How important are DAC's in a AV preamp?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Keir H, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Is it the sole important feature to survey when deciding amongst todays best av preamps with similar features? is it only the DAC that creates "good or bad" sound quality or is it the circuit board design or combonation of the two? Are there any examples out there that show that even when using inferior DAC's, an av preamp still gets high marks and scores well amongst the best using "better" DAC's when review/auditioned?

    And what are ADC's are these just as important?
     
  2. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    1,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    Greg
    DAC = digital to analog converter
    ADC = analog to digital converter

    DACs are certainly an important part of a preamp's design. However, there are numerous other critical design features (number and arrangement of the DACs, power supply, board layout, switching components, etc.). As you have seen, the same DACs could be used in a $500 receiver and a $10k prepro. This doesn't mean that the units sound the same...

    ADCs are also important if you are digitizing any of your sources. Lower quality ADCs cannot sample extreme low levels of input (thus the info will be lost).

    Your best sound quality will be had by avoiding multiple analog to digital or digital to analog conversions. That is why analog bypass / direct bypass is an important feature for anyone with a quality source (i.e. SACD player, etc.). In lower end sources, it is quite likely that the DACs in the receiver will outperform the DACs in the source (something to A/B for yourself).
     
  3. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Very nice of you to repsond to my question to help my confusion a little. [​IMG] I see what you mean by the same DAC's can be used in "high-end" gear and budger gear alike. I guess it is all up to manufacture implementation and there appears to be no right way or wrong way in design.
    Now I am off to find a decent but CD player (~300, used?) that has better DAC's than my processor (EAD Encore) or upgrade the dac's built in and stay digital. THanks for any more opinions.
     
  4. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1998
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I have found that the analogue circuitry after the DACs have also considerable influence on the sound. My NAD CD player with 18 bit DACs but custom improved analogue parts sounds significantly better than the 20bit DACs of the Denon of my father or the 24 bit DACs of the Rotel RSP 1066.
    If you mainly want good CD sound, look for a decent player with good analogue circuitry. After all, CDs only have 16 bits to offer in the beginning.
     
  5. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    538
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  6. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hartwig said:

     
  7. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  8. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks guys for the new insight I am getting! I now know that its the entire circuitry path that makes the difference in that high-end sound one gets. I guess I was nieve a bit to think that two products will sound the same if they were to use the same DAC's and DSP. [​IMG] Thanks for clearing that up well.
    Rob, thanks again but I often hear that the DACs that I have aren't very good. I found that the Krell HTS2 uses the same ones too...hmmm...
    Can I use my DVD player (JVC 723 GD) as a transport with good results or should I look for a dedicated one when using digital?
     
  9. Robert McClanahan

    Robert McClanahan Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2000
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have the same DVD player as you and have actually had problems with it not playing some CD's.Enya in particular,but only one of her older ones.It is a good transport and you won't hear much difference with another player if you are using the DACs in your pre/pro.
     
  10. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    538
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  11. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Robert, I played it last night and honestly, I was fairly impressed on how it sounded using it as a transport testing with a Chesky demo disc. I just dont know how much it would improve going to an outboard DAC like some have done for analog purposes. Still, I'm like most on here and cannot be totally satisfied just yet! [​IMG] There's so much more to buy and experiment with. Ihave come a loooong way, believe me. thanks again everyone! [​IMG]
     
  12. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,402
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    keir:

    if i'm not mistaken...the encore does not have an analog bypass which effectively means that if you buy a high end cdp and run it's analog outs to the encore's ins, it's just gonna get converted via the adc which will send it to the encore's dac and straight out to your amps. you'll have to upgrade to the ovation-8 if you want a true analog bypass. of course, this is just my understanding. might wanna call somebody at ead to confirm or refute this.

    kevin t
     
  13. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    538
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That would be something to look into, woulden't it?[​IMG]
    -rob
     

Share This Page