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Optical or RCA confused about internal DACs

Neontrifle

Member
Sep 28, 2020
2
0
20
Hi thanks for letting me join the group. I’m in the process of buying my first bits of kit in 40 years. With a limited budget and a preference for CD I’m getting an Audiolab 6000a and a cheap Denon DCD600ne. Is it best to connect them via optical or RCA? I’m not quite clear on internal DACs, does an optical cable allow bypassing of the CD DAC and use the amps and is that best. As funds allow I’ll consider better things such as a good dac and streaming lossless but for now what’s the best way with what I’m getting...
 

Al ears

Moderator
Yes, it can be a bit confusing when everything comes with a DAC and you only need one....
Connection via RCA means you are using the DAC in that particular device, in your case the Denon, output via optical means signal is still in digital domain and will use the DAC in the amp.
Not sure which is best in your case but you can experiment.
I think it might be better to use the ESS dac in the amp but that's just my opinion.
Better still buy an amp that doesn't have a DAC . :)
 
Last edited:

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
Hi.
The Denon has only optical output, so this would be the connection method if you wanted to use the Audiolab DAC.

Choose the DAC that sounds best for you, either the Denon which has AL32 processing which you may prefer, or the DAC in the Audiolab.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

Neontrifle

Member
Sep 28, 2020
2
0
20
Better still buy an amp that doesn't have a DAC . :)
Thanks, I have opted for the Audiolab because I think I can use it as a power amp ( optical in), as a Pre amp ( Pre out) or as an intergrated amp so I can take it in any direction in the future, I’m hoping my understanding is correct. It’s not been ordered yet but I’m hoping I’ve made the right upgrade. I have a 37 year old creek 4040 that still works and sounds great but little else to go with it apart from some Q acoustics 3020i, I figure it paid me back the £100 I paid for it new. At least when ordering online I have the option to send back if not happy under the distance selling rules.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Excellent amp that Creek. I can see your thinking with the Audiolab it's just that buying an integrated to perhaps use as a preamp isn't very economical, likewise paying for two DACs.
 

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