DSD multichannel playback via this chain? NUC+Rock HDMI out -- Oppo 103 HDMI in -- Marantz AV7704 HDMI in

I’m thinking of pulling the trigger on purchasing a used Oppo 103 BD player. My sole reason for getting it would be to (a) use it in the following chain: NUC+Rock+DSD files --> HDMI out --> Oppo 103 HDMI in --> Oppo 103 HDMI out --> Marantz AV7704 HDMI in, in order to (b) get DSD playback from the Marantz with no PCM conversion.

Can anyone advise whether (1) they have this working or at least (2) have strong reason to believe that this will work?

Thanks in advance!

[Long background]:

My current understanding is as follows:

  • An AVR such as a Marantz can play DSD without PCM conversion when an SACD player is connected to it via HDMI. I’m pretty sure that this is what I see when I play a multichannel SACD on a Sony SACD-capable player that is attached via HDMI to the Marantz.

  • But an AVR such as a Marantz will not play DSD via HDMI from some other source (such as DSD files played by Roon), because of HDMI being locked down for such purposes.

  • However, perhaps, routing the HDMI via an Oppo with HDMI in and HDMI out could work.

I’ve spent the last couple of days searching for information on this, and am now feeling like I’m going around in circles, so I thought I’d ask for help. In particular, I saw posts that (to my limited understanding) indicated both that something like this could work, as well as posts that left me less sure (some of the posts are quoted below).

To clarify, I’m not suggesting that these posts are inconsistent with each other: These and other posts were made at different times, and likely referred to different equipment chains.

In Sept-Oct 2019:

And earlier, in 2018:

So I’m hoping someone (such as @mitr ? :slight_smile: ) might be kind enough to advise about whether the specific chain I mentioned above would (likely) produce Native DSD playback on the Maratntz: NUC+Rock --> HDMI out --> Oppo 103 HDMI in --> Oppo 103 HDMI out --> Marantz AV7704 HDMI in.

Thanks in advance for any input!

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I cannot confirm (or deny) that this will work because I use a MacMini in my comparable setup and, with the MacMini and Roon, DSD output will not work.

There isn’t any PC (doesn’t matter if it’s Windows or Linux) out, which can put native DSD out through HDMI.
Also the Oppo can only handle stereo through RAAT.
What you can do:

  • Use a DLNA Server or an external HDD with your DSD content
  • Use a DAC, which understands multichannel DSD through USB
  • Let ROON convert DSD to PCM and use the Marantz directly as your DAC without using the Oppo as Roon endpoint.

@mitr – many thanks for this information. Makes it seem extremely unlikely that this would work with NUC + Roon, then.

@Burkhardt_Petermann – Thank you as well. I was aware of the multichannel DAC option (e.g., Exasound e38, I think), and letting Roon convert to PCM is what I’ve been doing. Will have to research the DLNA possibility.

A question for both of you then, please (and for anyone else who knows): So is there any circumstance in which an Oppo 103 (or perhaps another Oppo model) does provide an HDMI bridge between Roon-on-computer and an AVR, such as to allow native DSD Mch playback on the AVR? I really thought I had seen multiple mentions of this in various places, but perhaps I misunderstood…

Again, thanks to both of you – you’ve saved me several hundred dollars!

Consider the Okto DAC8 Pro? https://www.stereophile.com/content/okto-research-dac8-pro-da-processor

@mitr – Thank you! I had been vaguely aware of the Okto being “on the horizon” (must have looked at an old article on ASR) but hadn’t seen either your or ASR’s reviews. This looks very interesting.

Also, I think I finally understood the chain that does enable an Oppo to be an HDMI bridge: it will accept DSD Mch via HDMI in, will NOT send Mch DSD via HDMI out to the AVR, but WILL provide Mch output, to for instance the Marantz 7.1 line inputs. (This is still correct, right?)

But it does seem that ~$1000 for the Okto would be a far better investment than several hundred dollars on a used Oppo.

Thanks again.

That would be the Oppo UDP-203, not the BDP-103. The BDP series has no RAAT capability.


FYI, trying to play native DSD through an AVR is a fool’s errand if you have a subwoofer, use bass management, employ digital room correction, etc. You will end up with a PCM or A/D conversion somewhere in the signal path. Moreover, an AVR receiving a native DSD signal is absolutely no indication that it is maintaining a native DSD signal. For all of the aforementioned reasons.


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@WiWavelength —Thanks for these cautions. My understanding was that if the input to the AVR Is in the form of analog input (as it would be with the output from a USB DAC or Oppo) then the DSP functions of the AVR won’t apply. Is that not correct? (For the Marantz analog line inputs I’m pretty sure all DSP options get turned off.)

Which brings up a couple of questions for me, that I’ve wondered about vaguely.

First, do those listening to Mch native DSD using non-AVR hardware eschew all DSP as well as room correction on the entire hardware chain?

And second, is there any DSP in Roon that can be done on a DSD file without triggering PCM conversion? I’ve read posts on these threads that suggest both yes and no.

Thanks for any thoughts.

That all depends. Some devices re-digitize analogue inputs, especially if there is a Dirac module involved in the output. You need to research your device carefully to make sure it is doing what you think it is doing.

Yes. Go to the DSP setting and Enable Native DSD Processing. I just turned it on and was able to apply Various DSP options without a PCM conversion step. Turn it on and test the DSP options for yourself. Be aware, it will increase the needed computing power.

Sure, you are right, but this doesn’t change the fact, that there isn’t an option for getting native DSD through HDMI from a PC with ROON.

I guess everything has been said by know. Just for completeness, I feed my Oppo103 via HDMI from a Roon Windows Pc. MCh PCM works. The beauty of an Oppo is, that it will convert all your Ac3 or otherwise encoded stuff into plain PCM for HDMI as a start for a modular MCh system. The Okto sadly takes no HDMI.
A MCh sound comparison of an Oppo 103, 105 and Okto might be interesting.

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As others have mentioned, you cannot output DSD from PC on-board HDMI.

I think for most user setups of AVR, this is not correct. I think one brand of AVR has an Analog Direct function that does this. As for the more common ones having Pure Direct, I have some doubts that it bypasses the ADC.

Thank you to @Rugby and @wklie for clarifying this. Since yesterday I’ve been looking more into this, and I now gather that AVRs are rather black-boxish, with uncertainty about what processing is actually happening. I wasn’t aware of this – thanks! Presumably a solely music-oriented audio hardware chain offers greater control and clarity as to processing.

Interesting! I don’t see this option and I’m pretty sure I never have – presumably that’s because I don’t and have never had an output that Roon identifies as DSD-capable…

Now there’s one remaining part that I am still (even more) confused about. I’m having trouble reconciling:


with this:

Can someone clarify this for me? (Not trying to pit people against each other – just trying to understand) – TIA!

That is correct. Roon hides options which are not relevant to your hardware. Personally, I would rather prefer that all options appear all the time, even if they are no use to me, and be greyed out. That way, I would know they exist if I am planning a hardware change.

@Rugby – thanks for the clarification.

I think it is because the other commentators are thinking about AVRs and prepros as output targets.

@mitr – Ah, that makes sense, thanks!

So if I’m understanding this, Roon will see the Oppo as the DSD-capable output, and then I just take the analog output from the Oppo and play it through the AVR analog in (subject to caveats about whether the AVR actually leaves that analog output alone or not) – is that right?

Thanks again for the help –

Yup. (Plus padding characters)

@mitr Thanks again, much appreciated!