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Will i lose the benefit of SACD...


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#1 of 36 OFFLINE   Keir H

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Posted October 17 2003 - 05:05 AM

when using a preamp that convert all signals to digital? I often hear than any preamp that redigitizes audio signals coming in then converts them back to analog will do SACD no justice. Is this true for all prepros like Lexicon DC-1 MC-1, EAD, Meridian? ANyone have the experience with any preamps that do this conversion and has a SACD player. I am looking to get a Sony NS900V dvd/SACD player. Will I need a analog preamp to hear SACD correctly? thanks for any insight given.

#2 of 36 OFFLINE   Danny Tse

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Posted October 17 2003 - 05:28 AM

Correct me if I am wrong, since SACD signals are output in analog, if they go through a pre-amp doing an analog>>digital>>analog process, it will just be unnecessary processing.
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#3 of 36 OFFLINE   FeisalK

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Posted October 17 2003 - 05:46 AM

Does the player do bass management and time alignment on SACD?

Pre-pros are doing it for proper BM and TA - which are proving somewhat contentious issues for owners of universal or SACD/DVD-A players.

I guess it would be a matter of necessity depending on the overall resolution of your system - can you live without BM and TA, versus can you discern the effects of the processing. Given the fact that pre-pros do proper BM and TA it might shound better than straight analog from SACD, but this is moot if the player itself performs these functions adequately.
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#4 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 17 2003 - 06:00 AM

Danny,

Given how utterly transparent A/D can be these days, I would have to disagree with you. Of course if A/D i spoorly executed that's another story altogether.

The added benefits of digital processing for
  • Bass Management
  • Time Alignment
  • Room Correction
will far outweigh the very slight theoretical, and zero practical degradation that A/D incurs.

Being the very lucky owner of a Meridian Processor, I can tell Keir it's worth whatever slight degradation that might happen.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
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#5 of 36 OFFLINE   Cliff Olson

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Posted October 19 2003 - 03:48 PM

John, as far as the two Lexicon Processors that Keir listed, it is very unnecessary to convert from analog to digital and then back to analog again. It just kills the resolution! Your Meridian Processor might be newer, which is why you see very little "degradation". The Lexicons he listed, are simply out-dated for today's Hi-rez Music Formats. I added a Sony TA-P9000ES, and haven't looked back. I still keep the Lex for Satellite, Xbox, etc. But for Hi-rez Music, you need a receiver/preamp with analog bypass inputs, IMHO.

#6 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 20 2003 - 12:26 AM

Cliff,

It's still a question of whether the benefits of the A/D conversion going to outweigh the tradeoffs.

I have my doubts over whether anyone could reliably detect the difference between the straight analog signal and the A/D conversion even on the outdated Lexicons if the levels were matched. I've tried it and been very hard pressed to do so, even when it was a sighted comparison on older gear.

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#7 of 36 OFFLINE   Daryl Furkalo

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Posted October 20 2003 - 05:40 AM

If you want to listen to multi-channel SACD, then only a TAP9000 in combination with any of those listed processors will work as you won't have the analog 5.1 inputs necessary.

#8 of 36 OFFLINE   Walt O

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Posted October 20 2003 - 08:55 AM

The question is not whether an extra A/D D/A stage will hurt the sound. The question is whether going from SACD analog out, and then A/D into PCM will hurt the sound, and the answer is yes. SACDs do not use PCM, they use something called Direct Stream Digital (DSD). It is this different type of digital encoding that results in "analog-like" playback, or in other words, it sounds real. Putting a PCM stage in there will remove any benefit of using SACD in the first place. Pioneer has a cheap player out now that changes the DSD into PCM before going to analog; it does the same thing. There are tons of reviews between players that convert the stream correctly, and the cheap Pioneer that doesnt. Most notice a huge difference. DVD Audio uses PCM, SACD uses DSD. Now of course, if the particular title you buy on SACD was not mastered in the DSD process directly from analog tape, then you are probably not losing much anyways, as PCM has already been introduced into the chain before you got it, and has taken its toll on the sound already. Some of the stuff that comes directly from old analog tape however, sounds amazing on SACD.

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#9 of 36 OFFLINE   Lewis Besze

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Posted October 20 2003 - 09:12 AM

The current fav the Denon 5900 also converts DSD to PCM when the BM is engaged.Denon claims it's "inaudible",and they cite similar advantages as John K. has done.I haven't heard this player so I can't comment,maybe some of the 5900 owners can.
Also keep in mind that many current SACDs come from old analog or even PCM masters,so they weren't a pure DSD from a get go.

#10 of 36 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted October 20 2003 - 09:18 AM

Quote:
There are tons of reviews between players that convert the stream correctly, and the cheap Pioneer that doesnt. Most notice a huge difference.


Links please.

BGL

#11 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 20 2003 - 09:46 AM

Walt,

Spare me the near verbatim regurgitation of the Sony/Philips marketing hype in the future. I'm well aware of the differences between PCM and DSD. Contrary to this hype, DSD is no more analog than PCM.

Once the signal is analog out from the player, it's no different than any other analog source! If you weren't aware of this, welcome to reality.

Sampling at 20 bits or higher creates a linear space which exceeds DSD performance (@64fs) for noise, therefore no additional noise enters the system. Depending on sampling frequency (newer receivers/processors are sampling at 24/96K) it will be transparent for anyone that tests carefully. One wonders, have you ever actually done this test for yourself? It is enlightening and a bit humbling as well.

All the items I listed (Bass Management, Time Alignment and Room Correction) in my experience bring greater improvements than whatever slight degradation the A/D might have in theory.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
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#12 of 36 OFFLINE   Tom Grooms

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Posted October 20 2003 - 11:02 AM

Good stuff John. My neighbor and I have been playing around with the new Denon 5900. From what I understand in "Source Direct" the DSD signal is converted to analog. If you turn this feature off and use any of the BM or TA features a DSD-PCM conversion occurs. (I could be wrong here).

When placed in my 2 channel system, the difference with source direct on and off is audible. Just to be fair the BM was set to off and the time alignment set to zero. Am I hearing a simple DSD-PCM conversion? Who knows but you would hear the difference as well, I guarantee it. I didn't try it in my mid-fi HT system. It's not as revealing and it's not set up for MC music. I haven't made that leap yet$$$$$$$$$, im still enjoying vinyl to much. Posted Image

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#13 of 36 OFFLINE   Tom Grooms

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Posted October 20 2003 - 11:14 AM

I see others have came to the same conclusions......

#14 of 36 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted October 20 2003 - 02:52 PM

Quote:
Spare me the near verbatim regurgitation of the Sony/Philips marketing hype in the future. I'm well aware of the differences between PCM and DSD. Contrary to this hype, DSD is no more analog than PCM.


John,

Not to mention many SA-CD discs come from PCM masters or have PCM editing steps along the way. An extra A/D conversion by a processor in home, is probably quite tame compared to some of the conversions along the way in creating many SA-CD.

A good slogan for SA-CD might be "DSD- Giving us PCM One Bit at a Time". Posted Image

J

#15 of 36 OFFLINE   Keir H

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Posted October 20 2003 - 05:28 PM

Thanks guys for contributing with great insight. Looks like I have to experiment and if its audible to me, then I guess I'll be looking at a Sony TAP9000 to go along with my prepro(EAD). I thought it was the AD/DA conversion DAC's (in the receiver)that would lead to the sound quality one would hear...true?

#16 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 21 2003 - 12:30 AM

Keir,

That's been the suggestion all along, to listen for yourself.

It's the entire package that gives you the sound quality you hear, A/D on input + quality of internal processing + D/A on output + Analog stages that follow.

Regards,
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#17 of 36 OFFLINE   Walt O

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Posted October 21 2003 - 03:08 AM

I still think corrupting an anolog or dsd source with PCM stages hurts the sound, and yes, that is based on personal experience.

Walt O

#18 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 21 2003 - 06:43 AM

Walt,

I have my doubts, but I can't speak for your personal experience.

It is time to dispel that myth that DSD is more like analog than PCM.

Let's see:
Analog: Stores the voltage level continuously.

PCM: Stores the value of the voltage level at specific points in time. Point in time value of the sample is equal to the point in time value of the analog voltage, within the quantization limits of the sampling depth.

DSD: Stores the change versus the value of the accumulator (Up or down). Point in time value of the accumulator should approach the point in time value of the wave. Point in time change is limited to full+ or full- value.

Sorry, DSD is not more analog than PCM -- although it does make for good marketing sheets.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#19 of 36 OFFLINE   Walt O

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Posted October 21 2003 - 08:14 AM

John,

If what you have said is correct, if converting into PCM for processing does nothing to hurt the DSD "sound," then there should be no real difference in the way DVD Audio and SACD sound. However, lots of people auditioning the Pioneer 563A, which does not decode directly from DSD, but instead goes to PCM first, have noticed that it does not sound as good as the Sony players when playing SACD. And I am talking about the cheap stuff here, the $200 Sony dvd players that also play SACD. Are you suggesting that everyone who hears a difference is imagining it?

Walt

#20 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 21 2003 - 08:34 AM

Walt,

Let's be clear that there is a difference between DSD --> PCM conversion which is one topic, and sampling analog output from an SACD player which is another difference. We were talking about sampling analog output in this thread.

Sony/Philips have claimed that DSD --> PCM is transparent so if that's truly the case this shouldn't matter. Still, many people claim it does. Obviously these aren't consistent with one another.

Not having enough personal experience with players using DSD-> PCM methods for output I'm not prepared to discuss it with any particular experience. All of my discussion has been in the context of A/D of the analog output in certain components.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.





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