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best place for the dac - cd player or amplifier ?

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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one for the technical people this. where is it best to have the dac if using a cd only based system ? a traditional cd player, with the dac built in, which sends the signal down an analogue cable to the amplifier, or, a cd transport that sends the signal down a digital cable to the amplifier with an inbuilt dac ? surely one set up must be better, technically, than the other ?
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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In theory, transmitting digital to a point nearer the amp is desirable, hence a few brands like Cambridge and Audiolab offer transports and amps with DACs.
But putting DACs inside the same box as large transformers for power duties isn’t a great idea, so overall, for most of us, the DAC inside the player is probably the best bet.
 

TomC

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Jan 10, 2017
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Although I am not a technician, logic tells me that it is best to keep digital things in one place and analog things in another. Especially since every CD must have a DAC if it has analog outputs. An analog amplifier with a DAC is a compromise. Maybe this is no longer the case with D-Class amplifiers, ie the DAC is in a natural, digital environment.
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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I suspect the percentage of price that goes to the DAC in a CD is probably greater than in an amp, though have nothing to back that up. If I am right though, that suggests a budget-comparable CD and amp would have the former's DAC likely to outperform the latter's.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Right, for 2 channel statement products, their stablemate has Digital Audio Input (DAI) only on its players (e.g. SA-10, SA-Ruby), but Denon themselves celebrates 110th Anniversary with DAI solely on its integrated amp. Go figure.
i must admit i'm struggling to understand aswell !
 
Last edited:

plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
988
172
570
Right, for 2 channel statement products, their stablemate has Digital Audio Input (DAI) only on its players (e.g. SA-10, SA-Ruby), but Denon themselves celebrates 110th Anniversary with DAI solely on its integrated amp. Go figure.
ok so which do you think is better technically ?

cd transport - digital cable - amplifier with dac ?

cd player - analogue cable - amplifier without dac ?
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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Of etymology, "technically" stems from the word technique. Yet, ultimately, what matters is the result.

I believe, as Hi-Fi consumers, it won't be good to become fixated on best-practice, rejecting deviating…

Let's name and compare (price point specific) products/systems rather than the-intangible-ideal.

Is your mind actually set on buying something to change your CD playback?

Since the other keyword from your questioning being cables, sometime soon, I'll share how Karl-Heinz Fink found a new "reference" interconnect—the difference that made.

ok so which do you think is better technically ?

cd transport - digital cable - amplifier with dac ?

cd player - analogue cable - amplifier without dac ?
 

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