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$2k AVR vs $1k AVR + $1k DAC

sfesp

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Probably a lot of similar threads, but without ease of buying/testing myself, wanted some expert "opinions"...

Setting up a new 18' x 24' living room for 50/50 music and tv/movies. Music audio quality is the priority. All music plays from ROON.
Wiring for 7.2.4 (which may be overkill, but why not...). Display will be mid-grade ~$2k QLED or OLED.
High quality LRC+subs, I swap in/out occasionally DIYs, Magnepan, Rhymik subs.
Main channels will be powered by Hypex NC502MP dedicated amp.
Most surrounds will be just Dayton in wall/ceilings. (unless someone convinces me other similarly priced units are sooo much better). Will do some cavity treatments to improve sound.

Opinions on $2k AVR vs $1k AVR + $1k DAC ???

Default for the $2k AVR would be a Yamaha 3080. Advantage would be simpler setup. Good ESS DAC with balanced out for 2-channel. Better center and surround amps (but not sure a big deal for my low quality surround speakers). For ROON would probably use a rpi or similar.

Default for the $1k AVR + $1k DAC would be a miniDSP SHD and Marantz SR6014. miniDSP possible native ROON and SHD could be dedicated 2 ch and take LR preouts from Marantz for HT. This would be a bit more of a hassle to setup control but could be done with a Harmony. This combo should be better for music but worse for HT, but I think also give better control/options for different listening modes/speakers.

I'm leaning to buy the miniDSP SHD and Marantz SR6014. Please let me know your thoughts! thanks for your time :)
 
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sfesp

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Denon X3700H with $20 Audyssey app.
I take it your vote is the 1k + 1k solution, but with the Denon X3700H over the Marantz...ok i think the Denon and Marantz are pretty similar.
 

SKBubba

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Probably a lot of similar threads, but without ease of buying/testing myself, wanted some expert "opinions"...

Setting up a new 18' x 24' living room for 50/50 music and tv/movies. Music audio quality is the priority. All music plays from ROON.
Wiring for 7.2.4 (which may be overkill, but why not...). Display will be mid-grade ~$2k QLED or OLED.
High quality LRC+subs, I swap in/out occasionally DIYs, Magnepan, Rhymik subs.
Main channels will be powered by Hypex NC502MP dedicated amp.
Most surrounds will be just Dayton in wall/ceilings. (unless someone convinces me other similarly priced units are sooo much better). Will do some cavity treatments to improve sound.

Opinions on $2k AVR vs $1k AVR + $1k DAC ???

Default for the $2k AVR would be a Yamaha 3080. Advantage would be simpler setup. Good ESS DAC with balanced out for 2-channel. Better center and surround amps (but not sure a big deal for my low quality surround speakers). For ROON would probably use a rpi or similar.

Default for the $1k AVR + $1k DAC would be a miniDSP SHD and Marantz SR6014. miniDSP possible native ROON and SHD could be dedicated 2 ch and take LR preouts from Marantz for HT. This would be a bit more of a hassle to setup control but could be done with a Harmony. This combo should be better for music but worse for HT, but I think also give better control/options for different listening modes/speakers.

I'm leaning to buy the miniDSP SHD and Marantz SR6014. Please let me know your thoughts! thanks for your time :)

An outboard dac/dsp into avr/processor analog in will result in double dac adc dac conversion. Plus, it will all get resampled to 48k in d+m audyssey, which I would think you would want to use.
 
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sfesp

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An outboard dac/dsp into avr/processor analog in will result in double dac adc dac conversion. Plus, it will all get resampled to 48k in d+m audyssey, which I would think you would want to use.
The main LR would always be fed by DAC only. The AVR preout would be input to the DAC so for HT the double conversion would apply. But the music feed from DAC would be clear of the AVR.
 

sailor2005

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An outboard dac/dsp into avr/processor analog in will result in double dac adc dac conversion. Plus, it will all get resampled to 48k in d+m audyssey, which I would think you would want to use.
His plan is to put the AVR LR preamp outputs INTO the MiniDSP. So when digital signals go into the SHD they won't go thru the AVR, they go to the power amp. There will ne ADC when the AVR outputs into the SHD.
A better solution would be something like this

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D7P736...olid=1KAJ1T72XHKEK&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

you can select inputs and outputs, leaving maybe one XLR output set always on for the power amp and selecting between RCA and XLR inputs for the AVR and SHD.
 
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sfesp

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His plan is to put the AVR LR preamp outputs INTO the MiniDSP. So when digital signals go into the SHD they won't go thru the AVR, they go to the power amp. There will ne ADC when the AVR outputs into the SHD.
A better solution would be something like this

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D7P736...olid=1KAJ1T72XHKEK&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

you can select inputs and outputs, leaving maybe one XLR output set always on for the power amp and selecting between RCA and XLR inputs for the AVR and SHD.
I'm not sure how much the SHD would degrade the pre out of the AVR.... thanks for the product recommendation. I would want any switching to be triggerable by a Harmony remote.
 

Chrispy

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The main LR would always be fed by DAC only. The AVR preout would be input to the DAC so for HT the double conversion would apply. But the music feed from DAC would be clear of the AVR.

Why would you connect the analog pre-out from an avr go to a dac? That makes no sense. What do you expect an external dac, particularly an overpriced one, to bring to the table?
 
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sfesp

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Why would you connect the analog pre-out from an avr go to a dac? That makes no sense. What do you expect an external dac, particularly an overpriced one, to bring to the table?
OK. So your suggesting that there would be no sonic difference in stereo of the DAC feeding the Hypex amp / Magnepans vs the AVR pre out feeding the Hypex amp / Magnepans. My experience testing a benchmark DAC vs Marantz 500X AVR with bryston amps and good speakers 10+years ago, the DAC was superior. I'm not expecting any better HT quality from the AVR through the DAC... I just don't think I will notice it being worse with most of the garbage sound it get from Netflix and live sports.
 

Chrispy

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OK. So your suggesting that there would be no sonic difference in stereo of the DAC feeding the Hypex amp / Magnepans vs the AVR pre out feeding the Hypex amp / Magnepans. My experience testing a benchmark DAC vs Marantz 500X AVR with bryston amps and good speakers 10+years ago, the DAC was superior. I'm not expecting any better HT quality from the AVR through the DAC... I just don't think I will notice it being worse with most of the garbage sound it get from Netflix and live sports.

Still, why would you send an analog signal to a dac? What is the dac going to "do"?

I've used a variety of speakers/amps/avrs, and no I wouldn't bother with an external dac. Usually don't even use external amplification outside the avr altho I did hook up some amps to my main one just because they were laying there....no sonic difference, tho I don't have difficult speakers like the rep of the maggies either.
 

peng

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I'm not sure how much the SHD would degrade the pre out of the AVR.... thanks for the product recommendation. I would want any switching to be triggerable by a Harmony remote.

Either way there should be no audible difference in a blind test when you are not biased, otherwise yes there will likely be a difference. I use external USB DACs of my choice for music but only because I want to use my laptops and desktop and JRiver so I can play the highest resolution files including PCM24b/192kHz or higher, and DSD128, 256 etc., as there seem to be more well recorded music on those formats/resolutions, than on 16b/44.1kHz, 24b/48kHz and 24b/96kHz. It is the quality of the recording that matters most, not the DAC chips, ES, AKM, Cirrus Logic, or TI etc.
 

FrantzM

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sfesp

Welcome.
There is a different way to go about this.
A bit of Rupe Godldberg

Control this could be a bit on the complicated side...
Take the SHD + (LR) + Subs as one system. It is your music system. Don't look at anything else. It plays music. You send signal to its analog input and you have great sound:
SHD
Your uber-amps
Your Left and Light Speakers
Your Subwoofers
All these controlled and corrected by Dirac if you care.

========

Now for movies. Your AVR has Pre out: Left, Right, Center, Surround Right, Surround Left, Surround back right, Surround back left, Ceiling Right, Ceiling Left pre output. You have amps for the center and the other speakers....
AVR Pre out Left, goes to SHD analog in Right
AVR Pre out Right goes to SHD analog Left
AVR rest of outputs go to their respective amplifers.

Then you calibrate the AVR/movie control center/system with Audyssey, setting Audyssey with NO subs, Full Range Left and Right Mains and small center, Surrounds, Surround's back speakers, Atmos etc...

You may need to acquire the Audyssey MultiEq app at $20. It will allow you to limit Audyssey, corrections frequencies .. etc ...
Voilà!

Control is possible but ...

P.S. I'd advise on the Denon AVR X3700 rather than the Yamaha or the Marantz ... The Denon has been tested here and found to be up to the tasks,

Using only an AVR would yield simplicity and likely, exact same sonic results :facepalm:
I am also at heart, a SINAD chaser;).. I "dig" you
 
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sfesp

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sfesp

Welcome.
There is a different way to go about this.
A bit of Rupe Godldberg

Control this could be a bit on the complicated side...
Take the SHD + (LR) + Subs as one system. It is your music system. Don't look at anything else. It plays music. You send signal to its analog input and you have great sound:
SHD
Your uber-amps
Your Left and Light Speakers
Your Subwoofers
All these controlled and corrected by Dirac if you care.

========

Now fr movies. Your AVR has Pre out: Left, Right, Center, Surround Right, Surround Left, Surround back right, Surround back left, Ceiling Right, Ceiling Left pre output. You have amps for the center and the other speakers....
AVR Pre out Left, goes to SHD analog in Right
AVR Pre out Right goes to SHD analog Left
AVR rest of outputs go to their respective amplifers.

Then you calibrate the AVR/movie control center/system with Audyssey, setting Audyssey with NO subs, Full Range Left and Right Mains and small center, Surrounds, Surround's back speakers, Atmos etc...

You may need to acquire the Denon MultiEq app at $20. It will allow you to limit Audyssey, corrections frequencies .. etc ...
Voilà!

Control is possible but ...

Using the AVR yields simplicity and likely, exact same sonic results :facepalm:
I am also a SINAD chaser;).. I "dig" you

thanks. This is exactly what I was proposing... sorry if that was not clear... the question was this approach vs a more expensive AVR for the same total cost.
 

Chrispy

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Doubt the more expensive avr would bring anything but additional features, not particularly increased sound quality....
 
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sfesp

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Still, why would you send an analog signal to a dac? What is the dac going to "do"?

I've used a variety of speakers/amps/avrs, and no I wouldn't bother with an external dac. Usually don't even use external amplification outside the avr altho I did hook up some amps to my main one just because they were laying there....no sonic difference, tho I don't have difficult speakers like the rep of the maggies either.
Thx for your input. The SHD is more than a DAC... it

I tested 10+ years ago and found that a good amp like hypex or bryston to sound better than just the AVR amp. Back then I tested marantz, denon, elite $700-1000 AVRs. I also have a NAD 775 which a certainly a decent sounding AVR. For me, a separate amp for mains was a good addition, especially for magnepans. I found that my benchmark dac feeding the bryston improved for some recordings vs the avr... but that difference was small compared to using the separate amp. That was my experience. Some might not notice a difference, some may say it was all in my head... maybe new AVRs have improved and maybe with the $ 2k AVRs the power supply and dac output stage are good so hardly a difference.
 

Chrispy

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Thx for your input. The SHD is more than a DAC... it

I tested 10+ years ago and found that a good amp like hypex or bryston to sound better than just the AVR amp. Back then I tested marantz, denon, elite $700-1000 AVRs. I also have a NAD 775 which a certainly a decent sounding AVR. For me, a separate amp for mains was a good addition, especially for magnepans. I found that my benchmark dac feeding the bryston improved for some recordings vs the avr... but that difference was small compared to using the separate amp. That was my experience. Some might not notice a difference, some may say it was all in my head... maybe new AVRs have improved and maybe with the $ 2k AVRs the power supply and dac output stage are good so hardly a difference.

I'd call it a processor with a dac....and sometimes more amp is needed than an avr has, but depends on your listening levels, speakers, eye candy desires, etc....
 
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sfesp

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Ok. The feedback is don’t bother with the more expensive AVR... stick with the SR6014 or Denon 3700. And also consider the AVR as a DAC/pre without the SHD...
 

FrantzM

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Thx for your input. The SHD is more than a DAC... it

I tested 10+ years ago and found that a good amp like hypex or bryston to sound better than just the AVR amp. Back then I tested marantz, denon, elite $700-1000 AVRs. I also have a NAD 775 which a certainly a decent sounding AVR. For me, a separate amp for mains was a good addition, especially for magnepans. I found that my benchmark dac feeding the bryston improved for some recordings vs the avr... but that difference was small compared to using the separate amp. That was my experience. Some might not notice a difference, some may say it was all in my head... maybe new AVRs have improved and maybe with the $ 2k AVRs the power supply and dac output stage are good so hardly a difference.
Ehhhhhhhh .... hands waving etc ....
I did test a few things a few years back and learn one thing: Test with knowledge of the DUT are unreliable.
 
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sfesp

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Ehhhhhhhh .... hands waving etc ....
I did test a few things a few years back and learn one thing: Test with knowledge of the DUT are unreliable.
I agree with you. My tests were listening to recordings that I’ve listened to many, many times with speakers I know very well. And repeating certain parts of those recordings at a pretty high volume... mostly live recordings with low noise and high dynamic range. But, I do sometimes enjoy listening to these great recordings at a high volume. And it just bugs me if there are certain elements that seem to be missing.

I don’t think I could tell the difference between a good AVR and DAC/amps with most music and certainly not Netflix/TV. Even a atmos Blu-ray I probably wouldn’t notice or care.
 
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