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Is it worth buying a separate DAC

jochem123

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Aug 10, 2014
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Hello,
I'm wondering if buying a DAC will improve my system.
My setup is the following:
AV Amp: Arcam avr450 (with B&W 804S speakers Bi Amped and a sub) i am currently not using surround.
Cd player: Nad C545bee (connected analog to AVR450 so i am using the Dac in the cd player)
Digital audio player: Pioneer N50 (with a Synology Nas) also connected analog.
I prefer the sound of the dacs in the pioneer and Nad over the Arcam Avr 450.
Qed Revelation speaker cable.
Qed performance audo interconnects.
If i wanted to buy a Dac which one is adviced in my system? Or is it better to buy a new CD player or Digital audio player.
Thanks in advance,

Jochem
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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What is it that you feel is wrong with your system?

Faffing about with digital sources is a fools errand. You have what seems like a competent system and I would imagine that you would have to make a significant financial investment to make noticeable improvements. Certainly if you are going to spend more, then I wouldn't recommend it spent on the sources.

Before spending any money though, try listening to your speakers moved to slightly different positions and maybe see if your room has any glaring accoustic problems.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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I probably wouldn't bother, unless you are prepared to go for something like the Chord Hugo....but always demo, in order to see if the outlay is worth it. Also, as OD says, you also have to judge whether the money would be better spent on a 2 channel Amp (which could be integrated into your AV system through the Pre-Outs of the Arcam.
 

luckylion100

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Nov 6, 2011
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a Synology Nas and the Pioneer N-50 and have wondered exactly the same. I use my Marantz CD6000KI as transport fed into the N-50. To be honest I'm very happy with the result but have wondered can it get much better? Just a curiosity really, not a planned upgrade path yet, speakers first!
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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CnoEvil said:
I probably wouldn't bother, unless you are prepared to go for something like the Chord Hugo.
and how does one flat frequency response sound different to another?

The Chord Hugo is just the latest 'darling' of the moment in the hifi world, solving non existant problems.

If the Hugo is indeed wowing some, notably Naim enthusiasts, then I'd have to question the worth of the Naim DACs. Modern DACs are transparent and any difference between products can only be viewed as a bad thing in my opinion.

The cost of the Hugo buys a lot of music.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2011
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Cno and Lukylion IMO, have gave you half answer each...

Do you have an ipad, iphone, android mobile phone or some ithing...?

If yes, why not rip all the remaining CDs into your NAS, sell the NAD and the N50 and buy a new DAC, like the Hugo for exemple?

The Audio app do almost the same as the N50, and you have no need for redundancy in your system...
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Overdose said:
and how does one flat frequency response sound different to another?
....in order to find out, you need to try one.

It's not just Naim owners. Shanka is also suitably impressed, as well as others that I can't remember off hand. Also look at the votes it's getting on the "readers vote" thread.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

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Apr 20, 2011
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Overdose said:
CnoEvil said:
I probably wouldn't bother, unless you are prepared to go for something like the Chord Hugo.
and how does one flat frequency response sound different to another?

The Chord Hugo is just the latest 'darling' of the moment in the hifi world, solving non existant problems.

If the Hugo is indeed wowing some, notably Naim enthusiasts, then I'd have to question the worth of the Naim DACs. Modern DACs are transparent and any difference between products can only be viewed as a bad thing in my opinion.

The cost of the Hugo buys a lot of music.
And why do CD players sound different? It's all digital, isn't it?
 

ifor

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Dec 3, 2002
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Hi-FiOutlaw said:
And why do CD players sound different? It's all digital, isn't it?
I was going to ask that! It's particularly relevant since the OP has two DACs that he prefers to the third.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

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Apr 20, 2011
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ifor said:
Hi-FiOutlaw said:
And why do CD players sound different? It's all digital, isn't it?
I was going to ask that! It's particularly relevant since the OP has two DACs that he prefers to the third.
Thats why i've suggest the OP to gather all his digital contend in one place and get only one GOOD DAC.

Nowardays there are multiple hypotheses of doing things, no right or rong, just simpler, with more boxes or as preferred...
 

ISAC69

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Mar 13, 2012
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jochem123 said:
Hello,I'm wondering if buying a DAC will improve my system.My setup is the following:AV Amp: Arcam avr450 (with B&W 804S speakers Bi Amped and a sub) i am currently not using surround.Cd player: Nad C545bee (connected analog to AVR450 so i am using the Dac in the cd player)Digital audio player: Pioneer N50 (with a Synology Nas) also connected analog.I prefer the sound of the dacs in the pioneer and Nad over the Arcam Avr 450.Qed Revelation speaker cable.Qed performance audo interconnects.If i wanted to buy a Dac which one is adviced in my system? Or is it better to buy a new CD player or Digital audio player.Thanks in advance, Jochem
The NAD CDP and the Pioneer N50 have decent inner DAC , To add a seperate DAC is a waste of money for this

specific system .
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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Hi-FiOutlaw said:
And why do CD players sound different? It's all digital, isn't it?
Match the output levels and listen blind, then the differences disappear or are reduced the the point of barely noticeable.

Far better to focus on more tangible areas of improvement.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2011
236
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18,790
Overdose said:
Hi-FiOutlaw said:
And why do CD players sound different? It's all digital, isn't it?
Match the output levels and listen blind, then the differences disappear or are reduced the the point of barely noticeable.

Far better to focus on more tangible areas of improvement.
Sorry but they aren't, i've participated in two blind demos, one to demo amps, and other to demo DACs and all (the 6 persons in the room heard the differences) even when the host did a trick, he said that had connected another DAC and we where listening to the last one.
 

Rethep

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May 2, 2011
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In general i don't think it will give you any better sound. The DA conversion always takes place in a chip. Even the 'simple' (and cheap) ones of them are very good. What rests is the output stage of the Dac which they can make as expensive/complicated as they like. The same for the housing, with or without golden buttons and knobs. The latter (and the price) makes you psychologically think, it sounds better.

The subtle differences you will hear, are not always better sound, just different i.m.o., which they sell to you as better.
 

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