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Streaming or USB


Which do you believe for INEXPENSIVE DAC will sound better  

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With all the talk about noise floor, cheap dacs, pc noise, os issues....is it possible that streamed music (without all the issues that arise from using a PC) directly to an avr will sound as good or better than a pc using usb and cheap dac? I personally believe, (will find out soon), that STREAMED DSD->AVR->AMP will sound better than PC->USB->CHEAP DAC->AVR ANALOG IN->AMP

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It all depends on implementation.

 

For streaming internet radio or Pandora etc. I would recommend bypassing the PC/Mac. Plug the ethernet directly into the AVR. I have a dedicated wireless bridge on a cheap bench lpsu feeding my AVR. For higher quality source material the DAC comes into play more and so you might like it better than the AVR. But that adds a big cost.

 

I am in the camp that thinks that as soon as you can bypass USB and SPDIF you are better off and so I am looking forward to simplifying to LAN input, fed by a NAS, with better sound as an added benefit. Not too many options as of yet though.

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It all depends on implementation.

 

For streaming internet radio or Pandora etc. I would recommend bypassing the PC/Mac. Plug the ethernet directly into the AVR. I have a dedicated wireless bridge on a cheap bench lpsu feeding my AVR. For higher quality source material the DAC comes into play more and so you might like it better than the AVR. But that adds a big cost.

 

I am in the camp that thinks that as soon as you can bypass USB and SPDIF you are better off and so I am looking forward to simplifying to LAN input, fed by a NAS, with better sound as an added benefit. Not too many options as of yet though.

 

I am talking about:

 

streaming FLAC and DSD files to a DSD capable AVR over network

vs

PC (win7or8 without custom scripts) -> USB -> Cheap DAC -> AVR via rca analog input

 

I am just betting that with all the PC related issues (OS, Power SUpply), the USB, THE DAC Power Supply, etc... that streaming directly to an AVR will sound better than using a cheap external dac at all.

 

I just bought a used onkyo nr535 (ebay $195) which does DSD and FLAC decoding internally over the network, so i will find out soon enough. If i am happy, which i think i will be, i will just use the AVR as a preamp to my NAD amp.

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The problem is that there is such a wide variation in the sound quality of AVRs your question is almost unanswerable.

 

Personally I've never liked Onkyo for sound quality either using their digital inputs nor the analogue bypass.

 

Your biggest problem in your proposal is the (afaik) the Onkyo NR535 doesn't have a pre-amp output (at least not for the main zone) so you are going to be unable to connect it to your NAD poweramp.

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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