View Full Version : Which DAC/connector should I use?

2005-04-22, 07:59
At home I have a Denon 4802 receiver with Mission speakers. The receiver is from 2001, but was pretty expensive at the time. Specs for this model can be found at http://www.usa.denon.com/catalog/products.asp?l=1&c=57. It's listed as having Analog Devices AD-1854 24 bit, 96 kHz highest resolution DACs. Given that this receiver is 4 years old, and the speed of advancements in technology, which DAC should I use? The one in my SB2, or the ones in the receiver?

If I go with the receiver DACs, should I use fiber or coax? Is it true that coax is usualy better for this (I had been using fiber with my SB1).


Mike Hanson
2005-04-22, 08:14
The Burr Brown DACs in the SB2 are highly regarded in the audio community, so I wouldn't be susprised if they were better than the ones in your receiver. It's easy enough to test it, though.

Regarding coax versus optical, the signal is electrical in the SB2. To use optical it must be converted once in the SB2, and then back into electrical in the receiver. There are also common problem with crappy TOSLink cables (mostly the terminations), which cause echoes inside the cable.

Therefore, I suggest that you get some good RCA cables for the audio output (if you don't have any already), and a good video cable (75ohm) for the digital coax (coax S/PDIF and video use the same spec). Then do a comparison, and pick the one that sounds best to you.

-=> Mike Hanson <=-

2005-04-22, 17:13
Thanks Mike. I figured I'd probably have to give it a real world ear test (I assume that's what you mean by your easy enough to test comment).

As for the cables, in the past I always thought optical was the best and thought that since it's digital it'd have some sort of error detection/correction and that I could get away with a cheap cable. Bad assumption!

Patrick Dixon
2005-04-23, 00:59
I think it's also worth mentioning that it's not just the DAC IC that determines the convertor's audio performance, it's a combination of the chip, it's implementation and the surrounding circuitry (things like output buffers and power supplies).

But as Mike says, in the end it's your ears that decide which is the best approach, not a spec sheet or a date code.