Need two sets of 5.1-channel inputs for multi-channel SACD and DVD-Audio? Try this!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Many of us have debated what to do about connecting a DVD-Audio player and a multi-channel SACD player to a pre-amp or receiver that has one set of multi-channel inputs. There have been discussions about splitters (Y-adapters and the like) or simply switching cables each time you want to switch between formats. Another option, of course, is to get a new receiver that has two sets of multi-channel inputs. That is a costly proposition and not ideal if you are happy with your receiver otherwise. So, what to do? Well, here is possibly the best option from the standpoint of convenience, performance, and cost. A less expensive option than getting a new receiver with two sets of multi-channel inputs is to get the Sony TA-P9000ES multi-channel analog pre-amp. I have yet to find a web site that describes well how it works, but I called Oade Bros. this morning and spoke to Jim Oade about it. Many web sites state that the 'P9000ES, which has been out in Europe for some time, but is new to the US market, is designed to be used with the Sony TA-E9000ES multi-channel pre-amp. My question for Jim Oade was whether the 'P9000ES could be used with an A/V receiver. The answer is, yes it can. The 'P9000ES has two sets of multi-channel inputs to accommodate DVD-Audio and multi-channel SACD players, as well as a set of multi-channel outputs that can be routed to your receiver's multi-channel inputs. Short of getting a new receiver, and for less money, the 'P9000ES may be the most convenient way to handle both multi-channel music formats. The 'P9000ES retails for $700, but Oade Bros. is selling it for $450.
    By the way, I did not order a 'P9000ES. I have no doubts that the 'P9000ES would be more convenient than switching cables, but I am not sure I want to invest more money in hardware for the multi-channel music formats until I see a greater commitment from the record labels towards them. Another consideration is that if I were to upgrade my receiver at some point, I would have no use for the 'P9000ES, so that's one more piece that I'd have lying around. If I were to get a new receiver, I could probably unload my current Sony STR-V444ES easily, but the 'P9000ES could be difficult to unload. Also, Oade Bros. is taking pre-orders on the Sony STR-DA3ES receiver, which has two sets of multi-channel inputs, for $685. For $235 more than the 'P9000ES, it may be worth it for me to replace my 'V444ES with the 'DA3ES. However, the 'P9000ES is nice for those who are on a budget and/or have no interest in upgrading their receiver. For example, if I had a higher-end receiver with only one set of multi-channel inputs such as a B&K AVR 307 or Denon AVR-4800, I might opt for the 'P9000ES at $450 over a new receiver.
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  2. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    The Sony P9000ES sounds like a good solution to the problem of getting two multichannel inputs for both DVD Audio and SACD. Do you know how the P9000ES would connect and integrate into a typical HT system. I assume this unit would have it's own remote control for switching from one multichannel input to the next. Also how about integrating the Outlaw ICBM into the mix.
    Just what I need more wires...........Oh well, if it works this just might be the ticket........
    Regards,
    geo
     
  3. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    I am not Keith, but I can still address some of your questions.
    Assume you have a multi-channel SACD player and a DVD-Audio player for the time being and that your receiver has a single 5.1 channel input.
    Without ICBM....
    DVD-A --->>> Input of P9000ES
    SACD --->>> Input of P9000ES
    Output of P9000ES --->>> Multi-channel Input of receiver.
    With ICBM --->>>
    DVD-A and SACD connections unchanged.
    Output of P9000ES ---> ICBM input
    ICBM output ---> Multi-channel input of receiver.
    I agree, too damned many cables -- I'm certain I complained about that in my forthcoming review of the ICBM.
    Regards,
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    John Kotches
    Contributing Writer
    Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Kieth- I'll 2nd your following comment:
     
  5. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Okay, that makes sense JK. Now, substitute a pre-pro and multichannel amplifier for the receiver. Does the ICBM go before or after the pre-pro?
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  6. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    John- Putting the P9000ES right before the power amps is possibly the best way to go, because it is a completely analog pre amp.
    If you send the DVD-A/SACD through the P9000ES into your receiver, a lot of receivers will digitize that input, trashing the sound quality.
    I would even suggest that then to integrate the ICBM, put it on the outputs on the P9000ES right before the power amps. This way, you could use the ICBM on *all* source components. DD/DTS/DPL receiver/pre-pro, SACD, and DVD-A. You would lose the time delay benefits of DD/DPL/DTS in your receiver, but possibly gain much more flexible bass handling via the ICBM.
    Bottom line? More than one way to do it. [​IMG]
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  7. Philip Brandes

    Philip Brandes Stunt Coordinator

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    The P9000ES sounds like a workable solution in terms of capability, but has anyone actually tested it to determine how transparent it actually is?
    My past experience trying to integrate analog and digital gear has shown that even a simple 2-channel A/B signal split is likely to audibly degrade sound quality, and is very expensive to implement transparently. I am very suspicions that a 6-channel switcher/preamp at this price point isn't compromising sound quality.
    Since the whole point of DVD-A and SACD is to achieve higher resolution and fidelity, my concern here is that it defeats the purpose to introduce another split/preamp in the signal path.
    I hope that anyone who gets a chance to experiment with this approach will post their observations!
    Cheers,
    Philip Brandes
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  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Philip, I have certainly thought about potential problems with re-routing those high-resolution analog signals through the 'P9000ES. Many people say to avoid Y-adapters for that reason. The 'P9000ES has garnered high praise over in Europe, however, it may be that people have been using it for lower-resolution Dolby Digital and DTS. In such cases, sound degradation could be less apparent. I'm not sure how many in Europe have been using the 'P9000ES. It came out over there before DVD-Audio, and certainly before multi-channel SACD, became available.
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 05, 2001 at 06:12 PM]
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    2 thangs:
    1) The P9000ES is not new to America. It was released maybe 2 years ago, when SACD 1st came out. It was available for maybe a year, and then disappeared. The release this fall, isn't! In other words, it was re-released by Sony this fall due to demand.
    Check out some of the older threads on http://pub7.ezboard.com/faussiedvdan...formationforum for more info.
    2) I *think* that the Oct issue of Stereophile talked about it, and gave it somewhere between an A to AAA rating. That's high praise indeed when you consider that Stereophile typically "looks down their nose" at mass market manufacturers from Japan.
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  10. Robert A. Willis Jr.

    Robert A. Willis Jr. Second Unit

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    Not quite accurate. Stereophile tends to disfavor mass marketed equipment. Sony has received very good reviews of its less affordable equipment.
    rw
     
  11. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin / John,
    With your suggested P9000ES and Outlaw ICBM hook up, what would control the volume.......... the Receiver,pre/pro or the P9000ES? Could the P9000ES volume be set and left alone with the volume controlled by the Receiver, pre/pro.......? Or would the P9000ES volume control be used for sources hooked up to it, etc....etc
    Also if the ICBM is being used for all bass management, what happens to the bass management functions within your receiver or pre/pro? settings for time delay, speaker size, etc.............
    This is getting very confusing, but fun............
    Regards,
    geo
    [Edited last by Geo on November 05, 2001 at 05:24 PM]
    [Edited last by Geo on November 05, 2001 at 05:28 PM]
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, thanks for the correction. I had never read that the 'P9000ES was marketed in the US two years ago. I could see the 'P9000ES not being a big seller two years ago, but now that more people are getting into both DVD-Audio and multi-channel SACD, it will probably sell pretty well.
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  13. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Keith- One of the many tidbits I picked up from the aussie TA-E9000ES forum!
    Geo- To use the ICBM, you set all your speakers as large, and subwoofer present: yes, and then let the ICBM do all of the crossover chores.
    It's all in the ICBM's manual (that I don't have, but there was a link in a precious thread somewhere). Maybe on Outlaw's site too.
    For volume control, assuming the P9000ES is *after* your receiver/pre-pro, you use the P9000ES volume control to control the DVD-A/SACD player hooked up to it. You'd still use your original receiver/pre-pro's volume control for all components hooked up to that device. That's assuming that your original receiver/pre-pro is connected to the "bypass" inputs on the p9000es.
    I agree, confusing, but fun to "research" and think about!
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  14. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    "Without ICBM....
    DVD-A --->>> Input of P9000ES
    SACD --->>> Input of P9000ES
    Output of P9000ES --->>> Multi-channel Input of receiver"
    My question regarding this is - Since the P9000ES is a pre-amp, and you would be feeding the output of a pre-amp into the multi-channel input of a receiver (another pre-amp input), what kind of problem could that create.
    Generally you are feeding a specific lower level output into the 5.1 inputs on a receiver. But by feeding the output of the P9000ES into the same receiver - could that cause problems for the receiver's input? Could you overload the input section of the receiver? And couldn't the higher level output from the P9000ES add distortion by feeding its signal into another pre-amp section?
    I don't know these answers, that is why I ask. I am merely going on gut instinct. If something like this is truly able to work - I would seriously think about purchasing the P9000ES instead of switching cables like I do at the current time for my DVD-Audio and multichannel SACD players.
     
  15. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Michael,
    So long as you use a consistent and repeatable volume setting on the P9000, you should be just fine.
    Perhaps there is a "unity gain" volume that Sony could tell you about.
    I haven't worked with it -- I have the P9000 on steroids, otherwise knows as the EMM Labs Switchman-2 preamp that I just reviewed.
    My ICBM review should be available at Secrets by weeks end.
    Regards,
    ------------------
    John Kotches
    Contributing Writer
    Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
     
  16. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Paul,
    If you only have one external 5.1 device, and one 5.1 input, the answer is (naturally) nothing.
    OTOH, if you have one input and two 5.1 external 5.1 devices, it beats replacing the receiver....
    Just my thoughts.
    Regards,
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    John Kotches
    Contributing Writer
    Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Paul,
    As I said above, Jim Oade at Oade Bros. said the 'P9000ES has a set of multi-channel outputs. If you have a receiver with only one set of multi-channel inputs and both a DVD-Audio player and a multi-channel SACD player, you could connect both to the 'P9000ES using the two sets of multi-channel inputs and connect the 'P9000ES to the receiver from the multi-channel outputs on the '9000ES to the multi-channel inputs on the receiver. To simplify, here is the chain:
    DVD-Audio player
    Multi-channel SACD player
    to
    'P9000ES multi-channel inputs (one set for each player)
    and
    'P9000ES multi-channel outputs
    to
    Receiver's multi-channel inputs
    John,
    Depending on what price point you are operating in with respect to your current receiver and a new receiver you might get, the 'P9000ES could be a more costly and less convenient proposition. I have a Sony STR-V444ES receiver that I paid $640 for last year. I am toying with the idea of replacing it with a Sony STR-DA3ES, which possesses two sets of multi-channel inputs. I can pre-order the 'DA3ES for $685 through Oade Bros. If I were to sell the 'V444ES for say, $450, I would only be out $235 to get the 'DA3ES. So, $235 gets me a new receiver with two sets of multi-channel inputs and newer technology than my 'V444ES in a one-box solution, as opposed to spending $450 to add the 'P9000ES to my 'V444ES and having two boxes. Also consider that a third set of six RCA cables is required to connect the 'P9000ES with both DVD-Audio and multi-channel SACD players to a receiver, while only two sets are needed in going directly to a receiver with two sets of multi-channel inputs.
    Of course, my strategy assumes the 'DA3ES will be at least as good as the 'V444ES all-around, if not better. I would not be a happy camper if the 'DA3ES gave me two sets of multi-channel inputs, but was an inferior receiver.
    As I said in an earlier post in this subject, if I owned one of the higher-end receivers such as the B&K AVR 307 or Denon AVR-4802 and wanted two sets of multi-channel inputs, then the 'P9000ES would be a more attractive option.
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 06, 2001 at 06:42 PM]
     
  18. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Keith- I think a slightly better way of doing it is:
    Receiver's mulitchannel outputs
    to
    P9000ES (the 5.1 "bypass" inputs).
    and then separately...
    DVD-A and/or SACD player
    to
    P9000ES.
    and then the P9000ES connected directlty to your power amps then speakers.
    The reason why, is that you get the "highest quality" formats of DVD-A and SACD one device closer to your speakers.
    Less chance of any signal degredation by going direct vs routing through the receiver.
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  19. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin,
    "Receiver's mulitchannel outputs
    to
    P9000ES (the 5.1 "bypass" inputs).
    and then separately...
    DVD-A and/or SACD player
    to
    P9000ES.
    and then the P9000ES connected directlty to your power amps then speakers."
    I see your trying to keep the receiver out of the loop as much as possible, which is probably a good idea with
    DVD-A/SACD.
    But something seems wrong with this picture.
    You don't have to use the receivers multichannel input, I see that part. But how many 5.1 inputs does the P9000ES have. It looks from this it would have to have three if you plan on hooking both a DVD-A and SACD.
    And of course assuming this hook up will work, my ICBM would then go after the P9000ES and before the amps...... correct???????
     
  20. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I would do it this way:
    SACD ->
    DVD-A -> TA-P9000ES -> ICBM -> amps/speakers
    receiver->
    More than likely, the ICBM has better (i.e., more flexible) bass management than most receiver's. Just let the ICBM do bass management for everything.
    ( Dang! How do you do "hard" spaces with this forum software? [​IMG] )
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