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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read a lot of people talking about buying a preamp/processor and using it for music more than for Home Theater. My question is for those people. Are you listening to your source, CD's in this example, from the DAC on the CD player or from the DAC in your processor. I always run my processor in direct mode and let the DAC in my CD player (Arcam CD72) do all the processing. I've almost always found that with a good CD player or external DAC that 2 channel music always sounds better when bypassing the processor/receivers DAC.


-Joe
 

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Generally, a processor that is "more musical" will be that way all down the signal chain. It should have good DACs, Op Amps, analog stage, signal path, etc. That is one reason why people go for a processor that is good for music even if they don't plan to use the DACs. That said, many of us have limited budgets. I'd rather put my big bucks towards good speakers and a good processor, so that all of the above "parts" have no weak spot. Therefore, my CD player functions as a transport only, and I let my Arcam AVP700 do the signal processing and digital-to-analog conversion.


Chris
 

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My prepro does all processing in the digital domain. It makes the most sense to bypass the source's DACs since the prepro is going to convert back to digital again. Therefore, if the source *has* digital outs, I use them ... if it has analog only outs, then obviously I use them, and ultimately the prepro's DACs do the final DA work.


I think very few sources would have better DACs than those in my prepro. Also, the more likely one is to have many sources, the less sense it seems to make to invest in expensive sources with high quality DACs ... at least in my design philosophy. Put really big $$ into one set of DACs, rather than squandering middling amounts of $$ over many sets of not-quite-as-good DACs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuraCL
My prepro does all processing in the digital domain. It makes the most sense to bypass the source's DACs since the prepro is going to convert back to digital again. Therefore, if the source *has* digital outs, I use them ... if it has analog only outs, then obviously I use them, and ultimately the prepro's DACs do the final DA work.
Many pro/pros have a direct anolgue stage that lets you bypass any digital processing, it just allows volume control and feeds to the amp.


I find that a good CD player will many times sound better than most any preamps and recievers. Of course price is always a consideration. But IME the DAC's in a $2k-$3K pre/pro don't sound nearly as good as a $800-$1000 CD player. Close but I generally give the edge to the CD player.
 

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Quote:
I find that a good CD player will many times sound better than most any preamps and recievers. Of course price is always a consideration. But IME the DAC's in a $2k-$3K pre/pro don't sound nearly as good as a $800-$1000 CD player. Close but I generally give the edge to the CD player.
The DACs in my Onix XCD-88 would put the DACs in my Elite 54TX to shame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's what I mean. I don't get people who spend a few grand for a pre/pro and then a few months or a year later buy a new one because it sounds better with 2 channel music. They are selling the old pre/pro for a steep discount. Wouldn't they be better served by spending money on a good player with a great DAC that will last years, rather than buying new processors every year or so.
 

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From my experience, CDs sound best played on a dedicated CD player of high quality, with the analog output run through a transparent preamp. Use of a topnotch separate DAC is also a possibility, but I have not gone that route yet. I have owned some pretty good AV pre/pros (Bryston, Lexicon, Sherwood Newcastle) and none offer the 2 ch transparency on music that I prefer. My CD player (H/K FL8550, using BB 1702 DACs) is connected via analog to a Citation 7.0. I do enjoy music videos in 5.1, but that is a different listening experience from 2 ch CD. One is "hot" the other is "cool" (McLuhan). Its all good!
 

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I use a separate system for my Audio listening, a good Int. Amp or a Amp/Pre Amp with a good CD/SACD/DVD Player and nothing else, except speakers of course :) I have an HT system where I also listen to music but it is not critical. I have found with most Pre/Pros don't sound that musical, not sure why, although there are some that sound very good on music like the new Arcam and Anthem Reference and a Lexicon MC-12, just a few to mention.
 

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Yeah, I guess the ultimate "separates" setup has a whole second set of components and speakers in a second room for music. Unfortunately, I don't have two rooms that meet my fussy standards for shape and size. IMO, it should not be unreasonable to expect one "hub" that does all the processing very well and have the other components perform as peripherals. It's kind of like getting a DVD ROM drive with a beefy Pentium processor for data transfer with a computer because the mother board processor chip already has other duties.


Chris
 

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Ok, here is the stupid ? of the day - what determines which DAC is being used? I have a Denon 2815 DVD and a Denon 2105 AVR. The 2815 is connected via Optical to the 2105.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you are using a digital out like toslink or coax the DAC on the AVR is being used. In order for the DAC on the source to be used the analogue outs need to be connected. In addition, the AVR needs to support a direct mode that does not process the analogue signal before sending it to the amp or speakers.


HTH

-Joe
 

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I've got good and compatible electronics all the way down the chain - all Cary Audio Cinema stuff. But it seems like whichever gear I use, the best sound for music is analog out on the DVD player to analog bypass on the receiver. Listening through digital coax sounds surprisingly good, but never quite as good. So yes, ideal for me is to do the conversion once out of the CD/DVD player and analog the rest of the way.
 

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How do I listen to 2 channel music? With both of my ears of course :p (sorry but couldn't resist).


I connect my source direct to power amp. Most direct way for me. But I don't believe it is ideal even though its miles better than my previous AVR setup. My sound card is very capable and the one thing I wish it was capable of doing was to output at preamp level outputs and not line level... (well that and I wish it had balnced outputs and my amp had balanced inputs but thats a different story).


Cheers...

Duy-Khang Hoang
 

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I have a two channel preamp in the loop of my HT set-up. For two channel listening ,the HT Receiver is not even turned on. When its time for a concert dvd or a movie, just kick the two channel preamp into bypass mode, fire up the dvd player, monitor and the A/V Receiver and enjoy the show. Truly the best of both worlds. ;) Dac's and Opamps are fine and dandy but the analog section and volume control are extremely important.


I also have a separate dedicated two channel set-up upstairs.
 

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For two channel I run a Wadia 861 SE to a Pass X1 preamp via balanced input. For HT, an EAD Pre/Pro is connected to the Pass X1 and volume on X1 is set for unity gain for the L & R using balanced inputs.
 

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Separate system from the HT. It's my bedroom system...


Denon DCD-1560 CD player > Yamaha C-80 preamp > Mark Levinson #23 power amp > DefTech BP10 speakers. Considering some Gershman Acoustics speakers to replace the Defs...


Sometimes I plug the CD player directly to the power amp, but the variable output doesn't have quite enough oomph to get loud enough in some situations.


Thought about trying a ARC tube or hybrid pre amp. Perhaps an LS-2 or LS-5 to keep the costs somewhat reasonable. Am actually pretty happy with the Yamaha preamp though.
 

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In my house I get a lot better 2-channel reproduction when my VR-4JR's are playing full range music and the Outlaw-1050 receiver is set to ANALOG DIRECT mode. When I use the receiver's ADC, the music becomes compressed, sterile and uninvolving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I agree. I have the VR4.5 and when using the analog direct there is a big difference when playing CD's.


-Joe
 
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