AV amp as DAC for Squeezebox touch


Established Member
As a recent convert to the Squeezebox Touch I have been exploring the options for an offboard DAC and looking at all those cheapish £200-£300 options. While doing so I suddenly wondered if the DAC in my Pioneer LX73 AV amp could be used via the co-ax out on the Squeezebox. Surely I can take co-ax out of the Squeeze and into a digital co-ax input on the Pioneer and hear lovely quality music??

Does this make sense to anyone? It's just I'm presuming the DACS and op amps in a £1500 receiver are probably better than a £300 DAC will have anyway??



Prominent Member
Yes, this will work.
As for which will be better, only experimentation can tell you.
The Squeezebox doesn't really have a bad reputation for DACs and audio quality, but there are plenty of options in the £300 budget that should make some difference.

As you already have the Touch and the LX73, it should be fairly straightforward for you to set up an A/B test. Connect the SB to the amp by both digital and analogue, then switch channel between the two.

If the difference is significant in favour of the AVR, you probably shouldn't waste £300 on a DAC, as I'd expect the difference between external DAC and SB's DAC to be relatively subtle.
If you can't really notice a difference, then you could look at adding a DAC as you intended.

Probably goes without saying, but make sure everything is identical between the two channels when you test it - proccessing mode etc. Also make sure the volume is the same, as a slight difference can trick your brain into preferring the louder one. And when I say volume, I don't just mean the number displayed as the volume, I mean the actual volume. Different connections and equipment can end up giving slightly different results.
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Established Member
Surely this will depend on what the AV amp can accept as an input?

If it's designed to accept DTS or Dolby Digital only, and the OP feeds it 16/44.1 from the SBT, silence will result.

If it's designed to accept 16/44.1, and the OP plays a 24/96 FLAC file, silence will again result, surely?


Distinguished Member
99.9% of AV receivers have coaxial and optical inputs for S/PDIF that will autolock to PCM
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Distinguished Member
It will work fine - I link my laptop through a USB to SPDIF convertor (v-link) and then by coax to my Arcam AVR350 which accepts signals up to 24/96 but also plays 16/44 perfectly well.

I believe the LX73 has 24/192 support.


Distinguished Member
The AVR should be fine, whether or not its as musical as a stereo DAC/Amp combo, will be up to your ears.
As above try both analogue and digital in to the amp and see what happens.
I tried my Touch on a much lower spec'd AV receiver and could not hear any benefits, in my case the bias was slightly towards using the Touch DAC.

I also trialed a Musical Fidelity Vdac from a friend in to the AVR and decided it was an improvement but wasn't worth the outlay.

I reckon my quality bottleneck is the amp (Yamaha 863), and the Kef 3005 eggs. TBF this combo was intended for video duties and does a not bad job at casual music listening.

Meanwhile, I have other things to absorb any spare loot I have for my AV.

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