External DAC or CD upgrade

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Hoggers, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. Hoggers

    Hoggers
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    Hello, :hiya:

    I was wondering what would give a better and more noticable performance improvement..

    Running a Arcam CD73 through an external DAC (eg Benchmark DAC1) into an AVR300 or upgrading the CD73 to an Arcam CD192.

    Would there be any benfits to running an external DAC as opposed to using the internal DAC on the CDP and connecting to the amp via analog cables?

    Any thoughts or commments much appreciated

    Cheers,

    Alastair
     
  2. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Assuming you like the sound then I would think the external dac would give a biiger performance increase however I would be inclined to add a stereo amp instead to increase music playback. What is the rest of your setup i.e speakers?
     
  3. Helicon

    Helicon
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    Some dacs work better with some cd players than others, and also the improvement you get will be dependant on the rest of your system. If you want to keep things simple, go for the upgrade to a 192, otherwise upgrading with a seperate dac will have more possibilities.

    The best i can say is try and get a home loan from a dealer of what you want to try and make your own mind up. Be sure to use decent cables for the comparison.
     
  4. Hoggers

    Hoggers
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    Thanks for the info.

    The system currently consists of an Arcam AVR300 bi-amped with a P90, CD73 and DV78.
    Speakers are Kef iQ9's, iQ6C and iQ3's as rears. I tend to listen to CD's in direct mode.

    Cheers,

    Alastair
     
  5. Knightshade

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    An external DAC such as the Benchmark, Chord DAC 64 or NOSDAC will be a noticable upgrade on the 73 and the 192. However, unless you upgrade your AV amp all the money will be wasted. At the moment I would think you have a fairly well balanced system. Obviously you think it's lacking in 2 channel CD playback. The problem is: If you add one of the afore mentioned DAC's you'll need to spend a few thousand pounds on amplification and speakers to get the benefits. Possibly not what you want to hear.....
    All of the above DAC's are of similar quality, the DAC 64 is probably the most versatile and can be had for about £800 s/h these days. The NOSDAC is still my favourite but it is very transport dependent.
    So, you could go down the CDP route but I don't think you'd gain much (if anything) long term. Or you could get the source sorted and slowly build the system up over time?
    HTH
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    I agree, if CD (stereo) sound is important to you, feeding the (very good quality from a DAC) signal via an integrated AV amp is always going to be the bottle neck (PS have heard the AVR300 and very nice its is too), check out Stereo amps though for best CD reproduction or AV passive pre into power amps (my money would be on a TAGAV32R or a Linn AV5103). Then separate power amps.

    HTHs
     
  7. rowlandhills

    rowlandhills
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    In fact, one option for an upgrade might be something like an AV5103 which excellent DACs for stereo use anyway. They could be an upgrade on your current DAC as well as giving you more potential on the amplication front in future.
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Rowland I should note that if I was using a AV32R or an AV5013 I would be using there onboard DACs as my CD source (in effect as a DAC) as you mention. Not sending an anlg signal into to from a CD player (which you could do but defeat the purpose of having such a nice piece of digital conversion hardware). But you knew this anyway as you have one in your hifi system. :D
     
  9. Hoggers

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    Guys.. thanks for the feedback and definitely some food for thought.

    I do feel that my system at present is pretty well balanced and while there is not one particualr item that is lacking I was possibly going to explore the possibility/feasability of squeezing a bit more out of the CD/amp, but if there is going to be little gained using the existing setup for this (or worse a reduction in quality due to a mismatch of components) then I will bide my time until funds permit a proper stereo upgrade ;)

    The feedback is hugely appreciated.

    :)
     

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