My wife purchased for me some very nice new hi-end headphones (Audeze) and a headphone amp (ALO Pan Am). I have a Denon -1082 AVR, and I like the sound through the speakers but it seems weak when using the headphone jack. I like to listen to TV and music. Our Direct TV box has analog outputs so they go great through the AVR and I hook-up the headphone amp to a pre-amp output. Unfortunately the audio from my Sony Blu-ray is digital coaxial. Which plays great through the AVR when using the speakers, but as many of us learn the hard way the pre-amp outputs of many AVR's do not carry digital signals. So for right now I am using the AVR headphone jack and running it into the headphone amp (which I assume is not the best method although it works) My question is am I better off getting a new Blu-ray player that has analog outputs in addition to the digital ones, or investing in a DAC? I can get a decent Blu-ray player with analog outputs for $200-$300, how much would a decent DAC cost? Which option would result in better sound performance?
Better bang for my buck, new Blu-ray player or a DAC
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Have you thought about just upgrading the A/V receiver, getting one with HDMI, so you can run HDMI from the current Blu-ray player to the A/V receiver and then plug the headphones directly into the newer A/V receiver.
Here is a refurb Yamaha RX-A710 A/V receiver for $329
Comes with Yamaha's Silent Cinema, Yamaha's own version of headphone surround sound.
You could get a new Blu-ray player with an optical output, connect a $100 Schiit Modi (optical) DAC to it and the Pam Am to the Modi, but you would not get headphone surround sound, just stereo audio