Does Dolby Digital/DTS decoders work with RCA cables?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark E J, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

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    I am planing to upgrade my system to a full 5.1 set up. Will the DD/DTS decoders work with standard RCA stereo conections, or do I have to get an optical or digital coaxial cord to hear 5.1 surround?
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You are talking about the connection between one of the Digital outs on a DVD player to the Digital input on your receiver?

    This is simply a Video cable or a toslink optical cable. I've used both but prefer the Video cable for it's price and robustness of the wire.

    This allows the DVD player to send all 6 channels in a digital format to the receiver to do the decoding/amplification in one box.

    If you are talking about a DVD player with a built-in decoder going to a receiver with multi-channel inputs - then you use 5 audio cables to carry the analog signal to the receiver for amplification.

    Does this help?
     
  3. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

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    Bob,

    Thanks for the reply but I'm still a little confused.

    My original question was will an DD/DTS reciever decode the 5.1 surround if it is hooked up to a DVD player via analog stereo cords?

    The reason I ask is this: I do most of my DVD watching at night with headphones. So one of the options I'm seriously considering is the Sony MDR DS5100 wireless headphones with built in DD/DTS decoders. However the specs I see online state that it has an optical digital input and analog stereo input. My DVD player does not have an optical output. All it has is 1 digital coaxial output and 1 analog stereo output. So if the specs I've seen are correct the only way I can hook up the Sony DS5100 is by analog stereo cords. What I want to know is: Will the DD/DTS decoders still work with this hook up or will I have to buy a new DVD player with an toslink optical output?

    Also something you said in your original reply interested me. Were you saying that a "digital coaxial cord" is just a standard RCA video cord with a diffrent name? Or did I misunderstand you?
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Mark,

    You absolutely need a digital connection for those headphones if they have an optical input. If your DVD player does not have an optical output you'll need a converter. I believe that Radio Shack sells a coax-to-optical digital converter for cheap, but I may be wrong.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Philip is correct. With just L/R analog wires you will NOT be getting Dolby Digital/DTS.

    But .. The Sony headphones you are talking about got less-than-stellar reviews for being able to create a real surround environment.

    My advice would be for you to start with L/R cables. This will get you ProLogic sound which can be very good. Check out Radio Shack for the coaxial-to-optical converter and try it after a few weeks. This is the only way to tell if it is worth it.

    And yes, the coaxial-digital cable is simply a video cable. This is what the people who wrote the SPDIF interface had in mind: a common Video cable. These are all made with 75 ohm coax. Audio cables can be made with any of the popular coax's like 50, 75, 110, 300.

    You will need:

    - A video cable coming out of the DVD player
    - A Coaxial-Optical converter (Try Radio Shack)
    - A Toslink optical cable from the converter to the Sony headphones

    Good Luck.
     
  6. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

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    Thanks alot guys. This info really helps. Especially about the coaxial/video cord. I already have a top of the line Monster video cord that has been sitting in the drawer since I upgraded to S-Video. Good to know I don't have to buy a whole new cord for whichever setup I decide to go with.

     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    It might be the DS5100 I was remembering. It was over a year ago. Try the "Speakers and Subwoofers" section and do a search on DS5100. The other review came from one of the home theater magazines and ... darned if I can remember which/when.

    You also have to consider that the people doing the reviews are HT reviewers. They have a lot of experience with high end systems that are properly setup. My guess is the subwoofer sounds from the Sony headphones did not compare well to external subs that acted like a physical presence in the room. So there is always going to be something missing.

    The moral: listen for yourself. A lot of sound enjoyment is personal taste & what you become used to.
     

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