6 channel outputs on DVD players: There are some DVD players that come with 6 channel RCA outputs in addition to the standard stereo connectors and the digital audio outputs.
In the early days of dolby digital, many budget receivers did not include onboard DD decoding chips- so you couldn't send them digital audio from the player and expect them to turn them into 6 analog channels, instead these receivers offered 6 channel analog inputs allowing them to be used with DVD players that did the DD/DTS decoding internally.
So these DVD players have internal decoders for DD and/or DTS audio and turn the 6 channel digital signal into analog inside the player and pass the already decoded 6 channel signal via 6 RCA output jacks on the player.
These 6 channel outputs are also useful on DVD-A or SACD players, as most modern receivers don't have internal decoders for a digital stream in these formats. To do DVD-A and SACD, you have to have a receiver with 6 channel inputs and connect the 6 analog lines from the player to the receiver.
Technically speaking, you could also connect these 6 channel outs on the dvd player direct to amplifiers and bypass a preamp if you chose (as these players tend to have internal level controls and other preamp features)-- but most people don't usually do it that way.
6 channel inputs on receivers:
Well, as stated above- some receivers offer 6 channel inputs to allow connections of outboard 6 channel devices for which they might not offer internal convertors.Some source devices (like the ones outlined above) have internal audio converters which allow them to pass multiple channels of analog audio to the receiver- instead of an encoded digital signal. The source device does all the digital decoding internally, and passes 6 (or more) analog channels out to the receiver- and thus you need to be able to accept 6 input channels. This is similar to a CD player- which does the digital to analog internally and passes 2 analog channels to a receiver-- only in the case of DVD it's usually more than 2 channels.
Older receivers didn't have DD or DTS converters built in- so 6 channel input on a receiver allowed you to still get DD/DTS on your old receiver if your dvd player could convert the digital signal internally and pass 6 analog outputs.
Also, many modern receivers are unable to internally convert the type of digital audio information found on DVD-A or SACD, so receivers have 6 channel input to allow connection of SACD or DVD-A players that have internal conversion (or any other new format which might arise).
By having a 6 channel input- you have mad eit possible to listen to future 5.1 sources, even if your receiver has no internal converters to handle them.
6 channel output on receivers:
Some receiver have 6 channel preamp OUTPUTS to allow you to bypass the internal amplifiers that are inside the receiver and feed the 6 channel signals to your own amps.
This allows you to only use the preamp and processing stages of your receiver- which will decode the 6 channel stems of DD/DTS/Pro Logic or even simple stereo- and then pass them outside the receiver to allow you to use higher power or higher grade amps, while still getting conversion and switching functions of your receiver.
Article written by Vince Maskeeper of www.musicianassist.com. Thanks also to www.HomeTheaterForum.com
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