What’s the Best Blu-ray-to-Processor Connection for Listening to SACDs?

Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I just bought an Oppo BDP-103 universal player and am connecting it to a Marantz AV7005 pre/pro. How do I make sure the signal gets through when playing SACDs? Use the analog RCA outputs, or can HDMI handle it? —Mike Groft / via e-mail

A Yes, HDMI can handle it. To hear high-resolution sound from SACDs, all you need to do is select the PCM option in the BDP-103’s SACD output submenu (located in the Audio Format Setup menu). That will tell the player to convert the data on SACD discs to a multichannel PCM format that gets conveyed to your Marantz preamp over an HDMI connection. (The other option in the SACD output submenu, DSD, would be an even better choice since it would let the player send data directly to the preamp over HDMI, but only a few preamps offer built-in decoding for DSD, and the AV7005 isn’t one of them.)

Of course, universal players like the Oppo can also route decoded DSD through their built-in digital-to-analog converters, an option that would let you run RCA cables to your Marantz preamp’s 7.1-channel analog input to hear high-rez sound from SACDs. But seeing that the BDP-103’s feature set doesn’t include the same ESS Sabre Reference 32 DACs found in the company’s more expensive, audiophile-oriented Oppo BDP-105, I don’t imagine you’d hear much difference between that and an HDMI hookup. It might be worth comparing, though.

HMB's picture

The receiver has speaker settings- such as delays between left, right and center, as well as size information saved. When you use the OPPO, you want to make sure that your receiver still is able to account for this. How would one do it for an older reciever (9 years old)?

mvision7m1's picture

I have an OPPO BDP-95 connected to a Marantz AV8801 processor via HDMI. I do have the Oppo set to output DSD because I thought the 8801 could decode that format. It hasn't worked and I can't find any definitive info on whether the 8801 does or doesn't in fact decode DSD. Anyway, if I choose PCM output from the Oppo, that bypasses the 8801's Audyssey filters and other settings (speaker size, X-over, PEQ) since the Oppo would be handling the decoding in that case correct? I was really hoping the 8801 could decode DSD. Thanks for any reply/assistance.

jmilton7043's picture

Sending PCM via HDMI to the Marantz allows the 8801 to decode and process. If you send the PCM over the analog route, the Oppo will have to select the speaker size and placement, but no Audyssey. I use the HDMI on mine and it works very well. Oppo converts DSD to PCM at 88kHz and not 176kHz, but you'll not notice a difference.

rbtz18's picture

What pre-pros and receivers can decode dsd? It seems very difficult and confusing to tell from the specs that the manufacturer prints out.

skidaner's picture


Please don't leave us hanging! A list of which Pre-Amps decode DSD would be appreciated.


savage's picture

The new oppo 105D does a great job of dealing with DSD, now I'm looking for a new pre-pro so I asked marantz about the 8801 and DSD. This is what marantz says about DSD processing:

"There are two ways to process DSD (SACD) through the 8801. You can go the HDMI route or the 7 Channel In (analog) route if the player supports a multi channel analog output. The HDMI route will convert the DSD info into Multi Channel PCM sampled at 48k. The 7 Channel In route will allow for the DSD to pass through the 8801 as long as it's processed from the player. The only processing from the 8801 when going through the 7 Channel In is volume (level) from the pre-amp.

Thank you,

Technical Support / Custom Install
D&M Holdings NA"

John K's picture

I have a Marantz SR5005 receiver with Audyssey processing that has been fantastic at resolving some of my room / speaker placement issues. But Audyssey does not work with the analog inputs. Another receiver manufacturer with their own proprietary EQ has confirmed that theirs does not work with analog inputs either. I recently purchased an Oppo BDP-105, and would like to combine the benefits of the Oppo DACs and receiver EQ by using an analog connection. Are there any receivers you are aware of that would allow for this combination?