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Simon Turner
2004-03-01, 15:12
It is very reasonable to assume that you'll get a better sound quality from
the SB with a stand alone DAC. There are a couple of recent threads it may
be worth you reading: "[OT] Audiophiles: Can the audio reproduction of
theCDbeequalled or bettered?" and Squeezebox SP-DIF parameters.
The general consensus seems to be that there is very little reason that you
should not get very good quality reproduction indeed from a Squeezebox as
long as:

* You rip your Flacs correctly (using something like Exact Audio copy)
* You use an external DAC. A couple of people in these discussions have been
talking about adding quite expensive DACs to their SBs ($1000+!).

I bought an Arcam Delta Black Box (over ten years old) via eBay for just
less than 100 (UK sterling) to see if it would improve the sound of the SB.
It was 100 very well spent. The sound quality has measurably improved and
is much nearer to that obtained from my Naim CDX than it is to the SB
analogue-outs. In addition the volume level, which was always frustratingly
low from the analogue-outs is now on a par with that of all my other
peripherals.
I am hoping to borrow a good quality DAC soon to see if it worth me buying a
better one than the Arcam, with the eventual aim of getting rid of the CDX
all together. I'm pretty optimistic that this is a realistic idea.

There are quite a few interesting DACs on eBay UK at this moment, including
an Arcam Black Box and a Meridian 203, both of which should go for a little
over 100. Or, if you fancy something a bit classier:

2 x Meridian 566
2 x Tag McLaren Dac 20
PINK TRIANGLE DaCAPO
MUSE MODEL 2

or, my personal favourite...
Audio Note DAC4 (1x valve output) which is on "Buy Now" for a mere
2,250.00!! :-)

Simon Turner
Brighton UK



> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com]On Behalf Of Mark Aronica
> Sent: 01 March 2004 19:43
> To: Slim Devices Discussion
> Subject: [slim] External DACs
>
>
> I'm interested in purchasing an external DAC for my Squeezebox.
> Currently I
> have a Creek 5350 SE integrated amplifier which only accepts RCA analog
> inputs. Two questions:
>
> 1) Is it reasonable to assume that I'll get better sound quality
> running my
> SB through an External (standalone) DAC and then running the analog out of
> the DAC into my Creek? In my side-by-side listening comparisons,
> my SB isn't
> quite up to the same quality as my moderately priced CD player, even when
> playing FLAC -> WAV.
> 2) Could folks please list out my DAC options? I know there is a wide
> selection, but what are some good ones between $200 -> $1000?
> Has anyone out
> there actually tried out a couple and could give person
> impressions? Please
> focus on those that offer RCA compatible outputs so that they'll
> work with my
> Creek amp.
>
> Thanks so much for your help,
> Mark
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Speck [mailto:speck (AT) ruc (DOT) dk]
> Sent: Sunday, February 29, 2004 11:10 AM
> To: Slim Devices Discussion
> Subject: Re: [slim] fix coming for b&k, meridian, superdac, et al
>
> On 27/2-2004, at 19:08, Sean Adams wrote:
>
> >
> > Using an analyzer, we found the problem, and after two weeks of
> > calling Micronas every single day, they have provided a fix.
> >
> > New firmware coming this weekend. Confirmed fix for b&k - expected to
> > fix all other s/pdif receivers.
>
> Works now with my SuperDAC 2496. Thanks for spending time on this
> problem!
>
> ----
> - Peter Speck
>
>

kdf
2004-03-01, 15:46
Quoting Simon Turner <simon (AT) brighton (DOT) co.uk>:

> It is very reasonable to assume that you'll get a better sound quality from
> the SB with a stand alone DAC. There are a couple of recent threads it may
> be worth you reading: "[OT] Audiophiles: Can the audio reproduction of
> theCDbeequalled or bettered?" and Squeezebox SP-DIF parameters.
> The general consensus seems to be that there is very little reason that you
> should not get very good quality reproduction indeed from a Squeezebox as
> long as:
>
> * You rip your Flacs correctly (using something like Exact Audio copy)
> * You use an external DAC. A couple of people in these discussions have been
> talking about adding quite expensive DACs to their SBs ($1000+!).
>
> I bought an Arcam Delta Black Box (over ten years old) via eBay for just
> less than 100 (UK sterling) to see if it would improve the sound of the SB.
> It was 100 very well spent. The sound quality has measurably improved and
> is much nearer to that obtained from my Naim CDX than it is to the SB
> analogue-outs. In addition the volume level, which was always frustratingly
> low from the analogue-outs is now on a par with that of all my other
> peripherals.

going on a tangent here, this always confuses me when you bring it up. I do use
my SB with didgital out to my Yamaha RX595 (relatively cheap tuner/amp/dac), but
when I had it hooked up using analog cables, I could still rattle the neighbours
out of bed if I wanted to. Granted, its a shared wall, but I'm just not
understanding how you end up with 'frustratingly low' outputs. In fact, my
second SB using optical needs to be turned down from when I'm using my dvd
player or I would again be waking neighbours. Last time I used analog was before
the 'fixed digital output' settigs came into effect. Maybe that has some effect
on the analog outputs.

-kdf

Ron Thigpen
2004-03-01, 16:05
kdf wrote:

> [...] I could still rattle the neighbours out of bed if I wanted to.


it is also my experience that the analog outs on the SB have a rather
low level.

with the SB volume level set to max, i'd expect these outputs to be
pushing a similar voltage to a consumer level CDP. if this were the
case, i could play back the same material via CDP or SB and A/B the
inputs and have the overall system output be fairly equivalent.

as it stands, i have to really crank up the gain (volume knob) on my
preamp when switching to SB from CDP. it's not a huge deal, as my
system has more than enough overall gain to get to the desired volume
level, but i am also amplifying any noise on the line, and run the risk
of not remembering to lower the levels when i switch back to CDP.

--rt

seanadams
2004-03-01, 17:43
The levels can go a little higher, but you'd be surprised how many
people report clipping issues at their receiver if we go higher....

On Mar 1, 2004, at 3:05 PM, Ron Thigpen wrote:

> kdf wrote:
>
>> [...] I could still rattle the neighbours out of bed if I wanted to.
>
>
> it is also my experience that the analog outs on the SB have a rather
> low level.
>
> with the SB volume level set to max, i'd expect these outputs to be
> pushing a similar voltage to a consumer level CDP. if this were the
> case, i could play back the same material via CDP or SB and A/B the
> inputs and have the overall system output be fairly equivalent.
>
> as it stands, i have to really crank up the gain (volume knob) on my
> preamp when switching to SB from CDP. it's not a huge deal, as my
> system has more than enough overall gain to get to the desired volume
> level, but i am also amplifying any noise on the line, and run the
> risk of not remembering to lower the levels when i switch back to CDP.
>
> --rt
>

Ron Thigpen
2004-03-01, 21:26
interesting. and a totally reasonable argument for leaving them the way
they are.

or we could all chip in and buy a bag of resistor plugs for the clipped :)

anyway, more of an observation than a problem. and i hope to make it
irrelevant soon by picking up an external DAC.

thanks sean.

--rt


Sean Adams wrote:

> The levels can go a little higher, but you'd be surprised how many
> people report clipping issues at their receiver if we go higher....