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Does an external DAC/Amp completely take over the onboard DAC of a player?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I need a way to play CD's and I don't want to spend a lot of money on a CD player. I know cheap CD's player generally sound like crap so if I connected an external DAC/Amp to one the CD player would only be used for spinning and reading the disk and my headphones would be completely powered by the external DAC/Amp and would sound the same if I connected and external DAC/Amp to an expensive player correct?

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post #2 of 17

No, not correct I'd say. Spinning and reading the disk is also something where a cheap player can seriously mess things up. In that case I believe it is better to make good rips of your CD's on a PC and then listen to your music from a laptop or something, using an external DAC/amp.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Don't have a computer. CD player is my only option.
post #4 of 17

They should sound the same, assuming they both work.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
So in the case of an expensive CD player,like the Marantz CD5004 an external amp wouldn't be needed for the most part? Not trying to drive anything expensive here.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatonedude2 View Post

So in the case of an expensive CD player,like the Marantz CD5004 an external amp wouldn't be needed for the most part? Not trying to drive anything expensive here.

 

The price of the headphone isn't your problem but the specs. You have to ask the people who own that one though, but from my own experience, I had the Marantz CD60, Grado SR225 ($200) and Sennheiser HD600 ($399). Using the CD60's amp, the SR225 sounded only a little bit better than $30 AKGs used for monitoring (not for recording, but like, for several people being interviewed in a radio show); by contrast the Sennheiser sounded a lot better on the CD60's amp than hooking it up to a tube amp (Little Dot MkII) to drive these headphones.

The best explanation I can think of is that the SR225 is 32ohms, while the HD600 is 300ohms (and not bad in terms of efficiency, so not much in the way of not getting enough power); AFAIK the output impedance of the CD60 is 120ohms.

There is a possibility that Marantz hasn't really revised that headphone amp circuit since the CD60 though; most built-in headphone amps use the Philips headphone driver chip (and also the S:Flo2 portable player) and I won't be surprised if the latest Marantz CDPs still do.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's got a Cirrus Logic CS4392 D/A Converter and HDAM-SA2 hyper dynamic amplifier modules which "apparently" outperform conventional amps,if that means anything. And I'm looking to drive the Sennheiser HD598.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatonedude2 View Post

It's got a Cirrus Logic CS4392 D/A Converter and HDAM-SA2 hyper dynamic amplifier modules which "apparently" outperform conventional amps,if that means anything. And I'm looking to drive the Sennheiser HD598.

 

AFAIK the HDAMs are the output stage after the DAC, after which the sound goes out the RCA jacks or to the headphone amp. They are in place of conventional op-amps used in the output stage; other designs use more conventional discrete ICs,or vacuum tubes.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Does that mean it's only used when the player is connected to an external amp?
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
But is the DAC good?
Edited by Thatonedude2 - 2/7/14 at 8:31pm
post #11 of 17

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatonedude2 View Post

Does that mean it's only used when the player is connected to an external amp?

 

Well, you wouldn't be able to use that to drive transducers otherwise, but "amp" here includes the internal headphone amplifier. Simplified Sequence of usual circuits digital to analogue circuits is basically,

Transport/PC > DAC > Analogue output stage > amplifier > speaker or amp

You might be gettign confused by the use of the term "amplifier" in multiple contexts. Take it to mean its root word, "amplify," instead of strictly just the amplifier. The output stage - whether HDAM or more conventional Op-Amps - amplifies the analogue signal produced by the Digital to Analogue Converter into a 2v-ish output to go into a compatible input (they each have an impedance rating but set that aside for now) on an amplifier that takes that 2v signal, applies a preamp where necessary, and then the amp stage is what basically makes that into a signal measured more in watts for driving speakers (or fractions thereof for headphones).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatonedude2 View Post

And is that good...or?


I wouldn't use good or bad, it's just how the circuit works. HDAMs, conventional Op-Amps, discrete ICs, and tubes all have their advantages and disadvantages; the best circuits don't really stray from a true signal regardless of what they use. The thing is, in some cases it may be easier to achieve that using one more than the others, in terms of cost, physical size, heat, etc.

IF anything, such analogue output stages will inevitably still color the sound, which is why some manufacturers choose tubes to add that "tube sound" or some sell different HDAM modules to tweak the sound of their DACs. Newer direct digital circuits in which the DAC using a digital volume control (not the same as a digitally controlled analogue potentiometer) feeds the analogue signal straight into a power amplifier section, the whole circuit itself designed to work without any type of analogue output stage nor analogue potentiometers. It won't be as modular, as when some systems can have an outdated digital to analogue conversion system can be replaced and still use the same separate amplifier, but of course that comes with the territory where no advantage comes without some other kind of disadvantage (whether each trade off is worth it is generally up to the system's owner, after all, they'll be the ones using it).

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Well, you wouldn't be able to use that to drive transducers otherwise, but "amp" here includes the internal headphone amplifier. Simplified Sequence of usual circuits digital to analogue circuits is basically,


Transport/PC > DAC > Analogue output stage > amplifier > speaker or amp


You might be gettign confused by the use of the term "amplifier" in multiple contexts. Take it to mean its root word, "amplify," instead of strictly just the amplifier. The output stage - whether HDAM or more conventional Op-Amps - amplifies the analogue signal produced by the Digital to Analogue Converter into a 2v-ish output to go into a compatible input (they each have an impedance rating but set that aside for now) on an amplifier that takes that 2v signal, applies a preamp where necessary, and then the amp stage is what basically makes that into a signal measured more in watts for driving speakers (or fractions thereof for headphones).



I wouldn't use good or bad, it's just how the circuit works. HDAMs, conventional Op-Amps, discrete ICs, and tubes all have their advantages and disadvantages; the best circuits don't really stray from a true signal regardless of what they use. The thing is, in some cases it may be easier to achieve that using one more than the others, in terms of cost, physical size, heat, etc.


IF anything, such analogue output stages will inevitably still color the sound, which is why some manufacturers choose tubes to add that "tube sound" or some sell different HDAM modules to tweak the sound of their DACs. Newer direct digital circuits in which the DAC using a digital volume control (not the same as a digitally controlled analogue potentiometer) feeds the analogue signal straight into a power amplifier section, the whole circuit itself designed to work without any type of analogue output stage nor analogue potentiometers. It won't be as modular, as when some systems can have an outdated digital to analogue conversion system can be replaced and still use the same separate amplifier, but of course that comes with the territory where no advantage comes without some other kind of disadvantage (whether each trade off is worth it is generally up to the system's owner, after all, they'll be the ones using it).

I don't know what you said really. Are the internals of that player good for the price and what I need? $350 and driving the Sennheiser HD598.
Edited by Thatonedude2 - 2/7/14 at 9:52pm
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatonedude2 View Post


I don't know what you said really. Are the internals of that player good for the price and what I need? $350 and driving the Sennheiser HD598.

 

As far as I can guess based on the specs of both the Marantz and that Sennheiser, they should be.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
How about something a bit more demanding down the road? Like the HD600 for an example. I plan on purchasing the Audio Engine D1 also.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Or that's what I was recommended to use with it.
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