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totally new...have a general question

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I'm thinking seriously about integrating my computer into my stereo and my first (next) purchase is going to be either a DAC or a NAD C565 but my question relates to HD audio files...those better than redbook CDs.


How much of a system does a guy have to have to take advantage of that kind of resolution?


I'm talking for listening through speakers not headphones...headphones are a whole other discussion.


Anyway, I currently have an OPPO disk player that plays everything and and a Pioneer 1018 receiver feeding PSB Image B25 Bookshelf Speakers. I'm pretty sure my receiver is my weak link but I don't want to replace it right away. I'd rather get the music server up and running. So...any opinions on whether I'm going to notice a difference on HD recordings vs. regular lossless ripped CD's...

I have only few SACD's at this point and I don't have the non-SACD counterpart of any of them to compare directly but as I'm running only 2 channels, I haven't noticed any significant quality difference in the SACD vs some of my regular great sounding CDs.


Thanks for your input.



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I haven't noticed any significant quality difference in the SACD vs some of my regular great sounding CDs.


Generally I would agree with you, but with quite some effort there really is a difference.


How much of a system does a guy have to have to take advantage of that kind of resolution?


It would be true that your system must be, say, good resolving. But even when it is, it is not so easy to let sound hires material really sound better than redbook. In the end it all boiles down to the DAC, and the general problem is that a DAC playing at a higher sample rate doesn't perform on par with, well, itself at a lower sample rate.

I'll spare you the details, but to my own experience a DAC which *really* shows the merits of hires material without comparing apples and oranges to begin with, IMHHO does not exist. I created one myself exactly for this, and with all the effort going into it, it does matter for the better.


I have quite some hires albums by now, but if I had to do it again, I really wouldn't bother. I mean, I don't see the benefit in a relative handful of albums sounding better indeed, with a whole world of redbook albums to choose from (think in terms of 1:1000000).


My conclusion : don't let destroy you world of normal CDs by spending money on a pricey DAC for those few, while you could spend the money on e.g. better speakers. Or a best DAC for redbook for that matter.





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Where high resolution files make the most difference to me is with classical music. This may have more to do with my tastes versus anything else, but the voices of the orchestra are more crisp and separate.


Perhaps for this reason, the sense of space, in terms of where the individual instrument's sound originates, is better. I think the subjective dynamics of the orchestra are better, that is, more dramatic. So I'm quite excited about high resolution downloads in this area.


Are these things important? Of course that's up to each listener; everyone weight these things differently.


Having said this, being able to get a well recorded album probably trumps any resolution of a poorly recorded one. :-)


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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There used to be an old adage, mainly propagated by Linn and the likes, that Rubbish in meant Rubbish out. This in turn meant you spent a huge proportion of your system on the front end of your system - in those days the record deck.


It was easier to defend this adage as vinyl was the only source, rather than todays market where we have a multitude of different res digital formats.


My experience of high res is that when it is good it is stunning but too often it flatters to deceive. I have some SACDs that are wonderful and some that absolutely suck. Furthermore as other people have pointed out there is very little choice and I expect outside of the classical/far east market SACD is really dead.


So I would focus on the best Dac you can for 44.1kHz playback as this will be the front end. Chipsets are often considered the most important part of a DAC but the design of the output stage is just as important to the sound - some use valves, some transistors etc.


I suspect that the second hand market for DACs that can only handle 44.1kHz may be good as people upgrade to higher res DACs.



Trying to make sense of all the bits...MacMini/Amarra -> WavIO USB to I2S -> DDDAC 1794 NOS DAC -> Active XO ->Bass Amp Avondale NCC200s, Mid/Treble Amp Sugden Masterclass -> My Own Speakers

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