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Does an AV Reciever render a cd or sacd transport moot


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#1 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 22 2003 - 12:21 AM

Hi,
I've read lots of professional reviews of cd and sacd and dvd-a players, and these reviewers always use separates for reviewing purposes.

I also read a thread regarding a cd transport where the author suggested that you had better have a great a/d d/a handeling in your a/v reciever because the one in the transport is mediocre.
It made me wonder how that decision is made. Does the transport and the reciever have a discussion and decide whose innards their going to use or it is impossible to do a complete evaluation of a cd/sacd/dvd-a transport when using an all-in-one A/V reciever because it always takes over.

This discussion becomes less theoretical if one is contemplating the purchase of a $10,000 cd player and is going to feed it into one of the Flagship A'V recievers whose qualities have jumped considerably in the last few years. Assuming the transport can get the music to the reciever in a timely manner which unit gets the credit or the blame for performance.

Peter m.
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#2 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 22 2003 - 01:51 AM

Peter,

"Transport" is a term that requires a bit of definition. A true transport simply reads the disk and outputs the digital bitstream for conversion to analog "by others". It therefore would contain no D/A converters whatsoever.

Your typical CD player does have the ability to convert the digital bitstream coming off the disk into analog signals which are then sent on for preamping/amping. If digital intefaces are provided (they usually are), your typical CD player can also be used in transport mode as described above.

The method by which a particular unit is put into transport or player mode is determined by the way it is wired to the other components. Digital inteface = transport mode. Analog interface = player mode. The decision on which to use is up to you. Try both and see which sounds better. Good luck.

Austin

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted April 22 2003 - 03:35 AM

The receiver does not ALWAYS take over. Nearly all SACD and DVD-A players, with the exception of a few that ouput DSD stream, output only in ANALOG. This means there is no way your receiver will do the D/A.

In terms of DVDs and CDs, this short answer is, that it comes down to whether the player has better DACs or the receiver. As Austin notes, you would want to try both ways, and see which sounds better.

Typically you won't find people who buy $10K CD transports feeding them into any kind of integrated receiver.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
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#4 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 22 2003 - 06:09 AM

Hi John,
I guess the following exerpt taken from a review of the Denon 5803 at "secrets of home thetre and high fidelity"
Is exactly why i'm asking the question.

The 5803 offers 24bit,96khz or 192 khz conversion plus full DSP support on any of it's analogue inputs.

You can turn off the DSP modes in Pure Direct mode which will arrange 4 DAC's per ch when playing 2ch source. Using 2 DAC's offers a balanced output stage from the DAC using 4 gives you 384khz sampling.

There are 4 24-bit, 192khz interface recievers, one for evey 2 channels
They also incorporated 16 Burr-Brown PCM1738E rez 24bit, 192khz DAC's in an 8 channel configuration. This allows 2 DAC's per ch and can be configured up to 4 for each stereo ch. These DAC's satisfy all the requirements of DSD.

It's kind of a "chicken and egg" question for me.
Let's do a seguey to DD5.1 decoding, both my reciever and dvd player have it. Which one is used when you drop in a movie.
My HDTV has a line doubler but apparantly that turns off when faced with a progressive source.

Maybee the reason people will not plug a $10,000 transport into an A/V reciever particularly a top of the line one is because "why should they pay twice for the same thing. The transport has excellent DAC's now it needs the excellent routing and amplification that highend separates, of which it is one, provides.

My interest in this was piqued because i purchased what would be considered entry level dvd-a and sacd players and play them through my Denon 5800/03 and TOTEM speakers.
My full intention was to purchase a very good combi player when the dust settles but due to the sound i am hearing with my present equipment, which i find exemplary, i started asking myself the subject question.

Thanks for your input,
Peter m.
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#5 of 22 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted April 22 2003 - 08:07 AM

The 5803 is not a "typical" receiver Posted Image In this case, I would probably let the 5803 do the decoding for movies, but let whichever player manage the DVD-A/SACD portion (Denon 2900 is sounding like it will be a good combo unit). I have a feeling you will be able to do this with most DVD-A/SACD players without having to enter a setup menu to change the audio output.

On most receivers I've seen, no processing is allowed on the multi-channel analog inputs. The 5803 may be different in this respect.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
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#6 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 22 2003 - 08:40 AM

John,
There is a proprietary approved digital port on the reciver, but it only works with the dvd-a only Denon 9000 $5000cdn and it started out with the chroma bug.

Curiously their new combi player does not allow you to use that link.
The cheapie sacd player i bought the sony dvp-650nc has a 5 disc carosel. I wonder why more players arn't offering that.

Anyway, since Denon were nice enough to put 2 sets of analogue ins' on the 5803 at least using separate players is not a physical inconvenience but i guess there are probably inexpensive switchers around as long as you don't lose any fidelity in the switch.

I really appreciate the comments and i'm not finished with this subject because i'm not sure that the choice of which dac's are used is totally in our hands.

Peter m.
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#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 22 2003 - 09:22 AM

Quote:
because i'm not sure that the choice of which dac's are used is totally in our hands

It is completely and utterly "in our hands". As explained above, it all depends on how you wire it. And even if you connect your transport to your receiver with both analog and digital connections, most equipment (and certainly high-end equipment) will have switches and settings to determine which signals are passed and where they are processed.

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#8 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 22 2003 - 11:47 AM

Peter,

Do you understand what's happening when you engage the 5803's DSP on your EXT-INs for a hirez source?

Firstly, the player (NOT a transport!) pulls the bitstream off the disk and runs it through its internal DSP, then runs it through its internal DACs, then runs it through its output stages to the 5.1 RCA jacks on the back of the player.

Secondly, the 5803 inputs the 5.1 via its EXT-INs RCA jacks. If you have DSP engaged, the 5803 REDIGITIZES the incoming signals, applies whatever bass management and/or time alignment you have selected then runs the signals through ITS internal DACs, output stages and amplifiers.


In this mode of operation, you are utilizing BOTH the player's DACs as well as the ones in the receiver. As youo can see, there's an extra A/D and D/A conversion in the process. There's no choice to be made between which unit you wish to do the D/A - you get both. Period.

If you DO wish to evaluate the DACs between your player and the 5803, there IS a way to do so.

Wire the player to the 5803 using RCA cables (Player's L/R Output to 5803's L/R Input). This is PLAYER mode which will use the player's DACs in processing the signal. Also wire the player to the 5803 using either an optical cable or a digital coax cable. This is TRANSPORT mode which will use ONLY the 5803's DACs to process the signal. Set up the inputs from with the 5803 such that you are in "PURE DIRECT" mode for each of them. Now play a CD (DVD-Audio or SACD WON'T WORK!). You can then switch between the inputs and hear for yourself the difference in processing paths. Good luck and be sure to report back what you hear.

Austin

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 22 2003 - 11:16 PM

Thanks Austin,
Now, i have the explanation i've been looking for.
I realize that it is an oversimplification to suggest that a dvd-a or sacd player are strictly transports but due to yhe processing in the 5803 for those 2 modes isn't the players processing rendered moot and they are strictly delivery systems.

John commented before that a $10,000 player would probably not be used with an A/V reciever and i suggested that due to the processing in the reciever the players would be wasted.

Is that accurate.

Peter m.
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#10 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 23 2003 - 02:42 AM

Peter,

You're still not getting it.

Hirez sources are processed in the player whether you like it or not. Until a digital interface for hirez (like the Denon Link for DVD-Audio) become commonplace and allow true hirez TRANSPORTS, you are forced to do the D/A in the player. Whether you then choose to redigitize the analog signals, process them, and D/A them once again is up to you. The 5803 does NOT force you to do so - you can run the analog signals through the volume control straight through to the amps if you wish.

I think the thing you may be missing is that multiple A/D and D/A conversions are BAD as each conversion degrades the purity of the input signal. The amount of the degradation and our ability to detect it is a topic for debate but the priniciple is a sound one - do digital manipulations in the digital realm then D/A and you're done! I'm sure you will appreciate how your player/5803 setup violates this principle.

As far as the 10k player, it will have state of the art disk and laser mechanisms, DACs, clocks, power supplies and output stages. Its processing of digital and analog signals will be done in separate physical areas. Its connectors will be the best available and its internal wiring will be very carefully routed to minimize signal distortion. After all this TLC, the owner would be loathe to run it into a receiver for further processing (and signal degradation). It would most likely be directly connected to an integrated amplifier (containing a volume control) and on to the speakers.

Hope this helps.

Austin

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 23 2003 - 03:39 AM

Hi and thanks again Austin,
The main reason i'm asking these questions is because i use the panny rp82 for dvd-a and a sony dvp-650nc sacd player which are entry level players.

Perhaps due to the newness of these formats and the significant jump in audible rez that they provide, i'm extremely pleased with the results through the Denon and my Totem speakers.
Someone with the $10,000 sacd player could say "you ain't heard nothin yet" and be quite right.

If so and when Denon makes a combi player that allows the use of the Denon link i may be able, to a point, experience what a higher grade dvd-a and sacd player can provide.
What i was hoping you were going to say, or rather explain is that the 5803 is making a silk purse out of a sow's ear and it's processing is improving on the processing, "in dvd-a and sacd mode only" that my present players provide.

If i understand you correctly, "they are not" and i am just enthralled with these new formats and i really "aint heard nothin yet"

Thanks again,
Peter m.
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#12 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 23 2003 - 04:23 AM

Hi Peter,

Now you've got the basics. Ready for the next level? (You're going to like this - there's a silk purse in it)

DVD-Audio and SACD multichannel audio generally assumes you have 5 full-range (20-20kHz) speakers with a sixth full-range channel that is typically a low-bass subwoofer. Further, equidistant spacing is assumed (same distance between each of the 5 speakers and the listening position).

Now, take a look at the real world. Nobody has full-range speakers all around and very few have equidistant spacing. This means what you hear is not what was mixed on the disk. Bass management and time alignment systems are required to bring the real world into better alignment with what the producers (and artists) intended.

But there's a problem. Putting in the required horsepower to implement these systems would jack up player costs substantially. So the player folks cut some corners. They started out with no hirez BM or TA at all in the first generation players. Then they put in some very crude BM (fixed 100-120Hz crossover) but still no TA. Also, since DSPs that operate on SACD material (DSD) were not available, some players converted the DSD to PCM (DVD-Audio format) in order to do the processing. There is, to my knowledge, NO reasonably priced universal player on the market today that provides adjustable, full-function BM and TA natively for PCM and DSD.

Here comes your silk purse...

The pre/pro and receiver folk saw that the players were "stuck" so they quickly engineered a mechanism whereby the full-function BM and TA already existing in their boxes could be applied to the signals coming in from the hirez players. The "cost" of doing this would be an additional A/D and D/A conversion. Once the analog signals were redigitized in the processor, the BM and TA already set up for users' HT systems would be applied to the hirez audio and voila! The processor folk unfortunately decided to put this feature only into their flagship receivers, so mere mortals that can't cough up a few grand for a receiver have been left out. The good news is that the benefits of proper BM and TA applied to multichannel hirez outweigh the negatives associated with the additional signal conversions.

As far as HOW to set this up, you would tell your player that all speakers are LARGE and that you have a subwoofer. Then, set up your 5803 to DSP the EXT-IN and make sure you have properly set up your speakers (Large/Small and distance). Then punch play and enjoy.

The remaining issue is getting rid of the extra signal conversions in the processor. This will be done when the industry adopts and deploys a standard digital interface for multichannel hirez audio. Pioneer, Sony and others have already adopted 1394 iLink for this duty. Denon will come to its senses soon, adopt iLink and we'll be off to the races. Think of it - $200 carousels with perfect PCM and DSD bitstreams to your processor which then natively processes them for BM, TA, EQ, etc. before delivering that delectable sound to your waiting ears. Can't (but must) wait.

Austin

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 23 2003 - 05:41 AM

Hi Austin, and thanks,(life story below,sorry)

As must be obvious, my knowledge and interest in quality audio until recently has been pretty much dormant for 20yrs.
It was HT and HDTV with their accompanying audio formats that woke me up.
Over the last 3 years i have pretty much concentrated on the video side complete with scalers and ISF calibratons including HTPC's.
I was pleased with what i was hearing through my 22 yearold Bang & Olufson speakers and Onkyo 575 which was my first venture into the mltich audio mode and i found myself buying DTS audio discs as my journey continued.

My brother was upgrading his rack to the Denon 5803 and talked me into his 5800 with the proviso that i have it upgrade.

At the same time the B&O speakers wen't and I found 2 pair of previously enjoyed Totem model on the internet.

I had just purchased an SDI modified panny rp82 from the company that sold me the vid scaler.
It had analogue outs for dvd-a and since the 5800/03 had 2 sets of analogues adding a cheapie SACD player to get me started was a no brainer. I even use the HDCD decoding of WindowMedia and connect from the sound card to the Denon for those discs, which i hunt out in the used cd places here in Toronto.
I must be addicted because i have over 100 mlti ch discs and am listening to and enjoying stuff i never thought would. interest me.

Anyway, thanks again for your help and i'll check my players to make sure their set up properly.

Peter m.
Ps. Man are there ever alot of cables back there.
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#14 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 23 2003 - 07:58 AM

Hey Peter,

Hold everything! An upgraded 5800 does not a 5803 make. One of the few significant differences is that the upgraded unit does NOT provide DSP on the EXT-INs like the 5803 does. You are therefore at the mercy of the players' BM and TA facilities such as they are.

There IS one other thing you might consider - an analog bass manager. The unit of choice is the Outlaw ICBM (around $250). This unit takes the multichannel analog signals from your player and allows you to extract the bass from those channels unable to reproduce it and redirect that bass to the subwoofer. It is in wide use by those afflicted with the "hirez blues". Be aware it does NOT address TA so your speakers should be equidistant for best results.

There's a bit of a problem, though. The ICBM only handles inputs for a single player. There WAS talk of a ICBM-2 that would serve two players but nothing has come of it to date. But not to worry - there's another kludge to handle this problem. Buy the Sony preamp that handles two sets of 5.1 inputs to feed the ICBM to feed the receiver. But there's another problem (actually two) - the Sony costs around $400 and its been discontinued.

So what about you?

Seems like you've got three choices:

One - Get the Sony and an ICBM ($600)

Two - Get two ICBMs - run each into separate EXT-INs ($500)

Three - Set up the BM on your players as best as you can and suffer through the "blues" until the hirez digital interface comes out. Then scrap all your current equipment and buy new. (This is the current choice of thousands, BTW).

Sorry for the bad news, Peter. Hang in there - with the rest of us.

Austin

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 23 2003 - 08:36 AM

Hey Austin

on my 5800 upgrade sheet from denon #3 states that there are NEW SHARC21161 dual 32-BIT FLOATING POINT DSP'S from Analog Devices.

What are those for?

Peter m.
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#16 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 23 2003 - 08:45 AM

Peter,

Without getting into the nitty-gritty on SHARCs and all the other goodies inside your box, simply go to the Denon website and download the manual for the 5803. Find the section where it instructs you on how to set up DSP on the External Inputs. Attempt to follow these instructions on your upgraded 5800. You will fail. You will have a discussion with your brother. You will take it from there. Good luck.

Austin

#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted April 23 2003 - 08:53 AM

Austin, rather than purchasing two Outlaw ICBM's and the Sony receiver with the dual multichannel analog inputs, some folks have picked up the Rat Shack switchers for real cheap and put them between their DVD-A and SACD players and the ICBM. They claim that this switcher is transparent to their ears... certainly substantially less expensive!
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#18 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 23 2003 - 09:34 AM

Yup, forgot about that kludge, Rich. You know, it's really pathetic the stuff we put up with while the guys we're begging to shovel money at couldn't be bothered to take it.

I'm so goddamned mad at Denon for screwing this whole thing up with their piss-poor Denon Link and then ducking the mess THEY made with their non-linked 2900 universal. Had they simply scrapped the DL and gone to iLink like Pioneer did, all this would be behind us. 5803/4803's would be flying off the shelf and the line for 3900's would be 10 miles long. Idiots!

Sorry for the rant, the thought of those cheezy RS boxes did it!

Austin

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   peter m. wilson

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Posted April 23 2003 - 09:53 AM

Hey Austin,
Again from the upgrade kit sheet re the denon link
Does the following passage mean that they can change their mind and make it a firewire port and less proprietary.

since the Denon link uses LVDS (low voltage differential signaling), transfer capabilities of greater than 400 Mbps at a differential voltage of aproximately 0.3Vpp are possible. (LVDS is also used in IEEE 1394, usb and other connections.

Peter m.
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#20 of 22 OFFLINE   AustinKW

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Posted April 23 2003 - 10:26 AM

Peter,

The following was posted 10/11/02 on another forum by Jeff Talmadge, Denon USA Product Manager. I hope it answers your question. I would encourage you to call Denon USA and pin them down on this issue. Please report back with any pertinent comments.

"As far as firewire goes, both the 5800 and 5803 were designed for 1394 upgrading, however the standard has since changed and that may not be possible in their current designs. The 1394 that our friends at Pioneer are going to implement, is going to be the standard means of transportation, and interbrand compatibility, for all digital audio, not video for now; it has been recently been approved by the 5C group - as far as the engineering standard goes. The 4C group who handle copyprotection issues has not approved 1394, as far as we can tell. We still feel our LiNK to be superior to 1394, at this point, as far as audio goes."

Austin