6 Channel audio - does it need the digital cable?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by DaveBrewster, Apr 4, 2003.

  1. DaveBrewster

    DaveBrewster Auditioning

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    I'm a little confused.
    I just upgraded my DVD player and now I have the ability use the 6 channel DVD audio input on my receiver (the new DVD player has that output).
    Is the 6 channel output used in conjunction with the fibre optic cable? Or is it used seperately? And if they don't work hand in hand - which is better?
    If they do work hand in hand - how? How do they work together?

    Dava
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    The 6-channel outputs (actually 5.1) are used with receivers that cannot process Dolby Digital signals (so called Dolby Digital "ready"). If you have a Dolby Digital receiver, the digital (fiber optic or coax) cable will pass the signal and the receiver will do the processing. No need to hook up the 5.1 outputs on the DVD player unless they are necessary for DVD-audio or some other codec not supported by the receiver. If you just want DD or DTS (if your receiver supports it), only hook up the optical.
     
  3. Tom Fl

    Tom Fl Extra

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    You essentially have the choice of which component you want to do the processing because you have two decoders. In most cases, the processing circuitry in your receiver is better.
     
  4. DaveBrewster

    DaveBrewster Auditioning

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    Thanks guys,
    At first I thought ... "DOH!"
    I already had a Dolby Digital DVD but I thought it was considered an upgrade to go to the 6 channel output DVD so I moved that one into the bedroom and picked up a really good Sony DVD (model was something like 755S).
    I went and spent a mint on all the audio cables - thinking they would inprove my sound - not knowing (as I do now) that the optical cable is still the best.
    However - I do know that the SACD does not go out to the receiver via digital - so the 6channel in that case works well with it (I think regular CDs and MP3s do go out via digital/optical).
    I am still going DOH! over this though because... well... I don't have any SACDs, and even if I did - they could still go out via regular left and right cables (I assume).

    DAMN! I hate waisting money. between the new DVD player and the cables - that's got to be $700-$800 down the toilet. Ug

    I take that back - I wanted Component video for the new TV (Toshiba 50" widescreen) and my old DVD didn't have that so I guess I needed it anyhow - just all those audio cables were a waste.

    Live and learn
     
  5. BobMcN

    BobMcN Extra

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    Wait, now I'm confused. If I have the standard set or stereo RCA outs on the DVD feeding into the receiver, which is then decoded into 5.1. Am I getting what I need by doing it this way? Or is there something in the digital signal output that decodes better for 5.1 surround sound and effects on movies?

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Bob, If you are using STEREO analog outs, you ARE NOT getting Dolby Digital, or digital AT ALL for that matter!! Dolby digital and DTS can ONLY be passed via digital cables or multi-channel analog (5,6,7 channel).

     
  7. DaveBrewster

    DaveBrewster Auditioning

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    Ya know - looking through the kenwood receiver manual (VR-410), and the Sony DVD (DVP-NS755V) manual - I am quickly coming the conclusion that things are not as black and white as they seem.

    The Kenwood manual says this about the digital (DTS) connection :

    "DTS is a 5.1 channel digital audio format that provides 5 full spectrum channels and one low-frequency (subwoofer) channel for unprecedented clarity, optimum channel seperation and a wide dynamic range."

    Unprecedented huh? Ok - sounds like that's what I want - but then I read the DVD 6-channel input section :

    "If you own a DVD player equiped with 6-channel output, this receiver allows you to obtain the full surround sound impact of DVD source material featuring multi-channel encoding. Since the source signals are digital and each channel in input independent, the resulting ambience is far suppier to what can be achieved with conventional surround sound systems."

    I think they should have let a techy write the manuals and not someone in marketing.

    Now I always liked it when I say the little red Dolby Ditigal or the little red DTS led come on my receiver when I play a DVD - I still get that if I use the digital input - but if I switch to the 6Channel input - I don't get those lights (because I assume the DVD is doing the decoding and not the receiver anymore).

    So I guess it's half a dozen of one, 6 of the other.
    I like the thought of an optical digital connection - it sounds right (but if you think about it - you don't need fibre optics to carry a digital signal - copper or even smoke signals can carry 1s and 0s).

    Yoy know - for the life of me - I am having a hell of a time trying to decide which is the better sounding source - optical or 6channel - I still have not yet decided - I'll have to poll my friends and see what they think.

    (If anyone has any insight on the particular DVD and receiver that I have and can offer an opinion - by all means... please do). - but I guess given that I can't tell the difference - I guess this is all a moot point huh? It's just so damn frustrating that there is no definitive answer on which is better.


    Dave
     
  8. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    It's pretty unlikely that you'll hear much of a difference between the two connection types. It's not worth worrying over. [​IMG]

    Basically it boils down to what John Garcia said - for DD and DTS, which unit has better DAC. You say you don't have any SACDs - it might be worthwhile to check some out. Oh, and you're right about the DTS and DD lights on your receiver.

    If it makes you feel any better, you then WILL have some definite use for those 6 analogue outs. [​IMG]
     

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