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I have a Pioneer Elite VSX-52tx 7 channel receiver. I want to keep it in the system for multi-channel use. But I want to upgrade the 2 channel portion of the system with a seperate amp and a stand-alone Keces 131 DAC.

I think that modern AVR's will convert an incoming analog signal to the digital domain for volume control and other processing before going back to the analog pre-outs. Does the Pioneer's stereo "Direct" mode prevent the A/D-D/A conversion? Do I need to buy a 2-channel preamp for the best sound out of my system or am I good with the Pioneer as a preamp?
 

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Modern day a/d-d/a conversion is nothing to worry about. If the signal coming into the reciever is via stereo analog connections from a typical cd player and the receiver is in stereo direct mode, then it SHOULD be all analog through to the amplifiers, if you use the optical or coaxial connections then the receiver acts as the d/a giving you a pretty pure signal. If you can clarify which part of the signal chain you most worried about we can give you a better answer.
 

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I want to run the external dac through the pioneer for 2-channel listening. What are your opinions about using these higher quality external dac's? Specifically interested in the Keces 131 unit priced around $400. Worth the cost on my system? Pioneer Elite VSX 52tx avr ($1000 msrp) with B&W CDM1's ($1100) and 2 Infinity CSW10's ($1000 x2) running through digital coax from my PC.
 
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