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Best £30 I ever spent (on hifi at least)...

Leeps

New member
Dec 10, 2012
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The backstory...

Some time ago I was getting discontented with my Cambridge Azur CD/amp & Ruark Epilogue combo. Sounded excellent with most music, but I'd heard good surround systems for movies, so took the plunge into 5.1 (as per signature). I sold the trusty Azur amp & gave my Ruarks to a friend (so I still get to see them every now & then..yes sad but true).

However, having got everything set up, I loved the results from Bluray, Internet Radio & Spotify via Airplay, but was a little disappointed with CD. I'd assumed that the CD's DAC would be better than my AV amp's DAC, so used an RCA connection to let my CD do the conversion. However, when buying CD's of albums that I'd heard on Spotify, although I could hear more detail, the treble was a bit shouty (not an issue on any other sources) and PRAT (pace, rhythm and timing) wasn't as good as my old stereo system, which was its primary strength. And once you have a system that does PRAT well, anything else just won't do...to my taste anyway.

I was beginning to consider new CD players, or even a separate stereo system, but I thought I'd just try an optical cable from the CD to AV amp and see what happens. Visited my local Richers (a very convenient but often costly 5 minute walk from my house). My jaw has been on the floor for the last couple of hours playing all my favourite CD's again!! The PRAT has returned, the music is alive, more organised. Each instrument stands out more distinctly & the harshness in the treble has gone. It's still got bite, but I'm no longer reaching for the remote to turn the volume down.

So my conclusion is that the DAC in my AV receiver is better than my CD's DAC...much, much better. The £30 for the cable was money well spent indeed.

My respect for my AV receiver continues to increase. It's a superb all-rounder with all the bells, whistles & gizmos, but a jolly well sorted sound, and now I've got the CD source singing to its full potential, it's honestly better at 2-channel than my old stereo combo. Sorry to sound so gushy but I'm well chuffed...partly at the musical results, but also at the money this little cable has potentially saved me!
 
T

the record spot

Guest
See, the naysayers out there would say that AV amps can't hold a candle to some stone age stereo integrated...chuh, what do they know? Heh.
 
B

BIGBERNARDBRESSLAW

Guest
the record spot said:
See, the naysayers out there would say that AV amps can't hold a candle to some stone age stereo integrated...chuh, what do they know? Heh.
I had a good stereo amp, and replaced it with an av receiver. I have to say, I'm hearing more detail than I ever had in recordings, though that could be to do with the better speakers and turntable.

Still, it sounds good to me, and though the purist won't like this, I listen to all my music on 9 channel stereo now. :p
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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18,795
I glad to hear you're happy with the sound of your system now. :bounce:

But £30 for an optical cable? You were ripped of mate. All optical cables sound identical and you only need to pay around £5-10 for a good quality one.
 
B

BIGBERNARDBRESSLAW

Guest
steve_1979 said:
I glad to hear you're happy with the sound of your system now. :bounce:

But £30 for an optical cable? You were ripped of mate. All optical cables sound identical and you only need to pay around £5-10 for a good quality one.
And so begins another cable debate.

I agree with you though, all of my optical cables were under a fiver, and sound great.
 

Leeps

New member
Dec 10, 2012
219
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steve_1979 said:
I glad to hear you're happy with the sound of your system now. :bounce:

But £30 for an optical cable? You were ripped of mate. All optical cables sound identical and you only need to pay around £5-10 for a good quality one.
You're likely quite right, but it was a tad cheaper than the £500 Cyrus CD player that I was considering!
 

cheeseboy

New member
Jul 17, 2012
246
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Leeps said:
PRAT (pace, rhythm and timing) wasn't as good as my old stereo system, which was its primary strength. And once you have a system that does PRAT well, anything else just won't do...to my taste anyway.
a big :dance: for getting the best out of your system, but just for future reference, none of what you call PRAT will ever change unless you have access to the studio masters or play about with a pitch shifter ala dj's.... Stereos cannot change those charactaristics....
 

namefail

New member
Jul 31, 2013
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cheeseboy said:
Leeps said:
PRAT (pace, rhythm and timing) wasn't as good as my old stereo system, which was its primary strength. And once you have a system that does PRAT well, anything else just won't do...to my taste anyway.
a big :dance: for getting the best out of your system, but just for future reference, none of what you call PRAT will ever change unless you have access to the studio masters or play about with a pitch shifter ala dj's.... Stereos cannot change those charactaristics....
I (and I may be wrong) don’t think Leeps was referring to a type of quantization effect, more an impression of tautness to the presentation. Although I can easily affect the pace of LP playback , But I’ll take that secret to my grave. Anyhoos as we all know pitch is not part of prat, but I could be getting there myself.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
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Leeps said:
The £30 for the cable was money well spent indeed.
:O

What with you and the other chap spending £11 on a few loose-ends to link the terminals together on the back of his speakers, I need a sit down.
 

namefail

New member
Jul 31, 2013
10
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0
Just be careful you don't sit on your fortune, unless you can claim it improves the sound.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
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They do say the tastiest cigarettes are those lit by a $100 bill. So as I don't smoke, after I've made my millions I'll use it to pad a nice comfy chair. I'm sure that'll improve my HiFi no-end.
 

Thompsonuxb

New member
Feb 19, 2012
129
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I have been harping on about the ability of my own ancient reciever since joining this forum. Was tempted to change it actually spending 700pounds on a stereo amp only to realise my mistake and going back to the reciever. Mine is the Yamaha DSP ax-620 (think it was about 500punds new got it for a penny under 400) and its driving a pair of Mission 782se again ancient speakers to great affect to this day.

I actually believe the dacs on some of these recievers will rival many even outperform some of the stand alone dacs being touted these days - and yes, quality of cables especially optical do make a difference. One thing I would suggest you try is to take a leg of your phono leads and try the digital coax in on your amp from the digital out on your CDP. Its a possibility your reciever may have more to give..... I know you've spent 30quid on the optical cable but try it.

do please tell us if you notice a difference better or worse.

I myself prefer the copper to the optical - on my amp the sound has more body.
 

HDNumpty

New member
Jan 17, 2008
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There's no reason why an (originally) £800 AV shouldn't match or outperform a £250 stereo amp! inputs can be very variable and depend on the components used on the inside - in this case it's likely that Pioneer spent time on the digital inputs and just put regular components in for the analogue inputs.

i had a similar experience recently doing some A/B testing between my Denon BD player, Stream Magic and CA 740c CD player. I would've expected that bypassing the DAC in the Denon blu-ray would have produced superior results but it sounded AWFUL - I can only imagine because the coaxial output I used is right next to the HDMI and you can't turn it off...the Denon sounds much better on Pure Direct through its analogue outs...

It always pays to experiment! Glad you're happy with your results!
 

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