Originally Posted by balky
The issue with receivers as far as I can tell (also from experience) is that even if you feed them an analog signal the signal will still get converted to digital for DSP processing, and re-convert to analog before sending out to speakers.
I personally don't believe in the direct / pure direct mode thing...
This is probably the big part. If you don't like what your reciever's dac sounds like, an external dac may not help. I don't think pure direct is a true analog signal path, but just cuts off the audio signal (DSP) processing and unused video circuitry. It's never been really clear, I've asked this about my denon 3311ci (just an earlier version of the 4200) and never got a clear answer.)
From the 3311ci manual:
This mode is for playback in higher sound quality than in "Directplayback" mode.• The following circuits that affect sound quality are set to off.• Main unit's display circuit (The display is turned off.)• Analog video input/output circuit• Surround back signals or front height signals are not created.• In this mode, the following items cannot be adjusted.• MultEQ ® XT (vpage 75)• Tone (vpage 75)• Dynamic EQ ® (vpage 76)• Dynamic Volume™ (vpage 76) Restorer.
It makes no mention of creating a separate analog only audio path, just cutting off unnneeded circuitry and ignoring any DSP. My guess is you are still getting a ADC then a DAC conversion with just the above cut off.
I have very good speakers. Salk Supercharged Song Towers. I don't have any particular problem with the sound quality of the DACs used in the 3311ci.
If you want a better DAC, my guess is you'd need an old fashioned integrated amp to take advantage of it. Or a receiver that has amp in connections. (my older denon 1910 used to have amp in connections, ext in.) Denon has dropped 'ext in' connections for the most part.