Y-adapters do NOT work for both DVD-Audio and multi-channel SACD.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Nov 11, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Let me start off by saying, c%ap! I have a Sony STR-V444ES receiver, which I am very happy with, but which only has one set of 5.1-channel inputs. The problem is that I have both a DVD-Audio player and a multi-channel SACD player that require the 5.1-channel inputs. Rather than having to switch six cables every time I want to switch between the two multi-channel formats, I decided to try splitting the 5.1-channel inputs with Monster Y-adapters that sell for $15 each. These Y-adapters, which split one male RCA connector to two female RCA connectors, are generally made for a subwoofer that has left and right outputs and is being connected to a pre-amp with a mono subwoofer input. Anyway, I was hopeful that spending $90 for six of these Y-adapters (one for each 5.1-channel input) would be a nice alternative to replacing my 'V444ES with a new receiver that has two sets of multi-channel inputs.
    Unfortunately, it took longer to set up all the cables than it did to realize that the Y-adapters were not suitable for this application. With the multi-channel SACD player off, I played the surround-sound track off the Steely Dan Two Against Nature DVD-Audio disc. The music sounded great, except the volume was greatly reduced by the presence of the Y-adapters. I had to increase the volume on my receiver to -19.0 dB to reach a normal listening volume, whereas I normally listen to music at -40.0 dB on this receiver. I didn't even bother to try a multi-channel SACD. So, the Y-adapters will be returned for a refund.
    It would have been nice if a relatively inexpensive solution would have worked. The way I look at it, here are my options in order of increasing cost:
    1) Do nothing. While there is no cost involved, I don't like the idea of having to wriggle to the back of my receiver and remove and replace RCA cables each time I want to switch between formats. Getting to the back of my receiver is a bit difficult, and I am concerned about damaging the 5.1-channel inputs by continuing to switch cables back there.
    2) Buy cable extenders to facilitate switching cables. A member here stated that Radio Shack Gold Series cable extenders allow him to switch cables without having to mess around with the 5.1-channel inputs directly on the receiver. He also said that these cable extenders do not cause signal degradation and that they are inexpensive. The only drawback, obviously, is that these extenders would still require me to switch cables in going from one format to the other.
    3) Buy the Sony TA-P9000ES multi-channel analog pre-amp. As has been discussed here recently, this pre-amp has two sets of multi-channel inputs and retails for $700. Oade Bros. is selling it for $450. However, some here have raised concerns about the ability to integrate the 'P9000ES with a receiver, though Jim Oade says it can be done. Also, some have raised concerns about degradation caused by indirect routing of analog signals. These are worthy concerns to raise.
    4) Buy a new receiver. The forthcoming Sony STR-DA3ES and 'DA5ES receivers will have two sets of multi-channel inputs. Oade Bros. is taking pre-orders on the 'DA3ES for $685 ($1000 retail) and on the 'DA5ES for $985 ($1500 retail). I would not pre-order one of these receivers. Rather, I would wait to see them in Tweeter to see how well they are made and would also wait for reviews to see how they stack up against my receiver and other previous ES models.
    The Sony STR-DB1070, which is already available, offers two sets of multi-channel inputs at a lower price ($800 at Tweeter), but I don't want to step down from an ES receiver to a DB model. Nothing against DB receivers, as they are very good at their price point, but the forthcoming ES models should be better than the 'DB1070. My 'V444ES is much better than the 'DB930 it replaced.
    In all of this, I am looking for an inexpensive method to best accommodate the DVD-Audio and multi-channel SACD players. As I said, I am happy with my receiver, so I don't want to buy a new one simply because I want two sets of multi-channel inputs. That is not a compelling enough reason for me to spend money on a new receiver. Also, I am not interested in DTS-ES, DPL II, DTS-NEO, etc., so I really see no good reason to buy a new receiver. At this point, I will try the Radio Shack Gold Series cable extenders. They are probably the best compromise.
    For those of you with both a DVD-Audio player and a multi-channel SACD player, what are you doing or what are you going to do to handle them?
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 12, 2001 at 05:55 AM]
     
  2. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Shawn, thanks for the info. I will go with the cable extenders for now. While they are not the most convenient route, I know they will work, and they represent an inexpensive alternative (probably $20 at most). Thanks again, however.
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  4. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    Sure, swapping cables works. To be safe be sure to turn off your receiver when you swap them.
    Shawn
     
  5. Jah-Wren Ryel

    Jah-Wren Ryel Stunt Coordinator

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    FWIW, I picked up some radio shack audio/video edit selectors. These guys have three sets of 3 rca inputs and and two sets of 3 rca outputs. Nominally these are for stereo and a composite video. Stack two of these and you can switch three 6-channel input devices to two different outputs. You do have to deal with one switch per box, but it shouldn't be too bad. I have not hooked mine up yet myself. The cost was about $30 each and the part number is 15-1587.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Shawn,
    If I get the cable extenders, I will definitely have the receiver off when I switch cables. Doing otherwise is not advisable. [​IMG]
    Jah-Wren,
    If you try out those Radio Shack selector boxes in the next day or so, please post your results. I plan on picking up some cable extenders tomorrow, but I am curious as to how these selector boxes will work. They should work better than the Monster Y-adapters I tried since they allow you to switch between sources.
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  7. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    Keith,
    I had a feeling that Y-cables wouldn't work. In addition to the signal loss you experienced, there was probably some signal leakage into the other component, even if it wasn't on.
    At least you tried, but the possible damage that could occur, at least what I am told, is not worth the risk.
    I have been using the Gold Standard Radio Shack cable extenders, and they work great. I don't have to reach behind the receiver each time I want to switch cables, and it takes about 1 minute to make the switch, since all the cables are easily reached. I was very concerned with the inputs on my Integra receiver getting loose as I pulled and push on the tight fit of the Monster Cables interconnects I am using with my SACD and DVD-Audio players. The Radio Shack cable extenders were a very tight fit on the receiver (which doesn't matter since I am not removing them), and the SACD player and DVD-Audio cables fit nicely on the extended end of these Radio Shack cables.
    I am not a big fan of Radio Shack cables, but I just happened upon them when searching for any kind of cable or connection that would allow me to connect the SACD player or DVD-Audio player without having to push and pull on the inputs on the receiver. These Radio Shack cables worked out nicely.
    And honestly I do not hear a bit of difference in sound quality. I am sure there are those that would argue with me that extending one cable with another 3 feet of a totally different cable will cause signal degredation. If it does I can't hear it, and in the end that is all that matters.
    Good luck.
    [Edited last by Michael_T on November 11, 2001 at 08:57 PM]
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Hey, Mike. I figured you would post a reply here, and I'm glad you did. There is an element of experimentation available when delving into new formats. There are some who might read this thread and say, "This is exactly why I am sticking with CDs." I would say to these people that they are missing out on better-sounding music now and are waiting for everything to be laid out for them in terms of digital outputs, etc., which, of course, may never happen. I am one person who is not averse, at least to a certain extent, to trying different things with audio. This is evidenced by the fact that I own cassette decks, CD players (many [​IMG]), minidisc decks, an 8-track tape player, a turntable, SACD players, and a DVD-Audio player. I even once owned a DCC deck and a DAT deck. Anyway, I knew that I was early in the game as far as SACD and DVD-Audio were concerned, but I am having fun and enjoying some seriously great-sounding music.
    As I extol the virtues of jumping into SACD and DVD-Audio early on, it is a bit ironic that I am listening to Billy Joel Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II on cassette. Sometimes I like to exercise the cassette changer in my second system. Anyway, it's all about the music. [​IMG]
    Anyway, sorry for the long-winded post. I plan on picking up some Radio Shack cable extenders tomorrow. Hopefully I will have a positive experience with them as you have had.
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 11, 2001 at 09:22 PM]
    [Edited last by KeithH on November 12, 2001 at 05:58 AM]
     
  9. Michael Lee

    Michael Lee Supporting Actor

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  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Michael Lee, great reply! [​IMG] Why buy Radio Shack cable extenders for $20 when I can assemble a second home-theater set-up? I already have two stereo systems, so I guess I should have a second home-theater system too. [​IMG]
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  11. DEAN DE FURIA

    DEAN DE FURIA Stunt Coordinator

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    I also tried the Y adapters first and quickly found that they would not work. What does work is using 3 Radio shack stereo line switch boxes. Three of them does the trick. All three lined up together are about the width of a receiver. It works perfectly. Total cost: about $60.
     
  12. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Hmmmmm... why would I go out and spend $1K for what I thought was the best CD player available, if I was going to pass its' analog signals through a RS switcher???
    I've got both a DVD-Audio and a multichannel SACD player and I'm gonna use only the SACD player with 6 channel audio till I can solve this switching problem to my satisfaction. In the meantime, I still have DVD Audio through my digital hookup with discs like Steely Dan which is also a DD 5.1 DVD.
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  13. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Dean,
    Thanks for the suggestion, but John and Saurav have me wondering. I am becoming more and more leery of routing analog signals through switch boxes. Maybe it can work (I would bet the Sony TA-P9000ES multi-channel analog pre-amp is a quality piece), but I am biased against cheap switching solutions right now. This is, in part, due to the fact that the Y-adapters didn't work. Of course, the Y-adapters are not switching devices. Still, I like the idea of cable extenders. Not the most convenient solution, but not too bad, and they are cheap.
    John,
    Maybe you ought to try cable extenders in order to facilitate use of your DVD-Audio player for playback of the high-resolution multi-channel tracks. Since I got the 'C555ES (only two weeks ago), I have had it plugged into my receiver's 5.1-channel inputs. As a result, I've only used the DVD-Audio player in stereo mode, since I am running the stereo analog outputs to my stereo integrated amp. With the cable extenders, it will be much easier to switch between multi-channel formats.
    Saurav,
    As always, I appreciate your input. Your experience with the innards of one of those switch boxes has me wondering. The Radio Shack Gold Series cable extenders may not be the best cables in the world, but MichaelT stated above that he has been using them with no adverse effects on the sound.
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  15. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    " but I am biased against cheap switching solutions right now. This is, in part, due to the fact that the Y-adapters didn't work. "
    The reason the Y cables don't work is because the unused sources output impedance interacts with the input of your receiver to create a voltage divider. That is why the levels where lower when you used the Y cables. Also some players may short their output to ground when it isn't locked. In that case you wouldn't get any signal at all. When you use any form of a switcher the unused source is disconnected from the signal path so this won't occur.
    Some switch boxes will run a resistor between signal and ground. This will also lower the level passing through them and can reduce channel seperation.
    Remember, if your receiver/processor had 2 (6) channel inputs it would basically have a relay based switcher internally. That is how I built my switch box.
    Shawn
     
  16. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  17. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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    Saurav,
    "(is that what you meant by relay? "
    No, relays are a sort of an electrically controlled switch. A current is applied to their coil and they open/close a set of contacts. The switch box I build is relay based, that is why it can be controlled by the remote switch or a trigger on a suitably equipped receiver/processor.
    Shawn
     
  18. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  19. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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    "This would have to be powered though, right?"
    Yes, the relays need power to energize the coils. I could drive it directly from my Lexicon's trigger (it has 500ma of capacity) but then the switch box wouldn't work for more people.
    "Well, I'm sure yours is passive too as far as the actual signal path goes."
    Yes. The signal path is a few inches of wire and the relay.
    "Do you use yours with an IR remote kit, or switches?"
    Mine can be used with a switch on the box, a remote switch (so you can hide the switch box) or it can be controlled by a processors programable trigger.
    With my MC-12 it can be setup so the box automatically switches depending upon which input I select on the Lexicon. I don't ever have to touch the switch box to switch between the two 6 channel sources.
    Shawn
     
  20. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    OK, that makes more sense. I'll be building a tube preamp from a kit pretty soon, and I'm thinking about options for adding remote control capability to it, maybe just volume, not even input selection. If you'd built yours with an IR kit, I might have tried to pick your brains on that subject [​IMG]
     

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