Lesser of two evils: SACD player that converts to PCM or using a Switcher?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Carlo Medina, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Okay, I know the degradation of sound quality can be debated regarding with regards to a player like the Pioneer 563A which converts DSD to PCM. Most agree there is some, but the audibility of it is the debating point.

    So here's my situation, and question:

    I have an RP91 which I'm happy with the DVD-A side of it. I want an SACD player. I don't think I ca afford to spend $600 on the upcoming Denon 2910. My receiver is an NAD T763 feeding MB Quart QLS-1030 mains. The T763 has only one set of 7.1 inputs.

    So do I buy a cheap Uni like the 563A to handle all my SACD/DVD-A? Or do I buy a dedicated SACD player (like the upcoming one from Sony for $200-$300) and use two A/V switchers from Radio Shack to switch between the RP91 and the SACD player?

    Which would introduce more signal degradation? Using a cheap Uni or getting a decent SACD but using the switcher from Rat Shack? I'd use as short a run of RCA cables as possible - the Rat Shack golds at less than 3' each.

    Thanks for the opinions!
     
  2. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Or...should I just suck it up, start saving some extra cash now, and by the end of the year upgrade the RP91 to the 2910?
     
  3. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Well, all I can add is that it is not a given that a uniplayer converts DSD to PCM. And if it did, whether that is audible is a whole 'nuther can of worms.

    Huge debates about that in various places, but IIRC, there were some detailed review of the 563, 45a, and perhaps other Pio machines, and the conclusion was that they did not convert.

    On top of that, certain high profile SACDs (Tommy and Gaucho for example) were actually mixed and mastered in PCM. So, what does that say?

    I own both, and through my 45a, they both sound fabulous, regardless of their origin.

    I have used MCM switchers similar to the RS boxes, and I consider comments that they degrade the sound to be utter BS. IMHO, or course!

    BTW, did you get JPJ to sign the guitar?

    BGL
     
  4. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    With the switchbox, you will need 12 more cables. Thats another $150.

    $300 Sony + $150 cables + 2 switchboxes = $$

    The Denon doesnt look that expensive now, does it?
     
  5. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I plan to use the same Radio Shack switchers with my two players. I've used them in the past for other audio applications and have never noticed a sonic degradation. They are unpowered and are no different than adding female/female extender on an RCA cable to link two short cables when necessary. I can't see how the signal would degrade to an audible point.
     
  6. Philip>L

    Philip>L Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Well, by my math, 3 pairs out from each player to the switch boxes (so call that 6 cables), and 3 pairs from the switch to the 5.1 Ext In of the receiver. So, I get 9 stereo interconnects to hook up two 5.1 sources to a single 5.1 input via electro machanical switches.

    I personally think that a quality IC can be had for a lot less than $16/each. But if one does get wrapped up in cables, then sure, $150 is what one could choose to spend.

    I think I paid about $5/each for a decent 3 foot Phoenix Gold interconnect. YMMV.

    BGL
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If you were to go with a $1K player and use $5 interconnects, IMO, you just wasted $1K, but that's just me. Analog interconnects DO have an affect on the sound, but there is definitely a point at which spending more on cables is not going to make a noticable or worthwhile improvement. I actually thought $150 was low [​IMG] The three ICs (front stage) I am using for my SACD cost more than that. [​IMG]
     
  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Philip,

    Do you know if that statement on the 563A holds for the new 578A? My local store cleared out of 563s.
     
  10. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    Re: IC prices

    I was using prices set by bluejeanscable. They are typically considered good quality at a good price. $75 for 1 6-ch audio set. I figured two sets total (cause you should already have one set)

    RE: DSD to PCM conversion

    Most players use the same standard sony chips (unfortunately) to pass the signal to the players DACS. The chips perform 120, 100 or 80hz crossover (depending upon the chip used) with a low slope cotoff. Players that can perform more advanced BM usually convert the stream to PCM prior to the DACS. Personally, I would be more interested in the quality of the player's DACs, before I cared about any conversions going on prior to the DACs (kinda like arguing about the Denon 3805 vs the Pioneer 55tx when all you have is bose speakers).

    Re: 563 vs 578

    Plenty of [long] threads on this subject.
     
  11. Philip>L

    Philip>L Stunt Coordinator

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    My guess would be that the statement does hold true, but that's just a guess.

    Perhaps you can use the email address above and ask Pioneer directly...

    [email protected]
     
  12. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I have been around here long enough to know to just leave this one alone[​IMG]

    BGL
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Carlo,

    I am running both a Sony 555ES SACD player and Panny RP-91 through a pair of Radio Shack a/v switches to my 5.1 analog inputs, and notice absolutely no difference in sound quality vs. having the players directly connected to my receiver. I would love to upgrade the RP-91, but have yet to find another quality player that offers its built-in zoom/scaling and auto-pillarboxing features and offers a noticable upgrade in video quality.
     
  14. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I hear ya Scott, and since my HDTV locks on FULL mode for progressive, I really need that feature for 4:3 material (and we have a lot of TV shows on DVD).

    I know Sony has a new batch of SACD/CD and SACD/DVD players coming out, and since Yawa is an authorized dealer I will probably get good prices on that. Might just have to wait...
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I don't see any problem with the Sony SACD chips, but the DACs are really where it's at (and that has always been the case, IMO), even in a redbook player.
     
  16. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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  17. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the heads up on that Sony model, Danny. I'd probably get it for less at my local dealer (not that you can get much lower that $150, the dealer margin isn't that high on those kind of items).

    Sounds like Sony at least is doing SACD right (and they should, it's their baby!), and my RP91 is--knock on wood--still going strong and pleasing me w/ its DVD-A performance and the windowboxing...might have to buy the new Sony SACD/CD for just over a hundred bones and do the switcher.

    I'm not going to touch the IC argument w/ a 10' pole. But for a $150 MSRP SACD player, I'm not going to break the bank on ICs, so I think I'll be able to get out of this for about $200 total.

    I think this may be a quick fix, and in a couple of years when they work out all the kinks (hopefully) I'll be ready to commit some serious cash to a Uni player.
     
  18. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I would say save for the 2910. It will do bass management much better than the RP91 as well as have better DACS and MUCH better picture quality, especially if you have a digital display. Even with an analog display w/ DVI/HDMI there should be a a PQ improvement because of less DA/AD conversions. Also the 2910 shouldn't convert from DSD to PCM, I'm almost positive. I'm personally waiting for the 1910 which should be the same as the 2910 w/out DVDA/SACD because i'm 100% HT.
     
  19. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Carlo,

    Actually Sony will beat that $150.00 SACD/CD changer with single-disc DVD/SACD player that will street for about $130.00 with the DVP-NS577SD.

    See this article on upcoming Sony SACD hardware activities.
     

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