Connecting a DAC to a receiver

remomoreira

remomoreira

Audioholic Intern
I would like to listen to music from 24bit/96Khz FLAC files using my Android smartphone, attaching an external DAC, perhaps a FiiO k3, and connecting this DAC to my receiver (by plugging it into its coaxial output). I've already seen here that the app player I use to play music on my smartphone, the USB Audio Player Pro, fortunately ignores the smartphone's limitation, and sends the music to the DAC with its original parameter (24bit/96Khz, for example).
But I was alerted by a friend that DACs always input digital signal (USB, HDMI, optics, digital coaxial etc.) and output analog signal (RCA, XLR, TRS etc.). The coaxial connection of a receiver is normally input, so it would not be possible to connect it to a DAC in this way.
That's right? In that case, couldn't I really improve the sound that my smartphone sends to the receiver? (It only sends up to 48Khz; if I could use the DAC, it would get it to the receiver at 96khz).
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
What receiver? Getting bit perfect to an AVR or a intergrated amp can be challenging. The best way to ensure the highest quality is to be hard wired via USB or hardwired network (wifi can work, YMMV) and then you "reciever" may manipulate the input data anyway. If you can get 24/48 throughput to the 'final' DA, that's pretty darn good.
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Ninja
I would like to listen to music from 24bit/96Khz FLAC files using my Android smartphone, attaching an external DAC, perhaps a FiiO k3, and connecting this DAC to my receiver (by plugging it into its coaxial output). I've already seen here that the app player I use to play music on my smartphone, the USB Audio Player Pro, fortunately ignores the smartphone's limitation, and sends the music to the DAC with its original parameter (24bit/96Khz, for example).
But I was alerted by a friend that DACs always input digital signal (USB, HDMI, optics, digital coaxial etc.) and output analog signal (RCA, XLR, TRS etc.). The coaxial connection of a receiver is normally input, so it would not be possible to connect it to a DAC in this way.
That's right? In that case, couldn't I really improve the sound that my smartphone sends to the receiver? (It only sends up to 48Khz; if I could use the DAC, it would get it to the receiver at 96khz).
You already have two other threads on this subject so please chose one of them and not start a new one.

The most recent is this:

 
Last edited:
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
The coaxial connection of a receiver is normally input, so it would not be possible to connect it to a DAC in this way.
That's right? In that case, couldn't I really improve the sound that my smartphone sends to the receiver? (It only sends up to 48Khz; if I could use the DAC, it would get it to the receiver at 96khz).
You already know the DAC typically output analog, DAC is digital to analog after all!:D

But you can connect the DAC's analog output to the receiver's analog input and if the receiver allows the analog input signal to remain analog without subjecting it to another conversion, then you get what you want.

For example, if you have one of the Denon or Marantz AVR, analog input signal can remain analog, that is, will bypass the receiver's own ADC/DAC if you use direct or pure direct mode.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
I would like to listen to music from 24bit/96Khz FLAC files using my Android smartphone, attaching an external DAC, perhaps a FiiO k3, and connecting this DAC to my receiver (by plugging it into its coaxial output). I've already seen here that the app player I use to play music on my smartphone, the USB Audio Player Pro, fortunately ignores the smartphone's limitation, and sends the music to the DAC with its original parameter (24bit/96Khz, for example).

But I was alerted by a friend that DACs always input digital signal (USB, HDMI, optics, digital coaxial etc.) and output analog signal (RCA, XLR, TRS etc.). The coaxial connection of a receiver is normally input, so it would not be possible to connect it to a DAC in this way.

That's right? In that case, couldn't I really improve the sound that my smartphone sends to the receiver? (It only sends up to 48Khz; if I could use the DAC, it would get it to the receiver at 96khz).
Are you asking if you can send a digital file from your smartphone, through an external DAC, which is connected to your receiver by a coaxial output? If so, your friend is right. That makes no sense at all.

The receivers I own have no coaxial output jacks, and I’m not aware of a receiver that does. Receivers do have coaxial inputs (RCA jacks colored orange) that can accept digital audio signals. Why would you convert a digital file to analog audio and route that analog signal into a receiver’s digital input? Not only would that not work, it’s not what you're trying to achieve.

What is your receiver, and more important, what input jacks does it have? Choose an unused pair of analog audio inputs. Usually, these are RCA jacks colored red & white, for left & right stereo channels. It doesn't matter how they are labeled on your receiver – as long as you don't use inputs labeled Phono.

I do agree with TLS Guy (whom you've repeatedly ignored). Find a more direct way to route digital signals from your phone to your receiver. And let the receiver's internal DAC do its work. Whatever you've read about better sound quality from external DACs and 24 bit/96 kHz digital files is simply not so. There will be no audible difference in sound quality between the sound resulting from the receiver's DAC or from an external DAC. You're wasting your money on an external DAC.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
I'll repeat a bit of what others have said, but with FLAC files you have to have a DAC somewhere in the chain to convert the digital file to analogue. You can do this in one of two ways. Send the digital stream to the AVR and let the AVR's internal DAC do the processing, or use an external DAC and connect the analogue out of the DAC to an analogue input on the AVR. As Peng mentioned, if the AVR is set to direct or pure direct mode, then there is no digital pre-processing in the AVR and the AVR just acts as an amplifier. When not in direct mode the AVR will convert analogue signals to digital, do any processing (like timing and EQ settings from Audyssey) and then convert back to analogue.

Ignore the digital coaxial SPDIF connection (RCA style connector) on the AVR for now. That is more typically used with a computer or a streaming device.

Most modern AVRs have pretty good internal DACs. It's old technology after all. Someone might be able to look up which DAC chip the Pioneer uses if you post the model number. If the ChromeCast is passing through the digital signal from your phone, you are already getting the best stream. If you get an external DAC, you will need a physical connection to the AVR via RCA and will loose the convenience of wireless. You'll likely find articles on-line that promote certain external DACs as being more "musical" but whether you would actually hear a difference is up for debate. Most here would say no unless the AVR had a really cheap DAC chip.
 

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