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DAC + old cd player = significant improvement?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I don't have any experience with external DAC's and am just starting to learn about them.

 

I have an old Rotel RCD-950 cd player.  I bought it new back in 1998.  It still sounds pretty good.  But as upgraditis goes, I'm curious if adding an external DAC will offer a significant improvement.  Now, since the cd player was around $500 new, I'd rather not add an external DAC that costs much more. 

So far I've considered the Little Dot II or Grant Fidelity TubeDac-11.  Would either of these two offer a significant improvement or would I be better off with a more expensive DAC?  Would you have any suggestions for a DAC ?

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by golgi View Post

I don't have any experience with external DAC's and am just starting to learn about them.

 

I have an old Rotel RCD-950 cd player.  I bought it new back in 1998.  It still sounds pretty good.  But as upgraditis goes, I'm curious if adding an external DAC will offer a significant improvement.  Now, since the cd player was around $500 new, I'd rather not add an external DAC that costs much more. 

So far I've considered the Little Dot II or Grant Fidelity TubeDac-11.  Would either of these two offer a significant improvement or would I be better off with a more expensive DAC?  Would you have any suggestions for a DAC ?

External DAC (Digital to Analog Converter).

 

So. I'm assuming your looking for an external DAC and external Headphone amplifier?

Might help to know what headphones your using?

The Rotel RCD-950 comes with a (single) coaxial digital output, so you need an external DAC with the coaxial digital input?

 

The Little DOT II is a headphone amplifier, not a DAC. but could connect to the RCA (Right/Left) analog outputs on the Rotel.

(using the RCA analog outputs means your using the DAC built into the Rotel).

 

But I'm guessing adding an external DAC would help the audio quality.

 

The Grant Fidelity TubeDac-11 is an external DAC with a headphone jack

and comes with a coaxial digital input.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for just an external DAC.  I already have a headphone amplifier (Little Dot MK3).   Also, I meant to say Little Dot DAC II but mistakenly left off the DAC part.

 

I'll use the external DAC with my Senn HD 580's and also in my Rotel+Magnepan+Martin Logan speaker system. 

 

I've only begun checking out external DAC's. It seems to be a better way to go than buying another disc player.  I just want to make sure that whichever DAC I get, it's a significant improvement over my standalone disc player. 
 

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by golgi View Post

I'm looking for just an external DAC.  I already have a headphone amplifier (Little Dot MK3).   Also, I meant to say Little Dot DAC II but mistakenly left off the DAC part.

 

I'll use the external DAC with my Senn HD 580's and also in my Rotel+Magnepan+Martin Logan speaker system. 

 

I've only begun checking out external DAC's. It seems to be a better way to go than buying another disc player.  I just want to make sure that whichever DAC I get, it's a significant improvement over my standalone disc player. 
 

On eBay

SMSL SD-1955 DAC, $105

SMSL SD-793 DAC, $65

 

My SMSL AD-1955 arrives tomorrow (Thursday).

post #5 of 8

Well I've never heard your Rotel, but I can't imagine that there hasn't been some pretty nice advances in DACs since 1998.  I actually have two DACs as well as the output from my CD player for when I want to change things up a bit.  Sometimes I prefer my older modded DAC over my newer W4S and other times I can listen to the CD player output to remind myself that both DACs sound better.

 

It would seem there are some pretty good deals out there at $500, but I haven't heard them myself.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

On eBay

SMSL SD-1955 DAC, $105

SMSL SD-793 DAC, $65

 

My SMSL AD-1955 arrives tomorrow (Thursday).

 

Does the USB on your SMSL AD-1955 work ? On mine the USB was totally defunct but they gave me $20 credit and I bought a USB to Coax gadget which works fine. The coax and optical are fine though and it is a very nice little DAC. I use mine mostly with the PC. I got it because my Entech is getting a bit flaky frown.gif

 

 

@OP - Those old Rotel CD players used good stuff - I had an old RCD 975 - the noise and distortion levels are pretty low, low enough to be inaudible in normal use, yes the SMSL I got for $100 should be technically better but I am not sure the difference in noise/distortion would really be audible in normal listening. The biggest single difference between any two competent DACs is output level, I've never found two DACs/CD players to have exactly 2V output and the hotter almost always sounds better.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response.

I've been doing some reading and the Schiit Bifrost seems to get a lot of good reviews. The price is right also.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

 

Does the USB on your SMSL AD-1955 work ? On mine the USB was totally defunct but they gave me $20 credit and I bought a USB to Coax gadget which works fine. The coax and optical are fine though and it is a very nice little DAC. I use mine mostly with the PC. I got it because my Entech is getting a bit flaky frown.gif

 

 

@OP - Those old Rotel CD players used good stuff - I had an old RCD 975 - the noise and distortion levels are pretty low, low enough to be inaudible in normal use, yes the SMSL I got for $100 should be technically better but I am not sure the difference in noise/distortion would really be audible in normal listening. The biggest single difference between any two competent DACs is output level, I've never found two DACs/CD players to have exactly 2V output and the hotter almost always sounds better.

USPS tried to drop off my SMSL-SD-1955, just 22 minutes after I left to go see Batman, but they need "Proof of Delivery"

Have to wait until Sat 9:30AM to pick it up.

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