Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-26-14, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC

Audio consumption has radically changed over the past decade. The vast majority of users have ditched vinyl and compact discs for digital music files stored on iPods and smart phones or streamed over networks to media consoles and televisions. Itís impossible to argue against the convenience factor of these kinds of sources, but the very nature of their true intended functionality means that most Ė if not all Ėarenít designed specifically with audio quality in mind. While their internal components can play audio, they are generally lacking the high-end guts needed to produce truly exceptional sound. Thatís were a small device called a DAC (Digital to Audio Converter) comes into play. For those of you a tad fuzzy on the use of a DAC, think of it as a bypass that inherits the ones and zeros stored in a digital audio file and turns it into an analog signal using superior components. The resulting signal is transferred to your powered source, creating an experience pumped full of better dynamics, detail, and imaging; simply put: better sound.


Denon, a name that is widely regarded to be synonymous with quality sound, recently announced the future release of its first ever DAC (the A-300USB); a unit stuffed with high quality components intended to produce sweet and smooth sound. Encased in a minimalist packaged, the sleek sliver and black unit measures a mere 2.16-inches W x 7.16-inches H x 6.69-inches L and can be oriented horizontally or vertically. The simplistic front panel features a power button, input selector, a display indicator, stereo headphone jack, and headphone gain knob.

The DA-300USB features multiple input options to accommodate a number of different sources, making for easy plug and play use. Computers playing digital files and streaming audio can connect via USB-B, passing a signal through noise isolating circuitry that eliminates computer generated digital noise. The unitís coaxial (one) and optical (two) inputs allow for connection to CD and DVD players, televisions, set top boxes, Apple TV, and gaming consoles. The unit also features Stereo RCA output jacks.


The DA-300USB has universal support for PCM and DSD digital files received through its USB-B connection. It also features asynchronous playback of digital files and PCM signals (up to 24 bit, 192 kHz) delivered via optical digital inputs. Output specifications call for 32 bit, 192 kHz digital to analogue conversion for exceptional high definition audio quality that Denon says is comparable to the output of their high end CD and SACD players.

The DA-300USB is priced at $499 MSRP, positioning the unit at the lower end of high-priced DACs. Itís expected to be available some time in March 2014.


Image Credit: Denon
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-26-14, 10:13 PM
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Re: Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC

Interesting unit...although I really don't know much about them or if I would need/use one.
Sounds like a pretty reasonable price for someone getting into DACS though, especially if you want to be mobile.

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post #3 of 7 Old 02-27-14, 03:35 AM
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Re: Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC

The rub here is that the old computer acronym GIGO applies. SO one downside is that if you play average to poor source material through a good DAC you hear how bad the recording is! Unless you're willing to undergo the inconvenience of larger files/loss-less compression (which really only benefits classical listeners in terms of radical file size diminution) your overall experience may be reduced.

But I guess we are all serious about our sound so maybe this doesn't apply here...
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-27-14, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC

Quote:
Douglas_Doherty wrote: View Post
The rub here is that the old computer acronym GIGO applies. SO one downside is that if you play average to poor source material through a good DAC you hear how bad the recording is!
Valid points...!
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-28-14, 01:55 PM
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Re: Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC

I would think that most CD and DVD players that one would connect to this device would have equal or better DACs in them already. No TVs and set top boxes not so much however you still have the issue with the digital content being compressed with lossy compression.

I have my CD collection stored on my HTPC using lossless compression.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-28-14, 03:33 PM
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Re: Denon to Release Its First-Ever DAC

Up to 32 bit 192KHz DAC ? I think it must be one of those T.I. converters inside. I haven't seen any 32 bit DACs from other comanies yet.
http://www.ti.com/product/pcm1795
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-28-14, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Douglas_Doherty wrote: View Post
The rub here is that the old computer acronym GIGO applies. SO one downside is that if you play average to poor source material through a good DAC you hear how bad the recording is! Unless you're willing to undergo the inconvenience of larger files/loss-less compression (which really only benefits classical listeners in terms of radical file size diminution) your overall experience may be reduced. But I guess we are all serious about our sound so maybe this doesn't apply here...
I can say I agree that you only benefit from high bit-rate when listening to classical. I will agree that you'll have many more quality masters with classical. Good recording quality can be found in all genera of music. Jack White has been putting out quality recordings as have the Foo Fighters and classic rock releases from Dire Straights and Pink Floyd just to name a few.

With storage becoming quite cheap and portable devices being so ubiquitous I'd say the argument to overly compress your music has been invalid since early 2000's.

Quote:
dschlic1 wrote: View Post
I would think that most CD and DVD players that one would connect to this device would have equal or better DACs in them already. No TVs and set top boxes not so much however you still have the issue with the digital content being compressed with lossy compression. I have my CD collection stored on my HTPC using lossless compression.
Most Blu-Ray players have eliminated their DACs and many higher end CD transports don't have an internal DAC.
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