HK AVR 230 and SACD question

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Robert Hoffman, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    I've recently added SACD ability to my 2-channel system and I've got a question regarding my HK 230. Is it necessary to use the 6 channel direct inputs to realize the benefits of stereo SACD? It would be nice not to, because then I can still use the HK for bass management (really just adding some sub to my fronts, set on large). Furthermore, I can't imagine why I would need to use the 6 channel inputs when the normal analog inputs have a stero bypass mode which should simply pass the analog signal anyway.

    If it matters, I'm using a Denon 2900 as the SACD player.

    Thanks,

    Rob
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    No, just connect the L/R from the six channel output of the Denon to the L/R input of the HK multichannel inputs. You're good to go.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    You can use it either way. By using DSPs and BM, you are slightly altering the signal and the signal path is not as clean as the m/c inputs, but it still sounds better than standard CD. I use my m/c inputs with my SACD player, and a regular stereo analog connection from my 2200 for DVD-A.
     
  4. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    That was my question though. The HK, through it's standard (non-multichannel) L/R inputs, has an analog bypass mode that doesn't use DSP. So I think it's the same there as using the multichannel L/R inputs. Furthermore, it will route info to the sub without applying any DSP (that is possible, isn't it?).

    Anyway, I must say I'm a little underwhelmed by SACD...at least from a stereo SACD perspective (I'm sure multichannel is cool). Yeah it sounds good, but so does everything else that's been recorded well.
     
  5. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    If you connect to an ordinary pair of L/R inputs on your receiver AND you want to keep your sub in play, it will apply A/D/A to do bass management. It is the same as if you use the multichannel input of your HK. The advantage of the multichannel input and its bass management is for m/c SACDs (proper bass management and, also important, speaker delay settings will apply--at least they do on my Integra). You also get the benefit of a steeper crossover slope, as most SACD players with bass management use a 6/12 slope rather than the 12/24 your HK will apply. Your Denon, however, will do this internally (unlike my Marantz) and so the benefit of your HK's m/c BM/TA is rendered mostly moot.
     
  6. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul, thanks for responses. I just wanted to be clear though...I saw in a previous post where you had mentioned that the Outlaw ICBM does bass management in the analog domain. Is it possible that my HK does this as well, and when using the standard L/R inputs and routing some info to the sub (with front speakers set to large...which is the only setting in the analog bypass mode) that there is not an A/D/A transfer going on? If I understand the display on my receiver, whenever the DSP is on, it says 'DSP' on the display. But sending info to the sub in the analog bypass mode does not turn on the DSP.

    I guess when I get home tonight I should play around with the receiver. I'll run the Denon into the multichannel L/R inputs and put the receiver in the 6 channel direct mode and see what I can do as far as speaker adjustments in the receiver and examine the bass management capabilities of the Denon.

    At this point it's relatively easy for me since I'm only dealing with 2-channel (and not having to deal with speaker delay settings).
     
  7. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    It's possible but not likely. Most receivers don't indicate DSP when activating the sub as it's not a highly processed sound. But it quite likely applies a layer of A/D/A, especially if the xover setting is variable in the receiver. Even Outlaw's own 950 pre-pro only has a fixed analogue crossover, activated by a toggle switch. Without this switch, setting the pre-pro to stereo (with sub on) will involve an A/D/A.

    Consider the following possible scenarios:

    1--Set the Denon to SMALL, SUB on, attach to the m/c inputs of your receiver, engage analogue bypass. This will give you 2.1, essentially (it's how I use my Cambridge Audio 540D in CD playback). Xover is done digitally in the player, no A/D/A and sub is active.
    or
    2--Set the Denon to LARGE, SUB off, attach the L/R of the Denon to the L/R (non-m/c) input of the receiver, engage stereo mode via A/D/A and sub remains active.
    or
    3--Set the Denon to LARGE, SUB off, attach the L/R/sub of the Denon to the m/c input, get double bass, no A/D/A, sub active.
    or
    4--Set the Denon to LARGE, SUB off, attach L/R of Denon to (non-m/c) L/R input of receiver, leave in analogue bypass mode, sub is inactive.

    In your situation, I'd opt for scenario 1. But you can try the various setups and see what works best.

    I've compared scenario 1 with using my player as a transport (CD only in this case) and found I like my player's output better. The soundstage is wider, though bass is a bit less pronounced than when the receiver does the work.

    Scenario 1 vs 2 yielded similar results. It's not that the sound was worse, but it was slightly different (single blind test with the help of my friends) and I preferred the wider soundstage at the expense of bass (for the record, one friend agreed with me, the other preferred the stronger bass).

    Anyway, good luck, and have fun. FWIW, I use the digitized BM/TA of my m/c inputs on my receiver for SACD and DVD-A, because I get speaker delay settings for SACD (unavailable in my player), a better slope for xover (12/24 instead of 6/12) and I get xover flexibility (can choose 80hz for DVD-A, my player is fixed at 100hz).
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    You have to understand also that SACD is only as good as the disc you are listening to...it can make a VERY big difference; some are better than others. I prefer the 2ch SA track on 75% of my SACDs.

    Bypass is not exactly the same thing as using the m/c inputs. The signal goes through a different path, typically not passing through the DSP circuitry at all, though I don't recall if the 230 has BM for the m/c inputs (I know some of the H/Ks do).

    I vote for 1 or 2.

    My SACD player has different settings for stereo and m/c BM.
     
  9. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    I've definitely got a couple things to play with tonight. One thing is that I would ideally like to set the crossover at 60hz, as my Joseph Audio rm25si mk2 speakers can handle most of the lower end (and do it well). But I think the Denon 2900 has a fixed 80hz crossover. Actually, in looking at the Denon spec sheet it has

    "Full Digital Bass Management for SACD; 80Hz crossover with 6/12dB slopes on all channels; Adjustable channel levels"

    and for DVD-A
    "Full Digital Bass Management for DVD-Audio, featuring Analog Devices Melody 32-bit processor; 80Hz crossover with 12dB high and 24dB low pass slopes; Adjustable delay time(0-15ms)and Channel Levels "


    The other thing, and this going from memory, is that the HK 230, when the speakers are set to large, has a fixed sub crossover at 80hz. I wonder if that means it doesn't use DSP? This is also using the stero analog bypass mode, and not the 6.1 channel direct mode (which would be the mode for multi...and possibly stereo SACD).

    All of this has sure made me think though. If I'm playing normal CD's, and my HK were to use a non-pure DSP for activating the sub, then I wonder if I can use the multichannel outputs of the Denon to prevent additional processing? (Paul, this sounds like how you're using your Cambridge CD player)

    I'll go play around and report back. Thanks for your help guys.
     
  10. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I use my Cambridge for CDs by setting the FL/FR to SMALL, centre and surrounds to none and SUB ON. It then sends signals along the three outputs. I have those three connected to a switchbox, along with the same three channels of my universal player. I then connect the switchbox channels to the appropriate channels in the m/c inputs of my receiver, and connect the centre, SL/SR channels directly from the universal player to the receiver's m/c corresponding inputs. When I use the Cambridge for CDs, I use the "Pure Audio" mode of the receiver on the m/c input. This means no processing is done at the receiver. When I use the universal, I activate the digital BM/TA for the m/c inputs, even though it's not a pure path. It gives me the advantages I note above, and I've not noticed a sonic degradation (I've compared two channel SACD via the player in Pure Audio mode with the digital BM (TA is not important here) and found myself unable to distinguish them (single blind test with the help of a friend), while I could distinguish the Cambridge from the receiver. I concluded the higher resolution of SACD and DVD-A are such that the signals being processed are "cleaner" than those of Redbook CD, and so become indistinguishable. No doubt this explanation lacks scientific rigour, but it's the best this historian can muster.
     

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