New to thinking about DAC's: my Denon CDP & Fostex

Discussion in 'DACs' started by davstev, May 26, 2018.

  1. davstev

    davstev Active Member

    Messages:
    436
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Hi all,

    Like my post title suggests, newbie to thinking about DAC's, but pretty experienced in analog audio.

    Here's the deal: I have a Denon DCD-1520 CD player, circa 1988. Love it and use it frequently.

    But I've been wondering if the DAC portion could be improved.

    I have my eye on a Fostex HP-A8C Headphone Amp/DAC, which the internet tells me has the AKM 4399 DAC. (I'm particularly interested in this Fostex vs. other DAC's because it will provide me with a good headphone amp at the same time.)

    If not mistaken, I can output optical cable from the CD player into the Fostex, thereby making the Denon a transport, and the Fostex the DAC.

    My question to the forum is: would the DAC on the fostex provide noticeable improvement on the native DAC in the Denon CD player? Apparently the Denon uses NE5532 OP-AMP on the outputs, and PCM64P (two of them) for the DAC.

    Informed opinions are appreciated!
     

     

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  2. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    You have the gear. Give things a listen and tell us what you think.
     
  3. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    5,840
    Seems to be a lateral comparison. Optical Toslink connections involve high (4000 pS) levels of jitter.
     
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  4. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    In FLUX currently......
    Since both COAX and OPTICAL are SYNCRONOUS, meaning large mounts of information have to be streamed properly and there is no reclock involved, that is what E-Stat is pointing out.
     
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  5. davstev

    davstev Active Member

    Messages:
    436
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    So, in non-technical terms, the inherent flaws of optical transmission (via toslink) may outweigh the benefits provided by a 'better' DAC, resulting in little or no audible gains?
     
  6. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    991
    The higher jitter over optical is less of an issue these days due to modern SPDIF receivers that are able to recover the clock while rejecting at least some jitter and many DACs doing additional reclocking of the data (seems the Fostex does it, optionally) before passing it onto the actual D/A state.

    Edit: and the DCD-1520 has a coax digital output too.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  7. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    991
    Another note, I have the DCD-1520 as well, I much prefer its built-in DAC over the sub 1k delta-sigma DACs I tried. Unless you have a need to play/stream hi-res material, or play from a computer, I'd say just invest in a decent headphone amp w/no DAC section and maybe save some money in the process.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  8. davstev

    davstev Active Member

    Messages:
    436
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    That is some sweet advice, thanks! I am actually now considering a few basic mods to the 1520, thinking that for little money and a bit of effort, an improvement in sound can come from this. It's already a very good sounding player. Cheers-
     

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