Imaging problem, or lack thereof...any ideas

Not sure what/where the problem is, so I'm not really too sure where to post this, but here goes. I'm using a PS3 to send HDMI to my onkyo 805 receiver, which is playing the music in "direct" mode and sending the pre out to a musical fidelity A5 integrated amp (HT bypass input on A5). When I play music this way I get a great image, but of course I'm using the preamp section of the onkyo receiver so it's lacking a lot of power when compared with the A5's preamp section, especially in the lower freqs.

When I send optical out of the PS3 (2 ch 44.1 khz) to my musical fidelity A3 24 DAC and then to an input on the A5 integrated, I totally lose any image. All sound is put out of both speakers simultaneously and all sound is localized at the center. Overall the sound is much better/open/powerful coming from the preamp section of the A5, but I just can't go without an image...

I also have the same problem when sending 2ch analog out of the PS3. No distinction in the 2 channels.

I don't know if it's the player (doesn't seem like it should be, because it separates the 2 channels when playing out HDMI), or the MF A5 integrated (which also doesn't seem like it should be because it's distinguishing channels fine when received through the HT Bypass input from the receiver). Anybody ever have this problem? If so, how did you solve it?

After typing all that it seems like this might be a little confusing :D
With all those connections going on, have you somehow mixed the right and lefts up somewhere perhaps?

if not.... Sounds like something is inverting the phase. Which ever way you are losing imaging, do that but then before playing music, transpose the speaker leads, putting the neg onto the pos and vice versa. Start at low volume, and move it on up and see if things remain the same or the issue disappears.

I've ran my 805 into two differnt amps SS & tubed, with none of these 'loss of imaging' issues.

Lastly, perhaps making a change in the 805s speaker setup section to 2 main speakers only, might have an effect, especially if other speakers are attached to the 805 during this event. I'm not sure about this last part, but it's only a couple clicks away from finding out.

Past all that I'm at a loss too... and a bit curious as well.

Good luck.
After a few reading of your post, it seems the problems stem from the play station gizmo... perhaps using the digital links the play station is outputting multi ch info into a 2 ch signal path.

Can the video game thingy be configured to down mix to 2 ch only, regardless the outputs beinng used? If I read this rightly, it may ccme down to having to use the HDMI out to the 805, and analog out to the int... and setting the PS3 to multi or 2ch, when needed.

I'm thinking you're right, but I don't understand why it would be happening. Yeah, you can choose the format of the audio you have going out digitally from the PS3. And it works fine in HDMI, but sounds like a single channel in either optical (which I choose 2ch @ 44.1 khz) or analog (which is obviously 2ch).

Yeah, there's just no way I could live with going through the 805's preamp section when I have such better sound quality going through the A5 integrated. I have to figure something out, even it means getting a new player.

Problem is, I don't know if it's the player or the A5 mixing the 2ch into 1ch. I've been thinking about it all day and I think I know what I'm going to try when I get home. I'm going to take the optical and analog out of the PS3 and run that to the 805 and see if I have the same problem. If I do have the same problem, I know that it's the player sending out 2 identical channels. If I don't have the same problem, well I'll be really confused then. I'll have to bust out an old player from the garage and try that one.

Any other suggestions to try?
Other than re-checking the configs & connections, only this... go to Best Buy and get a new one... see if it does the same thing or not, then take it back.... or as you said, you might get another one to replace it, just keep the new one.

That ought to settle it then and there as to who's the real culprit. The PS3 OR the DAC.

having other similar items on hand for situations like this is a great thing for finding out what's up with the devices in one's rig..

Good Luck
I'm not sure what I have to say has any relevance, but I run a coax signal from my cd player into first a Genesis Digital Time Lens, then to my Musical Fidelity A3/24 dac, then to a Sonic Euphoria PLC. I run a separate two-channel system with my multi-channel system. Two channel amp and afore-mentioned PLC, with pre-pro and multi-channel amps for surround. Sonic Euphoria has HT bypass as well for integration. Time Lens, dac, uni-player, and two-channel amp highly modded by the way.

Point being, my digtal front end never disappoints. I am of the opinion that coax is a better option than Toslink for transferring digital signals. This is just my opinion, I don't claim to be an expert, but my digital is very satisfying.

I don't know if this is in any way helpful, but there was a time when things didn't sound so good, but this has optimized both stereo and multi-channel for me. FWIW

Regards, Dan
Jim, I checked all the connections, and everything is set up correctly.

Dan, I'm not saying the sound isn't good. I mean, the sound is excellent. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the speakers (Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Sig System towers) It's only the lack of image that I get due to the identical sound being put out on both channels simultaneously. Now I will ask: since you're using the same DAC, do you have a good separation of channels, definite image, and soundstage? ie. bass guitar left stage, singer center stage, keyboard right stage, etc. etc.? Because from my testing it seems that the DAC is mixing 2ch input into a single channel and outputting on both left and right.

So I think I got this figured out after some testing and swaptronics. I think my musicaly isn't separating the 2ch's. I tried running my optical connection, in 2ch format, from the Playstation 3 to the 805. I got perfect separation of channels. I also hooked up my xbox 360 using optical 2ch format to the 805 and also got good separation of the channels. Using both the PS3 and xbox 360 2ch optical out to go through the musical fidelity DAC, I lost any separation of channels and only have an identical signal on both channels. So unless for some reason the A5 integrated pre stage mixes the left and right inputs on all but the HT bypass input--then it has to be the DAC that is mixing the 2ch signal into a mono signal and sending it out on both left and right channels.
Joe, I really don't think it's your dac. In my system, imaging is amazing. Speakers seem to disappear. Can you try running a coax digital signal from your digital source to the dac? I'm not at all familiar with the PS3, but I think an HDMI feed is more appropriate for home theater than for two channel music, but then, I may be living in the past. Let me know what you find out, ok?

Thanks, and good luck,
Does the DAC have a ch selection for making both 2 ch (stereo) output the same? Like the Lavry DA10 had a switch on it which allowed you to output the right ch to both speakers, or the left to both speakers, or combine to mono a stereo signal. I forget why they said that feature was in place and never used it... except to see if it worked. It did.

The Lavry had a dedicated sw. for this purpose... maybe the MF DAC has it included under a multi function button...?? or is the default unless changed.

BTW... for what it's worth, via my HDMI cables in stereo config, the sound is very good indeed, until I step way up in ic price tags. I do mean way up too. Just my experience.
The PS3 doesn't have a coax out and neither does the xbox 360. I think I have an old dvd player that has coax out somewhere. I'll try to find it and see what happens. The thing about that is that I'm getting good separation of channels through the optical cables from both the PS3 and the xbox 360, but only when going through the onkyo 805 receiver...meaning that the 805's DAC and preamp section are being used.

it's justa a parralel port and won't change it at all, just passes it on. maybe going to Wally world and getting one of their $8 optical links and connecting from there to the to the MF DAC could help... it sure wouldn't seem as though it would but stranger things have happend.

Least ways, so far you know who is and isn't playing well with others.

Lastly, following the holiday weekend, making a call to MF distributor or a MF dealership will enlighten the situation more.

Be well.
I had the same problem when using the PS3 as a source. I find its image weak at best, tilted on top and weak bass performance.
I couldn't find any switch like that anywhere on the DAC Jim. There are only two switches on the assembly; the upsampling 96/172khz switch and the on/off switch. You had me hoping though. I'll also try sending the digital out of the receiver...yeah it doesn't seem like that would have any effect on the signal, but who knows--I'll try anything. I'm a Radio Detection and Ranging systems tech, and I've come across a lot "fix actions" over the years that didn't seem to make sense to me electronically, but worked nonetheless.

Kool39, yeah the PS3 probably isn't the best sounding or imaging source out there, but I know for a fact that it is sending out two separate channels of audio because I can hear them when listening through the 805's DAC and pre, and then through the HT bypass on my 2ch integrated MF A5. And when using the PS3 optical out directly to the MF A3 24 DAC to the MF A5--I think the bass is greatly improved, mostly due to the DAC. Although it doesn't sound very "live" due to the mono/imageless output.

So it has to be either the DAC or the pre section in the MF A5 integrated that is mixing the 2 channels and I think I figured out a way to discern which. I'm going to send the analog out of the MF DAC to the receiver and from receiver to the HT bypass on the MF A5. If I don't get a proper image I'll know for sure that the DAC is the problem, because I know that the receiver when in "direct" mode will send exactly what it is getting on the the HT bypass which will only amplify what it's being fed. I know this because as I said before, when sending digital out of the PS3 through the receiver's dac and pre section I get a proper image. If I do get a proper image, I'll know that the DAC is, in fact, sending out to separate ch's and the pre section of the MF A5 is somehow mixing the ch's in it's preamplification.

We'll see what happens, but it looks like either way I'm gonna have to buy something :/
Well the MF A5 integrated (preamplifier stage) seems to be the problem. Using the PS3 optical out to the MF DAC to the one of the receiver's analog line level inputs and then out to the HT bypass input on the A5, I was able to hear two distinct channels. But when I took the analog out of the DAC directly into any one of the MF A5's inputs, I lost the two separate channels. I tried swapping the speaker inputs just in case either the amp or speakers' ground and hot leads were mismarked--with no effect. Went through the manual for the A5 and it talks about imaging in there a few times, so I'm thinking this isn't normal for these amps, especially since it's not like this is a bottom of the barrel integrated or anything. Just for good measure I hooked up my Onix SP8 tube integrated amp up and did not have the same problem.

I'll try contacting MF, but I'm going to start looking for a new 2ch integrated...or possibly separates with the pre having a HT bypass.
Congrats on fidning the apparent problem. Perhaps there is some simple fix for it. Talking to MF ought to say so or not. Sorry that facet isn't working for you too.

Good luck in the hunt for another int. SET & a good int are the two things I've yet to try. As long as the int has preouts, and main ins, I'd not mind it I don't think. Of course I'd want a tube preamp stage and likely an SS main amp. BAT comes to mind.
Yeah, you might be right about the simple fix. There must be a setting or something that can change it, because I'm sure that they all can't be like this. I would pop the top on it and see if there are any dip switch settings or anything like that and just visually inspect the components, however, that would void the warranty.

I've never used separates myself and I'd rather not just because I already have a six shelf rack and it's completely full. I'm thinking about going the PS Audio way--variable gain control amplifiers.
RE Racks
I've got two. w/amp stands for the Dodds, and in need of a couple more shelves... or a head shrinker. Yikes.

Mine would have to be remote controled. All my gear is in a separate room from me and the speakers.