Appreciable audio difference b/w DVD players?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Shaun Graham, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. Shaun Graham

    Shaun Graham Agent

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    I realize that the video capabilities of DVD players vary widely, depending on the de-interlacer chip a particular player uses and whatnot. But is there a significant audio difference between players, not counting DVD-A/SACD? This is assuming you're using the DD/DTS decoder of your receiver and not the DVD player and that the two are connected digitally through an optical or coax cable. Seems to me like the 1's and 0's would get there basically the same with any player...
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    " Seems to me like the 1's and 0's would get there basically the same with any player... "

    shaun,

    I have 2 different dvd players in my system now, both connected via digital cable to the same receiver. One is a JVC and the other is a Panasonic. I hear no difference in the audio from the two players. I've also had several other players connected digitally to this same receiver over the years, a couple of Sonys, a couple of Toshibas, and an Apex.

    I've never heard any difference in the sound from one player to another when using the digital audio out from the player.

    I've read many threads in which people have claimed to have heard differences in the sound when using digital audio outs when using different players, however. This defies logic imho, and I'd love to hear a creditable explanation of how a digital bitstream from one player can sound different than the same bitstream from another player when decoded by the same D/A converter circuit.
     
  3. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    No. The digital output from a DVD player merely outputs the raw bitstream, so it can't affect its quality. The receiver's DD/DTS decoder determines the audio quality in that case. Only the analog outputs audio quality are controlled by the DVD player.
     
  4. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    I agree, the digital output from one DVD player can't possibly "sound" better than the digital output from another DVD player. Certain DVD players will possibly be worse at transporting the digital audio stream than others, at which point you'll hear audio drop-outs when using such a player. That's what you should look out for, because you won't notice a difference in sound quality.
     
  5. Artis Hall

    Artis Hall Extra

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    I have found that one player will output sound at a lower level than another. Connected to the same AVR with the same optical cable one player is lower at my normal DVD listening position than the other. Dynamic compression on the AVR was kept the same.
     
  6. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    Artis, I find that hard to believe. Its possible that your ears/mind may be deceiving you. Have you tried taken SPL measurements between the two? That would be a sure fire way of knowing if one is lower than the other.
     
  7. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    What about "jitter" and other clock related issues that affect the bitstream before it is sent along the coax/optical cable to the receiver? I only ask because I've read about it, not because I've noticed it myself. I do know that the quality of the DACs in the players can vary greatly, if you're using the analogue outputs of the player. Generally, though, the DACs in the receiver are better than those in the player so the issue becomes moot, I guess.
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    It's not relevant to compressed formats such as DD and DTS, because they reclock the signal anyway.
     
  9. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Okay, I'll buy that. But what about for redbook cds? I've been contemplating a dedicated CD player for better DACs but also because this jitter and clock issue is in the background. Thanks.
     
  10. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    I disagree wth those who say no difference. I upgraded from a Marantz DV7100 to an Arcam DV88 Plus, and the digital audio is significantly better (as is the analog audio output). More detail, more dynamic, better bass. Dialog in the center channel is clearer and eaier to understand. I wasn't expecting much, if any, difference, but I definitely noticed it right away.

    Different players vary in the quality of components: transport, clock, decompression hardware, noise isolation, etc. and these can contribute to how well they faithfully transport digital audio from disk to output.

    I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I let my eyes and ears be the judge.

    Dean
     
  11. Artis Hall

    Artis Hall Extra

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    MuneebM,

    Well..with the AVR dial set just above 1/4 the volume previously on a Sony player was about the max you could take my theater room. Anything more than that did not allow much talking in the room and was uncomfortable to the wife. The Samsung is lower at that dial setting in terms of sound output and I had to raise the dial to nearly 30-35% to get the same level as before. I would ask the same question you asked and prefer scientific data over human bias any day. I have an SPL meter so maybe I will check it out (player being returned for other reasons anyway). I did notice a compression adjustment in the Samsung menu but I never touched it from the day I opened it.
     

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