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Affordable DAC with 2 optical inputs

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Parabellum27, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Hey there,

    I am slowly building a nice setup for the living room and I am planning to go with a vintage amplifier like the Yamaha CA-1000 and I would like to go on the other hand to equip it with modern DAC and connectivity. The thing is that I want to connect my cable box optical output to the DAC and also would need a streamer connected to it. The CCA is an obvious choice but can only connect with optical. This leaves me with the problem with a DAC that sports 2 optical inputs.

    One solution would be to use the RCA outputs of my cable box and plug it directly to the CA-1000. I don't know how much of a difference it would make to watch TV but if possible I would prefer the signal to go thru the DAC. This way, that would free up the optical input for the CCA.

    Are there some *affordable* (200$ range) DAC with 2 optical inputs? I know Arcam makes the rDAC II but it is a bit expensive. For the DAC, I am leaning to a Schiit Modi 2 Uber or Topping D30.

    Any advice?

    (And why the CCA can only accept optical for digital output???)
     
    Leebob likes this.

     

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  2. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Just get a cheap optical to coax converter, you will have more DACs to choose from.
     
  3. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    I use a powered optical switcher purchased on ebay for around $20. It allows connection of 3 optical input sources and it's remote will switch between them.
     
    Leebob and stish like this.
  4. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Thanks for the suggestions. That could work for me but I have to keep in mind to have the setup "wife proof"... The converter adds another power cable from what I could find online (most are active). I found a DAC that could could in the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus. But this one has an extra pre-amp that I do not need. Another option I have seen is the Yamaha WXC-50 when set in DAC/Streamer mode. Again, this one come with a pre-amp that I do not need and it quite expensive for what I want to do. Essentially, I just want to have my TV hooked to the DAC, with the streaming capabilities. If I could have the DAC and streamer in one box that would be perfect (the WXC-50 is one contender)
     
  5. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Another option I am thinking is to ditch the idea of the DAC for now and plug the CCA with the 3.5 to RCA cable directly into the RCA input of the amplifier, and the RCA out of my cable box into the other RCA input of the CA-1000. This would be the cheapest solution in the meantime to be up and running. Down the road I could settle for a DAC that fits my needs. The question is is how much of a hit soundwise that option would be...
     
  6. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Not that much. I wouldn't worry much about the cable box for sure. As for the CCA - depends on what you stream, if it is Internet radio 128kbps streams or the like I wouldn't worry about it either. Lossless and high-bitrate compressed streams will benefit from an external DAC.
     

     

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  7. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    This is what I use to add multiple optical sources to a DAC. It's priced at $16 at Walmart online.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    If your speakers and amp have good resolution the CCA will not sound as good without an external DAC. Even a $20 Fiio D3 DAC is an upgrade to the CCA's internal DAC.
     
    stish likes this.
  9. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    797
    Another option is to use a purely optical SPDIF splitter. In reverse...

    This will only work if your sources turn off their optical transmitters when not actively transmitting an audio stream. You can check this by looking for the red glow of the transmitter when not streaming.
     
  10. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Interesting. I could then use a set of RCA cable for the cable box (I have a spare Kimber Hero) and use a DAC with the CCA via optical. Easy for the wife I think as she would only to flip a switch to get sound for TV. Another option would be a separate streamer with a coax output like the Sonos Connect or the like. Quite more expensive than a CCA though.
     
  11. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018

     

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  12. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,235
    Same price at Amazon, but most recent reviews are pretty bad. Beware.
     
  13. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,504
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    According to the specs the CCA has a hybrid 3.5mm jack that supports analog audio and/or digital. There are devices available that convert optical to coax. Try this one.
    https://www.amazon.com/Whizzotech-T...pons&keywords=optical+to+coax+converter&psc=1
    [​IMG]
    You'll also need a cable that goes from mini optical to standard Toslink.
    https://www.amazon.com/KabelDirekt-...rds=mini+toslink+to+toslink+optical+cable+6ft
    [​IMG]
    I'm presuming you already have a suitable length of coax.

    Cost for both is <$25.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  14. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    797
    Yes, it would work. But it's relatively expensive.

    The CCA comes with a short 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable. Many devices have a 3.5mm input socket. Why no option? The CCA is cheap. Very cheap. As are 3.5mm to RCA leads.

    Yes, the CCA does have a combined analogue/optical 3.5mm output. It works.

    Don't waste money on (literally) gold-plated optical connectors; they are optical, not electrical, so gold plating (which is good for electrical connections) serves absolutely no useful purpose. IMHO, it's a sure sign of snake oil or utter ignorance on the part of the cable manufacturer. A plastic connector is to be preferred, anyway, since the cable is a sacrifical item, and we don't want sacrifical items to be harder-wearing than the non-sacrificial item (the mating connector on the DAC/receiver), which is very likely to be plastic.
     
    Bill Ferris and Parabellum27 like this.
  15. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    That is a good option, to convert optical to coax. I currenly have an XLO Reference 3 coaxial 1M cable at my disposal but I may buy a DV-30 from Kimber along an OPT-1.
     
  16. Parabellum27

    Parabellum27 New Member

    Messages:
    49
    That is an interesting device an another good option to consider.
     

     

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  17. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    Haven't read the reviews but mine ( I have two - 1 into 3 and 3 into 1 ) have been working fine for the last two years. The switcher when switched can either pass a digital signal or not. If it doesn't then it's defective. There should be no degrees of how well it works. Amazon will issue a full refund and those folks who complain can send it back on Amazon's dime. One feature I like is the fact that the unit can be hidden from sight and the FR extender button will pick up the remote signal. Truly an amazing product for $16. Now the mechanical optical switchers like the one below are unreliable or at least mine was.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

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  19. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,235
  20. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,235
    [QUOTE="Poultrygeist, post: 11938688, member: 6633 Now the mechanical optical switchers like the one below are unreliable or at least mine was.[/QUOTE]

    Agree on the "iffiness" of the mechanicals. Alignment and attenuation problems seems to kill what really SHOULD be a pretty easily manufactured and reliable device.
     

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