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Oppo to power amp? Advice please.

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Hi All

I have an Oppo BDP-95 player. At the moment I am using the analogue outs to my Onkyo receiver. I run the Onkyo in PURE DIRECT mode (all processing carried out in the Oppo) but I suspect the receiver is still converting the signal to digital and then back to analogue for output to the speakers. I use the Oppo/Onkyo to play SACDs and DVD-As as well as HT.

My questions are

1. Is this ADC and DAC conversion actually happening in PURE DIRECT mode?

2. If I get a 5 channel power amplifier and run the analogue outs from the Oppo directly to the power amp, is the volume control in the Oppo a digital volume control and hence degrading the sound quality at low volumes?

3. Is the Oppo to power amp option going to sound better than the Oppo to receiver? (All other things being equal)

Thanks

A

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1. Is this ADC and DAC conversion actually happening in PURE DIRECT mode?

Can't help you with that one. Might help if you mentioned which model.

2. If I get a 5 channel power amplifier and run the analogue outs from the Oppo directly to the power amp, is the volume control in the Oppo a digital volume control and hence degrading the sound quality at low volumes?

Yes it's a digital volume control. Does it sound bad at low levels? I don't think it's that bad. A few people for instance prefer a digital volume control on the Audiolab 8200CDQ which uses the same DAC.

3. Is the Oppo to power amp option going to sound better than the Oppo to receiver? (All other things being equal)

But all things are not equal. Most AVRs have crappy internal amps. So any 5 channel amp you get will likely be of better sound quality.

As for "better", it really depends on what your room is like. If you have a bad bass or room node, having AutoEQ might be of better benefit.

Plus you do lose the ability to have more than one source.

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Hi Doggie

Thanks for the reply.

The receiver is an Onkyo TX-SR875. Not the top of the range but fairly expensive when new.

I only use the receiver for HT and 5 channel music, as I use the Carys for stereo.

The reason I asked about the digital volume control is because I have read that using a digital volume control effectively cuts the "bits" from 16 or 24 to, well, less than the original depending on the volume level. What I am hoping to find out is, is this going to be noticeable?

Thanks

A

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You can try the stereo out to yr Cary now to give it a try to see if you notice a drop in SQ.

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You can try the stereo out to yr Cary now to give it a try to see if you notice a drop in SQ.

Yes, I have tried straight to the Carys to listen to SACDs and RBCDs in stereo, when my pre had a small problem that required hospitalisation. The Carys blows the Onkyo into the weeds, but it is not a fair comparison considering the Cary monoblocks retail for four times the Onkyo. I was thinking of trying a 5 channel power amp in the $2k used price range.

I guess the answer to buy one off the classifieds here on SNA and give it a go.

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http://www.hometheat...006-part-3.html

The 805 is from the same generation. Looks like using the multichannel analog inputs IS running it in analog mode.

Thanks for the link.

From reading the review closely it looks like there is still some digital processing taking place with ALL inputs.

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Thanks for the link.

From reading the review closely it looks like there is still some digital processing taking place with ALL inputs.

I think that may be the case with the other stereo/HDMI/coax/optical inputs. In the section where he talks about multichannel, the Onkyo doesn't even do bass management.

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this [oppo vloume control] has been discussed in oppo forums and i think with the later firmware updates its digital volume control does not degrade sound quality. search avs forum

Edited by jeffpr

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this [oppo vloume control] has been discussed in oppo forums and i think with the later firmware updates its digital volume control does not degrade sound quality. search avs forum

Thanks

I've decided I'm going to keep my eye out for a suitable 5 or 7 channel power amp in the FS thread.

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What's your budget? There's a couple of Elektra Theatre 7's for sale at the moment.

EDIT: Including one in the FS thread here :)

Edited by shaun.o

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For flexibility you could use a Parasound C7 which has 2 x 7.1 inputs, and only runs in analogue mode as there is no digital inside. There is one balanced input that would take the balanced output from the '95 , and make good use of the Sabre Dac's high-res output for all stereo listening. There is a bypass mode should you wish to use the 7.1 volume control in the OPPO. I have not found the OPPO volume control to be degrading the audio, you might note my system has reasonable resolution..

The Parasound is $3.5K, dear but you will get value by owning it a VERY long time !

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Most AVRs have crappy internal amps

That's true. Especially entry level and somne of the midrange stuff are just garbage.

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Hi All

I have an Oppo BDP-95 player. At the moment I am using the analogue outs to my Onkyo receiver. I run the Onkyo in PURE DIRECT mode (all processing carried out in the Oppo) but I suspect the receiver is still converting the signal to digital and then back to analogue for output to the speakers. I use the Oppo/Onkyo to play SACDs and DVD-As as well as HT.

My questions are

1. Is this ADC and DAC conversion actually happening in PURE DIRECT mode?

2. If I get a 5 channel power amplifier and run the analogue outs from the Oppo directly to the power amp, is the volume control in the Oppo a digital volume control and hence degrading the sound quality at low volumes?

3. Is the Oppo to power amp option going to sound better than the Oppo to receiver? (All other things being equal)

Thanks

A

There is one fundamental flaw in your logic...

SACD is a digital source an can only be output via a digital output (legal requirement), hooking the analogue outputs of the Oppo directly to a multi channel amp is going to result in silence.

You can do what you are suggesting on audio CDs and that is exactly what I do with my Oppo BDP83SE it feed into a Rotel RSP-1570 on direct mode, then through to various external amps, but for SACDs which I prefer to listen to you need something to handle the multi source input.

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You sure about that SS ?

Unless SACD has something in the stream that prevents it being converted to analogue, then it could be output in multiple channel mode by the Oppo BDP - 95 ... as it does have a 7.1 DAC and says SACD DSD to Analog in the audio output section and having a look at the back panel, it does have 7.1 analogue out RCA connections.

http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-95/blu-ray-BDP-95-Compare.aspx

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"SACD is a digital source an can only be output via a digital output (legal requirement), hooking the analogue outputs of the Oppo directly to a multi channel amp is going to result in silence."

I had always thought that the licencing requirements for SACD said the opposite. ie: that the decoding had to be done within the player, so digital output was not allowed and analog output only was permitted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Audio_CD

See the section on 'playback hardware' in the link. Actually, it appears the situation is a bit more complicated (as always!).

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.....

1. Is this ADC and DAC conversion actually happening in PURE DIRECT mode?

No, unless the Onkyo is unique.

2. If I get a 5 channel power amplifier and run the analogue outs from the Oppo directly to the power amp, is the volume control in the Oppo a digital volume control and hence degrading the sound quality at low volumes?

Don't worry, a digital volume control does not degrade the sound quality at low levels, it's a myth.

3. Is the Oppo to power amp option going to sound better than the Oppo to receiver? (All other things being equal)

The usual weakest link in AVRs is the analog preamp inputs. Your setup uses these, so potentially it could be a negative compared to a 5 channel power amp.

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The devil is in the detail...

"SACD players are not permitted to offer an output carrying an unencrypted stream of Direct Stream Digital (DSD).[32] " The key word there is unencrypted.

"Players initially supported only analog output; later some proprietary digital interfaces such as Denon Link permitted encrypted transmission of DSD. There are now two standard digital connection methods capable of carrying DSD in encrypted form: i.Link and HDMI (version 1.2 or later, standardised in August 2005)."

So the only way to get the true SA-CD experience at the full bit rate is via Firewire or HDMI which as you know is a digital source.

Under the preferred SACD output on my Oppo BDP-83SE the only options are DSD or PCM, maybe the BDP-95 has extra options that the previous model didn't offer.

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denon link still supports sacd dsd.

cant remember anything bar dsd or pcm as choices for bdp-95 in options over hdmi its no different to the oppo 93 or the cambridge 751bd.

my sony scd-xa9000es sacd player can output sacd over multichannel analog. every denon player I've had before could output sacd over multichannel analog if wanted.

you can use the vol control in the oppo. but I would recommend against it. use a decent pre amp. also doing so negates the risk of passing full signal straight through to your power amp and blowing your speakers :)

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IME it takes a very good very transparent pre amp to beat straight to power amp from source.

YMMV

Edited by ayou2

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I've found most DACs don't have a good preamp stage. Just a digital volume control. And even those that have an analog volume control create a very flat 2D soundstage.

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I agree completely. never underestimate the value of a pre amp. the first thing have noticed as well is loss of imaging and sound stage.

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Thanks for all the input.

I have been listening to SACDs by outputting via analogue to my Onkyo receiver. No problems listening to SACD this way.

I bit the bullet and have now bought a Emotiva UPA-5 power amp from a fellow SNAer. It has a lot more grunt than the Oppo.

It all seems to sound great using the Oppo volume control and still no problem listening to SACDs.

The Oppo volume control is a compromise however as it is stepped rather than smooth and it can be hard to get the volume just right when watching movies late at night.

I don't use the Oppo much for music as I prefer my Mac Mini to Ref-5 to Cary pre/power amps.

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I've found most DACs don't have a good preamp stage. Just a digital volume control. And even those that have an analog volume control create a very flat 2D soundstage.

I need to mention a few notable exceptions:

The PDX which has a light speed attenuator type preamp built in driving a valve output and actually sounds great directly connected and the Ayon CD5S which rivals pricey dedicated preamps in its price range.

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not checked it out, but the digital pre in the nad m51 dac is getting good comment as well. however it is extremely high resolution. but yes definitely some exceptions :)

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