Has anyone had great results going from a DAC into an older amp/receiver?

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by thurber, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. thurber

    thurber AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I have two separate setups, one for digital, one for vinyl, because my Marantz 1060 sounds beyond stellar for vinyl, but not surprisingly really does not work with any digital source I've plugged into it. I have tried going from my Pono into the Marantz, as well as a few different good-quality DACs, fed by my MacBook. Nothing really sounds all that great. Just wondering if anyone has found a combo along these lines that works. I don't know if it's an issue of an impedance mismatch or what. I don't expect to find a solution that sounds as good as vinyl, but something that sounds good enough that I even want to listen to it, in the first place.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

    Messages:
    1,846
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    I have a Behringer UMC404HD routed through a couple of outboard preamps into a 35yo Denon amp, then into a couple of KEF floorstanders. Sounds clear as a bell. Don't know why you're having problems.
     
  3. Silentnet

    Silentnet I like to keep my issues drawn... Subscriber

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Define "older"? All 3 amps I've used are from the late 80s or early 90s, and I use digital sources exclusively, no issues, sound good to me.
     
  4. spark1

    spark1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    I have a secondary system with a Maverick D2 feeding a Marantz 1060. Sounds good to me. Also have a Musical Fidelity V90 feeding a Sansui AU-919 in my main system. Sounds very good to me. Does it sound like vinyl? No, of course not...vinyl has its own sound characteristics. Does it sound as good as vinyl? To me, yes...different, but just as "good".

    Heck, I even have an office system in which I feed a iPod (160Gig Classic) to a Kenwood KA-7002, using a specialized cable to bypass the iPod's headphone amp)...but of course still using the iPod's DAC. Sounds quite nice.

    All of these "vintage" amps have been fully restored/rebuilt.

    Are you using non-compressed digital files?
     
  5. WillVT

    WillVT Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    957
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    What do you mean by "really does not work?" What about it do you not like? Maybe you just don't like the sound of digital?
     
  6. Rockyhill

    Rockyhill No marigolds in the promised land Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,121
    Location:
    Maine
    You are using a Line In jack for the DAC, not a Phono input jack, correct?
     
    cpt_paranoia likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    15,790
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    The age of the receiver/amplifier is irrelevant. What comes out of a DAC is a two channel analog signal. Any receiver/amplifier with an unused line level input will work just fine.

    FWIW: I run the output of my Emotiva XDA-2 directly into an input on my Audio Research SP-9 MKIII preamp. The result sounds damn good to me.
     
    Alobar and cpt_paranoia like this.
  8. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,674
    It might be one of gain.

    According to specs I found, the high level input sensitivity is darn high - 180 mV or about a fifth of a volt. Many modern DACs and players have output in the 2-4V range which might overload the input. Try using the Pono player, but disable fixed output and lower the volume level.
     
    thurber likes this.
  9. thurber

    thurber AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    @E-Stat Thanks! Yeah, I had been using the fixed output on Pono - will give this a try!
     
  10. spark1

    spark1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Hmmm...I always thought 150-250mV was a pretty typical range for input sensitivity of consumer gear. The output of the PONO is 1V, unless I misread their spec sheet.
     
  11. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,674
    That appears to be the case. Impedance isn't a problem as the Marantz has a high value.

    Perhaps its input doesn't have a wide overload margin since 1V is more than 6 db higher than spec.

    Let's see if dropping output level has an effect.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    West coast
    I run a DAC into 1980s Hafler preamp and amp. yes, it sounds good.

    my DAC has an output level and a choice of SS via opamp or tube output.
    I use the tube output for slightly better sound, and reserve the SS output
    for eventual headphone amp.
     
  13. spark1

    spark1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    What DAC? It has two completely separate amplification circuits, one tube based and the other solid state? Or a tube which can be switched in or out of the same output circuit?
     
  14. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    West coast
    any dac-01/02: the dac feeds an opamp for SS output, and a second output circuit to a tube.

    meanwhile, it has 5 inputs, optical, digital, USB and 2 analog. I have an SACD player that
    outputs analog for SACD and digital for CDs - that's two. the USB input takes my laptop
    output - that's three, an ancient CD player into second set of analogs (because it has
    a discrete circuit implementation of a DAC (sounds better). with the optical (#5) as
    the optional input for a ne CDP.

    With a CD - I can switch the first CDP input from analog to the digital and yes you can hear the difference.

    the tube output goes into the aux of the preamp which still has 2 phonos, 1 tuner, 2 tapes, left
    over. that's 10 inputs.

    all this for $100 which BTW is a best seller in china in days past and currently. and is also
    relabeled for OEMs. used models available everywhere. Reliable? in constant use for
    8 years.

    the DAC-02 models extend the hi-res support. the two outputs ( ss, tube) are always active.
    and did I mention it also has a headphone socket for your headphones?
     
  15. spark1

    spark1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Couldn't find any info about "any dac-01/02".
     
  16. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    West coast
    E.Man likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. spark1

    spark1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Oh...yes, I know this DAC. I have a Maverick-branded version in one of my secondary systems. There is not a separate tube-based output circuit. It is one opamp-based circuit, into which the tube is inserted or not, depending upon input (correction: output) selection...at least that's the way my Maverick D2 is designed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  18. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    West coast
    not mine. both active. no tube insertion required - though it would be a royal hassle to
    do this change.

    check out the original xiang sheng, dac-01 to be specific, and compare to yours. open
    up and compare PCB.

    there are now variations like dac0bII which by spec, and by photo of the PCB not even
    close to the original - kind of like imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and of course
    to unsuspecting buyers.

    I do recall many threads on modding the volume control to control either the headphone
    or the output, mine did not need it. SO there are variations to the original, non-OEM,
    unit. and of course, the usual AC voltage in china needs change for use in the US.

    so unless you are willing to roll up sleeve and reverse engineer, I'd avoid "clones" and
    look for that one variation that has all the features you need.

    I looked at the mav-audio site and
    "The TubeMagic D1 comes with a vacuum tube pre-amp output stage in
    addition to the normal solid-state audio output. "
    (are you sure about the tube swap? did you try both outputs?)

    and the d1 and the DAC-01 has some minor differences and perhaps some
    I can't tell (don't own one).

    maverick may have had some engineering work done in addition.
     
  19. spark1

    spark1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Perhaps I was not clear. The tube is not manually inserted and removed. There are two analog out connections; one has the tube in the circuit, and one does not. In both cases, the circuit is via the same opamps. I've had it opened up several times...once to upgrade the opamps (easy, since they were socketed), and once to upgrade the tube.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  20. dewdude

    dewdude I fix stuff.

    Messages:
    3,017
    Location:
    Manassas, VA
    I have my SMSL M8 running in to vintage tube amps. Have great results. Regardless of how old the equipment...you'll benefit from "better sources"
     
    GChief likes this.

Share This Page