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DAC Quality in AV Amps/Processors

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by joust, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. joust

    joust
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    Hi All,

    I have a TAG DAC20 which I use for 2ch music listening (fed from an Arcam DV88), which I am reasonably happy with. The analogue out is fed into a Marantz SR5200. I have the 'upgrade itch' again (only changed most of my system last year), and would ideally like to move further upmarket. Making the assumption (for the purposes of this discussion) that on the whole DD and DTS decoding performance is pretty equal on most high end gear (for high end read greater that £1000), which of the following processors will produce the goods in straight 2ch performance (i.e. better than the DAC20)? Gear that I would consider:

    Denon AV11SR (new approx. £1200)
    s/h TAG AV32R 5.1 (~£1200-1400), & Rotel 985 amp (£400-500)
    Rotel processor
    Marantz AV9000 processor
    others that can be suggested


    Look forward to some interesting replies.

    Joust
     
  2. Flimber

    Flimber
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    Why not try for a Denon AVC-A10SE and a bloody good power amp (or monoblocks) for your two channel use (this means that the onboard front power amps drive the ES/EX surrounds) ? You can connect via the 6-, or 8-channel inputs and totally sidestep any digital jiggerypokery on the amp. And what great amps these are...

    Mike.
     
  3. alexs2

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    Before buying my Tag,I listened to quite a few receivers and processors,and found the Denon to be very good generally speaking,but somewhat veiled in character to the Tag,and definitely so when compared to a good offboard Dac and upsampler(Perpetual Technologies P1A and P3A which I also use).

    I think you will find the AV32R is better than the DAC20,but as with all these things,listen in your own home before you buy.

    As for DD and DTS processing being equal on all high end processors,I'd definitely say thats not true.....the Tag's sound steering etc is very good,better than the Denon's,but it should be at that price differential.
     
  4. nathan_silly

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    I have a Tag DAC20 also. I am using this in a stereo setup, and I'm looking around for a processor to be used in Pro-Logic/Dolby Digital/DTS only (not gonna be used for 2 channel PCM - CD etc)

    I would recommend keeping the Tag DAC20 purely for 2 channel PCM, and use a AV Processor for multi-channel audio.

    The Tag AV32R might be worse/same/better than the DAC20, but them others esp the Rotel will not be as good. Also possible the extra electronic components in the AV32 could effect the SQ - compared to the DAC20 with no noisy video processing chips etc.


    PS if you decide to sell the DAC20, a mate is interested in one.
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    For any properly engineered procesor, the presence of video signals should make NO difference to the audio / digital circuits. It certainly doesn't with the Tag (look to the essentially the same 192 now and what they have done with high bandwidth video signals) and the same can be said of many processors nowdays. The AV32R digital circuits (all variants) are light years ahead of the DAC20 which is a very competent but now old piece of digitalia nowdays. This technology moves on very fast in this arena.

    If you examine even something like the better Denons you will find some exquisit digital engineering in there. Denon and good power amps is a good system aswell.
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Dont think you'll find the AV32R has problems with video noise,and it's DACs are sufficiently good to be able to clearly hear the difference between 16bit and 24bit upsampled inputs.

    Its not as good as the P1A/P3A combination,but very few DACs are,and you'd have to go to a Levinson or dCS to significantly beat that.

    I'm basically saying the AV32R is actually pretty good on 2 channel CD use,even compared to some very good CD only gear...there is some mild flattening of dynamics and soundstaging,but better than the DAC20.
     
  7. sounddog

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    Just to throw another idea into the boiling pot.

    How about a high quality stereo integrated amp - Arcam A85 or FMJ A32 come to mind - though I'm sure people can suggest many others depending on your budget.

    The output from the DAC20 will go straight into the stereo amp, along with the front pre-outs on the SR5200. If you get the right amp, you will them be able to assign a fixed level to the SR5200 input so you don't have to be continually adjusting the levels.

    The Rotel RSP1066 is very good ... and almost an equal to our RA1060 integrated amp ... for analogue stereo sources ... but in the small amount of testing we've done, I'd say it's internal DACs arn't as good at 2 ch as the DAC in the DV88.

    Vikki
     
  8. lee31

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    Y not just spend £500 & buy the Marantz SR7300 which would leave you £500 to spend on DVD's & CD's

    I did :D
     
  9. JSW

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    Joust,

    bring yer dv88 round and you can demo it with my Tag AV32R
    2 channel only as I don't have me rear speakers yet :(

    I wouldn't mind knowing what the dv88 cd playing ability is like compared to my 963SA.

    Bry
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I've played with the DV88+ into a AV32R and it is a killer combination.
     
  11. ditton15

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    Beekeeper, Are you suggesting that

    DV88+ -> AV32R is killer for 2 ch stereo CD music? I am supposing not, and that you are referring to its HC DVD playback.

    In which case, surely Sounddog has it right as far as 2 ch stereo CD playback is concerned, and that

    DV88+ -> DAC20 -> a good int. stereo amp -> front speakers

    is the answer, with

    DV88+ -> SR5200 (or whatever) -> pre-outs -> good int. stereo amp (pref the power bit) -> front speakers
    &
    DV88+ -> SR5200 (or whatever) -> other speakers

    for DVD playback.

    If that's stating the obvious, then apols. If its grossly wrong, then I've not learnt proper.

    ditton
     
  12. dts_boy

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    last year i had a denon 1se with a tag dac20 with a dv88. it was good.
    this year i have a tag av32r and 100x5r with an arcam dv27. it is better
    hope this helps:)
     
  13. sounddog

    sounddog
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    dts_boy ... analogue or digital input from the DV27 for CDs though??
     
  14. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    i'm using analogue, it sounds a little less "harsh" i think, that Tag DACs were a little too clinical for me liking.
     
  15. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    The DVD 88+ is an excellent PCM transport for SPDIF. It might surprize you, feed the acknowledge excellent AV32R it makes a formidable combination. Give it a go, closest I have heard to the better DVD32R without paying silly money. Real bargain transport in my book. Oh and it does this HC thing as well!

    The 88+ is a decent jump in performance from the 88, haven't heared the '27+'. It's digital engineering is to admired by ALL.
     
  16. CounterWhine

    CounterWhine
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    Hi Joust,

    Inevitably, I have to stick my oar in in favour of the AV32R.

    Put it this way:

    Years ago, I gave up trying to get stereo out of my AV gear. I had tried using a dedicated stereo setup with an additional AV processor but couldn't live with it (too inconvenient). Eventually I bit the bullet and went 100% AV. Movies were more important to me after all.

    I completely stopped listening to music and I stopped buying CDs.

    I've had my AV32R (it has the 192KHz DACs) for a month or so now and guess what... I've started listening to music again!

    D.
     
  17. martintyler

    martintyler
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    Although I havent really done proper comparisons against any stereo amps... I have tested the DV88 + AV32R against the DVD32R + AV32R

    The Tag pair are often considered to rival high end stereo stuff, i cannot comment on that, but i can say that the DV88 matched the DV32R as a CD transport under my tests. This is an old DV88, not the Plus.

    Disclaimer: this is just what i heard, always test for yourself :)
     
  18. warrj

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    Would anyone who has heard them both care to comment on the capabilities of the Tag AV32R bp192 vs Arcam AV8 when they are used as stereo DACs for CD?

    I already have an AV8 so I'm just asking out of curiousity.

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  19. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Both are excellent, I wouldn't worry about the difference too much. A bit of apples and oranges, both are yummy.;)
     
  20. NicolasB

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    Arcam is warmer, but also somehow slightly rougher, more diffuse. Tag is more precise, but could be considered cold or "clinical".
     
  21. Spligsey

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    So, in effect...The AV8 is more 'organic' then?:D

    I like this organic term & i'm determined to use it more in conversation:D

    Adzman
     
  22. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    "Organic" is a word that could perhaps be applied to Arcam's FMJ CD23. I don't know that the AV8 qualifies.
     
  23. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Am I the only one who finds this amusing? Organic!!!??? :rotfl:

    Can someone tell me how to grow some of this equipment, it will save me a lot of money! :D
     
  24. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Daneel.

    No, i find it highly hilarious as well:smashin:

    Adzman
     
  25. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    Its easy, break a bit off the original equipment and then plant it in some soil, for the organic sound, fertiliser if you prefer it more cliniacal. after about 6 months it will emerge and hey presto!:lesson:
     
  26. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You also have to avoid most forms of pesticide.
     
  27. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    you mean Bose right:devil:
     

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