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Difference In Audio Quality Btw Entry Level DVD Players Now and 4 Years Ago?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JustinP, Jul 21, 2002.

  1. JustinP

    JustinP Stunt Coordinator

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    I currently own a 4 year old Panasonic DVD-A105 player and was curious as to how dramatic the difference in sound output quality would be if I was to upgrade to something more current, like an RP-82. This applies to the playback of DVD soundtracks, CD's, MP3 CD's, etc. Just for extra consideration, I'm using Paradigm Studio 60's for mains and a Yamaha RXV595 (70x5) receiver. Currently, I've got the DVD player connected to the receiver with digital coax.
     
  2. JustinP

    JustinP Stunt Coordinator

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    Up.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    You know, Justin, I'll go out on a limb here by saying something that goes against the religion of audio and one of the sacred myths promulgated by the high end-influenced crowd: Sonic differences between electronic components are vastly, vastly overstated. This, from someone who once bought the whole high-end audio party line in its fallacious entirety (Audio Research tube gear, moving-coil pickups, extremely expensive cables and interconnects, etc.).
    For nearly all applications, I'm sure the "sound" of your Panny when playing CDs is just fine.
    Of course, get set for some heartfelt posts telling you I am full of it. [​IMG]
     
  4. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    I would say that if you're looking to get into some of the hi-rez material, like DVD-Audio or CDs with 96/24 sampling, then you will notice an improvement. For playback of standard CDs, MP3s, etc, you probably won't notice any improvement.

    I'm not 100% certain, but I believe the first generation players downsampled 96khz material to 48khz for output via the digital outputs. The current players can output 96khz.
     
  5. Ian Montgomerie

    Ian Montgomerie Stunt Coordinator

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    For Dolby/DTS digital output, there is basically no difference between any decent players (100 and 10,000 dollar players now, or even vs. players several years old). Exactly the same digital output will be produced. The only exception is that certain really poorly manufactured players have poor clocks that send the data out faster/slower than it is supposed to. But if your 4 year old player was a good player back then, its output rate is probably fine.

    There can be slightly more variance for CD digital output. This is because some older players with CD support use a seperate CD DSP, instead of using the main decoder for everything. Sometimes the CD DSP is more vulnerable to "jitter" (random variations in the output rate, which can be measured although it is really hard to hear). But I would not worry too much about that, probably your older player does not have a bad case of this.

    The whole point of digital transfer is that it can be bit-perfect, and within timing tolerances, even with basic, cheap components. Only in the analog domain do you see the phenomenon of quality continuing to increase, at least a little bit, as you improve the electronics. In digital, higher prices get you more features, not a better digital signal.
     
  6. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Jack is full of it(just kidding [​IMG]).
    I used to have a A-110(seems like ages ago now)and it left alot to be desired for CD playback. I doubt you would notice much of a difference for DVD soundtracks, but newer players such as the RP-82 are better all around including video-wise.
    Since the prices have dropped so precipitously, why not jump into a newer generation player?
    DJ
     
  7. Brian D Scott

    Brian D Scott Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I'm chiming in again! I had a Panasonic A110 player, and I just got the RP82. The sound quality is better to me, mainly because it has an on-board decoder and I'm finally able to use the analog inputs on my Yamaha RX-V2095 for DVD-Audio. For the record, I am using the S-Video connection to my TV (9 year old JVC), digital optical out and analog 6-channel out to the Yamaha. I bought a DVD-Audio disc today, and it is phenomenal compared to its 44kHz counterpart.

    The video seems clearer and cleaner to me as well - just watched Amelie yesterday and many of the panoramic scenes are crisp! It really comes down to personal druthers, as I always say, but I feel I made the right purchase. I did buy the new player for its MP3 and DVD-Audio capabilities as well, which are fantastic.
     
  8. Mark Tranchant

    Mark Tranchant Stunt Coordinator

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    As Ian suggests, the DD and dts outputs are likely to be as good in any player. However, I believe that these datastreams are completely immune to player jitter (at real-world levels) because they are frame-based (IIRC).

    That is, a "packet" of samples is sent from the player to the processor (whether stand-alone or in a receiver), and is unpacked there. It is the processor that is responsible for reading the samples out of the packet at the correct rate.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong!
     
  9. Ian Montgomerie

    Ian Montgomerie Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark, you're not quite right. The receiver is "dumb", it just accepts whatever it is given. The player is responsible for sending out data at the correct rate. However, "jitter" in a modern DVD player, as audiophiles conventionally think of it, is quite minimal. A DVD player chip is often fed by a single master clock, at a very high rate such as 54 MHz. This clock is divided tremendously to get the audio output rate, such as 48 kHz for DD/DTS (or the IEC output bit clock, which is a bit different). Jitter in the master clock can be a problem for the CPU. But that jitter is slashed by three orders of magnitude for conversion to the audio clock rate. So as long as the CPU isn't crashing, you are rather unlikely to get significant audio jitter.

    The only problem I have seen in some ultra-cheap players is not jitter (variation in the output rate), but the average output rate being subtly wrong. For example, CD is supposed to be output at 44.1 kHz. I have seen a cheap Apex player where the average output rate was 44.2 kHz. But this is an example of really shoddy manufacturing that most major manufacturers, especially Japanese manufacturers, would simply never accept.
     
  10. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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