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PaulCon's picture
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Flat sound
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Hi All,

 

As you can see below in my sig I have DM 601's hooked upto at Denon PMA-250SE amp, I play my music from iTune on my Macbook wireless to my Airport express which is connected to the amp via 3.5mm jack to rca on the denon, basically I find that the sound is really flat and sloppy, I bought some Chord Carnival silver speaker cable tonight as I only have QED 79 strand at the moment, what I wondered was if a DAC would help improve the sound?

 

What do you think guys?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Paul

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RE: Flat sound

Firstly, check your macbook's output is setup correctly. I'm not familiar with the Mac OS, but check auto-volume levelling is disabled, all EQ is off, output settings correct, etc.

A dac would certainly help- a Dacmagic or Whatnot would be a definite improvement over you MB's built in circuitry.

I also think the Chord speaker cable will open things up a little too, but also invest in a decent interconnect lead if you haven't already.

 

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RE: Flat sound

Thanks Dougal, I think I need to get also go from 3.5mm analogue to rca and go 3.5mm optical to toslink (which would need an amp upgrade as well), as the analogue connection prob isn't helping things.

 

I like the look of the Arcam rDac and it's not too expensive, I can't really afford more than £100 for a DAC so prob best looking on eBay.

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RE: Flat sound

Paul, it is because the MacBook output is crappy. It is ok for weak desktop speakers or a few minutes on headphones, but that's all. You defo need a DAC for decent hifi sound, esp if you have hi-res files not mp3. 

Audioquest Dragonfly, hrt micro streamer and similar are USB DACs that take the load off the laptop and decode properly.  Keep your analogue cable, you might still need it!  

You might find a cheaper alternative, or a used Arcam rPac which are £150 new.

Krell CD and amp, Michell/Rega/Grado record player, Hitachi and Sony tuners, Nakamichi cassette, SBT streamer, Sonus faber spkrs.  Sony and Samsung BDP & TVs. Qobuz > iPad > AudioPro Allroom Air One

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RE: Flat sound

Paul

I'd agree with the other posters (and your analysis), that a separate DAC is needed. My girflriend suffers the same problems with her system, which is a PC - Rotel amp - Kef RDM1 setup. Flat sound (even allowing for the Kef's lack of bass). When we put a CD on (old Philips recordable machine) everything springs into life again and sounds decidedly nice.  

I've been monitoring eBay and you should get a half decent DAC for £100 if you are patient. Do consider the Audioquest Dragonfly / HRT Microstreamer and the new Meridian  though as they include a good headphone amp which may be useful for your Beyers

Phil

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RE: Flat sound

Thanks again for the replies guys, I'm looking into a DAC but this has really emphasised the quality of CD's so I'm going out to get a CD player as well and start a collection again, I've got the HiFi bug again now so will prob spend a fortune over the next few months, my girlfriend is going to love me  ROFL

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RE: Flat sound

I wouldn't invest in a new CD player, just in a DAC.

I have ripped our entire CD collection to Apple Lossless and we play all music through the Airport Express and the DACMagic. We can also play CDs on our Bluray player which is also connected to the DACMagic. The Sony works well enough as a CD transport.

iTunes isn't bad at all as a CD ripper, especially with error correction on.

To be perfectly honest, Apple Lossless files through a DAC will sound better than most CD players. I would imagine you would have to spend a fortune on a CD player to get better result than lossless files through a decent DAC. I would forget about the CD player and get a decent DAC.

Yamaha R-S500, Infinity Overture 1, Cambridge Audio DACMagic, Sony KDL 40HX750, Humax iHDR 5200c, Sony BDP-S590, Pro-Ject 1Xpression III Comfort, Sony MDS-JE 520, Apple Airport Express, Apple Mac Mini (2013), Atacama Eris Eco 5.0

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RE: Flat sound

As you can see in my sig, I have an Audio Alchemy DDEv1 on my PC- direct connect to the mobo toslink socket and it sounds great.

Picked it up for thirty quid on ebay!

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RE: Flat sound

Oh cool, so I don't need a DAC with USB just optical out from my Macbook to toslink into the DAC and RCA from DAC to Amp (as I haven't got a toslink on my amp)?

 

I've only got about £100 for a DAC so I've been looking at the CYP AU-D150

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RE: Flat sound

http://www.avforums.com/reviews/Epiphany-Acoustics-E-DAC-24-bit-USB-DAC-Review_339/Review.html

http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/

 

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RE: Flat sound

PaulCon wrote:

Oh cool, so I don't need a DAC with USB just optical out from my Macbook to toslink into the DAC and RCA from DAC to Amp (as I haven't got a toslink on my amp)?

 

I've only got about £100 for a DAC so I've been looking at the CYP AU-D150

Only if the macbook has an optical out... Did a quick google rummage and found no mention of optical...

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