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Benchmark DAC2 DX+ macbook pro + DSD/HRA on NAS + Cocktail Audio x40??


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Hi - I am new to this forum but have recently upgraded a lot of my equipment from speakers to receiver, blu ray player, 2 channel pre and power amp as well as my most recent additions the DAC2 DX from benchmark and the cocktail audio x40.

My challenge is that I have music all over the place from my macbook stored locally to a NAS server by QNAP (and WDmycloud) to streaming services and SACD/CD etc.

 

my goal has been lately to have a separate 2 channel system from my marantz sr7009 which was previously my all in one component for music/movies and more. my issue as of late is that I do not like having to plug in my macbook via hard link (usb/optical etc.) to the benchmark or other input (analog on jc-2 preamp) because I find it limiting. I dont think I have any digital outputs on my sr7009 and my BR player while quite capable of these tasks is not the easiest device to sort through NAS media files,etc. The cocktail audio player is a smorgasbord of technology and functionality but I have yet to tame this beast and there is not a lot of information out there right now to help.

 

so my question would be this - (my equipment is listed below for reference) what would be the ideal way to hook up all the components in a way where I do not have to constantly plug/replug and switch wires and speaker cables around but can still watch movies in surround sound (from the sr7009) and use my separate two channel system (jc-2/dac2 dx/A-21 power amp) and ideally have music either played back via a media player (could be macbook pro or could be something else) streamed or playback by disc. I want the best in sound quality and to separate the two types of playback as much as possible as I have experienced an unbelievable clear, clean and eye opening sound from the new 2 channel separates moving from my all in one receiver and i do not want to sacrifice that in anyway.

 

I also want to know what media playback method would work best, using a dedicated media player device like the cocktail audio player or something like an auralec/etc? or USB via my macbook is the best method?

 

would be awesome to have my two subwoofers in the mix too but no one on other forums or anything I can find online seem to support stereo subwoofer setups. this would be ideal to me as i am not a huge fan of audyssey or other EQ when it comes to my tunes.

 

happy to answer more questions as I have way too much equipment and very little know how:)

 

speakers - B&W CM10 mains, CMC2 center, CM5 surrounds

Subwoofers - dual SVS SB2000s

receiver/BR = marantz sr7009 and ud7007 respectively

2 channel rig - Parasound JC-2 preamp, parasound A21 power amp (both two channel only)

Digital - Benchmark dac2dx and macbook pro

Cocktail Audio X-40 (DAC/media player/disc ripper/streamer and more)

NAS - qnap ts431 and wdmcloud

 

thanks in advance for anyone with enough patience and time to help out. :)

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Hi NachoUser,

 

Seems odd, at least to me, that you are asking those sorts of questions about what device works best, when you certainly have enough kit to find out for yourself. Hang on, looking now closely at your components, haven't we met before on another forum?!!

 

If so, welcome to one of my other haunts. If not, apologies and welcome all the same!

 

Have you managed to get the X-40 going, both with internal and external DAC, especially to run some comparisons with the Macbook Pro?

Have you tried/are thinking of using any third party control software for it? You'll likely find them easier to use than the provided web browser user interface for controlling music playback.

 

John

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Hi NachoUser,

 

Seems odd, at least to me, that you are asking those sorts of questions about what device works best, when you certainly have enough kit to find out for yourself. Hang on, looking now closely at your components, haven't we met before on another forum?!!

 

If so, welcome to one of my other haunts. If not, apologies and welcome all the same!

 

Have you managed to get the X-40 going, both with internal and external DAC, especially to run some comparisons with the Macbook Pro?

Have you tried/are thinking of using any third party control software for it? You'll likely find them easier to use than the provided web browser user interface for controlling music playback.

 

John

 

hmmm, you are probably thinking of someone else, and if I am thinking of the same guy from AVS...man what a rube! ;) it is probably me but i don't recognize you by username, but I will look ya up.

 

I ask the questions because I think I have way too much equipment in one setup and need to slim it down so to speak. I at least wanted to know if others have used something like a DAC2 dx in combination with a preamp like the JC-2 which is all analogue and a home theater setup such as I have now. I really am most interested in how to get my music library digital and disc, all playing from both the reciever for multi channel and my two channel rig and with a media player that is easy to use and doesnt restrict format etc. like iTunes.

 

I downloaded jriver for mac and couldn't get a DSD download to play even after adjusting the dsp/audio output settings to the ones suggested in the wiki.

 

the benchmark rep suggested i get rid of my jc-2 all together for my particular setup as it is redundant with something like the dac2 and that the dac2 should be connected right to my power amp. while i dont disagree with that I think I am going to keep it and would like to know the easiest way to set it all it up if anyone has suggestions.

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You can set up your pre amp with a home theatre bypass, http://www.audioholics.com/news/parasound-classic-halo-jc-2-preamp-upgrade

if not all you need is connecting your pre amp to the left/right pre out of receiver to one of your pre amp inputs. connect your main l/r speakers to power amp. if you want you can use same speaker outputs to connect subs in stereo but it will require you to mess with crossover and level. play with them until you are satisfied eith the sound in stereo.

to set up the receiver - assign front speakers as large with no sub, turn on the pre amp and power amp and select the input from the receiver. turn volume up to around halfway or 3/4 on your preamp and follow the receiver level adjustment (use manual if u want)and that should be it. bottom line you want to volume match your pre amp with the rest of the speakers.make sure you mark in your preamp the volume preset that was used during calibration since everytime you watch movies the volume have to be the same. for music listening no need to turn receiver on just us pre amp and power amp. does it make sense.

http://www.hifihunter.com/articles/improving-stereo-performance-surround-sound-setup-part-2/

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