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Is it worth buying a DAC?

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  • Is it worth buying a DAC?

    Just finish building the Finalist speakers (very impressed) to pair with a used Krell amp. My CD's are played through my CD/DVD player sounds pretty good. I was thinking of buying a DAC and saving my CD's to a hard drive and play back through the DAC to the amp. Can I expect to hear much sound improvement by using the digital files and the as compared to the sound output from the CD/DVD player( not an expensive player)?

  • #2
    Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

    You're not likely to hear any improvement in sq unless the dac in your cd player is of poor quality.
    If the cd dac is poor then ripping cd's to file could buy some improvement.

    You will gain some convenience having all your music in one central library. And if your choice of components is good you won't lose any sq.

    Were you thinking of connecting a dac to a computer and playing that way?
    If so look for a dac with variable line out to control volume.
    ~99%
    Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery
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    • #3
      Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

      I think, Ideally, You should hear no difference. That's a good thing. On recommendation, I use this..........
      http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UCA2...s=beherger+dac
      " To me, the soundstage presentation is more about phase and distortion and less about size. However, when you talk about bass extension, there's no replacement for displacement". Tyger23. 4.2015

      Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
      Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

      http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
      http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

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      • #4
        Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

        Originally posted by bobbarkto View Post
        You're not likely to hear any improvement in sq unless the dac in your cd player is of poor quality.
        If the cd dac is poor then ripping cd's to file could buy some improvement.

        You will gain some convenience having all your music in one central library. And if your choice of components is good you won't lose any sq.

        Were you thinking of connecting a dac to a computer and playing that way?
        If so look for a dac with variable line out to control volume.
        Another consideration is that most AVR's today process in the digital domain. If you're taking a CD signal, converting to analog, and then inputting into the AVR, it's going to convert back to digital in order to apply things like EQ, and then back to analog.

        My opinion, but you can avoid some signal conversion by keeping the signal all digital until just before the power amplifiers. Meridian does this. You can, too.

        If you're using some good analog vintage gear, then yes, by all means, a quality DAC may be a nice upgrade.

        Regards,

        Rob

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        • #5
          Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

          I have to disagree. I have owned several very nice cd players. I purchased a good DAC and the difference is easily heard. Sound from the bottom up the has improved. The top end was the most noticeable improvement.
          craigk

          " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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          • #6
            Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

            Originally posted by craigk View Post
            I have to disagree. I have owned several very nice cd players. I purchased a good DAC and the difference is easily heard. Sound from the bottom up the has improved. The top end was the most noticeable improvement.
            Craig, do you use the
            DAC strictly for music that is stored on a PC or other digital storage devices?

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            • #7
              Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

              Originally posted by Squidspeak View Post
              Craig, do you use the
              DAC strictly for music that is stored on a PC or other digital storage devices?

              for my reference system is still use a good old cd. the DAC is Spectral SDR-2000 Pro.
              craigk

              " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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              • #8
                Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                I've used a DAC for two years for my audio stereo set-up. I have a EmotivaPro Stealth DC-1 DAC which is essentially a digital preamplifier. Digital inputs to the DC-1 come from my DVD/CD player, my Blu-Ray player, and my Toshiba laptop that I use for internet streaming. Depending on the application, I choose between several different power amps. My favorite amp is the Topping TP60. The Emotiva DAC comes with a killer remote control so I can select between the various input sources and control the in-room volume. The resultant sound is very good.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                  Originally posted by craigk View Post
                  I have to disagree. I have owned several very nice cd players. I purchased a good DAC and the difference is easily heard. Sound from the bottom up the has improved. The top end was the most noticeable improvement.
                  I agree completely. The key is in buying a good DAC.

                  When buying an inexpensive DAC there probably isn't much difference between it and the built in DAC in an inexpensive CDP.

                  I've owned 4 different outboard DACs and each one sounds different. Here's what I have in order of sound quality: 1) Schiit Bifrost with uber upgrade, 2) Emotiva XDA-2 DAC/Preamp, 3) Musical Fidelity V-DAC II and a 4) Fiio D3. The V-DAC II quit working and the Fiio D3 is in my garage system. I LOVE the features on the Emotiva XDA-2, but the Bifrost still sounds better to my ears.
                  1: Sony DVP-S7000 | Denon DVD-2900 | Laptop > Parasound Zdac > Denon AVR-5700 > Focal 826V | Def Tech BP2000 | (2) DIY 15" Subs powered by Crown XLS2500
                  2: Computer > Schiit ‹bered Bifrost > Emotiva RCA Control Freak > Crown XLS 1500 > Focal 706V | Def Tech SM450 | Velodyne F-1000B Sub

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                    Originally posted by doctormorbius View Post
                    I agree completely. The key is in buying a good DAC.

                    When buying an inexpensive DAC there probably isn't much difference between it and the built in DAC in an inexpensive CDP.

                    I've owned 4 different outboard DACs and each one sounds different. Here's what I have in order of sound quality: 1) Schiit Bifrost with uber upgrade, 2) Emotiva XDA-2 DAC/Preamp, 3) Musical Fidelity V-DAC II and a 4) Fiio D3. The V-DAC II quit working and the Fiio D3 is in my garage system. I LOVE the features on the Emotiva XDA-2, but the Bifrost still sounds better to my ears.
                    That makes things even more confusing. I thought the whole point of using a upgraded external DAC was to get perfect timing without jitter. If they are all good and doing what they where designed to do, then why would they all sound different?

                    What are they doing to the source to create a distinct sound?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                      Analog and power supply sections can both have an influence.
                      "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

                      http://www.diy-ny.com/

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                      • #12
                        Is it worth buying a DAC?

                        although Speakers will have the most influence, having a good source will make your system alot more enjoyable.

                        typical good DAC will have sophisticated and discrete PSU and analog output.

                        This is my favorite AudioGD Master 7

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                          everything contributes to the sound, from the diode rectifiers, caps, and as mentioned above the power supply, voltage regulators, the analogue output stage. the list goes on. when you add all the little, and not so little things up, you can get a pretty nasty signal. better DAC designs can eliminate some problems, and improve on the others. it all goes back to audio being a give and take venue. I "wasted" more money playing the latest greatest game for several years than I like to think about. what it comes down to is finding the compromise in quality and fidelity that you can be happy with. I am pretty much satisfied right now, or at least there is nothing I have listened to that makes me want to change anything in my system. my suggestion is to read everything you can, and go listen to some good DACs. there are some DACs out there that for the money are pretty amazing. you can get some very nice DACs for under 750.00 and several that I think would make just about anyone happy for under 1000.00.
                          craigk

                          " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                            wow so expensive... I just got a topping VX1. Is that considered a "Good" DAC?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is it worth buying a DAC?

                              my thought on good, if you like it, it is good. by todays standards expensive in the DAC world starts around the 7500.oo range I think.
                              craigk

                              " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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