dvd player....audio

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Daryl_hawk, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. Daryl_hawk

    Daryl_hawk Agent

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    Can someone please clarify for me how the audio capabilities of a dvd player come into play.

    If you use an optical cable and your receiver is decoding the sound, what purpose does a DAC on your DVD player serve?? Could a cheap DVD player actually affect the quality of audio reproduced through your receiver???

    Please help!
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Assuming you're using the DD and DTS decoders in your receiver, you are passing the bitstream to the decoders to reproduce. The digital signal is carried in packets so it is less prone to jitter as playing straight PCM as on a regular CD. The DAC is what it is - digital to analog converter and is what you access via use of the DVD player's analog outputs. If you use the analog outs to play CDs via a connection to an analog input on the receiver that might have an 'analog direct' mode, it is possible the CD might sound better vs. over a digital cable. It is not just the quality of the DACs but the fact the the DACs on the receiver might be routed thru the DSP (digital signal processing) and a bunch of other circuitry as well as the fact that a digital cable transmits the data in the same way as an analog signal (not 1s and 0s) and the same problems when played thru the additional circuitry could sound different. I'm not going to tell you either the analog ouputs or digital outputs all DVD players will sound the same, you can listen for yourself. I've owned a variety of stuff, from the very expensive to the middle of the road.
     
  3. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    I have wondered this myself. If the receiver outclasses the DVD player, you probably want to just stick with optical or coax digital for everything, right?
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Why not just listen? Every situation won't be identical, whether it is the equipment or other conditions. The DSP processing in many receivers and even many separates route the signal thru the DSP which may not sound as good on music as an analog connection via the analog outs to a receiver with an 'analog direct' mode. It naturally depends on one's speakers to. With a digital connection and using smaller speakers for example, one can define the sub as existing and in many cases crossover frequency. With full range front speakers, depending on the room and one's listening preferences, it could be different. So I don't think it will be one size fits all. On DD or DTS, whether the connection is coax or optical, the sending in packets should normally pretty much result in the same sound quality. Transmitting stereo PCM with an optical cable can result in more jitter. Transmitting stereo PCM with a coax connection can be subject to RFI or EMI interference. There could be differences in the quality of connectors used on cables bought by different people. Put on your favorite music and adjust the settings to 'analog direct' on the receiver and see what you like better. There is no right or wrong, it is your system meant to be enjoyed via your preferences. It is easier in many cases to have the one digital cable connected to modern receiver that auto-detect the format and to many the ease of use may be important.
     
  5. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    That's very interesting. I'll experiment.

    In my case, it's an HK 6340 receiver with www.htd.com level 4 y combo speakers. The player is a Zenith DVB318, so I'm fairly confident that the receiver easily outclasses it in terms of audio and I'm probably better of just sticking with the old 2m coax cable for my sound needs at present.

    When I finally decide what I'm upgrade to, at least for audio, that's when I see the analogs getting whipped out. I just very seriously doubt going to analogs with the Zenith is going to yield anything signnifigant.

    Or am I wrong? I'll try it anyways... [​IMG]
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    If you have a pair of cables, all it takes is a listen. You may be absolutely right. With the speakers you have (never heard of them), the specs indicate to 80HZ, so you could be better off using the bass management in the DSP for music even if the DSP in the receiver goes thru more junk than an analog direct mode (if it has it). As I previously noted, to someone who has a set of full range speakers (especially in a different room as the room is the most overlooked component and could easily influence the sound by emphasizing different frequencies), the answer might be different. It also depends on one's musical tastes. I've helped people set-up stuff who just like lots of bass with the music they listen to, even though it is over-emphasized and bloated, and it is tweaked well up and has lots of boom. But it is their system and that is their musical taste and that is OK. I have 3 systems (bedroom, main and just putting the basement together). All are different and have different levels of quality. People listen to music differently. Some people like clean and loud undistorted sound vs. something that may be more accurate to an audiophile. A system primarily for music vs. home theater (or some preference in between) may sound better tweaked a certain way to different listeners. Some may like loud rock and others may like to listen to small jazz combos, etc. In many cases you may find a dedicated CD player will be better for 2-channel music than a DVD player. For ecomony of scale, most less expensive DVD players utilize the 48k DVD-V bitream to transmit PCM audio. Something like the Linn Unidisk 1.1, a universal player that costs $11k has separate clocks for each format.
     
  7. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    LOL! Yeah, I'm afraid the $11K option is out of the question. Thanks for all the good tips.

    FWIW, I've calibrated my sound well enough..it'd be pretty hard for me to do much better with it than as is.

    I suspect I'll do better for myself when I can get away from the Zenith for audio. FWIW, do you know some good dedicated CD players?

    I see myself probably going universal, because I'd love to have SACD and DVD-A as well.
     
  8. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Universal players are becoming more affordable. The new Samsung that upscales the video and is a universal player is about $200 at Best Buy. I guess the $11k is not sitting around in your bed.[​IMG] If you use the analog outputs of the DVD player don't forget that the DVD player has a menu set-up for your speaker configuration (e.g. what speakers are connected and their size). Lots of good music on DVD-A and SACD.
     
  9. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    I don't trust Samsung in this market whatsoever. Not an option, imho.

    I am willing to spend more than $200 to do it right as long as it's within reason. I'm really eyeing the Yamaha s1500 and s2500. I see a lot of features, at least on paper, at arguably the best MSRP yet for all of those things.

    The Denon 2900 at $700 new MSRP is also a consideration.

    We'll see... [​IMG]
     
  10. Daryl_hawk

    Daryl_hawk Agent

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    Phil So if I understand this correctly, if you use optical cable, the DAC's etc on the DVD player do not matter (quality, resolution etc)??

    I am confused then, why buy an expensive DVD player if cheaper ones still give decent video????
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    Because good ones, generally give increadible video, not just decent.
     
  12. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    True, the DACs don't matter; you aren't using them. But everything else matters: transport, clocks, digital signal processing, power supply stability and noise, optical or coax transceivers... all can contribute to bit errors, jitter and skew that result in deterioration of audio and video performance.

    All digital-to-analog conversion in my system is done by my pre-pro, but I still opted for a mid-priced DVD transport (Sony 9000ES, MSRP $1800) because the differences between it and lower priced players were audible and visible.
     
  13. Daryl_hawk

    Daryl_hawk Agent

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    Dave - Yeah I just figured that one out today. I was at a shop and he said "you're darn right you can hear a difference with different dvd players", so he showed me a $450 onkyo and a $1500 arcam....[​IMG] Wow, there was a difference!
     

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