Well, y'know, it never occured to me to try it and compare but, as you know, you are in a perfect position to find out for yourself. And that, of course, is better than anyone else's opinion.
I tried and really couldn't decern any sonic difference. I did have a 5910 in the system for about 3 weks and felt that the 2 channel out put was better than the multi as a 2 channel. But Denon claims to have a better DAC on the front two than the surround on the 5910. I may still upgrade back to the 5910 the picture quality was definetly better. I had aproblem with the particular 5910 and have since received a good solution from Denon.
The dedicated Stereo/Stereo Mix outputs are the better choice because the analog conditioning (filter) circuit is better compared to the MCH outs.
The downside about this scenario is that some crazy MCH lovers can not use the higher quality Stereo outs for Front L+R MCH Hi-Rez playback.
Well, at least the DACs for all channels are the same in the 3910. The sonic difference between Stereo and MCH is not that big too.
First of all, I appreciate the highly professional feedback on this thread! We got some big-time folks responding.
Alex and Kal (as well as others, of course)--would you say stereo outputs are *generally* better on machines you've worked with? I have a Pioneer 563A that Dan Wright modified, and I have trouble discerning the difference between stereo and just playing two-channel discs through the multichannel 6-cable output (all 6 are Analysis Plus Golden Oval RCA, with no cables hooked up at all to the stereo outputs).
Also, I wonder if machines that use FireWire (or HDMI 1.3, which is both SACD and DVD-A capable, right?) would vary from the stereo outputs. In other words, if I have a universal player with both a proprietary link (FireWire, HDMI, etc.) and stereo outputs, would it be better to use the proprietary link for all multi-channel AND two-channel listening, or use my Golden Ovals from the stereo output and the proprietary link for multichannel?
I realize this is a highly hypothetical question, and the answer may vary too widely from machine to machine, but any comments are more than welcome.
Thedautch, some players do have a higher quality Stereo outs, some don't. In the case of your Pioneer 563 there is much better DAC used for the Stereo (DSD1791) and worse used for the MCH (DSD1702). The good part is that the Stereo and the Front L+R channels outputs are literally the same thing - they are paralleled. So, it does not matter where you will connect your cables on the back (Stereo outs or Front L+R outs) you will get the same sound quality because both are processed by exactly the same circuit.
In the Denon 3910 all DACs are identical but only the Stereo/Mix channels have the higher quality filtering circuit. The Stereo output in the Denon can not be used for Front L+R MCH outputs. In one of my entry line Denon 3910 re-designs I am changing this so the Stereo becomes also the Front L+R output for MCH. Of course the MIX is disabled but MCH recordings don't sound good mixed down to Stereo anyway.
Yes, it will be ok to use Firewire, HDMI or even the Coax Digital for movies MCH playback and stick to the high quality Stereo outputs on the player for critical 2 Ch listening.