Upgrade with external DAC/streamer or upgrade the amp?

lehabitant

Novice Member
My current setup is a low end Denon (AVR e200) with a Amazon echo dot as my streamer (Amazon Music HD subscription). Speakers are KEF Q150 and sub is Athena PS400. My question is this: is it better to upgrade the amp (i.e. Denon AVR X1700H) or to add external streamer/DAC such as the Node? Or do nothing at all? My current setup is a budget setup so spending 000s on Naim or something similar isnt an option. This is effectively an audio setup only as i dont connect any video feeds through this system. I also dont see myself changing music source as my family runs all Amazon. Also there is no phono connection on the amp and i am still undecided on using vinyl. Thoughts?
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Check whether your denon has analogue bypass otherwise it'll convert analogue sources into digital then converted back to analogue so any dac upgrade will be offset with extra conversions and loss of sound quality
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The X1700 will convert analogue signals and put them through some kind of digital conversion. It has a Direct function which will help a little. It should though give a better performance than your current amp. The pairing of the Q150s and the Denon is a good match in my opinion. However the stereo music performance is not going to be anywhere near as good as a stereo integrated amp the costs the same.

As for starting a vinyl collection that can be costly if you want the best recordings. Many of todays latest releases come from the same digital master and sound no better than the CD or download version. You'll also find that the same vinyl version can cost twice as much as the CD version.
 

lehabitant

Novice Member
I am looking into the bypass. I have seen many people state that Amazon music doesnt provide as good of lossless files as other services so i wonder is an upgrade of anything advisable. I currently run a 3.5mm output to rca into the receiver. i am skeptical if i would hear any difference in quality if i upgraded to a new amp with ethernet or even a node.
 

lehabitant

Novice Member
I appreciate the replies. Reply from Denon is that if i use the "Direct" setting i will bypass the internal DAC. So begs the original question....node or upgrade the amp? I used the direct setting with my echo dot and those results were less than desirable. Is there something on par with the node for a lesser price? My search hasnt revealed much that works with amazon music or if it does it outputs it less than my internal dac at 24/192. Thoughts?
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
I wouldnt be looking at an AVR if you only use it for audio and not video. You are wasting money on extra channels, and video processing for no reason, plus a stereo amp will give better performance for music playback.
 

lehabitant

Novice Member
Going to give audioengine b fi a try. Relatively inexpensive and can use existing setup. If it proves to be good i have seen the node mentioned virtually everywhere so may invest in that option in time. I thank you for the responses. I really appreciate it
 

Egg White

Member
Going to give audioengine b fi a try. Relatively inexpensive and can use existing setup. If it proves to be good i have seen the node mentioned virtually everywhere so may invest in that option in time. I thank you for the responses. I really appreciate it

how are you getting on with the b-fi? - i assume you still have it...

as i bought one to replace my audioengine B1 which i loved - had it connected to my hifi and streamed music via my windows 10 laptop and amazon music (HD)...

it arrived today and i hoped I could do the same (but better sound quality), but now I'm not sure sure, as i can't access it via my laptop?

any ideas? :)
 

lehabitant

Novice Member
Its been a while since i updated. I skipped audioengine and went to a bluesound node. Found on the website refurbished which fit my budget. The node is awesome. I connect it thru the coax and use my amp's dac. Unfortunately i cant comment on audioengine.
 

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