Questions from someone just getting into music with his home theater

Discussion in 'Music' started by Sam R. Aucoin, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Although I am an avid collector of movies on DVD, I am VERY new to the music-arena when it comes to using my home theater setup to the "fullest". Thus, some questions:

    1. Based on many articles that I have read, it SEEMS that SACD provides probably the "best sound" (and I realize this is subjective) when comparing SACD vs. DVD-A vs. CD. Am I correct?

    2. It also seems that DVD-A allows for more than just sound (videos, still galleries, etc.), whereas SACD appears geared towards maximizing the most out of the music. Am I correct?

    3. Are SACD and DVD-A "true" (meaning, were they created with the intention of maximizing audiophile sound out of the traditional two speaker setup) two-channel formats, or are they 5.1/6.1/7.1?

    4. I have a Sony 9000ES DVD player (which, of course, plays SACD but not DVD-A), an M&K750THX Select speaker setup, and a Denon 5700THX receiver. I noticed that while playing my Eagles "Hotel California" DVD-A (which also has 5.1 DD and DTS tracks), all five of my speakers sounded as though the same amount of bass was being sent to them. Was I hearing correctly? If so, this appears to me to be "dangerous" for the surround speakers, as they are not meant to handle the same range of highs and lows as my LCR and sub - correct?

    5. Is there a consensus that a 5.1 setup (or 6.1/7.1, for that matter) sounds better (whether playing DVD-A or SACD) than the "traditional" two-speaker stereo sound?

    6. As an example, on my "Hotel California" DVD-A, the following statement appears: "This disc can be played three ways: As Advanced Resolution Surround, Advanced Resolution Stereo, and DVD-Video Compatible Dolby Digital". Aside from the fact that the statement mistakenly omits the fact that it has a DTS track, does this listing mean that the first "way" sounds better than the second, and that the second "way" sounds better than the third?

    7. If there IS a danger of damage to my speakers (as I described above in No. 3), how, exactly, do I prevent this from happening (other than turning down the volume [​IMG] )?

    I apologize ahead of time to those who may find my questions simplistic - as I said, I am new to this area of home theater and I am trying to get a handle on it without damaging my system.

    Thanks for your replies.

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  2. Daryl Furkalo

    Daryl Furkalo Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2000
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sam,

    1. SACD and DVD-A are high-res formats that are better than CD. I have separate DVD-A and SACD players and have no preference between the two.

    2. I think SACD doesn't have any provision to have video information on the disc. DVD-A also sometimes has lyrics.

    3. Depends, there are 2-ch SACD and 5.1 SACD's available, sometime separately, sometimes on the same disc, with a CD layer also available (DSOTM). DVD-A will have either a DD and/or DTS track, along with the high-res DVD-A tracks. Hotel California has a 192k-24Hz 2ch layer and 96k-24Hz 5.1 layer. Which is better depends on the mix and is very subjective. There are no 6.1/7.1 mixes, but there can 4.0, 5.0 mixes.

    4 & 6. You were listening to the DD layer, there is no DTS mix on Hotel California. The DVD-A tracks are not available unless you have a DVD-A player. As I mentioned above, it is refering to the stereo mix and the surround mix.

    5. I wouldn't say that. 2ch stereo is very good.

    7. Bass management and time alignment up to this point are very rare, and poorly implemented on the players and very few processors/receivers have bass management on the 5.1 inputs. You can use an Outlaw ICBM for bass management.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    full disclosure. i have:
    10 SACD
    4 DVD-A


     
  4. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Daryl, I don't know which Hotel California you have, but the DVD-A I just received DOES have a DTS listing on it - I just listened to it. I know it was DTS because (1) the menu screen said it was and (2) my Denon receiver's DTS LED litup during playback.
     
  5. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sam, since you wish to use your home theater setup for music listening, I wouldn't worry too much about the multichannel vs. stereo debate. That's not to say it isn't an important consideration -- indeed, it's a crucially important question should you be building a system from scratch. However, since you've already got a multichannel system in place, go with that... you can always upgrade your two channel capabilities should that prove important to you as you go forward.

    The good news is that you're all set to start enjoying music on your multichannel system... give or take a few tweaks and accessories ...and I see you've already started! Of course, the main thing you lack is DVD-A capabilities, but you can begin sampling the DTS and DD tracks (which you've done).

    As to your question about the bass in the DTS track of "Hotel California" being too much for your speakers, the answer is simple for your setup, but more complicated generally. Since your stuck listening only to DTS or DD tracks on your DVD-A discs, you receiver's bass management is utilized exactly as it is for DVD-V movies. No adjustment necessary. So long as you've calibrated your system for movie soundtracks, you're all set to enjoy DTS/DD tracks from DVD-A discs. They are exactly the same.

    However, a full resolution DVD-A or SACD track cannot be bass managed by your receiver, and thus may generate full-range signals that can overwhelm your center or rear speakers (or even your main speakers if they're bookshelves or small towers). This is because there is no digital output for full resolution DVD-A or SACD signals, which is why you must use six analog cables to connect the six discrete channels from your player to your receiver or pre/pro (you do have the six analog cables connecting your Sony 9000ES to your Denon 5700, right?).

    Here's where it gets complicated, but I'm going to try to keep it simple. Short of purchasing super high-end, multi-thousand dollar equipment like Meridian or dCS, which feature proprietary digital connections for hi-res music sources, you will need to add an Outlaw ICBM-1 (available for $199-250) between your SACD/DVD player and your receiver for the purpose of bass management. You say your Sony player has onboard bass management for SACD? Yeah... so does my Sony C555ES. But it's useless. Not only is the crossover frequency an unadjustable, inapt 120Hz, but simply engaging the bass management circuitry causes a degradation of quality in the signal, thus negating one of the primary benefits of SACD. Before I got an ICBM-1, I listened to all my SACDs in "direct mode" (no bass management engaged), even though my rear and center speakers occasionally could not handle it... this still sounded much better than running the signal through the bass management circuitry.

    Let me note again that none of this bass management stuff is relevant for listening to DTS or DD tracks from DVD-A discs, which are bass-managed by your receiver in exactly the same way as your DVD-videos. Only full-resolution DVD-A tracks (24/96, 24/192) and SACD tracks require outboard bass management. And, yes, full resolution DVD-A and SACD tracks sound much, much better than DTS or DD tracks.

    As to your question about whether SACD and DVD-A are "true" two-channel formats, only SACD is. Every SACD must have a discrete, high resolution stereo track. Unfortunately, the DVD-A specs do not require this, and some rely on downconverted "mixdowns" of the multichannel track and others don't even use the full resolution available on DVD-A for stereo tracks (24/192). However, every DVD-A disc will have a multichannel track, whereas some SACDs are stereo-only.

    And every bit as important as anything else mentioned, you must have your speakers setup perfectly. Here are the specs: http://timefordvd.com/ref/ITU.shtml The most important element is that each speaker is equidistant from the listening position, as there is no means of setting delays (performing "time alignment") on full resolution DVD-A or SACD sources. Otherwise, you will hear a noticeable delay between your front and rear soundstage that will ruin your music playback. Soundwaves move slowly enough to give you some leeway - your speakers needn't be equidistant from you to the very last millimeter - but you need to get this dialed in as closely as possible. Otherwise, you will hear an echoey, out-of-phase sorta sound that will send you screaming back to the two channel track!

    This "echo" won't be as pronounced in so-called "ambient" mixes, but any recording with discrete instruments mixed to the rear channels requires that your system be dialed in perfectly. I'm sure you know the issues involved in placing two speakers for good imaging and frequency response... for six speakers (and without the easy crutch of digital manipulation), it is about six times harder. When I first got SACD capabilities, I dismissed out-of-hand the highly aggressive mix for Hancock's "Head Hunters" and the somewhat aggressive mix of Krall's "When I Look in Your Eyes" as unlistenable... but, issues of aesthetic choice aside, the problem was not the mix, but my setup. I didn't have all my speakers equidistant from my listening position (the rears were too close), and this caused the music to sound out-of-rhythm with itself. Careful replacement of speakers solved this problem, and now I find both these mixes to be interesting and valid counterparts to the two-channel mixes.

    Oh yes... level setting. Very problematic. It can only be done by engaging the bass management circuitry on your 9000ES (which, of course, degrades the sound quality). I'm lucky as my speaker output is almost identical all around, and so this is not an issue for me. However, if your speakers are of highly varying sensitivity or your room reinforces some channels more than others, this can be problematic.

    Are you getting the sense that properly setting up a multichannel music system is difficult? Well, it is. Much more difficult than setting up a two channel system. But, IMO, it's worth the effort, particularly since you already have all those speakers and amplification. And if you like to tweak and test and play around with your system, well, this is the perfect excuse!
     
  6. Daryl Furkalo

    Daryl Furkalo Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2000
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sam,

    I guess I'll taking a closer look ... [​IMG]
     
  7. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rich:

    First - thanks. You answered several questions before I even asked them!

    Now, I just received two new "CD's" in the mail today from Acoustic Sounds, Inc. (forgive the plug [​IMG] ): The Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks SACD and The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over XRCD.

    When I play EITHER of them using "stereo" mode, it sounds much worse than when I allow my Denon 5700AVR play it back in DD/DTS (which, in these instances, would default to Dolby Pro Logic). The voice is centered, the bass is sent to my sub, and the instruments appear to be coming from all directions.

    Is it "wrong" to play it in pro logic mode? Or is it one of those, "Hey, if A sounds better than B to YOU, then listen to A and to hell with the rest"?

    Also, I do NOT have six coaxial cables coming out of my DVD player connected to my 5700 - I have only two, and I use the "CD" input to play the sound. What I am doing wrong here, and to what input should the receiver be set to get the most out of the SACD (and XRCD) discs?

    I think I realize that for DVD-A, I am getting the best I can by listening to such discs as though they were DD/DTS movies - correct? With them (and until I get a DVD-A player), the best I have is advanced DD/DTS resolution.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  8. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 5, 1999
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  10. Ben_wood

    Ben_wood Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This thread should be required reading for anyone interested in SACD/DVD-A! Theres no telling how many people are running their systems in less than optimal configurations and wondering what all the fuss is about the Hi-Rez formats.
     
  11. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rich:

    Would you mind commenting on my "order" of worst to best in terms of sound (taking into account that not all mastering is the same - accept, as a given, that the best source for mastering is used: that the best masters - comparing apples to apples - are used):

    1. LP (depends on the length of the LP - longer play vinyl generally results in better sound because of wider grooves and thus more "room" for sound "ceiling and floor").

    2. CD (depends on the master used; better MEDIUM than LP because it is not as easily scratched or degraged as LP's, but compression GENERALLY makes the sound a bit "flatter")

    3. DD/DTS (a relatively new medium that is used especially by DVD-A, and can be taken advantage of by those who do not yet have DVD-A capability, but DO have DD/DTS capability)

    4. XRCD - (again, depending on the master used, the range of ceiling and floor should result in less compression and greater range - not sure if this is as good as 96/24)

    5. DVD-A (I rank this one below SACD simply because, according to everything I have read, SACD employs a direct digital bitstream, whereas DVD-A does not). Usually has a DD/DTS soundtrack as well as the DVD-A soundtrack, and also has "picture accessories" such as lyrics and even videos, which SACD lacks).

    6. SACD (supposedly the "Holy Grail" for sound - for now. Comes in either mono (if that is how it was sourced), stereo (if that is how it was sourced, or multi-channel (usually, not sourced this way, but mixed to take advantage of a home theater setup).

    Correct or not: If one does NOT want to damage one's home theater 5.1 (or 6.1/7.1 speakers predominantly used for movies), do NOT play DVD-A or SACD music without a true bass manager, as an equal signal will be sent to all speakers, both L, C, R, surround, and sub (which, of course, was not meant to be).

    I look forward to your responses/input.

    BTW - what does "redbook" mean?

    Thanks,

    Sam
     
  12. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "Red Book" refers to the regular ol' CD format.

    I don't think one could so easily rank the various format in terms of sound quality. Analog sources have some advantages over digital, and vice/versa. Generally speaking, a well-mastered and pressed LP is probably still the gold standard for music playback, but it's a medium prone to quick deterioration and the technology is fussy and expensive. There is some speculation that as the technology improves on the digital side, particularly the newest generation of Meitner dacs for DSD, including consumer versions hitting the market, that any remaining advantages the LP has over high-resolution digital will be quickly overcome.

    I'm not going to touch the question of whether SACD is better than DVD-A, mostly because I'm not setup to hear full-resolution DVD-A in my system. But also because any assertion on the matter will derail this thread.

    There's a notable contingent of folks who continue to assert that the CD format is plenty good enough. That's not been my experience at all, even though I surely concede that a well-mastered CD can sound very good (unfortunately, a well-mastered CD is as rare these days as a boat of sashimi). In the August edition of Stereophile, John Atkinson writes "This improvement (from SACD and DVD-A) over CD seems unmistakable. I fail to understand, therefore, why the "know-everythings" who seem to dominate the Internet newsgroups continue to insist that even 16-bit/44.1kHz PCM encoding (your basic CD) is better than is required... Yet everytime I have done comparisons using my own recordings, the result is always in favor of the hi-rez media."

    I have 64 SACDs, most of which include hybrid CD layers, and a large portion of those are from "audiophile" labels like Telarc, Chesky, FIM, Audio Fidelity, MFSL, etc. These labels know how to master a CD to the highest possible standards. Yet, I haven't a single disc where the CD layer is equal or superior to the SACD layer. Not a single one. And these are not the usual over-maximized, limited and compressed CDs, but ones mastered to the highest standards. And still... the SACD layer on these discs is easily heard to be superior. Easily.

    As I said, I have some DVD-A discs, but like you I can only access the DTS and DD tracks presently. I can tell you that I'm very impressed by the small sampling of these discs I've heard, and I'd highly recommend the DTS tracks on Donald Fagen's "THE NIGHTFLY" and Frank Zappa's "HALLOWEEN" DVD-As. They don't sound as good as SACD, and I'm sure they sound equally inferior to the full-resolution DVD-A tracks on those discs. But, nonetheless, they sound very good, and I don't experience a sense of "slumming it, audio-style" when I listen to them.

    On the other hand, I have the two Grateful Dead DVD-As which only have Dolby Digital tracks in addition to the DVD-A track (no DTS). I'm sure the DVD-A tracks sound quite good, as has been reported widely, but the Dolby Digital tracks are very lacking. I do experience a real loss of resolution, even compared to the CDs. Indeed, I much prefer the CD remasters of these albums (Workingman's Dead and American Beauty) to the Dolby Digital tracks on the DVD-As. The DD tracks simply sound weak and anemic to my ears.

    Here's what I recommend you do for your system:

    1. If you need to, rearrange your speakers to match the ITU standard I linked to above. The most important consideration is to ensure that all speakers are an equal distance from the listening position. I've found that the precise angles are somewhat less important and you should adjust for your room resonances, etc., rather than slavishly following the formula. But equal distance is crucial. It's the only way to time align your hi-resolution multichannel mixes.

    2. Hook your DVD/SACD player to your receiver via digital coax or toslink, and access this input with your receiver set to "DVD". Now, re-calibrate your system for DVD movie soundtracks with Video Essentials or Avia, and a Radio Shack SPL meter. Obviously, you will set all delays to "0" as your speakers are now equidistant, and you may need to tweak your level settings if your speakers were moved an appreciable distance from their former spots. You will use this input and calibration both for DVD-video and all DTS/DD tracks on your DVD-audio discs.

    3. Also hook up your DVD/SACD player to your receiver with six analog outputs using the 8-channel analog inputs on your Denon 5700 (simply ignore the two rear channel inputs for 7.1 movie soundtracks). Short of inserting an Outlaw ICBM-1 into the chain, you are now ready to listen to SACD.

    **Bass management: you'll find that many mixes, particularly of the "ambient" variety, don't send low bass to the rear speakers. Many mixes don't even use the center speaker, though some use them do so quite extensively... fortunately, mostly for vocals or center fill, but occasionally you'll find an upright bass or bass drum mixed to the center. But there are many mixes that might overwhelm your rear or center speakers without any sort of bass management. If you're listening at reasonable levels, the primary result will likely be a loss of bass response and the occasional congested "muddy" sound of a speaker struggling to reproduce a big bass sound. Again, your SACD player surely has some form of rudimentary bass management (and channel level management), probably identical to that of my Sony C555ES, but using it will degrade the quality of your signal. In my system, before I added the ICBM-1 for bass management, I found that I much preferred the sound of the "direct" signal (no bass management) even though some SACD tracks did overwhelm my center and rear channels with low bass (I now cross-over my center at 80hz and my rears at 60hz and run my mains full-range). Again, the worst I can say is that it sounded occasionally "congested", but much superior to engaging the player's bass management. Try the comparison yourself with some SACDs that send lower bass to the rear and center channels and see which you prefer.

    4. CD playback: you can either engage the digital input (the "DVD" input) or the direct analog input for these. I prefer using the same direct analog input for CD listening, though I'll occasionally use the digital input if I'm listening to a very compromised recording that might benefit from a touch of DSP. For example, I have some very "dry" live bootleg recordings, and judicious use of DSP (DPL-II, etc.) can add a nice touch of reverb. Again, whichever you prefer.
     
  13. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rich (if you don't mind), some follow-ups:

    1. My Sony DVP9000ES DVD/SACD player does NOT have six analog outputs - it has two (really four, but two are for one "set" of left/right and another is for a second "set" of left/right). Thus, I can only connect two analog cables into my receiver (I used the "CD" analog input).

    2. Note that as I mentioned above, I do NOT have "dedicated" full-range stereo speakers - I have an M&K750THX 5.1 setup. Obviously, this setup was designed primary for movies - not stereo listening.

    3. I now have three types of SACDs (an example of each follows):

    (a) Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" - packaging states two "formats": 5.1 SACD Surround Mix and regular CD mix.

    (b) Rolling Stones "Hot Rocks" - packaging states two "formats": Stereo SACD Mix and regular CD mix.

    (c) The Police "Every Breath You Take - The Classics" - packaging states three "formats": SACD Stereo, SACD Surround Sound, and regular CD mix.

    4. How do I take advantage of the Pink Floyd and The Police "surround mixes", considering I have only two analog outputs on my DVD player - simply hit DD/DTS (which results in a "pro logic" display on my receiver, as there are no DD/DTS tracks on these DVDS)?

    5. The Stones' DVD does not have a surround mix - yet, when I play it in stereo mode, it sound horrible compared to the pro logic mode (again, probably because of the lack of range of each individual speaker). Do I have to purchase two, full range speakers and devote them to SACD listening to obtain the full benefit of a stereo SACD?

    6. This may be a bass management question, but here goes: as the Pink Floyd and Police DVDs have SURROUND mixes, will my Denon 5700 receiver "automatically" send the music out "correctly" to my 5.1 surround setup when I use the DD/DTS button (which, again, causes a pro-logic display on my receiver)? In other words, will the bass be sent to my sub, the vocals be focused on the center (and possibly left and right fronts), and ambient sounds in the rears, or will "full sound" be sent to all 6 speakers (5 plus sub)?

    Sorry if these questions sound "basic" - but note the title of the thread [​IMG]

    Thanks, Rich (and anyone else who responds).

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Your questions are right on the mark... none of this stuff is particularly easy or intuitive. Most of us learned via trial and error, and I certainly didn't anticipate all the issues that would arise. Basic questions are the most important.
     
  15. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just wanted to follow-up on my last post, and let you know what "new" music-format options you have and don't have with your setup:

    1. You do NOT have playback capabilities for any high resolution multichannel source (SACD multichannel or DVD-A multichannel).

    2. You DO have playback capabilities for high resolution SACD stereo sources, but you do NOT have playback capabilities for high resolution DVD-A stereo sources.

    3. You DO have playback capabilities for low resolution (lossy compression encoded) multichannel sources such as the DTS and Dolby Digital tracks on DVD-V and DVD-A discs.

    NOTE: Some DVD-A discs only have Dolby Digital and no DTS multichannel tracks, and I've found these to be too low-rez for my liking. For example, the two Grateful Dead DVD-A discs have only Dolby Digital surround tracks, and I greatly prefer the sound of the remastered CDs. Conversely, DVD-A discs like Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly" do have so-called "full bitrate" DTS multichannel tracks, and I find that these generally sound quite good (though not nearly as good as full resolution MLP on DVD-A or DSD on SACD).
     
  16. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rich:

    1. I do not believe my 5700 receiver has 7.1 inputs. That was the last Denon receiver (I believe) that had only 5.1 or 6.1 inputs - not 7.1.

    2. Of all the analog inputs for that particular "device", which ones do I use (or does it matter)?

    3. You said above that I should connect my two analog outputs to my "direct in" inputs - after this is done, do I access the sound by simply pressing the "direct in" button on my receiver remote and suddenly have SACD?

    4. Pardon me if you answered this and I did not see it. To listen to QUALITY stereo SACDs in the full range, should I purchase a two dedicated full range speakers (such as the ones Chesky sells on his website) and run my analog connections from my player to my receiver to those speakers? If so, how, exactly, do I connect a DVD player that will play both DD/DTS music through my M&K setup and yet play true SACD stereo music through my two dedicated speakers? Will I need some sort of box that I will have to switch to reroute signals or can I establish a setup and leave as is and run everything by remote?

    Again, thanks for your help.

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  17. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  18. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    After rereading your last question, I see you were asking about how to deal with an additional pair of dedicated speakers... sorry for the misunderstanding, but again it's not necessary to do this. Your speakers are plenty good for SACD playback, the only problem being a bass management solution. The Outlaw ICBM-1 is much more affordable than a pair of full-range speakers, and won't require that you have different speakers for different applications.
     
  19. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1998
    Messages:
    2,918
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Rich,

    Do you have a day job????[​IMG]

    BGL
     
  20. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rich:

    I did as you instructed (at least, I think I did), and offer the following observations:

    1. My Denon AVR 5700 THX receiver has (excluding video and digital inputs) the following component inputs: Phono, CD, DVD, VDP, TV/DBS, V.Aux., VCR-1, VCR-2, MD/Tape -1, and Tape-2. You said that as best as you could determine, NONE of these component inputs permits a true analog bypass needed for "pure" DSD SACD playback. Thus, I disconnected my two analog outputs from my Sony DVP9000ES DVD/SACD STEREO player from the "CD" input.

    2. The only other inputs I could find (which you mentioned) were a series of side-by-side RCA-adapter inputs, totalling 8. At the top were the words "6CH EXT. IN" and at the bottom were the words "8CH EXT. IN"; each input is labeled as follows: FR, FL, SW, C, SR, SL, ER, EL). I assume that you were referring to THESE inputs as the only ones to use when hooking up an SACD player to achieve the true DSD stream for SACD playback, as these inputs allow for a pure analog bypass with no digital process of any kind - it is straight "player to player" in terms of sound generation and sound reproduction - correct?

    3. As my DVD player was the first ES SACD DVD player released by Sony, and has only two analog outputs (really four, one set of L/R and another set of L/R - I am not sure what the purpose of having TWO sets of these is for - perhaps you know??), I am limited to STEREO playback of SACDs. As you recommended, I connected my right analog out to the "FR" input underneath the "6CH EXT. IN" header, and connected the left analog out to the "LF" input under the "6CH EXT. IN" header. Was this correct?

    4. I have, as options on my remote, the following to press to allow sound to be generated by my receiver: TV, DVD, VCR, CD, LD, DBS, Direct, Analog, 5CH Stereo, Input Mode (which is, basically, an "auto detect" button that picks up whatever digital signal is coming in), Stereo, and External In.

    5. It "sounds" like I am hearing true SACD reproduction when I press "Ext. In", as only my front left and front right speakers play music. I can hear things that I have never heard before while listening to the same recording in another format. Pressing "Direct" and "Stereo" do NOTHING to alter the sound; pressing ANY other buttons immediately shuts off the sound. Apparently, the "Direct" and "Stereo" have some sort of "link" to the "Ext. In" inputs. Interestingly, if I press "Direct" BEFORE I press "Ext. In", no sound is produced; if I press "Direct" AFTER I press "Ext. In", the sound shuts off for a split second and then begins again, sounding the same. Any explanation for this?

    6. As my DVD player is also obviously connected to my receiver to play movies, I am able to press the DVD component button and engage digital pro logic decoding of any SACDs that also have a CD layer. Of course, I can also play DD/DTS DVD-A's and DVD-V's, all of which offer some type of surround sound (depending on the encoding of that particular disc).

    7. I have only ONE "pure" SACD disc - Boston's debut album - it will not play in any mode other than "Ext. In". I suppose this is because it is absent a CD layer - correct?

    8. Is this statement correct (bear with me, as it is a bit long): To take advantage of SURROUND SOUND/MULTICHANNEL SACDs, I MUST purchase a SACD player with multiple analog outputs. The greater the number of outputs, the greater number of inputs I can use in the "Ext. In" section of my receiver - correct? In addition, purchasing such a player would automatically take care of any "bass management" problems, because a properly encoded surround sound SACD (such as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon) will automatically send the 5.1 sounds to the proper inputs (just as a Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 do) - vocals probably centered, rhythym/bass/lead guitars probably focused in left and right fronts, bass to the sub, and ambient sounds to the rears - correct?

    9. Is this statement correct: To take advantage of surround sound/multichannel DVD-A's, IN ADDITION to such SACD's, I would need to purchase a combination player. If I purchased separate players, I would not have sufficient "true analog" inputs for both players - correct?

    10. An observation: As good as my M&K750THX Select speakers are for movies, they simply do not reproduce that full sound I am accustomed to hearing when my sub is kicking in (which, when I am currently using my 9000ES stereo SACD player connected to EXT. In. inputs, receives NO music stream to play - it simply sits idle, as do my center and two rears). I am fairly certain that in order to truly hear just how good an SACD really sounds, bass and all, I would need a set of full range speakers. Of course, if the SACD is stereo only, I would need only two full range speakers, whereas if the SACD is multichannel, I suppose my current setup would be able to handle the sound, as the 5.1 channels would be properly directed to the speaker designed to reproduce such sounds - correct?

    11. Last question: Suppose I purchase a set of Chesky speakers as advertised on the Chesky site, and "dedicate" those to pure music listening, how, exactly, do I go about connecting my receiver to those speakers, while at the same time allowing my receiver to remain connected to my M&K 5.1 setup for movies?

    Again, I sincerely thank you for the large amount of time you have spent educating me in responding to my questions. Perhaps this thread will answer questions that come up for others who are just beginning to get into music with their home theaters.

    Regards,

    Sam
     

Share This Page