Saturday, March 3, 2012

Analog Entanglement with digital players

I'm beginning to think it's better to take the analog signal from a disc player, such as the Denon 5900, and, if digital processing is necessary, convert back to digital with a super quality converter such as Lavry AD10.

That's the kind of thing I've been doing now for several years with Advanced Resolution discs such as DVD-Audio, SACD, and HDCD.  By necessity, though, because with those formats the highest resolution digital is not available at the output jacks.  It is dumbed down to standard resolution digital, though possibly 24/48 which isn't bad.  There are no hardware decoders that can take HDCD and remap to 24 bitspace, and the consequences of that aren't even clear for the filtering options.

And, with high quality units such as Denon 5900 and Lavry AD10, I believe that signal is preserved down into the -100dB range and better.  Both units are supposed to have 120dB dynamic range or better.

Now, I'm not saying this is lossless.  Some noise is doubtless being added by a redigitizing as compared with a straight-through digital process.  But straight through digital has issues too.  I believe enough of the added "advanced resolution" quality is preserved to make this connection worthwhile.

But then, one might ask, if this is good enough for advanced resolution discs, it should be good enough for CD's also.  And I believe it is.  In fact, my claim goes even farther...for some reason, the analog connection with the player is better.

There are several possible reasons, from dull to too far out new agey:

1) The dullest is that it's just my imagination, and I have to add, that I haven't done much flawed unblind testing either.  Today I have been doing some very uncontrolled listening to Thomas Trotter, comparing CD through 5900 and Lavry vs hardwired Sonos direct digital from my home network.  The Sonos version is slightly harsh.  It's always a constant that the resampled signal is smoother sounding.  A friend confirmed that in 2010.

2) The Denon player has AL24, which does something.

3) By taking the Lavry digital at 24/96, I'm effectively upsampling for the rest of digital processors.

4) The Lavry has nicer clock than the 5900.

5) Added noise, slight high frequency rolloff, are affecting the signal in a euphonic way, actually making it sound better.

6) Noise added through the short analog connection quantum entangles the original signal (in its original time and place) at low amplitude with the proximate and temporal surroundings, making the audio system sense more of a time machine.

OK, I admit #6 is a crazy, but I like it.  But here's an argument against it:

If such entanglement exists, it would also exist at the level of the opamps in the Behringer DCX which drive my speaker amplifiers, and the amplfiers and speakers themselves.  The inputs to the amplifiers are likely lower under typical listening conditions than the CD player analog output.

Well, that's why I have a blog, to make myself think of things like this, both point and counterpoint.

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