Question WiFi streaming to old Denon mini system

Chrisac

Member
May 16, 2020
6
0
20
Hi all,

I’ve just got my old Denon DRA 102 mini system out of storage and was surprised how good it still sounds. I live in a small flat and have been using a Marshal Acton to WiFi stream my music, but would like something with more punch.
I was wondering what’s the best way to stream music to the old Denon system, I’ve tried connecting via 2nd generation Apple tv (3.5mm from tv to RCA on my amp), it works but there’s a lot of volume and quality drop?
I can source a Denon DNP F109 WiFi streamer (sold as new) for £200, or connect a Yamaha WXAD-10 for £150 (will I get any volume drop?), does anyone have a view on the better quality/ match for my old Denon?
Alternatively would I just be better investing in something like the Denon CEOL N10 for £450? Would really appreciate some advice/ views .
Cheers C
 

ClarkNovember

Well-known member
May 24, 2009
11
4
18,525
i think you are saying you are using an analogue output from your TV to connect to your amplifier. That is probably going to be quite poor quality so there is a cheap alternative you might want to consider.

You could buy a cheap DAC (like the Fiio D03K for about £22) and an optical cable and connect this from you Apple TV (optical out) to your amplifier.


This is a common method for getting sound from a TV/tuner box to a stereo system and you might not need to spend a penny more.
 

Chrisac

Member
May 16, 2020
6
0
20
Great suggestion, already have an optical cable, so will give it a shot.

With the money I could potentially save and if I can get a reasonably priced one is it worth getting a small subwoofer, like a Cambridge MinxX201, TX120, do you think sound quality up lift would be worth it?

Thanks for your help really appreciated C
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
97
16
18,545
Great suggestion, already have an optical cable, so will give it a shot.

With the money I could potentially save and if I can get a reasonably priced one is it worth getting a small subwoofer, like a Cambridge MinxX201, TX120, do you think sound quality up lift would be worth it?

Thanks for your help really appreciated C
I would try connecting with that optical cable first to see how much that lifts the sound quality, and whether you get any more 'punch'.
Personally I think adding a small subwoofer is a risk, as it is not always straight-forward to combine a sub. And although I only briefly looked, I'm not sure how you would connect the sub to your Denon.
Are you tight for space in your flat?
I ask, because there is another option that may give you more punch, but will most likely mean replacing the Denon with slightly larger equipment and speakers.
Have you thought of purchasing separates?
Just as an example (I am not specifically recommending anything) what about getting something like the Denon PMA-600NE which has Bluetooth and its own DAC, along with a pair of speakers eg Q Acoustics Q3020i. This combination is slightly more expensive than just the CEOL N10 on its own, for which you would need to add speakers (unless you used your current speakers and then looked to buy new at a later stage).
All that said, the Denon CEOL N10 does look like a great package - it has lots of features.
I would just experiment for now with your optical cable, and then when you can get out and listen to some equipment, listen to some of the above options before you decide.
 

Chrisac

Member
May 16, 2020
6
0
20
The Denon does have an RCA/ subwoofer out and I have connected it to and old Boss sub in the past, it did creat a warmer more balanced sound, but get the point that the money is probably better spent on a new system, flat isn’t tinny, but v little staking space .I live in Hong Kong and although you would imagine the opposite trying to buy any tech/ hifi equipment that’s slightly dated is a nightmare,

With regards to DAC, as the Fiio D03K isn’t brand new it looks like it will be hard to source locally. will something like a SABAJ Audio D2 Audio DAC with Headphone Amplifier work as well?
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
153
22
18,595
What have you been using to control the streaming to the Apple TV? Your phone? A computer?
When I stream from my computer in iTunes to AirPlay (an Airport Express) or a Yamaha R-N602 I can control the output level in iTunes.
When I stream Spotify from a phone or an iPad I can also control the output level.
The Apple TV should work fine for simple streaming.
 

Chrisac

Member
May 16, 2020
6
0
20
Streaming is from iPad to Apple TV, it’s a very old Apple TV and the only audio output options are Auto or 16 bit. My connection to Denon amp is currently from the tv via the tv 3.5mm to rca lead. I can change the volume on the iPad an the amp, but the sound is definitely muffled just as it when I run 3.5mm from my iPad head phone socket via rac to the amp. I think ClarkN is suggesting it’s digital output via an analogue connection with no conversion. The clarity and definition is notable worse than WiFi connection to say my Marshal Acton,. With the Denon I would say there is an approx 40 % volume reduction comparing the CD player to Apple TV connection.
 

ClarkNovember

Well-known member
May 24, 2009
11
4
18,525
The Fiio DAC is still available in the UK. Here’s the Amazon UK link (maybe that will help you find it locally?).



I think Lindy do a similar DAC but it’s a bit more expensive. I’d be loathe to suggest getting a more pricey one until you’ve tested that you are happy with the results.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,024
12
19,695
Not in a small flat, no. Unless you hate the neighbours!
Disagree. I live in a small(ish) flat and have just bought a Minx X201 and it -transforms- music. I agree that a sub can be an issue when watching dynamic movies, but music doesn't tend to be that dynamic really and when used just for that it makes small bookshelf speakers punch way above their weight. I love it.
 

Chrisac

Member
May 16, 2020
6
0
20
Is there any real difference between DACs (like the Fiio/ Lindy) and a head phone amp with RCA out, assume you’re paying extra for the volume control and 3.5mm out, but other than that?r
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,024
12
19,695
Depends what you mean, they kind of do different things. Can you explain your question again? Can you show us a pic of your Apple TV? Not sure which was the 2nd generation (so can't remember whether it has optical out to feed a DAC).
 
  • Like
Reactions: gel

Chrisac

Member
May 16, 2020
6
0
20
Thanks for all the advice and input. As I could only source the D03K via Amazon, I went with a Fosi Audio Q5 sold locally (with no delivery charge it was practically the same cost and to a layman had similar spec). Easy connection to the Apple TV via optical and then to the Denon via RCA.

In short it worked out pretty well, noticeably better sound than any direct connection from ipad/ iPhone via 3.5mm/RCA even compared to the specific portable in on the Denon. Streaming is very smooth and sound quality it pretty good. The Fosi has a pre-amp with volume control so i was able to match the sound volume level of the original CD player and compare directly and the Fosi/ Apple streaming mix quite surprised me. The CD player is of course better quality, more detailed and what I assume is mid level clarity, and the over all streaming sound quality is ever so slight harsher, but for £40 I cant complain. In comparison to Marshall Acton I have been using to stream music up to now, the new setup win’s with the exception of the slightly harsher quality. Another set back is that with the Acton that’s all I need to turn on, to stream to the Denon, I need to have the Denon, Fosi DAC, Apple TV and TV on!

So one last question (actually goes back to my original question I suppose).Having experimented with the cheaper DAC, would I get near CD quality music using something like a Yamaha WXAD-10, or WXC -50, or do i just need to start looking at investing in a new system. Ever way I’ve really enjoyed trying out the DAC connection and it’s re-generated my love for actually listening to music rather than just having it on in the background. So thanks again.
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
561
284
5,270
[QUOTE="Chrisac, post: 1204948, member: 189844
...one last question (actually goes back to my original question I suppose).Having experimented with the cheaper DAC, would I get near CD quality music using something like a Yamaha WXAD-10, or WXC -50, or do i just need to start looking at investing in a new system.
[/QUOTE]
A better system would give much greater benefit than any new DAC.
Meantime, stay happy.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts