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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yup, I know this is a very general question, but I feel inundated with the new choices available in receivers. Many receivers tout their 192khz 24bit dacs, but the real question is who's are the best?


For example the Integra RDC-7 has 192/24 and so does the DTR 9.1, however the RDC-7 is supposed to be much better. So this makes me wonder how the 192/24 dacs in some of the mid level receivers fare against some of the higher end stuff. Additionally, are 192/24 dacs the way to go, or is it possible that some 96/24 dacs in comparable receivers sound better?



I'm mostly intersted in flagship and the next level below flagship receivers.


With this recent changing of the guard, I'm not sure if it's better to buy an older model flagship or a newer mid level receiver.
 

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There is more to D/A sound than the choice of DAC chip used by the manufacturers, whether it be Burr-Brown, AKM, Crystal, etc.

Yes some DACs have better spec as far as S/N and Channel Separation, etc.


How that DAC chip is implemented is what is more important.


Using stand-alone 2-channel DACs as an example, both the Bel Canto DAC-1 and the Dodson DA-217 both use the Burr-Brown 1704 DAC chip. However the forme retails for $1400 and the latter for $6000.


You are paying for excellence in power supply, chassis, jitter reduction, and inputs & output design. These are what make these $10-$20 DAC chips sing.


Also, just because a DAC is rated at 24/96 or 24/192 does not mean that the DAC chip can upsample an incoming 16/44 signal to the higher levels on its own. Example: The Bel Canto DAC-1 and Perp Tech P-3A use the Cryston 8420 upsampler chip in front of their Burr-Brown 1704 DAC chip.


To my knowledge, Pioneer Elite receivers use Burr-Brown DACs while Denon use Crystal DACs ? I would not select a receiver based purely what is spec'd under the hood.


- Andy
 

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Perpetual Technologies at www. ********** is supposed to make a reasonably priced outboard DAC that is excellent if you want to eliminate the worry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Andy,


Thanks for the informative post. I figured that was probably the scenario. So here's a follow up question. Where does the implementation of the dac hit a point of diminishing returns? That is, how can one tell how well a dac is implemented without looking at the price? How far does a pre/pro designer have to go to get great performance from these chips?


I only harp on this point because I'm having a great deal of trouble auditioning equipment properly due to either the absence of equipment or unequal hi-fi store setups. Is there an alternative way to determine the sound quality.


For example, I've read many positive things on this board regarding B&K and Denon, but I haven't seen too much in the way of Yamaha, Pioneer, and even Sony. I've read glowing reviews on a lot of these products but I'm finding it hard to determine which would be better suited for my needs.


I'm currently thinking the Yamaha RX-V1 would be a nice piece given the implementation of the amp and generally good design. It's an older model but has just about all the things I want namely the 6th channel. I figure this could be better than lets say a comparably priced Denon 4802 but when I'm looking at the techincal specs. Then there's the option of going with something like the 3802 for a great low price, but I have to wonder how much I'm giving up in performance? I've listened to the 3802 and unfortuantely, I'm not too impressed with its stereo performance.
 

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FYI:

The Previous Flagship Denon AVR-5700 used the Burr-Brown PCM-1704 DACs on all six channels, Also a PCM-1716 filter/Dac

combo on the LFE.

They just switched to the crystal on the 5800.

I think it was a cost decision.
 

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I also have the AVR-3801 and ran it as a 2-channel pre-amp in direct mode with a high-end front-end. For my needs, the sound was too grainy. So to me, it sounded "bad", and this process involves no DACs.


I use the 3801 as a processor-only. I used the pre-outs for the front 3 speakers int oa an EAD PM2000 amp, but let the Denon power my surrounds and rear centre channel. For this, the 3801 sounded quite good, regardless of price. So what you may not like about the 3802 you listened to is not its DACs, but its pre-amp and amp sections.


Unless you can get 2 units at home at the same time to compare in the same system, it is difficult to pick the winner for you. You may need to ask a friend ( a good freind :) ) to borrow their high-end receiver to take to the store to compare to another unit. I doubt most retail stores would let you take home a top-class receiver with a return condition ... unfortunately.


If you spent $1000 on a used Bryston BP-25 pre-amp or something along those lines, it would be night and day for your 2-channel listening.


I tell you, the way I used my 3801 as a processor only, and kept my 2-channel separate, was a great way to go. Unless I heard how good the Lexicon MC-1 is, I would be very happy with my 3801.


- Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, that's kind of the rub. I want to get a lower cost receiver with a good pre/pro section for stereo which I could then use with a better outboard amp. Looks to me that Denon is great in all aspects save the stereo pre/pro. Seems you have to something like the 4802 for the better pre/pro.


I've also seen these pure direct options in receivers such as Marantz, Yamaha, and Sony 777es receivers but these guys are missing out on the DPLII and EX party. There's the new crop of receivers comming to town, but looks like many have lost some weight making me question the heft of their amp sections. For example the Marantz 7200 received low marks in the S&V mag, though this is still under some scrutiny.


If only the 3802 had a pure direct mode :) Then it would be an easier choice.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by PanamaMike
If only the 3802 had a pure direct mode :) Then it would be an easier choice.
I'm not sure what you mean by pure direct mode, but my Denon AVR-3300 has true analog passthrough when set in direct mode and an analog source is connected. This enables you to use the often supperior DAC's of your CD player or an external DAC and only use the Denon as analog preamp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As far as I understand, Pure Direct mode turns off all circuitry that isn't necessary for an outside analog signal to reduce noise from these internal components. This feature is available on the 4802 and 5800. The direct mode in the 3801/02 bypasses all the circuits but doesn't turn them off.


I would guess this could be part of the reason for the less than stellar Stereo performance of the unit. It would be nice if they would have done some sort of shielding of the pre/pro unit as they had in the Sony da777es.
 
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