analog out when listening to cd's???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ben Hanrahan, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently upgraded to a Harman Kardon 520 and I thought I might like to listen to some cd's, the manual said that the optical connection would be best since the Harman has 192bit Dac's. The manual is WRONG! If I hook up my dvd player via the analog out, it sounds great, much warmer. Stereo through the optical sounded like crap, I couldn't even bring myself to listen to it, what gives??? WHy is this?

    THis also begs the question, will dd/dts sound better if routed from the analog outs of the dvd player and thus bypassing the digital connection altogether????
     
  2. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Ben, I would say that unless the receiver performs upsampling, the 192bit DAC's are only used for 2 channel DVD-Audio disc playback, not regular 16/44 CD's. Another issue could be that you simply have'nt set your bass management correctly in the receiver when using its internal DAC's to play CD's. What is your complete system, that would help? Make sure your main speakers are set to large.
     
  3. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    I recommend that everyone connect their DVD player to their receiver via both digital and analog cables. This way, when playing CD's, they can compare the DAC's of the DVD player to the DAC's of the receiver and pick whichever sounds best. Sometimes the newer and "better" DAC does not win this showdown.
     
  4. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    I appreciate your input, but I absolutely know how to set up my gear, no question about that. I just wanted to raise the point because it's never really discussed here. And the thing is, cd's sound a lot better through the analog out...not just a little but A LOT! Or maybe it's just that cd's sound like absolute crap through the digital connection....This is something that I would bet occurrs in most home theater systems which is why I wanted to raise the point.

    Ben
     
  5. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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    Ben, I think Frank was suggesting that the difference you are seeing is an effect of your specific equipment, not any failing on your part necessarily. Any chance you could list what your other equipment is like he asked, so the rest of us can get an idea of what might be going on?
     
  6. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    I think everyone is missing the point here, I don't suspect that anything weird is going on with my gear, it's simply that analog outs sound better. I was talking to my retailer about being disappointed with my stereo sound and he said "always use the analog outs", I went home and bingo, nice smooth stereo sound. What sucks is that I suspect most people use their digital out which I would bet is a mistake. I'm just hoping to enlighten some people and maybe have some technical guru explain to me why this is happening. Are the DAC's in my dvd player that much better than the dac's in my receiver??? I doubt that very much!

    Ben

    HK AVR520

    Panasonic RP56

    Polk RT35i mains
     
  7. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I also run analog outs from my CD player. I've also got an optical connection - at first for comparisons sake, but now I just leave it there in case I ever buy that collection of pipe organ music where I might need some bass management.

    And I completely agree with you, Ben. According to my completely subjective ears, the sound is much richer and more pleasing from the analog outs than the optical. There is a noticeable difference, and it definitely favors the analogs.

    I asked about this and was told that I'm running a "purer" signal with (I think) one fewer digital>analog conversion. I'm told that I've bypassed all digital processing circuitry, putting only the volume knob between my source and my speakers. This, I'm told, is why it sounds better.
     
  8. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting.... that seems like a good enough reason, I guess. I would love to find out if a dvd player with a built in decoder will sound better if it is hooked up to my receiver via the 6 channel input.....
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i must be spacing today???

    if you run the analog signal from your cd player, isn't the d/a converter being used the one in the cd player?

    if you run the digital connection, then the receiver does the decoding.

    or am i missing something?

    it sounds to me like you just prefer the converter in your cd player more.
     
  10. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Ben said, Quote:
    I was talking to my retailer about being disappointed with my stereo sound and he said "always use the analog outs", I went home and bingo, nice smooth stereo sound. What sucks is that I suspect most people use their digital out which I would bet is a mistake.
    That statement simply is'nt true in all cases. I'll use my system as an example. I have a Toshiba SD5109 DVD player that is connected digitally(coax)to my Classe SSP-25 pre/pro. The DAC's in the pre/pro are far superior to the DVD player DAC's, I have compared, no comparison.
    The key element in using the DAC's in the CDP or DVD player is your receiver or pre/pro's ability to pass the analog signal straight through without ADC to DAC again. Many receivers and pre/pro's do not have "Analog Bypass" so, again your dealer is wrong in his assumption "always use analog outputs". Connect your gear in the manner that it sounds best but don't take everything your dealer takes verbatim, IMO. [​IMG]
     
  11. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok Ok, easy does it. You guys are like the press sometimes, I'm sure he'll retract that statement if I call him and give him a chance for a rebuttal. He asked if I'm using a dvd player for cd's and I said yes, then he said use the analog outs from the dvd. I think he was implying that a cd player might be able to pass the digital data better than a dvd player for cd music. And this all goes towards my suspicion of jitter when using the digital output on a dvd player. I was hoping someone on here could comment on that aspect, I have heard that using digital connections will introduce more jitter, let's hear some constructive opinions on this.

    Ben
     
  12. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Ben, I use a Camelot jitter filter between my DVD player and my Classe pre/pro. I must say that I have a hard time noticing a significant improvement using this filter but I do not possess golden ears, I fear. Jitter is a subject beyond my knowledge, in fact anytime jitter is mentioned in a thread it usually turns into an endless debate. [​IMG]
     
  13. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree, jitter is difficult to get a good understanding of and how it applies. But in your case you have implemented a high quality jitter filter into your bitstream, maybe it helps smooth out your sound.... I'd love a few more comments on jitter and how it effects sound, and if using the analog outs will reduce jitter.
     
  14. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I don't see how using the DVD player's analog outputs will have less jitter than the digital output going to the receiver. It makes sense to me that if the DVD player has a jittery clock, it's going to affect the DVD player's own DACs just as much as the receiver's.
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Frank said:

     
  16. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  17. Doug Brewster

    Doug Brewster Second Unit

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    RicP:

    I couldn't have said it better myself, but I have no idea what it means....

    Regardless of the (no doubt) flawless and eloquent way that you presented your information,

    Will an analog or digital connection yield a more musical sound from a CD played on a DVD player through an HK 520?

    Personally, my experience is opposite of Ben's - my digital coaxial connection sounds better, but I must qualify that. I have not connected the DVD to the CD audio out. I have intended to do this but haven't had the time. I can only say that the coax out yields far better and more pleasant musicality than the analog out when playing CD's on my Toshiba 2150 through the DVD output... But I'm old and deaf and audiophilically and technologically impaired. Therefore, I will defer to those more qualified and follow any pertinent suggestions submitted.

    Again, should I expect better sound quality from the analog or digital method as described above?
     
  18. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    It's almost entirely dependent on which is better - the quality of the DACs in your DVD/CD player or the quality of the DACs in your receiver/processor. The ONLY way to determine that is to hook your system up both ways, listen to the results and then decide for yourself. A generic blanket statement about whether or not a digital or an analog connection is better simply cannot be valid.
     
  19. brucek

    brucek Second Unit

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  20. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Brucek in his well-written post says it's equipment dependent and I say that's so...

     

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