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DAC or amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Godvrey, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Godvrey

    Godvrey
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    OK - forget that quality of music is a subjective matter.

    I have a Denon DVD1920, and a Denon AVR2805. I also use good quality interconnects.

    I like to listen to a lot of stereo music, and i'm currently unhappy with the sound of my setup. I have tried analogue and digital connections between source and amp.

    Is it worth me getting a DAC, or is my amp a lost cause for stereo?

    I was thinking of an M-Audio Superdac. Any opinions?
     
  2. Falp

    Falp
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    You've got pretty good electronic but a litttle more biased to AV than Stereo...

    Marantz, Nad, Arcam or Rotel can give better musical results...

    My advice... get a good musical 2 ch power amp or two monoblocs and use the 2805 as a processor and amp for the surronds... what speakers do you have, a good match is very important!
    QUAD L series made an awesome match with a 3805 I heard, should bo with thw 2805 too...

    One sugestion owned by some pretty satisfied guys: EAR@202:

    http://www.acoustic-reality.com/ear/earcontent.htm
    http://www.acoustic-reality.com/contact.asp

    Also the usual suspects, Rotel, Nad... all available in Ebay.
     
  3. bobinakilt

    bobinakilt
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    I agree, you've got a pretty good setup!
    I don't know what your speakers are, but my setup's similar to yours and sounds amazing with my MS Genies' tho I admit I prefer 5.1 sound!
    What are you unhappy with?
    Maybe we can help although I can't get on here too often (pooh work!) but give me a go? I'm a music-lover and (I've been told) audiophile ...... tell me what you expect and just MAYBE we can fix this?
    With high-res. audio in stereo your setup SHOULD blow your mind!
     
  4. Godvrey

    Godvrey
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    My speakers are Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's - bi-wired with silver anniversary cable. I also have the Diamond 9 CS, and Diamond 9 SR's, but only listen to stereo in 2 channel pure direct.

    Problem is that music sounds a little flat, with poor separation of instruments. Things like hip hop or dance (ie predominantly electronic) sound excellent with vocals also sounding good, but rock sounds poorly defined and guitars, drums etc have a tendancy to blend together. I find i'm falling into the 'constantly edging the volume' up trap. It's lacking that thrilling 'punchy' quality if you get what I mean.

    The 1920 uses Burr Brown 1608 DACS, but is not reckoned to be particularly great for 2 channel stereo. I've A/B tested the Burr Brown DACS from the 1920 against the 2805's AL24 DACS, and they are pretty much identical. All of which leads me to think that either:

    a) The 2805 DAC's aren't that great either
    or
    b) There is some other limiting factor, like the pre-amp of the 2805. It is a receiver after all.

    I'd be interested to hear if anyone has ever run a good quality source through the 2805, such as an external DAC or decent CD player, and how that has compared to the 2805 AL24 DAC's.

    I want to know if I can get some more quality out of the system before I start thinking about changing the 2805 or getting an external integrated amp for music.

    Cheers
     
  5. Falp

    Falp
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    Try something like a pair of QUAD 11L or AE Evo 1...
     
  6. Harry T2

    Harry T2
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    IMHO, 2 words come to mind. NAIL ... and ..... HEAD.

    Your system would benefit by a better 2 channel source, whether that be a DAC or new CDP. However the weak link will remain with the pre-amp section.

    I would be looking at a stereo amp to integrate into the rest of your AV kit, together with a source improvement.

    Cheers
     
  7. Falp

    Falp
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    Teh pre-amp section... I would say it's much better than the amp section...

    The denon will perform much better as a processor with an outboard power amp...
     
  8. cityonfire

    cityonfire
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    try using a mates CD player in your system first. It wont cost you a thing to try it. At the end of the day IMHO if you want to play CD's use a CD player. Thats what they are designed for unlike DVD players where they are designed to play films first then you have the added the bonus of you being able to play CD's. Yes DVD players over the years have improved greatly in this area but unless you are spend thousands you may as well splash the cash on a dedicated CD unit
     
  9. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Im sorry to bring you bad news dude, but you are stuck in a 5.1 system cycle, both of your components are orientated as such, and when it comes to CD or Vinyl many people notice the drawbacks as you are. First up I would look at getting a stereo amp into your system, ie running off pre-outs for Front Right & Left speakers. There are plenty of posts of users with higher end kit than yours also suffering this problem. If stereo is more of a concern than surround, then you need to shape your system in that fashion. Only once you get to the £1000+ AV passive pre-amp into offboard PAs do you get systems that combine both stereo & AV IMHO. Well to my ears anyway.

    Nice DAC but as you have pointed out yourself, whats the point of gettting a good source to work upstream of a compromised stereo AV pre-amp ?
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    As CJROSS has said above,your system is oriented towards AV,and I'd say that the Denon,whilst a fine receiver,isn't a great stereo performer....the preamp section is quite veiled and lacking any dynamics,and the power section simply adds to this.

    I had a similar experience a while back,when starting on the AV route with a cheapish Denon receiver,which predictably came nowhere near to being acceptable on stereo sources,prompting the usual round of upgrades,and making me wish I'd just bitten the bullet and bought something pricier at the start!

    The suggestions in terms of adding a passive pre and then separate power amps would go a long way towards giving you the best that your player can produce,but do try to listen before you buy....not all pre/power combinations are good at imaging etc.
     
  11. Godvrey

    Godvrey
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    Cheers for the posts guys - it's good to get some other opinions, even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear, but secretly knew would be the answer!

    Dude, I knew I was gonna end up spending more money...

    I've been thinking of a couple of options then:

    1) Chop in the Denon and get an Arcam AVR300
    2) Get a stereo amp and connect it through the pre-outs on the Denon

    Attraction of the Arcam is that it's a one box solution and has great musical reviews. I'm also thinking that it's onboard dacs would be decent which might allow me to connect my 1920 via coax and save me buying an external dac or cd player. Although I'd like to listen to the 1920 through a stereo amp to see how it really sounds. Any views to the above?

    Downside is that it's £1300

    Re - the stereo amp option - I could get something decent s/h for a couple hundred I reckon - but do I need pre-ins? I read somewhere that you can balance an integrated connected to the receiver via a normal line input, but that i'd be constantly messing with the volume.

    Comments very welcome
     
  12. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Godvrey, there are some interesting components knocking about these days : One that woudl interest me personally is the new £499 Onkyo A-933 Digital amplifier that is getting raves reviews from all and sundry. Where it suits your needs is that it has pre-ins so can be used as a power amp, seems like the perfect £500 solution to some one with a Av amp already needing better stereo, simply run from AV amps Front L&R pre-outs and your off :

    http://hiddenwires.co.uk/resourcesnews2005/news20050411-05.html
    http://www.insidehi-fi.co.uk/pn/pn-2005/pn-0405/ihf-0405-onkyo.htm

    So a search on Google for Onkyo A-933 or pick up a copy of the latest HFC review in there. Even has a dedicated LFE subwoofer output, excellent piece of kit to my eyes, MF do the A3.5 with theatre by-pass - which is essentially the same thing that will set you back £1000 though. I'd give the Onkyo a bash, I read that at one Japanese show, Onkyo were running a set of B+W 801s off this little amplifier.

    Specs & images :

    http://www.eu.onkyo.com/products/product_en_43621.html
     
  13. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    dont forget a possible cheaper route, try different speakers for stereo use....

    i have a Denon setup, 3803 and 3910......quite a few people on here have similar, some like the CD replay, some arnt so fond.....a few who are fond use Monitor Audio speakers, on my Silver S6's the CD really sings, picked up MCMXCAD (enigma) for the 3rd time (keep losing it..lol) the other day, oh it was lovely to listen to......

    i guess it depends on the music you listen to, but before u go splurging lots of cash on CD players and amps etc, try some other speakers first....ya never know...
     
  14. Godvrey

    Godvrey
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    How does music compare between listening via the 3910 and via the 3803 internal DACS?
     

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