Well, maybe your Marantz 8801 has something to do with that. I have heard/read that it is an outstanding performer for HT, 2-channel audio, and multichannel audio. A flagship prepro probably has been built with flagship components from top to bottom. Also, I think you can only engage Audyssey MultEQ XT32 when using a digital connection like HDMI and that alone can account for a better presentation.
Yes, the Audyssey only works with HDMI. I'm keen to preserve the DSD resolution as long as possible without downsampling to PCM, which is what the Audyssey does. Perhaps the people who praise the analog outs only listen to it in stereo.
and when I listen via the the Oppo 105's multi-channel analog outs (I use the main stereo LT/RT for the front channels)
Am I understanding this correctly, that you use the main stereo L/R out instead of the FL/FR out that is a part of the multi-channel out, and also use the center/rear/sub out in the multi-channel out?
Yes, as suggested by the owner's manual. It sounded even worse with the FL/FR outputs!
I'm not arguing with your hookup choice but I can't find any such suggestion in the manual for my Oppo 105. Can you point us to the page in the manual where it appears? I would certainly expect it (or any MCH-equipped player) to sound congested, the way you have it hooked up
It's on the bottom of page 74 in my edition--item number 7 in the Other Audio Processing section.
Why would you "certainly expect it (or any MCH-equipped player) to sound congested the way [I] have it hooked up"?
Why? Because you would be sending ALL the multichannel signals to the front left and right instead of just the ones recorded and INTENDED for the front left and right. If this isn't a recipe for congestion, I don't know what is.
I'll swap it back to the dedicated m-ch outs and see (or hear...) what happens. I don't know why the manual would recommend using the main stereo outs unless I wildly misinterpreted it!
After looking at the manual, the connections you originally described should work, however you must also select for this in the setup menu (page 74). If not, a down-mixed signal is sent to the main L/R stereo out. Also, you should have selected for 5.1Ch in the setup menu(page 70) and NOT be using the SBR/SBL outputs. I assumed a 5.1 system from the equipment list.
It doesn't sound any better that way. It does sound marginally better if I run the Marantz in the Direct mode, but it still sounds better overall with the Audyssey room correction.
I did select the stereo L/R option, not the downmixed one. I'll just stick with HDMI--I actually prefer my Sony 5400 via HDMI.
I read the manual citation on p.74. Apparently it's talking about playing Dolby Digital or DTS discs rather than SACDs. Since I'm familiar only with the way SACDs work, my comments may not apply. Sorry about that.
If you bypass the preamp and go strictly with amps, the Oppo is probably as good or better than the Marantz. The Oppos would be the volume controller. The problem is overkill on preamps I think. They are causing a lot of compression. If you had just amps, you could try this.
Since it sounds a lot better with HDMI to the Marantz, can you drive the Marantz with digital coax instead? This might be even better. This is what I use for movies and it beats HDMI. I use a superb coax cable that I make for $250.
Are you sure the Marantz is passing through the analog from the Oppo without further processing? I took analog from the 105 through Cary 11a inputs set to by-pass and obtained a clean and open sound. Now stereo from the 105 goes through a Parasound JC-2 analog preamp, surround directly to the amps, and SW to a LF ARC, and the sound is superb. A 5400ES and JC-3 phono stage share the JC-2, and that's the reason analog stereo from the 105 doesn't go directly to the amps.
I'd think whatever processing that it does, if any, would be minimal. Remember, I'm referring to multi-channel, not stereo, as in your case.
While I have the 95, the hook ups for multichannel are the same (or so I am led to believe).
Hook the analog FR/FL to the main L/R analog outs. Hook the sub, C, and surrounds to the multi channel outs on the 105. On the 8801 (the pre pro I have) make sure you run it in direct or pure direct when listening to multichannel audio, otherwise the analog will get converted to digital, processed, and then reconverted to analog. That's not good.
Hopefully I didn't misunderstand what you were looking for and this helps.