View Full Version : What goes between DVD out and my amps?

12-22-2004, 12:55 PM
After getting a super-duper 5.1 concert DVD I wanted to blast (Floyd), I thought I'd set up a 5.1 thing using power amps and speakers I already have. Having originally hooked up the stereo outs from my Toshiba 4800 DVD player to the TV, I looked in the back and find digital audio outs and 5.1 analog outs. I was hoping to feed the analog outs to my gear and be done, but found that there is no DTS or Dolby etc. decoding built in. Only the fakey surround Pro logic 2 thing is available from the player. There's got to be a better way out of this than to go buy some razmataz 5.1 receiver/amp thing with a bunch of stuff I already have......whats the cool-guy way to do this?

12-22-2004, 01:37 PM

Your question interests me because at present I am using two channel only because I want optimum two channel audio. If you like your present DVD player and power amps (six channels worth?) I think your best option is an A/V preamp with digital input and decoding, because for the sake of your sanity you will want a master volume control. At least I think so. This may not be very helpful because I may be just seconding your question.


Don McRitchie
12-22-2004, 01:58 PM
An AV pre-amp is ultimately the way to go, but not necessarily the cheapest. Given the much wider market demand, it is much easier to find an inexpensive AV receiver that has pre/main outputs than it is to find an inexpensive stand alone preamp. Such a receiver would allow you to use your power amps, but you would still be paying for electronics you would never use. You may be able to find a DVD player with built in decoding and a volume control, but this means buying another piece of gear that is probably no cheaper than an inexpensive AV receiver that gives you much more flexibility.

12-22-2004, 02:27 PM
Yep... have all the amps, and was listening to 2 ch. for same reason. A remote volume control would be a BIG plus. I don't want to buy another DVD player unless it make more sense to go that way - as opposed to a preamp. I could be persuaded into a new DVD-A/SACD machine however. Do the new ones play DVD's too - and have decode built in, or is it into a preamp for that? I suppose recommendations for a decent decoding preamp or ? would be in order. Price range is 'working man'

12-22-2004, 02:37 PM
After submitting - and then reading Don's post, the AV direction seems like the way to go. How about some recommendations each way and I'll hit ebay. How would the DVD-A/SACD fit in here?

12-22-2004, 02:48 PM

In my cursory explorations I have the sense that it is a lot easier to find a player with decoding than one with a volume control. SACD! Yes! A definite sign of intelligent life on earth. A CD/DVD/SACD with decoding is not hard to find but may be pricey. The least expensive way to go may be as Don says, decoding in an A/V receiver and keep the considerations about a new player separate. The DVD-A/SACD combination is harder to find since they are competing formats and at the moment seem to be aimed at different markets; the one or two I've seen that have that combination are "play everything players" and are pricier.

I have read that 5.1 and DVD-A, although having a similar number of channels, are actually different standards that are optimized differently with regards to speaker placement and channel level.

Hope this helps,


scott fitlin
12-22-2004, 03:01 PM
SACD sounds great, if you can get a machine, and have an AV pre amp as Don suggests, youll have something really spectacular!

SACD sounds really amazing!

Don McRitchie
12-22-2004, 03:05 PM
Last year, I bought my parents a NAD T752 AV receiver for $400US and they quite like it. It has been replaced by the T753 (http://www.nadelectronics.com/av_receivers/T753_frameset.htm) that should be similarly priced. It is full featured including pre/main outputs.

12-22-2004, 04:07 PM
Found this...it's a Denon SACD DVD2900
Anyone know if the bass management can be turned off? It's gonna feed 4425's in the living room, and 4435's in the studio - as soon as Giskard finishes his 'quick peek' :D Comments?

Stolen from ebay.......
plays DVD-Video, DVD-R & DVD-RW, and Video CD
plays SACD, DVD-Audio, CD, CD-R & CD-RW, and MP3 CD-R & CD-RW
built-in Dolby Digital/DTS decoder with 5.1-channel output
digital bass management for multichannel output
optical and coaxial digital outputs for Dolby Digital/DTS/PCM (96kHz/24-bit capable)
remote control
192kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown audio D/A converter
audio signal-to-noise ratio 118 dB

12-22-2004, 04:37 PM
I think the Bass Management would be selectable. Here's a URL at Denon where it says under the heading of Bass Management that it is "possible to preset speaker configurations."

Seems like this "workingman" is doing all right.


12-22-2004, 05:02 PM
Just shoppin'....:banghead:

Google hits are at $700.00 new, and as I just learned, there a new 'double-overhead, throw-me-down' model coming out in Jan. Maybe that will drive the price down.

Ummmm.....if that's what I do. Haven't forgot about ya Don!

12-22-2004, 07:15 PM
I bought a new Harmon Kardon AVR 630 receiver on ebay for about $500 last summer. It has a ton of functions including a "7.1" system with discrete front subs and suppossed multi room function (plays two different program materials in two different zones). It looked good on paper but I probably wouldnt buy it again. It heats up everything in my AV cabinet and has killed a DVD player and one VCR allready. I need to install a fan in it and am upset at the thought in that I relocated all my amps to an adjacent bedroom's closet to get rid of fan noise. Also it doesnt have speaker selector switches (like speakers A/B/C) for multiple outputs. I used those on my last Yamaha to power my three other rooms speakers. Almost all the functions are menu driven which is a pain in the but as well. That may be standard now. I have to buy a speaker switch (yikes they are expensive). I liked my Yamaha Dolby pro logic reciever. Some repair problems over the ten years I used it but parts were readily available. I have heard good things about the Denon also. My brother loves his. Not happy with Sony's reliability. I kept buying it hoping, only to be dissapointed. I had a parasound dolby preamp that was nice sounding but not as much flexibility as I needed (no phono stage). I had a hard time finding decent info anywhere on these receivers and kinda bought blind. Let me know if you find a good source for reviews of these things in this range. I saw a forum on home theater that had some great info on DVD players, I cant remember the name right now. Good luck.

12-23-2004, 06:55 AM
While poking around the net for gear info I found this study done that compares the playback dynamics of CD, DVD-A and SACD formats. A very interesting read. If these links don't work search google for 'Dynamic comparison of CD, DVD-A, SACD. Check it out!


Don McRitchie
12-23-2004, 07:23 AM
Hi Steve

The Denon is an intriging unit. However, I'm not sure that you can drive power amps directly without the need for a preamp. I couldn't see any provision for a master volume control, although I may have missed it.


12-23-2004, 07:26 AM
I bought a new Harmon Kardon AVR 630 receiver on ebay for about $500 last summer. It has a ton of functions including a "7.1" system with discrete front subs and suppossed multi room function (plays two different program materials in two different zones). It looked good on paper but I probably wouldnt buy it again.:duck: Yeah, when H/K gets it right it's pretty damn right but they take the cake for screwing stuff up too. It amazes me the enormous range of quality that comes out of that dump. You know, the usual... Some models sound spectacular and have a half life of 10,000 years and other models blow up just because someone looks crosseyed at them from across the room. :p

Ian Mackenzie
12-23-2004, 08:55 AM

An old issue that has many still puzzled.

Odd that you have analogue 5.1 outs and no decoding??

My Poineer 626 has full decoding but no volume..bummer.

So I either tell the player via the remove to mix the 5.1 down the two channel stereo and sent the L & R front straight into the pre amp which acts as a unbalanced to balanced converter, or I send the 2 rear surrounds to a power amp with level attenuators at a re set position.

I usually play stuff like the Eagles as a nominal level (bloody loud) and the sweet spot for overall balance is easy to find.

Although I have no control over distance delays an silly effects I find this approach gives excellent transparency that so called Wonder boxes no matter what you spend notoriously destroy.

Six Gang Dact or Thel attenuators can be found but ideally you should feed your amps from a low impedance source and some class A biased buffers post the attenuator would be an excellent solution. Kind of a ML or Krell quality A/V unit without all the frills (something like the discrete opamps in the hi end crossover would do the job nicely).

The above could easily be arranged with unbalaanced in and balanced out. Wow 7. 1 channels of balanced sound, now that would be something. I've yet to see an A/V preamp with that feature.

Just my 2 cents worth.


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12-23-2004, 09:07 AM
Just sent this off to Denon......

Before purchase of this unit I would like to confirm the following:
...The 5.1 outputs for DVD-A and SACD playback will drive power amplifiers directly.
...The remote control will vary the signal level from these outputs to the power amplifiers.
...No external (additional) decoding will be nescessary for DVD-A and SACD playback.
...I can put in a common 5.1 movie (instead of an audio only disc) and the audio works fine.
...Using full range speakers, the bass management be 'defeated' as required.
...There are no audio performance limitations due to elimination of an AV receiver?

12-23-2004, 10:41 AM
Hi. May I suggest you look at Outlaw Audio's model 950 pre/pro (preamp processor). I believe it may be the most reasonably priced pre/pro on the market at $699 new, but would give you much of the flexibility you're looking for (eg discrete 5 channels using the analog pass thrus, dolby digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II for Music, Stereo 2ch, bass management, speaker distance, etc). Also has a tuner. I use one in a bedroom 6.1 AV system that I use more for surround audio than video. On paper the specs are excellent. In real life it's performance is very good, and rivals the $4500 pre/pro in my livilng room system. I don't argue that going directly from your DVD-A/SACD player would give excellent sound and if SACDs and DVD-A discs are the only formats you'll be listening to then you'll be fine. But if you intend on ever listening to regular (Non-SACD/DVD-A) CDs, or watching a Music Concert encoded in Dolby Digital or DTS, or hooking up an I-Pod to your system, you'll want the flexibility of a decent Pre/pro. Here's a link:


12-26-2004, 09:25 AM
My choice for a processor would be a Lexicon MC-4, just released on Nov 30th, for $4495. It has everything but DVI.

12-27-2004, 03:22 PM
Wow...maybe Oldmics will give me a good deal on one of his. ;)

Still lookin...still learning.
Pro-audio is much easier to deal with!!