Question External new DAC or not

Jan 20, 2024
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Hello after many years of ditching my high end era which consisted of a NAD 1300 pre amp with 2 Rotel RB850 and 2x Rotel RB870 mono blocks and B&W Loudspeaker I went to the dark side of burning dvd/cd’s and donkey surround. But I had a set which I got from an uncle, last November. Which consisted of a Rega P3 with Ortofoon Quintet Black S and fully serviced. A Musical Fidelity MC preamp and a Marantz PM17KI and CD17 KI. All connected with van den Hull D 102 interlinks. And bought new QAcoustic 3020i and 3060s with van den Hull Clearwater speaker cable. I have some many to spent and am wondering if a new external DAC would be an improvement for the CD17KI as the DAC technology is back from 1999. The set sounds amazing and I love playing records and cds. So would a new DAC make a big difference and which DAC would be a good thought? And I am thinking of 700 euros Max
 

Kutusov

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Sep 13, 2021
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Hello after many years of ditching my high end era which consisted of a NAD 1300 pre amp with 2 Rotel RB850 and 2x Rotel RB870 mono blocks and B&W Loudspeaker I went to the dark side of burning dvd/cd’s and donkey surround. But I had a set which I got from an uncle, last November. Which consisted of a Rega P3 with Ortofoon Quintet Black S and fully serviced. A Musical Fidelity MC preamp and a Marantz PM17KI and CD17 KI. All connected with van den Hull D 102 interlinks. And bought new QAcoustic 3020i and 3060s with van den Hull Clearwater speaker cable. I have some many to spent and am wondering if a new external DAC would be an improvement for the CD17KI as the DAC technology is back from 1999. The set sounds amazing and I love playing records and cds. So would a new DAC make a big difference and which DAC would be a good thought? And I am thinking of 700 euros Max
In my experience, upgrading my DAC was the most radical improvement a single component made in my system. But that was from going from a 150€ DAC to a 1000€ one. More money might not always mean better but most gear doesn't cost what it costs out of nothing.

You'll have people of the opinion that DACs make little to no difference, others' like me that can't even conceive how one reaches that idea. But in your case, if it already sounds amazing, let it be. Anything can be even better but that's how you get the hifi bug and end up listening to the gear and not the music ;)
 
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Holden Caulfield

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Jan 2, 2023
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Hello after many years of ditching my high end era which consisted of a NAD 1300 pre amp with 2 Rotel RB850 and 2x Rotel RB870 mono blocks and B&W Loudspeaker I went to the dark side of burning dvd/cd’s and donkey surround. But I had a set which I got from an uncle, last November. Which consisted of a Rega P3 with Ortofoon Quintet Black S and fully serviced. A Musical Fidelity MC preamp and a Marantz PM17KI and CD17 KI. All connected with van den Hull D 102 interlinks. And bought new QAcoustic 3020i and 3060s with van den Hull Clearwater speaker cable. I have some many to spent and am wondering if a new external DAC would be an improvement for the CD17KI as the DAC technology is back from 1999. The set sounds amazing and I love playing records and cds. So would a new DAC make a big difference and which DAC would be a good thought? And I am thinking of 700 euros Max
Get the Geshelli J2. Best DAC under $1000. It's only $250. And you probably wouldn't notice much of difference if you got a more expensive one. The J2 does a great job with the drums. I had a 15 year old Musical Fidelity V-DAC and it was crap. The sound was 2.5 times better when I replaced it with the J2. I threw the V-DAC in the trash, that's how much better the J2 was.
 

Crams76

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Dec 10, 2023
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Hello after many years of ditching my high end era which consisted of a NAD 1300 pre amp with 2 Rotel RB850 and 2x Rotel RB870 mono blocks and B&W Loudspeaker I went to the dark side of burning dvd/cd’s and donkey surround. But I had a set which I got from an uncle, last November. Which consisted of a Rega P3 with Ortofoon Quintet Black S and fully serviced. A Musical Fidelity MC preamp and a Marantz PM17KI and CD17 KI. All connected with van den Hull D 102 interlinks. And bought new QAcoustic 3020i and 3060s with van den Hull Clearwater speaker cable. I have some many to spent and am wondering if a new external DAC would be an improvement for the CD17KI as the DAC technology is back from 1999. The set sounds amazing and I love playing records and cds. So would a new DAC make a big difference and which DAC would be a good thought? And I am thinking of 700 euros Max
I had a Cambridge audio dac magic 100, a Cambridge Audio CXN V2 (with internal DAC) and an Arcam SA20 amplifier with (internal DAC). Streaming via Tidal. Honestly I struggle to hear any noticeable difference between them. Maybe I have a bad ear. KEF Q750 speakers.
 
Jan 20, 2024
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Tx for all replies. I won’t invest in a dac than. But i thought that 20 years would do something. Especially as there are new DACs each month and the current ones have replaceable boards. But it shows that it is snake oil I guess
 

Gray

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Tx for all replies. I won’t invest in a dac than. But i thought that 20 years would do something. Especially as there are new DACs each month and the current ones have replaceable boards. But it shows that it is snake oil I guess
Not as much snake oil as some things - but you might have made a wise choice.

Even as a non- gambler, I'd happily bet money that you would hear a difference with an external DAC, but probably nothing like as much as you'd want.

I've got a Marantz CD6000KI from 2002.
Sound is unquestionably sharpened with my external DAC - not everybody would regard the difference as an improvement though.

In your position I would have to give the S.M.S.L. SU1 DAC a try.
Based on my experiments (with other DACs), my guess is that you will notice more of a difference between it and the CD17KI sound, than between it and any DAC up to 700 Euros (or maybe higher).
 

twinkletoes

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Nov 16, 2021
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Tx for all replies. I won’t invest in a dac than. But i thought that 20 years would do something. Especially as there are new DACs each month and the current ones have replaceable boards. But it shows that it is snake oil I guess
Most dacs are still using chips from 20 years ago. Some are using designs from 40 years back believing they sound the best.

Nearly all of the differences between dacs comes from the output stage that’s what you’re spending your money on.

Your cd player will have been designed from the ground up with that dac chip in mind, they would have tuned out any problem areas within the chip with other components within the device.

I’d buy a DAC purely on the feature set that you may need eg hooking up a computer/tv. If you wish to spend do so with the view the differences are very small.

Very much marginal gains.
 
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record_spot

Well-known member
Hello after many years of ditching my high end era which consisted of a NAD 1300 pre amp with 2 Rotel RB850 and 2x Rotel RB870 mono blocks and B&W Loudspeaker I went to the dark side of burning dvd/cd’s and donkey surround. But I had a set which I got from an uncle, last November. Which consisted of a Rega P3 with Ortofoon Quintet Black S and fully serviced. A Musical Fidelity MC preamp and a Marantz PM17KI and CD17 KI. All connected with van den Hull D 102 interlinks. And bought new QAcoustic 3020i and 3060s with van den Hull Clearwater speaker cable. I have some many to spent and am wondering if a new external DAC would be an improvement for the CD17KI as the DAC technology is back from 1999. The set sounds amazing and I love playing records and cds. So would a new DAC make a big difference and which DAC would be a good thought? And I am thinking of 700 euros Max
I use a Cambridge Audio DACMagic 200M which dates within the last few years, my CD player dates from 1988. The difference between the DACs in both is, in terms of playback, minimal. By all means get one, but make sure you have the means to return during a trial period. The Marantz gear though will be tough to better.
 
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