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A big shot in the dark

fubar925

Well-known Member
Hi guys/gals..

Well here goes ive just started on the road to hifi and bought a few bits of kit speakers,amp,sonos... And im unsure of my next purchases.. either a turntable or a DAC to add to the sonos I subscribe to deezer bit like spotify... Now this is where I need help..
I live in the Worcester area and am looking to borrow a DAC:lease: to try with my system to see if it improves the sound as much as people say it will do.

Now I know people will say just buy one but my issue if i buy one and it dosent improve the sound i will kick myself.. im also on such a tight budget its only one or other.
im unsure of any local hifi shops in my area and i am unsure of any that will let me demo it in my own setup..

So is there anyone out there to help a fellow music enthusiast..

Ta
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
What I hear you saying, using the best analogy I can think of is - Should I get a Hair Cut or Buy new Shoes?

I'm not sure these are comparable things.

If you want to IMPROVE your existing system, then get a DAC. But first ask, does it need to be improved?

If you want to EXPAND your existing system, then get a Turntable.

Next how much can you spend on a DAC? One assumes the DACs in the SONOS are pretty good. Meaning it is going to take a pretty fair DAC to sound better.

However, a DAC of that quality is going to give you multiple selectable DAC channels. That is, you can have more than one device connected. For example, the Cambridge DAC Magic Plus costs about £349, and has 2 independent Optical/Coaxial channels, 1 Optical/Coaxial Digital Out channel, and an Asynchronous USB channel. Further it has Blue Tooth capability with the addition of a low cost Blue Tooth Receiver (I've seen them for £69, though they are sometimes included in the price).

A turntable is a different animal all together. What do you have for a turntable now? How many Albums do you have? This will improve your system in the sense that will will allow you to play vinyl. Only you can determine how important playing vinyl is to you.

Then comes budget. I personally would not recommend any turntable less than this one -

Project Debut Carbon with Ortofon 2m Red Cartridge; Pirice £299 -

http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-10648-project-debut-carbon-turntable-with-ortofon-2m-red-cartridge.aspx

Though there are several others that are the equal of this turntable.

For what it is worth.

Steve/bluewizard
 

fubar925

Well-known Member
Thanks for the reply.

I want to improve and expand but budget at the moment can only do one.. And thats the question regarding the DAC will it improve the sonos? which is why I want to demo one with my system.. If i dont and it dont improve sound i will kick myself..

Oh and the DAC in the sonos is not supposed to be any good but this is just hearsay which again points to a demo

I have no vinyl but a good friend of mine has and I can borrow some from him (now before you ask this friend enjoys collecting vinyl but his system is not the best more about the collecting for him).

So a turntable you have suggested or even a rega and also phono stage would be a nice addition
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I suspect the DAC improvements will be subtle, no where near the difference you would hear going from £1000/pr speakers up to £2000/pr speakers. The difference is going to be in the subtle detail, not in the grosser overall impression.

As to the Turntable, I don't think your friend is going to be as eager as you might think to lend you his ablum. If he has a large collection they are worth about (best guess) £10 each. That makes even a modest collection of 500 albums worth about £5000. If he has 1000 albums, then £10,000. And it might be fine the first few times, but I think, just my opinion, it the long run, he is not going to be quite as happy as when he made the suggestion.

So, if you can set a budget, and if you can clearly delineate you full needs for a DAC, and if you can find one to borrow, the DAC might give some real improvement.

So again ...hair cut ...or... new shoes?

Steve/bluewizard
 

fubar925

Well-known Member
Lol you must know my friend yes he has a major collection some you can touch some you can look at and some he might just might let you look at a photo he has traveled the world for his vinyl or they are called holidays if you speak to his wife....

I will build my own collection but short term im sure it would be fine...

My set up at the moment is dali helicons 800 and T+A v10 amp so Not sure in all fairness a budget DAC will make much of an improvement..? or would it this hifi business is really really addictive and confusing. The more i writ stuff down the more i talk myself out one thing and into a new thing....
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Very SWEET amp and speakers, but remember what the DAC is trying to improve. The greatest DAC in the world, will have no effect on either your amp or your speakers. But, it might provide a better DAC to your Source, which I believe was a SONOS.

Since you don't have an existing record collection, I would concentrate on other areas. When you are ready to start with vinyl then we can work out a budget, which I expect to be substantial given the rest of your equipment.

In the meantime, concentrate on what you have and how you can optimize it. Though given what you have, the only thing that can be remotely optimized is the Sonos DAC, and perhaps the quality of your source files. If you source files are LOSSLESS, then that is about all you can do there. If you have tons of available storage and want maximum quality with NO compromises, the store files in WAV format. Lossless files are compressed, so there is some time lost in de-compression. Some say they can hear a very subtle different between compressed and uncompressed files. Though the difference is small. Hoever, even the very best MP3 or Apple ACC are compromised. Yes you hear the song, but you could hear the song on AM Radio, and AM Radio had a crap frequency response of 40hz (at best) to about 5khz. A song is not a song, but quality is definitely quality.

For most people, a vast majority, I would recommend Lossless compression formats (FLAC). However, for someone with your quality of equipment, assuming you have the storage space, No Compression formats like WAV are the ideal choice.

I think at this stage, the DAC is the way to go. Try a few, though better than the basic DACs I suggested, see how it goes.

Then once that is resolved, focus on the Turntable. Keeping in mind, there is a very healthy and active market for used records as well. Though the amount of new vinyl is growing every year, and the catalog of SACD continues to expand as well. There are even artists that are recognizing the improved sound potential of BluRay and are releasing both Music Video, and Audio-only BluRay. Personally, I don't like the video aspect, I find it a distraction. Though if you want to impress your friends, it works well for that.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. Given the quality of your equipment, and given what I assume is your budget for the DAC, I suspect you will see a real improvement in sound quality.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Cable Monkey

Well-known Member
Fubar925, I have a DAC you can try in your system. It is a Modwright Signature version of a Perpetual Technologies P1A and was very well regarded in its day. It is spare so might as well be put to good use. Let me know.
 

fubar925

Well-known Member
Hi cable monkey thank you very much buddy.. After doing a bit or looking on the interweb... I dont think the p1a has got any RCA outputs? MY V10 only has RCA inputs?
 

fubar925

Well-known Member
Thanks for the compliment Steve... My budget is not that big im afraid Got the speakers and the amp on a very good deal speakers of this forum and i ended buy the amp from the same guy all in £4000..... Ive got a old ps3 for sacd playback And mybook live 1tb so will start looking into ripping some old cds then... Thanks for that... Like i said at the moment i subscribe to a music service called deezer so need a DAC to improve that...

Thanks for your advice Steve and i will start sourcing a good but well priced DAC...... Fingers crossed
 

Cable Monkey

Well-known Member
Hi cable monkey thank you very much buddy.. After doing a bit or looking on the interweb... I dont think the p1a has got any RCA outputs? MY V10 only has RCA inputs?

Sincere apologies, I made the posting at stupid o'clock while putting in an extra shift at work. The P1a is the processor. The P3a is the DAC. I own both. You are welcome to look at the P3a to see if a DAC will benefit you. I am only a couple of junctions up the M5 so it would be no great hardship.
 

mineisapint

Standard Member
Having recently bought a Sonos (connect) i also heard some folk query the quality of its DAC. The dealer gave me a quick demo with and without the Arcam DAC built specifically for the Sonos to sit on. Whilst i could hear a subtle difference with the Arcam in place I couldn't say that it was better - just different. I purchased the Sonos Connect without the Arcam and now that its at home, in isolation, I think it sounds fine. All my music is saved as Flac.
 

fubar925

Well-known Member
Sincere apologies, I made the posting at stupid o'clock while putting in an extra shift at work. The P1a is the processor. The P3a is the DAC. I own both. You are welcome to look at the P3a to see if a DAC will benefit you. I am only a couple of junctions up the M5 so it would be no great hardship.

Does the P3a work ok without the P1a? Where abouts are you? And would like to give it ago if you dont mind? What kind of time scale you looking at on turn around etc etc? pm if ok

Brett

Would this be ok to be used with sacd play re the maximum khz?
 
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Cable Monkey

Well-known Member
Does the P3a work ok without the P1a? Where abouts are you? And would like to give it ago if you dont mind? What kind of time scale you looking at on turn around etc etc? pm if ok

Brett

Would this be ok to be used with sacd play re the maximum khz?
Pm sent.
 

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