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How to use HDMI outputs to connect to a DAC with no HDMI inputs.

carlmart

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Aug 30, 2018
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Today I tested this unit, which is supposed to convert HDMI audio digital to coaxial audio digital.


I only have one player, a cheap $35 DVD/CD unit that I bought in Aliexpress. I just bought it for my wife to play our CDs, as I normally use my Ethernet network.

Well, the player has an HDMI output, and the very same unit was used as player on a YouTube video, comparing to another CD very expensive player, both connected to the same $11,000 DAC. The DAC had HDMI audio digital input, so he could connect it directly, which mas Topping DAC has not. So I was stuck there.

On the comparison video, the person was hugely surprised that the audible differences between both players were absolutely minimal and non important. So I went looking for a way to convert HDMI to RCA coaxial.

Well, I found the one above, and it worked! I do have audio using the adapter, and the question is audio quality.

I wonder if amirm can test this adapter, which is very cheap and should be easy to get a loan from AE.

It might be a solution or an option to many people that have an HDMI output on a BD player, a regular one with video and all, and use the BD player just as transport, and see how it works out.

My results with this HDMI to RCA digital: the sound is quite sibilant and plays more detailed highs than the player analog outputs. Now, the player's analog output are not that good, even if they don't sound bad. Internal DAC and analog outputs are probably the reason, and it's not worth it to work on it to modify that.

I thought the RCA cable between adapter and DAC might have something to do with it, and I tried a different one. No difference, same sibilance.

OK, now come further surprises, which I didn't expect. This time I connected the player's HDMI output, directly to the Pioneer receiver's Games HDMI, which of course has its own DACs inside. Now, there seems to be an improvement. The sibilance was still there, but much much more attenuated. Now I can't say if the CD was not recorded that way, or if the treble frequencies (can't say starting without measurements) are being altered by the player.

Another thought: what if what is introducing the sibilance is the HDMI output, the internal electronics? The video signals wiring on the cable might not be affecting the audio? The latter is rather unlikely, because all BD players send video & audio through HDMI.

There's an Amazon box that is simpler (and double the cost) than the one I used. Amazon also sells a box that is similar to the one AE sold me, brand name CAMWAY.


But it only has audio functions, no video outputs. Maybe the video wiring is disconnected internally.

Once again I would appreciate to have amirm suggestions on how to go about this issue. CD players and discs seem to be resurfacing.
 
Amir tested Amazon Basics 4K HDMI Audio extractor before. If you want digital-in digital out, that device seems to do the trick.

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AE sells a similar HDMI to coaxial adapter, and I'm tempted to get one.

But as I said above, I did connect the CD/DVD unit directly to the receiver's HDMI input, and still listened, though very very much attenuated, to that sibilance in feminine voices.

Now what I started questioning is the player, if it's the main reason for this more aggressive presentation, which might be classified as more life-like sound quality.

The YouTube video I had seen where they used that same player was using a better DAC than the one inside the Pioneer receiver.

Being able to use my Topping D50 DAC would be the reason for getting the HDMI/Coax tested by amirm.

This tests I'm doing point at trying to improve the CD transport. Unfortunately used CD players with coaxial outputs are not available in my country.
 
Unfortunately used CD players with coaxial outputs are not available in my country.
You can use a DVD player as CD transport that has optical and coaxial output (eg Pioneer DV300, 393, 696, etc.)
 
Hard to find them in Brazil. And besides that they probably have that protection to play any disc you put in.
 
I wonder if Macrovision blocks non-legit discs too or if the player will play wav, flack or ape too. For that only a DVD player that can be hacked.
 
As far as I know there are no CD or DVD players that can play a FLAC file.
DVD player plays audio cds and some can play formats as .wav & .mp3.
 
I think BD players do play flac, but I wonder which one might have coaxial digital outputs.

But as they are not considered as audio good sounding, quality wise, as a CD player, using the HDMI to RCA adapter would allow using an external DAC.

Strange that I never read of anyone using this option. On this $35 DVD player, the audio through the HDMI output and the receiver's DAC sounds much better than through the DVD analog outputs. Which should be expected as the internal and analog stage shouldn't use the best parts.

Which makes me think why are there so few, and expensive, DACs with HDMI inputs. There might be a market on audiophiles that are using BD players to listen to CDs.

An internal circuit similar to the one in the converter unit amirn tested, which was so cheap in price, might cost a few dollars to add to an external DAC. And fill in a potential market.
 
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