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


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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Joe Mihok

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Posted January 07 2004 - 07:19 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Charles Gurganus

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Posted January 07 2004 - 07:35 AM

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.
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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Joe Mihok

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Posted January 07 2004 - 07:50 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted January 07 2004 - 08:28 AM

Quote:
Could I simply plug the 2-chan analog output from the DVD Player into the 2 front channels for "ext. in" ?

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.
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
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

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#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Joe Mihok

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Posted January 07 2004 - 08:35 AM

Quote:
just a little time passing experiment

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Joe Mihok

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Posted January 07 2004 - 08:39 AM

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 Posted Image.

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

Quote:
-Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Pro Logic II & DTS ESDiscrete 6.1 A/V Receiver
-Dolby Digital, including Surround Ex decoding
-Dolby Pro Logic II decoding with Cinema and Music Modes
-DTS ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1 decoding
-DTS Neo:6 Cinema & Music Surround decoding
-Analog Devices Melody 32-bit Fixed Point DSP processor
-6 Channels equal power amplifier section
-90 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, <.08%THD)
-125 watts per channel (6 ohms, 1 kHz, <.7%THD)
-Banana Plug Speaker Connections all channels (Except Speaker B)
-Subwoofer Pre-out, with Variable Hi/Low Pass Cross-over points(80/100/120/150Hz)
-24 bit, 96 kHz high resolution DACs on all eight channels
-Real 24 bit, 96 kHz Digital Interface Receiver
-2 sets component video inputs(30MHz), compatible with progressive DVD, DTV
sets composite and "S" video inputs
-5.1 external wide bandwidth (100 kHz) input for future multi-channel formats (such as DVD-Audio) 5/6 Channel Stereo
-Personal Memory Plus
-4 assignable digital inputs (3 Optical, 1 Coaxial)
-Optical digital output
-Front Panel A/V Inputs, with S-Video and Optical Digital
-Front Panel Speaker A/B Selector
-9 analog inputs including built-in AM/FM tuner
-Multi-Zone stereo pre-amp level audio outputs, with Discrete Power on/off, Source selection and Remote Volume Control
-Assignable 6th Channel Amplifier, for Second Zone with Discrete Remote Volume Control
-On-Screen Display
-Remote I/O Ports
-Glow-Key pre-programmed remote features codes from other manufacturers; Glow in the dark main function keys
-Dimensions: 17.1"w x 6.7"h x 16.4"d


#7 of 24 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted January 07 2004 - 10:42 AM

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.
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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#8 of 24 OFFLINE   HienD

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Posted January 07 2004 - 08:10 PM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   dpippel

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Posted January 08 2004 - 02:28 AM

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.

Careful man, there's a beverage here!


#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 08 2004 - 03:06 AM

Quote:
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" ?

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 of 24 OFFLINE   BrianWoerndle

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Posted January 08 2004 - 03:07 AM

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.
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#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Joe Mihok

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Posted January 08 2004 - 04:35 AM

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 Posted Image.

Thanks for all of the feedback!!

#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Jonathan Dagmar

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Posted January 08 2004 - 08:51 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Laurence_C

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Posted January 08 2004 - 10:19 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Jonathan Dagmar

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Posted January 09 2004 - 08:27 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   HienD

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Posted January 09 2004 - 10:11 PM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Laurence_C

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Posted January 10 2004 - 01:57 AM

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.Posted Image

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Jonathan Dagmar

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Posted January 10 2004 - 09:06 AM

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 of 24 OFFLINE   Nathan J

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Posted January 11 2004 - 09:57 AM

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.
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#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Jonathan Dagmar

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Posted January 11 2004 - 10:57 AM

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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