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Dedicated DAC vs AV Receiver (good one)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Just wanted to discuss this. I have the Audio-GD compass DAC and the Onkyo TX-NR808 Av Receiver.

Headphones used for Blind Testing - Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

 

I tried blind testing with several songs using both the receiver and the DAC and wasn't able to make out any difference between the 2.

 

So my question - Is a dedicated DAC (with HeadPhone preamp) really better than a decent AV Receiver?

 

It was good to have the DAC when i didn't have the receiver. But now that i have the receiver, i am not sure if the DAC is serving any purpose or not?

 

Thanks....

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

Hi,

 

Just wanted to discuss this. I have the Audio-GD compass DAC and the Onkyo TX-NR808 Av Receiver.

Headphones used for Blind Testing - Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

 

I tried blind testing with several songs using both the receiver and the DAC and wasn't able to make out any difference between the 2.

 

So my question - Is a dedicated DAC (with HeadPhone preamp) really better than a decent AV Receiver?

 

 

It depends upon how good the dedicated DAC is. I assume you with have lived with both units as DACs for some time and not just relied on blind testing.

 

But honestly, with matched levels, I find it very hard to distinguish good DACs, regardless of price, with blind testing. Whether blind testing is valid or not is a topic I won't dare go into.
 

 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

^ I get you mate. I just wanted to discuss since people just seem to the hate the Headphone section of any AV Receiver. I feel, having a 400-500$ DAC over and above an existing AV Receiver is pointless. Not sure how the uber expensive DACs will perform though.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

^ I get you mate. I just wanted to discuss since people just seem to the hate the Headphone section of any AV Receiver. I feel, having a 400-500$ DAC over and above an existing AV Receiver is pointless. Not sure how the uber expensive DACs will perform though.

 

In the late 90s, I ran Grado RS-1s out of a Linn Wakonda and Onkyo AV receiver. It sounded great and I'm sure it still does.

 

It depends upon the headphones too. If I am not mistaken, your DT990s are easy to drive like the Grados. You'll hear more of a difference if you try HD800s, HD650s, or K701s out of a receiver output and compare to a dedicated DAC/amp or separates.


The < $500 range is kind of tricky. The ~$350 Grado RA1 (amp only) is nothing more than a op-amp based CMOY where the electronic parts cost no more then $20 total. The secret with the RA1 is the specific $3.50 op-amp and crappy electrolytic caps that somehow inexplicably make it match well with Grado headphones. On the other hand, there is some seriously good stuff like the HeadAmp Pico or the DIY AMB γ2.

 

For easy to drive headphones, I feel DACs or DAC/amp combos over $1000 start to make a significant difference over good receivers.

 


Edited by purrin - 7/31/11 at 11:30am
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

^ Thanks mate. The Beyerdynamics that i have are the 600 ohm edition. But still, you are correct, they are indeed easy to drive from what i have experienced so far.

Wish i knew someone with the real expensive DACs/Amps so that i could test myself.

 

Another sad thing is, my headphones were heavily used earlier on till i didn't get the speakers. Every since i invested in the swans, i have hardly used my DT990s as I am more of a speaker guy.

 

Sometimes, i feel, just listening and enjoying is that matters, instead of going into all these technicalities :).

post #6 of 14
Quote:

Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

 

Another sad thing is, my headphones were heavily used earlier on till i didn't get the speakers. Every since i invested in the swans, i have hardly used my DT990s as I am more of a speaker guy.

 

Sometimes, i feel, just listening and enjoying is that matters, instead of going into all these technicalities :).


Yup. I still get moved by music listening to FM radio in the car or Youtube videos from laptop speakers. I'll be going back to speakers in a few years when my youngest one gets old enough to know not to press in tweeter domes or splat milk over planar drivers.

 


Edited by purrin - 7/31/11 at 12:57pm
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post




Yup. I still get moved by music listening to FM radio in the car or Youtube videos from laptop speakers. I'll be going back to speakers in a few years when my youngest one gets old enough to know not to press in tweeter domes or splat milk over planar drivers.

 


:) ... of course ... Also, for private listening without causing any discomfort to others, nothing beats a good pair of cans :D .... that's the reason my DT990s will always be a part of my setup :D ....

 

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

^ I get you mate. I just wanted to discuss since people just seem to the hate the Headphone section of any AV Receiver. I feel, having a 400-500$ DAC over and above an existing AV Receiver is pointless. Not sure how the uber expensive DACs will perform though.



+1. My Pio Elite SC05 ( build-in Wolfson DACs ) and my Pio BDP 51fd Bluray player ( build-in Wolfson DACS)  when using together the PQLS function ( jitter reduction function kicks in ) I have been very happy with the HP output jack to drive any of my HPs.

 

My Pio Elite A35r HPs jack in particular driver high impedance cans very well .

 

I understand the concept of dedicated HP amp, but I agree with you unless one spend thousand $$$ on CDP, DACs, ICs. and HP amp, there is no advantage to move lateral with sub $1K CDP, DACs, HP amp, IMO.     

 

Save your money for more  better cans.

 

 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

^ Yeah :) ...

 

The thing is, i can't save money :(. I had the DAC before I got the AV Receiver. But now that i have the receiver, the DAC is just gathering dust. But yeah, i didn't know 2 years back that i will buy an AV Receiver down the line.

 

But wanted to start this thread for all others who are in a similar position. If you have a decent AV Receiver, don't get a sub 500-1000$$$ DAC as it won't give you anything. At least, that is what i feel.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

^ Yeah :) ...

 

The thing is, i can't save money :(. I had the DAC before I got the AV Receiver. But now that i have the receiver, the DAC is just gathering dust. But yeah, i didn't know 2 years back that i will buy an AV Receiver down the line.

 

But wanted to start this thread for all others who are in a similar position. If you have a decent AV Receiver, don't get a sub 500-1000$$$ DAC as it won't give you anything. At least, that is what i feel.


Unless it's a headphone that needs a lot of power like the HE6 or to lesser extent the LCD-2. There are a few decent amps from $200-$500s that do noticeably improve how those headphones sound. Then again, you can always hook up the HE6 to speaker outputs from your receiver.

Also, I'm not too sure the AGD Compass was all that great to begin with. Mike at Headfonia did not have good things to say (actually he was downright harsh) about it.
Edited by purrin - 8/8/11 at 9:16am
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

^Yeah. Its a budget DAC. Can't expect too much from it. But still, 400 is a lot to burn on something that doesn't give a justifiable output :)

post #12 of 14

$400! Dang. For some odd reason, I thought it was $199. frown.gif

post #13 of 14

 

Bryston-BHP-1.jpg

 

This product from Bryston maybe what I need if the price is right. I owned Bryston 4 BSST amp and their BP26 Pre-amp for a while, they are solid and quality products but the price is up there with Krell and B.A.T.

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

$400! Dang. For some odd reason, I thought it was $199. frown.gif



yeah. But don't get me wrong. Its not a BAD DAC. Its awesome if you don't have anything. But if you have a receiver or something, its similar those.

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