Digital out DVD


Active Member
I have an Onkyo 989 THX DVD Player, which I have had for a about 3-4 years I think and want to upgrade, but just want to know if it would be worth it.

Been doing some investigation and I find that when people comment on the sound of DVD players they refer to the 2 channel playback- which I am not intereted in at all, IT"S a DVD Player not cd player!!! So which brings me to my point, does the digital out on dvd players make a difference from machine to machine, since it doesn't get processed untill it reaches the amp/rec/processor?? would buying a Pioneer 668/868 as opposed to 565 make a difference on the digital out side of things not bothered about SACD DVD Audio ..blah blah blah just for sound on movies picture performace also is a bonus Sound for me is the most important


In my experience the differences in sound between different DVD players used as "transports" connected digitally to an AV Amplifier is not that large (very small), since after all most of the work in producing sound is being done by the digital signal processors and power amplifiers in your AV Amplifier. So to put it bluntly, an upgrade in sound quality means upgrading your AV amp rather than DVD player.

A new DVD player will give better picture via standard SCART/s-video/components, including progressive scan (for use with projectors and plasma/LCD screens), more formats played (including SACD/DVD-A/SVCD/MP3/even divx sometimes), and extra outputs like DVI-D and HDMI for digital video connection to a plasma screen or projector.

Additionally, a new digital audio output standard called has been finalized for sending SACD and DVD-A audio digitally to the amplifier for conversion there, just like DD/DTS gets converted in AV amplifiers at the moment. Not that you need this....

Based on your movie requirements, a new DVD player will just be relevant for video results for you at the moment. Which one to pick depends on what options you want to give yourself in the future. The Pioneer models are definitely some of the best available for your needs.

As for which new standards are worth having:

HDMI digital video output looks to be the most future-proof option, since DVI-D digital video out is just an encrypted version of the computer technology, rather than being specifically created for AV devices, and has lower performance than HDMI (apparently). However, neither approach is very well developed yet, and expect future players in the coming years to add new features and be more compatible with each other.

A future version of HDMI will also carry full high resolution digital sound alongside the picture (to allow everything to be switched in the AV amp, I suppose), but that is a few years away yet.

i.Link (firewire) looks to be the standard for future digital audio output (instead of the older digital coax/optical leads), and it is gradually arriving on the higher end AV amplifiers and universal DVD players at the moment. This will filter down to lesser equipment in the coming years of course.

There are also proprietary standards like Denon-link, but I hope they will die away soon, now that official standards have been agreed upon.


Active Member
I still don't understand how things such as jitter can affect coded sound. I can understand how it would affect a signal sent straight to a DAC, such as raw PCM, PWM or PDM/DSD, but when the signal is buffered and decoded, and jitter is no worse than to make the decoder accept the signal without error, how could there be a difference in sound? How would the jitter carry through the decoder to the decoded PCM output?

Raw PWM and PDM are probably the formats where I can remotely imagine jitter in the digital chain would produce an audible difference, followed by PCM. That's just what I picture, I don't have any practical or in-depth knowledge of digital signals but just knows the basics. But how formats such as AC-3 or DTS can be audibly affected is beyond me. :confused:

And when people compare the audible differences between DTS and Dolby Digital, it seems they rarely bring up what happened in mastering for the different formats and the steps are taken in each to make them more flexible which may affect how the decoders perform (such as for instance Dialog Normalization and surround phase shifting done in Dolby Digital).

If I would hear differences in sound between two digital cables, I'd imagine something was very wrong with at least one of them.


It's true that if the digital stream is buffered and re-clocked, microsecond level jitter problems are largely eliminated. But the final clocking of the DAC(s) has to be tied back somehow to the original data stream, and hence to its embedded clocking or you may run out of data or of buffer. Therefore, for the processor/decoder to be truly independent of source clocking, it needs to have a back channel to regulate the supply of audio data. iLink has this, but SPDIF doesn't. The other advantage is that iLink is licenced for encrypted digiital transfer of SACD; SPDIF isn't.

Personally, I don't believe in a blind trial you'd hear any difference between digital-out DVD players with a modern (buffered) processor/decoder playing Dolby or DTS.

Just my opinion - I'm not an expert.

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