HDMI vs 5.1 analog connection


My processor is not HDMI audio capable....but it has 5.1 analog to connect to my Blu Ray player.

Theoretically or realistically, which will yeild the best sound, HDMI or the 5.1 analog connection?

Should I look to get a processor with HDMI audio or is the 5.1 analog as good?

Also, does digital coax cable produce better sound than an optical cable?
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1. The issue of whether HDMI or 5.1 is "better" depends on the signals you are concerned with (does your player decode and/or transmit the HD audio tracks?) and whether you want to use the DSP/bass management in the processor. I believe that, with modern equipment, it is advisable to use HDMI and let the processor handle as much as possible.

2. Should be no difference between coax and optical.

Kal
Kr4....Yes, the player does decode the HD audio tracks.

I was referring to any and all surround modes currently available on Blu Ray and and standard def dvd's..including the hi-def surround modes.
OK. Then the issue of whether HDMI or 5.1 is "better" depends on whether you want to use the DSP/bass management in the processor. I believe that, with modern equipment, it is advisable to use HDMI and let the processor handle as much as possible.
If you want to be able to play back HD audio in 7.1 you will need a processor with 7.1 ins or HDMI and 7.1 channels. When using the 7.1 inputs you will be bypassing the surround modes in the processor or receiver and only be using the player's settings. There are other ways to do it but they are cumbersome.
It depends on the quality of the player. A cheap player will no doubt benefit form letting a higher quality proccessor do the work. A proccessor may also have bass management and room correction.
Mitch4t, Re: Coax vs. Optical
There are some variables to consider... i.e., the quality of your speakers and the rest of your electronics (most specifically your "source component." However, generally speaking, Coax has a wider band-width. and it has been my experience to higher sound quality from a good coax cable.
What if you only have 5 speakers and don't ever intend on setting up 7? I've been trying to figure this out too... I want the benefit of the lossless audio formats of blu ray, but if I use the player to decode and pass an analog signal to a 5.1 prepro, do I "lose" part of the movie soundtrack? Is there a setting on the blu ray players that have built in decoders where you can tell it you have 5 speakers and it mixes the 6th and 7th speaker into the existing rear surrounds?
If you take a look at Mitch4t's "System" link, you'll see what kind of system and space he has. Also, Mitch started this thread in June. In the time between the first posts and this revival 3 months later, he bought the $2K Marantz BD8002 Blu-ray player with built-in decoder for all the lossless formats. I suspect you'd have to get a very expensive pre/pro--when it comes along--to equal the decoding quality built into this Marantz.

As to how you can configure the analog outputs, this page has a link to download a pdf of the manual, which should tell you all about it. Page 13 mentions that there is an analog output configuration menu where you can set the rear surrounds to "None."

My $169 Oppo DV-980H allows me to configure the 7.1 ch analog outputs for 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 channels, so I'd be very surprised if the $2K Marantz flagship wouldn't at least equal it in configurability.