I've recently kind of fallen down the DAC hole. I'm by no means an audiophile. I just like playing with the toys, but I prucheased some, what were $1,000+ universal players when they came out, used off of eBay to mess around with, a Denon 2900 (which is nice, but I don't think ever considered a super good player) and a Pioneer DV-79avi (which has or had quite the following) and I can't tell the difference between them going into my integrated stereo amp (or older Sony STR DA 777 ES receiver for that matter) via optical (using the amps DAC) or analog (using the players DAC). It is nice being able to use the treble/bass/balance/loudness dials on the integrated stereo amp, though. I also recently bought an external DAC to use with a headphone amp, but hooked it up to the integrated stereo amp via both universal players, toggled back an forth between every listening option possible (analog, digital, 'pure direct' mode on amp on then off, etc. etc.) and did not notice any differences. The external DAC is a $100 Topping D30 which is pretty popular for offerings in its price range. I read somewhere that whatever chip is in it is also used by Marantz in an $800 CD player. The only real difference in sound I noticed was on the actual CDs. Some SACD songs sounded better than others. Some well recorded CD albums sound better than others. I tried comparing Pink Floyd's DSOTM 2011 Discovery Remaster CD against the original master recording gold CD and possibly noticed some differences. I also tried listening to Pink Floyds Wish You Were Here album that was recorded from Vinyl in high-res vs. standard CD and there was a difference, but I don't if it was for better or worse. Who knows! The general consensus that I've been told (and don't hold me to this ..I'm actually interested in what others have to say about this) is to use the most modern DAC in your setup. I'm actually listening to Pink Floyd now from Spotify on an Xbox via optical cable into integrated stereo amp and I can't say that I'd be able to tell the difference in sound vs. a CD if I just walked into the room and didn't know what source it was coming from.
Last edited by keith104; 02-15-2019 at 05:42 PM.