Sony BDP-570 analog out or with CA Dacmagic?

Patricia P

Active Member
I am looking at getting the sony bluray player, and want the top of range for future proofing. Otherwise the 370 would suit, unless it has analog capability better than 570. The 760 seems to have had an firmware update in Sep10, I wonder how it differs in sound processing?
My system is stereo, I use CA Dacmagic to process the optical audio of my HD-DVD player, and this works fine even for CD.
My amp is analog input only, so I am interested in finding out if people find it better to play audio through the players's DAC or prefer it through a Dacmagic?
Or does it depend on source, eg SACD is recommended via phono but Bluray audio stereo tracks may be better as PCM to Dacmagic.
 
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Chippy99

Member
I am looking at getting the sony bluray player, and want the top of range for future proofing. Otherwise the 370 would suit, unless it has analog capability better than 570. The 760 seems to have had an firmware update in Sep10, I wonder how it differs in sound processing?
My system is stereo, I use CA Dacmagic to process the optical audio of my HD-DVD player, and this works fine even for CD.
My amp is analog input only, so I am interested in finding out if people find it better to play audio through the players's DAC or prefer it through a Dacmagic?
Or does it depend on source, eg SACD is recommended via phono but Bluray audio stereo tracks may be better as PCM to Dacmagic.
The D-A conversion in your Dacmagic is going to be way better than in any budget DVD or Blu-ray player, so I would go with the digital out into the Dacmagic every time. Since your amp doesn't have dolby or dts decoding, this goes for Blu-rays as well as CD's. Take the digital output from the player and let your dac do the decoding.

The only question is whether you should consider the analogue outputs for any SACD disks you may have. Whereas your DAC is going to do a better job at turning a 44/16 digital signal into analogue, the Sony has an inherent advantage in that it's starting with a 2.8MHz DSD bitstream to do its decoding from. This *might* give it the upper hand.

I say might, because it's not a forgone conclusion that it will. Also, bear in mind that it can probably produce an even finer digital output by downmixing the DSD stream to plain old 44/16. I have tried doing exactly this - playing an SACD track and taking the downmixed 44/16 output into my Benchmark DAC1. I have to say this does sound significantly better than when playing the CD audio track. But there's a niggling doubt at the back of my mind as to whether this is because it's a slightly different mix.

I haven't tried the analogue outputs with SACD material yet.

On a slightly different topic, it's a real shame Sony are so hung up on copy protection. It would have been marvellous if they let the player downmix DSD to 24/96 and output that. That would sound superb, I am sure, but they will never allow it.
 
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Patricia P

Active Member
I will enjoy testing the different options, Redbook vs Downmixed PCM into Dacmagic vs DSD analog output.
Reading a wiki article comparing PCM and DSD its clear that the processing starts in the recording studio as PCM then gets converted to DSD and back again for digital output.
It makes hirez flac look more attractive, and I'm allergic to downloaded music on principle.
 

Chippy99

Member
I will enjoy testing the different options, Redbook vs Downmixed PCM into Dacmagic vs DSD analog output.
Reading a wiki article comparing PCM and DSD its clear that the processing starts in the recording studio as PCM then gets converted to DSD and back again for digital output.
It makes hirez flac look more attractive, and I'm allergic to downloaded music on principle.
To be honest, I don't think it matters if or how many times the signal is converted from PCM to DSD and back again. The absolute fidelity at 24bit/96KHz or 2.88MBit bitstream is so ENORMOUSLY high that any miniscule losses transcoding from one to the other will be completely and utterly inaudible, and probably even unmeasurable. Anyone who tells you any different is just plain deluded or dishonest, and wrong.

In fact in the most recent test I heard about, students and various others (including recording engineers) were asked to differentiate between the analogue output from an SACD source, and the same source converted from A to D and back to A again, all at 16/44. Over a 1 year period, and tested double-blind on a variety of high end ancilliary equipment, the results showed that none of those tested were able to tell the difference! I can't remember off-hand but the success rate (at judging which was which) was something like 52%, which is well in the bounds of "random". When you think about it if 100 people were tested and 30 did know which was which (and 70 did not) you'd expect a random 35 of the 70 to get it right just by chance, plus the 30 who could tell = 65%. Whereas in fact, the stats did not support any conclusion that people could hear a difference.

The problem with your more "normal" tests at home or the hifi shop is (a) it's not normally double-blind and (b) the levels may not be properly matched. People do tend to like what they want to like and prefer a sound if it's 1 db or so louder.

So if it is impossible (or maybe borderline impossible) to detect A-D-A at 16/44.1, detecting 24/96 to DSD is absolutely inconceivable.
 
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Patricia P

Active Member
I dont disagree, I can remember enjoying Nana Mouskouri soaring against a cassette tape's hiss in mono. I think its less about the medium and more how receptive I feel.
But once I form an opinion on what I prefer naturally that is what I will prefer.
 

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