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 Post subject: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2023, 02:31 
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I see a lot of talk about on here and from what I read/understand that I need a demodulator for the LD player to utilize AC-3. I have 3 A/V receivers. Yamaha RX-V375, Sony Bravia DAV-HDX500, and Technics SA-DX930(Late 90's). The Technics specifically talks about AC-3. Would none of these be able to fully utilize the AC-3 from the Laserdisc player. Now the one I have doesn't have a ac-3 output but I might be acquiring one in the future that does and I thought I would ask the question. Sorry, big time novice.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3(Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2023, 10:15 
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Hi, welcome to the forum :thumbup:

Non of the units that you mention have a built in AC3 demodulator for DD unfortunately, even when onboard demodulators were a thing they were usually only available on the higher end of the range AVRs. The only way is to add a standalone model to go between your LD players AC3 RF out & AV amps digital (toslink or coaxial) input.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2023, 03:37 
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=> https://www.lddb.com/help/ac3rf/

You fall in "case 3" where an external demodulator is required.

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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 09 Oct 2023, 05:46 
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Thanks for your answers. I don't think it's worth all the extra effort to get one of these external demodulator's especially considering the cost.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 02:04 
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I was going to recommend getting a sound processor with the AC3-RF input and optical digital output as a cheaper alternative but it appears people have finally caught on and now they are just as expensive as external demodulators.

However, the next alternative is to find an older AV Receiver that has the AC3-RF in and optical output that you can use in the same way. I know most wouldn’t want to do it this way as having another humongous AV Receiver next to your current one is just a waste of space.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 02:14 
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acehanlon wrote:
Thanks for your answers. I don't think it's worth all the extra effort to get one of these external demodulator's especially considering the cost.



AC-3 is good for a couple of things.

- If you have a ton of AC-3 encoded titles and you enjoy watching them on Laserdiscs.
- Seeing the AC-3 signal 'locked' led turn ON is satisfying to some.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 02:16 
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ldfan wrote:
I was going to recommend getting a sound processor with the AC3-RF input and optical digital output as a cheaper alternative but it appears people have finally caught on and now they are just as expensive as external demodulators.

However, the next alternative is to find an older AV Receiver that has the AC3-RF in and optical output that you can use in the same way. I know most wouldn’t want to do it this way as having another humongous AV Receiver next to your current one is just a waste of space.



It was nice while it lasted :) It took them a decade or two to catch on though.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 04:00 
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ldfan wrote:
I was going to recommend getting a sound processor with the AC3-RF input and optical digital output as a cheaper alternative but it appears people have finally caught on and now they are just as expensive as external demodulators.

However, the next alternative is to find an older AV Receiver that has the AC3-RF in and optical output that you can use in the same way. I know most wouldn’t want to do it this way as having another humongous AV Receiver next to your current one is just a waste of space.


Do you have any recommended ones?

While I do like getting all the goodies from laserdisc I'm realistic. I have DVD, Blu Ray, and 4k so it only goes so far as to how much I'll spend on an older media source that has since been surpassed.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 05:18 
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You can check out this list here….

https://www.lddb.com/hardware/part/ac3rf/

…… and look under “AV Receiver”.

You’ll have do a separate search on each model to see which one’s come with an optical and/or coaxial digital output (some don’t come with any digital outputs so you would be stuck using the AV Receiver as is with your speakers plugged into it).

For “Processors” that have an optical output, the models to search for are…..

Sony, SDP-E800
Sony, SDP-EP9ES
Denon, AVD-2000

Keep a search for these on eBay and every so often you might see one listed for a good price.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 07:04 
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I was just going to mention the Sony SDP-E800, I see that ldfan did so already. That is what I bought in the late 1990s when the stand-alone demodulators were already gone/expensive. A couple of them have sold on Ebay recently at very low prices (but who knows if their AC-3 function worked properly).

Mine cost something like US$80 closeout at the local Sears store, and it worked well with a Pioneer VSX-D1S receiver to make a nice Dolby Digital setup for several years. I forgot if I ever had more than a couple of AC-3 discs, though.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2023, 20:55 
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There wasn't any SDP-E800's for sale. Last one was sold in Sept. I did find this though:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/386114965419

Says AC-3 right on it so that seems like another avenue I could go.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2023, 04:53 
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The Technics does not have an AC3-RF input so it would not work for LD.

This unit was one of the first processors that dropped the RF input. They followed up later w/ the SH-AC500 maybe two years later that added DTS decoding but still no RF input for AC3 on LD. I don’t think we saw too many of these outboard processors after that as more AV Receivers were becoming the norm for having on board decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 08:08 
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Jeez, I guess I'll forget about the whole ordeal then. Just very irritating, the whole thing overall, at how many other systems you need to hook up to this to get the "full" benefit. And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 09:03 
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It's supply vs. demand dynamics.

AC-3 came out too late towards the end of relatively decent LD sales which happened to be too early before home theater equipment sales decently increased. So the LD sales were in stagnation if not decreasing while very few people (early adaptors) were buying AC-3 or DTS capable AV amps (typically the very expensive flagship models only). Hence very few RF demodulators were manufactured.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 11:34 
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acehanlon wrote:
Jeez, I guess I'll forget about the whole ordeal then. Just very irritating, the whole thing overall, at how many other systems you need to hook up to this to get the "full" benefit. And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.


Great. Now go buy a supercharged Mustang and complain about the price of fuel and tires.

If you don’t like wasting lots of money on complex obsolete antiques then…why do you have an LD player?

You don’t need “many other systems”. If you have a home theater you need a demod. If you don’t have a home theater you have zero use for a demod.

It’s an expensive waste of money on old junk, yes, but it’s not complicated. It’s having a home theater at all that’s complicated. If you can currently use a 5.1 system (a real 5.1 system, no headphones or soundbars) then 5.1 from LD is just converting one single cable into one other single cable with a small box. If you don’t currently have a 5.1 system then a demod is just a dumb box and you are free. You don’t have to waste time getting on the AC-3 hype train that many of us have already gotten off from when we realized it wasn’t so great.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 12:07 
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acehanlon wrote:
And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.

I suppose though they wouldn't be asking those prices if people weren't likely to pay them.

But LaserDisc was ever an expensive hobby.

When I think back to the prices I paid back in the 1990s - I had a Sony MDP-850D (£700), had to buy an AC-3 mod for it (about £40 I think), and had a Pioneer SP-D07 with RF input (£400, in a sale!). And one AC-3 disc (Star Trek First Contact, £30).

(to convert £ to $, add a bit! Very scientific). In real terms given 30 years of inflation, those prices would be much higher now.

But nowadays with some judicious eBay shopping, you might get the same items for £200, £30, £100, £5 (just a random guess!)
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 15:20 
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acehanlon wrote:
Jeez, I guess I'll forget about the whole ordeal then. Just very irritating, the whole thing overall, at how many other systems you need to hook up to this to get the "full" benefit. And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.


Well don't destroy your player when you sell it and ship it packed poorly.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 17:29 
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rein-o wrote:
acehanlon wrote:
Jeez, I guess I'll forget about the whole ordeal then. Just very irritating, the whole thing overall, at how many other systems you need to hook up to this to get the "full" benefit. And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.


Well don't destroy your player when you sell it and ship it packed poorly.


You’re cribbing my schtick, son. Step off.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2023, 22:07 
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acehanlon wrote:
Jeez, I guess I'll forget about the whole ordeal then. Just very irritating, the whole thing overall, at how many other systems you need to hook up to this to get the "full" benefit. And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.


Funny how it seems everyone new to the hobby has these high expectations and no patience when they want something. Key words I tell everyone, "be patient". Based on what I said in my 2nd post, I thought I painted a picture of doing just that but maybe I wasn't clear enough (so my bad).

Anyway, let's talk about this again. It can take months or even a year to track down the processors that I have mentioned especially if you want to get it @ a good price. Even in the last year searching on ebay, craigslist and used AV shops, I have seen them come up and disappear just as fast. Depending on the seller, many don't even know the value of the item so there is your chance to get it for a good price.

If you go the AV Receiver route, I still see a lot more variety in used AV stores and the prices are very reasonable.

Just do your homework, keep your expectations in check, and you never know what you might find.
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 Post subject: Re: Curious question about AC-3 (Dolby Digital)
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2023, 06:17 
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signofzeta wrote:
acehanlon wrote:
Jeez, I guess I'll forget about the whole ordeal then. Just very irritating, the whole thing overall, at how many other systems you need to hook up to this to get the "full" benefit. And also the people on ebay that want insane prices for older tech that's older than me....rant over.


Great. Now go buy a supercharged Mustang and complain about the price of fuel and tires.

If you don’t like wasting lots of money on complex obsolete antiques then…why do you have an LD player?

You don’t need “many other systems”. If you have a home theater you need a demod. If you don’t have a home theater you have zero use for a demod.

It’s an expensive waste of money on old junk, yes, but it’s not complicated. It’s having a home theater at all that’s complicated. If you can currently use a 5.1 system (a real 5.1 system, no headphones or soundbars) then 5.1 from LD is just converting one single cable into one other single cable with a small box. If you don’t currently have a 5.1 system then a demod is just a dumb box and you are free. You don’t have to waste time getting on the AC-3 hype train that many of us have already gotten off from when we realized it wasn’t so great.


No need to be condescending. I have no issue with "wasting" my money on obsolete antiques. I "waste" it all the time on cassettes, 8 tracks, CED's, and even VHS. I love vintage media. My point is with all of those other media items I listed I never needed some super specific item to get the best out of them. I have a home theater, that was my whole point about inquiring about getting the best from LD's. I find it neat and pushing the older piece of media to it's limits is very interesting. You must realize that I'm very new to this whole LD thing and I was not aware that the AC3 thing is not worth pursuing.


Last edited by acehanlon on 19 Oct 2023, 06:22, edited 1 time in total.
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