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Help wanted with matching USB DAC to existing system


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Friends, this is my first post to this forum and I'm seeking some sage advice to inform my decision making. I'm getting ready to update my HTPC and looking at pairing up my existing system with a USB DAC at the same time as my HTPC upgrade. I'm hoping this community's concept of being an audiophile has more to do with the appreciation and pursuit of a quality music experience than the equipment itself because I'm definitely positioned in the mid to lower mid equipment realm.

 

Specifically:

An Onkyo TX-NR808 for 5.1 surround sound and preamp to an Adcom GFA-5400 for 2-channel (and SS front spkrs). The existing PC utilizes a Asus coax SPDIF module coming off the motherboard header out to an Adcom GDA-600 DAC with analog connections to the Onkyo. The Adcom amp drives a pair of Polk Audio TSi400 floor standing speakers, the Onkyo drives a pair of Bose Acoustimass speakers for the rear speakers, a Polk Audio CS-10 center, and a Polk Audio PSW-111 sub.

 

All said, not much more than a pedestrian setup but it meets my budget and humble listening sensibilities. My FLAC music library is managed and played from J River Media Center.

 

For a new USB DAC, I'm interested in identifying an affordable price range that would, 1) produce a noticeable improvement, and 2) not be overmatched to the components listed above. The Onkyo's Burr-Brown DACs perform 24-bit signal processing and support sampling rates of up to 192 kHz and are supposed to reduce jitter.

 

As a placeholder, I just ordered a Musical Fidelity V-Link from Amazon that is on sale for $99, but I'm not opposed to returning it (the goal was to test drive it). For the time being, replacing any other parts of the system is not an option, but I wouldn't be opposed to dropping off the Adcom DAC. As a person of Scottish heritage, I live up to the stereotype of being cheap!

 

All thoughts and opinions welcomed and appreciated.

 

 

 

Cable Modem Router ---> Blue Jeans Cable (BJC) Cat 6a Patch Cord ---> Uptone AUDIO EtherREGEN 'A' Side <--- BJC Cat 6a <---QNAP TS-453 Pro - 'B' Side ---> Moon Audio Silver Dragon Network Cable ---> DIY Fanless HTPC with SOtM SATA 3 Filters and SOtM TX-USBexp ---> Silver Dragon USB Cable ---> Uptone Audio ISO REGEN (PSU: UltraCAP LPS-1.2 w/ Ghent GAC4 Gotham GAC-4/Star Quad DC Cable ---> Chord Hugo M Scaler ---> Moon Audio Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable (Dual BNC) ---> Audiowise OPTO-DX Receiver (SMPS) ---> Optical Cables (Stock) ---> Audiowise OPTO-RX Receiver (PS: UltraCAP LPS-1.2 w/ Ghent GAC4 Gotham GAC-4/Star Quad DC Cable) ---> Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable (Dual BNC) ---> Chord Hugo TT2 (DAC mode) ---> Morrow Audio MA3 Interconnect (XLR) ---> Hegel P20 preamp ---> Morrow Audio MA3 Interconnect (XLR) ---> Hegel H20 amp ---> Morrow Audio SP4 Speaker Cable Pair Bi-wired ---> KEF Reference 1 speakers.  Audeze LCD-MX4 and Focal Utopia headphones powered with Chord Hugo TT 2

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Personally I would look at supplementing your Onkyo with a analogue pre-amp (preferably with HT Bypass) rather than upgrading your DAC.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Wow, that wasn't on my radar! That's worthy of some investigation, thanks for the tip.

 

Cable Modem Router ---> Blue Jeans Cable (BJC) Cat 6a Patch Cord ---> Uptone AUDIO EtherREGEN 'A' Side <--- BJC Cat 6a <---QNAP TS-453 Pro - 'B' Side ---> Moon Audio Silver Dragon Network Cable ---> DIY Fanless HTPC with SOtM SATA 3 Filters and SOtM TX-USBexp ---> Silver Dragon USB Cable ---> Uptone Audio ISO REGEN (PSU: UltraCAP LPS-1.2 w/ Ghent GAC4 Gotham GAC-4/Star Quad DC Cable ---> Chord Hugo M Scaler ---> Moon Audio Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable (Dual BNC) ---> Audiowise OPTO-DX Receiver (SMPS) ---> Optical Cables (Stock) ---> Audiowise OPTO-RX Receiver (PS: UltraCAP LPS-1.2 w/ Ghent GAC4 Gotham GAC-4/Star Quad DC Cable) ---> Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable (Dual BNC) ---> Chord Hugo TT2 (DAC mode) ---> Morrow Audio MA3 Interconnect (XLR) ---> Hegel P20 preamp ---> Morrow Audio MA3 Interconnect (XLR) ---> Hegel H20 amp ---> Morrow Audio SP4 Speaker Cable Pair Bi-wired ---> KEF Reference 1 speakers.  Audeze LCD-MX4 and Focal Utopia headphones powered with Chord Hugo TT 2

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