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Digital or analog DV79-AVR300?

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by Cerebro, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. Cerebro

    Cerebro
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    Hi,

    I have the following problem:

    I am using an Arcam DV79 DVD player connected to an Arcam AVR300 receiver/surround amplifier. Everything is working really well - audio quality is superb, picture quality even better (hooked up to a Pioneer PDP-HDE 50" plasma). However...

    Now, I have purchased a home theater PC - a Kanam Accent with an Audigy 2 ZS - for the purpose of mainly playing games and doing multimedia stuff (in that order). So, I need to connect my sound card to the AVR300 and here I have the option of using digital or analog. However, it turns out that to be able to play games in 5.1 surround, I cannot use a digital connection, since the format being used in games is mostly proprietary (i.e. non Dolby Digital) and then I would need an onboard Dolby Digial encoder, which is not available at present.

    So, in that case I have to use an analog connection, BUT there is only one set of analog 5.1 inputs to the AVR300 and those are occupied by the DV79. And thus, my question: My local Arcam dealer, who seems to be quite knowledgeable, says that using an analog connection between the DV79 and AVR300 makes for better sound quality, even taking aside the fact that DVD-Audio cannot be played through non-encrypted digital connections due to copyright issues. So, here's my question: Is it true that sound quality is better using analog rather than digital connections from the DV79 to the AVR300? I sure hope the answer is no, because then I can connect my computer using analog cables and the DV79 using digital.

    However, if the answer is yes, would using a DV29 and the AVR300 amend the situation or do I need an HDMI-capable receiver as well, and if so, is there such a thing (which won't force me to sell my car)...?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. cmclaughlan

    cmclaughlan
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    I have bad news for you.

    The AVR300/DV79 sounds miles better with the analogue compared to the digital. I was falbbergasted when I set it up and did an A/B comparison. The digital sounded "tinny" in comparison to the analogue. I won't listen to it any other way now. Movies abd music all sound richer and fuller.

    I wouldn't think that using the DV29 would sort it out for you as it is the high quality DACs that are really shining through in the digital/analogue difference and that is still going to be the case.

    You could always upgrade your PC audio card to one that does support Dolby Digital out ;-)

    Good luck.

    Colin
     
  3. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Excuse me please, unless I'm mistaken, doesn't using analogue connections from DV79 to AVR300 mean that you're using the DV79's onboard decoding for Dolby Digital/DTS etc during DVD playback, instead of the AVR300's digital decoding? Or am I wrong?
    If I'm right then isn't the AVR300's capabilities being practically wasted in your setup?
     
  4. cmclaughlan

    cmclaughlan
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    Yes, the DTS/DD decoding is being done on the DV79. But the AVR300 is now in "direct mode" meaning that the digital circuitry is being by-passed and the sound is cleaner.

    From pg. 7 of the AVR300 manual:
    I'm still using the AVR300 in digital mode for my cable TV (DD 5.1) and for PS2 and X-Box gaming, as well as the OTA HD TV tuner and my LD player. So it isn't exactly going to waste.

    Colin
     
  5. JetJockey

    JetJockey
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    Hi.

    This is an interesting thread. Have both the DV79 and AVR300 at the mo but had not much chance to play with them. Got called in off standby the last three days for a Palma, Alicante and Malaga. In addition, AVR300 now reboxed for return to dealer due to cooling fan problem (old news now).

    I have wondered about this as I do not want six audio leads strung between DVD player and amp. I have even considered the Denon 3910 and 3805 to get a single digital connection, if it gives the best sound however...............

    A question. If you have selected "DVD" on the front of the AVR300, how does it know which input to process, analogue or digital?? Does one set this in the setup menu as I seem to remember it automatically selects digital as the "best" choice?

    Cheers, Gerald. :)
     
  6. cmclaughlan

    cmclaughlan
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    There are 2 seperate inputs .. DVD (and that can be digital or 2 channel analogue) or MCH (Multi-channel analogue input)

    Colin

    PS If you have a digital and analogue source input on the same input button then holding down that input, say DVD, on the remote, swaps between the analogue and digital inputs.
     
  7. JetJockey

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    Hi Colin.

    Cheers.

    Yes realised there were two inputs, and that you could get analogue by holding down button for for a few seconds. Was wondering if there was an easier way eg: if one only connects analogue cables, will the AVR300 "autosense" this and select Multichannel analogue only?

    If the six analogue outputs from the DV79 (or even supposedly better FMJ29) will carry the audio from the "normal" DVD Movie also, then surely this is the way to go and not use the digital lead at all. Or am I missing something here??

    Gerald. :confused:
     
  8. cmclaughlan

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    Nope you aren't missing anything. Brings the thread full circle ;-)

    Yes, the digital and analogue both send all channels. The question is do they sound better/different ? And the answer I have is, yes, the analogue sounds better.

    Colin

     
  9. JetJockey

    JetJockey
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    Excellent.

    Only two questions then, (the threads not over till the fat lady sings).

    1) What interconnects to use (x6)? I have five Chord Chameleons kicking about somewhere, but would like to buy a new (better?) set.

    2) Anybody (other than Crustyloafer) heard the FMJ29 vs the DV79.

    3) (I lied about two questions) Can one set AVR300 to autoselect the six analogue inputs when pressing "DVD" input select button without having to hold it for several seconds, or is this automatic if no digital input is "sensed"? And, does this still supply the AVR300 with the surround "type" information, or is this redundant in this configuration? I am thinking here of the different SUB sound levels (-10db etc) which are applied, dependant on whether the sound track is DD or DTS multichannel?? Does the DV79 offer all this in it's set up menu?

    4) (Spanish inquisition sketch?) As one is generally using Stereo Direct in this configuration, how does one apply perhaps "Pro Logic II Music" processing to a normal CD track to give it that extra something?

    I must be missing something!! :confused:

    Gerald :)

    :offtopic: Just how good are these Superbit DVD versions compared to the standard jobbies?
     
  10. Cerebro

    Cerebro
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    Thank you all for your replies, even though the answer was not what I was hoping for...

    Anyway, now I'm convinced that the sound quality actually is noticeably better using analog vs digital. However, it strikes me as odd since this must imply that the DACs in the DV79 are better than those in the AVR300. Then again, I'm more or less a newbie in Hi-Fi so I might be missing important points here. Anyway, coming from the IT side, digital usually means cleaner signal/closer to the source/bypassing, avoiding additional processing... Anyone that can explain why it isn't so in this case?

    As for using a sound card that has digital out, I already have. Using it for playing DVD:s or other DD sources from the computer is fine (then again, this is more or less a moot point since I haven't yet been able to produce a DVD image that rivals that of the DV79).

    The problem is when I play games and I want surround sound (e.g. playing Doom 3 and wanting to get a more accurate position of the enemies from the sounds they make) because most games produce a proprietary audio format, or the computer-only EAX, none of which are supported by an external amp using a digital/non-processed signal.

    The only answer to achieve this, as far as I know, is to have a DD encoder built into the sound card in the computer, thereby producing a DD signal that the amp can use. The only sound card I know of which can do this is the sound chip nVidia SoundStorm built into nVidia nForce2 motherboards, and these are both scarce and out-of-date with respect to other components.

    So my conclusion is that I'll just have to wait and hope that nVidia nForce4 will reintroduce the SoundStorm DD encoder.

    Thanks again

    /Par
     
  11. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    I disagree with a lot of the above statements. The processing onboard the DV79/29 for Dolby Digital and DTS although good is no match for the processing onboard the AVR300. The AVR300 also has far more flexible setup options in terms of speakers distances and levels and other unusual configurations. The 6 channel analogue outputs from the DVD player are primarily designed for outputting the decoded DVD-A signal which has to be done onboard the player and also for those that have an older AV receiver that does not have Dolby Digital or DTS decoding.

    As far as Cerebro's problem goes he has several options:

    1: Connect the DV79 to the AVR300 with a digital connection only which will give him full Dolby Digital and DTS decoding from DVDs. He will be able to use the analogue outputs from the PCs soundcards and play games in surround sound properly. He will lose the ability to hear the MLP high resolution soundtracks on DVD-A discs and be limited to Dolby Digital and DTS from these sources which defeats the purpose of the higher resolution.

    2: Connect the DV79 to the AVR300 with both the digital and analogue connections. This will allow him to use the decoding onboard the AVR300 for Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks and switch to the DVD-A input to hear the full resolution audio from DVD-A discs. This leaves only digital inputs from the PCs soundcard will not be quite as effective for gaming.
     
  12. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    1: Use the best ones you can afford as technically these should only be used to carry high resolution DVD-A signals which being higher quaility than CD should deserve better cables.

    2: Probably

    3: You should be using the digital output from the DV79/29 for DVD movies and letting the AVR300 do the decoding. The reason the multi-channel input on the AVR300 is labelled 'DVD-A' is that that is what it is for. The 'DVD-A' input on the AVR300 is designed for listening to sources that the AVR300 cannot decode itself.

    4:You cannot apply processing to the signals going into the muti-channel inputs as they are designed specifically for the reason that the processing/decoding for the signal is done before it gets to the amp. If you wish to apply 'Pro-Logic II' to a stereo signal from a cd player you need to connect the cd player to either one of the digital inputs or any of the stereo analogue inputs which can be swtiched in and out of stereo direct mode. I don't want to sound repetetive but the multi-channel inputs are specifically for connecting multi-channel high resolution music sources into which are either SACD or DVD-A or both depending on the player you are using.

    5: I have purchased several superbit DVDs recently and have found that the quality varies greatly. Gattaca was very poorly done wich a grainy picture and lack of dynamic range in the soundtrack. Das Boot however is an absolutely outstanding superbit disc and well worth adding to your collection.
     
  13. Shaka

    Shaka
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    I agree with Crustyloafer's views on the connecting DV79 to AVR300 via digital. That's what I was trying to query initially as I didn't believe that the DV79 had better decoding abilities than the AVR300 and you'd only need 5.1 analogue connections purely for DVD-A playback.
     
  14. JetJockey

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    Dohh!! Arrrghh!!

    Talk about going full circle.

    But seriously folks, all your points make sense to me and, (Chris) I thought I was missing something and it was best to use the AVR300 for DTS etc decoding.

    Oh well, it's back to the Chameleons then for the Multichannel out to the AVR300 inputs.

    Thanks on the info re the Superbit DVD's. If anybody can recommend any others, please do. :oops: Sorry, wrong thread.

    Gave a Denon 3910 a quick audition today as had an hour to kill. It was being fed through a Domino Sim 20 projector (720p) onto a draper screen. Have to say, it was damn good. Picture was absolutely crystal clear with fantastic colour rendition. Dunno what the film title was but it starred Stallone, whatisname from the Cannon Ball Run, and some racing cars. Mind you, I think the source material must have been good. Anyway, planning to stick to the Arcam at the moment.

    Cheers, Gerald. :)
     
  15. Cerebro

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    Hmm.. interesting... I guess I'll just have to try it out in practice to evaluate the CD/2-channel and DVD sound respectively, in digital vs. analog.

    As for DVD Audio, I could use my computer and 192kHz capable sound card to decode DVD Audio and see how that compares to using the DV79 and Direct Mode. I guess the DV79 and its D/A circuitry will run in circles around my sound card, but who knows...

    Just a last ray of hope of being able to go the best of both worlds route - Does anyone know if it would be at all possible to connect both the DV79 and the PC/sound card at the same time using analog connections, i.e. by some sort of 2-to-1 connector for each cable...?

    Cheers
     

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