Optical Out vs. Coaxial/Panny vs. Sony DVD Player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Joe Berg, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    My Panasonic DVD-RP56 doesn’t play DVD-R or DVD+R very well (skips and blips) so I picked up a Sony DVP-NS575P without doing much research since the box said it played those formats. I opened the box to find that it does not have the optical output but rather, uses a coaxial digital cord. The Sony is considered entry level and I don’t think the Panny was much better, but what different will this make in the audio? I picked it up at Sears, which is handy for me but I guess I should’ve done a little more research. I have a widescreen Mits and around $6000 invested in my HT, so I guess I shouldn’t cheap out on the DVD player although we don’t watch a lot of movies. Maybe I can take it back and trade up. I haven’t even hooked it up yet. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    No difference at all, IMHO. I have tried and used both, even done a blind test (not double-blind). They are just two different ways of transporting the same digital information. Note - This is an engineer's view. A "cables make a big difference" person will surely disagree.
     
  3. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    I checked out Sony’s higher up model, DVP-NS975V, and I don’t think it has an optical out either. That unit retails for $299.00. Is the optical out obsolete? With the NS975V, you supposedly get the most out of a Hi-Def (ready?) TV.
     
  4. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    The point of the NS975V is digital video. It upconverts the signal in the player and sends the picture digitally to your television via a DVI or HDMI cable. If your Mits TV doesn't have either of these inputs, there's no reason for you to get an upconverting player.
    There are a number of threads dealing with upconverting players. Including the Sony, the Panasonic S97, the Denon 1910, 2910 and 3910, among others.
     
  5. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    I wanted to post a pic of the schematic of the back of the TV, but I guess I don’t have enough posts to my credit to post a pic yet. [​IMG] TV has DTV input “to connect a DTV receiver, and can be configured for HDTV component, RGB sync on green, and RGB plus H & V.”
     
  6. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    PS---with the Panny, I am using component video cables. No real complaints with the Panny except for the lack of DVD-R/DVD+R format.[​IMG]
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I prefer coax, but the difference between the two is going to be minimal.
     
  8. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    How can I tell? Mits is a 3 year old WS-55809 or WS-55819 (says HD 1080 on the front). It's HDTV ready.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    A three-year old Mitsubishi HD-ready TV would not have any DVI or HDMI inputs. At that time, Mits was only considering firewire for digital input to their HD sets.
     
  10. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    Hell, I might as well stick with the Sony El Cheapo and see how it goes. I assume that my Marantz 8000 has a coaxial in.
     
  11. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's the manual for your Mits
    On page 13 it has a picture of the back panel. It has component video input, no DVI or HDMI. So you have no use for those outputs on a DVD player.

    Marantz SR-8000 appears to have both optical and coax digital inputs, I found this on the web:
    Digital Optical Connectors3 x SPDIF input ( TOS Link ) - rear, 1 x SPDIF output ( TOS Link ) - rear
    Digital Coaxial Connectors3 x SPDIF input ( RCA phono ) - rear, 1 x SPDIF output ( RCA phono ) - rear
     
  12. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    Scott, thanks---I will try the coaxial cable and see how the DVD-R's look. This HT stuff is as bad as computers---it feeds on itself! [​IMG]
     
  13. craig_curtis

    craig_curtis Stunt Coordinator

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    in theory, coax should be better. the digital optical has to convert the signal to light, then reconvert it back to a digital signal at the receiver end. The digital Coax can just pass the signal straight through. Or something like that. That being said, I could never tell the difference. I think the coax cables are more expensive though, at least to get a really good one...
     
  14. Joe Berg

    Joe Berg Extra

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    I bought one for $12.00 at Wal-Mart. It works fine and I think I’ll keep the Sony---it plays recorded DVD’s great, and that was the main reason I bought it. It has a manual setting on the back for Progressive Scan or Normal. I set it to Progressive---not sure if that’s correct or not.
     
  15. matt-f

    matt-f Second Unit

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    Since I have the Panasonic DVD-RP82 and it has both optical and coax output.

    Now I did test coax and optical using Acoustic Research Master Series for both types hooked to my Harman Kardon. The sound of coax does sound better than optical from testing several times.

    Technically they should be the same. It could be the algorithm is differnt.
     
  16. MikeHerbst

    MikeHerbst Stunt Coordinator

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    Any difference you hear between Digital Coax and Optical is 100% up to how your audio receiver/processor is handling the signal.

    The bitstream (i.e. the digital ones and zeros) coming down both links is identical. Aside from a failing cable where lots of data packets were getting dropped, there is zero difference in the data content. That's like arguing whether a webpage sounds better if you websurf over ethernet or wireless. As long as the data gets there, its the same, its what the receiver does with it on the other end that makes a difference.

    Now its entirely possible that a particular receiver deals with one signal in a different way than the other. Its also very likely that the settings for each were not identical.

    On my DVD player and receiver, I have to go into the menu (on both) to select optical or coax, and I know that my receiver stores a lot of settings based on which input is being used, so getting an "A/B" test would be extremely difficult, since I'd have to change about 5 things to toggle between them. Hearing a difference after that kind of delay would be tough...
     
  17. matt-f

    matt-f Second Unit

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    I'm not quite sure about the either or wireless because both utilize CRC or ECC with doesn't apply to digital output for audio (coax/optical).
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    The error checking for DD and/or DTS is far more sophisticated than CRC. It even includes info that retimes the stream. So it is even more likely to have no difference between the two than the given analogy of a web page via ethernet/wireless. Mike is correct, unless the receiver is doing something dramatically different with optical and coax (whether due to settings for the input or the rare possibility that they are decoded differently), both inputs should sound the same.
     

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