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Receivers DAC-s compared to soundcards

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Lot of DAC talk in these forums...

Question - how are the entry level receivers (Yamaha RX-V357/450/461/559 or Sony, Denon & Pioneer models in the same price range) DAC-s quality compared to those rather cheap, but good soundcards DAC-s (AV-710 Wolfson, M-Audio Revo & Audiophile, Juli@ or some USB DAC-s in the 100.- € range) ?

Is there a point to stick to the on-board RealTek sound and transfer bit-perfect stream over SPDIF to receiver or shall one buy better soundcard/separate DAC (if around 100€ is there to spend and we assume, that this same receiver stays as amplifier) ?
post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 
100 views and nobody has ANY idea ?
post #3 of 32
Many on-board sound systems (AC-97) will resample CD audio from 44kHz to 48kHz even at the coax output. There are some ways to improve this situation (ASIO4ALL, SRC resampler, etc.) but it is still a problem.

Any of the VIA sound controllers will have a good digital output (M-Audio, AV-710, Juli@, etc.).

Quality USB audio is relatively expensive. The cheap ones only do 16-bit and 48 kHz max sample rates (no 24/96 for example).
post #4 of 32
Try Marantz,there SRS TruSurround headphone out is not to bad.
When you consider the price of there medium models is still less than a good card,they are excellent value.
post #5 of 32
I would imagine that DACs in entry-level receivers would be, at best, no better than those found in sound cards. But I still lean toward the sound cards. Sound cards are designed for one purpose, whereas these entry-level receivers are meant to be multi-purpose (audio/video).
post #6 of 32
Entry level receivers will sound about 20x better than even the best soundcards if my Kenwood is anything like the rest. Emu 0404 (pci or usb) loses to it badly, X-fi elite pro doesn't hold a candle etc.

It measures badly, but sounds great. It has a worse dac than the emu 0404 usb, but still outperforms it. And it's not even close.
post #7 of 32
receivers also have an amp for headphones right?
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarek99 View Post
Entry level receivers will sound about 20x better than even the best soundcards if my Kenwood is anything like the rest. Emu 0404 (pci or usb) loses to it badly, X-fi elite pro doesn't hold a candle etc.
It measures badly, but sounds great. It has a worse dac than the emu 0404 usb, but still outperforms it. And it's not even close.
The difference is often attributed to the output stages of receivers, which are usually much more mature than those of soundcards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by judas391 View Post
receivers also have an amp for headphones right?
Most do, yes.

Regards,
Venio
post #9 of 32
is it possible to amp a headphone out on receivers? or something like digital/line out or whatever?
thanks in advance
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarek99 View Post
Entry level receivers will sound about 20x better than even the best soundcards if my Kenwood is anything like the rest. Emu 0404 (pci or usb) loses to it badly, X-fi elite pro doesn't hold a candle etc.

It measures badly, but sounds great. It has a worse dac than the emu 0404 usb, but still outperforms it. And it's not even close.
This is irrelevant.

He is asking about the DAC stages, not the opamp stages.

Driving headphones straight from soundcard, and straight from receiver is not comparable when talking about the DACs.

Try going digital out to receiver, and then line out to receiver.
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
This is irrelevant.

He is asking about the DAC stages, not the opamp stages.

Driving headphones straight from soundcard, and straight from receiver is not comparable when talking about the DACs.

Try going digital out to receiver, and then line out to receiver.
IM TALKING ABOUT THE DAC. I use a separate headphone amplifier (Rega Ear and Black Cube Linear) and output sounds digitally to the low-end receiver. It beats "superior" soundcards easily.

For example = X-fi Elite pro, Emu 0404 -> Black Cube Linear or Rega sounds worse than digitally to the receiver and then to the amp.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veniogenesis View Post
The difference is often attributed to the output stages of receivers, which are usually much more mature than those of soundcards.
Exactly!
post #13 of 32
I am actually looking for a good receiver and was wondering the exact same thing. I plan on getting a Stello DA100 at some point in the near future, but I also want a receiver to hook up to my computer for movies via my mac optical out.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarek99 View Post
IM TALKING ABOUT THE DAC. I use a separate headphone amplifier (Rega Ear and Black Cube Linear) and output sounds digitally to the low-end receiver. It beats "superior" soundcards easily.

For example = X-fi Elite pro, Emu 0404 -> Black Cube Linear or Rega sounds worse than digitally to the receiver and then to the amp.
sure, if you know of a way to get the signal out of the dac without it passing through an amplification stage first to turn into a proper line-level signal. That's not what happens in most home receivers or soundcards, which brings us back to the device as a signal-producing whole. Yes, in some cases there is a "true line out," but I see no reason to judge those any differently than the ones that amplify the signal first. It's all about whether the line-level signal has the characteristics and quality (qualities) you're looking for.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarek99 View Post
It measures badly, but sounds great. It has a worse dac than the emu 0404 usb, but still outperforms it.
It measures badly, but it still "outperforms" the 0404 USB... I think we have different definitions of performance. If you like the sound of coloration, that's your choice.

OP, the DACs in current receivers are usually good. Often, a manufacturer will build a receiver around one DAC, and that design will trickle down the line to even the cheapest components. Even the lower-line DACs from companies like Cirrus, AKM, Burr-Brown, and Analog Devices still have great performance relative to what one might expect from onboard sound.

Standalone sound cards are good, too, but if you have a decent receiver, don't discount its internal DAC without hearing it. Of course, that only applies if you plan on using the receiver to power speakers or headphones using its amplification section, which may not be so great.
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