Should I Use an Analog Connection to Tap Into My Blu-ray Player’s DACs?

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Q My Panasonic DMP-BDT500 Blu-ray player has four 192-kHz/32-bit Burr-Brown DACs. To take full advantage of these, should I use analog RCA cables to connect the player to my Denon AV receiver? I would only use an analog connection to the receiver’s CD input for music and would still use an HDMI hookup so that the Denon could decode high-resolution soundtracks on Blu-ray.—Paolo Fiorentino via e-mail

A Yes, you will need to run RCA cables from the Panasonic’s analog stereo output to take advantage of the player’s DACs. And while there’s nothing wrong with also making an HDMI connection from the player and letting the Denon handle the work of decoding high-rez movie soundtracks, another option would be to run four pairs of RCA cables from the player’s 7.1-channel analog output. Blu-ray players like the DMP-BDT500 feature built-in DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD decoding, so you don’t necessarily need to use an HDMI connection to a receiver or processor to hear soundtracks in high rez. Depending on your setup, it might even simplify things. Just make sure your receiver provides a 7.1-channel analog input to accept the RCA cables coming from the player, and you’ll be in business.

bobrapoport's picture

Hi Paolo, Full dislcosure, I manufacture a 24/192K DAC with HDMI input for extracting the stereo LPCM 24/96K soundtrack and agree, you can use the players built-in post processing to decode the Dolby TruHD or DTS MasterHD and output through the DAC's analog outputs. Keep the cables short, once you change from digital to analog throughput, it gets lossy fast. I've compared the HDMI vs Analog output of the player, keeping it HDMI was best to keep the digital bit-stream in its purest form coming off the disc.

Theoretically it shouldn't matter but it does. Why?
There are a few possibilities, DRM among them. The studios and record labels retain the right to down-rez the audio output to 48K from the coaxial and optical outputs when the HDMI output is enabled, keeping the HDMI for video alone might be interfering with the audio output being its best. You should compare them and see what you think.

Lars's picture

I have a question regarding CD audio analog playback on the Panasonic DMP-BD500. My receiver is old and without HDMI inputs, so would there be any difference in audio quality between using the analog stereo output and using the 5.1 channel analog output for CD playback. CD's being 2 channel stereo, the audio would come out of the left and right front speakers, but both methods would be using the Burr-Brown DACs, and would sound the same. Is that correct?