Configuring Denon 2900 & HK AVR 230 for SACD

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Robert Hoffman, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    I've started a thread about this issue before, but now that I've had a chance to play around some more, I wanted to see if I could get some good feedback.

    For starters, I have a 2 channel system plus a subwoofer. I've got a Denon 2900 universal player, an HK AVR 230 used as a pre/pro, a Rotel 1095 amp (yeah, I know I'm not using 3 of its channels), and Joseph Audio RM25 speakers that are full range and are rated down to 31hz (although 35 is probably more realistic).

    My first goal is to successfully set up the Denon for SACD playback using the Denon's bass management. For this, I set the HK in 6-channel direct mode. When the HK is in this mode, the only speaker setup option is channel level and everything else must be done on the Denon. Now, on the Denon, if speakers are set to large, then the subwoofer output ONLY outputs a specific LFE signal (I tested this via AVIA). As I own several 2-channel SACDs, and I want to use my subwoofer, I think this requires me to use the 'small' speaker setting in the Denon if I want to add some subwoofer into the mix.

    For setting channel levels, my front L&R in the HK is set to -1 (to match reference level) and the sub is set to 0 (normally I have it set at -8, but I'll explain why below). On the Denon, my L&R are set at 0 and the sub is set at -5. Using AVIA, this has all channels matched equally.

    This brings up a couple issues that I hope y'all can help me with. First, I'd love to be able to use my front speakers 'full range' and have some sub in the background (using 2-channel SACD). Using the bass managment of the Denon, it doesn't seem that I can do this.

    Second, suppose I want to listen to a plain ol' redbook CD. Furthermore, I want to use the Denon's superior DACs so I always use the analog connections (excluding DVDs) I set the HK to CD analog direct mode, at which point my HK speaker level settings revert to my old setup (speakers large, L&R at -1, subwoofer at -8). Now, since I have altered the Denon and configured my speakers to 'small' in the Denon, does this now mean that it is only outputting a 'small' (greater than 80hz) signal to the HK? Do I need to use the setup menu in the Denon everytime I switch from SACD to redbook to change the Denon's speaker size setting?

    I'm going to stop here before I confuse myself anymore, but I'd really appreciate any feedback that you guys can give me on if this all sounds correct. Thanks.
     
  2. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    I've thought about this some more throughout the night and I think there's an easier way.

    First off, I should probably set all the channel levels in the Denon at 0, and just adjust in the HK. Second (and Paul, if you're reading I think this is a rehash from our previous discussion), if I set the speakers to small in the Denon, I get the advantage of only one D>A conversion, but I potentially suffer from the shallow crossover slope (6/12) that the Denon uses for SACD. I get sound from the subwoofer, and the least 'processed' sound.

    Second, I could set the speakers in the Denon to large, and use the bass management of the HK to tie in the sub. This has the advantages of allowing me to run my fronts in full, gives me a variable crossover setting, and benefits from a 12/24 crossover slope which should keep the upper bass out of my subwoofer. The disadvantage would be the potential extra processing (D>A>D>A) which would be required in order to use the bass management of the HK and the effect it might have on the sound.

    What's a little interesting is that for DVD-A, the Denon uses a 12/24 slope versus the 6/12 for SACD. That means I could probably run the speakers small in the Denon and get a pretty good sound (I have not A/Bd the effect of the different slopes yet on my speakers, but there seems to be a slight consensus that a 12/24 slope sounds better).

    I think this all sounds correct. Please let me know if I've overlooked something.

    Thanks.
     

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