DVD and DAC20 setup

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Droogie 2001, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. Droogie 2001

    Droogie 2001
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    A while back I asked whether a separate CD player would be better that just getting some decent interconnects for my DVD player, the Pioneer 717.
    After a good response I went ahead and bought a TAG DAC20 for £350. (It’s not often you get to have TAG stuff at such a bargain price) and used my DVD as a transport.
    I have to say I was very impressed by the improvement in performance. At the same time I completely re-wired my system with what I would regard as fairly good cables. QED Silver Spiral etc.
    Now that I have done this I am itching to squeeze the last possible performance out of it.
    I have set it up in the following way. The Receiver I have is a Denon 3802.
    Coaxial cable out of the DVD into digital DAC input. Analogue interconnects out of the DAC into the Receivers CD input. Lastly Coaxial cable from the DAC into the Coaxial on the Receiver, so that I can listen to Dolby digital movies.
    Now I know CJROSS has a Pioneer 717 so this would be aimed at him if he reads this unless anyone else can confirm.
    The DVD menus for Output are setup to Dolby Digital (not with PCM), 96hz, DTS and MPEG.
    Is this right? I have tried it with the PCM section enabled and it badly affected the way the bass sounded on my DVD films. I.e. There was very little bass.
    Having read some recent posts it is suggested that maybe an Optical cable maybe a better choice than another Coaxial from the DAC’s output.

    “In essence yes, although I would always suggest using the Coaxial output for sending CD PCM output from your DVD player to a DAC and then use the Optical Toslink for AV bitstream signals to the AV Amp digital input. I think that bitsream is less senstive to the effects of cable type ie Coax/Optical & conversely PCM signals are more sensitive to jitter ie optical being a higher jitter induced cable”

    Is the optical Toslink the same as an Optical?
    I was under the impression that coaxial’s generally offered better performance than optical’s? Is this suggested to help keep the AV sound as least effected as possible because it’s passed through the DAC?
    Can anyone help, confirm or suggest anything as I think I am getting myself tied up in knots!

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  2. tonytiger

    tonytiger
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    I don't own that model but for playing cds always set to pcm and turn of DTS.I have a sony n900v dvd but this autodetects the type of disc.Turn on dolby digital/dts when watching dvd's.

    I have the dac20 also but i still cannot tell much difference between my analog out of the dvd player and the analog out of the dac20!!!But i am keeping until i have heard some better recordings ie HDCD stuff.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. tonytiger

    tonytiger
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    Coaxial is better than toslink for Tag stuff anyway.Bnc is even better with XLR being studio spec.
     
  4. tvr

    tvr
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    mraggett, can I ask where/when you purchased your DAC20?

    Regards

    TVR
     
  5. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Right Mike here goes, I think you are creating an “extra” link in here that is not Required ie the coaxial output on your DAC should not be used for streaming through a signal for movies/AV, in effect you are not using the optical connection on the 717 to its full ability, your 717 should run via the digital as follows dude (IMHO) :

    The Coaxial Output to the DAC 20 (This will stream pure PCM output for CD playback)
    The Optical (Toslink is the Interface Connection type ie little square connector) to the 3802 (This will stream Bitstream DD/DTS for AV playback)

    That is all the digital connections you require to do. As you have said for listening to CD you simply run a set of IC from the DAC to the CD line input (thereby bypassing the 3802s DACs), the DAC 20s digital out should not be used to feed the 3802 for AV mode by the sound of it, that should be done via the optical cable into the 3802, which will then decode the signal with its onboard DACs.

    TVR : http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=53 do a search in this forum for DAC 20 as well. Should cover the AV side as well as the hifi side.

    The only problem you will have is that you will have to set the output on the Pioneer for CD as follows : Digital Output : Linear PCM 96Khz. DTS : Off

    Then when watching movies simply switch back to : Digital Output : Bitstream Mode 48 or 96 its up to you dude, DTS : On.

    This is the optimum set up for using an offboard DAC such as the DAC 20 with the Pioneer 717, newer DVD-Vs have auto detect modes that tell the player to adopt Bitstream or PCM, with the 717 (and other older DVD-Vs) you have to manually force on one or the other. FWIW I only use a 2 channel Amp, and send my DVD-Videos down to the DAC 20 in PCM mode, sound OK to me for what I need, but may be different for a fully paid up member of the 5.1 club like yourself.

    HTHs dude, if you need any other pointers fire away
     
  6. Droogie 2001

    Droogie 2001
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    Thanks for the reply CJROSS. As always very helpful.

    Do you or anyone else have any recomendations for which brand of Optical cable to test/buy?
    I have often heard that they are regarded as inferior to Co-Axial cables and as I getting from what I tell the same quality sound out from streaming through the DAC I am wondering whether it will be worth the extra expense?

    Thanks

    Mike Raggett
     
  7. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Thanks

    The cable I use is this one dude : I personally would not spend much more than this. It has nice snaps connectors & a nice robust sheathing ehhh its also a nice colour.

    http://www.hifibitz.co.uk/Warehouse/details.asp?ProductID=IXO106100 Ixos 106 £25

    But back to optical (toslink connection) cables carrying PCM code this is the advice from the DAC 20 user manual : Avoid using the TOSLINK™ optical connection if you can. Limitations inherent in the optical standard mean that the full capability of your DAC20 will not be used.

    The limitations they mention dude is the bandwidth of the signal, another way to look at it is that optcial converts electrical > light > electrical which again IMHO can degrade sound quality (the superior high Glass optics aside) I have tried straight comparisons with a DAC using coaxial v optical and the one thing I noticed was that coaxial had a better sense of separation or air in the music passages I listened to. Not 20-30% better but on the whole it was better & it was noticeable. Now as I said I don’t think this affects Bitstream as much as PCM music signals so I would if possible do your connections in that priority mentioned above. FWIW Ive used the optical cable above for my Minidiscs deck into my DAC 20 and the results were quite acceptable but for the best playback I would suggest a coaxial feed of PCM.

    Again HTHs
     

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