DAC confusion. Would I be wasting my money?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by cramhead, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. cramhead

    cramhead
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    Hi
    My question is due to a bit of confusion over the use of DAC, sound cards and listening to mp3s and FLACs.

    My Amp is a Yamaha RXV467

    My soundcard is a Asus Xonar DGX 5.1 Sound Card

    My PC connects to my AMP via the sound cards optical.
    My amp is connected to Tannoy F3 speakers, Elax center speaker, wharfedale rear speakers and Gale subwoofer

    I'm unclear if I would be able to notice any significant difference in sound if I was to connect my PC via a DAC instead of the soundcard.

    the sound card is not onboard soundcard and I'm using optical so would not get "bottle necking".

    I'm NOT sure if a external DAC would improve sound quality
    What do you guys think?

    Thanks
     
  2. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    Hi

    IMO opinion - No.

    Depending on dac, it may not be any better than what you are currently using and if it is better, any improvements will most likely be negated by the AV.

    So, save your money and/or put it towards a more capable amp. In this case you may want to look at a stereo amp.

    The V467 has analogue audio outputs which could be connected to the Aux or pre-in (if available) on a stereo amp. Center and rear speakers stay connected to the av and the front L/R speakers connect to the stereo amp.

    If i have a concern with this is that the AV will still be doing the processing and passing the processed signal to the stereo amp which may not be better than if the pc was able to connect directly to the stereo amp. However, it will sound better than AV, it just whether it meets your expectations.

    What dac did you have in mind and what is the budget?
     
  3. Nick1881

    Nick1881
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    Can you not connect your PC to the Yamaha via HDMI?

    Your amp has it's own built in DAC's I'd be surprised if you'd hear any improvement with your current set-up using any other external DAC.
     
  4. Steven

    Steven
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    Soundcards are essentially DACs, though there are other functional differences that we do not need to get into for discussing 2.0 audio reproduction

    Generalising,

    Depends on budget. If low-end then would still expect a sound card to compete. As the £ start flashing then you cannot underestimate the difference a good source makes. As you scale up something that is easy to look for is soundstaging and imaging. Look for those cues that depict width, depth, height.

    If you must spend money then I think for the general consumer most could step up to something like the Dacmagic or Asus Xonar Essence One level and be wholly satisfied. Still again I think many an enthusiast could top out at Concero or Mdac level and be happy without needing to spend four figures.

    In all seriousness if you have a laptop then book a demo at your local dealer. Or pop down your card details as security and arrange a home demo.
     
  5. AwesomeDawson

    AwesomeDawson
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    I've got a similar question...

    I mostly play music from my NAS straight to my network capable amp, the DENON 3313.

    Would I see any improvement playing music via iTunes to something like a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, and on to the DENON 3313?

    Thanks
     
  6. smarti

    smarti
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    well, I have a Yamaha A820 and it definitely sounds better to me, in my opinion, using my arcam rDac plugged into the cd input set to pure audio than using the built in dac. I only play flac so cannot comment on mp3.
     
  7. AwesomeDawson

    AwesomeDawson
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    Yes all my music is FLAC or ALAC too.

    I think from what I've read it would be better but I'd have to listen in Direct mode 2.0
     
  8. cramhead

    cramhead
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    Does HDMI have better sound properties than optical? I didn't think it made a difference.
    Or do you mean using HDMI would enable the DAC on my amp? I though all input would use the DAC
    Why HDMI?

     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  9. cramhead

    cramhead
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    I'm temped to get a used Dacmagic. Or ARCAM rDAC. My concern is how it will work with my amp and how it would interfear/process the signal.
    I guess I could sell it on if i'm not happy with it.
    Also why dont these DAC support 5.1?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  10. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    Both the rDac and Dac Magic are highly rated dacs and deservedly so. The Dac magic II would be cheaper and i see go for around £130 second hand.

    If the PC was connect to either via optical or coax then the pc would be passing the info onto the ext dac to do the conversion work. The ext dac would be connected to the av amp via rca phono interconnects who in-turn will process/amplify the signal.

    Not quite sure what you mean by that.

    Those and other similar type dacs are meant to be used with stereo amps which have no need for 5.1. That will be a av power amp and its accompanying pre-amp processor is a bit more than just a dac.

    If you look up a av processor or receiver with multichannel outputs or pre-outs, it will have 6 pre-outs (including sudwoofer) if 5.1. If 7.1 it will 8 analogue pre-outs and so on. Thus able to support and output x.1

    The rdac and alike will only have a L/R outputs ( 2 channel).
    Not sure on the science, but my thoughts are if the data is not set to be downmixed to 2 channel at the source, the ext dac could possibly convert the 5.1 digital data into 2 channel analogue signal by it own means of automatic downmixing to 2 channel when receiving the data, but to output 5.1, it will need 6 analogue outputs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  11. kabayiri

    kabayiri
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    I've got a Cambridge Audio DacMagic sat on the side doing nothing.

    If OP is local you're welcome to borrow it. There's only one real way of knowing if it improves things.
     

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