Is it better to use analog or digital for 2.1?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Cagri, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    Hi.
    1- I just got my SA-WM40. My CD player is connected to the receiver with an analog interconnect. When listening music with the sub on, is it better to use a digital connection between the CD player and the receiver? I recall I have read in one thread that if an analog cable is used for 2.1, the signal is converted by both the CD player and the receiver thus getting degenerated. Is that correct?

    2- My speakers are set to small. When listening music in source direct mode, I suppose it doesn't make any difference if they're large or small, right?

    3- Another thing I am confused about is, there is a cine eq. mode on my receiver which I always swithc on for movies. When calibrating audio, should I switch this off or leave it on? I tried both ways and there is quite a big difference in the sound level for all of the speakers between two. Which is the right way to calibrate properly? I feel like I have to leave it on, but if not can someone explain the reason as well please? TIA.
     
  2. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    1 - Not sure if there's any data suggesting either is 'better'. It's a matter of listening preference.

    2 - Try both and see which you like better

    3 - Someone else please chime in here. I'm not sure exactly how the cinema eq. affects the sound.

    If no one else does, do a search for the cinema eq and calibration; see what others are doing and suggesting.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The general rule is that calibration should be done with all processing turned off. That includes any kind of cinema eq setting or THX processing. (High-end processors like the Lexicons automatically turn off all these settings when you enter the mode for calibrating sound levels.)

    By calibrating with the simplest, least-processed sound, you give yourself a baseline from which to judge the effect of the various processing options.

    As for the initial question, it really depends on how the receiver is configured. If it's simply amplifying the analog signal from the CD player, the only issue is which one has the better quality digital-to-analog converters ("DACs"). But if the receiver is doing any processing in the digital domain, using an analog connection from the CD player results in extra (and unnecessary) stages of digital/analog conversion.

    One unrelated item: "2.1" (as used in the title of this thread) literally refers to a source with two channels and a separate subwoofer (or LFE) channel. No one ever referred to sat/sub systems that way before the advent of multi-channel audio, and it's incorrect to refer to them that way now. A typical CD supplies 2.0 PCM audio. Just because the receiver in a particular setup routes certain frequencies to a subwoofer, that doesn't make it "2.1".

    M.
     
  4. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    Michael thank you for your reply. 2.1 was something I have read here in the forum, that's why I used it. What I mean is, listening music with 2 main speakers and a subwoofer. Technically it might be wrong, thanks for pointing that out. What I understand from your post is, either I use a subwoofer or not, if my CD player is hooked up to the receiver with an analog cable, the receiver performs same way, right? It doesn't do any signal conversion just because there is a subwoofer connected, it only seperates the analog signals coming out from the CD player, sending the ones lower than a certain level to the sub, rest to the main speakers. Right? I can't find the post in which I remember that I read such a connection would cause 2 conversions of the signal, one by the player D to A, one by the receiver, A to D. I understand from your post that this is not correct, can you confirm please?

    Mat, thanks for caring to answer, the reason I had asked the first question in the first place is above. By saying "better" I did not mean "better sound".
     
  5. GregLee

    GregLee Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    delete
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Cagri --

     
  8. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    Michael, considering I have an entry level receiver (namely Kenwood VR5050D), it would work the way as you have mentioned, i.e. convert the signal once more when there is a sub connected. Probably that is why my mains sound more defined when I listen in "source direct" mode. Although I like the calibrated, blended sub's additional feeling, when it is on, mains sound a bit dodgy, I don't know how to explain it in other words. Now I am satisfied, there is this extra process on the signal and that explains the change of sound. It is then a better idea to use digital connections if you are not using hi-end gear, can we make such a generilization?

    Greg,
    Whem the cine eg. is on, the receiver boosts the bass, does it not? So, as far as I understand, you do not hear what the maker of the movie intented to deliver. And as the main purpose of calibration is to achive that, when you calibrate with cine eg. on, you change the original soundtrack. That is my explanation to the matter. After calibrating with cine eq off, and turning it on when watching, SPL changes for sure. I will try this evening and see which way I prefer with the added sub. Till now I was watching cine eq on, calibrating when off.
     
  9. Lee Carbray

    Lee Carbray Second Unit

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    Let me try to explain the reasoning behind calibrating with any special eq off. Any external processing like cinema eq is mean to be applied to a calibrated system. Basically calibrating with every thing off sets you up with an accurate level to what the sounds is supposed to be. If you calibrate with the processing turned on you are essentially changing what the processing was meant to do. So if I can borrow from what Cargi said, in Kenwoods anyway, the cinema eq is essentially a bass boost. If you calibrate with it on you and going to end up turning down your sub to compensate for the applied eq and changing the effect it was meant to have.
     

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