Would a DAC Improve my sound?

Using a R pi/hifiberry digi plus pro into a Yamaha RX-V2085. It has an ESS Sabre but won’t play ALAC over 96k.

I’m thinking whether an inexpensive DAC (400 or less) may be a worthwhile upgrade. A display would be nice too. Thoughts? What about the Pro Ject Pre Box S2?

Hard to say. The little DAC in the Rpi is a decent DAC.
Probably something like the ProJect or a Topping DAC would make some difference. They would definitely give you some flexibility and some of these DACs have a display. For $400 the S2 and the Topping DACs are very good. Check prices, eBay, etc - you can often find them at a significant discount.

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Can also try Drop.com

The Yamaha RX-V2085 is an AV amp, so the analog inputs are probably not the most resolving, and that’s assuming it doesn’t digitize it anyway - most AV amps do. The digi+ will output 192kHz/24bit but S/PDIF normally only goes up to 96/24, so it’s rare to find an S/PDIF input that takes above that. And then there’s the argument, can you actually hear a difference with 192/24? My ears can’t.

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For improved sound -

Using a DAC with a receiver that already has an integrated DAC will, if connected wrong, end up doing two conversions. Not a real problem, just logically offensive.:slightly_smiling_face:

I like iFi products, in part because they are a lot of bang for the buck. Here’s but one example with MQA and DSD capabilites. -

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Yeah, the iFi Nano is USB in, so @Peter_Rustin would no longer use/require his hifiberry digi plus pro. I have the non-black version, and quite like it.

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Yeah, the Topping D70 was $400 on drop.com last week.

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Combining what Mike and Slim said, I don’t think an external DAC is going to do you much good or make much of a difference. Your AV receiver is operating here as an integrated amp, so you both control the volume and amplify the signal for the speakers. But it almost certainly does that by converting the analog inputs to digital internally, doing some DSP to do the volume control, and then outputting that signal through its internal DAC. So you wind up using the internal DAC even if you also use an external DAC to provide an analog signal as input to the receiver. And you’ve probably got a perfectly adequate DAC in that receiver, too.

Guys thanks. I might try it. Question. A lot of these dacs need usb input. How can I provide that? I’m using the pi as my endpoint. Run usb from the pi? Remove the digi pro?

Right. Got it. Ok I’ll prolly shelf this then. Some research confirms that it won’t benefit me.

Btw using coax in. That does go up to 192/24

@Bill_Janssen sadly sold out. This looks like a great unit.

Yes, and check the USB Audio box on the RoPieee admin webpage.

Yeah, well, my advice would be, don’t buy one until you’re ready to get a dedicated power amp as well. So maybe “sold out” is good. :slight_smile:

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@Bill_Janssen once again my urge to
tinker thwarted. I use this for movies and a fair amount of dvd-a/sacd multichannel.

Definitely! I am currently bypassing my DAC with an external DAC and it has made some improvements to my listening experience with my headphones. Check out the Denafrips Ares II, highly recommended. Cheers!

This has no headphone out so I assume you are using an external headphone amp. I have a Drop THX AAA 789 hooked up to an Ares II currently (on review) sounds very good but not sure if its a big difference from my Soekris DAM 1021. One thing to note if the XLR outputs run ~+6db hotter than the RCA outputs on dual output (XLR/RCA) DAC’s

Good external DAC’s are highly likely to be better than an internal AVR DAC IMHO.

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Does your AV amp have a “pure” mode , they often do

This leaves a signal unmolested just acting as an amp with no DSP

I ran an Onkyo TX R 880 with an external DAC like that fog some years

As @Mike_O_Neill has done, so did I.
The input on my Onkyo that I have used is marked CD.

I assume, because most “non-audiophile” CD drives (such as one that might be connected to a receiver) already have a DAC built in, that by labeling an RCA input as CD there is no internal DAC circuit on that connection.


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Yeah, those were just analog inputs.