Calling all SONOS connect users, do any of you use a DAC with your SONOS and if so which ones and do the DACs make a significant difference to the sound?
In the kitchen, no. In the living room, yes, I use my Cambridge Audio Dacmagic.
Yes, in my opinion DACs do make a significant difference to the sound. I could plug my Connect direct into my Onkyo AV receiver via an optical cable (i.e. using the DAC in my receiver) in the living room, but I personally think the Cambridge Audio improves the sound of the music when I've done back to back listening of the two.
The kitchen setup is compromised massively (speakers sit on top of cupboards) and is really just intended to allow internet radio / music in the kitchen - as such, I'm not too bothered about improving the quality of the music in there.
I should point out, I bought the Cambridge Audio a while back for a completely different purpose - at the time I didn't really do any auditioning between different products - I just needed a solution to a problem and the Dacmagic fixed that instantly with a good deal from my local Richer Sounds branch.
No I don't but a very good question. One which I'd also like to hear opinion on.
I assume you're thinking of getting one?
Sonos ZP80 - Leema Pulse MKII - PMC DB1i
ZP100 - Mordaunt Short MS 3.10
Play 5 Audioengine A2 Pioneer PDP436SXE
A lot of people who use Sonos in relatively high quality systems seem to think an ouboard dac is essential, that is very much the establised view among more critical users.
For best possible performance a fair number feel that modifying the Connect is worthwhile too, the Cullen/Wired4Sound mod effectively replaces the whole digital output stage with one that has both lower noise and lower jitter.
For those who think it worthwhile, the modded Connect can also output 24/96 files.
I have never lived with Sonos so have no difinitive view other to say that I have found them to have a sound quality ranging from the excellent to the very average.
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
It will improve performance of the connect but will only allow 16/44.1 playback. If you want to play higher resolution files Sonos has competition now, Bluesound Node. I work in an audiostore and it works sweet. It has an excellent dac onboard and basically can do anything what a connect does but also plays 24/192 over network. Just my two cents
Just want to edit one thing: excellent dac for its priceclass, if you get too picky you should get a dedicated streamer.
the quest for your personal sound begins with your room.
Lindemann USB DAC, Marantz AV8003, Technics SE A50 Dual Mono Class A, B&W 801 (customed) now named Signature WL,
Just checking my facts.
The modded Connect does not play hi-res files, I misread the information.
It upsamples to 48, 88.2 or 96khz, this can be chosen at the time of modification.
I have only heard the modded unit once and it sounded excellent, no comparisons though.
I have a few Sonos boxes. If you look at the thread in my sig below, you can follow my Sonos adventures. The short version of my Sonos 'journey' is this: if you're running an entry-level system, it's worth adding a cheap DAC to the Sonos. But Sonos is also capable of high-end performance with a good DAC (e.g. the Audiolab MDAC), if you get the Sonos box modded. The two available mods in the Uk are Fidelity Audio and Wyred 4 Sound (via Item Audio). These mods make Sonos the equal of e.g. a Linn Majik DS -- seriously.
I know others disagree with my view ...
What classical music are you listening to?
The Sonos connect sounds pretty good straight out of the box and will suffice a majority of users. Don't worry about all this garbage on the net about it having high jitter etc etc, they are well below audible levels besides you have to remember most people can't hear any difference between mp3 and FLAC. I have tried a couple of external dacs and I am currently running an m-dac, the improvement is subtle, whether it's worth £600 is a matter of opinion.
As usual cheers for all the replies, modding is not an option unless you can buy the kit and do it yourself because I will be on a buying visit for only 6 days, so need to get the kit before going back to the 3rd world (in terms of hifi) where I live. Was tempted by the audio t unitiqute deal but realised I cannot really afford it so it will be a Connect plus NAS for now and maybe later when funds allow something different.
It all depends really, depends on your priorities, your budget and the rest of your kit. There is no doubt a DAC can make a worthwhile upgrade but in terms of value for money it won’t be the best one, certainly in a moderate system.
Without wanting to make the back and white assumption that more money automatically equals better I would say as a generalisation you’ll find most budget DACs make very little difference to the sound. If you’ve got revealing speakers and the rest of your system is pretty much sorted then a good DAC could be a logical step. Personally I think the likes of the DAC Magic would be a sideways step from the on-board DAC and features aside a waste of money. The likes of the M-DAC, Young and up could be a worthwhile move, but still I think there is only so much upgrade to be had from an upgrade in the DAC area £ for £ these days.
Last year I did some research into a £2k Sonos based system that I could use now and would still work with my primary system when I return home at a later date.
I used the Sonos with systems that were in budget and one or two at somewhat higher price to get an idea of how it would work with my better system. Some dacs seemed to do little, the rdac being a prime example whereas the cheaper V-dac seemed very worthwhile, the M-dac was I thought a bit disappointing too, so it appears to be that the choice of dac is important in this instance. I would like to try the Bushmaster as another cheap option but for obvious reasons that is not easy.
Overall I thought that with a decent system the dac was very worthwhile but I was surprised by the differences between different dacs, had I been able to complete my purchase I would have investigated more but I stopped as the money was suddenly needed elsewhere.
A high quality DAC can really make a massive difference to the Sonos, you could look at the Arcam Sonlink for a "budget" DAC that would make a difference or maybe the Resonessence Concero.
Phil - Custom Cable Service and Unilet Sound and Vision, South-West London
I tried experimenting with different DACs with my Sonos and ended up with the rDac which did make a noticeable improvement to the sound. One thing I did realise that the more revealing the speakers and amplifier the more sense it makes to invest in a high quality DAC. I demoed a 2k DAC and the improvements were less substantial than they should have been so I've just invested in a new pair of speakers which gave a bigger jump in performance. I was lucky to have a very good dealer who gave me very sensible advice - the old addage of 'source first' just isn't true anymore. That dealer didn't get a sale but my amp is due for replacement soon and you can bet he'll be first on my list.
Sonos Connect - Rotel RCD-965BX - Arcam irDac
Naim NAIT XS
Naim NAC A5 - Spendor SA-1
Rega EAR - AKG K450 - AKG K551
I've been researching the same thing. Obviously you're after other peoples views, but if you ever get round to a/b comparisons, just make sure the levels are the same when switching between units.
Reading on the Audiogon forum that one guy had the connect at the front end of a high end system and was comparing DACs in the 1-3k range... He actually ended up preferring the sound of the connect directly plugged into the monoblocks
Main Floor - Sonos Connect - D-Link DNS-325 Nas 2 x 2Tb - Yamaha A-S500 - Dynaudio Audience 42's
Basement - Sony PS3 - Sony STR-DN1040 - LG 60PN6500 - Polk Audio RC-65i in-walls - CSI A6 centre
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