Newby, DVD to Receiver Connections

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Scott ME, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Scott ME

    Scott ME Auditioning

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    Hello-

    I recently purchased a Yamaha DVD changer, the C950. I went to Sound Advice to purchase some optical cables when I ran into a salesman. He instructed me to buy the Optical cable plus a digital coax and hook both of them up. Is this neccessary? Did I buy one or the other for no reason?

    From what I have read it seems like the two are very similar and can't see a need for both. If anyone could let me know if I need both or not I would appreciate it.

    Thanks-
    Scott
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    ???? The number and type of cables you need to connect things to a receiver depends on the number of devices you're going to connect to it and what types of cables they support. Absent knowledge of that there is no way to tell anybody what cables they "need".

    Both digital coax and digital optical carry ones and zeros, not analog signals that are highly susceptible to cable quality. As a practical matter there is no difference between the two. Some devices such as cable boxes and DVD players may support only one or the other, so maybe the salesperson suggested both so you wouldn't get home and find you had the wrong type of cable.

    Like I said, what you need depends on what you plan to connect to the receiver, and you haven't indicated what that might be.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. Scott ME

    Scott ME Auditioning

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    Thanks, I was very clear that I was hooking up my new Yamaha DVD Changer to my Yamaha AV 2500, that was it. I think I fell victim to a greedy salesman. I wish I did some quick research before going into the store...
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Either that or a totally clueless one. [​IMG] There is no reason in the world to connect a DVD changer to a receiver using both coax and optical cables. It is like wearing a belt and suspenders at the same time. [​IMG] The good news is you can almost certainly return the extra cable. I'd just return the more expensive of the two. (When it comes to cables I generally either buy them on-line before I get a new component or use the cheapest cables possible - usually the ones that come in the box - and order on-line later. Brick and mortar stores charge insanely high prices for cables that are no better in quality that what several HTF sponsors sell for a fraction of the price.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Scott ME

    Scott ME Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info, while on the topic... In this same encounter I was introduced to the concept of "Super Audio" CD's (I'm behind on things). I was told that I need to set up my DVD changer to the multi input channels in order for this to work (3 more sets of cables!). Would this also be necessary while having the optical cable hooked up to the DVD changer? I was told that I needed the optical for the DVD's and the cables for the super audio CD's. I thought his explanation made sense so I didn't even think to question it.

    Please tell me this wasn't a lie!
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Well, it is either that or they are smoking something very funky over at Sound Advice these days. SACD is a digital audio format, and if your player supports SACD it will pass that signal to your receiver just that way it does the digital soundtracks of your DVDs. This guy must not only make a big commission off the insane SA mark-up on whatever cables he's trying to push on you, he's probably getting something under the table from whoever makes the cables. [​IMG] Seriously, this guy is either preying on customers who aren't up on the details of this stuff and selling them crap they don't need or he should be sitting in a training class somewhere and not on the sales floor dispensing what is clearly not "sound advice". I'd call the store and speak to the manager about this, because this guy is going to hurt their business in the long run.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Scott ME

    Scott ME Auditioning

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    Thanks Joe,

    They will definitely be getting a call or a letter from me.

    Regards-
    Scott
     
  8. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    I am in a similar situation and could use some advice.

    Here is what I have. I have a Marantz SR5600 receiver and a Marantz CC4300 CD changer I connected them using the manufacturer supplied RCA cables. A friend of mine who claims to "know" about this stuff (though I sometimes question his ideas and conclusions) says that it will improve my performance, sound, etc... if I were to connect them using an optical cable. Is this true?

    Also said I should hook up the SR5600 to the Dish Network box by optical cable. Is this true?

    Why? Thanks!
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    For the CD player to the receiver, using a digital output from the CD player allows the receiver to do the DAC instead of the CD player. Depending on the quality of the DACs in the CD player compared to the receiver, it may or may not be better. You should listen both ways and use whichever sounds best (if they sound different).

    If you're getting HD channels with DD over the dish, then yes you need to use either digital coax or optical out (both are SPDIF) to get 5.1 from that, otherwise you're just getting stereo.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The question isn't really "optical vs. copper", as much as it is "digital vs. analog". All optical cables are digital, but not all digital cables are optical. As noted above many devices have both coaxial and optical digital outputs, and many receivers have both coaxial and optitcal digital inputs, as well as a number of analog inputs. All other things being equal you'll probably get better sound out of the DAC in you receiver than the one in your player (especially for people who use the same player for both DVD and CD) and you'll absolutely need to use a digital connection to get digital surround sound from a cable or satellite box.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Brian: you need to listen to each and see if you discern any difference, and decide preference that way.

    I have a marantz sr5300 with an NAD 521i cd player, and I prefer the 5300 DACs slightly over the NAD, in case you are curious. I would expect the DACs in the NAD to be better than those in cc4300.
     
  13. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    Whats a good online source for optical cables on the cheap?
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Blue Jeans cable and RAM Connectivity are two HTF advertisers who come to mind immediately. Go to the main page and click on the ads so that site gets credit for passing you along. Also go to the HTF Mall to look for other cable dealers, then you can shop and compare among retailers who help support this site.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  15. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Whoa guys!!

    Sacd and dvd-audio multichannel signals can ONLY be transmitted via the player's 5.1 analog RCA outputs to a receiver's 5.1 analog input.

    This is a copy protection measure demanded by the music industry in the late 90s when these formats were in the R&D stages.

    Exceptions to this:

    The dvd-audio format and high resolution stereo signals: if a music label wishes to, they can write into the disc's software "permission" to allow a 2.0 hi-res signal to be transmitted via the digital output, up to the data limit of that particular connection format (Toslink and coaxial) which is 96kHz/24bit.

    The sacd format is only allowed transmission through digital means via the proprietary methods provided on a few hi-end receiver/player combinations like those from Pioneer and Denon for example.

    ************************************************** *
    Extra info

    A confusing feature - or advantage depending on your point of view - of the dvd-audio format: while playing a hi-res *stereo* track, many dvd-audio discs allow the player to output what's called a downsampled version of it through the digital output. For example, the player will be reading a 192kHz/24bit track but your receiver will see only a 48kHz/24bit signal. Not as hi-res, but at least you can still listen to it (many receivers don't use chips that can handle anything above 48kHz, though more and more *are* using 96kHz/24bit chips [​IMG]).

    Very possible reason people can get confused & think dvd-audio discs don't need the analog outputs: all dvd-audio discs include a Dolby Digital and/or DTS track for compatibility with regular dvd-video players. These tracks can use the digital outs like a regular dvd movie disc does.

    Also.......many dvd-audio discs include regular PCM tracks in stereo form which can also be output in digital form or decoded internally & then sent through the player's analog outputs. FYI: these regular PCM tracks - also called "linear" PCM tracks* - can use sampling rates all the way up to 96kHz which 99% of all regular dvd-video players can decode internally (except maybe those really cheapo $30 types sold next to the candy bars [​IMG] ).

    Some labels that include these kinds of tracks:

    * most titles from DTS Entertainment
    * some early Warner Bros. titles (Doobie Brothers The Captain And Me, Billy Cobham's Spectrum, etc) >>> but only decoded internally - the digital output will be disabled.
    * many EMI classical titles
    * the DADs (digital audio disc) and HDADs (hybrid dvd audio disc) from Classic Records.
    * AIX Records

    * to fit all those data-intensive 5.1 hi-res tracks onto one disc, a dvd-audio disc use a lossless compression format called MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing), though the player's on-screen display usually refers to this as "PPCM" or packed PCM.
     
  16. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the correction, Lance, I had no idea the industry had done something that stupid. (Although by this time I shouldn't be surprised. [​IMG]) I have a Sony DVD/CD player that can play SACD (but not DVD-A), but I don't actually own any such discs and only skimmed that part of the manual. Pretty farking annoying that I'll have to run a whole extra bundle of cables into my receiver if I ever decide to check the format out. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  17. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    The industry you can thank for that is the big music labels. AFAIK the *hardware* people could have implemented a common standard using Firewire to digitally transmit unencrypted hi-res signals but oh well.

    BTW: (I hate to add this because of this format's incredibly sloppy execution & the confusion already surrounding it) since Day 1, HDMI can transmit dvd-audio signals too but except for a couple Panasonic receivers, I don't know of any receivers/processors that can handle such signals & whether or not they can even apply b.m or distance compensation to them. With the upcoming version 1.3 for HDMI, sacd's DSD format can finally move over that connection but I've never heard of *any* receivers that can deal with that particular format.
     

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