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Can I use RCA & digital connections at same time?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by fudge, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. fudge

    fudge
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    My DVD player and Freeview box both have phono (RCA) audio outputs. Both also have digital outputs (Freeview co-ax, dvd optical).

    My amp has the same inputs but only the phono activate the auto-switching of devices.

    To use the auto-switching I need to connect phono-to-phono but can I also use the digital connections at the same time, to give the best sound output, or will it cause problems?

    If not will there be a discernable difference in sound quality if I just connect with phonos.
     
  2. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Depends on whether the Dac's in your amp are better than the ones in your freeview/DVD. If you use Coax/Optical to connect you will use the amps DACs if you use RCA Analogue you will use the Dac's in the Freeview and DVD player.
     
  3. fudge

    fudge
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    Thanks Knightshade, but will it cause any problems if I connect both - RCA and digital? I just want to be able to use the autoswitching, which only happens on the RCA inputs, but also use digital connections for best sound.
     
  4. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Hi Fudge,
    What make and model of equipment are you using?
    The reason I ask is I've usually found the DAC's in DVD players to be superior to the ones in AV amps (as a general rule) So depending on your equipment, I would imagine it would be best to connect your DVD player via RCA Analogue and try the same with your Freeview box. At least you'd be able to use the auto switching on the amp.

    It works like this:
    If you use a Digital cable from the DVD player to the amp, a digital signal will be sent down the cable and the AV amps DAC's (Digital to Analogue Concerter) will do the conversion. If you run a (Left and Right) RCA Analogue cable to the Amp from the DVD the DVD player will do the Digital to analogue conversion.
     
  5. CfP

    CfP
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    fudge,
    I currently have my CD player hooked up with both optical and RCA for testing reasons (to an Onkyo TX-SR702) and that setup works fine. The issue you'll have is that you can't have an optical input AND an RCA input assigned to the SAME amp function (ie: Video 1 for example). So if the amp is auto switched on by RCA, you'll still need to change the selected input to get the digital soundtrack.
    And, Yes, the difference is audible depending on your speakers, cabling, etc, etc, etc. The BIGGEST difference is that the optical connection allows the amp to auto switch between sound modes like Dolby Digital, THX, DTS, PL IIx, etc. This is because (as Knightshade has stated) the digital processing is happening in the amp, not the DVD/Sky boxes.
    So you have the choice, guess the desired sound modes of all your DVD's, etc OR, have the amp auto turn on and still have to change inputs anyway ;)

    I'd go optical, just cause it's sooooooooo much easier.

    CfP
     
  6. fudge

    fudge
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    Thanks for the info.

    It sounds as if a bit of trial and error is called for! Which is fine - my worry was whether a dual connection would blow the amp or something (shows how much I know!). So what I'll do is hook up both connections and see which works best. Obviously there is no definitive rule on this - it's purely subjective.

    For your info Knightshade I have the following:

    Yamaha RX-V430 Amp
    Toshiba SD-330 DVD
    Nokia 9850T Digibox (original OnDigital box which I've used totally troublefree since the launch of OnDigital - it still outperforms many of the modern boxes!!)

    I'd be interested in your opinion of the best set-up.

    Thanks
     
  7. CfP

    CfP
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    With sound quality (or rather your preferred listening sound) it is a little trial and error between connection types (optical/coax/RCA) and cables used (don't get us all started :p).
    As far as your gear, hook up all the video side with Component, SCART or S-Vid (in that order) directly to your TV/Display. Then hook ALL audio to your amp with the best method available (digital or RCA). If you can, hook up some audio direct to your TV to save you having to use the amp all the time (if you're lazy like me, or have a technically challenged spouse :p)

    GO HARD!!!! :D
     
  8. Hallsy

    Hallsy
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    This was something that I had been considering also. I have my DVD connected via digi coax and I am not happy with the sound of CD playback in "stereo" mode, and will later today try RCA's instead.
    I was working on the assumption that the DAC's in my amp would be better than my DVD player though. I am using a cheap Bush TXA2028 for the time being, and I have a Yam RX-V640 receiver. Surely the DAC's in the Yam are superior to the Bush DVD?
     
  9. fudge

    fudge
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    Well,well, well, would you believe it? I've now tried various audio connection combinations and have decided the following settings are the best (IMHO)!! That is:

    Dvd > Amp - Optical
    Digibox > Amp - Co-ax
    VCR > Amp - RCA

    All video to TV is via scarts, which also provides sound to the TV if I need it, which of course I do if we're taping a digital transmission and want to watch another channel (really must get round to buying a twin tuner box - but reading the forum threads on those I think I'll wait a few months for the technology to catch up with the enthusiasm!! That's another subject.)

    I only get the auto-switching on the VCR but as the digibox is the most used input anyway I'll put up with that for now.

    What did surprise me was the noticeable difference in sound from the digibox between the RCA connections and the co-ax. The latter gave a much fuller sound and with the amp set to ProLogic11 it really did give a much bigger sound field. It wasn't what I expected from a TV transmission so I'm definitely going to stick with that.

    Didn't notice any difference between the connections on the DVD so I suppose I could use phonos for auto-switching, but as I don't have a decent spare pair I can't be bothered at the moment.

    This little test has really made me see how lazy I've become. I actually use a programmable remote which controls the functions of every piece of kit, so all I have to do is press a button or two to select devices or inputs - I don't even have to pick up another remote. How lazy is that? Mind you, I do have to consider the technophobe known as 'the missus', who still can't work out why the sound doesn't come out of the telly any more!!
     
  10. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Auto switching? All in one remotes?
    On my (sort of) AV system I have a Chord DAC 64 which runs the Freeview box and DVD player. Round the back of the 64 are two leavers (unmarked - Come on Chord!) one switches between sources the other switches the buffering between Off/2/5 second delay. No remote control of any kind. So to switch between sources it's a walk to the 64 and then back. Also a bit weird if it's been used for Audio as the buffers set to 5 second delay! Another walk is then required.
    I do have a programable handset a Linn AV5101 (Came free with a pack of Shreddies - Don't ever buy one it's S***e) Great! I thought. Trouble is it won't (no matter what I try!) learn commands from the DVD player, VCR or the Freeview box! So I still have to have 4 Remote controls!
    I think I am blessed with an incredibly understanding wife, not only does she put up with this but she has learn't how to switch between sources!
    On the plus side, it has the benefit of totally confusing visitors and small children who soon loose interest when all they can summon is a blank screen and some disembodied voice reading the news!

    Reading threads like this does make me think there has to be an easier way though.....

    Happy New Year!
     
  11. fudge

    fudge
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    I know just what you mean Knightshade - but there used to be an easier way!

    I blame BBC2. Before they came along it was just 2 channels on a black and white set that gave a picture (of a sort) and sound (just) with about 4 buttons on the front of the set. Remember how fit we were with all that jumping up to hit a button - or the side of the telly when the picture flickered!!

    Ah, progress.

    Happy new year to you too.
     
  12. CfP

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    great to hear you got is sorted fudge!! Also great to hear your views on the sound side of the connections.

    Good stuff with the remote. I've yet to sit down with the manual for the Onkyo SR702 and learn how to program it up for the TV, DVD, VCR and CD :boring: See what the next week brings, may have some time now Chrissy/New Yr is gone :laugh: ya right...... :cool:

    CfP
     

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