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Thread: DACs

  1. #1
    Senior Member tjm001's Avatar
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    DACs

    Iíve got some old stuff driving my L300 clones. Itís all Rotel brand equipment circa 1995. (CD player, pre-amp and amp). What I am wondering about is if that old Rotel RCC-940AX CD player would sound significantly better if the digital output was fed into a more modern DAC? And if so could it be done without spending fortune? Any suggestions, ideas? Thanks.

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    Senior Member christo's Avatar
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    Iíve just recently gotten into streaming FLAC files from my computer to a DAC then directly to the amplifiers. The CD player and pre-amplifier have been eliminated from the play back chain. Iím stunned at how much better the sound is. It is somehow a much more intimate sound and I feel you are much closer to the music.

    FLAC -> JRiver - > Lynx Hilo -> Marchand XM9 -> Amplifier -> Speaker

    The sensation of being closer to the music I believe comes from the better micro-nuances that are now present. The speakers that Iím using are a DIY 4344 with a TAD 2002 so quasi-vintage. I found this to be the second-best improvement in the sound with these speakers after the TAD 2002.

    I doubt Iíll ever use a CD and/or pre-amplifier again.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christo View Post
    Iíve just recently gotten into streaming FLAC files from my computer to a DAC then directly to the amplifiers. The CD player and pre-amplifier have been eliminated from the play back chain. Iím stunned at how much better the sound is. It is somehow a much more intimate sound and I feel you are much closer to the music.

    FLAC -> JRiver - > Lynx Hilo -> Marchand XM9 -> Amplifier -> Speaker

    The sensation of being closer to the music I believe comes from the better micro-nuances that are now present. The speakers that Iím using are a DIY 4344 with a TAD 2002 so quasi-vintage. I found this to be the second-best improvement in the sound with these speakers after the TAD 2002.

    I doubt Iíll ever use a CD and/or pre-amplifier again.
    You obviously have a sophisticated ear and fine equipment. Makes me curious to know what pre-amp and CD player you eliminated that were choking your system's performance.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm001 View Post
    .....What I am wondering about is if that old Rotel RCC-940AX CD player would sound significantly better if the digital output was fed into a more modern DAC? And if so could it be done without spending fortune? Any suggestions, ideas? Thanks.
    Like all things audio, that depends. What's a reasonable amount to spend, and what's a significant improvement?

    Most modern dacs, even fairly inexpensive ones sound fine. Balanced, good timbre, etc. Something simple like this portable dac (https://ifi-audio.com/products/micro-idsd-bl/) combined with a quality s/pdif cable (https://www.omegamikro.com/clearview...al-ribbon.html) would likely give a noticable improvement especially if you used it's volume control and eliminated your preamp and one set of interconnects. However, I've not heard a dac under $5k (MSRP, not used) make a huge improvement to a digital system. The realism, texture, and body that draws you into the music, that costs some money. Others may disagree, of course.

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    Senior Member christo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    You obviously have a sophisticated ear and fine equipment. Makes me curious to know what pre-amp and CD player you eliminated that were choking your system's performance.
    The pre-amp is a KRELL EVO 202 with a KRELL 525 CD Player, the amps I'm using are KRELL EVO 600s & a 302. Its been about three months without the pre-amp and I have not felt the need to reinsert it.

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    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christo View Post
    I’ve just recently gotten into streaming FLAC files from my computer to a DAC then directly to the amplifiers. The CD player and pre-amplifier have been eliminated from the play back chain. I’m stunned at how much better the sound is. It is somehow a much more intimate sound and I feel you are much closer to the music.

    FLAC -> JRiver - > Lynx Hilo -> Marchand XM9 -> Amplifier -> Speaker

    The sensation of being closer to the music I believe comes from the better micro-nuances that are now present. The speakers that I’m using are a DIY 4344 with a TAD 2002 so quasi-vintage. I found this to be the second-best improvement in the sound with these speakers after the TAD 2002.

    I doubt I’ll ever use a CD and/or pre-amplifier again.
    I don’t think it’s placebo.

    A more direct signal path with an accurate loudspeaker and an accurate source will reveal improved transparency.

    Think of it as a improved real ness to the sound.

    This should never amount to a thinner, more glared presentation. That is often blamed on the Sabre DAC. In my experience setting the Lpads correctly is the main influencer of tonal balance and should be done with an accurate test set or analyer.

    In a plain vanilla system users hearing perception of a lack detail sometimes implies turning up the horn or slot levels but in fact it’s the lack of clarity from the signal chain. When a more transparent signal path is used with the same level settings it can sound bright. This triggers equivalent swapping for the right balance. I hope that makes sense

    On the other hand audiophiles can sometimes prefer a slight amount of distortion which can make the loudspeaker seem more forgiving. Ultimately it’s a matter of taste.

    If you view hifi reviewer John Darko’s YouTube channel he discusses a new active loudspeaker in context of your observations.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G_f5H7S2ZJo

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    Senior Member christo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    If you view hifi reviewer John Darkoís YouTube channel he discusses a new active loudspeaker in context of your observations.

    [URL
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G_f5H7S2ZJo[/URL]
    Ian, thanks for the link.

    Very interesting approach to a sound system, I would have to agree with the presenter at 20K it would be hard to beat, assuming it lives up to its description which I donít doubt it does.

    I believe this is the future of audio and in 5 years this technology will be cheaper and better sounding! Iím sold on the digital aspect of audio itís why I picked up a Lynx Hilo Iím starting down the road of building digital XOs.

    Chris

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    I inserted these super cheap DAC's in both my PC to stream to good speaker system and into older Denon AVR HT output.

    https://www.amazon.com/D03K-Digital-...gateway&sr=8-2

    FiiO D3 (D03K) Digital to Analog Audio Converter - 192kHz/24bit Optical and Coaxial DAC

    made a big difference.

    A while back I picked up an Arcam CD deck , had the best DAC I've ever hear.

    https://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/251/
    ďIf you think thatís the dumbest thing youíve ever heard,
    just wait a couple minutes!Ē

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    Senior Member tjm001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    I inserted these super cheap DAC's in both my PC to stream to good speaker system and into older Denon AVR HT output.

    https://www.amazon.com/D03K-Digital-...gateway&sr=8-2

    FiiO D3 (D03K) Digital to Analog Audio Converter - 192kHz/24bit Optical and Coaxial DAC

    made a big difference.

    A while back I picked up an Arcam CD deck , had the best DAC I've ever hear.

    https://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/251/
    That's the kind of idea I was toying with when I wrote the original post. Thanks! It kinda cracked me up thinking of my $50 used and 20 year old Rotel CD changer compared to Christo's $10,000 KRELL 525 CD Player

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