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RCA / analog sounds better. Why?????


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#1 of 6 wooly

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Posted March 05 2011 - 07:58 AM

Hi. New to this forum and looks like a lot of knowledgeable people here.


Something that puzzles me.


I am running a HD PVR cable box with a fiber optic cable directly into  my Harman Kardon amp for sound. I tried one day for curiosity's sake running L & R RCA analog cables instead.At the same volume setting, I get way more volume and what seems like better sound out of the RCA cables. I know you can't get true surround sound out of L&R analog RCA's  but why does this happen? The fibre optic seem dull and lifeless or compressed yet that is supposed to be the best (or coax)


My amp has different features and settings that emulates what sounds like surround out of an analog signal.


Thanks



#2 of 6 gene c

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Posted March 05 2011 - 09:40 AM

This isn't my area of expertise but I also use an analog connection when listening to Sirrius/XM music channels from Dish Network. I don't find this to be the case with a cd or dvd player unless it's a much higher quality unit than the receiver it's connected to. But for the Dish Network dvr the analog connection does produce a little better quality sound than the optical one.


A digital connection isn't necessarily better than analog. Digital is more popular because it's easier to process a digital signal for surround modes, bass/treble, etc. than an analog one. And a digital signal can be copywright protected. And until HDMI came along optical and coaxial digital connections had bandwidth limitations making things like TreHD and DTS-MA un-available through them.


They both have their pluses and minuses. And remember, speakers are analog so the signal has to eventually be converted to analog anyway. In case you didn't know, when using an analog connection, whether it be from a dvr, cd player, dvd player, etc. the DAC (digital to analog converter) inside that component is used to make the conversion. When using a digital connection the raw bitstream is sent to the receiver and it's internal DAC does the conversion.


Many people, including proffesional musicians, prefer a pure analog signal over digital. You know, records over cd's.


There's an awfull lot more to this but as I said, my knowledge in this area is limited.




"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#3 of 6 Leo Kerr

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Posted March 06 2011 - 07:47 AM

Well, there are potentially a couple of different things happening here.


1. Level mismatch.  You're already identifying something here.  The digital signal is being sent over at the original level, no questions asked.  The DA in the cable-box may be sending a "hotter" signal, or a wildly hot signal.  Likewise, the amplifier may be more "sensitive" to the input.  There's a bit of fudge factor here, and in the analog side of the house, you may be getting some extra "amplification" at various stages that may or may not be "real."

2. If you can get so you can switch near-instantly from Analog to Digital input and maintain exactly the same sound-level, will one still sound "better" than the other?  Numerous people say that often times while one may not be aware that one is actually louder than the other, fractional differences can make the one that is marginally louder sound "better."





#4 of 6 Brian McHale

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Posted March 07 2011 - 03:02 AM

What Leo said. When comparing two different sound sources, the louder one will sound better (unless it's really bad). Even small differences in volume can make a big difference.


If you can't do a proper A/B test (where you can instantly switch between two sources and have the outputs be identical in level, try this: listen to one source, turn the volume down, switch sources, turn the volume up. Make sure the listening levels are similar. Go back and forth several times, always turning the volume way down when switching. Odds are, you won't be able to tell a difference in sound quality (as long as you're listening to pure stereo with the digital connection so that it's comparable to the analog input).


Brian

#5 of 6 gene c

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Posted March 07 2011 - 11:39 AM

The analog connection from my Dish Network receiver isn't any louder then the optical one, it just sounds a little better. Better stereo separation, a little better in the high end. It isn't a large difference but it is noticable. My analogs are connected to the Video 2 input and the optical to Video 1. It's easy and quick to change between the two.


And yes, a lot of people mistake louder for better, particularly when auditioning speakers. A more effecient speaker doen't necessarily sound better, just louder. Same can be said with different connections and/or inputs.


"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#6 of 6 dididada

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Posted March 08 2011 - 02:22 PM

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