Originally Posted by mirohh
Dear dsperber, I apologize. Unfortunately you are right. The avr output is 2channel stereo. I just edited my original post. It was too good to be true.
I intend to keep the Harman Kardon 260. I have connected the Realiser to the multich. analog outputs of the HK 260. This works well and the video pass-through of the realiser also works.
Is the hdmi input of the Realiser much better than the analog input? I use th Realiser only for watching film.
Not to rub salt into the wound, but it really "was too good to be true". This is a very significant feature for an AVR to have had, and not to see any mention of it in the PDF owner's manual seemed impossible. There's also no mention of "HDMI pass-through" (for multi-channel audio, from any of its HDMI inputs to its one HDMI output), so I doubt that exists either. Video pass-through... of course (as you say you get video out the other side of the Realiser, from it's own HDMI pass-through feature). Multi-channel digital audio pass-through on the AVR? Not unless they built it to do that, and wrote about it in the manual.
Anyway, not to worry. While I think most of us would say the Realiser sounds "marginally superior" using HDMI input vs. using analog input, the difference is honestly not dramatic. Yes, the HDMI approach obviously does eliminate two otherwise needed conversions for the analog approach (first the digital to analog conversion in the AVR, and second the reverse analog to digital conversion in the Realiser to begin the SVS process), and that's got to be a good thing. But if the D-to-A converter in your AVR is good or excellent, and it's already acknowledged that the A-to-D converter in the Realiser is superb, then the overall results of using HDMI vs. analog will be small, and may not even be distinguishable... depending on the quality of your headphone/amp.
And at the other end of the Realiser, the output D-to-A converter in the unit (which feeds the headphone outputs) is once again superb. So even if you do decide to use the optical output instead to feed an external DAC (say, to feed your headphone/amp via XLR instead of RCA), once again the difference is minor... not dramatic. Noticeable, probably. Dramatic? No. Again, the D-to-A converter in the Realiser for its headphone output is superb.
Of course if you tried any A/B-comparison experiment for any of these combinations and methods, you need to be sure that you have your levels (volume) carefully adjusted so that all of the paths you're comparing sound "equally LOUD". We all tend to rate "louder is better", no matter how hard we try not to. It's just not possible to compare sound quality fairly when A is low and B is high.
In my own opinion, HDMI vs. analog on the input side provides a small improvement. Optical/DAC vs. analog headphone output on the output side once again provides a small improvement. I myself upgraded my Realiser to support HDMI, and also acquired a high-end external DAC... believing these surely had to provide improvements to my system. And they both did, but minor. The "price/performance" ratio was a bit unjustified, to be honest.
However where you will REALLY GET YOUR MONEY'S WORTH on the equipment side is to invest in a truly superb high-end headphone/amp combination. Having a superb headphone/amp will make EVERYTHING sound MUCH BETTER, not just from the multi-channel Realiser (assuming you have a terrific personalized PRIR you love), but also for just 2-channel music as well. Of course high-end headphone/amp equipment is super-expensive, but it should probably also be considered a "once in a lifetime" investment, as you'll have this equipment for what... 15-20 years?? I know I spent $2500 (which I thought was super-expensive back at that time) on a Stax SR-Omega and SRM-T1S amp back in 1995 and am still using it 18 years later. I recently splurged for a new SR-009 and SRM-007tII amp, and the improvement over what I thought was my amazing Omega setup IS HUGE! Wouldn't have believed it possible to be that dramatic a difference, but these SR-009 headphones are astounding. So I feel it was definitely worth the money... to finally see A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT IN SOUND QUALITY, FOR EVERYTHING YOU LISTEN TO.
Bottom line: using analog input on the Realiser (which I do 99% of the time, since I use mine 99% for HDTV via analog, and 1% for BluRay movies via HDMI) is 100% perfectly fine, and causes no obviously deficient result at all.
So this brings us back to the new discovery that Oppo's BDP-103/105 BluRay player external HDMI input circuitry in fact DOES go through its own internal decode->LPCM (for DD/DTS of the external HDMI input) just like a BluRay movie disc would go through, so that the audio output on HDMI2 is truly multi-channel LPCM for these external HDMI inputs just like for a BluRay movie disc. So by upgrading your current BluRay player to one of these new Oppo's and feeding your source device (e.g. DVR) to the HDMI input of the Oppo and the decoded LPCM HDMI-2 output of the Oppo to the Realiser's HDMI input, you have thus now bought 100% HDMI input to the Realiser for BluRay as well as DVR/HDTV. And you got a fantastic BluRay player (with superb video output on HDMI-1) in the deal (for $500 retail) with two HDMI outputs (so you won't have to use the HDMI pass-through of the Realiser to feed your display device).
In other words, the Oppo now provides the decode->LPCM functionality we'd have preferred to see generalized in an AVR, but at least its HDMI input provides this functionality SOMEWHERE in the connection path so that we can make use of it. And you get a terrific BluRay/universal player in the deal, for what seems to be a very reasonable price of $500.
I've just about sold myself on this idea (although the loss of component video output on these new Oppo players, tied to their obligation to implement Cinavia technology, does not go unnoticed).
Edited by dsperber - 12/15/12 at 11:41am