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iLink, too good to be true!! Z9/3910 combo (1 Viewer)


Stunt Coordinator
Jul 8, 2004

I've been reading around about the iLink, firewire, IEEE 1394, what ever you want to call it But I have not come across anything where the actual 'qualities', 'drawbacks' have been discussed.

I've got a Z9, and just received a Denon 3910 (also have an A11/5900, but haven't really tested it much)

I setup everything on the Z9 to how I like and how it should be.
I then took the temporary A11 away (unhooking 12 cables!) and put the 3910 in its place.
I then connected in my component cables for video and the provided iLink cable for audio. I was a bit sceptical that this wasn't right, so 'little' connections to make, so I also hooked up the coax and two RCA cables for stereo audio from CD's.

I turned the 3910 on and setup it up; the main change was to turn on firewire.
?? WHAT?? No options to change for digital connections (optical and coax), no analogue connection options, not Muti/Stereo options, no filters, bass enchantments. Odd???

Anyway, I went to the Z9, and made sure everything was recognised OK then started to put in some disks.

After the first DVD and CD, I took out the coax and RCA cables I hooked up, realising they weren’t necessary.

I then played a number of DVD-A, and normal DVD's with multiple formats.
Star Wars: DD (EX)
A Night at the Opera, Queen: MPL DVD audio, DTS 24/196, PCM
Cheskys DVD-Audio setup disk: DVD audio, and custom 4 channel music.
Master and Commander: DTS

And the list goes on, not including all the CD's

EVERY single format was decoded and played perfectly. I was impressed! the Z9 picked it all up, perfect, correct speaker icons turned on, all formats, etc.
So, my question after all this;

Is there a catch with iLink?

Is the quality over IEEE 1394 not so good (I couldn't tell a difference, even in CD playback with stereo)
Are there drawbacks to the medium, and reasons why you would still use 9 cables to connect your systems up in audio?
But digital is digital, a bit is a bit, a byte is a byte, 101011 is 101011. So theoretically, there should be better connectivity and detail over iLink than analogue, no?

I can see the huge advantage now that HDMI will have, only one cable and everything coming across it.

Please let me know what you think; especially if you would still use analogue connections over digital.
Because really, the only thing I am using the 3910 for, is video, everything on the audio side inside the player is basically by-passed, isn't it. Is that a waste?



(i didn't know where to post this, so i hope here is ok);)

John Kotches

Senior HTF Member
Mar 14, 2000

I used the Z9 with a Pioneer DV-59AVi via firewire and had no problems with it.

The catch? With the Yamaha you have to turn on some type of processing to get bass management with SA-CD and DVD-Audio.

That's the only catch.

Glad you enjoyed, it definitely helps in uncluttering the mass of wiring doesn't it?



May 1, 2003

when you go HDMI, even the video is bypassed.. someone should just put out a pure transport with just a HDMI out; chances are though, even cutting out the processing chips and all the other stuff that goes into a normal DVD player, the pure transport will be so high-end it'll cost 25K :)


Supporting Actor
Mar 21, 2002
"I then took the temporary A11 away (unhooking 12 cables!) and put the 3910 in its place."

Why did you do that? The 5900/A11 now has a perfectly working firewire connection, just like the 3910.

I did try my 5900 with the Yammie Z9 and the Pio 59txi also with the firewire connections and it was working flawlessly.

Denon are updating for free the first batch of 5900/A11 that didn't had a working firewire connection.


Feb 21, 2004
basically, what you're asking is which component has the better DACs.

there may be some variables that make a direct comparison difficult, but try all your options; see what you think sounds better.


Stunt Coordinator
Jul 8, 2004
Hi, thanks for the replies :)

First to answer the question why i unhooked the A11 which also has a perfectly good iLink port, and as to why i had it hooked up in analog is . . .
The A11 we got was an old/early model, it was, i think, floor stock, you could tell it was very heavily used. Also, all the cables (including the firewire cable) were missing out of the box, hence i couldn't connect it as i wished. And seeing as we couldn't get another A11, because we were unsatisfied with the currect one, and they didn't have another, or couldn't get one anyway, we got a 3910 instead :D
But i still have to say, from what we did get to use the A11 on, i did a bit of testing while we had it, it was GREAT. Excellent sound and picture (i didn't notice any MB, but i wasn't focusing on it too much, more the sound). If you can still find an A11/5900 around and can get it for dirt cheap, don't hesitate :)

But concerning the 3910 and firewire, i cannot tell any difference in audio quality. The only 'draw back', if you'd call it that, is that the Z9 cannot use its Pure Direct mode, as that is only for analog connections. But, again, i cannot tell the difference so it doesn't worry me much.

But just to confirm, passing via iLink does NOT lower the resolution of the signal, no downsampling or anything, the quailty of signal is equal to or probably better than that of analog, as it is kept digital untill the Z9 processes it. Technically, there should be no differencem except it is only one cable as oppposed to 6.



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