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Will a DAC help me

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by stevie_mc, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. stevie_mc

    stevie_mc
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    After reading the post on DACs by CJROSS, I was wondering if a DAC would help me in my situation. Anyone who had not read my previous posts and is not familiar with my problem I'll summarise it briefly:

    I'm not happy with the stereo performance of my av amp (yamaha rvx440), using a high spec dvd player (toshiba sd900e) as the source. The sound seemed particularly bright, especially on vocal tracks and slightly hissy as well. In an attempt to solve the problem, i purchased an integrated stereo amp (cambridge A5) and a dedicated cdp (arcam cd72), the idea being the stereo amp would drive the fronts and the av amp would handle the the rest.

    This seemed to solve the problem and i was pleased with the sound but then i found out that there is no pre-out connections on the av amp so i'm currently not able to integrate all the components and i'm out of cash so i cant buy my way out.

    After reading the DACs post i wondered if i returned the stereo amp and cdp and used the money tp buy a DAC would it improve things? It sounds like a good idea but i have 2 concerns which you may be able to help me with:

    - I suspect the av amp is the problem with over bright stereo so would the DAC help with this problem or make it worse?

    - Since I am using a top end dvd player, which i assume has a top end DAC, is my budget of around £350 going to buy me a better DAC than I have already in the dvd player and result in better stereo performance?
     
  2. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    I think you'd be better keeping your cdp and A85 and swapping the Yam for something with pre-outs. There's a MArantz 4200 in the classifides for £120 at the mo. I beleive that has pre-outs although I may be wrong.
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    First off dude I think you have a severe problem in the stereo side of your system purely down to the Yammie AV reciever and its pre-amp ability in stereo, if you are concerned about stereo playback do all you can to remove it from the chain in stereo mode. No matter if you use a CD72, the Tosh 900 (a great DVD player for stereo IMHO) or even a £350 DAC. Here a stereo amp is crucial TBH, even before considering CD source quality, FWIW try a few things :

    With the Cambridge A5 try the Tosh 900 in CD mode on its own, I would think its at least a match for the CD72 (I don’t subscribe to DVD players sounding as bad as is made out), get your hands on a DVD-Audio disc with a stereo track encoded at 24 Bit – 192 Khz, play this through the A5 & the Yammie, this will let you see the hindrance of the stereo pre-amp in the AV amp. You honestly need to sort out your pre-map before worrying of source quality. FWIW adding a DAC to that model of Toshiba is a very good idea (if the rest of your system is up to it), its has some of the lowest jitter spec measurements in the business, its successor the 2500 has a minute level of 40spec jitter and Toshiba DVD players have measured sub 200 spec for jitter. So if anyone mentions that your Tosh 900 would be a bad transport for jitter purposes then its better than a lot of CD transports. FWIW I don’t belive in jitter effects into good DACs. Answering your last point above, If the Tosh 900 was given a £350 DAC would it improve the CD replay of the 900 ? I reckon so yes quite a bit FWIW. But no point if the system downwind of it cant cut the mustard, I would think of the long term aim you have for your system (ie if Av & hifi are important to you what about a digital AV preamp + DAC in one box – Like TAG AV32R ? then simply add hi quality PAs), one thing I wonder about is why you have a £300 Cd player in the same system as the Tosh 900, it seems like surplus to me TBH.

    I upgraded my system over a long period, with the addition of DACs, better speakers, then Amp, final upgrade was a new DAC. It takes time but there are loads of ways to skin a cat.
     
  4. stevie_mc

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    Cheers CJ, as I've mentioned before I'm pretty new to all this and I'm keeping my mind pretty much open when it comes to listening to other peoples views and advice. In saying that I am picking up small points here and there and for my first venture into good quality av equipment (i only ever owned midi's before now) I'm pretty pleased with the kit that I've got. The toshiba was an absolute steal at £200 and the yamaha does pretty much all i can ask in terms of multichannel sound for a £200 amp. This was always an investment for the long term and i can see myself making many many changes over the years, if for no other reason than i'm never happy!!

    In reponese to your query about the arcam cdp, it was always my intention to return it whatever happened. I never doubted the cd performance of the toshiba as i knew it was a universal player capable of handling dvd-video, dvd-audio and cd's with equal aplomb, but i just wanted to test it out against a decent quality cdp.
     
  5. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    £200 for a Tosh 900, that is one grade 'a' bargain, Stevie I dont know if I made it too clear above but your DVD player is one of the best video & audio devices ever released (sound per pound) and that was at full rrp. Dont let the £200 you paid full you into thinking that a £300 Cd player is its better, what you have there IMHO is a foundation of a future hi-quality hifi system, yeah sure it will fire into a AV setup with aplom, but a nice little stereo amp & speakers (say a pair of Tannoy R1s for £100) for starters and your are off, look at DACs & hi-quality AV Pre with DACs for source upgrades later. But I dont think that CD player has any right in the same rack as the Tosh 900.

    A touch scandalous but that my vibes. Sell it dude and spend the money on a 2nd hand DAC if you must.

    ATB

    BTW A Rotel RA-01 would be my first port of call
     
  6. stevie_mc

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    I took your advice CJ and returned the arcam to RS and re-invested some of the cash in a better stereo amp. I upgraded from the Cambridge Audio A5 to the new Cambridge Audio Azur 640. It was between that and the Marantz PM7200 (I was tempted by the Rotel Ra-01 but could only get it o mail order and i've had bad experiences with mail order) but i liked what i had read about the Azur so i pick it up tomorrow.

    Cheers for the praise for the Tosh, I was originally going for the Pioneer 747 at the same price but when i seen the Tosh there was only going to be one winner. The only piece of kit which I'm unhappy with at the moment is my fronts which are Gale 3030's but they were all i could afford and for £150 I cant complain too much. I'm still a student getting by on a measly part time wage so i've done pretty well so far but when i get a full time job the fronts will be first in line for an upgrade.
     

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