Okay, so here is my question.
I have a NUC running ROCK, going over Wi-Fi to a RPi 4. Everything works great. Up until today, I fed the RPi 4 into a Khadas Tone Board via USB and then RCA analog cables out of the Khadas into the analog inputs on the Elac integrated amp (EA101EQ-G). Speakers are Elac Debut 6.2. It all sounded pretty good to my ears.
But you all know that pretty good is never good enough. So I decided to connect the RPi USB output directly to the USB input on the Elac integrated amp. I sat back, thinking - this is always just hogwash. Audio woo. It will sound identical.
Holy cow. It didn’t. Not even close. The direct connection via USB from RPi to Elac amp sounded far better - deeper, richer, more umph - just everything. And I turned off all DSP, made sure volume was the same, etc. I really don’t think it’s placebo.
So here’s my question. It looks like the Elac integrated amp “internally upsamples” analog inputs to 96khz. So was I double DACing by using the Khadas Tone Board into the Elac integrated amp? (There is no “pure direct” setting like there is on Yamaha amps, for example). Was that why it didn’t sound as good as using the Elac’s internal DAC? Or is the DAC chip in the Elac integrated amp just better? What the hell is “internal upsampling” anyway?
Any advice or information from you all would be super helpful. In case you’re wondering, here is the source where I read that the Elac amp "internally upsamples: http://www.audiostereo.ro/ELAC%20reviews/elac_element_ea101eqg_rev-hifinews.pdf
Thanks in advance!