Originally Posted by Butch
The fact that some people say that they prefer digital multi-channel over analog multi-channel probably stems from the source of the D/A conversion. Better conversion usually equals better sound.
My first multi-channel setup consisted of a Marantz SR-19 receiver and Pioneer DV-444 player. The Pioneer player sounded much better when connected to the receiver via digital coax vs. analog. After upgrading the player to a Marantz DV-9600 the sound gained a vast improvement over the Pioneer using either digital or analog connections with the analog connections sounding best.
I concluded that the Pioneer's DACs were inferior to the SR-19's DACs and that the DV-9600 had better DACs than either.
The main reason that one might choose optical over coax is the elimination of ground loop hum sometimes caused by the coax. I prefer coax when ground loop is not a problem as the toslink is prey to higher levels of jitter.
The single largest improvement in the sound of my system (so far) came from upgrading from the receiver to separate controller and amplifier.
I too have decided to jump onto the Oppo band wagon. I have a Sony BD-S350 to sell before my wife will 'let me' do so however. I've not been impressed much by the audio quality of the Sony and look forward to the analog outputs of the Oppo along with the opportunity to compare the Oppo's digital/analog synergy with my Marantz AV8003 Pre/Pro.
This sounds like a good combo and would like to hear back from you with a mini review if possible.
I personally hate the toslink connector (not the technology) and would rather use coax just for the much better connectors available.
HDMI will cause the eventual phaseout of both coax and toslink but I'm not a big fan of HDMI connectors either.
There are some locking ones out there but IMO these should be the norm and not the exception.