Digital Audio

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Jame pc, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Jame pc

    Jame pc Agent

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    How is digital audio different from the 2 RCA jack connections? Both carry surround sound signals, correct?
    Is there any benefit to running digital audio from my Pace HDTV tuner box to my receiver?
    Or is digital audio only heard on DVD's that utilize digital audio?
    Thanks,
    James
     
  2. Jonathan T.

    Jonathan T. Stunt Coordinator

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    Digital Audio comes in many forms, and in all cases it has to be converetd to analog before it can be output to your speakers.

    CDs are digital PCM audio, 2 channels. When you connect a CD player to your receiver with stero RCA jacks, you CD player converts the sound to analog before passing the signal to the receiver for amplification. If you were to connect your CD player with an Optical cable for instannce, your receiver would do the digital analog conversion instead, because the CD player would pass the un-altered digital signal. Either way, the sound source is digital audio, with 2 channels. Which is better depends on whether your receiver or CD player is better at doing the conversion, only experimentation willtell you.

    Digital audio on DVDs is usually, but not always 5.1 channles of discrete information. Again, if you connect your DVD player to your receiver with 2 RCA cables, your DVD player will convert the sound to analog before sending it to the receiver for amplification, because 2 RCA jacks cabn only carry a stereo signal, it will also downmix the 5.1 audio to 2 channel stereo. For this reason, you would only want to use a digital cable to connect a DVD player, which will pass the full 5/1 channel signal.

    As for your HDTV box, HDTV uses the exact same audio format as DVDs, so like your DVD player you will absolutly beneift from having it connected with a digital coax or optical cable when you are watching HD channels.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Digital audio is a function of your player sending the signal in digital format to your receiver when configured to do so. This is not determined by the DVD, all DVDs are digital, so the audio is read digitally off the disc. As Jonathan mentioned, whether the player sends that information digitally or converts it to analog first, depends on how you connect and setup the player.

    Stereo signal can carry Dolby Surround information that your receiver will understand, but this is NOT discrete surround. Dolby Pro Logic decoders can extract the Dolby Surround information from the track and create the center and surround information (matrix).

    You can ONLY get discrete surround by using either a digital (coaxial or optical) or multichannel analog connections from a player with built in decoding. Dolby Surround can be passed either by stereo analog or digital.

    Your HD box uses the same formats as your DVD player, however it will only send Dolby Digital signal when it is present in the broadcast, and not many are. I'd still recommend a digital connection between the HD box and receiver.
     
  4. Jame pc

    Jame pc Agent

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    Thanks for the great info guys!

    My component cables go from the HDTV box to the TV along with the 2 RCA audio's. If I keep it wired this way and also run digital audio from the box to the receiver, I should be able to watch HDTV with the receiver/digital audio and without the receiver and RCA audio, correct?
    There is no need to run the component cables from the tuner to the receiver then to the TV, correct (just directly to the TV)?
    Thanks again,
    James
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yep, you got it.

    If you only have one component connection (no DVD, or other using component), then the only thing you'd really be adding by going to the receiver first then the TV is an extra cable. If you have two devices, that would probably be a different story if you didn't have enough inputs on your TV for all of the devices using component video.
     
  6. Jame pc

    Jame pc Agent

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    Thanks again!
     

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