Which component should I upgrade? My system...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Greg Racki, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Greg Racki

    Greg Racki Extra

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    Ok, I'm posting this here because I am assuming that my input device (CD/SACD/DVD player) is my weakest link, but I'm not sure.

    Here is my current system
    Pioneer 1015TX Receiver
    3 Ascend 340s up front and center
    2 Ascend 170s in the rear
    HSU VTF3 - MK II Subwoofer
    Toshiba H400 DVD player/Tivo Combo
    HTPC using the SPDIF output to my receiver for lossless digital music collection.

    I bought the Ascend, HSU, and Pioneer components based on the glowing reviews that I read here and elsewhere online. To be honest, I've been slightly underwhelmed by my current system. Although I wouldn't necessarily say that I regret it either.

    The question
    Would I hear a major increase in audio performance by upgrading to a dedicated CD player (or SACD/DVD-A player) using its own DACs and analog outputs?
    If I understand this stuff correctly, right now I'm using my receiver for all the "DACing." Is that my biggest problem?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I would definitely upgrade the DVD player first, then the receiver. I tried the 1014 and was less than impressed (MCACC off). Have you run MCACC? After you run it, make sure you check the settings it made because they may not be 100% ideal. Those are some very nice speakers, both the Ascends and the HSU, so I'd have to say if the sound isn't great, the problem is upstream from them.
     
  3. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Ditto what John said. Just up-grading from a Pioneer 563 to a Yamaha 6770 dvd player produced a higher level of picture and sound quality than I expected. Even thru the digital outputs. But picture quality was the biggest improvement.
     
  4. Greg Racki

    Greg Racki Extra

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    Thanks, guys

    Yea, I'm thinking that moving to a better disc player is necessary before I really pass judgment on my system.

    Does anybody have any universal disc player recommendations for around $300 (give or take $100). I'm more interested in audio quality than video quality.

    Also, Gene, I may be misunderstanding something, but how can two dvd players with digital audio outputs sound different when it is the receiver that is doing the D/A conversion in that case? I understand it for video, but not for audio. I've heard other people say similar things, how can that be?

    Thanks, again.
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    I'm not the best one to answer this but I'm sure dvd/cd players do more than just "pass thru" a digital signal to the receiver. It's internal components must have some effect on the sound quality and more expensive players should perform better. Maybe it has to do with things like picking up the bits off the disc or transferring a more accurate frequency response. After all, cd players have different sound qualities about them and they all (except SACD, of course) allow the avr to do the processing. In short, you wouldn't expect a $24.95 Coby dvd player to sound as good as a $1000 one from Onkyo even when hooked up, via digital cable, to the same receiver? I'm not sure why, but the Onkyo better darn well sound better! If you start with a better player, you should end up with better sound, regardless of the connection. As for which one, my Yamaha 6770 (aka 750) was $249. I also just picked up a Denon 756 ($299) which seems to sound O.K. but the picture is not as good as the Yamaha. I'm sure this didn't answer your question but someone will come in and clean up this mess. But hopefully you get the basic idea.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Pretty much what Gene said - there are a lot of little factors that make a decent player and those small differences can make noticable differences in sound. When you hit the higher models, those differences become smaller, but going from a very cheap model to a half decent one I would expect to hear a difference even via digital.

    Calibration and speaker positioning as well as your room also play a very large role in the sound.

    $350 - Denon 1920 should suit you well. So far, I've been very happy with the Denon players - a 2200 and a 2900.
     

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