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Movie DACs, Music DACs, or just DACs?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by sploo, May 5, 2005.

  1. sploo

    sploo
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    Hi all,

    I've recently put together a system with an Arcam AVR300 receiver, and a borrowed Denon A-11 DVD player.

    I've noticed that CD playback with the Denon (via analogue) isn't a whole lot different from a line out on a decent personal CD player.

    Having auditioned a Cyrus CD6 and Denon DVD-3910 (with the AVR300), and spoken to numerous dealers and Arcam tech support, I've reached the following conclusion:

    There's a huge difference between DACs suited for movie use, and DACs suited for music (i.e. a good CD player will play CDs better than a high-end DVD player. Also, it's better to use the DAC on a good CD player than the DAC on a decent AV receiver - e.g. use an analogue, not digital, input).

    So:

    1. Is this complete BS, or am I roughly on the right lines?
    2. If this is right, then could someone explain (in very basic electronics terms) the differences between DAC technologies?
    3. Would I benefit from a cheap (<300GBP) external DAC, to decode a digital 2 channel output (CDs) from the Denon DVD player to an analogue input to the Arcam receiver?
    4. If the answer to 3 is yes, then could anyone recommend a product (or a DIY job)?

    Thanks for any info!
     
  2. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    1) Yes
    2) go to www.thetadigital.com for some background reading on this subject. With Theta's spin, of course ;)
    3) Probably not. The A-11 and AVR300 are both very well engineered and contain hi-spec components. I doubt a £300 offboard dac would generate a significant improvement in stereo performance. Adding a DAC to a home cinema set-up does not necessarily create a decent hi-fi. They are different animals and ought to be treated as such.
    4) Save your money and enjoy what must be an awesome HC system, until such time as you have the space/money/yearning for a dedicated hi-fi.

    Rgds,
    DT
     
  3. sploo

    sploo
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    OK, I take it it's "yes", I am on the right lines :)

    I'll have a good read through the site, though I nearly coughed up a lung when I found the price of their Generation VIII DAC!

    The reason I asked about off-board DACs is that I've found good CD players sound much better (to my ears anyway) than a DVD player (with the Arcam). So, I was wondering if a decent DVD player + DAC would give similar improvements.

    Granted, the sound was even better when combining a CD player with a good stereo amp, but I wanted a surround system, and couldn't stretch to a Processor+Power Amp combo.
     

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