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Will a seperate DAC improve CD Changer Quality?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Cookiedds, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. Cookiedds

    Cookiedds
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    I have a Marantz CC4300 5 disc changer as my CD source (because my wife insisted on a 5 disc changer). I would like to improve the sound quality of the CD player if possible by adding a seperate DAC (such as the Musical Fidelity A324, Theta Pro Basic IIIa, Bel Canto DAC2, Stello DA220 by April Music or Monarchy Audio Model 22C). Seperate DACs don't seem to be as popular or common as the were several years ago and I'm wondering if one would be of noticable value in my system.

    Am I wasting my money going this route or will a DAC clean up and improve the sound of my current player enough to justify the cost? There really are no high end CD changers on the market (the Rotel RC-1055 isn't a stellar performer and the McIntosh 5 disc changer is plain ugly and expensive) so I see this as my only avenue to improvement.

    I don't have a dealer I can demo one from (I live in Montana) so I'm depending on your advice and reviews and having to make a purchase over the internet on this info.

    Thanks for your help,

    Christian
     
  2. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Hi Christian,
    An good quality external DAC (such as any you've mentioned) will give you a marked improvement (possibly even dramatic) over your current setup. A lot will also depend on what amplification/speakers you are using. I think this is where a lot of people have slipped up when going down the DAC route. The DAC improves things but the amps aren't capable enough to allow that improvment to show through.
    There are a lot of threads talking about DACs and their positive and negative points on this forum.
    Will you be buying secondhand?
    HTH
     
  3. Cookiedds

    Cookiedds
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    I will be using a Marantz PM7200 integrated amp, a Marantz CC4300 5 disc CD player and Canton Karat L 100 speakers on Target HR60 sand filled stands.
    I am also going to add a subwoofer but haven't decided on a model yet.

    Yes, I do plan on purchasing the DAC second hand.
     
  4. Cookiedds

    Cookiedds
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    Any recommendaions on a used DAC under $1000.00?
     
  5. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    I'm not really familiar with what is available in your Country or the cost in dollars. I think i'd look at something like the TAG DAC 20 or Music Fidelity. As I am unfamiliar with all your equipment I'm probably not the best person to advise you.
     
  6. Blue_Max

    Blue_Max
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    Adding an external DAC to a CD plyer will improve sound quality. As an added bonus you can plug in other digital sources such as DVD player, FreeView box, MiniDisc, etc into a DAC and enjoy a big gain in quality.

    Highly acclaimed M-Audio Super DAC 2496 is well worth considering.
    It is made for the music industry. A much bigger market place than stereo hi-fi. Economies of scale that mass production bring keeps the price down to levels hi-fi industry can only dream of. If it were to be a ‘hi-fi product’ sold though the hi-fi trade with its big margins, it will have a 'hi-fi price tag' of at least double.

    For specs and features see data sheet at http://www.gbaudio.co.uk/data/dac2496.htm
     
  7. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    cookiedds,

    I recommend you take a look at the Perpetual Technologies (Colorado based) P-1A/P-3A combo. Its a very famous upsampler/dac combo. You could just buy the dac on its own for $700 and buy the upsampler later, if you want to upgrade.

    Top quality state-of-the-art dac in a small package:

    http://www.av123.com/products_category_brand.php?section=processors&brand=2

    DT
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I have one of these,and have been very happy with the sound....clean,clear and detailed,and the upsampler really does add a huge amount to the overall sound,which can be a little on the clinical side without it in place.

    I would strongly recommend buying both if at all possible,but the DAC on it's own is very good for the money.

    You may also wish to take a look at the Benchmark DAC-1 which is getting excellent reviews over here(although I have no experience of it)and should not only fit your budget,but is US made,as is the Perpetual Technologies gear.
     
  9. yamoda

    yamoda
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    I have a Theta III Pro (600 dollars inc shipping + tax thru Audiogon) and have tried it against my Lexicon MC8's DAC's. Using a MF pre/power the difference was definitely noticable, with the Theta being ahead in all departments (This is a 5 year old DAC against a state of the art modern theatre processor) When I hooked it all up to my Pass Labs pre, The differences were emphasised even more when using a Red Dawn interconnect, but the real epiphany came when I used the Klotz star-quad mic cables (£2 a foot) plugged into the xlr sockets on the DAC and pre, the difference was almost night and day. This showed me 2 things; 1. Use a high quality DAC when possible and 2. Dont pay high prices for cables if your system has xlr sockets.
     

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