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I would like to use the Marantz SA-8004 through my Ref 50 and utilize the highest SQ possible. I would think that going analog through the Ref 50 utilizing the Cirrus DAC in the 8004 would be the best choice.

Granted the 8004 is 2-CH only so I have 3 choices:

1. Digital to the Ref 50 but I think this would be a step down in sq, not sure but I will do an A/B test to confirm. Safe bet the 8004 sounds the way it does is from it's own DAC.

2. Analog from 8004 to Ref 50 into any of the unbalanced inputs, ie..CD or DVD.

3. Analog from 8004 to DVD-A input of Ref 50 using the front mains inputs naturally.

Are there any limitations in either bandwidth or internal processing in using either the regular unbalanced inputs or the multi-channel inputs?

Using the DVD-A inputs you cannot use the 'Direct" mode, however I did stumble across this post from another site and apparently the "5-Side" input allows a direct pass through however I heard no difference.


I did notice that when using the speakers set to "6" with the DVD-A inputs, there was a noticeable change in SQ and could be the matrix processing used in the 6-speaker setting, not sure if I liked it though.

I would think using the analog input for the "CD" would yield the best results, but I want to ask the experts for this since the Ref 50 has numerous configurations.

1,664 Posts
Hi adauphin, I would be surprised if any real differences exist between feeding the 8004 analog vs digital outs to the B&K. However, real differences don't have to exist, for one to perceive aural differences.
As such, only you has your answer. Hook them up both ways. Choose based on what you hear.
If no difference, flip a coin :).

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