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Digital out to DAC: why do I care?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm sure there's an easy answer, probably already answered many times here, but I'm burnt on researching everything to death. So... can someone tell me whether/why I really care about the quality of a source (CDP, DVD-A, SACD) if I'm just going to take the digital out of it and stream it into my relatively new (and very first) DAC (Meier StageDac)? I'm having a hard time figuring out why there'd be any advantage of one player over another if all it's doing is sending a bunch of 0's and 1's that the DAC will turn into musical bliss. What am I missing?


And if I understand right, I can't get digital out for the high res (DVD-A, SACD) tracks, right? If so, why did I get a DAC that can accommodate high res signals? If I'm right about this, is there some work-around (ripping to computer, for example, and then sending to DAC)?


Sorry I'm being lazy, I can only spend so much time trying to figure this stuff out. Maybe some kind digitial audio wiz can dummy it down for me. If the best I can get is "yes, it matters, but you're too dumb to understand why," fine. Kindly reserve more offensive responses for the even stupider questions I have about computer audio (like ... can I just get a Mac mini so I can burn everything to Itunes in Apple Lossless and output it digital-wise to my DAC instead of learning what a Rockbox or a Squeezebox are?)


Alright, I'm done, Thanks for indulging me.



post #2 of 4

Supposedly better transports create less jitter but I take that with a large grain of salt. I have some trouble believing that you would actually be able to hear jitter at the frequencies involved (unless it's a fantastically badly implemented clock).


As for SACD and 96khz out, I don't know anything about that. For sure you can get 96/24 FLAC files for a limited selection of music.

Edited by buz - 5/12/10 at 4:13am
post #3 of 4

Better transports create a signal with less jitter as buz said. However, a well designed DAC should have a jitter rejection makes the transport irrelevant.

Provided there's no DRM, the max you get our of DVD-A is a PCM 24/96 signal, most Dvd player can output this type of signal, you can rip a dvd-a too.
As for SACD, it's a different type of disc, there's no computer disc drive that can read it. The coding scheme if the audio is DSD, not PCM, to my knowledge, there's no or very few DSD hi-fi dacs (there are professional dacs obviously). However some SACD players do a DSD <-> PCM conversion internally and can output a PCM signal.

post #4 of 4

You won't find any DVD-A or SACD in stock form players that output unencrypted PCM over S/PDIF which is decodable by your DAC. It's a form of DRM so the only really usable outputs for 'high resolution' formats is the analog outputs (encrypted, proprietary, or down converted (rare) digital outputs exist too but are uncommon or a hassle.) There are DIY kits which only work on certain players that add PCM over S/PDIF output - the player has to have unencrypted PCM 'exposed' somewhere internally.


There may be ways to rip DVD-A to your computer but no PC drives exist for SACD.

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