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Which DAC to buy

JAF

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
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I have just purchased an OLED TV. I used my HiFi for sound on my previous TV but the new one only has digital output. So my query is on which DAC to purchase.
My CD player is an Arcam FMJ CD23. Would a DAC benefit here or should I just focus on the TV?
Thanks
 
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JAF

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
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As I wasn't expecting to have to do this I am feeling the ground. If I need to spend £500 (or more) I would hope to be able to get some improvement in my CD player. Don't want a sound bar asd I have a nice Hi Fi to produce sound
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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Would I be right to assume your new TV does not have a SCART socket?
(The 21 pin connector that every TV used to have).

It's headphone output may be an option for you.
 
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millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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As I wasn't expecting to have to do this I am feeling the ground. If I need to spend £500 (or more) I would hope to be able to get some improvement in my CD player. Don't want a sound bar asd I have a nice Hi Fi to produce sound

Really outboard DACs are for a different breed of listener, connecting laptops and streaming devices CD transports. But yes a Dac "can" improve the sound of a CD player drastically in some cases but as always it depends. And these can be had for as little as 50 quid to sky's the limit.and you can of cause connect your TV

If you're thinking of spending 500-1500 on a DAC better option is a new amp with digital connectivity such as Arcam sr250 or something from Marantz or Cambridge's staple of products pick your poison and price point these are just examples.

So a standalone DAC might not be what you need at all in fact it arguably isn't as you want to connect your TV.

Other options are streamers as some have DACs built-in with optical inputs Cambridge and pioneer do some fab devices for around 500 quid and your killing 2 bird with one stone

Pure DACs with optical connections though

topping
ifi
chord
audiolab

im sure some will eb along with options

again pick your price point and brand.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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I have just purchased an OLED TV. I used my HiFi for sound on my previous TV but the new one only has digital output. So my query is on which DAC to purchase.
My CD player is an Arcam FMJ CD23. Would a DAC benefit here or should I just focus on the TV?
Thanks
Just focus on the TV. This is why: The Arcam CD23 has the DCS Ring Dac, which is one of the best Dacs around. Very sought after and only fitted to a few Arcam models, incl. CD92 and a couple from the Alpha range.
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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If you are just looking to get better sound by sending TV to hifi, a relatively straightforward DAC should do the job - I wouldn't be trying to better what you're getting from the CD unless you are prepared to spend a reasonable sum. The ring DAC was good, but sounds a little soft and rolled off in comparison with something more modern - I had a CD23t until a year or so ago.

iFi does some good things, but you are limited if you are needing an optical or coaxial input to connect the TV to. Here's what RS offers, and I believe the cheapest is supposed to be pretty good:

 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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It's headphone output may be an option for you.
That is far and away the most cost effective. A 3.5mm to RCA adaptor for a £1, Add on a pair of RCA leads that you'll have lying around the house and job done. I would try this first anyway, before spending £500 on a DAC.

Next option, get a bluetooth transmitter from Eligiant for less than £30. That will take the bluetooth output from the TV and connect via adaptor and RCA to the amp.

What amp do you have anyway?
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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You can get a good small DAC for TV duty that’s as cheap as chips. I was in your situation, and initially wanted to do this for my mother, but the thought of all those extra cables etc soon became unappealing to me. I thus sold my then 11 year old Arcam Solo Mini - tearfully and heartbreakingly I might add, and bought a Denon all-in-one streaming system for her which had optical inputs.

JAF, describe your amplification?
 

JAF

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
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Late reply folks. Just been watching the fantastic tour de France on my new TV. Utter joy.
I have a Plinius 8200 which I just use as a pre-amp at present. Power is by Plinius SA 102. B&W 804 speakers. Old set up but sings from a whisper to a scream on any type of music.
 

Simon 13th note

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Jul 27, 2020
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Just focus on the TV. This is why: The Arcam CD23 has the DCS Ring Dac, which is one of the best Dacs around. Very sought after and only fitted to a few Arcam models, incl. CD92 and a couple from the Alpha range.
i agree it’s a wise move but with the caveat that the dCS ring dac is an evolving tech not just one dac, and DACs change quickly.
 

MrBee

Member
Sep 19, 2020
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That is far and away the most cost effective. A 3.5mm to RCA adaptor for a £1, Add on a pair of RCA leads that you'll have lying around the house and job done. I would try this first anyway, before spending £500 on a DAC.

Next option, get a bluetooth transmitter from Eligiant for less than £30. That will take the bluetooth output from the TV and connect via adaptor and RCA to the amp.

What amp do you have anyway?
Anyone hear ever heared of using a Hifiberry - DAC?
Hifiberry

If your clever enough!
Studio sound quality upgrade for peanuts!
 

Simon 13th note

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Anyone hear ever heared of using a Hifiberry - DAC?
Hifiberry

If your clever enough!
Studio sound quality upgrade for peanuts!
Definitely not studio quality. that looks like it could be the worse piece of **** dac you can get. Sorry - say it how I think it is. Lol 😀 a Pi which Is noisier then Brian blessed into a dac that looks cheap. If you want a better one, spend a bit more and get an Allo is my advice.
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
Late reply folks. Just been watching the fantastic tour de France on my new TV. Utter joy.
I have a Plinius 8200 which I just use as a pre-amp at present. Power is by Plinius SA 102. B&W 804 speakers. Old set up but sings from a whisper to a scream on any type of music.
Nice (y) I used to use a Plinius Hiato,

Anyway, for the TV also look at the the discontinued Arcam irDAC MK1 or the irDAC MK2 which you should be able to find for not too much money, Based in my experience the Hiato had excellent synergy with the irDAC MK1 and the irDAC MK2 and therefore I think this should also follow suit with the 8200/SA-102 too :)
 
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Simon 13th note

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Jul 27, 2020
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I’d look at topping or schiit for good but inexpensive DACs as it may be overkill to add too good a dac from a tv where the digital output probably isn’t the best quality, not by normal hifi standards and where you don’t want a dac that doesn’t show itself. Good design but not silly money. You could also combine it with a headphone amp like the schiit products, to kill two birds.
 

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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Used to sell the CD23. Excellent CDP (y) I had an Alpha 9 CDP which I regret selling:(
the alpha 9 had a dcs ring dac i believe.
was that the reason it was so well rated ?
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Recently blagged a Peachtree iDac from a very nice person to see if it improved things with CDs, use the CDP as transport. It didn't improve or degrade the sound. The only subtle difference was with the Blu-ray player. This is not my first experience of using a Dac: Owned a Cambridge DacMagic, demoed a Rega years ago and a Arcam... all with similar results.

I've concluded a Dac makes little to no difference, and thus is a waste of money. My only guess is my current set-up is balanced just so, although I can't dismiss other factors.
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
the alpha 9 had a dcs ring dac i believe.
was that the reason it was so well rated ?
Yes, the Alpha 9 also incorporates the Ring DAC and in the main played a big part excellent performance of the Alpha 9 CDP.
 
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MrBee

Member
Sep 19, 2020
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Definitely not studio quality. that looks like it could be the worse piece of **** dac you can get. Sorry - say it how I think it is. Lol 😀 a Pi which Is noisier then Brian blessed into a dac that looks cheap. If you want a better one, spend a bit more and get an Allo is my advice.
You obviously have no idea? It's a DAC that has a 192,000hz at 24bit passthrough. It allows Studio quality to passthrough it to your system for thos in the not know!
 
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JAF

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
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I plumped for the cheap and cheerful headphone socket approach as a trial. 3.5mm jack to RCA males with a 1m lead - 6 quid. Works ok. Sound is a bit thin but much better that the TC hand over mouth sound. Watched the Robert Plant Austin City Limits concert which is still on my skybox. Superb visuals and acceptable sound. happy me :)
Thanks for all the advice and interesting comments
 
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