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Disco Jets
Disco Jets's picture
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Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jan 31 2012 - 5:24pm
DAC upgrade?

I need some help deciding whether an outboard DAC would improve the sound of my music.  First let me trace my digital path.  I rip all my CDs to my iMac using Apple Lossless.  From there, the files travel through a CAT 6 cable to an Airport Extreme located in a closet in the center of my house.  The Airport Extreme assigns an address and sends the data on to a router, also located in the closet.  From there it can travel to any number of locations in my house.  In this case, it travels via CAT 6 to an Apple TV box connected to my Arcam AVR350 with an optical cable.  First question:  Does this mean that my Arcam does all the digital to analog conversion inside the receiver?  Question 2: It sounds great to me.  Would a outboard DAC make it sound better?  Question 3:  Does all this digital routing around my house degrade the digital signal in any way?  Thanks.

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
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Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Yes, maybe, no

Jets,

I'll try to answer your questions one at a time.

"First question:  Does this mean that my Arcam does all the digital to analog conversion inside the receiver?"

Since optical can only used for digital signals the answer is a definite YES

"Question 2: It sounds great to me.  Would a outboard DAC make it sound better?"

I looked at the specification for the Arcam receiver and it appears that the Arcam has very nice DAC built in so finding an external DAC which might "sound better" might mean that you would have to get a very expensive one. It is difficult to give a definitive answer without doing careful listening test and even then any differences in the sound may be just that, different but not necessarily better.

"Question 3:  Does all this digital routing around my house degrade the digital signal in any way?

Another definitive NO. The best to verify that this true is to find a DTS encoded audio file and try playing it. If the digital stream reaching the Arcam is in any way altered then the file will not play. Here's a link to information about how to play a DTS encoded file using iTunes: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA47850?viewlocale=en_US

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