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Surround receiver - how are analogue inputs handled
thesurfingalien
post Feb 9 2012, 12:18
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Hi All,

Maybe a strange question, but if I use the analogue surround (x.1) inputs on a surround receiver, will the be passed on to the amps directly, or are they first converted to digital?

Thanks,
Peter
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krabapple
post Feb 9 2012, 19:14
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This answer is 'it depends'.

Older AVRs might not do a digital conversion. Older as in, from before 2005 or so. Many could not apply bass management, for example.


Newer receiver typically can and do (in order to apply the modern array of digital signal processing that comes with virtually every AVR),
but you can also override it to get a 'pure' analog path.



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thesurfingalien
post Feb 9 2012, 20:17
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 9 2012, 16:14) *
This answer is 'it depends'.

Older AVRs might not do a digital conversion. Older as in, from before 2005 or so. Many could not apply bass management, for example.

Newer receiver typically can and do (in order to apply the modern array of digital signal processing that comes with virtually every AVR),
but you can also override it to get a 'pure' analog path.


Thanks krabapple!

The reason I am asking is that I would like to get a used AVR to use in an active filtered system (Foobar2000 & foo_xover -> EMU 1820 -> AVR -> front to woofers & rear to tweeters). Prior I was thinking of building an 4-channel amp myself (using kits), but I can get a used AVR for much less money here. Most of these are older models that lack HDMI inputs.

Are there any give-away's (in the specs) to select an AVR that passes analogue directly?

The only worry I have is the rating for minimum impedance for most of the AVR's... The woofer I am using is 4 Ohm nominal, with a minimal rating of 3.4 Ohm. Any thoughts on this?

If this works well, I want to get rid of my Naim stuff.

Thanks,
Peter

This post has been edited by thesurfingalien: Feb 9 2012, 20:21
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andy o
post Feb 9 2012, 22:21
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I have a new-ish AVR (Pioneer VSX-01 TXH) and it has 7.1 analog inputs, which can't get DSP'd so that leads me to think there's no ADC for those inputs. Stereo analog inputs do get digital processing.
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thesurfingalien
post Feb 10 2012, 01:18
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The "ultimate" solution for me would be to get a AVR that supports uncompressed 16/44.1 data over HDMI, preferably a 6.1 or 7.1 model (at some point I would like to design a 3-way loudspeaker). Then get one of those mini-ITX Atom-based boards (passively cooled) to make a music-server, and just enjoy music.
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probedb
post Feb 10 2012, 09:24
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I'm pretty sure any new receiver, even low priced ones and older models support 8 channel LPCM over HDMI.

My ancient Denon 2805 has analogue inputs which just get passed straight to the amps.
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andy o
post Feb 10 2012, 16:51
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That's right, and most new PCs support it too, even very cheap ones.
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thesurfingalien
post Feb 10 2012, 18:51
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Hi all,

Thanks for all info. But in general, do you think an AVR is an OK solution for this kind of setup?

Also, I do not know to much about amps anyway, so if someone has an advice with regards to the low impedance of the woofer i would really appreciate this.

Thanks, Peter
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andy o
post Feb 10 2012, 20:58
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That's how I would do it. I only run an HTPC and a PS3 to my AVR and from that to a 50-inch monitor (no tuners or speakers in it) so I have a similar setup. I'd go with an AMD offering, cause their HDMI audio is better. Perhaps you could wait a few days or weeks until the new 7000 series start trickling down.
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thesurfingalien
post Feb 11 2012, 22:18
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QUOTE (andy o @ Feb 10 2012, 17:58) *
That's how I would do it. I only run an HTPC and a PS3 to my AVR and from that to a 50-inch monitor (no tuners or speakers in it) so I have a similar setup. I'd go with an AMD offering, cause their HDMI audio is better. Perhaps you could wait a few days or weeks until the new 7000 series start trickling down.


Hi Andy,

I was actually thinking of an all-in-one solution like this one: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_CPU...Board/AT5IONTI/

Is there a specific reason the AMD based HDMI is better?


I have also been looking at AVR's and found this one: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visua...=product_lineup

I might be able to ask a USA based friend to bring it along the next time he comes over. Right now it is rather cheap. Probably cheaper than any used ones I can get here, even old(er) ones.

In that respect it is weird here in Brazil... I saw a Pioneer integrated amp a couple of days ago, at least 20 years old, selling for R$ 2500 (close to U$ 1450). It was pretty banged up too :-)

Peter

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krabapple
post Feb 11 2012, 23:00
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QUOTE (andy o @ Feb 9 2012, 16:21) *
I have a new-ish AVR (Pioneer VSX-01 TXH) and it has 7.1 analog inputs, which can't get DSP'd so that leads me to think there's no ADC for those inputs. Stereo analog inputs do get digital processing.



Could be that ADC on the multichannel analog inputs is not common; I was just assuming it would be , by now. I haven't used an analog 5.1 signal path for years.

This post has been edited by krabapple: Feb 11 2012, 23:02
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krabapple
post Feb 11 2012, 23:34
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QUOTE (probedb @ Feb 10 2012, 03:24) *
I'm pretty sure any new receiver, even low priced ones and older models support 8 channel LPCM over HDMI.


Regarding older models, in my experience multichannel LPCM was not very common as a media delivery format -- not sure it is even now. So for employing an all-digital lossless multichannel path, we mainly were served DVD-A (lossless compressed and encrypted, could not be passed until HDMI 1.1 in 2004), and SACD (which isn't PCM, and required HDMI 1.2 , from 2005) then Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio (required HDMI 1.3, from 2006).

This post has been edited by krabapple: Feb 11 2012, 23:48
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andy o
post Feb 12 2012, 06:55
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Multichannel LPCM is very common nowadays, at least in the HTPC and gaming worlds. Most everyone with a capable HDMI card (which are all past 3 generations or so of Intel, NV and AMD cards) or console does it in one way or another. So even though media delivery is not very widespread, actual multichannel LPCM use is. Many blurays used to have an LPCM multichannel track too, but nowadays practically none do.

This post has been edited by andy o: Feb 12 2012, 07:00
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andy o
post Feb 12 2012, 07:24
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QUOTE (thesurfingalien @ Feb 11 2012, 13:18) *
Is there a specific reason the AMD based HDMI is better?

There are various, but they can vary depending on what bothers you. The first difference with NV is that NV has what is colloquially known as the "silent stream bug", which means that when no audio is being produced or played, the audio stream cuts out, it's not continuous. When audio comes back on, it can take a couple of seconds (not exaggerating) for it to reconnect. So, when you pause a movie, or skip around, you'll wait that long for audio to come on, while video keeps playing. You can also miss the beginning of songs if you use WASAPI. In some receivers, like some Onkyos, audible clicks when this happens can be annoying. Also, forget about Windows chimes and short-enough alerts.

Regarding WASAPI, NV can't do 176.4 and 88.2 kHz rates, but that's not much of a problem for me.

Also, AMD includes a 4-channel layout if 5.1 is not your thing, but that's also not a problem at all for me. 5.1 covers all the 4.0 needs.

Historically speaking, I've had more trouble with NV audio drivers too, while ATI/AMD have been consistently better at fixing bugs. I've been using HDMI connections with audio since the NV 8600GTS and ATI 2600 pro. While the HDMI audio at this point was equivalent only to SPDIF (no multichannel LPCM, bitstream only DD and DTS), the ATI 2000 and 3000 cards were designed better than NV cards, in that all ATI cards included the audio device. Whereas with NV, some, but not all, cards had the manufacturer add jumper-type input pins so you could connect an existing SPDIF output (e.g. from your mobo) for audio to piggyback on the HDMI signal.

Then came the actual multichannel-capable HDMI connections with NV and the 8200/8300 and 9300/9400 mobo graphics (which became the first ION IIRC) and the 9200m GS and 9600m GT laptop chips. With the 9200m chip on my laptop, I only got the option of 7.1 and stereo. No 5.1 at all, which is a problem when using WASAPI exclusive and playing 5.1 content in general (Windows sends side-surrounds to rear-surrounds on a 7.1 config). With the 9300, I did get stereo, 5.1 and 7.1. What happened then though, is that Nvidia drivers swapped rear surrounds for side surrounds. Then they fixed it. Then they broke it again. And then they fixed it again.

AMD/ATI had the "silent stream" issue in both the 4000 series and 5000 series at their release, but they promptly fixed it. No other audio driver problems for the most part.

This post has been edited by andy o: Feb 12 2012, 07:26
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probedb
post Feb 12 2012, 11:26
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 11 2012, 22:34) *
Regarding older models, in my experience multichannel LPCM was not very common as a media delivery format -- not sure it is even now. So for employing an all-digital lossless multichannel path, we mainly were served DVD-A (lossless compressed and encrypted, could not be passed until HDMI 1.1 in 2004), and SACD (which isn't PCM, and required HDMI 1.2 , from 2005) then Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio (required HDMI 1.3, from 2006).


It wasn't but it was available before bitstreaming of lossless audio formats. My friends old Yamaha amp can accept standard DD, DTS and 8 channel LPCM over HDMI.
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GeSomeone
post Jun 6 2012, 11:30
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 9 2012, 20:14) *
This answer is 'it depends'.

Older AVRs might not do a digital conversion. Older as in, from before 2005 or so. Many could not apply bass management, for example.

Newer receiver typically can and do

Your answer is correct, it depends on the brand, the model and the year (of introduction).

The cheaper series never seem to be able to process the analog 5.1/7.1 inputs, although they usually will do on the stereo analog inputs. This feature is also dropped by a lot of brands around 2007/2008.

For example my surround receiver from 2005 did capture the analog 5.1 inputs (@24bit/192kHz) and all functions worked the same as on the digital inputs (including bass management).
A year or 2 later (when HDMI was getting common) they dropped this feature from the newer models (same series) in favor of new features (like Audyssey). Now only digital (multi channel) signals will be processed. Stereo analog however still as before.

As an aside, the analog Hi-Rez outputs on playback devices are also phased out, as was laid down in the "Analog Sunset" plan. (As you know analog outputs don't provide copy protection).


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