Advise required about sound card/DAC for Marantz SR 7012

I

IansDad88(Don)

Audioholic
In casual comparisons usually "differences" often boil down to slight differences in level (unless the signal was actually changed via processing it), differences as small as 0.1 dB can make a difference. The slightly louder one is generally preferred. Could simply be expectation bias, too or a combination. Why level matched and double blind comparisons of gear are preferred rather than just casual anecdotal information. Just moving your listening position a bit can have an effect.
Was trying to bring the conversation to this point, but you've said it as well as it can be said. And the cartoon should help.!
 
M

MacCali

Full Audioholic
Yes most likely, I was doing some research this morning and it seems like that unit is more or less meant to connected directly to an amp and fed to a system. I saw one guy who posted a video and he connected the unit to a pre amp and then obviously that to an amp. Guessing his pre amp doesn’t have a built in dac.

So this probably wouldn’t be any benefit unless he was able to bypass his dac in the marantz, or that maybe possible that what @lovinthehd said may not be absolute or universal with every product.

Besides age of the pc or motherboard he would need to see the differences to provide a realistic explanation.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Yes most likely, I was doing some research this morning and it seems like that unit is more or less meant to connected directly to an amp and fed to a system. I saw one guy who posted a video and he connected the unit to a pre amp and then obviously that to an amp. Guessing his pre amp doesn’t have a built in dac.

So this probably wouldn’t be any benefit unless he was able to bypass his dac in the marantz, or that maybe possible that what @lovinthehd said may not be absolute or universal with every product.

Besides age of the pc or motherboard he would need to see the differences to provide a realistic explanation.
External dacs are largely to adapt old analog gear to the digital world....
 
S

sanu83

Audiophyte
Hi,

Thanks for the replies...

I was using the same video/music for the comparison between the PC's. The windows sound settings and volume level were set to the same levels in both the PC's.
I was just changing the optical cable between the PC's for the comparisons.

The difference noted was in the background music, i think i was able to hear the background music more clearer.

your suggestion of pc card vs DAC is well noted. I will definitely go the DAC.

Also should the power conditioner be used on both sides (PC and AVR)

Also please let me know some good audio webistes to buy the DAC in black friday
 
M

MacCali

Full Audioholic
Hi,

Thanks for the replies...

I was using the same video/music for the comparison between the PC's. The windows sound settings and volume level were set to the same levels in both the PC's.
I was just changing the optical cable between the PC's for the comparisons.

The difference noted was in the background music, i think i was able to hear the background music more clearer.

your suggestion of pc card vs DAC is well noted. I will definitely go the DAC.

Also should the power conditioner be used on both sides (PC and AVR)

Also please let me know some good audio webistes to buy the DAC in black friday
I would go one step at a time. I think the first step would be what the difference was.

We are explaining to you that your receiver dac is the final output. Using another dac will not help if that is the case.

Something else is occurring and we are uncertain what it is. So spending money will not be your savior.

Like I said your buddy maybe have his system manually or automatically EQ’d creating the difference. If you do the same you will get the same results.
 
M

MacCali

Full Audioholic
I was looking up the info on other forums or just in general advice, it says if you use a DAC which has an analog output that it would bypass the avrs dac @lovinthehd. AVSforums

But again from what we are told this is digital direct to the AVR, so that means the internal dac is processing.
 
S

sanu83

Audiophyte
I now understand that the optical link still makes use of the AVR's DAC only.

If I connect an external DAC via analog input to the AVR,then AVR's DAC will be bypassed.

Is this applicable to all the analog inputs in the Marantz SR7012.

How good is the Pre box s2 digital compared to the Marantz DAC.
 
M

MTVhike

Enthusiast
This is all relevant to my issue. If you're going from a digital output from a PC (HDMI or USB, in my case) and want to go to an AVR with it's own DAC, does it make sense to get an external DAC? I have 3 "AVRs", only one of which has HDMI, the other two both optical and coaxial digital inputs. If I get a device to convert one of my computer's outputs to, say Toslink, will any format on the file get to the DAC in the AVR? The most extreme example is DSD512 5.1 multichannel.
 
I

IansDad88(Don)

Audioholic
OK, so I'm not sure if I'm helping. I might step out and leave you in more capable hands. This is because it appears you want a DAC and I don't tend to agree. Your Marantz DAC is a pretty good one and choosing to bypass it in favor of a sound card doesn't make sense to me.

But I'll leave you with this,egarding the cable connections.

RCA=Analog which means you're using the DAC on the front. Meaning the PC.

Optical=Digital, and the D in DAC is for Digital. This means the signal hasn't been converted yet. It's traveling from PC to the next DAC connected in line to be converted there. In your case the AVR.

So buying anything new before fully understanding this is a potential waste. Unless you're spending on a very good DAC separate. And then, you need to put it like this to bypass the AVR DAC.

PC to DAC via Optical or HDMI,
then
DAC to Amplification (AVR) with RCA.

And if you do buy another external DAC, you'll probably understand this when you see no "Digital out" on the back of it. It should only have the RCA Line out connections. Because why would a DAC have a digital out?

I know this last part isn't what you mean exactly but should help you understand. In a system with more than one DAC exists, you essentially chose which is doing the work by the cable you use.

So I'm your example you write that you swapped the optical only and it sounded better. Well I guess this "could" be possible." I mean they make a $5 Optical and a $50 Optical for a reason. Maybe. But coming off a PC sound card I'm not convinced myself that's the only reason. And just for my own confusion. I thought at first you wrote that the difference was the difference in PC Sound Cards, not the cable..?

But either way, I'm pretty certain I'm right about the Cable/DAC part. And I'm fairly confident your Marantz AVR DAC is perfectly acceptable, and preferable to the PC card. And I say that because of the 3 Marantz I stream Tidal to.

So the answer to your last question should be answered. All RCA connections are Analog. The "A" in RCA. So yes everywhere you're using them on a Line Out or Analog In, you're sending that signal Analog not Digital.

I got this helps some. Good luck. I'll be interested to see what happens.
 
I

IansDad88(Don)

Audioholic
This is all relevant to my issue. If you're going from a digital output from a PC (HDMI or USB, in my case) and want to go to an AVR with it's own DAC, does it make sense to get an external DAC? I have 3 "AVRs", only one of which has HDMI, the other two both optical and coaxial digital inputs. If I get a device to convert one of my computer's outputs to, say Toslink, will any format on the file get to the DAC in the AVR? The most extreme example is DSD512 5.1 multichannel.
In a word No. IMO.
 
M

MTVhike

Enthusiast
Thanks, Don, I just read your answer to the OP's question and agree with everything you said (except that RCA stands for Radio Corporation of America)! After I posted my post, I looked up the Pro-Ject pre box S2 and see that it does support DSD512, but, since it has only 2 channel analog outs, it's not multichannel. When you say "NO", is that because nothing supports what I want, or one of the interfaces doesn't? In the database of DACs, published by NativeDSD, Very few do what I am asking for, and a few do DSD256 5.1 (including my Sony UBP-X800!). But I'm not asking about the DAC part, just the D-to-D format conversion part.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Don't waste your time and money on outboard DACs. You won't hear any difference unless you're just hearing things. :D

If the DAC has some kind of EQ or DSP, it will change the sound. Otherwise, you won't hear any difference.

I would Bitstream the audio signal (HDMI or Digital Coax/Optical) from the PC (most people would just use the HDMI output from the Graphics Card) to the AVR/AVP.
 
Last edited:
I

IansDad88(Don)

Audioholic
Thanks, Don, I just read your answer to the OP's question and agree with everything you said (except that RCA stands for Radio Corporation of America)! After I posted my post, I looked up the Pro-Ject pre box S2 and see that it does support DSD512, but, since it has only 2 channel analog outs, it's not multichannel. When you say "NO", is that because nothing supports what I want, or one of the interfaces doesn't? In the database of DACs, published by NativeDSD, Very few do what I am asking for, and a few do DSD256 5.1 (including my Sony UBP-X800!). But I'm not asking about the DAC part, just the D-to-D format conversion part.
You're right, that was my typing mistake. It was supposed to be "think of the A as analog, and the D as digital. Like an easy way to remember. I wrote it wrong. LOL

I said no because like with the OP it's my personal belief that the DAC in your Amp is almost universally going to be the better one and, one perfectly capable of your needs. So like AcuDefTechGuy, and others posting here, buying an external DAC looking for some improvements could be as useful as trying to find the greenest piece of grass in your yard.

People with very expensive, top end equipment may be perfectly within thier rights to blow money on a full system of separates. And they may swear the $3,000 DAC is clearly better. But that's not you and me, and it's not real life.

And just because they make a $300 separate DAC or whatever, doesn't necessarily make it better than the one you already have. I mean if you want a rack or whatever full of components, sure buy whatever you want, use the cable options to choose which DAC is doing the work. But it seems unnecessary in your case and the OP.

I have nothing bad to say about your equipment referenced. I just personally don't think you need to go down that path.

This is just my opinion. In the vast scope of knowledge available here, I'm basically a step above noob. But I understand some things. And I admit that for the price point, Marantz and Denon both make perfectly acceptable DAC components. I say this from personal preference but also experience. Also you already paid for it.! I think you also have Marantz? Or did I get crossed up..?

Either way, run a decent Toslink optical /or preferably an HDMI to your AVR and you "should be" just fine, happy. If not, I just don't think the reason will be the DAC. Unless of course I completely misunderstood your original issue.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I was looking up the info on other forums or just in general advice, it says if you use a DAC which has an analog output that it would bypass the avrs dac @lovinthehd. AVSforums

But again from what we are told this is digital direct to the AVR, so that means the internal dac is processing.
That depends on what input and what processing you have the avr doing as I mentioned before. You can connect the analog output of a dac to the avr and still have the avr doing some adc/dac conversions for processing of the signal. Some avrs do have a designated analog input (on the 7013 it would be the multi-channel analog inputs) to bypass processing. OTOH there's really no point in bypassing the avr's dac, it's quite competent.....
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Just a reminder DAC means digital to analog converter, ADC means analog to digital converter.
 
M

MacCali

Full Audioholic
I now understand that the optical link still makes use of the AVR's DAC only.

If I connect an external DAC via analog input to the AVR,then AVR's DAC will be bypassed.

Is this applicable to all the analog inputs in the Marantz SR7012.

How good is the Pre box s2 digital compared to the Marantz DAC.
Yes that is correct, I think again you may want to take a deep dive into your friends pc. Because you mentioned you were using optical to connect the pc to the avr and therefore your buddy’s pc dac was doing nothing.

It is an outside influence.

On your question about the dac itself, for the price point you are seeking that is going to be your best bet. Currently I would highly suggest or recommend you don’t purchase another dac because that will not solve your issue or reproduce the same results based on what we currently understand. So it would just be a waste of money.

Yes, this dac should work on your sound characteristics, but that is not the change you experienced.

You need to narrow down the change. I explained earlier Nahimic, used with the ESS chips on the MSI boards does clearly change the sound or any other type of equalizer your friend has implemented.

Those types of changes will cost you nothing. You need to try and figure that out prior to anything
 
S

sanu83

Audiophyte
I only assembled my friend's PC. I was testing it with my AVR during that time. so im pretty sure all the windows settings were similar. There was a Nahimic software installed on the PC, which might have caused the sound difference.

Thanks for all your advice.
 
M

MTVhike

Enthusiast
You're right, that was my typing mistake. It was supposed to be "think of the A as analog, and the D as digital. Like an easy way to remember. I wrote it wrong. LOL

I said no because like with the OP it's my personal belief that the DAC in your Amp is almost universally going to be the better one and, one perfectly capable of your needs. So like AcuDefTechGuy, and others posting here, buying an external DAC looking for some improvements could be as useful as trying to find the greenest piece of grass in your yard.

People with very expensive, top end equipment may be perfectly within thier rights to blow money on a full system of separates. And they may swear the $3,000 DAC is clearly better. But that's not you and me, and it's not real life.

And just because they make a $300 separate DAC or whatever, doesn't necessarily make it better than the one you already have. I mean if you want a rack or whatever full of components, sure buy whatever you want, use the cable options to choose which DAC is doing the work. But it seems unnecessary in your case and the OP.

I have nothing bad to say about your equipment referenced. I just personally don't think you need to go down that path.

This is just my opinion. In the vast scope of knowledge available here, I'm basically a step above noob. But I understand some things. And I admit that for the price point, Marantz and Denon both make perfectly acceptable DAC components. I say this from personal preference but also experience. Also you already paid for it.! I think you also have Marantz? Or did I get crossed up..?

Either way, run a decent Toslink optical /or preferably an HDMI to your AVR and you "should be" just fine, happy. If not, I just don't think the reason will be the DAC. Unless of course I completely misunderstood your original issue.
I think you did misunderstand my original issue. I have two digital sources: computer with USB and HDMI, Blueray plyer with HDMI; and I have three AVRs with digital inputs, but not all the same. (one has SpDif only, one had SpDif and Toslink, and one has HDMI only) and I want to connect each source with any of the AVRs, so I need a digital converter device. I'm ignorant enough to not know if these conversions will restrict the type of digital file - (from PCM to DSD512 5.1) that will work. I DON'T want a standalone DAC (at this point). Most of the digital conversion devices I see also have DACs and their capabilities (and prices) are controlled by the DAC.
 

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