog inputs. This is unusual for HT receivers. It's something you should verify (for examplel by setting the subwoofer to 'No' in the receiver, and seeing if any output comes from the sub afterwards.) If the Denon *does* do BM on the 6-channel inputs, I don't see why you'd have bought an ICBM unit.

- it also appears the front and subwoofer speaker settings apply in DIRECT mode. DIRECT simply bypasses tone controls
and surround parameter settings.

- it also says that if the bass output is set to 'subwoofer only', then whether you set the fronts to LARGE or SMALL still makes a big difference. If LARGE, the sub gets LFE-channel information *only* -- which isn't encoded in SACD or DVD-A or any two-channel material. It"s a Dolby Digital/DTS thing. The front left and right speakers get the 'normal' bass information in this setting. If SMALL, the sub gets LFE plus the summed bass information of the other speakers; the fronts get only mid+treble signal.

- if the bass output is set to "front and subwoofer' then both fronts and sub get the same bass information.


If this is all true, then you are going to have some conflicts depending on what sources you are listening to.
It all depends on whether the Denon is really doing BM on the 6-channel input. If it does, then it's adding that *on top of* your ICBM unit, for 6-channel analog stuff (or two-channel output through the FL and FR of the 6-channel panel of the Sony). But if you turn it off in the Denon, your analog 2-channel stuff going through the CD input won't sound right, and neither will your digital (optical or coax) input stuff.

Try that test I suggested above (set the Subwoofer Yes/No to No, and play something through the ICBM/6-channel input path) and let me know what happens. If you hear sub output, then the Denon *isn't* doing BM on that input.


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