Why does Denon 3910 default to PCM for sacds?

I have been made aware of this by Alex Peychev. He states, "Anyway, the 3910 Source Direct ON/OFF mode is in the On-Screen menu in the Audio Settings. You need a monitor. When you select Source Direct ON you have true DSD. If it's OFF the DSD is converted to 176.4/24 PCM. Be aware that the Factory Default is Source Direct OFF, so the machine converts DSD to PCM. You need to go and change that." I have tried it both ways and it makes a substantial difference in the realism of the sound.

I suspect that Denon's indifference to sacd and the desire to hear sacds in dsd conversion is overridden by their expectation that most will be interested in only dvds and HT.
Rather than it being some big corporate conspiracy as you seem to suggest, it may be that Denon, a solidly mid-fi company, has figured out that most of its end-users want to hear their subwoofers go "boom." Source Direct bypasses bass management. Bass Management is absolutely MANDATORY for 99% of the HT-oriented surround-sound setups out there.
Given that SACD is much newer and limited in material, I dont see a problem with the choice of defaults, Samsung scrapped SACD because to many uneducated buyers thought that you could hook it up with your single digital wire and POOF you had SACD, then they all got mad when their reciever wouldnt except multi channel input, atleast thats what the cheif tech at Samsung told me on phone. I should note that they didnt scrap it entirely, the just added a model with and without and hoped the sales people could handle the rest of the deal.
Thanks, Tbg for the info. I mainly use my 3910 for movies.
Rex, I was not really implying a conspiracy and fully agree that Bass Management is the issue. I do think it is too bad, however, that this is not prominently discussed in the manual, as it has a big impact on the sacd sound.
I assume this is only the case if you are in MCH mode correct? In 2CH it's always DSD?
No, Meisterkleef, in 2 channel also.
What is the optimal setting on the denon to achieve the best 2 channel sound for redbook CD's?. I am using the Denon 2800 MKII as both DVD and CD transport (which by the way is connected on BEl Canto Dac). The 2 digital setting options are 1- LPCM Select:either ON or OFF, and option 2-DIGITAL OUT: Normal, PCM or OFF. For DVDs option 2 must be set to PCM orthe audio will simply not work, but for CD's(under option 2), I found there to be a audible difference in sound when set to "normal" as apposed to PCM. My personal preference for CD's isoption 2 - Normal, but what about option 1? should PCM be set ON or OFF?
Thanks for the info, TBG. I have to admit to belonging in the "camp of the Clueless when it comes to PCM and DSD. Which is for which format? It's hassle to go through an on screen menu each time one wants to hear a different format. Is there an optimal Set-It-And-Forget-It setting on the 3910 for CD, SACD and DVD disks (assuming DVDs will be concert recordings played 2 CH)?
Tvad, I think that setting Source Direct ON you have true DSD for sacds and pcm for everything else, but I think this may have implications to MCh bass management. I don't think it affects how stereo cds, hdcds, dads, or dvdas sound.

Rudd, I at least know nothing about using the Denon as a transport. I would assume that the digital out can only be PCM and probably only 44 MHz.
To add to what Rex said. How many HTs have 5 full range speakers that are equidistant from the listening position? Defaulting "source direct" to "off" makes a lot of sense.
Again for those using the Denon 3910 as a stereo source, I can now confidently state that when you make the change of Source Direct to ON means that you have to wait again for break-in. I guess this is the dsd dac. After better than a week in the new setting, I am now just overwhelmed by the need to make this change. Never have I had sound like I have now. I should also say that your results may vary if you are not using the Exemplar 3910.
That's great info, Tbg. Thanks.

Alex says he ships all his machines with Source Direct ON, and the SACD filter setting option does not apply to the APL Denon 3910 since Alex's modification bypasses this setting in favor of his re-design.
Tbg, yes, you will need to break in the DSD part of the DACs and other components on the DSD signal path. The Denon 3910 DACs feature Burr-Brown's best DSD to Analog conversion technology as seen in their DSD only top line DSD1700 DAC.

The other thing Denon 3910 users should know is that, if you are listening to 192/24 DVD-A and you do not have the Denon in Pure Direct "All OFF" mode, you are getting 96/24. In order to get real 192/24, please turn the Pure Direct to "All OFF". This will also give you much better audio quality with all formats.

This is very useful, thank you, all. A question on the SACD filter settings. In the Audio set-up menu you can choose between 50 khz and 100khz (I think). Is one better as a set-it-and-forget-it or is it disc dependent? Thanks, again,
Pardales, you really need to experiment with this setting. Depending on your system and taste you might like one or the other. In general, 50KHz is recommended. This will give you more focus and high octaves resolution. The 100KHz will sound a bit rolled and muddy, but you might like it as it is more forgiving/rounded.

Pardales, I did some switching back and forth and heard no differences. I just set it on 100k Hz and forgot it.
Thank you Alex and Tbg.
Is this the same for denon's DVD A1XVA? I've just ordered one....prefer over 3910 due to its video capabilites.
I am now listening to a Denon 9000 and while it has the Pure Direct option it
does not have the newer Source Direct option. Oh, and this is not a Universal
player either as it does not do SACD.