Problems connecting to Marantz SR6011

I am using a mid 2011 Mac Mini and Roon core as a music server to various rooms in my house. In the living room, it is directly connected via HDMI to my Marantz SR6011. The data storage unit is a Drobo 5D. The systems in other rooms are working fine via Roonbridge using ethernet connections.

I connected the Mac Mini to the Marantz a couple of months ago and it worked reasonably well, although it would not play my DSD files even though the Marantz is supposed to decode DSD 2.8 MHz via the HDMI input, but I did not concern myself about it at the time.

Most of my musics files are ALAC in an MP4 wrapper varying from 16/44.1 up to 24/192 and I was mostly concerned about playing these in the living room. My den’s DAC has no problem playing those DSD files from a Sonore microRendu.

Yesterday, after playing a playlist of only ALAC files, including 24/192 files, in the living room for some 30 minutes, the music stopped. After investigation I found that Roon considered that the Marantz was limited playing up to 24/96, I also found that MacOS System Preferences also considered that the Marantz was limited to 24/96. This is not right, the Marantz can decode up to 24/192 via the HDMI input and has been doing so for several weeks without problem.

So, my question is - does anybody know why the sudden change yesterday? Closing and restarting Roon made no difference, also restarting the Mac Mini, similarly switching off and on the Marantz. The whole system in that room has stopped recognizing the Marantz as capable of playing 24/192 ALAC files via HDMI.

Regarding DSD, yes, HDMI 1.2 does support native DSD64. But MacOS does not support any native DSD output, though it can be “fooled” into allowing DSD output via the DoP format. The problem is that your Marantz almost certainly does not support DoP on HDMi, if even DoP at all. And that is why your current setup likely is incapable of DSD.

AJ

AJ, thank you, however, the inability to play DSD in this room does not worry me much, I can DSD’s in my den without difficulty. But, I do need to be able to play ALAC files up to 24/192 in the living room. It has worked for several weeks and I want to find why it has now stopped working.

GH

Hi @Graham_Hicks ---- Thank you for the report and sharing your feedback with us, both are very appreciated!

Moving forward, I agree with the information shared in Andrew’s post however while I am not terrible familiar with the SR6011 (:innocent:) I did take a few minutes to read through their user manual and came across a section regarding “playback”. Can you verify for me what the unit is currently set to, as it seems that “Direct” or “Pure Direct” playback are the options you will want.

-Eric

Eric, no, “Direct” or “Pure Direct” will not help Graham in this regard. In A/V components, those are internal processing modes that may disable front panel display, video signal output, digital audio processing, etc. But the modes should have no bearing on the HDMI, USB, or Ethernet input audio format support.

Graham, as I think about this further, a possible cause for the loss of 192 kHz sample rate support could be a change in the HDMI video handshake between the Mac mini and the Marantz. Per my recollection, HDMI requires HD video (≧720p) pixel clock rates in order to support highest res audio (≧176.4 kHz or DSD), since the audio is transferred in the vertical blanking interval of the video signal. An SD video handshake places some limits (≦96 kHz) on supported audio sample rates. You or something external, such as a Marantz firmware update or a TV downstream, may have reduced the HDMI handshake to SD video format.

One more comment, Graham, keep in mind that running high res audio to an AVR often can be a fool’s errand. That an AVR will accept high res audio does not mean that it will maintain high res audio all the way through D/A conversion. Many AVRs, for example, immediately decimate DSD to PCM. And most AVRs downsample high res PCM to standard CD/DVD sample rates (≦48 kHz) once any digital audio processing is enabled. For the most seamless signal path through the Marantz, configuring Roon to sample rate convert all high res audio to 48 kHz for that zone would not be a bad idea.

AJ

Eric,

The Marantz is set to “Pure Direct” mode.

Andrew,

I think the handshaking may be the source of the problem. I noticed that the AVR was not in exactly the usual place on the hifi shelves, my maid had cleaned around and had moved it. I got around behind the shelves and pushed the HDMI connector firmly back into the socket.

Now playback is back to what it was before.

Although the Marantz user manual claims that it can play 24/192 files via the USB connection, it is possible that they are downsampled. Consequently, I have ordered a DAC to go between the Mac Mini and the Marantz so that the AVR simply receives analog input.

GH