First time posting here, but I have read through quite a number of threads on this forum, just haven't really had to ask a question until now...
A little info, I am setting up a 2 channel system with 2 Martin Logan Motion 40's which I recently acquired. Most of my media is digital or via streaming. Usage is 50%/40%/10% TV/music/movies.
I have spent many many hours narrowing down what I want, but cannot decide between Yamaha's R-N803 and A-S801, and here's why:
From all I can tell, they are almost the same besides the following differences.
If I were to go with the S801, I know I am getting:
---better DAC (ES9010K2M, supports native DSD resolutions (2.8 MHz / 5.6 MHz) and PCM (384 kHz / 32-bit) USB-B port)
---potentially better overall sound quality due to the lack of the AM/FM receiver and the wifi/Bluetooth network card introducing "noise"
If I go with the N803, I will get:
---wifi and Bluetooth onboard.
---a "lesser" DAC (SABRE 9006AS 192 kHz/24-bit DAC, supports DSD 5.6 MHz, FLAC / WAV / AIFF 192 kHz / 24-bit, Apple® Lossless 96 kHz / 24-bit playback)
And a couple little things like number of optical and coax inputs, AM/FM tuner... not deal breakers for me.
What really bothers me is that the N803 costs $150 less than the S801, comes with more "features", has the same specs (output, freq response, THD, etc) , and weighs 2.4 pounds less? So what did I do? Called Yamaha... guess what they told me. They share nearly all the same internals, but it is possible that Yamaha was able to source the components for the N803 at a lower price, resulting in the lower end cost. And this was after waiting 3 days to get a reply from their "tier 2" tech support. They couldn't even explain the the difference in weight... Not that I care about how much my receiver weighs, but there is no way one can have more features/internal components, and weigh less if all else is equal, something had to go.
To further complicate this decision is how I play my content. I currently use a Nvidia Shield and my PC to play music/movies via Plex . Right now I can play media from my PC over my home network to the Shield, Shield to the TV via HDMI, TV to receiver via optical. OR stream from the Shield (Pandora app for example) to the TV, then TV to the receiver. Obviously with the N803 I can bypass the need to pass through the Shield and the TV, which is much simpler and I assume since the signal does not have to pass through so many devices, the end result should be better sound quality (key word is assume, I'm not quite sure if this is true or not)
Some things I have in my head that are clouding my decision:
--I can't see any use for the better DAC in the S801, both the Shield and Plex cap out at 24-bit/192 kHz and I didn't even know what DSD stood for until today... and my PC is too far away to use USB-B (which is the only way to utilize the 32 bit capabilities of the DAC), unless I run a ridiculously long USB cable thru the attic...
--It boggles my mind how the N803 can do more, supposedly have the same amplifier specs, but weigh less and cost significantly less...there has to be some sacrifice somewhere.
--Am I losing audio quality when passing through the TV and converting signal path from HDMI to optical? Even tho the Shield and Plex support FLAC, Lossless, 24/192? I hear so much about how important a direct/short signal path is, it can't be conducive to that theory when there are so many things involved post amp/receiver.
--I know there was a recent thread about the same 2 units, but what complicates my situation is the method in which I play my media.
--AM/FM tuner is not a big factor in this either.
I've gotten myself to the point of confusion, so I apologize if this post came across that way... I just need some input from peers, I only know one guy who I can talk to about this kinda stuff that knows what he's talking about. Problem is, he is a little old school and slightly biased towards the S801 due to the lack of "extras". Firm believer of "less is more" he is... He's also not into digital media and wireless technology. Turn tables and discs are where it's at for him...
Anyways, thanks for hearing me out.