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Standalone DAC necessary?

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20 minutes ago, jimjimbo said:

Yep, I'm all about throwing money at things I know nothing about, and then bragging....yep, that's me.  Has nothing to do with years of in-home, listening experience, nope, not at all.

Yeah, why have Mac when you can have Crown and run everything from a PC...

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Tri-amping aside, I would read the rest of my post (like the bottom 3/4 of it) that talks about how poorly consumer grade gear is designed, and provides a verifiable example on the Marantz AV8801 and 8802.

 

The article I quoted explains why AVR's are technically inferior to higher end pro grade DACs (such as Benchmark's DAC2), although I agree it is pretty technical and most aren't going to read and study it.

 

Yes, on my sensitive speakers and setup, even before tri-amping, a DAC made a noticeable difference (cause I bypassed the XMC-1 processor entirely when I tried it). 

 

However, as you state, once you put consumer grade inferior audio circuits in the chain, of course it will affect S/N ratio, so you would be right if one just inputs into an AVR from a DAC (the article also talks about this with an Oppo 105 example).  I didn't read "standalone DAC" the way you did in the OP, I hope plugging on into the Denon is not their plan.

 

One does need to look at the entire signal chain and the room too.  No doubt my goals are different from the OP and I have spared no middle class expense getting there.  I still standby that AVR's absolutely cannot get me there (or anyone wanting world class fidelity), trust me I tried several, and even expensive processors like the XMC-1 and AV8801.  All the consumer gear is just marketing hype.

 

My system sounds many times better now using 100% pro gear.  I also don't care what boutique consumer brands people try, because the combination I am using is better overall (as you said it lets me tri-amp with FIR filters which is a huge benefit).  The Xilica XD4080 is as good as the best boutique brands if you just use it as a 8 channel DAC and feed it AES while keeping the passive crossovers in your speakers, let alone comparing it to D&M receivers. 

 

You sincerely do have to hear it to believe it though, so I don't blame you for your skepticism if implied; good quality to have.

 

1 hour ago, pbphoto said:

etc6849:  I'm sure your system sounds awesome but I submit it isn't because of the DAC - it's because of all the other high-end digital processing going on prior to the stream hitting the DAC.  The OP asked if adding a standalone DAC in front of an AVR, and then piping the analog sound directly back into that same AVR, would make a difference.  I still think the answer is 'probably not.'

 

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:pwk_bs:

Edited by dwilawyer
To delete expletive , easier to remove entire post than to try and edit out the profanity.
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On 10/14/2017 at 5:44 PM, Ski Bum said:

Post deleted to remove expletive.

I beg your pardon?  Oh, and, thanks for making me look good.

 

Yep, candidate for post of the day, if not the year, for sure.

Edited by dwilawyer
To delete expletive from the quote that poster was responding too.

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On 10/14/2017 at 6:52 PM, jimjimbo said:

 

On 10/14/2017 at 5:44 PM, Ski Bum said:

Deleted to remove expletive. 

 

Yep, perfect.

Edited by dwilawyer

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On 10/14/2017 at 5:44 PM, Ski Bum said:

Deleted to remove expletive. 

I find it really interesting that a significant majority of others that have contributed to this thread (without the profane name calling) have been of the opinion that an outboard DAC would likely be an improvement, and could be something to try, yet we are all trying to spend this person's money, according to you, without merit.....Sorry you've had a bad day.

Edited by dwilawyer

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Dang, an outboard DAC works, and in most cases are an improvement. OP can decide after getting a bargain DAC with the connections wanted and can go from there, if thinking that a more costly DAC is worth the improvement. Thought this case was a closed cold case. Enjoy! :emotion-21:

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On 10/14/2017 at 5:44 PM, Ski Bum said:

Deleted to remove expletive. 

 

Oh my - That's a low blow ----

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On 10/14/2017 at 5:44 PM, Ski Bum said:

 [expletive deleted by moderator].

I sure am glad that the forum is back up tonight, so that we can call each other a [expletive deleted]  and whatever else the forum software doesn't catch, nor, apparently do the mods....

 

Totally uncalled for, no less a pathetic response to non-confrontational content in the thread.  Thanks a bunch Ski Bum.

 

@Mallette @dtel @dtel's wife @dwilawyer  @CECAA850

Edited by dwilawyer

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No the mods do not catch everything. Unfortunately we all have this thing called life that demands our attention every now and then. 

 

That being said this type of language is not acceptable, ever under any conditions. 

 

In the future PM me or another mod immediately when something like this happens. 

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On 10/11/2017 at 9:53 PM, Schu said:

As worded... a stand alone DAC is not "Necessary"... but once you get a good one, an integrated just won't do.

I'm just borrowing your quote for an on-topic response, Schu.

 

I have had experience with some expensive outboard DAC's and find that about 70% of them use the ESS Sabre DAC Chipset. This includes the top end Oppo Blue Ray players.

 

I have found that a used or New Old Stock, or "refurb" Yamaha CX-A5000 units the be the "Best Bang for the Buck." I like it so much I bought TWO!!

 

It has a very good room EQ, XLR connectors, a PHONO input for MM cartridge, and more Feature than you will ever use. It also has YPAO room correction which is excellent.

 

for $800 (used) to $1,200 New In Box on Ebay, it is, by far the best bang for the buck that I have found, bar none. We are talking about an original price of $3,000, which is still less than many "Audiophile" DACs out there that are severely limited in options and features, along with NO measurable or audible improvement over the Yamaha, IMHO.

 

Your mileage may vary depending on your hearing loss or whether you read too many copies of Stereophile BS.

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6 minutes ago, dtel's wife said:

No the mods do not catch everything. Unfortunately we all have this thing called life that demands our attention every now and then. 

Shocking.

  • Haha 1

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On 10/12/2017 at 5:38 PM, Schu said:

Just save up and get a "Ladder" day with no chipset(s). If you do get an ess  chipset dac,  get one with multiple chips and separate channels.

See my last post on the Yamaha.

 

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13 minutes ago, dtel's wife said:

No the mods do not catch everything. Unfortunately we all have this thing called life that demands our attention every now and then.

Yes, I was at church tonight and just am now getting home and sitting down to my computer when I saw the warning that was given.  Definitely uncalled for.

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On 10/14/2017 at 5:18 PM, etc6849 said:

The article I quoted explains why AVR's are technically inferior to higher end pro grade DACs (such as Benchmark's DAC2), although I agree it is pretty technical and most aren't going to read and study it.

Some people can hear the difference and some can't. Maybe it's not the whole DAC, but the Analog Section which may have a different bandwitdth and source impedance.

 

My biggest pet peeve of outboard DAC marketing jargon is the "clock jitter" BS. All of it is 120 db below any signal level, at higher frequencies than most 30 year olds can hear, (or tweeter can produce for that matter) and it's in PICO Seconds, which can't be measured by standard Lab Instruments. No apologies forthcoming for the rant.

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I am not understand the phrase that "clock jitter occurs 120db below any signal level"... jitter is variance in timing.

 

I do agree that much of the "quality" issues occurs outside of the chipset... which is shy I didn't run to get the new ess pro chipset.  But there are audible enhancements when you being to take into account the output stage, timing issues and separation of channels.

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11 hours ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

Some people can hear the difference and some can't. Maybe it's not the whole DAC, but the Analog Section which may have a different bandwitdth and source impedance.

 

My biggest pet peeve of outboard DAC marketing jargon is the "clock jitter" BS. All of it is 120 db below any signal level, at higher frequencies than most 30 year olds can hear, (or tweeter can produce for that matter) and it's in PICO Seconds, which can't be measured by standard Lab Instruments. No apologies forthcoming for the rant.

Think possibly doppler effect, sync problems that may introduce noise, and variances in timbre.  Each device has the ability to recreate / approximate for missing and data timing.  Will that be correct?

Yes, I believe you are correct though, the largest issues will be born from the analog sections.  That's why many chips, like ESS build in a fair amount of the analog into the chips.  Stops vendors from messing up a good thing if they choose to use the onboard electronics.  If not, they can make the analog section better or worse.

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2 hours ago, pzannucci said:

Think possibly doppler effect, sync problems that may introduce noise, and variances in timbre.  Each device has the ability to recreate / approximate for missing and data timing.  Will that be correct?

Yes, I believe you are correct though, the largest issues will be born from the analog sections.  That's why many chips, like ESS build in a fair amount of the analog into the chips.  Stops vendors from messing up a good thing if they choose to use the onboard electronics.  If not, they can make the analog section better or worse.

Doppler effect would not occur in electronics, but in a woofer section that crosses too high and is not high passed. Noise/sync. issues you mention are still below 120 db in 32-bit systems (assuming that a rock solid power supply is used). Even the best recordings contain, at most, a 30 db crest factor, which is more challenging to power amplifiers and speakers and NOT electronics.

 

As to your "for better for worse" comment, it underscores my original point perfectly.

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Thanks again to all that have provided their positive opinions here for me (or just the general question). Varying answers depending upon how my thread title and post was interpreted, so I should have been a bit more clear on that I suppose. I ultimately was looking at my specific, current scenario of utilizing the Denon avr with PC audio via HDMI. Based on all the comments, I would conclude that with my current set up, a standalone DAC is not necessary nor would likely add any discernible benefits. Hopefully this thread will be helpful to others.

 

I am plagued with champagne tastes with a craft beer budget, so I'm not chasing the "ultimate" experience as ETC could likely provide. Currently just listening to 2.1 (La Scalas) on the Denon but ultimately looking to get towards a decent 5.1 setup that I could enjoy. I might gravitate towards @ClaudeJ1 's recommendation down the road as I like the jack of all trades option that's fairly budget friendly.

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