Anyone using the analog outs on their Uni-player for redbook playback?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by John Pine, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    I was considering trying this to see if I could tell any difference. I thought using the DAC’s in my Denon 2900 would sound better than the one’s in my h/k 525. Of course bass mgmt would have to be applied at the uni-player. If the player is b/m capable, why wouldn’t it sound better to keep the signal analog?
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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    It completely depends on which DACs will produce the best sound, and also on how well your receiver or pre/pro handles analog input. My Denon 5900 DACs sound noticably better on Redbook playback than my Aragon Soundstage, which is no slouch.

    Of course, with a universal player you *must* use the player's DACs when listening to SACD or DVD-A, since it will not pass high-res via a digital connection (with very few exceptions). The only way to truly find out is to listen for yourself, but I'd be willing to bet the 2900 will outperform your receiver.
     
  3. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Doug: “The only way to truly find out is to listen for yourself, but I'd be willing to bet the 2900 will outperform your receiver.” That's what I was thinking as well. I’ll have to make the time to experiment with it.

    The reason why I’m asking is I have an older (music only) setup in my den. I’m running an old (analog only) Yamaha DPL I receiver and an even older (analog only) Sony CDC-500(?) 5-disc carousel. For redbook playback I’d swear it sounds better than my 2900 & 525 using a Toslink connection. I guess I’m trying to reproduce that (analog only) sound I’m getting from my old components.
     
  4. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    You are talking 2CH redbook here, right?

    If so, wouldn't your receiver take care of BM whether it gets a digital or analog signal? I know that mine (a NAD 762) does.

    And I would not automatically assume that the player is able to do BM in the analog domain. It is even money that it does it digitally.

    In my own rig, I do use the analog outs of my Pio 45a for redbook playback. I find that they sound quite good. But, I have a different motive. My receiver is one of those SOBs that takes a second to look on to a digital signal. As such, it chops the first second or so of most tracks. I can't live with that, so I am lucky that I am satisfied with the sound of the 45a's analog outs.

    But as you and Doug have said, a listening test is in order.

    BGL
     
  5. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    probably so. i would think that most people with a 2900 DO decode redbook cds at the player, instead of their pre/pro/receiver. in almost all cases, it's dacs would probably be considered superior to those offered in mid-level pre/pro/receivers.

    in the end, when all is said and done, you should, of course, use what sounds best to you.
     
  6. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    My Cambridge Audio 540D does bass management for two channel CD playback. I'm not sure what you mean about doing bass management in the analogue domain within a player. My understanding is that all BM/TA done within a player is digital. The concern about analogue BM would be for the signal coming out of the player and wanting to avoid a layer of A/D/A (The ICBM is said to work wonders in this area).

    As to using the analogue output from your player for good sound, it will depend, as others have said, on the DACs in the player and whether you have an analogue bypass on your receiver. I can tell you that my 540D was purchased entirely because of its quality for CD playback. I was looking for a dedicated CD player to complement my universal player (wanted to split the load and get the best CD sound I could afford) and after auditioning several CD players, including the Cambridge Audio 540C in a head to head comparo with the 540D, I chose the 540D for the sound. To me the 540D is a great CD player that happens to play DVD-A/Vs as a bonus.

    As my experience with the 540D vs 540C vs receiver's DACs showed me (over the course of 2.5 hours), a listening test is very much in order.
     
  7. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Brian L: Yes, I'm talking about good ole' two channel redbook. My 2900 does b/m for SACD & DVD-A for the analog outputs. Why would there be any difference for redbook through the same outputs? But, it's a two channel signal of course. On the other end, my 525 has an analog input (6/8 Channel Direct) w/o adding b/m.

    ScottCHI: “i would think that most people with a 2900 DO decode redbook cds at the player, instead of their pre/pro/receiver.” So you are saying that most would not us the DO, but decode at the player and go analog out to some sort of input that doesn’t apply b/m?

    PaulDA: Yes, another layer of A/D/A is one of the things I’m trying to avoid. But also, I’m trying to recreate that “Analog Only” sound from my old system.
     
  8. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Well, there may or may not be. I don't know your player, so I can't comment. It would seem logical to me that if you are using the L/R pair of the 6CH out that BM would be applied, but I can say that with many uni-players and BM, logic has NOTHING to do with it[​IMG]

    I guess if you wanted to do an apples to apples comparo, you could take your 2CH feed from the L/R stereo outs, rather than the the L/R of the 6CH set.

    That should be raw, no BM, no nuthin'!

    Run that to a 2CH input on your receiver, and at the same time connect the digital out (I expect you already have that in place).

    In that arrangement, I would expect that any BM in the receiver would apply equally to both sources (analog and digital).

    Of course, it is possible (maybe even likely) that in that configuration, the 2CH analog feed goes through a A/D/A cycle to do the BM, while the digital feed only has to go through a D/A.

    I guess to really get down to brass tacks, you would need to set the receiver to NOT do ANY processing on any signal.

    I may have missed it, but does your receiver have a "Source Direct" setting or something similar? If you can defeat BM in the receiver, and engage source direct, you would probably be as close as possible to a direct comparo of the digital and analog feed.

    BGL
     
  9. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    there isn't any difference, really. your player WILL bass manage redbook cds. if your front speakers are set to SMALL in the 2900, then a sub channel below the ~80Hz crossover of the player is created when playing redbook cds and is output to the receiver through the analog sub connection. if you listen to redbook cds via your multichannel inputs' you'll get "quasi 2.1" sound. if your front speakers are set to LARGE in the 2900, then your player also has a setting that will allow creation of a sub channel from 2-channel material in this instance.

    NONE of the players bm/tm settings are EVER applied to the digital output. that reaches your pre/pro/receiver "unadulterated".

    incidentally, i don't use my digi connection on my 2200 for anything except calibration and occasional troubleshooting. i decode and bm/tm EVERYTHING - redbook cds, dvd movies, sacd, and dvd-a - at my player and run my receiver in it's "pure direct" mode.
     
  10. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Brian L: “It would seem logical to me that if you are using the L/R pair of the 6CH out that BM would be applied, but I can say that with many uni-players and BM, logic has NOTHING to do with it” Ok, I’ll concede that point.

    “I guess if you wanted to do an apples to apples comparo, you could take your 2CH feed from the L/R stereo outs, rather than the the L/R of the 6CH set.” My 2900 only has TosLink, DigCoax and 6 Channel analog outputs. I assume the L/R outputs of the 6 Channel group would double as standard outputs. But…..you know what happen when you A.S.S.U.M.E.

    Yes, my “Source Direct” input is called “6/8 Channel Direct”.

    ScottCHI: Good information!
     
  11. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    c'mon, don't make this more complicated than it is. the only way his player will send a non-bass managed signal through it's analog multichannel connection when playing redbook cds is if he has the speakers set to LARGE and is NOT using the "bass enhancement" function of his player. if the front speakers are set to SMALL, then it absolutely WILL BE bass managing redbook cd analog output thorough it's multichannel outputs. it will bass manage absolutely EVERYTHING that comes out of it's multichannel outputs in that instance.

    there aren't separate analog outs for 2-channel vs. multichannel output on this or most other players. if you use the player for only a 2-channel setup, then the same FL and FR outputs on the player are used, but instead are connected to one of the pre/pro/receivers 2-channel inputs (ie. CD) instead of the multichannel inputs (of course, you could still use 2 of the multichannel inputs, if you desired, for whatever reason). and if the pre/pro receiver is capable, these inputs on receivers CAN usually be bass managed at the pre/pro/receiver; sometimes in the analog domain (therefore not requiring an A/D/A conversion) and sometimes in the digital domain (thus requiring another A/D/A conversion), depending upon the particular pre/pro/receiver in question.
     
  12. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Humm...perhaps that why I said to use the L/R stereo pair and NOT the L/R from the MC out? Or did you miss that part?

    But no matter, the player lacks that feature, so its all irrelevant.

    John, no sweat. Kind of surprised that the 2900 lacks a seperate stereo pair, but as I said toward the beginning of the thread, I don't know that player in detail.

    Good luck with your test.

    BGL
     
  13. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Well, I think that may be a bit of a generalization.

    I own two, a Pio 45a and a Denon 1600. Both have a seperate stereo pair.

    But I have not seen EVERY player out there, so perhaps I got lucky and bought the only two?

    And again, he doesn't have the capability, so no matter.

    BGL
     
  14. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Looking at a photo of the back of the 2900 at Crutchfields, it shows what appear to be two pairs of Front Outputs, labeled FR1, FR2, FL1, FL2.

    Are they simply duplicates of the L/R MC pair or are they straight, regardless of whether or not you have BM and TA engaged?

    I took a quick look in the manual online, and its shows using the first pair connected direct to a TV. Perhaps something needs to be set in the menu for these to be a raw feed?

    If they work as they appear to say in the manual, that would be THE way to be assured that no processing is applied. And I don't see that it complicates the matter at all.

    And just for yucks Scott, take a quick look at the back panel of the players that are listed at Crutchfields. Not too many that don't have a seperate pair of L/R outputs, including the 2900. But of course, they don't sell every player in the world, so perhaps the ones they don't list lack a seperate L/R feed.

    BGL
     
  15. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    i don't know. i have always assumed they are duplicates. i can determine that pretty quickly with my 2200, i suppose. i HAVE actually wondered that, as i was going to use those outputs and run them through my receiver's CD inputs for zone2 output of my redbook cds.

    again, if someone wanted to run those outputs "straight" for redbook cds, it's easy. you would either have the player set up in 2-channel mode already, or you would run your fronts as LARGE in the player. if you wanted to run your speakers as LARGE, but wanted sub output, you use the "bass enhancement" setting. the front analog outs still run "straight" in this case, with redbook CDs, but the sub channel will now have duplicate output below ~80Hz. but if the fronts are set as SMALL, then the front analog output is bass managed already (high-passed @ ~80Hz) no matter what you're playing, be it redbook cds, dvd movies, or hirez audio.

    if most players DO have an extra set of separate, and always "straight" analog outs, then i stand corrected. but they may be simply labelled as such on some players. i think those outputs are duplicates just like the denon's discussed above and will have bass managed output if the player is bass managing the ones labelled "multichannel". they're just labelled that way so it's easier (watered-down) for consumers; some people don't have multichannel systems.

    of course, i could be totally wrong, too. you could check yours pretty easily, as well.

    it doesn't matter. the bottom line is that you can make a univeral player put out EITHER bass-managed OR non-bass managed analog redbook cd output through some sort of analog connection, depending upon your needs, right? and in some of these players, you may be competely correct, in that they can put out BOTH bm and non-bm material at the same time.

    but how the outputs work, exactly, isn't really relevant to john's question. you can make a particular player do what you desire in it's setup; somehow bass manage your 2-channel analog output ..........OR NOT.
     
  16. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I can easily check my Pio, but not the Denon; it's used only as a Video machine.

    And the Pio is currently set for all large/sub on (I am an ICBM guy) but thats easily bypassed.

    Sure would be nice if the manufacturers would throw us a bone, and make it clear in the manuals. Reading a bad English translation of Japanese presents its share of challenges.

    I did a quick look through my Pio and Denon manuals, and if they say how the extra outputs work, I sure can't find it.

    My thoughts were that the extra pair was there so you could have it both ways without having to change anything, but there are so many variations to how these players work, it is impossible to know unless you test it.

    OK. I have had enough fun for one day. Hopefully John can run some tests this weekend and tell us what he likes best.

    BGL
     
  17. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    yeah, i looked at those pics at crutchfield. many DO have the extra set labelled as "2-channel". some even label them as "mix-down", which makes sense, but actually makes it even more ambiguous, but is still sort of a clue. they're obviously not "straight" if they're downmixing multichannel material.

    the way my denon's labelled would lead me to believe that they're duplicates and always identical, bass-managed or not.

    but on the players with it labelled "2-channel" or "mix-down", it could certainly be interpreted differently.

    i think the players probably all do it the same way, it's just a difference in the labelling. and i think they're labelled that way for consumers who will be running ONLY a 2-channel system and need to mix-down they're 5.1 material, not for people who want to use both.

    clearly, according to the manual, on my denon, the FL1 and FL2 analog outputs are to be used when a 2-channel mix-down is desired, but i'm not certain it really matters.

    if someone had their player connected like this, they'd of course have it set up in "2-channel mode", as the manual says, and would be mixing-down their 5.1 material through those outputs.

    btw, as an aside, do you realize that the denons won't mix-down the LFE channel into either the 2-channel or even the 5-channel analog output, if you tell the player you have no sub?!?!?!?!? someone with a 5.0 system wouldn't have any LFE in their mix! and i think many players are like this; they drop the LFE channel completely if told NO SUB. receivers, of course, don't do this. they WILL mix the LFE into the front channels if set up with NO SUB, in 2, 3, 4 or 5 channel mode.
     
  18. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Well, with my curiosity peaked, I tested my Pio 45a with a red book CD (Virgil Fox, a freebie from HSU loaded with Bach Organ music, and lots of low bass).

    For the test, the ICBM was set to Bypass (its connected between the pre out/power amp in of my receiver, so its normally doing BM for ALL sources in my rig).

    I am connected via the Stereo L/R outs, and my receiver is set to large L/R, and in Stereo BP mode, so no receiver BM.

    With the player set to large L/R, there is no output from the sub (nor should there be), and the mains are cranking out some pretty low bass (I have B&W 604s which are good to a below 40 Hz, IIRC.

    But, when the player is set to have the main L/R Small, the low end definitely goes on vacation (I think the crossover in the player is 100Hz).

    So, Scott's theory about the L/R simply mimicking the MC L/R is correct for this player. Which, in my way of thinking, kind of makes them useless useless the player is set like mine with all large/sub on.

    Glad I normally set it to all large/sub on, and use the ICBM for BM duties. As such, my L/R pair are in fact un-molested before they get to the receiver.

    BGL
     
  19. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    yeah, i discovered the same thing on my Denon2200. the front set 1 and 2 of the multichannel analog outs carry the same material, be it bass-managed or not, or mixed-down or not.

    the other players may not do it that way, though, especially the ones with outputs labelled "mix-down". those may be the only outputs on those players capable of carrying a 2-channel multichannel mixdown.

    anyway, we got distracted. john pine you have lots of options. fiddle around with it; you'll figure it out.

    brianL and i are off to have a beer.
     
  20. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for all the feedback and good info guys! I'll try the different setups this weekend. Now...if I can just get the family out of the house for 6 to 8 hours...hmmmmm. Well...my test should be at reference level...right?! hehehe
     

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