Using a DAC with Pioneer SX890 & Tape inputs

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
I am building a system around a PIoneer SX890 stereo receiver (1978 model, I believe). Turntable goes in the phono input no problem, speakers sorted.

I plan to buy a Marantz CD6006 which I know has a decent DAC of its own, so that will go in the Aux. If the only other digital source I wanted to use occasionally was my mp3 player, the Marantz does have a USB connector for that. However, I would like to be able to hook up a laptop on occasion. The easiest way of doing that seems to be to buy a more expensive DAC with the option of multiple inputs. If, however, I am happy with the sound from the Marantz' onboard DAC, it seems to make more sense to spend less on a good quality, single-input / simple design DAC that can be hooked up to the computer and plugged into the Tape input. There are two tape inputs on the back of the Pioneer - one for play only, the other obviously for play/record. What is confusing me, though, is that the front of the receiver itself has a switch for 'tape mode' (regular / monitor), but the main knob for selecting function simply says "am/fm/phono/aux". There is also a separate "FM off" switch. I'm used to my old Akai from the 90s that simply had one selector feature, so I'm a bit thrown by this.

Not wanting to damage something or blow my speakers by 'experimenting', would some kindly soul with more experience than I please point me in the direction of what combination of switches I need to throw to switch on and play the 'tape' input - and which one should I be using for a DAC?

(As indicated, I have considered the presumably simple option of a multi-imput DAC in the AUX input for both laptop and CD player, but I'm also open to saving acouple of hundred quid if the CD's own DAC is up to snuff. I know this is one aspect of that player which reviews very highly.)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The Marantz has a Cirrus Logic DAC onboard. It is very good and a DAC that Marantz have fitted to higher tier models. I had the cd6006 at one point but it's now been surpassed by the sa8005 SACD player which has the same DAC. As for inputs then your tape loop 'Tape In' would be used from a tape recorder and can be used as a line in and should be able to be selected from the amp itself. The tape in would allow the amp volume control to be used to monitor the tape recording unlike tape out which is a fixed signal and the amps volume control has no effect on it.
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
Much appreciated, thanks - I will go ahead and use the inbuilt DAC for the CD player, then, and pick up a Cyrus soundkey to attach a laptop via the Tape 1. I'll have to figure out how to get it to give me the tape 1 input out the front end when I hook it all up, but it seems as best I can figure out that I select 'aux', then flip the Tape monitor function paddle from 'source' to tape 1... That's be the system sorted; I have very few cassettes now, the majority of which I have already replaced with CDs, so I'll never need 'tape' as was intended.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Even some modern amps still have a tape loop, I know the Rega Elicit-R and Elex-R have them. They are still very useful especially so with the Regas because they don't have a headphone socket and it's the tape out that you connect the headphone amp to. With the Elicit you have the tape loop plus a dedicated line out for external amps, so best of both worlds on that amp. They no longer call them tape loops though but record loops as they can be connected to CD burners.
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
Good point; I plan to keep my digital files backed up on a wifi server and possibly also on discs; planned to burn them via PC, but thaqt could be a useful alterative if I ever decided to attach a burner direct to the main system. Thanks!
 

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