Replace HT processor with multiple DACS

chrisr

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Aug 30, 2011
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Has anyone replaced their HT receiver/processor with 3 or 4 DACs for 5.1/7.1?

I have an Anthem pre/pro, which is OK but doesn't sound as good as my 2-channel DAC. I'd like to take out the Anthem altogether and run digital signals for 5.1 sound directly from my Oppo 203 player into 3 DACs for 5.1. I would use a multichannel preamp (Emm Switchman) for volume control after the DACs (or get 3 DACs with built-in volume control.)

But before I buy 2 more DACs, I'm wondering if I will still get full UHD movie sound with this approach. For example, would I still get full 24/192 or 24/96 sound? Is there decoding (Dolby Digital, etc.) that I will no longer get without a HT pre/pro? I assume my Oppo 203 can handle all of this, but I don't know what else an HT pre/pro may add that I'll be missing (I'll be OK with the simple room correction that's built into the Oppo.)

I have a Playback Designs OpBox card in the Oppo, which can output 6 channels of digital signals to Playback Design DACs, and over 24/192 so resolution shouldn't be a problem. But as mentioned above, not sure whether HT pre/pros do some kind of UHD audio decoding that the Oppo doesn't do that I may still need? - Thanks.
 

Kal Rubinson

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May 5, 2010
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Has anyone replaced their HT receiver/processor with 3 or 4 DACs for 5.1/7.1?
I didn't replace an HT receiver/processor with 3 or 4 DACs for 5.1/7.1 but I do work that way.
I would use a multichannel preamp (Emm Switchman) for volume control after the DACs (or get 3 DACs with built-in volume control.)
You can do that or get a good 8channel DAC with a volume control.
I'm wondering if I will still get full UHD movie sound with this approach.
That is a problem. See below.
For example, would I still get full 24/192 or 24/96 sound?
That, and more, from music discs/files.
Is there decoding (Dolby Digital, etc.) that I will no longer get without a HT pre/pro?
Aha! That's the rub. What is your source?
I assume my Oppo 203 can handle all of this, but I don't know what else an HT pre/pro may add that I'll be missing (I'll be OK with the simple room correction that's built into the Oppo.)

I have a Playback Designs OpBox card in the Oppo, which can output 6 channels of digital signals to Playback Design DACs, and over 24/192 so resolution shouldn't be a problem.
That should work for discs but you will have to rely on what the Oppo can decode and know that there will be no significant updates for it.
 

chrisr

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Aug 30, 2011
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Thanks, Kal. That's what I suspected. Is there a good 6- or 8-channel DAC with volume control that you would recommend?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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follow your media direction.

i think you need to step back and consider your future media choices before you invest in a multi-channel discrete dac. i owned an EMM Dac 6 (with an EMM Labs Switchman 6 preamp) back in the day and had a room designed for serious discrete multi-channel.....along with 1000 SACD multi-channel discs.

that lasted about 18 months, i tore it out and stayed 2 channel only since then for that room.

today i have a separate Home Theater with a 9.3.6 speaker set-up. recently i switched from an Anthem AVM60 to a Trinnov Altitude 16 processor. so i'm firmly on the object based dsp multi-channel instead of discrete channels.....since i'm mostly movies for that room. but object based multi-channel for music is very cool and it's the trend of new recordings you might find.

and the dsp power of the Trinnov really steps everything up a notch or five.

so look at where your main multi-channel listening will be going and then have your dac/processor do that well.

my guess is that object based dsp multi-channel for music will sound better more often than discrete as you go forward. of course, if you already have a huge discrete mutli-channel library then that might be the main issue.
 
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Kal Rubinson

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Thanks, Kal. That's what I suspected. Is there a good 6- or 8-channel DAC with volume control that you would recommend?
I have an exaSound s88 and an Okto DAC8 pro, both of which I recommend.

Added: Also, the Merging DACs.
 
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astrotoy

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Most of the discrete mch SACD's that I have are 5.0 or 5.1 and are DSD64, not 192/24. My mch DAC does up to DSD256, so I use HQP with Roon to upsample to DSD256 with my computer, something that Tom Caulfield, engineer for Channel Classics, who does most of their mch recordings recommended to me for his DSD64 work. I have about 1000 mch SACD's. My mch preamp has two mch inputs, so I use one for my mch DAC and the other for my Oppo 105 which I use for mch movies.

Larry
 

chrisr

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Aug 30, 2011
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Kal, Mike, Larry: All great input. Much appreciated. Gives me a lot to think about and research. This is such a great forum.
 

VincentM

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Jul 23, 2021
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Has anyone replaced their HT receiver/processor with 3 or 4 DACs for 5.1/7.1?

I have an Anthem pre/pro, which is OK but doesn't sound as good as my 2-channel DAC. I'd like to take out the Anthem altogether and run digital signals for 5.1 sound directly from my Oppo 203 player into 3 DACs for 5.1. I would use a multichannel preamp (Emm Switchman) for volume control after the DACs (or get 3 DACs with built-in volume control.)

But before I buy 2 more DACs, I'm wondering if I will still get full UHD movie sound with this approach. For example, would I still get full 24/192 or 24/96 sound? Is there decoding (Dolby Digital, etc.) that I will no longer get without a HT pre/pro? I assume my Oppo 203 can handle all of this, but I don't know what else an HT pre/pro may add that I'll be missing (I'll be OK with the simple room correction that's built into the Oppo.)

I have a Playback Designs OpBox card in the Oppo, which can output 6 channels of digital signals to Playback Design DACs, and over 24/192 so resolution shouldn't be a problem. But as mentioned above, not sure whether HT pre/pros do some kind of UHD audio decoding that the Oppo doesn't do that I may still need? - Thanks.
I’m planning on doing the same.

My idea is using the Oppo 203 with VanityHD card, so 8 digital channels on 4x SPDIF out. Going into 3x Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 integrated amps.
Lyngdorf has one of the best roomcorrection systems out there so that would be a big bonus. Also you could use volume control on the Lyngdorf or use the one on the Oppo.

The only thing that you cannot have is immersive sound like Atmos, DTSX or Auro3D. Actually I’m not even sure if this is really a must have. I’m also more about sound quality then quantity.

How did you got on with the system?
 

Ron Resnick

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Welcome to WBF, Vincent!
 

gestalt

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Aug 4, 2019
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gestalt.audio
I’m planning on doing the same.

My idea is using the Oppo 203 with VanityHD card, so 8 digital channels on 4x SPDIF out. Going into 3x Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 integrated amps.
Lyngdorf has one of the best roomcorrection systems out there so that would be a big bonus. Also you could use volume control on the Lyngdorf or use the one on the Oppo.

The only thing that you cannot have is immersive sound like Atmos, DTSX or Auro3D. Actually I’m not even sure if this is really a must have. I’m also more about sound quality then quantity.

How did you got on with the system?
Hi Vincent, you might like the Lyngdorf MP-60 2.1 into a few of the Lyngdorf amplifiers instead of multiple TDAI-3400's. You'd gain all the surround formats and keep the good bits like Room Perfect.

Alternately, you can go with something like a MERGING+NADAC for all 8 channels, which is lovely.

EDIT: sorry, I just re-read your post and noticed the 4x SPDIF out. Yeah, that's going to be an interesting constraint.
 
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VincentM

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Jul 23, 2021
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Hi Vincent, you might like the Lyngdorf MP-60 2.1 into a few of the Lyngdorf amplifiers instead of multiple TDAI-3400's. You'd gain all the surround formats and keep the good bits like Room Perfect.

Alternately, you can go with something like a MERGING+NADAC for all 8 channels, which is lovely.

EDIT: sorry, I just re-read your post and noticed the 4x SPDIF out. Yeah, that's going to be an interesting constraint.
I actually have an MP-50 with SDA-2400 amplifiers. Wich is already pretty good. For now I have a 5.1 set up.
From experience and testing I know that HDMI is not the best at transmitting audio data.
I just think I can improve the sound still by keeping the chain digital as long as possible and NOT using HDMI for audio.
 

gestalt

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Aug 4, 2019
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I think you may be able to use the optional input cards on the MP-60 to go AES/EBU in, then AES67/Ravenna out over Ethernet to a Merging NADAC if you want to avoid HDMI, while still getting Room Perfect and with only those two boxes. Interesting constraints.
 

VincentM

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Jul 23, 2021
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I think you may be able to use the optional input cards on the MP-60 to go AES/EBU in, then AES67/Ravenna out over Ethernet to a Merging NADAC if you want to avoid HDMI, while still getting Room Perfect and with only those two boxes. Interesting constraints.
Those are 2 expensive boxes, MP-60 and Nadac. I think SQ would be top notch. I was looking into the Nadac today but it seems it’s more music oriented and not really for movies. If I would go the Nadac route without the Lyngdorf(at first) I guess I could use itunes(movies) on Mac mini or connect a blu ray player via SPDIF to the Nadac? Is this correct or am I missing something?
 

gestalt

Active Member
Aug 4, 2019
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Those are 2 expensive boxes, MP-60 and Nadac. I think SQ would be top notch. I was looking into the Nadac today but it seems it’s more music oriented and not really for movies. If I would go the Nadac route without the Lyngdorf(at first) I guess I could use itunes(movies) on Mac mini or connect a blu ray player via SPDIF to the Nadac? Is this correct or am I missing something?
The NADAC sounds great (full disclosure: I'm a dealer) and can be optionally upgraded down the line with an external power supply and a clock. Very high quality piece. Yep, it would work well on a Mac mini (with both the NADAC and the Mac mini connected to a gigabit Ethernet switch) for full 8-channel output or via SPDIF for 2-channel sources.

There is a MERGING+PLAYER option that includes a Roon core (and Roon endpoint) if you'd like to use Roon directly as well.
 

chrisr

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Aug 30, 2011
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Hey Vincent. I like the direction you are going with the integrated amps - you get volume control that I assume can be done with just one remote.

I looked at the Merging Nadac as well, but for me it wasn't a good option because I'm looking for multichannel inputs into a DAC from 2 different sources (PC and Oppo). I believe the Nadac can accept 8 digital input channels only on the Ethernet input - I'm fairly certain its other digital inputs are only 2 channel. While this would be cool if someone is looking for only multichannel that is sent from a PC, I am looking for a solution that can do both 1) multichannel DSD from a PC as well as 2) multhichannel movies from an Oppo.

For the Oppo, like you, I have the VanityHD card that can output 8 digital channels on coax. I also have as an alternate the Playback Designs OpBox card that can output 6 digital channels from the Oppo.

So I'm leaning toward using the Oppo + OpBox that sends digital to my Playback Designs USB-XIII box, which will act as a hub. I'll also send multichannel DSD from my PC via USB to the USB-XIII box. The USB-XIII box will then send digital signals to 3 Playback Designs DACS.
 

VincentM

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Jul 23, 2021
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Hi Chris,

The problem is ofcourse the combination of the Oppo and the NADAC for multichannel. Then I was thinking what if I would rip all of my blu rays onto the Zappiti NAS and acces the NAS from a Mac mini.
In this way I would have all of my physical content and streaming content via itunes, problem solved.
Do you know if there is some kind of calibration that can be done in the Nadac?
If I would go the route of the Lyngdorf integrated amps then I would have RoomPerfect roomcorrection wich would be a serious advantage. But then again the DAC in the Nadac is superior to the one in the Lyngdorf. Difficult choice….
 

Kal Rubinson

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May 5, 2010
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Hey Vincent. I like the direction you are going with the integrated amps - you get volume control that I assume can be done with just one remote.
That is usually tricky to accomplish as the individual amps will see the RC from different angles. You can finesse it by using an inexpensive IR splitter.
For the Oppo, like you, I have the VanityHD card that can output 8 digital channels on coax. I also have as an alternate the Playback Designs OpBox card that can output 6 digital channels from the Oppo.
Take a look at the Okto DAC8 Pro. It will accept both USB and AES-EBU (which you can probably drive/adapt from the Vanity output).
Do you know if there is some kind of calibration that can be done in the Nadac?
Only volume levels. OTOH, the Anubis will implement DSP and, of course, it can be done in the MacMini playback host.
 

chrisr

Member Sponsor
Aug 30, 2011
70
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413
Chicago area
That is usually tricky to accomplish as the individual amps will see the RC from different angles. You can finesse it by using an inexpensive IR splitter.

Take a look at the Okto DAC8 Pro. It will accept both USB and AES-EBU (which you can probably drive/adapt from the Vanity output).

Only volume levels. OTOH, the Anubis will implement DSP and, of course, it can be done in the MacMini playback host.
Hi Chris,

The problem is ofcourse the combination of the Oppo and the NADAC for multichannel. Then I was thinking what if I would rip all of my blu rays onto the Zappiti NAS and acces the NAS from a Mac mini.
In this way I would have all of my physical content and streaming content via itunes, problem solved.
Do you know if there is some kind of calibration that can be done in the Nadac?
If I would go the route of the Lyngdorf integrated amps then I would have RoomPerfect roomcorrection wich would be a serious advantage. But then again the DAC in the Nadac is superior to the one in the Lyngdorf. Difficult choice….
Vincent, I agree that ripping everything to your PC would mean that you would need only 1 input to the DAC - and you get PC-based processing etc. I'm not familiar with processing at the Nadac.

Kal, thanks for mentioning the Okto. I looked into that unit previously based on your earlier recommendation, but I missed that it can receive multichannel on both the USB input as well as the AES-EBU input. Plus it has volume control, with individual channel volume adjustments. Thanks.
 

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