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PCM61P DAC chip info requested from a Dennon DCD-660

solderdude

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#63
I really should but the line graphs are so mesmerizing...
 

garbulky

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#64
Do you still have the Denon?
I totally agree with your subjective review. It’s really great and eventhough I have other cd players which have more resolution or detail, there’s smth special about this, but until I found this thread I didn’t know this was no delta sigma dac.
Anyway, not the best place to make this discussion. ASR is where all cd players and Dacs sound the same, which is one of the reasons I come here often..
It's really funny you said this. I hadn't listened to it for at least six months. But yesterday I got some more CDs and tried it out. I wanted to see how it would sound with the HD 700 headphones the DC-1 acted as an analog preamp with the CD player doing dac duty and the Emotiva A-100 did amp duty.
Note: Subjective impressions here, no dbt performed.
It sounds pretty great ! This unit was released in 1990 which is nearly 3 decades ago and I remember what Delta Sigma dacs were like in the late 90s (not good) and I've heard several current DS Dacs that I thought weren't nice to listen to (like the near perfectly measuring Oppo 205). If I had to critique there was a slight harshness to the sound.

But still huge amounts of detail, nice dynamics, a sense of timing that just feels a bit more "right". And I never use the word timing when describing things, because I don't even know how to define that. But when I listen to multibit units that's the word that comes to mind. Things feel like they are playing with a certain level of coherence. It's like something clicks in my brain. Ah well whatever, I'm not good at describing it!

So it was interesting that they already had multibit dacs back then which sound really nice even now. Unfortunately my poor player has two issues - a missing remote and a tray that has trouble opening and needs some manual coaxing. Its anti-skip mechanisms aren't as robust as modern players so it is a little more sensitive to imperfect discs.
 
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#65
I have an old Denon DCD-920 (PCM61P) that works just fine, and compared to the D30 the sound can be described as rawer, fuller and blurrier, not better, the D30 is more transparent.

Probably if measured, the Denon wouldn't hold a candle against any well designed modern delta sigma dac, however I could well live with it even today, electronics have not advanced that much since the late 80s/early 90s, and many perceived differences between gear dissapear with proper level matching.

Pardon me but there are only 2 or 3 dacs that measure bad enough to affirm they sound different from the others.
The only dac I owned that was measured here was Topping D30, and when compared to the Denon, it was like night and day difference.
I don’t think anyone subjectively can prefer the Topping to the Denon.
 

jasonq997

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#66
Pardon me but there are only 2 or 3 dacs that measure bad enough to affirm they sound different from the others.
The only dac I owned that was measured here was Topping D30, and when compared to the Denon, it was like night and day difference.
I don’t think anyone subjectively can prefer the Topping to the Denon.
Anyone? That is a broad population. Subjectivst trolls maybe, but likely not everyone.
 

restorer-john

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#67
Its anti-skip mechanisms aren't as robust as modern players so it is a little more sensitive to imperfect discs.
The abilities of upper range CD players of old to track and retrieve data was infinitely better than modern machines. As they get older however, you can get issues with suspension compression, motor bearing runout and optical mis-alignment. Actual laser failure or low emission is extremely rare.

I have 30 year old machines that will play virtually anything, no matter how damaged and 1st generation machines you can literally shake without mistracking (CDP-101).

In fact one of the demonstrations for the CDP-101 used to be to shake it, bang it with your hand and turn it upside down while playing. I can still do that with my CDP-101s.
 

sonci

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#68
I have an old Denon DCD-920 (PCM61P) that works just fine, and compared to the D30 the sound can be described as rawer, fuller and blurrier, not better, the D30 is more transparent.
That's not possible, just use some more cds.. Notice the space between instruments, the bass lines, you can follow whatever instrument in the mix, with the Dac the details seems to be there but you have to search for them, the Topping really can't handle a tune..
Well its no TDA1541, I agree it's a bit harsh, on some some cds is bothersome, but for this is component matching..
Mine is heavily modded from the times I believed in modding, but I think it's great as is, and the good news is that it's pick up is dirt cheap (KSS - 210A).
CD players do sound good! If you never owned one, you should. Streaming is very handy, but I never enjoy music playing as on my cd players..
 
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garbulky

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#69
That's not possible, just use some more cds.. Notice the space between instruments, the bass lines, you can follow whatever instrument in the mix, with the Dac the details seems to be there but you have to search for them, the Topping really can't handle a tune..
Well its no TDA1541, I agree it's a bit harsh, on some some cds is bothersome, but for this is component matching..
Mine is heavily modded from the times I believed in modding, but I think it's great as is, and the good news is that it's pick up is dirt cheap (KSS - 210A).
CD players do sound good! If you never owned one, you should. Streaming is very handy, but I never enjoy music playing as on my cd players..
(once again this is non level matched purely subjective impressions no dbt. . )

So I did compare the CD switching instantly between disc 1 and disc 2 of a the same concert with disc 1 in the denon and disc 2 in my DC-1. It was a jazz vibraphone concert. The DCD appeared to have a fuller larger sound and the imaging that portrayed the vibraphones was superior. The vibraphone was more dynamic, it also was easier to locate on my hd 700s in space and it had a sense of space around it. However tonally it did have a tiny bit of harshness to it that I didn't care for. I didn't pay any money for either device though the DC-1 does cost a good bit more. And don't get me wrong, the DC-1 is the best DAC I've heard so it's not useless and I love it to pieces. I'm surprised that Denon went from such quality units to whatever garbage passes for their AVRs now.
I did compare this Denon to another CD player with the TDI multibit hybdrid dac and I felt the Denon was better.
 
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#70
I've tried several dacs connected to the DCD-920 over the years, so I have a well formed opinion. Anyway, in the past computer playing was no match for a good CD player and original pressed CDs, but with the arrival of ASIO, wasapi and streaming services the game has changed.

Try to be conscious that what you hear (or you believe to) may be different to what other people do, that's why measurements come in handy, they provide a common ground for comparison (objetivity).

In the end this is just a hobby for most people, so everyone is free to choose what suits them, and trying to push opinions is not a good idea. I enjoy this forum but I also like Head-Fi, for example, you just have to take what you read with a pinch of salt.

The abilities of upper range CD players of old to track and retrieve data was infinitely better than modern machines. As they get older however, you can get issues with suspension compression, motor bearing runout and optical mis-alignment. Actual laser failure or low emission is extremely rare.

I have 30 year old machines that will play virtually anything, no matter how damaged and 1st generation machines you can literally shake without mistracking (CDP-101).

In fact one of the demonstrations for the CDP-101 used to be to shake it, bang it with your hand and turn it upside down while playing. I can still do that with my CDP-101s.
 

ZC7

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#71
I have the Denon DCD-660 (no digital outputs to send it through any of my cheap DACs) & love it (now that i f-*ked it up, see below) with classical, particularly my favorite 1951 Bayreuth “Parsifal.” I did purchase a Schiit Modi 3 based in part on Amir’s positive conclusion on this site. He emphatically stated that for $150 more the multibit version would be a waste of your money, since multibit tested so much more poorly (my paraphrase) — but that having paid the extra $$ one would convince oneself it sounded better. Seems he’s anti-multibit with almost religious fervor, for a scientist :) Unless i’m misinterpreting what i’ve read; quite possible. Yet there are many Joe Listeners who do prefer multibit, some claiming to be musicians themselves etc. The 660 sounded a bit ‘dryer’ and more ‘thin’ to me than my other, slightly more recent Denon DCM-370, the DAC situation therein apparently some sort of hybrid of multibit & the newer delta-sigma.
http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheet/BurrBrown/mXuryvt.pdf
(comments from ASR science guys appreciated - i love to learn here. But love more when i hear what i like :)
(In fact i wanted to believe that 20-ish yr old DCM would sound better, digital out to through the Modi - or Peachtree DACiTx or SMSL S10 — it didn’t)
I preferred the DCM’s (fuller) sound to the DCD-660. I kept seeing on Schiit that what they appear to prefer is some sort of multibit decoding followed by a tube stage. So after doing a little research, and finding out that in the 660 i was listening to multibit DAC, i added a cheap Chi-Fi tube buffer/preamp between it and my power amp. & what may have been ‘digital burrs’ & any perceived “treble harshness” as mentioned above (& i experienced, to a slight degree) was turned to sweetness. Distortion probably, but it worked, and for $47 worth a try. Especially since the “thin” sound gave way to a better soundstage ...

That said i prefer most anything that i stream through the Modi 3 without any tube nonsense :)
I have a one system with a Chromecast Audio -> Modi 3 -> Schiit SYS (passive volume control) -> power amp
& Denon DCD-660->tube buffer/preamp-> SYS (other input)->power amp (—> speakers)
Sorry - nothing scientific here, just wanting to weigh in on that CDP - i’ll go back to reading and learning now
 

Guermantes

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#72
I preferred the DCM’s (fuller) sound to the DCD-660. I kept seeing on Schiit that what they appear to prefer is some sort of multibit decoding followed by a tube stage. So after doing a little research, and finding out that in the 660 i was listening to multibit DAC, i added a cheap Chi-Fi tube buffer/preamp between it and my power amp. & what may have been ‘digital burrs’ & any perceived “treble harshness” as mentioned above (& i experienced, to a slight degree) was turned to sweetness. Distortion probably, but it worked, and for $47 worth a try. Especially since the “thin” sound gave way to a better soundstage ...
Years ago, I bought the Musical Fidelity X-10D tube buffer for much the same reason -- I read that it could improve the sound of cheaper CD players. Your Chinese buffer may be a copy of this unit.

I couldn't perceive that it improved anything so took it out of the audio path and packed it away. Now that we have the excellent DeltaWave software from @pkane, I might just dig it out and see what measurable difference it makes.
 

Dogen

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#73
Years ago, I bought the Musical Fidelity X-10D tube buffer for much the same reason -- I read that it could improve the sound of cheaper CD players. Your Chinese buffer may be a copy of this unit.

I couldn't perceive that it improved anything so took it out of the audio path and packed it away. Now that we have the excellent DeltaWave software from @pkane, I might just dig it out and see what measurable difference it makes.
I bought one of those, too, in the mid-90s audio mania. Stereophile did measurements of it in their review, and it seems to do little at all for better or worse. It did lower channel separation a bit, which I’m convinced is appealing to some ears. It claimed to resolve impedance mismatches, but I can’t imagine that was a real problem at the time, with well designed gear.

It did get me interested in thermionic technology, something I still enjoy. The X-10D, coupled with a vivid imagination, was the gateway drug to many a tube system.
 

Guermantes

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#74
I bought one of those, too, in the mid-90s audio mania. Stereophile did measurements of it in their review, and it seems to do little at all for better or worse. It did lower channel separation a bit, which I’m convinced is appealing to some ears. It claimed to resolve impedance mismatches, but I can’t imagine that was a real problem at the time, with well designed gear.
That might have been the review that prompted me to buy it. From Sam Tellig's review:
At the risk of being repetitious, the X-10D is a stunning upgrade for the Marantz CD63 or CD63SE. The unit adds richness, dimensionality, and improves dynamics. It takes the sounds of these players—which, straight out of the analog outputs, can be a little thin—and fleshes it out. It smooths the treble, adds body to the midrange and bass. It takes the $500 Marantz CD63SE and makes it sound more like a $1500-$2000 CD player—all for $199.95.

Intriguing . . .
 

garbulky

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#75
I have the Denon DCD-660 (no digital outputs to send it through any of my cheap DACs) & love it (now that i f-*ked it up, see below) with classical, particularly my favorite 1951 Bayreuth “Parsifal.” I did purchase a Schiit Modi 3 based in part on Amir’s positive conclusion on this site. He emphatically stated that for $150 more the multibit version would be a waste of your money, since multibit tested so much more poorly (my paraphrase) — but that having paid the extra $$ one would convince oneself it sounded better. Seems he’s anti-multibit with almost religious fervor, for a scientist :) Unless i’m misinterpreting what i’ve read; quite possible. Yet there are many Joe Listeners who do prefer multibit, some claiming to be musicians themselves etc. The 660 sounded a bit ‘dryer’ and more ‘thin’ to me than my other, slightly more recent Denon DCM-370, the DAC situation therein apparently some sort of hybrid of multibit & the newer delta-sigma.
http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheet/BurrBrown/mXuryvt.pdf
(comments from ASR science guys appreciated - i love to learn here. But love more when i hear what i like :)
(In fact i wanted to believe that 20-ish yr old DCM would sound better, digital out to through the Modi - or Peachtree DACiTx or SMSL S10 — it didn’t)
I preferred the DCM’s (fuller) sound to the DCD-660. I kept seeing on Schiit that what they appear to prefer is some sort of multibit decoding followed by a tube stage. So after doing a little research, and finding out that in the 660 i was listening to multibit DAC, i added a cheap Chi-Fi tube buffer/preamp between it and my power amp. & what may have been ‘digital burrs’ & any perceived “treble harshness” as mentioned above (& i experienced, to a slight degree) was turned to sweetness. Distortion probably, but it worked, and for $47 worth a try. Especially since the “thin” sound gave way to a better soundstage ...

That said i prefer most anything that i stream through the Modi 3 without any tube nonsense :)
I have a one system with a Chromecast Audio -> Modi 3 -> Schiit SYS (passive volume control) -> power amp
& Denon DCD-660->tube buffer/preamp-> SYS (other input)->power amp (—> speakers)
Sorry - nothing scientific here, just wanting to weigh in on that CDP - i’ll go back to reading and learning now
I haven't seen that particular type of hybrid dac. But I did liusten to a hybrid where it used a tda 1541 chip (I think) where it used the bottom parts as R2R and then the top bits as some sort of current converter or something like that. It sounded like well...a hybrid! :D It reminded me more of delta sigma units I heard but not quite!
 
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#76
Stereophile always gave rave reviews of almost all MF gear, so take it with a grain of salt. I bought myself back in the day several X-Ponent range components: hp amp, psu, dac, but didn't find any appeal for their tube buffer. With some maintenance all of them are in working condition almost 20 years later, and they are still good performers.

For curiosity, they sell in ebay chinese X-10D clones for spare change, and the original ones can often be found 2nd hand.

Anyway, tube buffers in the end are just distortion/effect boxes that add a certain amount of compression and 2nd. order harmonics to the signal, the resulting sound may be more pleasing to some but certainly will be lower in fidelity.

That might have been the review that prompted me to buy it. From Sam Tellig's review:
At the risk of being repetitious, the X-10D is a stunning upgrade for the Marantz CD63 or CD63SE. The unit adds richness, dimensionality, and improves dynamics. It takes the sounds of these players—which, straight out of the analog outputs, can be a little thin—and fleshes it out. It smooths the treble, adds body to the midrange and bass. It takes the $500 Marantz CD63SE and makes it sound more like a $1500-$2000 CD player—all for $199.95.

Intriguing . . .
 
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#77
I couldn't perceive that it improved anything so took it out of the audio path and packed it away. Now that we have the excellent DeltaWave software from @pkane, I might just dig it out and see what measurable difference it makes.
That would be interesting, to see what measurable differences, & to what degree there may be ...
Chances are not significant, since as you say you couldn’t “perceive that it improved anything.” Which i assume means you didn’t perceive it to be worse.
It came as something of a surprise to me in that my original arrangement was both the CDP and the Modi through the buffer to the amp. But something didn’t sound quite right about the Modi that way, so re-configured it to not utilize it. Despite my head suggesting i should like it as much as i did the CDP through the tubes ... i didn’t. The pure signal through the amp was preferable. Yet for me the CDP through the slight tube tweak works ...
I recently got a streaming DAC, the Nexum TB 20, $79, analog/optical out like the CCA, w/ an additional coaxial out, & some other features i don’t use. But it has the same chip as my older/favorite Peachtree DAC-iTx, an ES9023, and was curious about the A-B between it’s internal DAC and the Peachtree’s implementation. Unfortunately my method was just me listening to music, changing the input, sitting down listening, ‘rewinding,’ getting up (no remote) repeat etc. I wanted to believe the Peachtree would sound better, but couldn’t in all honesty say so. Same chip, but chip isn’t everything, as i read Amir & other wise men here. With the CCA, the difference to me was perceptibly in favor of any of my external DACs, there was no question. I see where the CCA measures in DAC reviews. Can my ears perceive the difference in say, the CCA’s 91 SINAD and the Modi’s 105? (I’d done the comparison before finding this site, so i had no expectation, in fact may have hoped it to be better as-is)
 
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