Proceed AVP2 DAC or dedicated DAC?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by andyjayh, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. andyjayh

    andyjayh
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    Been thinking about adding a dedicated DAC to my system to run my Squeezebox Touch through but wanted to gain some views from more experienced people on here regarding the value or point of this step. With any luck someone has compared the Proceed to a dedicated DAC...

    My current system sources are the Touch and a modified Teac VRDS10. I bought the AVP2 as I wanted a surround processor that dealt with 2 channel analogue sources well, it does this very well. The Teac sings very nicely even though the system is mainly a 5.1 system now. However I find myself using streaming music sources more than spinning discs now days. So I upgraded my old SB3 to a Touch and started to mod this for improved SQ and this is sounding pretty good :) Oh, my source media is all FLAC on a NAS and the Touch is Ethernet connected, wireless is off.

    To date I'm using the Touch internal DAC and the AVP2 as an analogue Pre-amp. When I try the Touch as a digital source into the processor I seem to loose the smoothness and completeness of the sound, notes seem to start and stop sharply in comparison although it seems slightly more detailed or brighter in its presentation. Difficult to explain exactly but using the Touch DAC and the AVP2 as just a Pre sounds more "analogue" and smoother, a more pleasing sound. The AVP2 has received lots of praise in the past for its music portrayal from both analogue and digital sources so I am left wondering if the poorer performance is due to my source having a lower quality digital output and therefore presenting the processor with less detail to deal with, if that makes sense? I'm using a reasonable quality Coax digital lead not a Toslink.

    I'm trying to rule out the source as being the issue when judging the performance of the internal DAC of the processor. If I improve the performance of the digital output of the source, will that bring the overall SQ up to match or exceed the Touch DAC perfomance? I need to try a comparison between the CDP as a digital source and the Touch as analogue and see what that highlights just haven't had quite time in the house to do this yet.

    Ultimately what I'm trying to understand is whether the DAC in the processor is as good as a dedicated DAC like a Benchmark DAC1/similar, or has technology advances in this area left the old Proceed behind? Anyone done any comparisons in this area? Can an old processor DAC be as good as the latest offerings from Rega, WFS, Benchmark etc? Don't want to spend money on another component only to find I had something pretty good in my current system.

    Any views or advice appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2011
  2. andyjayh

    andyjayh
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    No one ever compared a Proceed AVP2 internal DAC to a dedicated DAC?
     
  3. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    As a starting point, I've never heard an AVP2, so can't answer your specific question.

    I do however have a similar system, i.e an SBT into a Meridian 568.2mm processor, which is probably in a similar league to the AVP2.
    I have heard a number of DACs (e.g. Benchmark DAC1, Chord DAC64, AR something or other, Bel Canto DAC3 etc etc). I would rate my 568.2 as being on par with any stereo DAC I've heard, well at least with the tweaks that I use. You might call them snakeoil, but I've had positive impacts from the following:
    - Linear PSU on the SBT. I use a Welbourne Labs unit, but I assume that all good ones will add value
    - Stillpoints under the 568.2. No idea why they work, but they do
    - Trichord balanced power unit for the 568.2

    For all of the above, there's no substitute for actually giving things a try. See if you can borrow a decent DAC to see whether you think it adds value. I would be surprised as the AVP2 was very well regarded, but you never know.
     
  4. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    I own a Proceed AVP2, although I currently use an ADA Suite 7.1 in preference. However, in answer to your question, I am pretty sure that the Proceed DAC is up to the task, and that any sound issues are likely to be down to the interface with the Touch. Have you considered getting something like the Musical Fidelity V-LInk, which is a USB to SPDIF converter giving an asynchronous and therefore theoretically jitter free digital output.For less than £100, this might give you the best option. I'm considering one myself!
     
  5. andyjayh

    andyjayh
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    Thanks for the feedback. I guess you're right that the Meridian and Proceed are in a similar league, probably with there own house sound. Interesting that you list most of the DACs on my list so that is very helpful. I do have a local dealer who stocks Benchmark, Bel Canto, WFS and a few others so as you say, probably worth getting a home trial for comparison in my own system.

    Next time I get some quite time in the house I will try a digital vs analogue comparison with my CDP and see how the Proceed DAC stands up with that source. I'm assuming the digital source will be better from the off with the CDP than the Touch...

    I've tried a few mods in my system also, some positive some no change at all. Best ones made so far are implementing Soundchecks TT v3.0 software mods to the Touch, turning as much as poss off and setting the volume fixed at 100%. Also bypassing the DC Coupling caps from the Touch although this takes some doing and you need to be happy with a soldering iron and breaking open the Touch :) Next I will remove the Toslink connector and try hardwiring the coax directly to the circuit board.

    I haven't tried a new PSU yet as I've read the standard one is actually quick good and there are a further two switchmode circuits internally to the Touch so replacing the external one has limited benefit. However I will still probably try this anyway :)
     
  6. andyjayh

    andyjayh
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    Thanks Peter. Read a lot of good things about the ADA Suite 7.1 but been unable to get anywhere near one to try myself. On my wish list though :)

    Yes the Touch interface is where I believe the issue lays but unable to prove it so far. Trouble is I'm not sure how good a starting point the Touch digital out is currently as I know there are again quite a few methods to tune the sound once happy with this connection method. Don't want to start fiddling unless I know it should be possible to achieve a good result, if that makes sense?

    On your point though, I don't think the Touch can support a DAC via the USB without some serious work? I'm sure the USB only supports drive connections and not audio output. Could be wrong here but I'm sure that is correct and therefore the V-Link will not work? Interesting option though if this does work.
     

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