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Denon AVC-A11SR CD Analogue Vs Digital input

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by rnjones, Feb 2, 2002.

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  1. rnjones

    rnjones
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    I have just spent an excellent afternoon listening to CDs on my A11SR. Why? Because the weather is cr*p and I just connected my CD player up via digital Coax and wanted to test that vs analogue inputs.

    Here is my setup
    AVC-A11SR
    Linn Mimik CD
    Linn analogue phono interconnects
    Hi quality digital coax interconnect
    Mission 753 Floor standers
    M&K K-9 Sub
    High quality silver coated multicore speaker cable, bi wired at the speaker end.
    Sony 735 DVD player
    (Panasonic VCR and Sky Digital box)
    Mission 75C centre, 750 rears.
    Sony 36FS70 TV


    I have had my trusty Linn Mimik since 1994 (found the bill), at the time it cost £798 (which was a fortune then). It has always sounded great. Before I got the Denon in december it was connected to an Arcam Delta 270 amp.

    As soon as I listened to CDs on the Denon I (and the other half!!) was blown away by the quality of the sound. The A11SR realy is an excellent amp for Music and DVD.

    On another post I was discussing with Hoglet the use of digital coax to connect the CD to the amp and wondering if it makes any difference? Well today I got the BNC (Linn end) to phono convertor I needed to do the testing. I assigned Coax input 2 to the VDP input so I could swap between CD (analogue) and VDP (digital coax) easily. Both inputs were configured as Pure Direct. Sub was on.

    Before I started I was trying to figure out, £800 CD vs £1800 amp Digital to Analogue Convertor (DAC) qualities. Decided the Linn would be better but the Denon has the benefit of 7 years of progress in Semi conductors to rely on.

    CDs I used
    Neil Young Sleeps with Angels
    Pink Floyd Division Bell and remastered Wish You Where Here
    Massive Attack Mezzanine
    (sorry I dont have any good classical recordings being a Rock sort of bloke)

    I listened to a number of tracks on all these albums in particular, Marrooned and High Hopes from Division Bell, Shine on pt1 and Wish You Where here and Angel off Mezzanine.


    All of it is absolutely brilliant. I spent ages not being able to tell any real difference between Analogue and Digital connections. After a couple of hours when every thing was nice and warm, I started to notice the subtle differences.

    1. On all CDs apart from Mezzanine the bass on the digital input seemed to have more emphasis. But on Mezzanine this swapped over and the analogue input went lower.

    2. The major difference is the soundstage or postioning of instruments. By the way I was sitting in the sweet spot between the two front speakers. The sub happens to be directly between these. On Wish You where here (the track) The acoustic guitar at the begining moved when I swapped from analogue(more towards the right) to digital (more towards the left). I have checked my phono polarities:) .

    The analogue inputs provided a more focused sound stage, the Denon has a more dispersed feel to it. Neither was bad. The other half couldnt tell the difference at all.

    I am going to do more testing on Sunday with some different CDs. If anyone has any recomendations that would be good.

    So which is best? I think the Linn just edges out the Denon DAC on most tracks. Specially ones with carefully placed instruments. However playing Whole lotta Rosie (AC/DC If you want blood) really loud it seems the same :D

    What this does say to me is.
    a) The Linn DACs of 1994 were brilliant for their time.
    b) The A11SR DACS are very very good for their price point in an AV amp.

    I also tried some other tests.
    Neil Young in my Sony DVD player connected via Digital Coax not in the same league

    Division Bell using 5/7channel stereo was OK. DPLII Music mode sounded average as did DTS Neo 6. I must be a stereo music bloke.

    If you had a more moderate CD player with digital output I reckon the Denon would give it new life.

    If you have £1800 to spend and want an AV amp that is good for Music as well as DVD I heartily recomend the AVC-A11SR.

    Rog
    p.s I have just (after the testing above) changed the frequency setting on my M&K sub from variable to bypass (as recomended by StewartC), which makes sense for watching DVDs. Does anyone know what LFE cutoff the Pure Direct mode uses on the 11SR?
     
  2. johnson

    johnson
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    Does anyone know what LFE cutoff the Pure Direct mode uses on the 11SR? [/B][/QUOTE]

    That's the problem.Does it use any crossover in pure direct?

    On the U.S avs forums,I read that,when in pure direct mode your front speakers are feed a full range signal(whether they're set to large or small)This is so that no processing is taking place which might"spoil"the signal.

    Apparently the way the Denon allows the sub to work is by having a seperate analogue signal for the sub.(therefore there are no crossovers interfering with the mains signal.)

    Now I couldn't get the info that would tell me if the signal sent to the sub was via your original crossover point or not.

    You see if my speakers are receiving full range,they go down to about 38hz.

    My sub may be getting everything from 80hz down(my none pure direct setting)

    This would mean I'm doubling up on a certain range of low frequencies.

    I've contacted Denon regarding this and I will post the reply when it comes.

    Regards

    Simon
     
  3. penacP

    penacP
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    You can have your front left and right speakers without the subwoofer in pure direct mode :

    set the left and front speakers to large, using On Screen Display settings

    Select 'DIRECT' in the 2/5 panel.

    Use the remote and press 'CH Select' in the same panel ( 2/5 panel)... Press until you see sub... then lower it until you see OFF (On Screen Display).

    Press 'Pure Direct' and your sub won't work when in this mode but will be active in all other ones... :)

    Penac
     
  4. Hoglet

    Hoglet
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    It was my understanding that when in the Direct and Pure Direct modes, regardless of the speaker size settings, the main speakers receive a full range signal. This is nice, because in my system movies sound best with all speakers set to small and bass going to the sub. It would be a pain have to keep changing speaker sizes when switching from movies to music.

    Concerning the path to the sub in Pure Direct mode. I think I read somewhere that the denon supports separate two paths to the sub. One of these is analogue with a fixed crossover frequency of 80 Hz, the other uses some digital processing to implement a variable frequency crossover. So, if your crossover is left at the THX default of 80Hz, then in Pure Direct mode all digital circuitry is disabled. If you have selected a non default crossover frequency, then this will still function correctly, but will involve some digital processing of just the signal going to the sub.

    I'll try to find some references to where I read this, and add them in later.

    ---Dave
     
  5. Hoglet

    Hoglet
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  6. johnson

    johnson
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    Thanks Dave.

    One point though.My mains go down to about 38hz.

    If I leave the sub off,I,m missing part of the lower frequency.

    If I put the sub on,then I'm getting doubling up in the 20-40ish area.

    Also when the manual talkes about the fixed THX crossover dissabling internal digital crossovers,what frequency will be sent to the sub in this case in pure direct?

    Regards

    Simon
     
  7. Hoglet

    Hoglet
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    The Fixed-THX crossover is fixed at 80Hz.

    So, in Pure Direct mode with the Fixed-THX crossover mode selected, freqencies less than 80Hz will be sent to both the sub *and* the main speakers. This crossover is implemented by an analogue filter.

    Generally, frequency response curves do not exhibit "brick wall" characteristics. Setting the crossover to 40Hz probably means that at 40Hz the gain will have droppd by 3dB from the flat. Similarly for your speakers at 38Hz. So the sum of these two ought to be roughly flat.

    In practice, since the sub and the mains will be in different locations, then frequencies that are sent to both may or may not add. If they are in phase they will add. If they are out of phase they may cancel. It will depend alot on the room as well. So, you might even end up with a trough rather than a peak at 38-40Hz.

    Have you actually tried setting the crossover to 40Hz? Give it a go and see what it sounds like.

    --- Dave
     
  8. johnson

    johnson
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    Thanks for the reply Dave.

    Much of what you say makes good sense.

    The only reason I havn't tried a lower frequency is that my surrrounds won't go that low and I didn't want to keep changing settings for dvd's and music.

    I'll have to play with a few settings.My ears are not that good ,where I can notice much difference with the crossover settings.

    I found they weren't that good when I finally bought an spl-meter and realised all the speaker settings that were set-up by ear were wrong!

    Also my sub is next to one of my mains.

    Also what doesn't help is that on many "tracks" the bass sounds too loud and then on another album it sounds week.

    This is why I was looking for the "definivative answer"that apparently doesn't exist.

    Best regards

    Simon

    Incedently Dave are you using a dvd player as your cd source or a cd player? and are you using digital or analogue in?
     
  9. Hoglet

    Hoglet
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    I'm using a Meridian 207 CD Player. It's connected to both analogue and digital inputs. I think I prefer the analogue inputs, but theres not much in it. For more details check out this thread:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=29289

    --- Dave
     
  10. rnjones

    rnjones
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    Folks thanks for the info on the Sub crossover frequency. I need to find out what the frequency response of my 753s are. Havent done any more testing today due to a hangover:(

    So can anyone confirm that I have this setup right now.

    A11SR set to fixed THX (80Hz) cross over so it uses analogue cross over in pure direct mode.

    M&K K-9 sub has crossover set to bypass as I dont need the sub to do any cross over work.

    Or do I need to set it to variable to cross over (at the yet to be discovered) lower frequency of my Mission 753s?

    I suppose it is easy to pop it back to bypass for TV and DVDs.

    Cheers Rog
     
  11. Jase

    Jase
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    If you are using a Rel sub with the Denon A1SE all you need to do is have the sub connected via both the low & high level connectors.

    You set the sub to mode 2 or 4, this ignores the crossover for low level and the amp sets the cutoff frequency.

    You then set the high level crossover to whatever frequency your main speakers go down to.

    On the A1SE in Pure Direct & Direct the front speakers receive FULL RANGE signals regardless of the speaker settings in the setup menu (even if theyre set to SMALL).

    You can then turn OFF then sub by entering the DIRECT mode, press MODE SELECT until CHANNEL LEVEL appears then lower the Sub channel until it reads OFF.

    DIRECT mode settings will affect the PURE DIRECT mode.

    This way for REL/A1SE owners you´ll have the best of both movies & music.

    And you wont have any bass doubling or have to change any of the speaker settings.

    Hope this helps.

    cheers
     
  12. sbonell

    sbonell
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    I posted the same findings - i.e. the stereo image was poorer (I think you said "different") on the 11SR DACs.

    This didn't bother me in normal listening, but was very noticeable when playing a test disc with a test for this specifically. Its the Sheffield Labs disc called "My Disc" which has voices describing their position as far left, centre and far right.

    I'd used this to get my speakers positioned right for the sweetspot and with the analogue output from a Sony 7700 DVD player, the central image was bang in the centre (and you couldn't "hear" the individual speakers). This wasn't the case with the coaxial digital output. I didn't get a chance to try moving the speakers around to see whether I could get the strong image back.

    Interesting rather than a big deal I guess - and I'd agree with your overall impression of the amp's sound quality.

    Cheers
     
  13. rnjones

    rnjones
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    Hi Sbonnell, interesting to hear you had similar feelings. I agree it is not something you would hear unless you were really concentrating on the sound stage.

    Its still very good at the price point for great CD listening and excellent for DVD movies.

    Cheers Rog
     

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