SACD playback with Sony UBP-X1100ES

SilverShadow

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I have recently restarted my interest in audio and video. Much has changed in the technology and I feel like I need a computer engineering degree just to play music!

I recently purchased a Sony UBP-X1100ES to play 4K UHD movies but also to play SACD audio discs. I am running the audio through a Pioneer VSX-D712 A/V receiver, circa 2003, with no HDMI inputs. The Sony only plays SACD/DSD through the HDMI outputs. It is my understanding that the internal DAC in the Sony does the conversion to analog but Sony customer support cannot provide much info. So, I am running the video from the Sony directly to the TV from HDMI1 with digital audio going into the Pioneer via digital coax. I have also run audio from the HDMI2 output into a HDMI-to-RCA adapter and then RCA interconnects into the analog inputs. The Pioneer lets me choose between digital or analog input. The $64,000 question is, am I hearing music from the DSD signal. In the audio settings for the Sony I have it configured to read the DSD layer of a SACD...not Auto or LPCM. And as I recall it is set for stereo only for SACD as I am not interested in multi-channel audio for music at this point. I can say that when looking at the display on the TV when playing a hybrid SACD that it is reading the DSD layer. What I don’t know is what happens after it leaves the HDMI2 output.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
 

JohnRice

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Your simplest solution is just to use the analog two channel output from the player and connect it to a line level input on the receiver.

Digital output of SACD has to go through hdmi, but the analog outputs also play back two channel DSD.
 

SilverShadow

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JohnRice
Thanks for the response. I am still trying to learn all this. Does that mean the internal DAC in the player converts the DSD to analog and sends that converted analog signal through the analog outputs? So I am still getting the improved audio quality of SACD/DSD? I have attached the brief excerpt from the manual and when I talked to Sony Support they indicated HDMI was the only way to listen to SACD/DSD.

■ [DSD Output Mode]
[Auto]: Outputs DSD signal from HDMI OUT jack when playing Super Audio CD & DSD format file (if the connected device also supports DSD).
Outputs LPCM signal from HDMI OUT jack when playing Super Audio CD & DSD format file (if the connected device does not support DSD).
[Off]: Outputs PCM signals from HDMI OUT jack when playing Super Audio CD and DSD format file.
 

JohnRice

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You don't have a device (DAC) that can decode DSD, so the whole subject of sending SACDs through hdmi is a non issue. Receivers which can do that (decode DSD) are getting extremely rare, but they all can decode PCM, which the player can convert DSD to. Still not an issue with your current receiver, since it doesn't have hdmi.

So to answer your question regarding the internal DAC in the player converting DSD to analog, yes it does that, and it is the ONLY way you have to listen to SACDs with your current hardware.
 

SilverShadow

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Very good. I will go back to that configuration and listen to how it sounds.

I appreciate your feedback.
 

JohnRice

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Out of curiosity, which “hdmi to RCA adapter” did you get?
 

SilverShadow

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It is made by Insignia and I got it at Best Buy. It does the job but whether it does a great job, I don’t know. I needed something quickly and could go by there and pick it up. Cost was $39.99. All I know is that it allows me to plug the HDMI in and then use RCA to the analog inputs in my receiver. What it is doing to the signal inside, I haven’t a clue.

For a guy that grew up just putting records on a turntable then to CDs after having been on the sideline for 10 or 12 years, there is a lot to learn with the digital, HiRes world.
 

JohnRice

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I should clarify, that DAC (digital to analog converter) will also convert the audio, but I doubt it can convert DSD, so the player would be converting the DSD to PCM, which some claim degrades the sound. The player will say it's playing DSD, which it is, but then converting it.

It comes down to whether or not one sounds better than the other. However, you didn't need to buy the DAC from Best Buy, since the player does that. You can always connect both of them to different inputs and compare them to see if one sounds better than the other.
 

SilverShadow

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JohnRice
To clarify, I did not buy an external DAC but instead an adapter that allows me to take HDMI audio out of the Sony Player and then have RCA plugs going into my old receiver. Assuming your statement about the internal DAC is true...that it is simply converting the DSD file to a PCM signal, what does one have to have to play the DSD file without converting it to PCM? Is this where one would need an amp or receiver that directly handles the DSD file? Would some sort of external DAC that handles the conversion of the digital DSD conversion to analog be required?

Again, I really appreciate your feedback on what for me is an obscure topic.
 

JohnRice

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John... OK... since you say RCA Plugs, plural, as in left and right RCA plugs, which is what you indicate in your original post...

I have also run audio from the HDMI2 output into a HDMI-to-RCA adapter and then RCA interconnects into the analog inputs.
That is a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) because there is no analog anything in hdmi. So, the only way to get analog anything from hdmi is to convert it from digital to analog with a DAC.

Please read my posts more carefully. Some of what you "know", ain't so. It's a common situation.

When you play SACDs through the player's analog output, which is what you should have been doing all along, it's internal DAC converts DSD to analog. End of story. There is no such thing as an "Adapter" to adapt anything in an hdmi signal to analog. It's a digital to analog converter, either video, audio or both. You actually never needed that device you bought at Best Buy. The easiest, best and simplest solution was always to just use the analog outputs from the player. Unfortunately, if anyone at BB knew what they were doing, they would have told you that.
 

JohnRice

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Bottom line, you're making it a LOT more complicated than it needs to be.

Forget about hdmi for SACDs, connect the player's analog outputs to your receiver and enjoy your music.

In my case, I use a dedicated SACD player (Marantz SA8004) for two channel SACD playback, and on the rare occasion I want to listen to the surround track, I use an Oppo BluRay player connected to a surround preamp.
 

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It is made by Insignia and I got it at Best Buy. It does the job but whether it does a great job, I don’t know. I needed something quickly and could go by there and pick it up. Cost was $39.99. All I know is that it allows me to plug the HDMI in and then use RCA to the analog inputs in my receiver. What it is doing to the signal inside, I haven’t a clue.
(On a really sordid offtopic tangent).

The only reason I would buy such a device ^ like this, would be to hack the hardware such that one could extract an unmolested DSD stream from sacd discs without having to use the PS3 jailbreak.

:)
 

JohnRice

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(On a really sordid offtopic tangent).

The only reason I would buy such a device ^ like this, would be to hack the hardware such that one could extract an unmolested DSD stream from sacd discs without having to use the PS3 jailbreak.

:)
It clearly won't do that, since the output is analog. Breaking SACDs is extremely difficult. There's definitely not a $40 device that does it.
 

JohnRice

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HERE is the device. It's intended to allow someone with an old analog TV use a disc player that only has an hdmi output. It's just an extremely cheap A/V digital converter. I suspect the converter in the Sony player is a lot better.

No SACD hacking ability here.
 

jcroy

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Breaking SACDs is extremely difficult.
If I had a large sacd collection, I would certainly be buying up several old ps3 consoles with the firmware version that can do the ps3 hack that reads sacd discs directly. Though with that being said, there were not too many titles of interest to me which was released on sacd. (Nor dvd-audio for that matter).
 

SilverShadow

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JohnRice yes that is the device I bought. Ironically, it was Sony Support that told me I needed something like that NOT Best Buy.

I am going to take your advice, eliminate this adapter and go straight from the RCA outputs from the player directly to the input in the receiver and trust that I am hearing the best DSD conversion I can given the equipment I have.

jcroy, I am not interested in ripping anything from SACD...at least not yet. Just trying to catch up with digital audio world beyond downloading stuff from iTunes.

Hope you are both staying safe is this new world.
 

JohnRice

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Support was probably reading off a script. "My receiver/TV doesn't have hdmi" "Then you need this."
 
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Todd Erwin

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If you had purchased the less expensive (but way too similar) UBP-X800M2, then yes, you would need the Insignia converter, as the X800M2 has no analog outs. If you are wanting pure DSD, you will need a high-end receiver, and with SACD more or less a dead format, that feature has been pushed back up to the very high-end models.
 

JohnRice

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Just for grins, here's my SACD collection. Mostly Jazz and Classical and mostly Telarc. I started into SACD after it had pretty much died, and while a lot of places were blowing them out. I got most of these incredibly cheap.

_FER5972.jpg
 
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SilverShadow

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Todd Erwin I purchased the X1100ES specifically because it had the analog outputs. But then as I read more I got confused about what exactly is going with file conversion or whatever. Exactly what would an amp that supports DSD do or not do as the case may be? I am going to take a guess that my current configuration is pushing a PCM signal converted from the DSD by the player rather than the pure DSD signal. Close?
 

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