Good older prepro with excellent/good DAC for theater

C

Curt248

Enthusiast
I have a Emotiva umc-1 prepro and am considering upgrading to something that has a good DAC (equivalent or better) that can do 5.2.2. I have experienced some audio drop outs during playback of Blu-Rays on a ps3 and Xbox one x. I would also consider any older unit with HDMI with equivalent or better DAC than mine. I’m open to different price points but would prefer under $500 for 5.1 or under $1000 for 5.2.2.
i Would also consider a receiver with the ability to run my current amp that has a good DAC.

What do you all think?

my setup consists of a dedicated theater with 3 klipsch la Scalas up front and two klipsch heresies in the rear with bass traps and many sound panels with a 120 inch screen.
 
G

Grandzoltar

Full Audioholic
Emotiva has a trade up program. Maybe the can get you a deal on the Emotiva xmc-1. It will be hard to find a processor for less than 2000
 
C

Curt248

Enthusiast
Will you be using any 4k sources?
Oh good question. My plan is to use 4K at some point in the next 3 years. I was thinking on an older unit to buy a 4k Blu-ray player with dual outputs OT buy a Hdmi separator for about $180 in addition to an old pre-pro or receiver
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
What do you all think?
I think separate DACs are the way to go, better flexibility, and value in general. I have quite a few, still have 7 iirc, really fun to switch around regularly..
 
C

Curt248

Enthusiast
I'm not familiar with separate dacs. That sounds like what I would want. How does that work?
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
I'm not familiar with separate dacs. That sounds like what I would want. How does that work?
Thats basically just for the 2ch part, not the surround. (I also use a separate DAC or DAC/preamp for 2ch music)

It would probably be a good idea as mentioned above to check the emotiva trade in program because its a very good idea to go for something that is truly 4k compatible (HDCP 2.2), doing dual out or splitters etc can make lipsynch difficult/cost a bit of money that would be better spent on compatible gear instead 7nless you really like your current pre/pro which seems you want to change.

Unless you need XLR you can get a newer AVR with pre outs to do the job of a processor(and amp for the atmos speakers) and use the extra money on a separate DAC or DAC/pre with home theater bypass for better 2ch music.
 
C

Curt248

Enthusiast
You guys have all the right questions. I do need an xlr connection for my sub. I’m using a 3000 watt amp designer more for commercial audio. It doesn’t have an rca.
 
C

Curt248

Enthusiast
Thats basically just for the 2ch part, not the surround. (I also use a separate DAC or DAC/preamp for 2ch music)

It would probably be a good idea as mentioned above to check the emotiva trade in program because its a very good idea to go for something that is truly 4k compatible (HDCP 2.2), doing dual out or splitters etc can make lipsynch difficult/cost a bit of money that would be better spent on compatible gear instead 7nless you really like your current pre/pro which seems you want to change.

Unless you need XLR you can get a newer AVR with pre outs to do the job of a processor(and amp for the atmos speakers) and use the extra money on a separate DAC or DAC/pre with home theater bypass for better 2ch music.
What kind of money are we talking for a separate dac for two channel music?
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
What kind of money are we talking for a separate dac for two channel music?
To get significantly better than the actually good stuff in the processor it will cost a bit. I use a PS Audio stellar GCD with a marantz 8805. First you should probably focus on a newish fully 4k processor and keep external DAC or DAC/pre in mind for possible future upgrades for 2ch music.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I think you need to figure out why you are having dropouts on the PS4 and XBOX One!

Swapping to a new pre/pro may or may not resolve that problem!

At this point, I would personally only be looking at old pre/pros for legacy 2 channel duty. If I'm spending $ for a HT pre/pro, I'm sure as heck not spending my $ on something that is already a generation or more obsolete. I'm spending my $ on last year's models that are now at a steep discount.
 
C

Curt248

Enthusiast
I think you need to figure out why you are having dropouts on the PS4 and XBOX One!

Swapping to a new pre/pro may or may not resolve that problem!

At this point, I would personally only be looking at old pre/pros for legacy 2 channel duty. If I'm spending $ for a HT pre/pro, I'm sure as heck not spending my $ on something that is already a generation or more obsolete. I'm spending my $ on last year's models that are now at a steep discount.
I’m thinking 1/4 to 1/8 price on an older prepro or receiver with good DACs compared to a similar priced discounted last year or two model. I’m not sure if DACs are very different with various receivers either. I may be barking up the wrong tree. My umc1 sounds excellent. i feel like it’s noticeably better sounding than my similarly powered receiver I used before.

Has there been across the board improvements in DACs over the last ten years or is a good DAC from ten years ago still better than many of the current receivers (even lower end ($500)?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
What kind of money are we talking for a separate dac for two channel music?
You can get a very good one with XLR I/O for less than $300, or even $200 for one with the basic features and will still beat those build in with $1000 to $1000 integrated amps.

For bench measurements and ranking of a long list of DACs bench tested, visit audiosciencereview.com.
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
Keep in mind that those measurements wont tell you how something sounds.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I’m thinking 1/4 to 1/8 price on an older prepro or receiver with good DACs compared to a similar priced discounted last year or two model. I’m not sure if DACs are very different with various receivers either. I may be barking up the wrong tree. My umc1 sounds excellent. i feel like it’s noticeably better sounding than my similarly powered receiver I used before.

Has there been across the board improvements in DACs over the last ten years or is a good DAC from ten years ago still better than many of the current receivers (even lower end ($500)?
A DAC is a commodity chip, has been for at least 10-15 years now.

I don't get all caught up on what silicon is being used, unless perhaps it comes from my employer I do like to buy products with our parts in them. My old (but still in bedroom duty service) Pio Elite AVR has one of our DSP chips in it.

The circuit topology and how it is implemented will be more important than the silicon.

But, likely in 2019, we are talking about differences that can be measured, but cannot be heard when we are talking about DACs. There are many other areas where I would look first.

NOTE--I do own a Emo XDA-1 separate DAC.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I’m thinking 1/4 to 1/8 price on an older prepro or receiver with good DACs compared to a similar priced discounted last year or two model. I’m not sure if DACs are very different with various receivers either. I may be barking up the wrong tree. My umc1 sounds excellent. i feel like it’s noticeably better sounding than my similarly powered receiver I used before.

Has there been across the board improvements in DACs over the last ten years or is a good DAC from ten years ago still better than many of the current receivers (even lower end ($500)?
Yeah, but you have absolutely no idea (i.e. no supporting data) if your subjective listening experience being better is due to the DAC!!!

Like I say, if we are talking 2 channel, then go for an older high end kit like a Krell or Anthem.

But if we are talking Home Theater applications where the change is rapid, it is simply foolish to look at older gear.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
The circuit topology and how it is implemented will be more important than the silicon.

But, likely in 2019, we are talking about differences that can be measured, but cannot be heard when we are talking about DACs.
Yes, implementation likely matters more but on all else being equal basis I would take the one with the better chip. Also, DACs that use better chips (specs) and are more expensive, tend to/more likely have better circuit topology/implementation. I have yet to be told which DACs that are based on a top Sabre ESS or AKM, Cirrus Logic, TI that have been poorly, or simply not well "implemented".

Regarding audibility, some people claimed they could hear differences, even night and day differences, they claimed the same about well designed class AB amps too but we both know those are never ending stories...

Sometimes I thought I heard a subtle difference when listening to certain familiar pieces, but if and when I switched to another DACs right away, I would hear the exact same difference. So for me, the differences on paper are just nice to know but not hear..
 
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slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Yes, implementation likely matters more but on all else being equal basis I would take the one with the better chip. Also, DACs that use better chips (specs) that are more expensive, tend to/more likely have better circuit topology/implementation.
Agreed, but how much extra $ would you be willing to spend just to get a DAC that looks better on paper, or even measures better but does not sound audibly better?

Of course, if "all else equal" also means "equal $", then choose the one with the better silicon.

That's all I'm getting to with my philosophy on this topic. I don't really get all worked up for which chip is being used. Of course this comes with the caveat that I'm not looking at anything lower than something like a Denon 3XXX range or equivalent. But, that is due to the pre-outs and other features, not the DAC. At the level of mid-range gear that gets my $, the chip is the last item on my list of concerns (unless it is our silicon, then I will spend the $ to support our business!)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Agreed, but how much extra $ would you be willing to spend just to get a DAC that looks better on paper, or even measures better but does not sound audibly better?

Of course, if "all else equal" also means "equal $", then choose the one with the better silicon.

That's all I'm getting to with my philosophy on this topic. I don't really get all worked up for which chip is being used. Of course this comes with the caveat that I'm not looking at anything lower than something like a Denon 3XXX range or equivalent. But, that is due to the pre-outs and other features, not the DAC. At the level of mid-range gear that gets my $, the chip is the last item on my list of concerns (unless it is our silicon, then I will spend the $ to support our business!)
That's easy to answer, after spending thousands on Oppo's alone, my limit is now $300. Got my last/newest one used (virtually new 3 months old desktop) with both rca and XLR, for CAD 200. I understand your point but the OP asked, so we answered, albeit differently.
 
G

Grandzoltar

Full Audioholic
I found this on their website perfect upgrade right on budget.
 

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