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Analogue or Digital?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Howard0000, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. Howard0000

    Howard0000
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    I was reading a thread below about the DAC quality in AV amps, and was wondering, because I use my amp/dvd (see sig) for music as well as movies, would using the analogue outputs from my DVD to my amp provide better quality for music than the current optical connection? I can switch between "CD" and "Video" on my amp, then, depending on what I'm doing.
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If you're using the DVD player as a CD source,then I don't think you'll notice much improvement by switching between analogue and digital outputs.....most DVD players,even some very expensive ones are let down by their CD replay quality....the jitter levels of most DVD players are very high,and the sound quality is usually limited.

    Its easy to try out though,and see if you do notice any improvement.
     
  3. Howard0000

    Howard0000
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    I'll give it a try.
    I've got some nice analog interconnects I can use as well :)
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Wow, that's quite a generalisation. :eek:


    Examples of DVD players that are pretty good with CDs using their own DACs:

    Denon 3800
    Arcam DV27
    Meridian 596/598


    Example of impressively low-jitter digital-output transport:

    Tag DVD32R
     
  5. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Add to Nicks list ...

    DV88 - similar quality to CD72
    Pioneer 656 - from reputation, not heard (also low jitter output reputedly)

    Vikki
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Nic.....have you actually listened to any of those DVD players against a good CD only source?

    I agree the Tag has good jitter figures,but if you compare it to the likes of a Wadia,Levinson or even my own Linn/Perpetual Tech P1A/P3A there is honestly no comparison.

    Over the years I have had the privilege of listening to some seriously good CD transport/Dac combinations,and some very expensive DVD players(like the Tag and the Denon)...what I said wasn't a generalisation,it was from experience.

    As to my comments re:jitter,if you look at the jitter spectra of most of the lower priced(i.e.more popular)DVD players,I think you'll find they do fall behind lower priced CD players.
     
  7. Howard0000

    Howard0000
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    What Hifi said mine has fairly good cd playback :blush:
     
  8. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Comparing like to like isn't possible when comparing a DVD player to a CD player IMO ... you have to take into consideration allowances for the features of a DVD player.

    If I had £200 to spend to get 1 or 2 boxes to play back music and movies ... I could spend £200 on a Toshiba SD520e ... or I could spend £100 on a SD220e and £100 on a Sony 570 CD player ... I would say (ignoring prog scan capabilities of the 520) that the picture quality of both setups would be similar, but that the CD player would trounce the DVD player for music. If you move up the price range to the £1000 Arcam ... you get abilities approaching the CD72, but for picture quality the Arcam is as good as other £1000 DVD players (which may not sound as good for CDs) so the solution is much less clear cut.

    Now I know in my post I meantioned the DV88 which is £1000 ... but you're not going to match that with a Sherwood AV amp are you ... really we are talking about more the Toshiba / Sony level of my example above.

    Also (IMO) the DACs of the Sherwood will be nothing special to write home about.

    My advice to Howard would be to try both, then stick with the one you prefer as at the end of the day thats a more valid reason for choosing one over the other than mystical jitter figures and waveforms on a osilloscope.

    Vikki
     
  9. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Yes the SD220e has "fairly good cd playback" but that is compared to other £200 DVD players.

    Now if I can say this without sounding elitist, I would say that the Sherwood's analogue inputs won't be the worlds best, so you may not notice any difference ... but a £100 CD player (though a suitably matched amp) will trounce even the Toshiba for playback.

    Vikki
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Like all things,Howard,it's relative!....I certainly think it's worth a try,and nothing lost since you already have some interconnects to use.

    The thing about DVD players being used in this way is the influence of the video circuitry,and the video/audio clocks.....a CD player is designed for one medium only,and at an equivalent price level usually gives better results....the same is true of the TAG DVD player which is by anyone's standards a VERY expensive player,and my CD setup easily betters it at a somewhat lower price....it is a VERY good DVD player though!
     
  11. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    With any piece of Hifi equipment it's always a price/performance trade-off. If you spend £1000 on a DVD player it's absurd to imagine that it will play CDs as well as a £1000 CD player will. If it can play them as well as a £500 CD player that's pretty good going, really. Similarly a £3000 DVD player isn't going to be able to rival a Linn CD12. But to my mind if you can get £500 worth of CD playback quality out of a £1000 DVD player, then that is a very long way indeed from being a "let down". On the contrary, it's extremely impressive.

    To answer the original question (will it sound better to use the player's DACs or the processor's DACs): this is going to depend very strongly on a) the quality of both sets of DACs, and b) the quality of the processor's analogue bypass. (If the processor doesn't have an analogue bypass then you're almost certainly going to get better results from using a digital input).

    If you listen to an Arcam DV27 hooked into an Arcam AV8 processor then it sounds quite perceptibly better if you use the player's analogue output and have the processor in bypass mode. Feed a DV27 into a Lexicon MC12, and you'd have to be crazy to use the player's analogue output. This isn't just because the DACs in the Lexicon are rather fine (although they are) it's also because (based on my audition on Saturday, anyway) the quality of its analogue bypass is alarmingly mediocre for something in that price bracket. (This was my only reservation, btw - in other respects it's a truly lovely thing).

    All in all this is very much a "try it and see" question.
     
  12. Howard0000

    Howard0000
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    Thanks for all your input guys...
    I'm not intending on upgrading or buying a CD player at the moment, or at least not for a while. I agree the DACs/Analogue inputs on my amp may not be top notch, but my equipment is great for my needs, and music playback is indeed satisfactory for me. I was just wondering if I'd notice any difference using the analogue inputs for CD.

    And forgive my ignorance...but what exactly is Analogue Bypass? Is it just using the analog inputs or what? :blush:
     
  13. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    It's always a difficult one to weigh up this one, as today, we have so flipping many sound formats & processing options, if we ended up buying separate units for each one, we'd probably have to build extensions to hold all the kit in:D
    I think the usual suspects have been mentioned already & they offer pretty cool music & movie reproduction for today's ever changing audio environment. It also appears that many of the mentioned brands are highly regarded by lots of people.

    They are good solutions that tackle a quite bewildering array of functions (DVD-A, SACD, DVD-V, DD, DTS, DPLII etc) and the fact that we can get some pretty cool results from them across the board is actually rather spiffing.

    These are modern day multipurpose machines doing a helluvva lot of work to bring happiness into our lives.

    It somehow makes the feeling of 'open wallet surgery' that little bit easier to bear.

    Adzman.
     
  14. sounddog

    sounddog
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    To describe what an analogue bypass is might need a bit of roundabout description.

    In AV amps, the first thing that happens is that analogue inputs are digitised. This allows all signals to be sent through the same processing stages as digital sources. Now this is all well and good, but digitising the signal will ultimately result in some loss of quality whatever price your amp is - more so with cheaper amps.

    Most AV amps have one (or more) analogue connections that avoid this Analogue Digital Conversion stage, and the signal is routed from the input, via the volume control circuits to the output. This results in a cleaner circuit path to improve the quality.

    I'm not sure if your Sherwood will have an analogue bypass or if it will just digitise all analogue inputs. If there is no analogue bypass, then the resultant sound that you get from using the digital connection will be the best as there is no Analogue --> Digital --> Analogue conversion done within the amp. If your amp does have an analogue bypass, then it will depend on the relative quality of the Digital Analogue conversion stage in the DVD player and AV Amp - the only way to decide is to listen especially as you already have the interconnects.

    Vikki
     
  15. Howard0000

    Howard0000
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    I seem to remember reading somewhere in my amp's manual about analogue bypass but can't find it now :blush:

    Which do you lot think would be better at decoding for my CD's, my amp or my DVD? I wanna know if it's worth finding my interconnects to do it :)
     

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