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Adding a External DAC for my Arcam AVR 850


Active Member
Apr 17, 2020
Northern Utah.
I am own and am using an Arcam AVR 850 for everything. It is my sole control unit for music, and video. Curiosity got me interested to see if I can achieve an even more musical experience for my CD media and my Amazon Music HD streaming. Thus I landed and purchased a WiiM Pro. I was astonished how great this little device sounded verses streaming from my Fire TV. So satisfied with the upgrade. Now my curiosity is, can I find an external DAC which will provide an even more satisfying reproduction of my digital music being CD via Oppo 203 and the Wiim Pro with Amazon HD Music? I have watched and read tons of reviews on DACs but I believe most are used with stereo systems being either integrated or separates. Being I have only one device for everything being the Arcam AVR 850 I was curious if anyone had any suggestions or experience using an external DAC with an AVR and ones findings?
I am not looking for a combined DAC/Streamer. I have been considering DAC's like the Gustard R26 or possibly the Denafrips Ares 12th-1. I think but will do more research the R26 I believe has a built in streamer but limited streamer for ROON correct? Not really concerned with Roon right now. Plus once m Wiim Pro get certified it too will support Roon as an end point. On a less expensive side I am considering the Geshelli Labs JNOG2 with the AKM chip and a few other add ons.

Any thoughts on these DAC choices being an upgrade to the internal Arcam Cirrus Circuit DAC for stereo digital media?
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I am now testing a SMSL SU 10 with the Arcam 850. Though the Arcam is damn good the SMSL is more open and revealing per detail. Nice bass, awesome vocals. So yes, one can upgrade an AVR and achieve amazing audio reproduction. Here is how I have my testing setup.

AVR 850 connections. Stereo only.
WiiM Pro> SPDIF into 850. Setting set to flat no room correction no subs WiiM flat.
WiiM Pro >COAX into SMSL SU60 > SMSL SU60 Analog out L&R set to Arcam 850 utilizing Analog in on Arcam and input to Direct. This bypasses the internal AVR850 processing thus the 850 becomes a integrated amp only capable to reproduce in stereo when in Direct. This will eliminate use of all subs.

Speakers Ohm Walsh 3000
Headphones Sennheiser
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