CD player output options

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
I have a question regarding audio connection options between a CD player and an AV receiver. I had always assumed that if a given CD player was equipped with digital audio “outs” (coax or optical), it would be considered the optimal connection method and that this setup channels the digital audio signal to the DACs in the receiver, as opposed to the DAC in the player. My question is, does this necessarily result in the most sonically accurate playback?
In my case, the equipment being used for the comparison is a Marantz SR 6012 av receiver and a Pioneer Elite PD-F17 100 disc changer. One would logically assume that a modern day component would have more sophisticated “tech” than a 100 disc CD player from the early 2000’s and that the DACs in the Pioneer would be no match to the one in the Marantz. Yet, I remember coming across a thread not too long ago, where someone claimed that the DACs in his Pioneer player (a very similar model), produced exceptional sound quality, when using a set of high end analogue interconnect cables. I’d perform the experiment myself if I had a set of decent RCA cables at my disposal. Having lost the manual for the Pioneer, the only specs that I can quote pretty much come from the face panel of the unit. Hi Bit Legato Link conversion (20 bit) etc. Is it possible that the sound quality produced by a 20 bit converter is comparable, even superior to that produced by the DACs in the Marantz?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
You don’t need “high end” cables to do this, pretty much any rca stereo cable will do. In fact I would suggest you don’t need “high end” cables full stop. Amazon basics cable at around £5 will provide as good a sound as something costing 10x the price. Give it a go, try analogue output and digital and see what your ears tell you.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
As above, buy suitable cables and give it a go.

I don't subscribe to the new and improved recipe philosophy; as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Similarly, whether something is comparable or superior, or more sonically accurate, for me, is irrelevant. It's whether a piece of kit can convey the message.
Go with that which captivates and entices, rather than measures well.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You have the choice of both inbuilt DAC in the player and that onboard the Marantz. Buy cables and try each in turn and let your ears decide. As above do not spend a fortune on cables. You already have interconnects so all you need is an optical cable.
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
Thanks to Gibbsy and all who responded. Have been listening thru the digital out for quite some time already. Will get a set of Amazon basics or similarly priced and try that way to see how things sound using the player’s DAC.
Btw, is there a difference performance wise between coax digital and optical? The player has both.
And thanks to all who pointed out that letting my ears decide is the most sensible method. 😊😊
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Btw, is there a difference performance wise between coax digital and optical? The player has both.

Not from a CD player, some devices can support higher bit rates over coax (192/24 Vs a max of 96/24 for most optical interfaces) but it's irrelevant for a CD player
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Not from a CD player, some devices can support higher bit rates over coax (192/24 Vs a max of 96/24 for most optical interfaces) but it's irrelevant for a CD player
Just so you are aware, CD is locked at 16b/44.1k and that can't be changed. This is actually not that great when there are 32 bit/786K DAC available today.

Some CD Players allow external access to the internal DACs, in this case, it might be possible to use a 24b/192k DAC with some external source. But is it pretty much fixed with CD.

As to analog vs digital, you are weight the quality of the DAC internal to the CD Player against the quality of the external DAC. Simply pick the one that sounds best to you.

Steve/bluewizard
 
Last edited:

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
Just so you are aware, CD is locked at 16b/44.1k and that can't be changed. This is actually not that great when there are 32 bit/786K DAC available today.

Some CD Players allow external access to the internal DACs, in this case, it might be possible to use a 24b/192k DAC with some external source. But is it pretty much fixed with CD.

As to analog vs digital, you are weight the quality of the DAC internal to the CD Player against the quality of the external DAC. Simply pick the one that sounds best to you.

Steve/bluewizard
Thanks. I’m just curious. Would you happen to know what level of DAC(s) are in my AV receiver
(Marantz SR 6012)? Because I always assumed that such DACs were designed for home theatre/multi channel applications. I didn’t know they could potentially deliver an improvement to ordinary 2 channel audio. Thanks😊
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thanks. I’m just curious. Would you happen to know what level of DAC(s) are in my AV receiver
(Marantz SR 6012)? Because I always assumed that such DACs were designed for home theatre/multi channel applications. I didn’t know they could potentially deliver an improvement to ordinary 2 channel audio. Thanks😊
Marantz depend on their HDAM circuitry to influence on how stereo music will sound after it has gone through the DAC. That's why you can pay a premium for the Marantz model over the sister Denon.

No AV amp in the Denon/Marantz stable can compete with the performance of a good integrated stereo amp but it is fair to say that the Marantz are better. If you want better then a stereo amp with HT by-pass should be used connected to the front left and right pre-outs of the 6012 with all your music sources going directly into that stereo amp. This is the method I employ with my Denon AV amp and quite frankly there is no comparison between the two units.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
I didn’t know they could potentially deliver an improvement to ordinary 2 channel audio. Thanks😊
I guess it depends on what you mean by improvement?
We tend to assume that what we find more pleasing to the ear is an improvement, but it isn't necessarily so.
Ultimately, you're pretty much pegged by what you started with and how good a job was done by the artist/studio. I mean, if you have a meter box with 100 dots in it, no matter what electronic magic you do with upscaling and converting, you still have a meter box with 100 dots in it.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Thanks. I’m just curious. Would you happen to know what level of DAC(s) are in my AV receiver
(Marantz SR 6012)? Because I always assumed that such DACs were designed for home theatre/multi channel applications. I didn’t know they could potentially deliver an improvement to ordinary 2 channel audio. Thanks😊
If you look in the Detailed Specs of the Amp it should give the DAC Brand and working Resolution for various inputs. But I think you can trust your ears. Personally, I trust the DACs built into CD Players, even though I have spare DAC inputs on my Amp. Especially so if it is a relatively new CD Player.

Don't get too hung up on what is likely a very microscopic difference.

Steve/bluewizard
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
Thanks to Gibbsy and all who responded. Have been listening thru the digital out for quite some time already. Will get a set of Amazon basics or similarly priced and try that way to see how things sound using the player’s DAC.
Btw, is there a difference performance wise between coax digital and optical? The player has both.
And thanks to all who pointed out that letting my ears decide is the most sensible method. 😊😊
Yes there is a difference between Optical and RCA digital. The optical prevents any possible earth loops being formed , which can inject hum in some sound systems ... . So thats a win for the optical. However some hi res music formats ,and particularly multi channel ProDolby ,Atmos etc, cannot travel via the optical .., but can on coaxial and HDMI, but for bog standard stereo or 24 bit 96k hi res, optical is fine.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Samsung Micro LED, Mini LED, NEO QLED TVs and More: AVForums Podcast Interview
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom