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new DAC...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Mr Cat, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    as some of you may know I've just bought myself a Musical Fidelity X-ACT DAC, I was sure what to expect but I thought I'd give it a go and if didn't work then at least I'd get most of my cash back if I sold it on...

    anyway, I've been slowly upgrading my kit for a while now - as funds allow and I was impressed with the DAC, a colleage said to me that he though that it's best if you spend the most amount of cash on the speakers, while I'm on really sure on what the ratio should be between the source, and and speakers, I would definately say that its the source..?

    as my speakers do reveal a lot of whats being played, but surely if the weak spot is the source itself then this would limit what the speaker can output..?

    it's connected to my Yammy cd player

    the amount of stuff i can hear now is unreal at times, I did expect it (to an extent) on some Orb and other ambient stuff, but hearing extra 'strums' of the guitar on accoustic music etc...wow! :clap:
     
  2. mjn

    mjn
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    External DAC's are under-rated!
     
  3. Harry T2

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    I am not surprised that your speakers are now more revelling. But I would counter your observation, that if you had spent you budget on the speakers, you would be posting a similar observation that your source is now extracting a lot more detail.

    What I am trying to say, that if the initial components are of sufficient quality, most will benefit by having a better component (whether that be source, amp or speaker) in the chain.

    Enjoy your new DAC.
     
  4. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    yeah, I kinda get what you're saying, but I only paid 155 for the DAC, and it's worth 300..? and I paid 200 for the speakers (worth 400), but all in all, I'm a happy bunny...may yweak that further, and get the power supply...!
     
  5. Knightshade

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    Slippery slope Mr Cat, It is all about balance. Upgrade one thing and you'll find you need to upgrade the amp to hear what it's capable of, then the speakers..... Ahhhhhh!
    Might as well set up a standing order now......:)
    I'm still of the thought that if you don't get the source right then the rest is irrelevent. After all the speakers can reveal the detail but not if it isn't there in the first place.
    To almost contradict myself.... I don't think it's important untill you get into the realm or high CDP's. Most budget CDP's (sub £1000) sound very similar. External Dac's are a different thing altogether....
    Enjoy!
     
  6. Harry T2

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    That is all that is important (but technically aren't you a happy cat!).

    As KS said, it is all about balance (which is very hard to achieve when you are upgrading one component at a time).

    I know it is stating the obvious, but don't expect similar improvements in your system by continually upgrading the source and neglecting the other components.
     
  7. cosmicma

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    the term rubbish in rubbish out comes to mind
    if the source isn't up to much then it doesn't matter what you do with the rest of the system it will never be at it's best
     
  8. Knightshade

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    Most DVD players (talking less than £100) with a good external DAC will equal or beat most CDP's up to the £2000 mark. Don't believe me? Try it. Scarey as hell but unfortunately true.
    Getting the source right is important but gone are the days of spending more on the source than the amps and speakers. There are some very good disk spinners out there if you're prepared to be a little controversial.
     
  9. CJROSS

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    Knightshade, I actually think the longer you spend on internet forums you notice the way users are going for this type of combo, ie DVD-V player + DAC for CD replay. Its still the way of the press and dealers though that argue against this type of source philosophy, I would personally take my cue from “users on the ground” as it were and as you know, there are many people with decent systems that have used or still use DVD based transports into DACs. Some of us have been doing it for years TBh and its good to see it come full circle as it were.

    The current crop of £100 DIY DACs and those available from Ebay (NOS DACs etc etc) have certainly given the CD industry a nice kick up the rear end. Many people are afraid to try though and are still swayed by dealer/press comment. Shame really.
     
  10. nsherin

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    Just won an MF X-ACT on eBay. Hopefully will be here shortly. Can't wait to see what it does with my setup (NAD C521BEE/Yamaha HTR-5540RDS/Mission m70).
     
  11. Gregory

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    Intruiging thought - I am in the group that hadn't thought of a seperate DAC for music - but, any thoughts on how the DAC in an AV amp (e.g. Yamaha DSPAX750) compares to that in a cheap CD player and to a single-purpose external DAC.

    Cheers

    Greg
     
  12. Harry T2

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    Hi Gregory,

    Have you read the "sticky" above. There is alot of information contained in it.

    A DAC maybe a cost effective upgrade for people in your situation, however, you will still have the inherent weakness of the pre-amp section in an AV amp for stereo duties. The AV amps are getting better with each model evolution for stereo duties, but they still do not match a dedicated stereo amp.
     
  13. eviljohn2

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    Gregory, it depends on far too many factors. The DAC in my Marantz 7400 is far better than that in my Tosh 420 DVD player, although the Marantz compares farely closely with my Sony CMT-CP500MD mini system through it's headphone output. :eek:

    There are far too many factors to be able to make a general statement but I know that Kazman sold his Marantz CD player as the DACs onboard his receiver virtually equalled it. It's certainly worth remembering that if your AV amp is in any mode other than "source direct" or similar, that it will most likely re-digitise the source material prior to performing any bass-management and then converting it back to analogue again. For this reason I certainly won't be considering an upgrade until I have floorstanders that will do justice to a pure direct signal. :)
     
  14. Gregory

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    Hadn't read the sticky - was really just an 'idle query'. Fair point on the pre-amp/sterio capacity of the AV amp. We will shortly move the AV amp and kit to a different room, and put a decent music-only sterio in the room it is currently in, so maybe I'll revisit what I should be doing then (it's ten years since I bought a music only system, and the world and my budget has moved on, so I suspect I need ot quite a bit of re-education!
    I'm little surprised that there would be this double conversion - I would have thought it would be easier to handle it all in the digital domain (i.e. digitise any non-digital incoming signal, then do all processing 'cheaply' in the DSP chip before spitting back out through DACS for as many channels as it has). Point on source direct/main speakers is spot on though - were I to use the AV amp for this purpose I'd need to change the main L/R speakersto decent full-range ones.
    It was only an idle query really - if you are buying an AV amp that costs several hundred pounds, and that will invitably be judged on sound quality, would you expect the audio DACs inside to outperform those in the back of lower end CD player or DVD player - Thanks for your thoughts


    Cheers

    Greg
     

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