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SP/DiF and DVD players.

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Steve.EX, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Just a thread to while away an hour.

    Whilst most i am sure are aware of this, this is something for the man who owns a budget dvd player and is thinking of up-grading.
    This specifically refers to the sp/dif output of dvd machines and their "qualities"
    Time and time again i read that using such an output be it co-axial or optical will result in very similar results across the boards when transfering a multi-channel "lo-res" bitstream.
    Whilst my own "reference" set-up is as below, in my house there are also present,

    A PS2
    An X-Box
    A Pioneer 515
    A Toshiba sd100e
    A Pioneer 939
    and a Toshiba sd900e which is my prefered beast.

    Whilst none of these are particularly high-end ths perhaps highlights these differences (i.e an rrp 100.00 Tosh sd100e and an rrp 1200.00 Pioneer 939/Tosh sd900e)
    I also have at my disposal a hugely expensive Tag dvd32r and an older Arcam 88+.


    In simple and clear cut terms the quality of the audio output between the lowly Tosh sd100e or Pioneer 515 whilst in no way disgraceful is NOT a patch on the better machines (we will leave out the PS2 and X-box for the obvious reasons). This is of course retaining the same interconnects etc.
    Infact i would say that the improvement in audio is greater than the improvement in PQ between the the two Toshiba's for instance.
    Plugging five different players (2 x Tosh, 2 x Pioneer and an Arcam) simultaneously into my Tag (3 x co-ax, 2 x optical) using identical interconnects of good quality and precuring five copies of Fifth Element Superbit, 3 copies of Finding Nemo (no mean feat - each copy has two versions a 16:9 and 4:3) and Hell Freezes Over, it was quite a surprise (or more accurately - a reminder) of the chalk and cheese presentations that these different machines gave and i absolutely mean night and day in some instances.
    So there we are, real gains in audio quality are there for not huge amounts of money.
    For the record my personal order of preference was.

    Audio:

    Tag dvd32r (which to be honest is as good a player as i have heard)

    The Arcam, Toshiba sd900e and Pioneer 939 were fairly equally matched, whilst i like(d) the Toshiba's clean and detailed higher frequencies and lean mids i much prefer the Pioneers lower frequencies which are very well defined with a realistic weight - although it's mids are warm and slightly boxy to my ears. The Arcam is a well balanced smoother sounding affair to me.

    (a long way behind)

    Toshiba sd100
    Pionner 515

    X-Box - although it's output is saturated with audible hash
    PS 2.

    Regards

    Steven
     
  2. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Steve

    interest (and accurate) thread for people to mull over, I thought all digital was 0s and 1s though :devil: ;)
     
  3. grey torq

    grey torq
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    Once again common sense prevails and people acknowledge what they hear rather than what theory ought to be.

    I would like to add that despite the advantages of HTPC's in terms of PQ the SPDIF output even from quality soundcards like m-audio is at the cheap budget level of standalone DVD players, the clarity and naturalness isn't there.

    Torq
     
  4. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Indeed.

    Long before we reach component design/performance issues, the most obvious factors such as supply stability, electrical isolation and transport stability play their part on performance, do people realise to just what extent ?
    1's amd 0's are just the "passengers".

    regards

    Steven
     
  5. Kane D Williams

    Kane D Williams
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    Steven,

    I have a Toshiba SD900E which I believe was the first one in the country (according to Sevenoaks) which I actually paid £1200 for :( as I believed DVD-A would take off!!

    I found that putting 3 'RDC' cones under the unit gave the low end more depth and clarity. Now I know some people will shoot me down in flames here and I was sceptical myself, but I know what I heard and there was a definite improvement in the low end!!

    If you can get any of these 'RDC' cones, they are worth checking out! Don't now anything about other cones etc???
     
  6. jitter

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    Oh dear... not the Digital 0 &1 spdif saga again! This really has been done to death on here and everywhere else, just search for jitter or digital jitter... even on google.

    Sure, if your spdif signal has huge (& I mean huge) amounts of 'jitter' then yeah, it''ll give the decoder a hard time workout causing 5.1/7.1 decoding signal degradation... possibly.

    People have even constructed so called jitter removal boxes to so call 'clean up the spdif'. Again yeah, some high end processors re-clock the spdif timing (which is whats susceptable) upon reception to remove the jitter, I have one such processor myself, and compared to the sony 725s dvd player spdif and my HTPC with M-audio card spdif, there is no difference...

    If you think something will change, 99% of the time human perception will make it so...

    I can't comment on really cheap players, I don't buy them! You makes your choices. If its cheap & chearful then dont expect jitterless performance. Common sense.
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    It may have been done to death but from you post you are struggling with all the concepts relate to all forms of jitter, have you analysed M audio cards for jitter, let alone 5 year old DVD players? Then have you campared them with Steve DVD32R / 99+and it's jitter performance, there is one hell of a difference, this is why Steve has posted this. There is NO reson why cheap players can't have good jitter performance, it doesn't cost a huge amount to do correctly, hey look to some of the latest cheap Tosh and Sony products, their jitter performance can be really stunning for the price.

    and don't forget it is worse with PCM :)
     
  8. grey torq

    grey torq
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    Ok if you're happy and you can't hear any difference then that's great.

    However the logic of your argument dictates that all DVD players over £500 when connected to an amp via digital coax will sound EXACTLY the same.

    I simply don't hear this - ARCAM DV 88+ sounds different to a DENON 2900 for example, anyone on the forum can test your theory all they need is 2 different DVD players. If they don't hear ANY difference then you must be right.

    Torq
     
  9. jitter

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    Well beside the point I was originally making, but yes, despite it's age the sony has an exceptionally low jitter, feel free to dig up its bench tests cos I cant be arsed.

    Did I actually say they couldn't?? NO I said 'you can't expect it'. If your gonna make an argument, please read whats been said, it does help. In fact it was Steve himself who concluded the cheaper players were poor by his ears.


    Never suggested otherwise.

    You're making that statement not me, and a wild one it is too.

    If the transport, player, soundcard or whatever player/soundcard variation you use via SPDIF for DD or DTS and 1) Has the same digital deviation & jitter (or near/low enough) as the other device then for SPDIF signals to the same Amp or Processor it will sound the same. Like I said like my processor that re-clocks then yeah you might get an improvement if the signal was originally poor enough.

    Standing your device on cones spikes will & can improve things by reducing resonance.

    There is a very long thread over on AVS were a well respected guy has done very indepth testing with very high end gear & found that as a transport HTPC's were right up there with the best.
     
  10. grey torq

    grey torq
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    Jitter,

    I think their is more to this than you'd like to admit.

    I'm just saying that I might have more confidence in how carefully you're listening to your Sony & HTPC in your comparison if you acknowledged their was a difference of some sort rather than saying they sound the same.

    The three top players Steve is listening to all sound good but have different tonal characteristics that appeal as a matter of taste.

    I know that I don't like the sound of my HTPC because it doesn't have the right atmosphere or clarity especially at the bottom end.
    I find it difficult to believe an expensive Sony player doesn't sound better or in some way different.

    Torq
     
  11. jitter

    jitter
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    If I really could hear a difference, I would be the first to say it. I have nothing to benefit either way and it's definately not about admitting anything.

    Using either my HTPC or the dvd player I honestly can't tell any difference, not for the lack of trying. Maybe my equipment is by chance of a similar match both technically & sonically or my hearing simply isn't good enough.

    This is only listening via the SPDIF on DTS & DD only. Not PCM or stereo which I agree would be very different.

    As stated above, the theory states the 2 spdif signals reaching the amp or processor should result in the same sound once decoded. Its like saying electricity from norweb sounds better than from southern electric yet if they are both exactly 230v and 50Hz how can it be. It's illogical.

    I can't help but find that true with what I have. I truly can't hear any decernable difference. FWIW neither does the Mrs.

    I'll just leave it at that. If other people find they can improve or find a difference in a 0/l digital bitstream then I guess that's fine too.
     
  12. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Neil

    The Sony is very good performer re jitter, the M card (the one I have) isn't to the same standards at all. In fact I said as much in reply to another poster a couple of days ago on this site re the decent quality of the 725 (the 7700 is better again and higher jitter). The sound from this low jitter device (725) is much different to other low jitter devices though, all are different. My best mate swapped a low jitter 725 for a slightly higher jitter Toshiba 900 and enjoys the much better performance. Any serious work will show the jitter differences but if you 'can't be arsed' to even look something simple up when questioned on a post, then I question ……………..well best left I think. Actually I did not ask about whether you had looked up a review for jitter 'spec' I simply asked if you had measured anything yourself (remember to read what is written ;)). Anyone can read a forum or magazine, the correct stuff and the incorrect stuff. Jitter isn't about single point measurements (as often portrayed in some 'mags') but a whole spectra and this accounts for many of the difference but you probably know that already………………….. but if you are in Cumbria pop in and I will happily show you the differences between SPDIF, non SPDIF methods of ‘transport’, sync locks, jitter boxes (the ones that actually work), cables and all the mains issues relating to this issue. We can even get the scopes out to show the differences and why HCPCs are limited in what they can do (the electrical ‘jitter’ differences between quiet PS is amazing) but that is another thread.

    I found the sound demos of HCPCs at the Event 11 most interesting when I ‘popped in’. The differences were much more marked that many will have you believe elsewhere. I think it was a little more that set up issues. I was surprized. Were you there? And yes I use two of these devices myself, they are a long way behind the top audio systems I have here though. One is my creation and one was Gordon’s built under Jeff / John A guidance. I have used these for a serious period of time now. I think I have a reasonable idea of their strengths and weaknesses as well and yes I am fan but I like to put it all in context. How are you recent experiments going, did you prefer the HCPC (audio side) or your new receiver?

    I read everything you said perfectly, and yes I do expect every player, even £50 ones, to get things right. Why compromise, why accept flawed design? But as many say 'all players sound the same anyway ', so why bother pushing standards up and prices down? I expect the highest quality of engineering whether it is a cheap DVD or a Tag DVD32R / Arcam 88+, this is why I have championed many of the great performing but low priced devices in the AV field on this site and others. I make no apology for expecting top performance in fact I am proud of it. I keep even the ‘cheap’ manufacturers on their toes (and yes, manufacturers have contacted me, asked for help). You have already said you can't comment on cheap players, what about the expensive ones Steve has talked about, with the 'better?' performance?

    As Torq says, all you need is two different players under blind controlled conditions. Isn't this just the reason people like Elliot have spent so much time and effort on the SDI mods on 'certain' players, to optimise both audio and video performance, by picking low jitter devices?

    The is much more to this……but if you can’t hear a difference I am happy with that, knowing there is no need to upgrade your equipment again as you are a content punter with the recent audio additions over the last few months.
     
  13. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Are you talking about the music demo or about the Denon 1600 vs PC for SPDIF DD/DTS?

    If it was the music, it was the first time (that I know of) of a PC compared against a high end CD player both outputting analogue and pure stereo.

    What did you think?, pretty much everyone prefered the Meridian CD player, how would you charaterise the sound differences and do you think that the PC sound could be corrected in a way that would make it a much closer contest? or was the underlying sound from the PC too compromised?
     
  14. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Jitter.

    Just so i understand you, you are saying that the:

    Arcam 88, Jitter 2ns, Deviation 274xx
    Tosh 900, Jitter 2ns, Deviation 197xx


    Sound identical???

    Well sir, i have both machines on the end of my "re-timing" Tag and tell you now that they are NOT sonically identical!!! (all technical relevance and issues regardless). Far far less so with PCM
    I would flatter myself on understanding the difference between "self-convincing" and "hearing" also.

    regards

    Steven
     
  15. jitter

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    On SPDIF for DD/DTS alone, then yes, sound the same. I couldn't even tell any difference between my sony dvd player & pioneer cld925 RF AC3 when they were both plugged into the pioneer Elite SPD99 DD processor and had the same film on laser & dvd. Just switching between the two on the processor. So yeah, I must be nearly deaf :)
     
  16. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Jeff

    I went for the Meridian on my casual listens as well, thought it would be much close though, hence my surprize
     
  17. jitter

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    Beekeeper,

    100% prefer the new 2011 amp. I was also very sceptical of the autosetup mcacc or whatever its called. Have to say I'm impressed with it, Ive even tried to deliberately give it a hard time arranging the speakers in different (& odd) positions, but still it manages to perform wonders setting up with its mic. As for its sound, well I have left my hand built monoblock power amps in the cupboard, which says a lot for the amp to me! realise now do I why it was so popular & out of stock :)

    I just use the spdif of the HTPC m-audio card to the amp now. Just bought a new Accent HT200 case, display & stuff to rebuild the HTPC into cos Im now a happy punter with the pc & projector as you say.
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    the auto set up is impressive feature, I wish it extended to bass eq as well but perhaps next years models?

    Out of interest what were you power amps, you always used to love them?
     
  19. jitter

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    Yeah I dunno why the high end like tag dont have a good autosetup feature... or do they?

    The power amps are made from ILP modules, 120w rms, originally from RS (components ltd)* but now I think only available through farnell, good specs on them but sound even better, I was going to add the extra 2 amps for 7 channels but are now even more expensive. damn thing cost me £850 in modules years ago back then excluding parts & silver van den hul wire! before dvd was even born!

    still have the 5 amps together with the original SP-D07 pioneer which is the uk version of the elite which I swapped with the elite to avoid using a step down tranny. I dunno, I still hold onto the spd07 dd only processor cos 1, it cost a bomb & 2, it sounds fab through the amps, 3, its built so well too and a work of art, heavy too. I know it uses seperate dacs to process the channels, probably why it was so costly & has fans to keep it cool ! classic piece of junk that i like. always did my head in that it didnt do DTS.

    *edit
     

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