Grace 901 DAC+AMP, do you use the DAC?
May 20, 2003 at 11:32 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

bluesaint

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For those of you who own this unit, do you use the built in DAC or still prefer analog?

I'm about to buy a Philips 963SA which has it's own DAC obviously and was wondering if i should digital out or use the DAC on the Philips if i were to get a Grace901?

I cans are HD600.

Also is there quality difference in cable for optical? shouldn't be right? since it's either signal or no signal. I have Sony optical cables, just wondering if need better ones.
 
May 20, 2003 at 11:41 PM Post #2 of 12

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hmmm... for less money, you could get an ART DI/O and an Emmeline HR-2 or Gilmore v2 SE that would sound just as good if not better than the Grace.

but i don't know if you would really need a DAC unless you plan to listen to almost all redbook. an external DAC won't work for SACD or DVD-A anyway.

as for cables, i believe that optical cables come in a plastic strand variety and glass strand, obviously glass is better and more exspensive, but a good coaxial cable will beat any optical cable.
 
May 20, 2003 at 11:42 PM Post #3 of 12

jpelg

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Probably should use the digital out for redbook play, and the analog outs for SACD. Get the best of both.

Really nice amp (and DAC).
 
May 21, 2003 at 12:04 AM Post #4 of 12

88Sound

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bluesaint,

If you are going to get the Grace and the 963 you should hook up the digital out of the 963 via coax and the analog outs, this way you can instantly switch between using the 963 DAC and the Grace DAC (via a push button on the Grace) and make a comparison for yourself. The digital out of any player will not work with SACD, you will be forced to use analog in this case.

In my experience I prefer the Grace DAC over the Pioneer Elite 47A DAC in every case, with the Marantz DV8400 I prefer the Marantz DAC.

Every ear is different.
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May 21, 2003 at 12:43 AM Post #6 of 12

88Sound

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Because of the High/Low Range selector on the Grace it can be set to work optimally with every phone I've tried with it, although I would consider it slightly underpowered (compared to the RKV) with the K1000's although it still sounds very good.

So far I've tried HP-2's, RS-1's, 325's, HD600's, W100's, W2002's, ETY4S's, and K1000's. The current hungry phones show the most improvement with the Grace (RS1, 325). This amp has a very refined non-grainy sound that I consider top notch with all of the phones I've listed.

The best price I've seen (and where I got mine) is www.bayviewproaudio.com , free shipping and now you get a free microphone with purchase.
 
May 21, 2003 at 12:45 AM Post #7 of 12

aeberbach

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I use the DAC, it is very useful. Right now I'm in a temporary apartment and I have only moved in a minimum of stuff, the Grace is running as a computer amp with K1000 as speakers, I use the digital out on the PC as it is a single cable and easier to transport. Also this allows me to plug in the iPod to the analog input and switch without changing cables. I also use digital input sometimes for listening with a portable CD player.
What I did not expect is that with the Philips 963 it cannot decode all of the digital signals such as DVD or even CD unless you set the right options in the 963's onscreen menus. So while the Grace is good it is not a universal DAC with the 963.
You can get cheaper rigs and they might do more or cost less or even sound better but I like the Grace because it is compact, built to professional standards (i.e. tough) and easily performs within 1% of any amp or DAC I have ever heard. It's also universal voltage.
 
May 21, 2003 at 12:48 AM Post #8 of 12

bluesaint

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Can you elborate more on

"What I did not expect is that with the Philips 963 it cannot decode all of the digital signals such as DVD or even CD unless you set the right options in the 963's onscreen menus. So while the Grace is good it is not a universal DAC with the 963."
 
May 21, 2003 at 2:56 AM Post #9 of 12

aeberbach

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Some digital signals produce nothing, some produce an oscillation noise, some work just fine. I can't tell you exactly which settings need to be used since my 963 isn't here right now but you can listn to CDs like you can with any other player, analog or digital - it's just DVD and SACD output that doesn't work 100%, what you'd expect if the Grace DAC wasn't built with those in mind.
 
May 21, 2003 at 9:50 AM Post #10 of 12

88Sound

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As far as the Grace decoding digital signals this has been my experience with the following players, DV47A, DV8300, & DV8400.

The players must be set to digital out on (obviously). If you want to be assured of the highest signal rate you should also turn downsampling off if there is a setting to do so.

The Grace has so far decoded all of these formats at the following rate: Redbook CD = 44.1K, DVDA = 48K (internally to the players these signals are generally decoded at 96K but are puposely crippled to output digitally at 48K, probably someones idea of not being able to make a perfect copy), DAD = 96K This is a DVD format where they take the area that is normally used for video and make it pure audio, there aren't many of these (they are put out by www.classicrecords.com ) but they sound great. Last but not least SACD = 0, Sony requires that you cannot output an SACD digitally at all for copy protection reasons.

I have never had a situation where the Grace has output noise from the digital out. With a digital signal the grace lights will always show you what rate it will decode at even if you're listening to analog. With SACD no digital lights are lit.

So far I have not seen anything decode at 88.2 , and I have never used a 963. It also occurs to me that I've never tried the Grace with a DVD movie, I have only played these in the home theatre setup.
 
May 21, 2003 at 5:23 PM Post #11 of 12

grinch

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Quote:

Originally posted by aeberbach
Some digital signals produce nothing, some produce an oscillation noise, some work just fine. I can't tell you exactly which settings need to be used since my 963 isn't here right now but you can listn to CDs like you can with any other player, analog or digital - it's just DVD and SACD output that doesn't work 100%, what you'd expect if the Grace DAC wasn't built with those in mind.


in my experience with using an external dac with dvd players, the player must be set to output pcm and then you'd have to switch to the 2-channel tracks of any dvd to get the best sound. it is just a dac, it is not meant to decode dolby 5.1 and all that stuff, and most dvd players come set to output that since that's what most people use digital out on dvd players for (receivers and such).

and of course it won't output sacd digitally.
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May 21, 2003 at 6:01 PM Post #12 of 12

aos

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Yes, if you switch DVD player to PCM output you should be able to get external DAC to work. My DVD player will output good PCM regardless of what audio track is set - i.e. it will work in 5 channel mode as well as 2 channel. It seems to downmix 5 into 2 channels, and that's even though my player is quite old (Pioneer DVD-333, 3 years old at least).

Even if there were no copyright issues, you wouldn't be able to output SACD digital signal (i.e. DSD) over the S/PDIF because it isn't PCM. DVD-A on the other hand has no such excuse (except for 192kHz).
 

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