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Two-channel DAC quality of AVR300?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by gregeas, Jul 10, 2005.

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  1. gregeas

    gregeas
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    So I'm going to consolidate some equipment and buy the AVR300 for my second system. Right now I'm using the Benchmark DAC1 in this system, fed digitally by a PC-based music server (Squeezebox2) and a Denon 2910 DVD player. I'm wondering how the two-channel DACs in the AVR300 compare to the DAC1 (which is known for its high-quality output). I want to make sure I don't lose ground.

    Said another way, how will the analog output of the AVR300 compare to the output from my CD33 and DV79 used in my main system? What can I expect?

    Final question: is there a difference in DAC quality between the AVR300 and the 250? If I'm only building a two-channel system near term, is there any reason not to go with the AVR250? (I may go up to five channels eventually, but I have no interest in seven channels.)
     
  2. Mr Perceptive

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    Gregeas

    Personally I reckon the Benchmark will slaughter the AVR300 in 2 channel mode.

    I have a similar (style) front ends, Denon 2910 and Squeezebox 1. I also have a Meridian 203 DAC and still own an AVR200.

    The AVR200 in Digital PCM mode fed from either the 2910 or the SB1 was vastly inferior (to me) than using the 203 in-between and the 203 although good is quite long in the tooth!

    Since I've gone heavily the AV route I did consider a DAC1 briefly (as its widely liked on many audio fora), but in the end went for a Meridian 568.2 which completely outclasses the AVR200 decoding on all fronts, and so it should given their relative difference in costs!!!! (But Ex-demo its just slightly less than the cost of a DAC1+AVR300 - new). It sounds great when fed by either the SB or the 2910.

    Now from other demos (at dealers) the AVR300 is better than the the AVR200 but I really don't think for 2 channel its going to be in the same class as the DAC1.

    If you're really interested in 2 channel sound (mainly) then I'd peronally go for a high quality 2 channel amplifer and when funds/inclanation permit I'd add an s/h AVR200 or AVR300 (s/h in the future) for surround duties and use the pre-out functionality to drive your 2 channel amplifer. Note the AVR250 will not allow you to do this. Unless you really bite the bullet and go for a really upmarket AV processor to handle both duties (but you'll still need amplifiers)

    Mr Perceptive
     
  3. Hifi addict

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    The AVR200 is nowhere near the soundquality of the AVR300 or 250 so you can't compare those.

    the DAC's in de AVR300 are comparable to the DV79
     
  4. hedrick@rutgers

    hedrick@rutgers
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    I have a 250. I'm driving it from a Mac, using Apple lossless compression and a Benchmark DAC-1. So my configuration is very similar to yours. I wouldn't say the Benchmark slaughters the builtin DACs. In fact in quick A-B tests I often find it hard to tell them apart. However in longer-term listening I consider the Benchmark to be slightly better than the builtin DACs. As an amp, I did some comparisons with a NAD C372. I believe the 250 is at least as good, and possibly better. Thus I think the Benchmark is a more useful adjunct than a separate amp, unless you need more power than the 250 or 300 can deliver.

    I don't know specifically whether the 300 has better DACs than the 250. I've sort of assumed that the 250 and 300 have the same sound quality. The things you lose in the 250 are pre-amp outputs, a small amount of power, and upgradability of the DSP firmware. (The main firmware is upgradable on both 250 and 300.)
     
  5. hedrick@rutgers

    hedrick@rutgers
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    I've been listening more carefully. I still think I can hear a slight difference between the Arcam 250's DAC and my external Benchmark DAC-1 feeding the Arcam in direct mode. But I'm not so clear which is actually better. I would recommend careful listening before you assume that the internal DACs are significantly inferior.
     

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