Audio Output? HDMI? Analog? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 10 Old 10-15-19, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

What is the best way to run the audio out from a Blu-ray player? My Panasonic has 7.1 analog out, plus audio only HDMI out, digital coaxial, and optical.
Using the analog out now as my player (DMP-UB900) has better processing than my Integra pre-amp processor.

Is this the best way to get the highest quality sound?

Looking at upgrading to the Panasonic DMP-UB9000, solely for the DAC which is the best in the industry. 384kHZ/32 bit. Balanced XLR audio outputs also.

Last edited by Oleson M.D.; 10-15-19 at 10:08 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-16-19, 10:25 AM
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

When in doubt use the digital optical output.I have an LG Oled 55e6p-u tv that will not let me choose between auto/PCM in my digital sound out menu.The digital sound output setting is greyed out and non functional.Any ideas.
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-16-19, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

Here is why I'm asking about which audio output is best...

However, it's the UB9000's analogue audio capabilities that sets it apart from the rest of Panasonic's range, with dedicated audio power supplies, and an isolated local power supply for the high-quality 768kHz/32-bit DAC. There are audiophile components used throughout and it's features like these that make this player so expensive.

The 9000 is audiophile grade, and videophile grade.
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-16-19, 02:41 PM
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

If you have 7.1 pre-amp with XLR inputs you can use that. Any other way probably will not use the players internal DAC. Of the digitial outputs, in general HDMI is the best, highest bandwidth, multi channel no compression etc. However it will use what ever DAC is in the device receiving the HDMI signal.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-16-19, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

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dschlic1 wrote: View Post
If you have 7.1 pre-amp with XLR inputs you can use that. Any other way probably will not use the players internal DAC. Of the digitial outputs, in general HDMI is the best, highest bandwidth, multi channel no compression etc. However it will use what ever DAC is in the device receiving the HDMI signal.
Yes, 7.1 pre-amp/processor, with analog inputs. My desire is to use the DAC on the player, as it is better than the Integra processor.

It is my understanding that running the analog audio out from the player, to the analog audio into the preamp will employ the player's DAC.

Yes, we could simply use the HDMI audio feature, but I think that would use the Integra's (DHC-80.3) DAC.

Last edited by Oleson M.D.; 10-16-19 at 06:01 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-16-19, 07:57 PM
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

1) When you send analog sound to a pre/pro, you cannot (well, you can, but it would defeat the purpose of sending analog audio in the first place) use ANY decoding or adjustment features in the pre-pro. You get 7.1 analog sound from the Panasonic player but you cannot get immersive sound if you send analog audio to the pre-pro. Plus: no room correction, no equalization, no LFE adjustments, no channel-by-channel volume or time delay adjustments... NONE of that. By sending analog audio to a pre/pro, you essentially turn the pre/pro into a volume control and source switcher... that's all (it's a little more complex than that, but not much). The reason for this is: if you send analog audio to the pre/pro, 100% of the changes you make in the pre/pro (channel balance, EQ, Audyssey or other room correction, phase or distance settings are made in DIGITAL... if you use those features, the pre/pro converts the incoming audio back to DIGITAL, makes the adjustments, then converts it back to analog before it goes to the speakers.

2) You won't hear any difference between the Panasonic disc player and the pre/pro for movie sound... the visuals of the movie are so overpowering, that unless there are bad sonic problems, movies won't sound much different no matter where the decoding is done. So DO NOT WATCH MOVIES WITH ANALOG SOUND... connect an HDMI cable from the main output of the Panasonic player to the pre/pro to get both audio and video to the Blu-ray input on the pre/pro and use that exclusively for movie sound. The HDMI cable doesn't have to be expensive, it won't affect image or sound quality... a cable of the right length from monoprice.com is all you need. The one thing that does matter is the high-speed capability of the cable... do not rely on "words" to tell you if an HDMI cable is fast enough... lots of them are called "high speed" from way back before 2010 when data transfer speeds were half or less than what they are today. Select the blu-ray input when you want to watch movies.

3) Music will have noticeable improvements from higher-quality digital decoding. BUT, you have to have pretty good analog audio interconnects running from the player to pre/pro. Analog audio interconnects make a lot of sound quality difference, but digital audio cables don't often have much impact on audio quality unless you replace a poorly designed cable with a properly designed cable...and properly designed HDMI cables don't have to be expensive. If you are a serious music listener (lights off, music on, and you often select music based on having the best recorded version of it, like the best conversion of a Karajan conducted Beethoven symphony from the 1960s on D.G. or getting the 50 year anniversary version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for no reason other than to hear the best mix that album has ever had. And you use music almost as guided meditation where you may not even notice pets or people entering or leaving the room even though you aren't actually sleeping... the meditative focus on the music can induce that state of mind. For THAT listening experience, use the best decoding and disable all processing in the pre/pro to keep the pre/pro from damaging the analog audio... that will also require engaging the pre/pro's Direct, Pure, or Pure Direct mode (different brands use different names for it). Those modes pass analog audio through the pre/pro without converting it back to digital... but be careful... in some brands, Direct mode plays stereo sources in stereo with LFE so the audio is digitized to create the LFE signal, so your audio is compromised. You want what ever mode your pre/pro offers that will not process the analog input signal.

4) Using the old optical (TosLink) or coax (RCA jack) digital outputs causes a loss of sound quality from high-res sources (newest movies and high-res music). This old digital interface that appeared in the 1990s is only reliable when you don't care about getting the best sound quality and you just want something that works.

5) You cannot get Atmos, DTS:X, or Auro-3D decoding if you do not send BITSTREAM audio from the disc player to the pre/pro. Another reason to use HDMI for movies or music video. BITSTREAM audio is only available via HDMI, coax, or optical... I already covered why optical and coax are not good in this era, so that means HDMI is your best option for moving movie sound to a pre/pro... by far.
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-16-19, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

Interesting info, thank you.

So I should watch movies using HDMI for audio thru the pre-pro, and listen to music only with the analog (Balanced XLR) stereo connections.

My DMP-UB900 (2017 vintage) is more advanced than the Integra DHC-80.3 (2012 vintage). Just wondering again how to get the latest surround sound in today's movies, without buying a new AV Processor. We will upgrade to the UB9000 soon.

I do have a small (but very nice) collection of vinyl. A separate vacuum tube pre-amp, and solid state power amp is used for my phonograph listening.

Even though my speaker setup is 9.2, and maybe soon to be 11.2, my serious music listening is done in pure stereo. And it is quite satisfying, surprisingly so.

Last edited by Oleson M.D.; 10-17-19 at 10:02 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-19-19, 12:21 AM
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Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

Quote:
Oleson, M.D. wrote: View Post
Interesting info, thank you.

So I should watch movies using HDMI for audio thru the pre-pro, and listen to music only with the analog (Balanced XLR) stereo connections.

My DMP-UB900 (2017 vintage) is more advanced than the Integra DHC-80.3 (2012 vintage). Just wondering again how to get the latest surround sound in today's movies, without buying a new AV Processor. We will upgrade to the UB9000 soon.

I do have a small (but very nice) collection of vinyl. A separate vacuum tube pre-amp, and solid state power amp is used for my phonograph listening.

Even though my speaker setup is 9.2, and maybe soon to be 11.2, my serious music listening is done in pure stereo. And it is quite satisfying, surprisingly so.


Well you won’t get the latest without a new processor. And XLR is only really a big deal over long runs so not worth sweating over. I would just use hdmi.
And while a DAC might be better academically, I doubt you’d be able to tell.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-23-19, 07:43 PM
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

You cannot decode Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, or Auro-3D without a pre/pro that supports those audio formats. None of these existed in 2012... I think you may have TrueHD and DTS-HD MA in the 2012 pre/pro, so that means you will never get more than 7.1 from the processor you have now. It does't matter WHAT you do with the disc player. It has 7.1 analog audio outputs so you will never get more than 7.1 analog output channels from the disc player... unless you use HDMI. If you decode the bitstream in the player (bitstream refers to Dolby & DTS data on the disc being sent to the pre/pro without any decoding.

And when you use the analog outputs for music... since there will likely only be 2 channels in the source, there's no reason to connect 7 analog output cables (the subwoofer needs analog out, so it will have to be connected regardless).

If you have visions of listening to stereo music in 11 or more channels... this is my new favorite way to listen to music. Dolby Surround, DTS Neural:X, and AuroMatic all upconvert stereo music to however many active channels you have setup. If you have 11 channels, you can convert stereo to 11-channel music. HOWEVER... Dolby Surround is HORRIBLE in every possible way and it is especially horrible for music. Neural:X is a LITTLE better, but still sounds nowhere near as good as proper stereo. The only upmixer that makes stereo music sound BETTER than stereo music is AuroMatic. You're 2012 pre/pro won't have that. You can get it in a current Marantz processor and possibly some other Asian brand. Auro-3D/AuroMatic are standard with most High-end pre/pros that start around $8000 and go up into the $30,000 range depending on capabilities and numbers of channels. If I have AuroMatic available, I use it over Stereo every time when listening to music.

If your pre/pro doesn't have TrueHD or DTS-HD MA, you will have to decode those in the disc player and send PCM or LPCM (same thing) to the pre/pro. This will give you 7.1 sound and no more, but it will also be lossless.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-23-19, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Output? HDMI? Analog?

The Integra DHC-80.3 9.2 has everything minus Atmos. It even has 4K up scaling, plus front height channels.

It will be upgraded soon. Integra, Marantz, NAD are under consideration.
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