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Goat's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 24/02/2013 - 18:15
Posts: 75
Worth connecting streamer to external DAC?


Call it upgrade fever...but I'm thinking about upgrading my Marantz NA7004; at least in terms of sound quality. As a unit, it serves me well, slightly awkward user interface aside. And it's great having a build in DAB radio. For CD's I connect my PS3 via optical input. For all other files, it's the hard drive via USB.

So I was considering buying an external DAC to improve the sound quality of all of the above, which presumably would be connected from the streamer via optical or coaxial. Couple of questions though: - 

1. I briefly enquired about this at Audio T the other day and the guy there said it COULD make absolutely no difference. And he put this down to the 'clock speeds' potentially not matching. I.e. If the streamer has a different clock speed (or number) to the DAC, there would be no difference in sound quality. However, if they matched there would be. I have no idea what he meant, can anyone elaborate? Last thing i want to do is spend another £500 for nothing.

2. Has anyone got reliable knowledge of how decent the NA7004 built in DAC is? Again, if it is perfectly decent then it might not be worth upgrading. Sibilance and overt brightness are what I want to avoid and if the NA7004 has these traits, I would be keen to upgrade the DAC.


manicm's picture
Last seen: 3 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 01/05/2008 - 12:57
Posts: 3449
RE: Worth connecting streamer to external DAC?

'Sibilance and overt brightness are what I want to avoid and if the NA7004 has these traits,' - you have the NA7004, so you really should know if they have these traits. WHF's review hinted at this, but how much of it is down to the DAC, if at all, is anyone's guess.

On the issue of the DAC my guess is you'd have to spend > 600 quid, which negates the value of keeping the streamer. I'd probably look at selling it and acquiring the new Pioneer at that price range.

Alternatively there's the Sonos plus a good DAC.

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