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To dac or not to dac, DAC’s the question

pinknoise

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Mar 27, 2022
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Hi all, and sorry for my English.
I’m thinking about getting a DAC for my >60 years old ears, mainly for music listening.

My current setup is:
Coreelec tv box (S905X3) as source -- > toslink to Onkyo AVR------ > B&W DM570 speakers + Harman Kardon subwoofer.

Coreelec can passthrough PCM audio with no issues (Avr screen shows the right file sample rate ), and internals Onkyo Dacs do their job (max. 192 kHz).
Few months ago I started listening to music in DSD64/128 format. Spdif/Toslink doesn’t allow DSD (except DoP), and Onkyo avr doesn’t manage DSD.
Coreelec can play DSD (converts DSD to PCM at a selectable bitrate), but that’s not the natural way to play DSD.

With a DAC my new setup would be:
Coreelec tv box S905X3 as source --- > Usb to DAC --- > RCA to Onkyo Avr --- > B&W DM570 speakers (no more subwoofer, but DM570 are full range).

I’ve read in this forum that AVRs transform the RCA analog inputs, except on “Pure Audio” mode, but on “Pure audio” I miss the Bass/Treble/Loudness control I like so much. I could use a stereo amplifier I have lying around (Aiwa XA-007) and forget about Avr

The question is: It’s worth for me to get a DAC ?? ( candidate is Topping E30 ).
Could I notice any improvement in PCM or DSD music ??

I’m sure I can’t tell between 44.1/96/192 sample rates, nor hear beyond 10/12 kHz, but 140€ is not that much if there is a little improvement (e.g. warmer sound).

Thanks.
 

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DVDdoug

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but that’s not the natural way to play DSD.
Most DACs will convert it require conversion to PCM. And of course, you're not listening to DSD or PCM, you're listening to the analog output.

but on “Pure audio” I miss the Bass/Treble/Loudness control I like so much. I could use a stereo amplifier
So obviously, you like the altered sound! And the DSP might be better than analog processing, even with the extra analog-to-digital-to-analog conversion.

Could I notice any improvement in PCM or DSD music ??
Not likely, especially in a blind level-matched listening test.


...If you want "better" sound, maybe you want better (or different) speakers, or maybe add a subwoofer. Or, maybe just some EQ, or maybe some acoustic treatment.
 
Last edited:

TheBatsEar

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Agree with the voices that say screw DSD. But you might want to test that yourself, as we all have.

I have the D30 and can vouch for its quality. Besides, 150€ isn't much for an experiment.

I wouldn't worry about your AVR unless you have noise problems or something.
 
D

Deleted member 46664

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Consider the price of the external DAC ... is that money justified in better sound?
Personally, I would bet that it isn't.
 
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