How important is a 32-bit DAC? (and other 2019 receiver tech!) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Question How important is a 32-bit DAC? (and other 2019 receiver tech!)

Hi Guys.


So I haven't bought a receiver since 2013, when I bought the Denon AVR-X4000. I'm currently shopping now, and trying to find a receiver with all the latest generation tech that matters.




Here are my questions:

1) I noticed that on some of the new ones, especially the X4500 and above, they come with a "32-bit DAC", marketed by Denon as "AL32". (This feature is not included on older receivers, or even the X3500h or below.)

How important is 32 bit processing really to have? Will you notice a difference in real-life, and on what audio content will it matter? (Most all of the older receivers have a 24 bit processor, called AL24.)
From Denon: AL32 Processing provides multi-channel ultra-high-resolution digital audio filtering on all audio channels and delivers a natural soundstage with enhanced imaging of the sound. DSP incorporates no less than four powerful, high-speed fourth generation SHARC DSP processors, which together have a combined continuous processing capability of 10 GFLOPS (10 billion floating point numerical computations per second). Combined, these audio technologies provide high-resolution audio support for an exceptional listening experience.



2) What are the most important current gen surround formats? In other words, what are the key formats that are "must-haves" by audio enthusiasts?
From my brief research... it seems like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos are the most important. Is this correct for 2019? Also, can anyone give me a brief synopsis as to which ones are the most important and why? (not looking for a 10-paragraph answer, just a brief summary)




3) What are some examples of some of better receivers right now, that contain all the essential "must-have" tech that we would want for 2019? I came across the X4500h, which seems to have all the features I would want.... but I wonder if there's something less expensive that would suffice for now. As I mentioned above, I am not sure how important a 32-bit DAC is (maybe it's super important?), or which surround formats will be used the most going forward.



4) Any other features or tech that is really crucial right now?





Thanks for any help. I love this forum for all the knowledgeable gurus that exist on here.

Last edited by Landmonster; 05-03-2019 at 10:03 AM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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As a follow up to my own question...


It seems like alot of the new 2019 receivers come with 32-bit DAC converters. The Denon X4500 and up series receivers have them. The Onkyo NR686 and NR787 and higher series have 32-bit DACs.


Also the Pioneer Elite I was just looking at has the 32-bit DAC as well.... VSXLX503

Is anyone familiar with this one? https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html


(How would the sound quality compare to a Denon X-series, or Onkyo NR787 or better?)



Thanks
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 12:01 PM
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I'd check out the Denon x4400h. 1/2 the price and basically the same AVR as far as I can tell.

According to Denon's website, it has AL32.

New: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

Refurb: https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html

That Pioner looks good to me. I had an Elite before a Denon x4300h. I liked Audyssey more than the Pioneer room correction.

That AVR seems to do what you want though, so go for it!

Last edited by cowbodude99; 05-03-2019 at 12:06 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowbodude99 View Post
I'd check out the Denon x4400h. 1/2 the price and basically the same AVR as far as I can tell.

According to Denon's website, it has AL32.

New: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

Refurb: https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html

That Pioner looks good to me. I had an Elite before a Denon x4300h. I liked Audyssey more than the Pioneer room correction.

That AVR seems to do what you want though, so go for it!
That's a good price.



Is there any risk in buying a Refurb Denon? What would that entail?
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 07:10 PM
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You should check out the Integra DRX R1.1. It has all the newest features and great sound quality. You can get a good deal on a factory refurbished model here https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

Earl
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landmonster View Post
As a follow up to my own question...


It seems like alot of the new 2019 receivers come with 32-bit DAC converters. The Denon X4500 and up series receivers have them. The Onkyo NR686 and NR787 and higher series have 32-bit DACs.


Also the Pioneer Elite I was just looking at has the 32-bit DAC as well.... VSXLX503
DAC - hardware
AL32 - firmware feature on the X4000 series and higher models

Most brands have used 32bit DACs on the majority of their models for at least the past couple of years, in Denon's case, since 2017 all models except the lowest model (ie. "SXXXBT") use a 32bit DAC.

If you have no plans on going beyond a 7.1 or Atmos 5.1.2 setup, the X3500H (7CH) offers the same version of Audyssey MultEQ XT32 as does the X4500H.

Last edited by jdsmoothie; 05-03-2019 at 10:56 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landmonster View Post
[SIZE=3]So I haven't bought a receiver since 2013, when I bought the Denon AVR-X4000. I'm currently shopping now, and trying to find a receiver with all the latest generation tech that matters.
Why? Not trying to rain on your parade, but looking at the AVR-X4000 it appears on Denon's site to still be a current model. At 125 watts, that's as much as any receiver will truly have since you can't really get that much power out of a wall socket anyway. It has a top suite of Audyssey correction. The only thing I don't see is Atmos, which who cares-unless you are going to reconfigure your system?

As for the DAC, the number of bits are hardly important at all. Many converters have a lot of bits that they "process" but cannot really decode accurately. DAC performance depends a lot more on the analog circuitry and isolation and power supply. I feel VERY VERY skeptical that a newer Denon would actually measure or sound any better than yours.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by head_unit View Post
Why? Not trying to rain on your parade, but looking at the AVR-X4000 it appears on Denon's site to still be a current model. At 125 watts, that's as much as any receiver will truly have since you can't really get that much power out of a wall socket anyway. It has a top suite of Audyssey correction. The only thing I don't see is Atmos, which who cares-unless you are going to reconfigure your system?

As for the DAC, the number of bits are hardly important at all. Many converters have a lot of bits that they "process" but cannot really decode accurately. DAC performance depends a lot more on the analog circuitry and isolation and power supply. I feel VERY VERY skeptical that a newer Denon would actually measure or sound any better than yours.
Current models are generally identified as the current "year's" model, as they are discontinued and normally replaced every year. The X4000 being a 2013 model is not 4k/HDCP 2.2 certified so cannot pass a 4k signal.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-04-2019, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post
DAC - hardware
AL32 - firmware feature on the X4000 series and higher models

Most brands have used 32bit DACs on the majority of their models for at least the past couple of years, in Denon's case, since 2017 all models except the lowest model (ie. "SXXXBT") use a 32bit DAC.

If you have no plans on going beyond a 7.1 or Atmos 5.1.2 setup, the X3500H (7CH) offers the same version of Audyssey MultEQ XT32 as does the X4500H.



Are you talking about the XT32, or the DAC?



It kind of concerned me that the x3500h is listed as having a 32-bit DAC, but it does NOT have the "AL32" than the x4500 and higher have. I'm not quite sure what that means, except that is has fewer DACs and/or a lower grade of DAC?




Aside from the obvious lack of channels, and lack of power.... is there anything I would be giving up choosing the AVR x3500h over the x4500h? I am concerned with overall sound quality. I will be taking my time adding speakers to the system.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-04-2019, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landmonster View Post
Are you talking about the XT32, or the DAC?

It kind of concerned me that the x3500h is listed as having a 32-bit DAC, but it does NOT have the "AL32" than the x4500 and higher have. I'm not quite sure what that means, except that is has fewer DACs and/or a lower grade of DAC?

Aside from the obvious lack of channels, and lack of power.... is there anything I would be giving up choosing the AVR x3500h over the x4500h? I am concerned with overall sound quality. I will be taking my time adding speakers to the system.
AL32 and the 32bit DAC are two different things. The lower models have the same 32bit DAC as does the X4500H, rather the X4500H has the additional feature of AL32 processing. Whether you notice a difference will greatly depend on your listening capability as well as the quality of your speakers.

https://www.denon.com/Pages/GlossaryDetail.aspx?GId=13
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-04-2019, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I am still somewhat of a novice as far as these receiver terminologies go.


it does seem like most of these current-gen receivers have 32-bit DAC processors. The Denon has it, the pioneer elite has it, the Yamaha and Onkyo have it, and so forth.


My question then, I guess, is how important is the al32 technology the overall listening experience?

Secondly, will a person really notice a difference in sound quality between the 4500 and in the 3500 in the real world? (I will be using Polk lsi speakers, or something similar)

Finally, is there a significant difference in sound quality processing between the brands and models, if they were used as a preamp along with a dedicated Power amp?

I'm trying to understand some of the sound quality differences between the Denon 3500, the Denon 4500, and some receivers like the Pioneer elite lx503, and Onkyos and Yamahas in the same price range.

ideally I would like to be able to keep this receiver, whatever I buy, and eventually use it alongside a dedicated power amp. Unless receiver tech changes radically in the next 3 to 5 years...
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-04-2019, 06:49 PM
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Ah. Personally I prefer to wire direct to the display-the video processing was shown in one test to slightly corrupt the audio.
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