AVS Special Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Southern Sweden
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I did a comparison between a very highly ranked DAC - the Benchmark DAC1 and a very cheap Philips DVD-player than I went out an bought just for the experiment. I used a very good, as transparent as possible, stereo setup and calibrated the output levels of the DAC to the DVD-player. I used the player as the transport, so there's theoretically some additional improvement possible to find on that side.
The first impression was one of dismay that a DAC that cost so much more didn't really make a big difference. Honestly, it took a few minutes to figure out what to listen for to find noticable difference, and still I'm sure it would have been quite risky to claim that I'd be able to be as certain in a blind test.
So will I still feel there are minor details to improve with a DAC, it's not very cost efficient. And this was an el-cheapo DVD-player... stepping up just a little higher and the would most likely be close to nothing. Picking a great player like an Oppo-95 and there's no differences left to be found. And if you do go for a cheaper source, there's probably a better DAC in the home theater receiver that can be used.
Spending the same amount of money on acoustics is MUCH better bang for the buck imho.
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