Toslink -vs- Hi-Res analog connections for DTS, DD and redbook media on Denon 2900.

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by John Pine, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    If you are interested, here’s how this topic started.

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=202548

    Update……..this past weekend I did some informal testing with the following formats for playback quality through my Toslink and Hi-Res analog connections; DTS, DD and redbook. First, before anyone asks me, let me state that I’m using Better Cables Silver Serpent toslink and analog cables. I tried to adjust the b/m and sub settings so both connections would be equal. I used my analog R.S. meter and listened at approximately 85db to all formats. The results were somewhat surprising. In every format the toslink connection easily had more clarity and depth. For example, I listened to the Eric Clapton’s: Live at Hyde Park DVD in DTS mode. The depth of field had a “3D” sound stage effect in toslink playback. The vocals were more distinct and pronounced. Clapton’s guitar had a more “intense” or “raw” sound that wasn’t there on the analog playback. I also listened to John Fogerty’s Premonition (DD) and Sarah Brightman’s LaLuna (DTS) concert DVD’s. The Brightman DVD in analog playback almost sounded “veiled”. As if I was listening behind a curtain.

    Overall, when playing the DTS and DD formats the difference between optic and analog was not “Night & Day”, but it was very noticeable. When playing redbook media the difference was not as dramatic, but it was still noticeable. Considering the cost of the player, I had thought that my 2900 DAC’s would have faired better against my h/k AVR-525. Has anyone else had similar or different results? I'd like to hear your feedback.
     
  2. Chuck Mullen

    Chuck Mullen Stunt Coordinator

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    I would have thought so too. Now I will have to try this at home for myself on my own gear![​IMG]
     
  3. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    what is "better", exactly? it's a bit subjective, no?

    if one sounds "better" to you, then that's all that matters. "why" isn't really important.
     
  4. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Chuck: Let me know what you find out.

    Scott: True, “better” is subjective. But, I’d heard so much hoopla about the 2900’s “Custom DAC’s”. I was a bit surprised. I wanted some additional feedback to confirm or deny my findings.
     
  5. Charlie C

    Charlie C Stunt Coordinator

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    hi guys,


    im putting together my first surround system and im trying to get my foot into hi-res audio.
    ive read this and the referenced post above. I really wanted to know what sounded 'better' whatever that means...
    hi-res through the analog connections or sound straight from the dac to the amp.

    in other words, if the receiver's DAC's 'seem to "sound better"' than the player's DAC in 24 bit 2 channel mode, well wait, there isnt even a way to compare dvd-a via analog or digital yet is there? cause there are no receivers out there that decode sacd or dvd-a? am I right? ive been trying to put together a hi-res system for just over $1000 if possible. but if I cant even get the 'best' sound from my system cause of the analog connections, is it even worth it?

    does anyone know if it comes out on dvd-a if its out on sacd, dts5.1, dd also?

    sorry about all the ?'s, just getting frusturated with this stuff.
     
  6. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Charlie: You’re right, you can’t compare Hi-Res audio using optic and analog connections. Hi-Res audio still sounds awesome using an analog connection! My topic is only regarding other media types (DTS, DD & redbook) played back using analog connections and the player DAC’s as opposed to an optic connection and using the receivers’. Don’t let my thread scare you from taking the Hi-Res plunge!

    “does anyone know if it comes out on dvd-a if its out on sacd, dts5.1, dd also?”

    If you are referring to a title in both formats, SACD and DVD-A, generally not. Yes, a title can be released in DD or DTS and still be released in Hi-Res.
     
  7. Charlie C

    Charlie C Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks John

    so Im assuming 'redbook' means standard CD quality.

    "Hi-Res audio still sounds awesome using an analog connection" i know - ive heard other's setups and was blown away. but that was all in multichannel. i havent heard any music (besides whats in movies) in DTS and DD.
    Nor have I heard hi-res in stereo. My point is, if there is degredation occuring between connections for redbook, then there must be degredation in sound quality also for hi-res. doesnt seem prudent to really get into hi-res till the darn music labels realize some of them are rich enough. [​IMG] had to throw that in there.


    im still confused. on sacd, 192khz is only 2-channel?
    or am I wrong?
     
  8. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Charlie: Yes, redbook is the standard format. You don’t have to have a multi-channel setup to enjoy Hi-Res audio. I am slightly partial to multi-channel over 2-channel, if given a choice. If done properly, both can sound stunning. On the other hand, there are plenty of Hi-Res discs out there that sound stunningly “mediocre”! You have to do your research. Some of my concert DVD’s (DTS&DD) sound better than my Hi-Res CD’s.

    “My point is, if there is degredation occuring between connections for redbook, then there must be degredation in sound quality also for hi-res.”

    I understand your point, that’s an angle I’m investigating. But, it still wouldn’t keep me from buying and enjoying Hi-Res audio. It just sounds too good!

    “im still confused. on sacd, 192khz is only 2-channel?
    or am I wrong?”

    Not sure if my mutli-channel discs are 96/24 or 192/24. Maybe someone else will chime in and confirm. Otherwise, check out the Hi-Res “Newbie” thread in the HT Basics area.
     
  9. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    what are you asking, exactly?
     
  10. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    "i don't think there's really any hoopla, is there?"

    I'm referring the DAC's of the 2900 being a step up from the DAC's in the 2200.

    “in most cases, with most of these avrs that we have, most people assume the player, especially a player such as a 2900, has the better DACs.”

    My point exactly.

    I understand where you are coming from. “Hey, just go with the DAC’s that sounds best to you!” I think I’m just surprised that I don’t prefer the DAC’s in the 2900. I also would like to know if anyone else prefers the DAC’s in their avr to their uni-player or 2200/2900?
     
  11. Charlie C

    Charlie C Stunt Coordinator

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    "My point is, if there is degredation occuring between connections for redbook,............."

    Im making a rather large assumtion here:
    if those who have a/b'd their own systems DAC's and have come to the conclusion that the DAC in the receiver is 'better' then a logical assumtion would be that there is more degredation to the signal as it gets passed through the receiver via analog connections than digital connection.
    please correct me if im wrong, im still trying to understand all of this.

    "what are you asking, exactly? "
    is 2-channel SACD mode the ONLY way to listen to music sampled at 192khz?
     
  12. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    sacd sampling rate is much, much higher than 192kHz. that's the theoretical upper limit for dvd-a (2-channel only), but there aren't ANY discs that i know of recorded that high. in fact, i'm not sure there are currently any players that can play one that high. there is some technological limitation; i can't remember, exactly. maybe they can't be recorded that high, yet. neil young's (who has been pushing the dvd-a technology envelope) recent 2-channel dvd-a releases are 176.2kHz.
     
  13. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I will have to double check, but IIRC, my Sinatra at the Sands DVD-A has a 192/24 2CH track.

    I have a few other DVD-As labeled as such, but they are misprints. But I think Frank was the real deal, at least in so far as the display mode of the Pio 45a was concerned.

    Another title that comes to mind is the HDAD discs from Classic Records. Alan Parson's I ROBOT has 192/24 DVD-A on one side, and 96/24 DVD-V (I think) on the other.

    I think most newer players do have 192K DACs, but there does seem to be a lack of software. Then again, since its all coming out an analog connection, no way to know whats really going on.

    BGL
     
  14. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    disclaimer: if i'm wrong, i'm not responsible for any loss of life!



    [​IMG]
     
  15. Charlie C

    Charlie C Stunt Coordinator

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    just googled sacd sample rates: 64 times 44.1!!!

    thats 2800khz sample rate!!! dang!
     
  16. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    yep, ~2.8MHz
     
  17. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    In my comparison of the 2900 to the Outlaw 950 pre/pro,the Denon takes the "prize" through the analog connections.
    BTW the 2900 has BB 24/192 dacs on all channels,the Outlaw has 24/96 Crystal dacs.
    Eagles's Hotel California is 192khz 2ch as well.
     
  18. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Sacd's digital format, DSD, uses a 1 bit sample word.

    Dvd-audio's digital format, PCM, can use up to a 24 bit sample word and I have seen almost none that don't (minimum word size is 16 bit; CDs use this with a 44.1kHz sampling rate). And every disc I have personally ever seen/read about that used the 96kHz and 192kHz sampling rates have always used a 24bit word.

    And, the two different format's sample words do not contain the same type of information.

    So in other words, the DSD & PCM formats cannot be directly compared side by side.

    This subject has generated some of the nastiest & ugly discussions I have ever read on the Internet so this is all I am going to say about it.
     
  19. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Lewis: This is the type of result I expected for myself as well. Doesn’t the 2900 have custom BB DAC’s? Or is that the 5900?

    LanceJ: I’m not comparing DSD -vs- PCM. I certainly do not want to open that can of worms! I’m comparing DTS, DD and redbook playback through toslink -vs- Hi-Res analog connections. Or, if you prefer, avr DAC’s -vs- 2900 DAC’s.
     
  20. Richard_B

    Richard_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Man I have never even tried to play a movie through the 5.1 analog connections on my universal player. I have always used the optical cable for movies & cds, then used the 5.1 analog cables for sacd & dvd-a only.

    So if I play a movie with the 5.1 cables, it will use the dvd players DD, DTS decoder but if I use an optical cable it will use the receivers decoder?

    If that's true I will have to give it a shot.
     

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