HD-A1 5.1 Analog Output

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Harminder, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

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    I'm just curious here, because I'm using an amp that only inputs 5.1 through analog ports, has anyone tested the 5.1 Analog outputs? If so, how does it sound?

    And if anyone can do this, compare the 5.1 Analog output sound quality to digital output sound quality. Thank you in advance! [​IMG]
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    deleted due to an inability to read
     
  3. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Screenwriter

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    IMHO, When playing HD DVD's, the 5.1 analog output is an improvement over the "digital" output and when I say "digital", I mean the "SPDIF" optical/coaxial outputs, not the HDMI output.

    The reason being, is that currently, the only way current consumers can hear the full fidelity of the DD+ tracks on HD DVD's, is through the A1's analog out. The sound coming from the optical/coaxial output has been converted to the "DTS" codec, because it has been chosen for having the higher SPDIF bit rate (DD is lower) that can be used for the backward compatibility issues needed for the majority of current consumer audio equipment inputs.

    This only applies to HD DVD's as DVD audio tracks are completely compatible with all outputs.

    Paul
     
  4. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

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    Thank you Paul for the reply.

    So, unless I have an HDMI input in my receiver, I should use the 5.1 analog outputs instead?
     
  5. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Screenwriter

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    I would recommend it for HD-DVD (DD+) audio playback.[​IMG]

    Paul
     
  6. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    There is currently one major problem with the HD-A1's 5.1 analog outs - the bass management of the internal decoder is severely broken. The LFE channel appears to be running about -10db too low, meaning that you will not get the proper amount of bass in your mix. Further, it appears the speaker size settings aren't working as they should be either.

    While the 5.1 analog outs have the potential to be great and better than the digital out, right now I'd advise to use the digital output for optimal sound.
     
  7. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Screenwriter

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    I haven't heard of this problem.[​IMG] It doesn't seem to affect my setup, as the default settings seem to be accurate.

    In my system, the Toshiba A1 remains at the default settings as "Large" for all speakers, 0" for distance and 120 Hz crossover, I then let my Lexicon MC-12 handle all the analog to digital conversion, size of speakers, distance and crossover for a Digital 5.1 to Logic 7 conversion and for a 7.1 setup that sounds phenomenal[​IMG].

    What about the latest 1.4 firmware update? Has someone checked to see if this problem may have been fixed?

    Paul
     
  8. MTrotter

    MTrotter Stunt Coordinator

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    Just from the standpoint of audio quality, such as the timbre of instruments, and the quality of vocals on musical sections, and the intelligibility of dialog, the 5.1 analog outputs should offer the best quality. Those are the things that are most important to me, for most movies. There are some, though, in which the maximum LFE and effects are very important.

    That being said, I have not yet tried the 5.1 output, but I have been blown away just by the quality of the DD+ that is being converted to the 1536kbps DTS and picked up by my receiver thru the coaxial connection. It is far and away smoother and better than any standard DD or DTS I have heard on regular DVDs. Example, I compared the SD Phantom of the Opera to the HD DVD version. The HD DVD was far superior in clarity of the music and dialog.

    Another thing about using the 5.1 outputs, and this can get into some controversy, is that in my opinion, I wouldn't judge the sound quality unless you use a set of very high quality interconnects. I have recently been trying out different sets, and there is a huge difference between them.

    Definitely don't use the throw away set of interconnects that come with audio equipment.
     
  9. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I honestly could not tell a big difference so I just run with the coax connection. I found the 5.1 kinda flat sounding, not as crisp and detailed as the coax / toslink.

    I used a set of Bluejeancable interconnects wired up to an Outlaw 950 with all Adcom amps. I have a set of Monsters but have yet to try those.
     
  10. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    The sub channel is a bit too low using the analog outputs, I compensate by setting the sub channel at max and dropping the other channels. I have all speakers set to small and crossover at the lowest available setting. I do have to crank up the volume on my receiver a little bit. Also be aware that early Warner HD-DVD releases had the audio set about 10db too low on all channels using the DD+ track.

    If your receiver has no dts decoding, like some older ones, then the 5.1 analog in is your only choice. Once properly adjusted the sound is actually better but the DTS convert is also a noticeable improvement over most any standard dvd.
     
  11. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I'm going to give another go at it with my Monster interconnects...and calibrate. I never did any calibrating the first time around.
     
  12. MTrotter

    MTrotter Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron, you might want to know that I also was using Blue Jeans cables for the 5 channels from my receiver and power amp. They are made from Belden 1505 cable.

    Recently, due to my wife and I having extreme difficulty understanding the dialog from the center speaker in movies, I began to play around with some other interconnects. I had a set of Tara Labs RSC Prime(I guess they are 8 to 10 years old, but pretty high quality) around the house, and I replaced the Blue Jeans for the center channel.

    This resulted in an immediate and definite improvement in the clarity of dialog and vocals in musical sections of movies. I also recently picked up a set of Audio Art IC-1 interconnects($45), and they are fabulous.

    The reason I mention all this is that the superiority of the DD+ analog output will probably require very transparent interconnects. I didn't realize until now how much better sound I could get than I was getting witht the Blue Jeans.

    This is not a bash on the Blue Jeans, BTW. I got the whole set of 5 of them for $75, and they are a decent sounding cable.

    The other thing about using the 5.1 output is that then you really need twelve really good interconnects, six from the player to pre/pro, and then six from pre/pro to power amps. This can unfortunately get rather expensive.
     
  13. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

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    OK, I was able to test BOTH Analog 5.1 and Digital Out (via SPDIF optical). I used the Swordfish HD-DVD to test both.

    I found that the LFE was very very flat on Digital Out. The sound through the other 5 speakers sounded fantastic, but the LFE was as flat as week-old-pop-in-a-fridge.

    HOWEVER, when I connected the audio via 5.1 analog, the LFE came alive BIG TIME. I used the initial club scene to test both audio types and the LFE was bumpin' on analog 5.1.

    So this is my experience with both, but I recommend everyone try both before settling with one or the other. [​IMG]
     
  14. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    I also find the analog 5.1 to be better on my setup. Sounds much more dynamic on my Sherwood Newcastle 965 combo with a Monster 3250 for my l/c/r. Absolutely fantastic!!!
     

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