Wolfson WM8740 vs Burr Brown DSD1796 DAC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-02-2009, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, apologies in advance if it is not!

I have a Yamaha Z11 amp which uses the Burr Brown DAC's and a Pioneer BDP-LX91 attached which uses the Wolfson WM8740. I am using a high quality HDMI lead for 7.1 sound only from the first HDMI connector and the second HDMI for picture only.

My question is which will give me the best 2 channel sound for CD's:

1) Using the HDMI lead and only outputting sound with no video and letting the Burr Brown DAC's convert the sound in the amp?

2) Use an optic connection and again let the Burr Brown in the Amp do the work?

3) Or use a high quality QED phono connection and set the amp to pure so it only amplifies what is past from the Wolfson DAC's in the LX91?

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks for any help/advice.

Jason
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-06-2009, 01:02 AM
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Try it both ways and see if you can hear a difference yourself. My guess is digital out to your Z11 (optical or hdmi should not matter) will be the way to go since those Burr Brown 1796 DAC's are very good ones. But perhaps the biggest variable is the quality of the analog preamp section of your Z11, and the output voltage difference between the two DACs, and your listening levels. For example, if the preamp is only so-so, then the more attenuation is needed from the DAC output to your target listening level, the worse the sound quality will be.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-06-2009, 09:29 PM
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I am only guessing as I know nothing about the 1796, but I would suggest the Wolfson WM8740 is the superior DAC.
My reasoning is because it is the DAC of choice a lot of superior quality CD manufactures use, eg Rotel, Arcam etc. Cambridge Audio has a reputation for making superb CD players and they use it in there Flagship players, and it is also the DAC used in the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic, which also has a superb reputation.

Interestingly, the Wolfson WM8740 is also the DAC used for 2 channel stereo in the flagship Toshiba XA2. The cheaper models in the range used the Burr-Brown PCM1755 I believe.

But as was mentioned, try both and let your ears decide.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-09-2009, 08:27 PM
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Best? They sound different but a more expensive DAC doesn't mean better sound to your own ears. With DAC's and CD players you just have to trust your ears.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-13-2009, 10:39 PM
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I'm not an expert here and I don't know which Burr-Brown DACs are the best just based on the number. In my system, I have a 7 year old Denon 5803 receiver with 16 Burr Brown PCM 1738E DACs. Those were considered by many at the time to be the best DACs when it was designed and constructed and may still be.
I also have a Toshiba A2 HD DVD player with lesser quality DACs, and a Pioneer BDP51 FD Bluray player with Wolfson DACs.
To my ears, the Toshiba connected via Toslink to the Denon, and using the Denon in Pure Direct mode, is inferior sounding in many respects when compared to the BDP51 over it's analog outs to the Denon in Pure Direct mode. In this config, the Denon is simply performing an analog pass through wtih volume control.

I don't know if the 1738Es are still considered top notch from Burr-Brown or not. According to the review of this receiver at Audioholics, in Pure Direct the Denon engineers configured the 16 DACs into a Quad, dual-differential mode which was claimed to be far superior to ordinary configuration found in most consumer gear of one or two DACs per channel. To me, that's saying a lot if the analog stage with Wolfson DACs in the Pioneer sounds better than the Denon's reference configuration.

I think in the end there is more to it than just looking at the make of the DACs and coming to conclusions based on that factor alone.
Also, let your ears be the judge and use whatever setup you like the best.

Just sit back and enjoy the music !

Bill
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-19-2009, 10:38 PM
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I don't understand how adding multiple DAC's to a single channel would improve the sound. A properly designed DAC with good specs should be sufficient for each channel and is probably better than a complex setup involving multiple DAC's. I just think that it's either overkill or it actually degrades the sound.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-22-2009, 04:55 AM
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Has anyone seen this unit? It is the current flagship Cyrus chip.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Hi-End-24-192-DA...item1c0ccf55d8

Used in the Marantz CD player. Don't know how this compares ( chip wise) with the wm8740 - 42 or pcm 8741 - 96

Not suggesting $200 worth of DIY makes a any old CD into an Arcam, but it just might be an improvement for older decks.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-29-2009, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veda View Post

I don't understand how adding multiple DAC's to a single channel would improve the sound.

Doubling-up (or more) the DAC chips lets you achieve a higher signal-to-noise ratio or stronger current drive. But the SnR is usually already super high and the vast majority of analog output configurations don't require that high of a current drive.

Wes Miaw, Neko Audio LLC
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-04-2009, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason427v8 View Post

Hi,

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, apologies in advance if it is not!

I have a Yamaha Z11 amp which uses the Burr Brown DAC's and a Pioneer BDP-LX91 attached which uses the Wolfson WM8740. I am using a high quality HDMI lead for 7.1 sound only from the first HDMI connector and the second HDMI for picture only.

My question is which will give me the best 2 channel sound for CD's:

1) Using the HDMI lead and only outputting sound with no video and letting the Burr Brown DAC's convert the sound in the amp?

2) Use an optic connection and again let the Burr Brown in the Amp do the work?

3) Or use a high quality QED phono connection and set the amp to pure so it only amplifies what is past from the Wolfson DAC's in the LX91?

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks for any help/advice.

Jason

Quote:
Originally Posted by smeeagain View Post

I am only guessing as I know nothing about the 1796, but I would suggest the Wolfson WM8740 is the superior DAC.
My reasoning is because it is the DAC of choice a lot of superior quality CD manufactures use, eg Rotel, Arcam etc. Cambridge Audio has a reputation for making superb CD players and they use it in there Flagship players, and it is also the DAC used in the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic, which also has a superb reputation.

But as was mentioned, try both and let your ears decide.

smeeagain,

No guessing. Which DAC is only a fraction of the equation. It's all about implementation. Cambridge's flagship player the Azur 840C uses a DAC developed by Cambridge with Anagram Technologies. Also, the fact that the aforementioned manufacturers use the Wolfson WM8740, doesn't make it better than the Burr Brown 1796.

iPod also has Wolfson DACs in it.


jason427v8,

Let your ears be the judge. Anybody else's opinion is just that; an opinion.


Respectfully,
Willie

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-05-2009, 02:17 PM
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All the manufactures have a full line, Wolfson, Cyrus, Crystal, AD, Philips, Burr Brown. They all range from $2.00 budget junk to very expensive high end. Just because it says one brand or another, that does not tell you if the result is good. Analog output stage matters. Method of de-jitter, input receiver, power supply, everything. You ears matter. Just gleaning all the 2-cent reviews, I would gather the Wolfson may be a bit more analytical and forward than the BB in the same way the AD op amps are different form the BB's. It may have much more to do with the buffers that follow it.

Of course the advice to listen is tough. High end dealers are getting few and far. This area has two ARCAM dealers, neither has a CD player, let alone one to compare it to. Rotel dealer has one unit, but no comparison except low end Denon. More and more are doing direct sales, so it is all "sight-unseen". Cursed iPods.
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