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CD v Denon DAC comparison

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by adrianl, Mar 10, 2005.

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  1. adrianl

    adrianl
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    Love my Denon 2805 receiver.

    Was interested though in comparing the results of feeding it with analogue from my old but excellent Rotel RCD-965BX CD player, then switching to PCM input via co-ax.

    Both sounded terrific, but the analogue definitely had a little more detail (noticeable in subtle percussion things like low level cymbals). Checked with my wife in blind tests and she preferred the analogue signal every time.

    So an old but very highly thought of CD player (I bought it in 1993) has a better DAC than the Denon, at least as far as two channel music goes.

    So at what point on the expenditure scale would an AV receiver DAC be an improvement on the dedicated DAC in a decent audio CD player?

    Just curious!
     
  2. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    This is a very interesting question, although one that I don’t think there is a definitive answer for.

    I think it really depends on what cd player and what amp you are using. I run my cd’s through my dvd player (Panny E85) and with that setup, I find that the DACs on my amp (Yamaha 750SE) are better.

    I would have thought that a dedicated cd player would have better DACs than an amp, although I would have thought the margin is quite small nowadays given how far technology has moved on. For this reason I am surprised that your cd player (over 10 years old) has better DAC’s than your 2805! :)
     
  3. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    As has already been stated there is no hard & fast rule on the best DACs to use. You could have 2 people with identicle setups and the 2 might not agree on the best DACs.
    The DACs on my processor are very good, but I still use the internal DACs on my DVD player. Now this is the exception to the rule as DVD players don't normally make good CD players as their DACs are normally poor for music. But Arcam are definately one of the few companies that make DVD players that are excellent CD players.
    In the past I had the excellent CD73 CD player from Arcam and as good as that was I prefered the DACs on the processor - just! It was a very close call between the two. But before I had the processor I disliked my Denon 3802 for music, regardless of the DACs used and therefore ended up having a HiFi amp for music and fed from the receiver for DVD's & TV.

    So the only way to find out what works for you is to try both ways and then go with the connections that you like the sound of most!

    Mark.
     
  4. Kazman

    Kazman
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    The DACS on my SR7500 were so good that I sold my CD5400 and use my pioneer DVD player as a transport now :).

    I'm thinking of getting a newer CD player later though, maybe a Katana or Exposure.
     
  5. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    The Exposure 2010S seems to be have been very well received recently and has had a complete makeover from the older model. I can't wait to give it a demo!
     
  6. Zacabeb

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    The issue of DACs is pretty interesting. In my Yamaha RX-V2500, the DAC for the main L/R channels is presumably AKM's AK4382, the same DAC used in its predecessor. This DAC is used in everything from €100 DVD players to the Anthem AVM 20, a €3,000 AV processor/preamp.

    Yet, even though my DVD player (a Philips DVD 737) has the same DAC as my receiver, they sound audibly different. The sound from the DVD player is brighter and not very pleasant. I would not attribute this to something as exotic as jitter or the like, but either to the filters and output stages in the DVD player being a different design than the receiver, or that they process the signal in different ways.

    The DAC in itself it seems is not as important as what you do with it. Anthem could have put a much more exotic DAC in their AVM 20 than one affordable enough to be used in budget products, but chose the AK4382 nonetheless. I don't know why they did, but it does suggest it's good enough already. The rest of the AVM 20 looks as exotic as one would expect for a €3,000 AV processor/pre-amp, and certainly more exotic than a €100 DVD player...

    What's important though when trying to make a comparision is to make sure the analog input does indeed bypass the digital processing, and that the digital input gets sent through unprocessed. The Pure Direct mode should take care of both. Otherwise you'll be comparing your external DAC after the signal has been re-digitized, processed, and reproduced through the internal DACs, or the digital signal after it's been processed by features such as equalization. That of course would make a difference. ;)
     
  7. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Excellent point, when listening to analogue signals through an AV amp you need to make sure it's in the direct mode. Otherwise it will redigitise the signal in order to perform any bass management and so on that you have configured.

    I use the DACs in my Marantz SR7400 as they're far superior to those in my Toshiba sd420 for music replay. :)
     
  8. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    If only it was that simple!
    Most of us with an AV setup will miss the bass management as we get to know out system with the sub in more or less constant use with DVDs. Therefore if I play a CD etc and the sub is bypassed due to useing 'Pure Direct' mode I would find the sound lacking in bass. Now I do have some choice as my speakers although not exactly full range they are rated down to 80htz, but those with a sub/sat setup would really have no choice but to use the bass management.
    I have tried my system in pure direct and normal inputs and still prefer it with the bass management and with the DV29 (used as my CD player) connected by analogue phono leads as I still prefer it to via digital coax. Now don't ask me to explain exactly why this is as I am not that technical, but I can tell a fair difference.

    Sorry to complicate things further :devil:

    Mark.
     
  9. CosmicOne

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    Guys,
    what do u think is better to use,My Sony DVP-NS305 Dacs or my Yammy RXV650 dacs when i play music in PureDirectMode???
     
  10. adrianl

    adrianl
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    Exactly!

    I posted the starter to this thread. I was using Pure Direct on Denon 2805 for both PCM and analog input. But a footnote in the manual says Pure Direct isn't really pure (digital not bypassed, just video circuitry) unless Sub is set to Off.

    My Genies go down to 95Hz, but Sub still makes a world of difference to music so I suppose I'm not making a genuine 'Pure Direct' mode comparison, though amp was same for both signals.
     
  11. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Well all I can do is point you back to my first post in this thread:

    Mark.
     
  12. jookster

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    A way to get your subwoofer working whilst still using direct mode is simple. Obtain two 2 from 1 phono splitters. Then take a feed of each side to a single phono using a 2 to 1 spliter or simply take a feed from one channel. Then connect an interconnect to your sub and work out the crossover on there. Of couse this means you have a sub with a cross over but most do don't they?

    Did that make sense!?
     

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