I have a system comprising B&W 685’s Marantz CD6003 and a Rotel RA-05 amp. I listen to a lot of my music now via an airport express streaming apple lossless from itunes on my PC. The sound quality is good but not CD quality. I understand that the airport express is acting as a DAC to convert the music to analogue before going into the amp. I’m happy to upgrade parts of my system but one at a time with the speakers being last. Will I notice a big difference both though streaming and via CD if I get either an amp or CD player with a built in DAC? I will struggle to get a separate DAC on my rack so would prefer one built into a new amp or CD player. If so what would you recommend I change first, amp or CD player, and what should I get or listen to with a budget of £800?
As you are looking to upgrade your entire system over time, a slightly different angle would see you sell your amp and speakers and put the money (plus your £800) into some AVI ADM9RS. They are active speakers with inbuilt dac and pre-amp, you could then connect your AEX and cdp via optical (I'm assuming your cdp has an optical out?) and that would be it! Massive upgrade in sound quality (imo), and you would be covered for playing cds and streaming.
THIS is the first user review that google threw up. I've heard them, they're bloody good.
Synology NAS + Audio Station - ATV2 - Benchmark DAC1 HDR - Event Opal
Yes, a separate DAC will definitely improve the performance of the AE unit. Personally, I'd probably opt to upgrade the CD player with one that you can also use the inbuilt DAC for other sources. The AVI route is also another option, but the key thing is to audition, audition, audition!
Seeing as a small but significant number of users have reported issues with the ADM9.1RSS in their latest incarnation, using precisely the AEX, that's resulted in their speakers losing the digital signal necessitating them to have to switch them back on again every time it happens, it's maybe worth highlighting that as a potential consideration until AVI work out how to fix the problem, which appears not to have arisen at the product testing stage and appears to arise out of Apple related products, or some anyway.
Just a thought before you go splashing out. Previous versions of the ADM 9.1 are unaffected and it is apparently a "small number" reporting this issue.
Onkyo TX-8050 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 / Marantz SA7001-KI / Apple TV 3 / Sony PS3 320Gb / Denon DVD-3930
I must admit that i would have a preference to keep separates. I've had a quick look and the Audiolab 8200 has a built in DAC. Would that be a good upgrade, is around the money i want to pay and would the rest of my kit be up to it for a while? Would it give better streaming as well as CD playback? Any other CD players you know of with the inbuilt DAC? I live in the midlands, does anybody know where i could get one to listen ot in my own house with my own set up? Suerfi and Frank Harvey are the closest but Superfi last time i asked werent keen.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
"I must admit that i would have a preference to keep separates."
He seems to want to stick to separates.
The OP did however also say this
"I will struggle to get a separate DAC on my rack so would prefer one built into a new amp or CD player. If so what would you recommend I change first, amp or CD player, and what should I get or listen to with a budget of £800?"
As he wants an upgrade, he'll do well to find better at the price.
Also, if an upgrade is required, as long as that is achieved at or under budget, what difference does it make which component/s are replaced?
Come on a.l, lets have some positive input for a change, what's your take on the OPs needs?
Buy an amp with a DAC or a CD player with an optical input. The HK CD players have optical inputs and cost under £400, as do some recent NAD amps.
By the way, can you highlight the bit about where a speaker change is required? I couldn't find it anywhere.
Try reading the op again, lemon. He clearly mentions upgrading the speakers, even if he is saving that til last.
Are you going around all the forum looking for posts that aren't in strict accordance with what the op has asked for, or just the ones that mention AVI?
Neither. It seems some very iffy advice is being given, that's all. Even you don't seem to take seriously his comments - do you seriously suggest he sells his current gear, making a loss, to buy something he doesn't want? The guy wants a CD or amp with optical inputs, is that so difficult to understand?
a.l, your constant search to find fault in all AVI recommendations without considering the OPs question and without giving your own positive input is making you appear rather obsessive.
As an OP, I would be inclined to take little notice of this type of reply, as it only comes across as bitter. If you made some sort of positive contribution, your posts might be given some credence.
If you're looking at keeping separates then the Audiolab would be a cracking choice. My father in law has got one, the amp is a Audiolab integrated with B&W 684s. He's got a squeezebox touch plugged in to the DAC of the Audiolab to stream Internet radio and I have to say it sounds really good.
As always, really try to audition before you buy. It will be tricky to audition the AVI speakers if that's the way you want to go, unless someone local is willing to get you round their house. Avi claim that lots of folk buy them without an audition but thats a big leap of faith. I've been lucky to borrow my brothers pair for a week, whilst they were great in some areas, they didn't float my boat enough to justify them as a second system. That's all ill say because I don't want this thread to descend in a kindergarten argument-fest.
Maybe also have a butchers at the NAD integrated with a DAC built in, or maybe a small separate DAC that you can hide at the back of your racking which gives you plenty of choice! Hope this helps,
System: Naim Superuniti - ProAc Response D28
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