Pioneer DVD-A Connection Question



Having just become the proud owner of a Pioneer DV-656A, I was looking forward to the delights of listening to DVD-A and SACD through my new system.

Naively I had expected that I would connect the Pioneer to my TV with an RGB scart for picture, and to the Amp (Denon 3802) with a Digital Coax for sound and I would be away. However, reading through the manual this evening I see that to get DVD-A and SACD I need to connect to the amp through the 5.1 analogue outputs.

Question 1 – If I connect the anologue 5.1, will I still be outputting the Dolby Digital and DTS signals through the digital coax cable, or will it automatically be decoded onboard and sent as 5.1 analogue stream? I don't want this to happen as I am pretty sure the onboard DAC's in the Pioneer will not be as good as those in the 3802.

Question 2 – The manual intimates that I also need to connect the standard stero pair to the amp to ensure that all bases are covered. Is this really necessary or will sound from a conventional CD be translated into PCM and transmitted along the digital cable?

Question 3 – I suppose I am probably going to answer this myself, but what quality of cables are required to connect the analogue 5.1? Having already spent a small fortune on interconnects and cabling the last thing I need is to have to fork out another £80 for interconnects to link up the analogue 5.1 and stereo pair (4 pairs x approx £20). I also dread to think what the spaghetti is going to be like behind the amp with so many thick cables running back to the DVD player.

I guess I should have learned the lesson by now that anything to do with Home Cinema that looked simple would work out to be twice as hard as algebra, but I guess that's part of the fun.

Any help would be gratefully accepted - tommorrow is hook up day!!:)

Duncan Harvey

I have the same amp and player combination.

Basically the digital output will still send pcm/dd/dts through to the amp - what you actually hear depends on the input you have selected on the amp.

If you select your normal "dvd" input on the denon then you'll get the usual dd/dts etc. If you listen to a DVDA disc via this then you'll hear the dd track.

Via the 5.1s you'll hear "true" DVDA and SACD.

Havent connected the stereo pairs up yet to the amp, but left it in ext 5.1 by accident and certainly got sound from DVDs so maybe an onboard DD/DTS decoder kicks in?

For interconnects at the moment I have some horrid cheapo leads as a temporary connection, and it seems to work fine! I do have some nice leads which IIRC cost me about £6 each so will be using those soon. But to be honest I doubt I'll notice much difference.

Hope this helps. Some of it may be inaccurate as I havent studied the manual in great detail - tend just to "dive in"


Active Member
Ixos do a good quality 6 phono to 6 phono (175AV) that I got for £30 which does the job for DVD-A analogue conections very neatly..a little bit too long perhaps, but the best solution I could find until I can be bothered to do-it-myself.

I have a Denon 3800 and 3801 combination and I now leave the amp on ext-in for CD as the DACS in the player are better sounding than those in the amp. The player decodes 2 channel stereo as well as DVD-A.

Ian Guinan


Ian, I wouldn't leave 3801 in ext-in mode for 2ch stereo since 3801 will waste its power on other unused channels, too.

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