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Does CSR 8675 Actually need an external DAC?

Feb 23, 2021
So this is my first post, i am fairly new to the audiophile world.

I am looking at Bluetooth streaming of music from a handheld device. I like the practicality and am trying to achieve the most on the cheapest. So the premise is I wanna listen through BT, (5.0 if available) and achieve the highest bit rate (aptx/aptxHD) but i don't wanna break the bank so to say ( to me anything over 100£ on a DAC is expensive).

Now i have been researching the various BT transmission/receiving chips/solutions. What i noticed is that all the latest solutions (IFI Zen blue like etc) adopt the CSR 8675 platform, mainly for aptx/aptxHD standard data transmission. Now what i noticed from IFI and others is that they somehow are not satisfied with the DAC capabilities of the CSR8675 , even though Qualcomm claims that the DAC is 24bit up to 192KHz - high quality DAC conversion. So then why are these producers adopting a PCM TI DAC or a ESS DAC, that basically does the same thing the integrated DAC does? I don't wanna get into "the way it sounds" discussion. I DO understand that DACs can have an effect on the sound and i have experienced it myself comparing straight out of my Samsung S10 compared to an external DAC. The sound from the external DAC was cleaner crisper more detailed, etc. I know many integrated DACs don't sound good.

What i'm asking is the following: i did a test with a 25£ CSR based BT receiver connected to my AVR (Onkyo TX SR308)+ a pair of Wharfeldale 9.1s. My receiver has a SPDIF out so i could compare the internal TI Burr Brown Onkyo DAC (i guess more than 10 years old now)sound- to the CSR one through the DIRECT path AUX connection on the ONKYO. And honestly, i couldn't tell much of a difference. Now, i know my 25£ BT receiver doesnt have an additional DAC, i opened it and checked.

So, are we paying superfluous money on 100£+ BT DAC solutions? IS this a case where established DAC chip makers + the BT DAC makers are pushing over priced stuff to the avg consumer (audiophile) when in fact the CSR Integrated DAC nowadays is plenty good enough? Is actually what is built around the DAC - the final analogue signal delivery path that one pays the extra cash for? Let me know your thoughts.

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