Marantz HD-DAC1
Nov 15, 2020 at 11:01 PM Post #991 of 1,210

MacMan31

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I just recently got a Dac-1 and really like it. It sounds more natural and has better tonality than the Chord mojo it replaced. The Mojo was a small step up in clarity though, so I tried hooking up a Topping L30 amplifier out of the Dac-1 and it sounds amazing. Great natural sound with incredible clarity.
An effective and cheaper route for you to go might be buying a Topping L30 and hook it up with RCA's from the pre output on your PM8005 amp. Just set the Topping volume at about 75% and control the volume from your PM8005 with its remote.
I either use an ipod into the front of the Dac-1 and can control track skips and volume from the Marantz remote, or using my Samsung phone and casting Tidal to my TV with built in chromecast. Then optical out from the TV into the Dac-1, controlling song selections from my phone and volume from the Marantz remote.

I did not know I could use the pre-out in this way. I assume this would work with any headphone amp with analog inputs? I would have to make sure to turn off the speakers on the PM8005 before turning up the volume to listen to headphones.
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 4:23 AM Post #992 of 1,210

metric1

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One of the little things that irked me with the HD-DAC 1 was the absence of defeatable volume for the outputs when you plug in headphones i.e., it does not mute the output (fixed/variable). Not a deal-breaker at all, but over time, did bother me a tad. I used the outputs, set to fixed, running into an external valve amp to power my speakers.

The sound of ther above setup was stunning - doing a direct comparison between a valve-based CD player vs Roon (Macbook) > USB (QED Ref.) > HD-DAC1 into my valve amp, I preferred the HD-DAC1. The sound of the HD-DAC 1 (compared to my £1500 valve CD player) was fuller, with greater extention at both ends and a noted 'sparkle' to the sound, a somewhat diifcult to describe increase in realism.

As for the HD-DAC1 in 2020, it's still a very solid all-in-one. Here in the UK, however, the price has risen substantially. I purchased mine for £499 (new) - that was a great price, above £600, where it is now, I'm not so sure about.
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 4:54 AM Post #993 of 1,210

Livnmuskoka

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I did not know I could use the pre-out in this way. I assume this would work with any headphone amp with analog inputs? I would have to make sure to turn off the speakers on the PM8005 before turning up the volume to listen to headphones.

If the speaker A button on the front is switched off first it should work fine. Any amp with analog inputs will do.
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 7:12 AM Post #994 of 1,210

MacMan31

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One of the little things that irked me with the HD-DAC 1 was the absence of defeatable volume for the outputs when you plug in headphones i.e., it does not mute the output (fixed/variable). Not a deal-breaker at all, but over time, did bother me a tad. I used the outputs, set to fixed, running into an external valve amp to power my speakers.

The sound of ther above setup was stunning - doing a direct comparison between a valve-based CD player vs Roon (Macbook) > USB (QED Ref.) > HD-DAC1 into my valve amp, I preferred the HD-DAC1. The sound of the HD-DAC 1 (compared to my £1500 valve CD player) was fuller, with greater extention at both ends and a noted 'sparkle' to the sound, a somewhat diifcult to describe increase in realism.

As for the HD-DAC1 in 2020, it's still a very solid all-in-one. Here in the UK, however, the price has risen substantially. I purchased mine for £499 (new) - that was a great price, above £600, where it is now, I'm not so sure about.

Well a person on CAM (Canuck Audio Mart in Canada) is selling his for $725 which equates to around 468 Euro. I was going to connect my Bluesound Node 2i and coax audio from my 4K blu-ray player to the HD-DAC1 and run analog out to my PM8005. That way I can use the DAC in the DAC1.
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 7:17 AM Post #995 of 1,210

MacMan31

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If the speaker A button on the front is switched off first it should work fine. Any amp with analog inputs will do.

Should I max the volume on the HP amp and just use the volume control on the stereo amp?
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 9:24 AM Post #996 of 1,210

Livnmuskoka

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Should I max the volume on the HP amp and just use the volume control on the stereo amp?
Yes. Maybe not max but 3/4 volume on the headphone amp should be lots, depending on which headphone amp and which headphones.
I have my Topping L30 amp set to 3/4 volume and use the Dac-1's volume control. And I never need to go past half volume on the Dac-1.
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 6:56 PM Post #997 of 1,210

MacMan31

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Yes. Maybe not max but 3/4 volume on the headphone amp should be lots, depending on which headphone amp and which headphones.
I have my Topping L30 amp set to 3/4 volume and use the Dac-1's volume control. And I never need to go past half volume on the Dac-1.

You don't feel like you are wasting a perfectly good amp inside the HD-DAC1 by using the L30?
 
Nov 16, 2020 at 7:36 PM Post #998 of 1,210

Livnmuskoka

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You don't feel like you are wasting a perfectly good amp inside the HD-DAC1 by using the L30?

Not at all. I noticed a small drop in clarity when switching from a Chord mojo, but better tonality and more natural sound.
I read in different reviews of the Dac-1 that's it an excellent dac but only a good amp, so it gave me the idea to add the rather inexpensive L30 with it's world class measurements. Luckily it worked out great. I like this combo better than much more expensive dac/amps that I've tried.
Depending on you and also what headphones you have, you may be perfectly happy with the Dac-1 on it's own. The Topping L30 is a current product so you could always add one or something similar like a JDS Labs Atom after if you want to try it.
The goal would be adding an amp with an extremely low noise floor and with output impedance that is less than 10% of whatever your headphone's impedance is.
 
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Nov 18, 2020 at 7:04 PM Post #999 of 1,210

MacMan31

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Not at all. I noticed a small drop in clarity when switching from a Chord mojo, but better tonality and more natural sound.
I read in different reviews of the Dac-1 that's it an excellent dac but only a good amp, so it gave me the idea to add the rather inexpensive L30 with it's world class measurements. Luckily it worked out great. I like this combo better than much more expensive dac/amps that I've tried.
Depending on you and also what headphones you have, you may be perfectly happy with the Dac-1 on it's own. The Topping L30 is a current product so you could always add one or something similar like a JDS Labs Atom after if you want to try it.
The goal would be adding an amp with an extremely low noise floor and with output impedance that is less than 10% of whatever your headphone's impedance is.

Well I went ahead and bought the HD-DAC1. Should arrive on Friday. My current headphones are the Sennheiser HD6XX and 58X. I'll be streaming from the Bluesound Node 2i to the HD-DAC1. We'll see how this goes.
 
Nov 18, 2020 at 8:02 PM Post #1,000 of 1,210

Livnmuskoka

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Well I went ahead and bought the HD-DAC1. Should arrive on Friday. My current headphones are the Sennheiser HD6XX and 58X. I'll be streaming from the Bluesound Node 2i to the HD-DAC1. We'll see how this goes.

I really like mine with the way I have it hooked up.
If it doesn't work out, you should be able to sell it for very little or no loss.
 
Nov 21, 2020 at 9:37 PM Post #1,001 of 1,210

MacMan31

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I really like mine with the way I have it hooked up.
If it doesn't work out, you should be able to sell it for very little or no loss.

So I have tried out this DAC/amp in a couple different scenarios. Both times I am streaming music via the Bluesound Node 2i. The "downside" of the Node 2i is that it outputs audio via all output options at once. I don't need to switch between outputs. So when I had the Node 2i connected to the HD-DAC1 via coax digital and to my stereo amp via RCA I would be getting music out of both. Now I have my components connected to the HD-DAC1 digital inputs and outputting to my stereo amp via the variable audio output. I really don't like how this DAC sounds through my stereo amp. When using the headphone out it sounds good with music ripped from CDs but not as good with downloaded music from the iTunes Store. Also when I had the Node 2i connected via coax digital I would get a disconnect from my MacBook Pro and the Node 2i. I did not have that with my stereo amp when streaming via the Node 2i. In any case I may just use it strictly as a HP amp or I may just end up selling and try your way with the Topping L30 or another option like that. If I choose to keep it I was actually wondering if it's possible to buy and use an alternate power cable? The stock cable is too stiff and janky.
 
Nov 21, 2020 at 10:35 PM Post #1,002 of 1,210

Livnmuskoka

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So I have tried out this DAC/amp in a couple different scenarios. Both times I am streaming music via the Bluesound Node 2i. The "downside" of the Node 2i is that it outputs audio via all output options at once. I don't need to switch between outputs. So when I had the Node 2i connected to the HD-DAC1 via coax digital and to my stereo amp via RCA I would be getting music out of both. Now I have my components connected to the HD-DAC1 digital inputs and outputting to my stereo amp via the variable audio output. I really don't like how this DAC sounds through my stereo amp. When using the headphone out it sounds good with music ripped from CDs but not as good with downloaded music from the iTunes Store. Also when I had the Node 2i connected via coax digital I would get a disconnect from my MacBook Pro and the Node 2i. I did not have that with my stereo amp when streaming via the Node 2i. In any case I may just use it strictly as a HP amp or I may just end up selling and try your way with the Topping L30 or another option like that. If I choose to keep it I was actually wondering if it's possible to buy and use an alternate power cable? The stock cable is too stiff and janky.

I have read that you can get different power cables for them, but I don't know who from.
I've only tried a few different higher end cables before, and the use of silver, or unusual designs only made my systems sound brighter, or grainy, or worse in different ways. I only stick with high strand count, pure copper wires now.
Can you try a different method of using the Dac-1, without the Node 2i maybe?
Not sure how far away you sit from your stereo or whatever other devices you have to try, to be able to recommend much.
I only use my Dac-1 with headphones, and usually only from the optical output of the TV using chromecast. Sometimes I plug an ipod into the front of the Dac-1 for music while I'm searching other things on my android phone. There isn't a noticeable difference in sound quality when using optical in or the front USB in.

What don't you like about the sound of the Dac-1 into your stereo?
 
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Nov 21, 2020 at 10:52 PM Post #1,003 of 1,210

MacMan31

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I have read that you can get different power cables for them, but I don't know who from.
I've only tried a few different higher end cables before, and the use of silver, or unusual designs only made my systems sound brighter, or grainy, or worse in different ways. I only stick with high strand count, pure copper wires now.
Can you try a different method of using the Dac-1, without the Node 2i maybe?
Not sure how far away you sit from your stereo or whatever other devices you have to try, to be able to recommend much.
I only use my Dac-1 with headphones, and usually only from the optical output of the TV using chromecast. Sometimes I plug an ipod into the front of the Dac-1 for music while I'm searching other things on my android phone. There isn't a noticeable difference in sound quality when using optical in or the front USB in.

What don't you like about the sound of the Dac-1 into your stereo?

I was looking at a cable like this. However I'm only seeing three prong options and not two prong options.
https://www.amazon.com/1-Pack-FILSH...fier+power+cord+braided&qid=1606015165&sr=8-5

Well I'm not very good at describing how something sounds. But with my stereo amp and speakers there is almost no bass. The sound is not full and warm which is the kind of sound I thought Marantz was known for. Also instrument separation seems off. Perhaps it's just not a kind of sound signature I am used to.

With headphones it's overall pretty good but even then it's certainly not a sound signature I am used to. My previous DAC/amp setup was the Topping D70 and THX789. My headphones are the HD6XX and 58X.

I could try the DAC1 plugged directly into my Mac via USB. But I would have to move the DAC1 to the side table where my Mac is. I do not have a desk setup as I have a laptop. The DAC1 is in my TV stand and I'm using a 12 foot cable for my headphones.
 
Nov 22, 2020 at 7:40 AM Post #1,004 of 1,210

pbarach

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I've been using the HD-DAC1 as both headphone amp and DAC for a couple of years, I had no issues with separation or bass response. I don't know why those are problems in your system.

I switched to the THX 789 amp and used it with this DAC for a few weeks. The THX added some clarity to complex music. Then I changed the DAC to a Topping D50s, which added better imaging. It also provided a soundstage in front of me (to some extent) and improved imaging with Focal Clears, instead of a soundstage inside my head.
 
Nov 22, 2020 at 8:43 AM Post #1,005 of 1,210

MacMan31

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I've been using the HD-DAC1 as both headphone amp and DAC for a couple of years, I had no issues with separation or bass response. I don't know why those are problems in your system.

I switched to the THX 789 amp and used it with this DAC for a few weeks. The THX added some clarity to complex music. Then I changed the DAC to a Topping D50s, which added better imaging. It also provided a soundstage in front of me (to some extent) and improved imaging with Focal Clears, instead of a soundstage inside my head.

Maybe it's just how I am perceiving the sound. I'm using the DAC1 as a pre-amp into my Marantz PM8005 amplifier. So I adjust the volume on the DAC1 and the PM8005 is set to "power amp direct" mode. Also when using my headphones I notice a scratching sound when there is a quiet spot in the music or when no music is playing. It sound kind of like the needle going over a record while it's spinning. I'm using low gain for my headphones as that is plenty for me.
 

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