If you want to compare the players, why send one through another processor and let the other bypass the processor? That is not how to compare them.
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I think you missed the point. I already know I prefer the sound of the XA5400ES to that of the BDP-93 passed through a DVDO Edge, but the Edge provides video and audio switching between the BDP-93 and a DirecTV HD-DVR. I guess I need to connect the BDP-93 directly to the 11a, and if that cures the problem with the sound, then I'll have to find a way to go around Edge with the BDP-93 audio. My hope was for an answer about whether the Edge could be coloring the sound before I pulled things apart. And maybe you answered the question: Of course it could, so why go through that processor.
An email I received from Oppo Technical Services pointed out that passing HDMI audio through a video processor may lose the clocking information from the BDP-93 the Cinema 11a would use to correct jitter. Talk about responsive support!
As soon as I learn that I can connect HDMI-1 to the Edge and HDMI-2 directly to the 11a outputs, I'll reroute the cables. To do a Kal-like comparison, I should first reroute the cable from the Edge to the 11a to run from the BDP-93 to the 11a, leaving the XA5400ES still connected to the 11a. Then play both, switching inputs at the 11a.
Passing HDMI audio through the DVDO Edge was indeed the problem. With the Oppo BDP-93 connected directly to the Cary Cinema 11a, the sound is every bit as good as it is with the Sony XA5400ES. I hadn't realized jitter could be that debilitating to audio quality. Oppo assures me there will be no problem with HDMI-1 connected to the Edge and HDMI-2 connected directly to the 11a, so the XA5400ES will rejoin the Proceed PAV/PDSD and Amp 2 in the living room.
Kal's post was on the mark.
I was surprised to discover I was the OP on this thread. I'm now using an Oppo BDP-95 to output analog to Cary 11a inputs set to bypass mode. SACD output is DSD. The Sony XA5400ES also outputs analog to the Cary 11a for stereo. The Cary 11a outputs to Proceed HPA 2 & 3 amps that drive KEF Ref 107/2s mains and Ref 102s center and surrounds.
A DVDO iScan Duo handles video to the projector, but no audio.