Playing Blu-Ray audio discs on stereo hifi

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In my first post I twice

In my first post I twice spelled implementation incorrectly. My posts scatter all over the place, preview edits do not always stick.

Sleepless

bluray players as a source

The reason many budget bluray players no longer have an analogue output is that this saves money in units that are targeted to use with an AV receiver with hdmi inputs.

The better ones still have an analogue stereo output, and that can be very good:  for measurements of an Oppo BDP 105 (this model is being discontinued to be replaced by the 4K capable UDP 205). It should be noted that these universal players also have additional digital inputs and a volume control, allowing them to serve as (excellent) preamplifiers with inbuilt DAC (as long as you do not need analogue inputs). Add a power amplifier like the 2x250 watt Yamaha p2500s or the 2x350 watt p3500s and you are all set for some 1500 euro in total, for a system with sonic perfection that cannot be beaten at any price.

Willem

edit with link

Sorry I cannot find the edit function, but here is the link to the test of that Oppo BDP 105: http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2017/04/measurements-oppo-bdp-105-rca-xlr-h...

Willem

 

 

With regard to the Oppo BD 105 it is not a budget blu-ray player. Some budget bdps still have analogue outputs. The Pioneer BDP 180 is a budget player with analogue output. 

Oppo's Nathanial Plain. Q+A Interview Audioholics.

While many mass market Blu-ray Disc players are now built with an overly simplified stereo analog output in order to reduce cost, we still build the BDP-103 and BDP-105 with significant investment in the analog audio section. For the BDP-103, we hired the designer of one of the popular BDP-93 aftermarket modifications to help us improve its analog audio. The new design has a warmer, more open and lively sound comparing to the BDP-93. This is achieved by a novel configuration of the DAC chip and a new analog buffer and filter stage following the DAC output. The same designer also contributed to the BDP-105’s analog audio section. 

Sleepless

Thank you for the performance

Thank you for the performance specs for the BD105.

 

I often found that using headphones through an audio visual receiver, Denon

1912 or Pioneer Vsx 518, resulted in audibly superior sound with direct comparison to various headphone amps connected to the bdp's via analogue.

The receivers would probably have a headphone jack output impedence of 470 ohms. Very naughty. Still sounds, usually, better. Wonder why ? The decoding for each receiver was by the receiver's own dacs, not the player dacs ... if it wasn't for digital signal processing to produce headphone surround, the receivers would better the head amps all of the time. AKG 702s have a near constant impedance through most of the frequency range, so are immune to the darkening effect of a 470 ohm output. Still sound better through the Denon or Pioneer receiver, usually. However an Oxygen 02 headphone amp connected to a Compact disc player, equiped with Burr Brown dacs, sounds better than the receivers. Must all be placebo effect. 

I think the best advice with Blu ray players is to invest in a more expensive unit

than the department store cheaper brands. I don't believe in most audiophile mumbo jumbo, but I think there is some truth at least for some budget segment products, you get what you pay for unfortunately.

Sleepless

I acknowledge that Willem is

I acknowledge that Willem is pointing out that a more expensive Blu Ray player,

the Oppo in this case, has very good analogue performance, way better than the human ear could find fault with. A pity that to be sure, it has to be a more expensive product.

Sleepless

I am not sure it has to be

I am not sure it has to be this expensive. I linked to this Oppo for two reasons. The first was that this is a serious test with proper measurements, and those are sadly rare in a journalistic world of subjective advertorials. The second was that this Oppo has the volume control and additional digital inputs that allow it to function as a high end pre-amplifier. With those, therefore, the price is a lot better. Both the Oppo and the P2500s have xlr connections, so even that is as good as it gets for a total outlay on electronics of some 1500 euro.

My hunch is, however, that mid price units from mainstream manufacturers will have similarly excellent implementations of their inbuilt DAC chips. Bargain basement players on the other hand are intended to be used with AV receivers with hdmi conections and inbuilt DACs. That may not be audio perfection (potentially too  much noise from all that extra circuitry in such packed cases) but it will still be pretty good. Here, the BD player's digital output will not be the cause of the problems as it will be a bit perfect signal.

Willem

Oppo and Analogue outputs and High Rez audio formats.

 

Mid priced blu ray players one would hope have effectively perfect analogue audio output.  Oppo states in its bdp 105 operating manual that Hi res sound, meaning 96 or 192 khz 24 bit, DTS-hd Master audio etc type audio formats, can be output through multichannel analogue outputs. So probably Blu ray pure audio will be fine through analogue left and right. Oppo says the Bdp 105 has " Vastly improved analogue audio thanks to 37 Femtosecond Reference clock (0.037 psec). 100MHz is used to support the ES9018's full sample rate 384KHz/4x oversampling (2-Channel & Multi-Channel audio).

'The operating conditions of video and audio are much improved when they can work in quiet surroundings.  A unique approach is used to achieve the quietest electrical environment inside the player by combining different materials and techniques to remove a specific range of RFI/EMI noise up to several GHz

It seems analogue output does have room for "vast" improvement. Panasonic now singing a similar refrain for its reference bdp, and of course Pioneer as well.
Hopefully not just vast improvement to an oscilloscope, or a bat.

Sleepless

the limits of the possible

I doubt there is scope for vast audible improvements. If you look at the measured output of even the very cheap DAC inside a Chromecast Audio, the results are so good that it is hard to imagine there is still much to gain. And indeed, if you look at the measured output of not only this Oppo but also the other devices it is compared to, it is obvious that the DAC part of the audio chain is by far the most linear and the least distorted.

If you really are interested in the best measured results, there are two lessions: avoid hdmi and use usb, coaxial or optical (in descending order of preference) for the digital connection, and use xlr for the analogue connection. Those differences are far far larger than any differences between the units themselves. I doubt the differences will be audible, but there is no harm in going for the best if it does not really cost any more.

Willem

Optical and Coax not hi resolution.

Except that for those interested in " High resolution pure " audio, blu-ray audio in simple terms, Coaxial and optical have insufficient bandwidth according to Oppo at least, on p19 of the bdp 105 operation manual

  • 'Due to bandwidth limitations, high resolution audio formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. A reduced resolution version of the same audio track will be output instead.'


    The reality is however, as you know, no one can hear at even the resolution that 48khz

     opera blu rays, for example, are nearly all formatted to, so down resolving to Toslink quality makes no difference. Did anyone use bottom level computer sound card garbage dacs in cheapo bdps to appease the record industry ? Ok they wouldn't do anything like that I am sure. I accept that I heard some other problem, maybe placebo who knows.

     

     

Sleepless

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