As far as I know, in pre/pros you can by-pass all the digial circuits meaning that the signal will go in analog and go out analog, that happens when you use the DAC in your CDP using RCA cables out. Now, if you use a digital or Coax cable, you will send a digital signal to your pre/pro and will use it's own DAC's, see which one you like more and go for it.
As for your question...I'm not sure, my inexperienced mind would think that it is analog when you're using it as a Pre shuting off all the digital circuits and digital when it's processing video signals i.e.: Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.
I'd consider it "digital" or purposes of dedicated circuit, power conditioning, and aftermarket power cord selection. That is unless you can shut off the digital circuitry, and prefer to use it that way for serious listening. Else the digital sections may throw "pollution" (RFI, EMI ??) back out to your AC mains. This is only really important for serious listening.
A very good question and one I have sonically experimented with as I have two pieces of equipment , A Classe SSP-60 which internally has seperate power supplies for digital and analog, and a Sim Audio Eclipse which has an external PSX Power supply where if you read the information it says in the power supply chasis it has both analog and digital circuts , Yikes ! The best Sonic results I have found are to give it its own circut . Whether it be a dedicated line, or If you have a quality PLC that has a isolated circut all its own.
A component is "digital" or "analog" depending upon what type
of signals it handles.
A run of the mill "preamp" with analog signal in, and analog
signal out is definitely "analog".
A DAC with digial in and analog out - is "digital"
A pre/pro has components and functions of both - it has a DAC
so it is "digital", but it also may take in an analog
signal and output analog - which would make it "analog".
However, "digital" and "analog" are just labels - who cares
if a component is "digital" or "analog"?
A "DAC" is a "DAC", a "preamp" is a "preamp" - I think we
all understand what each does - so there's no real utility
in labeling them as "digital" or "analog".
Dr. Gregory Greenman
Also note a Horse is a Horse of course of course unless of course , that Horse of course, is the famours Mr. Ed.
Wilbur says keep digital on seperate lines from power amps.
I agree with the above. I have a B&K Reference 20 preamp/processor that can handle digital or analog inputs and outputs. I used an optical digital cable from my CD digital out to the digital input on the preamp. So the digital signal from the CD does not get converted to analog at this point, it feeds the digital directly to the preamp as 1s and 0s.
But the preamp then needs to convert the digital signal to analog before sending the signal to the power amp. From this point on the signal's analog. Strangley, the sound is much better using the analog outputs from my CD to the analog inputs on the preamp. The difference is not subtle, analog sounds much more real and dimensional. I'm not sure why this is but I'm curious.
Noble: it's obvious that your CDP has superior dacs /and or analog output stages compared to the B&K, OR jitter is the problem. The thing that disturbes me is that many folks have moved to pre/pros and are using the onboard DACs in the processors for CD playback. In some cases this would work remarably well except for the one factor that has been ignored: jitter. It is rare to see mention of an outboard jitter filter used between CD players (or DVD players) and processors. The difference a jitter filter makes can be substantial. While some processors have very good reclocking circuitry, most don't.
Makes sense. Do you think I should stick with the analog or try a jitter filter? Thanks.
It depends on the preamp. A few years ago I was looking at preamps that did one or the other and sometimes both. Many of the posts above describe the "both" situation. Many preamps have A/D conversion where the analog signal going in (from a DVD or CD player, for example) is converted to digital. Mainly this is done to apply processing such as DD,DTS,PL2 or some other music mode. Some preamps do this as a matter of course, regardless whether the signal is "processed" or not, the preamp just converts all incoming signals to digital and back to analog again on the way out. These seemed to be more in vogue a few years ago. I personally was never a fan of this concept since the sound would never be better than the DAC's inside the pre-amp. Why would someone want to have their SACD signal or signal from a high-end CD player converted, yet again, to digital?
Most pre-amps I have seen do both pure analog in and digital in. These are what are being described in the above posts where you have analog and digital inputs. The analog inputs remain analog throughout the preamp and go out analog as well. Some machines require you to use a "bypass" mode to accomplish this. Using this mode will, of course, bypass the processing of DD and DTS (and others). These same machines may have digital inputs which utilize the DAC's within the preamp for D/A processing. You would probably opt for all analog with a nice CD or SACD player for example, but might go digital in to the pre-amp if the DAC's within the pre do a better job than the CD player. If you spent big bucks on a preamp with a great digital section you may want to consider using that if you had a $100 CD player hooked up to it:-)
An all analog preamp/processor is a very rare beast, one I haven't seen since the days when Pro-logic ruled home theaters. In fact, I *think* at that time only Lexicon and Meridian (there may be others) did A/D conversion to the incoming signal. Your much more likely to find all analog preamps (no pre/pros) today.
I often lament the days where you could buy processors only that would do all the HT and music surround stuff and did not function as a preamp. I still think this is the best way to go! Ideally, you would have very high quality preamps that could accomodate 2 or more multichannel inputs and everything within the unit was analog. The processors, a separate box, could be swapped out every few years for those needing the latest/greatest in surround.
You said the sound is better using your CDP through the analog inputs of your processor. Is it good enough? There is the big question. B&K makes nice equipment for the money - usually very smooth, at the expense of some dynamics/detail/imaging. I'm listening to a B&K amp as I type this, and I'd gladly keep it rather than the Classe CA101 that I brought home for the weekend. It's just more musical.
In any event, I wouldn't dare recommend which step to take next, because I don't know your system, room, musical tastes etc. You can try a Camelot Dragon 5.1 jitter filter, but I suspect your money would be better spent on a better pre-pro. Then again, you said your CDP sounded good, so does it really need fixing? I have brought a few friends in to the nutty world of hifi, and wish I hadn't, because I've seen them suffer the same audiophile torture that most of us experience when we strive for perfection in our systems.
If you find yourself listening to music rather than equipment you might not want to change a thing!
Treyhoss and Lneilb,
The B&K Ref 20 pre/pro does have a bypass which keeps the signal analog for stereo, but it converts an analog input signal back to digital whenever the DTS, ProLogic or other processing is selected. I only use processing for movies.
My CD's a Sony S7700 DVP which I bought mainly because of the CD quality. The front channel amp's an Aragon 4004MKII and the front speakers are Magnepan 2.7s with a separate sub that can be turned on/off as needed. I play mainly jazz, blues and rock, but not the harder rock stuff.
Is the sound good enough? We're always looking for better, right? I would like the "in the room" presence and depth to be better. I agree that a separate preamp with a HT out may be the best solution - using the B&K as a processor for movies only. Maybe a good tube preamp to see what I've been missing. Thanks you guys.