Marantz HD-DAC1
Jan 29, 2021 at 3:57 PM Post #1,051 of 1,094

Bernard23

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I did a comparison between the Marantz and my dacmagic XS. Easy to distinguish them on my Grado 325e and Hemps but closer than you'd think. As much as I love the Marantz, I do wonder if it's the same magnitude of aural improvement as the increase in cost is. It most likely isn't, but this is the world of consumer audio where almost anything goes....
 
Feb 8, 2021 at 1:46 AM Post #1,052 of 1,094

milkdudd

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As we know the Marantz HD-DAC1 doesn't have any analog inputs except the auxiliary for phone or iPod. Stupid or not, I connected my sacd player to this input with an RCA to mini stereo jack cable. I knew the voltage coming in would probably be a mismatch but since it's all analog I didn't think I could damage anything. It actually sounds okay except for a crackling sound which I assume is because the voltage coming in is too high. The manual for my sacd player says it outputs two volts at the RCA's. Other than voltage issues it should work shouldn't it? I mean analog is analog correct? I know connecting this way isn't ideal but it's the only way I can think of to listen to my sacd's on my headphone amplifier. For those of you that know a lot more about this than me, do you suggest I use attenuators with the RC interconnects? If the answer is yes, how many decibel reduction should I shoot for? Attenuators don't cost a whole lot but I'd still like to buy the right ones the first time. Thanks in advance
 
Feb 8, 2021 at 1:29 PM Post #1,054 of 1,094

milkdudd

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Does your SACD player have a coaxial output? Just connect that to the HD=DAC1.
Thanks for your reply. It does have coaxial and optical out but when sacd first came out there was an agreement they couldn't put out the high res signal through digital due to worries of people copying the music without paying. I don't really get it either. I guess the same reason you can't rip sacd to create digital files. The way I understand you can hook it up that way but it will downsample the signal to standard resolution. But your comments got me doing more research and it seems certain Denon players can play in full resolution. My player is the 100th anniversary sacd player. And someone also said that even after down sampling it's still higher quality than a regular sacd. With all this said I'm going to hook it up that way and see what I get
 
Feb 8, 2021 at 6:59 PM Post #1,055 of 1,094

milkdudd

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I just read on another forum that the auxiliary input of the HD-DAC1 converts analog to digital, processes it and then converts it back to analog again. That sounds far from ideal to me. So now my question is does the auxiliary input give relatively poor quality sound no matter what you run through it? if that's the case I'll just give up on the SACD idea entirely. Thanks in advance again

By the way the coax digital input of the HD-DAC1 does not accept the signal from the SACD player unless you set it to play the regular CD layer
 
Feb 8, 2021 at 7:55 PM Post #1,057 of 1,094

milkdudd

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Several models of universal players (including most of the Oppo models) can rip SACDs to full-resolution DSF files on a computer. What SACD player do you have?
It's a Denon DCD-A100. It's the 100th anniversary edition. For years I have understood that only the early firmware version of the PlayStation 3 could rip CDs to digital files. But once in a while I hear of people talking about listening to rips from SACD but I don't know how they are doing it. I have a PS3 and had I known at the time I would have never gone to newer firmware since I think it's impossible to roll back to an earlier version. If I could rip my SACD's I would lose interest in even hooking the player up in the first place. Thanks again
 
Feb 8, 2021 at 8:38 PM Post #1,058 of 1,094

Smoothstereo

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It's a Denon DCD-A100. It's the 100th anniversary edition. For years I have understood that only the early firmware version of the PlayStation 3 could rip CDs to digital files. But once in a while I hear of people talking about listening to rips from SACD but I don't know how they are doing it. I have a PS3 and had I known at the time I would have never gone to newer firmware since I think it's impossible to roll back to an earlier version. If I could rip my SACD's I would lose interest in even hooking the player up in the first place. Thanks again
Back in the day, I have also read somewhere that the Marantz 3.5mm analog input converts to digital then uses its internal dac to decode back to analog and output to headphone. But when I asked Marantz support team, they said that's not true. Any signal fed into the analog 3.5mm input stays in analog form and gets amplified out to the headphone jack. This was a long while aog when I asked them this question. You can check with them to make sure.

In regards to your question about listening to the SACD layer from your Denon Player, and using Marantz as a headphone amp, the only way is thru the 3.5mm analog input. But the input is way too sensitive so the signal coming from the Denon will be too high causing occasional clipping.

You can either try the right value resistive RCA plugs that will decrease the signal level going into the Marantz or you can try a volume switch like a Schiit Sys. This will work lile a preamp in bwtween your Denon player and Marantz.
 
Feb 9, 2021 at 7:04 PM Post #1,059 of 1,094

milkdudd

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Thanks for your response. I definitely will need to attenuate the signal from my SACD player RCA outputs to the 3.5 analog input of my dac/amp. The specifications of my sacd player and dac/amp are as follows:

Denon DCD-A100 SACD player output:
2.0V / 10Kohms

Marantz HD-DAC1 input sensitivity / impedance:
200MV rms / 22Kohms

Can any of you guys who know a lot more about this stuff than I ever will tell how many decibels of attenuation I would need? Thanks in advance
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 4:01 AM Post #1,060 of 1,094

Bernard23

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Hooking up a Topping L30 to the Dac-1 gave a lower noise floor and even better clarity.
But the L30 has crap build quality and needed repair after a month.
Now I did a big upgrade to the RME adi-2 dac. I had buyer's remorse between ordering and receiving the RME and didn't think it would be much of an upgrade, if any.
I'm glad I was very wrong. This thing sounds incredible. A tool of perfection is the best way I could describe it. And that's with none of its many adjustments yet.
Are you using the Marantz headphone amp section?
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 4:04 AM Post #1,061 of 1,094

Bernard23

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What would be a noticeable upgrade over the Marantz unit, either integrated, or as separates. The RME is an obvious DAC, there was another that I'm sure was mentioned in this thread but cannot find it; also need to consider the headphone amp section.

EDIT: Found it, SMSL SU-9
 
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Feb 10, 2021 at 4:31 AM Post #1,062 of 1,094

milkdudd

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What would be a noticeable upgrade over the Marantz unit, either integrated, or as separates. The RME is an obvious DAC, there was another that I'm sure was mentioned in this thread but cannot find it; also need to consider the headphone amp section.
So far I'm still using the Marantz headphone amp but a lot of people speak highly of the Headamp GS-X Mini. I think some even mentioned that it pairs great with the RME dac. It's American made in relatively low quantities and comes in a wide variety of anodized colors, with both gloss and matte finishes offered. Two different styles of volume controls are offered also
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 6:00 AM Post #1,063 of 1,094

Bernard23

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So far I'm still using the Marantz headphone amp but a lot of people speak highly of the Headamp GS-X Mini. I think some even mentioned that it pairs great with the RME dac. It's American made in relatively low quantities and comes in a wide variety of anodized colors, with both gloss and matte finishes offered. Two different styles of volume controls are offered also
I saw your comments in the dedicated thread. Have you ordered one? I'm not entirley clear which part of the marantz is best upgraded, the DAC or the amp. Seems as is always the case I'd need to spend around 3x the ££ for he Marantz to get a worthwhile improvement. I really don't want to fall back into the trap of hyperbolic confirmation bias that so many posters are gifted towards. I'm using mid range Grados, and not about upgrade them any time soon, I can't see anything under £1k that is a worthwhile (as not marginal) improvement!
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 12:36 PM Post #1,064 of 1,094

Bernard23

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Feb 10, 2021 at 1:23 PM Post #1,065 of 1,094

milkdudd

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I saw your comments in the dedicated thread. Have you ordered one? I'm not entirley clear which part of the marantz is best upgraded, the DAC or the amp. Seems as is always the case I'd need to spend around 3x the ££ for he Marantz to get a worthwhile improvement. I really don't want to fall back into the trap of hyperbolic confirmation bias that so many posters are gifted towards. I'm using mid range Grados, and not about upgrade them any time soon, I can't see anything under £1k that is a worthwhile (as not marginal) improvement!
No I haven't purchased the Headamp. I'm actually really happy with the Marantz, that's why I'm going to such effort to try and get that 3.5 analog input to work for my SACD player. I also use the Marantz as a preamp to my home stereo. I'm getting phenomenal sound out of that. I'm starting to think the Marantz is highly underrated. I'm the same as you, I don't want to pay big money to get something that isn't any better and might not even be as good. With that said the comments I do hear is that the Marantz is better at being a dac then as a headphone amp. If you look a few posts up a forum member mentioned that Marantz told him the 3.5 analog input remains analog throughout the signal path. I think the rumor that it converted to digital and then back to analog might have been someone mistaking it for the Oppo headphone amp, the HA-1. I have a volume attenuator ordered that should arrive today or tomorrow so once and for all I can find out if the Marantz will take the analog from my SACD player. If that works out well the Marantz will be doing everything I want it to and I probably will be out of the headphone amp shopping market for a while. If it doesn't work out well, I will probably be looking at that Headamp amp to use with my Marantz as the dac, or the RME dac/amp combo
 
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