Jump to content
IGNORED

DAC Options and Transport Methods (making a decision)


Recommended Posts

New to the forum and looking for some expert CA advice. Currently I store all my digital music in FLAC on a Windows 10 workstation and use JRiver for DLNA (over ethernet). I send audio unconverted to a Marantz AV 7701 (for the life of me can't find what DAC it has) prepro, balanced connects to Emotiva XPA-2 and XPA-5 amps. Speakers are B&W 803s. I also have the option to send audio to an Oppo BDP-103 (Cirrus Logic CS4382A 8ch, 24/192 DAC).

 

 

  • Between the Marantz and Oppo, which should be doing the DA conversion?
  • Would I benefit from a stand alone DAC instead of my two existing options?
  • Would it be better to connect via USB or HDMI instead of DLNA and ethernet?

 

I've been doing some background research and am continuing to do so, but would appreciate any advice on all aspects of achieving better audio quality. I primarily listen to 2 channel audio.

 

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm guessing my questions are either so simple, are unique and no one knows or a mixture of both. I'll take a stab at answering my own questions based on what I've read so far. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

There's a strong possibility that the Marantz 7701's DAC is an AKM AK4358VQ. Considering that and the Oppo's Cirrus Logic DAC (unlike the Darbee edition with Sabre DAC) then A. I should listen between the two to determine which I like better because they are both probably of a similar caliber. B. I would probably benefit from a newer stand alone DAC like the Yggdrasil which based on price alone is more than either 7701 or BDP-103.

 

My third question, based on what I've read, is that using DLNA over ethernet has no disadvantage in sound quality. The use of an external stand alone DAC like the Yggdrasil will require me to use a direct USB connection and no longer use DLNA.

 

Am I on par or am I missing something?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I primarily listen to 2 channel audio.

 

If I've more time I'd write longer and anew. Thus, quickly quoting a couple of Posts, firstly, the following Hi-Fi News Q&A with Marantz senior engineer, Ken Ishiwata, has guided how I've approached my stereo purchasing :

« What is your feeling on surround-sound systems ? Are people buying music to hear on surround-sound systems ?

 

The majority of people buying surround-sound is for home cinema' date=' but people buying home cinema receivers doesn’t always mean that they buy home cinema speaker kits. Many people only end up with one pair especially due to space and wiring—all those things are troublesome for the consumer. How often do the majority of people watch films ? They listen to more music out of such a system than watching films. That’s also the reason that in the last 18 months many people came back to two-channel. Maybe you heard about it—the shift of product sales from multi-channel to, gradually, two-channel is happening. So you’ve started to see that the two-channel market is much stronger now, which is very encouraging I have to say. Another point is because of the fact that all of the American standard holders, like Dolby/DTS, always come up something new all the time (which is not necessary) those people are making money out of hardware companies so we have to have all those logos on receivers and each logo represents how much we are paying (laughs). The problem is because of those things we have to make integrated circuits—they caused all those different standards. Degrading the quality of the music is obvious. So, when you hear just a simple, straightforward two-channel CD player and amp combination, which is very low priced, compared to a mid-priced home cinema system playing music there is no comparison. So, that’s what is happening. I think people have started to realise what they had before, so they are coming back. [/i']
»

 

Okay' date=' found in my morning Inbox that [b']Ken[/b] has sent me original English Q&A exchange :

« If you had a choice of two alternative setups of devices :

a). A good quality DAC + a mediocre or poor quality amplifier, or

b). a mediocre or poor quality DAC + a good quality amplifier,

where both configurations may be purchased within a similar total budget, then which of these two strategies has a better chance of being the better overall performer and deliver a better overall sound quality ?

 

I’m sorry both won’t work!!! You know very well Hi-Fi system is always
[about]
balance
[
Ken
's own philosophy/experience for musical-harmony]
and picking one of above won’t get that…..
»

 

Secondly, it's more than simply the DAC chip :

I had meant the « implementations » inside a DAC product other than the processing chip itself. And since I couldn't find an internal NADAC photo for illustration' date=' here's one of Marantz NA-11S1 :

1013mar.ins.jpg

 

And an example of Koch's approach :

 

Of Smith's :

 

Ishiwata's :

[video=youtube;h_-aShUYDEo]

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I've more time I'd write longer and anew. Thus' date=' quickly quoting a couple of Posts, firstly, the following Hi-Fi News Q&A with Marantz senior engineer, Ken Ishiwata, has guided how I've approached my stereo purchasing :

 

 

Secondly, it's more than simply the DAC chip :

 

Thank you for the response. What I got from the information you provided was that whether it's my Marantz or Oppo, those components are designed for multiple purposes, including muti-channel (more than 2) audio. I should consider a simpler approach with a component or DAC for 2 channel audio. The more I can cut out unnecessary or extraneous variables from the 2 channel listening experience, the closer to an unadulterated sound I'll get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Truly, of system setup—it's whether our listening experiences are satisfying.

 

I believe Ken in that (multi-channel) AV solutions compromises what dedicated-stereo-audio can deliver at same price point.

 

Having look into the models you own... From my study of Marantz, briefly, I recommend 2 current releases to audition with your Emotiva XPA-2 :

XPA-2_BackB.png

 

HD-DAC1 as DAC & Pre-amp (through Variable Output) :

marantz11.jpg

 

211050zfm0itfy1t1ykmyi.jpg

 

 

And, presuming you're American, their NA6005 version also feature Variable Output :

Marantz-NA6005-back-panel.jpg

 

Concerning XLR enthusiasm, Ken's longstanding (paraphrased) reply :

How many loudspeakers are balance-wired-driven ? Single-ended conversion takes place ! Our teams take special diligence engineering products that...

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I study to buy Marantz because Ken's my good friend, it'd be insulting him—for me to not trust his work by purchasing someone else's product ?

 

Plus, if various brands, I've another close friend who's the owner-importer of Hi-Fi into New Zealand wildashaudio.co.nz

And, being an open Forum, others will likely write their studies and suggestions :)

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How far away is the workstation from the Marantz/Oppo?

 

It's about 10 ft. I also have an HDMI cable run from the workstation to the Marantz. USB would be no problem. Planning on adding a Synology NAS shortly for storage.

 

The Marantz DAC is a consideration. I've owned an integrated and a couple separates now and find them very musical for an AV prepro.

 

I am very curious about the Audio Alchemy as well as the Ayre Codex based on what I've been reading. Wilhelm, your link of Ted Smith's talk gets me thinking about whether I should get a DAC with DSD as well as PCM support. Again, the simplicity principle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been reading.

 

And there are opposing Posts... For example, of Marantz NA-11S1 :

Hi Folks,

 

This unit is one year old with about 6 months use. After months of going back and forth, I ended up preferring the Luxman DA-06 in my system, which I bought last March. So it has been a long process. It finally came down to vocals sounding better to me on the Lux, and strings having more snap on the Marantz. I've ended up going for the vocals. But clearly, this was not an easy decision.

 

Purchased 1 year ago from Crutchfield. Cosmetically 8/10: 1 point deducted for age, one for a small but visible scratch on the top of the case. Asking $2,100. I'll cover shipping and Paypal fees. Paypal authorized address only. CONUS only.

 

Priced to sell.

 

Of PS Audio :

For the last one year i have been tuning my digital audio. I eventually settled with PS audio DS Stream and PS transport. I got expensive power cords, valhalla inter connects and nordost HDMI cable. Digital has come very far from a year ago. I get very warm sweet rich sound. Next i downloaded several Hi res files. I was very excited as my digital was finally catching up to my 5+ year old vinyl rig. But then i was chatting with my buddy and he happened to mention a Dynavector XX-2 being excellent cartridge for my record player. It was a $1000 upgrade. After patiently waiting for a used one, finally procured one from audiogon.

 

It was a sad day when i installed my new cartridge. All my hard work, time and money spent on getting the best digital for the price went down the toilet. The vinyl completely crushed it. This is a 5 year old vinyl with a used cartridge. My digital is new all the way with the latest PS OS that i downloaded a week ago.

 

I feel the digital formats DSD, PCM, CD, and now the MQA war is taking its toll on focusing on improving digital sound quality. Not to mention Mp3, tidal etc....

 

As Ken said :

« People have to decide themselves!! Very simple' date=' either you like or not! Isn’t it?? What I found crazy is asking someone supposed to be the [u']specialist[/u] and able to tell sound quality! However when you listen to the system he recommended, you don’t like it at all, yet—because he is the one supposed to be the specialist recommending this system—you accepted his advice and buy it!!! Don’t ever do that!!! You won’t be happy at all!!! You have to live with the system! You must love the system!! Just go for your own feelings…

 

What I always tell people is the following: whatever product you listen to, regardless of cost, if your emotion is moved by your favourite music when you put it on, then this product or system has a value to you. But if that does not happen—even if the product is very expensive—then it has no value to you. »

 

Incidentally, if I was a member when christopher3393 was selling, I would've asked whether NA-11S1's Filter options was tried ? I believe « Filter 2 » suits particularly vocals :

23653d1453449879-great-filtering-does-it-matter-and-what-does-it-sound-na-11s1-filter.png

 

Much else I can quote up for you to read and consider' date=' but tomorrow morning (NZDT)[/font']

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of Ayre, they might do DSD—but Charles Hansen isn't fond of... read Nikhil's Thread :

Speaking of [DSD under fire | The Ear - Q&A with Ayre President Charles Hansen]...

 

Hi Nikhil. Charles Hansen and DSD is old news. There's a huge couple year old thread on the forums here that's about 50% comprised of his often very heated criticisms of it.

 

So is Putzeys' specific criticism, which has often been quoted in various forums as this argument lumbers onward; and then someone will point out his quote about where it's a good thing, plus the fact he designs A/D converters that use SDM.

 

But I'm sure this will be good for additional discussion. :)

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm guessing my questions are either so simple, are unique and no one knows or a mixture of both. I'll take a stab at answering my own questions based on what I've read so far. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

There's a strong possibility that the Marantz 7701's DAC is an AKM AK4358VQ. Considering that and the Oppo's Cirrus Logic DAC (unlike the Darbee edition with Sabre DAC) then A. I should listen between the two to determine which I like better because they are both probably of a similar caliber. B. I would probably benefit from a newer stand alone DAC like the Yggdrasil which based on price alone is more than either 7701 or BDP-103.

 

My third question, based on what I've read, is that using DLNA over ethernet has no disadvantage in sound quality. The use of an external stand alone DAC like the Yggdrasil will require me to use a direct USB connection and no longer use DLNA.

 

Am I on par or am I missing something?

 

One thing you're missing is not considering the analog section of the dac's. That has just as much effect on SQ as the digital portion. You may have 2 dacs that use the same dac chip, but they may sound completely different due to the design of the analog stage.

 

I'm familiar with your speakers. I used to have the 802's myself. I think you have far more to be gained by improving your amp/preamp than a dac. HT gear just doesn't cut it for 2 channel listening with his res speakers. If you bought a really nice integrated amp with a HT bypass and use the Oppo as a source, it wouldn't be so much of an upgrade, as it would be a transformation in how good your system sounds. Upgrade the dac later on. No only that, you'll hear more of what a new dac can do when you have a good 2ch system in place first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing you're missing is not considering the analog section of the dac's. That has just as much effect on SQ as the digital portion. You may have 2 dacs that use the same dac chip, but they may sound completely different due to the design of the analog stage.

 

I'm familiar with your speakers. I used to have the 802's myself. I think you have far more to be gained by improving your amp/preamp than a dac. HT gear just doesn't cut it for 2 channel listening with his res speakers. If you bought a really nice integrated amp with a HT bypass and use the Oppo as a source, it wouldn't be so much of an upgrade, as it would be a transformation in how good your system sounds. Upgrade the dac later on. No only that, you'll hear more of what a new dac can do when you have a good 2ch system in place first.

 

I auditioned an Audio Alchemy DDP-1 along with an Ayre Codex and Oppo BDP-105D over the past week. The DDP-1 showed such a significant improvement in sound I'm not hesitating to buy it. I will run it direct to my Emotiva XPA-5, bypassing the Marantz. I'll also likely run my Moon 110 through it as it has RCA analog ins. This will be my 2 channel preamp.

 

I will be replacing the Marantz, likely with the Emotiva XMR when it's released. I've been happy with Emotiva so far. Not that I haven't been happy with Marantz. From what I've read, the XMC-1 is significantly better than the Marantz preamps. I am curious though, what would you recommend as a HT preamp with bypass?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...