5.1 Analog vs. Coax

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam Kuhns, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. Adam Kuhns

    Adam Kuhns Extra

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    I'm using a coaxial audio cable between my DVD player and receiver because it's either that or standard L/R analog outputs. My receiver has a set of 5.1 analog inputs that have been of interest to me ever since I got it. Am I missing much?
     
  2. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Adam,
    The 5.1 inputs are for use with players that can decode newer multichannel sound formats that the receiver can't. SACD and DVD-A audio discs, for example, or perhaps DTS.
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    Selden
     
  3. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    The 5.1 inputs on your receiver would receive 5.1 output from a DVD player that has a built in DD and/or DTS decoder. Since your DVD player doesn't have 5.1 outputs, then that means your DVD player doesn't have a built in decoder.
    If your DVD player had a decoder and you wanted to use it, you would connect from its 5.1 outputs to your receiver's 5.1 inputs. If you wanted to use your receiver's decoder, then you would use the digital connection (coax or optical) from the DVD to the receiver.
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  4. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    I'm interested in this as well. I'm currently running a Panny RP91 analog outputs into the preouts of my receiver. The RP91 is doing the decoding using the PCM stream.
    Which in theory should be superior? Or are they equal? Or is the PCM being downconverted from 96 Hz down to 48 or 44.1 Hz?
    I personally find the analog sounds much better. That could be more due to the fact that DVD player's DACs are better than my 2+ year old Yamaha 2095 receiver.
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  5. NathanP

    NathanP Supporting Actor

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    This is kinda a stupid question but.....
    My DVD player has the DTS/Dolby Digital logos on it and has coxial out. Does that mean it has a decoder built in, to where I can attach a Dolby Digital Processor? Or, Do I still have to tie it into my reciever to get DD 5.1
    Thanks,
    Nathan
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  6. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Nathan - what make of player is it? DD/DTS logos mean that the player is capable of passing those signals.
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Nathan: Most DVD players DO NOT have built-in DD decoders. If your DVD player has RCA analog jacks for Left/Center/Right/Left-Rear/Right-rear .. then you have a built-in decoder.
    In general: it's better to pass the digital signal to the receiver and let the receiver do the decoding. The reasons are:
    • You can run 1 cheap video cable for the digital feed instead of 5 analog cables and avoid all the issues around exotic analog cables affecting the sound. A lot cheaper, less wires and less issues.
    • The DAC in a receiver tend to be higher-quality than the ones in most DVD players. (Yes, there are some exceptions)
    • Letting the receiver do the decoding gives you a central place to handle levels, time-delays, Bass management, DSP, etc. The setup & adjustment using the DVD player to decode is a bit more complex.
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    "I'm using a coaxial audio cable between my DVD player and receiver because it's either that or standard L/R analog outputs. My receiver has a set of 5.1 analog inputs that have been of interest to me ever since I got it. Am I missing much?"
    You're not missing anything - in fact you're gaining.
    If your receiver can accept a digital (coax or optical) input from a source like a DVD player, then your receiver itself can decode the 5.1 DIGITAL signal directly (in digital quality) from the source and play it out through your surround setup.
    Your receiver also has 5.1 analog inputs for 'future expansion' to allow for connection to devices that it can't decode digitally, like DVD audio, which the record companies have stipulated MUST be decoded by the player and not the receiver, so the interconnect from the player to the receiver must be analog. While this might protect (somewhat) the paranoid interests of the record companies, it utlimately means worse quality for the consume since they're forced to use analog transfer from player to receiver instead of digital. Now that step is offet of course because DVD audio is a MUCH higher precision format than CDs.
    I personally think DVD audio will not make it since so few people can play it, and 5.1 'regular' audio on video DVDs is amazing anyway.
    Hope that helps.
     
  9. Adam Kuhns

    Adam Kuhns Extra

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    I'll stay with coax. What is the difference between coaxial and optical? My receiver has inputs for both.
    [Edited last by Adam Kuhns on October 11, 2001 at 10:12 PM]
     
  10. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    Adam, in theory there should be no difference between digital coax and optical - same bit stream. I think 'digital coax' (just a fancy name for a shielded phono cable) was created because those cables and connectors are cheaper than fiber optic ones.
     

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