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Interested but confused

Posted by Fitzcaraldo215 
Interested but confused
March 04, 2012 07:29PM
I came across this, and I own an Oppo 93. I think I understand what the product does. I do not understand how I would combine 3 spdif connections for 5 channel playback. I also find the review here confusing because it does not compare playback quality to HDMI, which is the predominant standard for MCH playback of SACD.

Can you shed any light on this or point me in the right direction.
Re: Interested but confused
March 05, 2012 12:39PM
Hello Fitzcaraldo215,
Thank you for your question. The thing is that the most of a hi-end and audiophile equipment (DACs, digital amps, room processor, etc.) doesn't feature a HDMI connection. This is probably why a comparison to the HDMI playback is not included in the review. Furthermore there are not many receivers capable of "raw DSD over HDMI" anyway, usually a poorly converted PCM is transmitted for SACD playback. Having all channels available on multiple S/PDIF connections gives you a great freedom to build your stereo or multichannel setup from any devices of your choice. A 5.1 channel playback can be accomplished with three separate stereo rigs, multichannel DAC/digital preamp or room processor. The Vanity93 module is not intended to replace a market standard HDMI, it just allows users to feed their audiophile gear (usually without HDMI) with full-resolution digital audio signal.
Should you have more questions, please ask.

Best Regards,
Re: Interested but confused
March 05, 2012 04:01PM
Thanks. But, three separate stereo rigs/DACs give a hugely inaccurate and inconvenient issue as to a single volume control. I believe the 93s internal digital volume control will throw away bits and sacrifice resolution. I suppose one could put the analog output from three stereo DACS through a Mch analog controller, such as a Parasound P7. But, I am not seeing the advantage to that. Is there an audiophile grade Mch Dac, ignoring the volume control issue.

As far as a digital controller or AVR is concerned, offhand the only one I am aware of that could handle three or four simultaneous coax connections is the very costly Meridian, which does not interest me in the least. Are there others?

So, I am not seeing the sense of either of these solutions for Mch, especially not when compared to HDMI from a 93/95 into a digital controller or analog from a 95 directly into an analog controller. For stereo, the Oppos already have an spdif coax out. How is this solution superior to that, especially audibly?

Are there multi-spdif input cards for PCs that could combine the Mch signal there? Is there PC software you can suggest that would mix them into a composite, Mch PCM file for playback (via HDMI for me)?

I am still scratching my head as to the usefulness or sense of this product. Mch output via a single USB connection looks like it would have been more useful.

My real potential interest in this product would be to effect a conversion of DSD to PCM at higher than the Oppo's standard 88k. Only a few non-Oppo players appear to to that now. Just so that you know, I am a huge fan of Mch and DSP room EQ. An Oppo-based solution that is audibly superior to straight HDMI would be worth considering.
Re: Interested but confused
March 05, 2012 09:57PM
The "only" advantage of a digital connection is that you are not left with the player's internal D/A conversion and you can hook up a high quality standalone DAC/digital amp/room processor to which any player or AVR is sonicaly not even close. The Vanity93 module seem to be a perfect companion to all-digital amps from Tact/Lyngdorf as their volume control can be synchronized just for the multichannel applications. You can have a look at Tact room processors as well. Maybe Vanity93 users could provide some information about their systems and recommend a good sounding multichannel DAC/digital preamp.

A HDMI connections covers all needs with AVR. These machines are usually not designed to process multiple digital inputs anyway. It is always matter of a sound quality. For some people the sonic performance of a consumer AVR is just not acceptable and they settle to split components setup.

Unfortunately I have no experience with multichannel PC sound cards. These can be found rather in a professional/studio environment (as well as other real multichannel gear).

Best Regards,

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2012 08:11AM by AP.
Re: Interested but confused
March 16, 2012 04:31AM
You might want to take a look at the Metric Halo LIO-8. This will take the 7.1 channel output from the Vanity93 card and will give you digital feedthrough and also perform eight channels of D/A conversions. Set the channels into a single output bus and you can control analogue output levels of all channels with the volume control. You will, however, have to use a Mac to set it up.

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