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Optical vs. RCA outputs on CD Player


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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   BrianM

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Posted May 22 2003 - 01:55 AM

I just bought a Sony 555ES 400 disc changer that has both an optical cable connection as well as the standard RCA connections. Is there an advantage to one over the other or should I just hook both of them up at the same time? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Vin

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Posted May 22 2003 - 02:08 AM

Using the analog cables will utilize the D/A converter in your CD player, if you use the optical cable the D/A conversion will be done in your receiver. Try both and see which one sounds better to you.

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#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted May 22 2003 - 03:37 AM

If you are running a surround set-up, one with 5 or6 speakers and an optional subwoofer and a receiver with either or both of the "Dolby Digital" or "DTS" logos on the front, you need to use a digital connection to get the surround sound. The optical is a digital connection. The white and red L/R is not. There is another digital connection called "Coaxial" which looks like the audio connectors but is really different, you need a video cable for that.
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#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted May 22 2003 - 05:00 AM

Philip,

The title of Brian's post indicated that this was a CD player, not a DVD player. The digital optical connection's only 5.1 surround use would be for DTS 5.1 CD's.

I'm sure you just missed that in the title. I had to re-read it myself.

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted May 22 2003 - 06:18 AM

Brian, they will sound different, but which will sound better depends on a number of factors.

My recommendation: hook it up to your receiver both ways, simultanously, such that you can use your receiver to switch back and forth between either connection. Ensure that the RCA cable connections are in the "analog bypass" mode on your receiver (you don't want to do a digital to analog conversion in your player, only to have your receiver re-digitize the signal and then convert it again to analog). Now A:B, making sure that the signals are level-matched. Which sounds better to you?
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#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted May 22 2003 - 06:26 AM

Quote:
The title of Brian's post indicated that this was a CD player, not a DVD player. The digital optical connection's only 5.1 surround use would be for DTS 5.1 CD's.
Righto! And DTS CDs sound great, too! :b

Try both and see what you think sounds better. You may want to find out if the receiver does a A-D-A conversion on all analog inputs. If it does, then it's usually best to use digital for a cleaner signal.
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#7 of 8 OFFLINE   JamesHl

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Posted May 22 2003 - 06:37 AM

Also, if you have a billion cables or the cables that you are using are of questionable quality, you don't have to worry about interference with optical.

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted May 22 2003 - 07:51 AM

Like others have said, try both and see which you prefer. With my old Sony entry level CD carousel player, I preferred the sound of the digital connection (using the DACs in my receiver). Once I upgraded to a newer Sony ES carousel player, I preferred the analog connection (using the DACs in the CD player).

I did leave the digital connection in place for those DTS 5.1 CDs, though, Philip. Posted Image