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Old 20th June 2007, 03:20 PM   #1
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Default Home Theatre Audio

Hello All,
New to the home AV thing and not too clued up, need to ask everyone about separate DA converters.
Never really bothered about home cinema until now, least of all the visual aspect. Being a audio nut
though I need to ask if a separate DA converters are available for 5.1 Dolby audio.
Ie I want to use my own amps instead of going the route of a home cinema decoder.
Not too fussy about iether coax digital or SPDIF input.
(If anyone has opinions on which is better do tell)
Not looking for anything insanely priced (if ovoidable).
Many thanks,
CB
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Old 21st June 2007, 11:56 AM   #2
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Hi

Decoders exist from dolby and dts, but tey are insanely priced.
But do you really need the decoder to be an external one? You could use a digital soundcard an a software decoder with external dac's or you could even take an analogue card and go directly into the amps.

deathlord
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Old 21st June 2007, 12:15 PM   #3
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi,
you will need to decode (de-multiplex?) the 5.1 digital.
You can buy both integrated and separate decoders in a vast price range.
I think there is an agreement that normal domestic equipment will not send out decoded digital streams. They are 6 separate analogue streams.

I hope that someone is doing a computer decode that can send two channel (spdif preferably) digital streams out to the room locations to suit my dual input digital/analogue active speakers, They are just screaming out for an uncontaminated signal.
Even better would be a reversal of the "analogue only agreement".

Does anyone know of a digital intercept inside a Cyrus AV8 that could send decoded digital and bypass the internal DACs after modification?
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Old 22nd June 2007, 05:54 AM   #4
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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There's a modestly priced Pioneer AV receiver that has preamp outs: http://reviews.cnet.com/Pioneer_VSX_...0.html?tag=txt


The Technics SH-AC500D was a standalone DD/DTS decoder with several digital inputs, volume control and a remote; those can still be found on eBay. One drawback is that the DTS decoder doesn't have all the speaker management features (large/small, phantom center, etc) that the Dolby Digital has. The earlier SH-AC300 model was Dolby Digital only. (There are other similar decoders from that era that were made for upgradeable analog surround receivers, but most of them didn't do DTS.)

There's some car digital surround decoders out there; they tend to cost a lot on eBay, but sometimes you can pick them up for $25 on the bargain table at car audio dealers. (I did.) There's DD/DTS decoders made for computer speakers; those mostly fetch silly prices on eBay. Midiland, Klipsch, Creative are the most common.

The Creative Extigy is said to work as a standalone DD decoder; I don't know what the management features are like. Those aren't expensive.

If you could break out actual digital streams (S/PDIF, I2S,?) for real external DACS, just what would you use for an 8 channel volume control?

AndrewT:
I'm pretty sure you can separate S/PDIF outs from a Creative Audigy or Live card. Those have a bunch of S/PDIF ins and outs on the expansion header.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:28 AM   #5
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8 channel volume control
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:49 PM   #6
tubenut is offline tubenut  South Africa
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I use an EAD Theatre Master Encore surround pre processor. Company went bust, unit is only 5.1 and DD/DTS and Prologic, no prologic II etc. It still craps all over all the newer mid level receivers and most software is just 5.1 anyway. The remote and display suck but the sound is just musical unlike other HT.

There were a fair number sold in SA and they do turn up. Price would be modest due to basic (from a bells and whistles point of view) processing and limited video switching.

I do not use mine that often as I listen mostly to hard core 2 channel audio but it does not strip paint of the walls like most of the eastern made HT products.

It does actually make a good DAC and pre amp for stereo use as well.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 08:16 PM   #7
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IMOP: I would not invest too many resources ($$ v. time) into current DAC technologies. Around the end of this summer Apple and others will be announcing very interesting new audio products ... like 24bit / 96K multichannel, multiport DAC / ADC external addons for computer based and home theater systems (similar to devices like this: http://echoaudio.com/Products/FireWi...ire4/index.php ).

The idea here being the "upgrade" of digital audio playback and I/O to "professional" standards and bandwidths = greater than 96K. Dolby 5.1 needs uncompressed 96K bandwidth to accomplish the mission, although most DVD video disc movies do manage to squeeze 5.1 into a 48K bandwidth and still sound better than CD quality.

Ever wonder why the songs you hear on movie soundtracks sound better than what you hear on CDs?? .... Its the bandwidth ... same, same with FM radio = comparing stations that play CDs and those that play the "old fashioned" stuff like vinyl or direct from pro master tapes. Well, between iTunes releasing all that EMI / European 24bit broader band music ... plus increasing US domestic sales of vinyl (Forbes Magazine recent review of turntables) ... DVD-A increasing marketshare dramatically (yes, that's right, dramatically increasing ... SACD too) ... the popularity of the wider bandwidth Internet Radio stations (ex: you can now sort your iTunes 7.x radio station lists into ascending / decending bandwidth order ... and ... yes, you can hear the difference between 32K and 128K) ...

Well, hardware and content producers are finally seeing the handwriting on the wall ...

[IMOP: 2 channel stereo playback with a decent sub woofer works best for both music DVD-A and DVD video sound tracks ... in the smaller listening rooms, all those extra surround sound speakers (for 5.1, THX, etc.) are just distracting and just get in the way of a good show. ... It is one of the beauties of Dolby 5.1 that it sounds just as good and sometimes better through two or three speakers (stereo + sub) as through 5, 6 or 7 or 8 speakers ... IMOP.]
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Old 23rd June 2007, 01:32 AM   #8
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Thanks to all for your replies, useful info as I am new to this DVD stuff.
The problem I really have is most new DVD players / recorders do not have analog 5.1 outputs. (IE internal decoders)
Some cheapies used to but not sure on the quality.
I must admit my research on this has'nt been exhaustive. (Searching net and Stuff magazine etc)
Cheers,
CB
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Old 24th June 2007, 04:36 AM   #9
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DVD-A & DVD-Video players: I got an OppoDigital.com #981 a few months ago = US$240 plus state side shipping & taxes. It has both Dolby 5.1 (6 x RCA connectors) and SPDIF coaxial digital audio outputs and HDMI video and S-Video = Oppo claims upconverting to 1080i ... Currently I use just the stereo output, the two (of six) main RCA connectors (24 bit / 96K Stereo) to drive my analog stereo pre-amp and amp (using a combining network for a separate sub woofer amp).

I do like this player ... There are several posted mods on other blogs for the Oppo '981 that apparently improve the internal DAC even more, although other than adding some power supply filtration, I have not done anything else to it ... yet. This one qualifies as a "universal" player = DVD-A, SACD, DVD-Video (NTSC zone 1 and PAL zone 2), CDs, etc ... When a better one appears for under a US$1000, I may buy it ... but for now "is plenty good stuff".
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Old 24th June 2007, 09:35 AM   #10
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally posted by FastEddy
DVD-A & DVD-Video players: I got an OppoDigital.com #981 a few months ago = US$240 plus state side shipping & taxes. It has both Dolby 5.1 (6 x RCA connectors) and SPDIF coaxial digital audio outputs and HDMI video and S-Video = Oppo claims upconverting to 1080i ... Currently I use just the stereo output, the two (of six) main RCA connectors (24 bit / 96K Stereo) to drive my analog stereo pre-amp and amp (using a combining network for a separate sub woofer amp).

I do like this player ... There are several posted mods on other blogs for the Oppo '981 that apparently improve the internal DAC even more, although other than adding some power supply filtration, I have not done anything else to it ... yet. This one qualifies as a "universal" player = DVD-A, SACD, DVD-Video (NTSC zone 1 and PAL zone 2), CDs, etc ... When a better one appears for under a US$1000, I may buy it ... but for now "is plenty good stuff".
Quote:
spdif coaxial digital audio outputs
more than one, how many? Are these two channel digital or more than two channel digital (=5.1)?

Quote:
(24 bit / 96K Stereo) to drive my analog stereo pre-amp
these appear as digital but you are inputting them as analogue, which?
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