Rec. vs. DVD: who should be responsible for DAC?

I am in the process of putting together a system. I currently own a Rotel RSX-972 receiver. I am now in the market for a DVD player. Specifically, I am looking at either a Panasonic DVD RP-56 or a Rotel RDV-995. Though not directly compared by my own ears, I am going under the assumption that the Rotel will produce a better audio output (I assume that implies analog). I have two questions:

1) Is there a distinct advantage of sending, from the DVD player to the receiver, an analog or digital signal? (i.e. using DAC of the receiver or the player)

2) If the DAC of the receiver is to be used, does it really matter which player is purchased to provide a digital output? (Most players in this range use similar drives anyway)

Note that the Panasonic is considerably less expensive and probably has superior video quality. Though I currently do not have a hidef TV, I may upgrade someday. At this point, however, the audio quality is my main concern.

If the receiver does not have an analog pass through, it would simply take the analogue output from your DVD player's DAC section and reconvert it into digital. If that is the case, skip the audio outputs of the DVD altogether and simply use the DVD player as a transport. One thing that i would check into with the various DVD players would be what types of digital output jacks it offers and what your receiver accepts. No sense in buying a component or cable if it will not work with the other components. Sean
Ditto what Sean said. One thing regarding video: apparently some Panasonic DVD players are using a chip from Faroudja that should put it head and shoulders above most if not all other low priced DVD players out there from a video perspective. If the RSX-972 digitizes all analog inputs and doesn't have an analog pass through I'd go with the Panasonic and save the money if it has a coax digital out(I wouldn't use toslink for audio). Best of luck.

How is "Faroudja" pronounced?

Thanks for your responses. Apparently, the Rotel receiver can accept BOTH digital and analog inputs. So I would assume that implies that it does have "analog passthrough" capability. Regarding the Panasonic, apparently the digital connection is through an optical cable, rather than a coaxial. Even though the Rotel receiver can accept both connections, from what I understand, the sound degredation is considerable in the optical. This seems to be quite a deal breaker! I too was excited about the Faroudja chip.

In any event, I still need to determine whether the DAC should be used on the receiver or the DVD. I know that this is something to be decided by ones ears. I would just like to know if others have experience with this very question.

Two thoughts. Be aware that just because the Rotel accepts analog inputs does not mean they are analog pass throughs. It is quite possible the Rotel digitizes ALL its analog inputs and then converts them back to analog again, which is something you definitely want to avoid if this is the case--check your owners manual(if it has an analog pass through path it will be mentioned in the manual, and if it's not it probably doesn't have one) or with Rotel to find out for sure.

Also, you might want to check if certain Panasonic DVD players with the Faroudja chip do offer a coax digital out. My guess would be that they do although they may cost a little more. Again, best of luck.


I just got a response from Rotel. They said that their input analog stereo signals ARE converted to digital for processing and reconverted back to analog. If this is the case, does this imply that it really doesn't matter which DVD player I use since the DAC on the Rotel receiver is going to be used anyway? Would this also imply that I should always use the digital signal from the DVD player since that would be one less conversion (actually two conversions) to worry about?

The DVD player will matter much less since the Rotel will be doing the D/A processing. I think you'd have to spend a lot more on a better DVD transport to make an appreciable difference and you'd probably be better off putting that money somewhere else in your system(i.e. upgrading speakers, cables, interconnects, etc.). One thing that seems to help a lot is to put an anti-jitter device between the DVD player and the processor--something like the $250 Monarchy unit, so you might want to try this sometime in the future just to see what happens. If it were me I would avoid using the analog inputs for critical sources because the unnecessary A/D and subsequent D/A steps will take their toll on the overall sound quality. Hope this helps.