Question

double DAC conversion while using 'analog in' and 'analog out' in Connect

  • 12 October 2016
  • 30 replies
  • 1168 views

Hello everyone.

I wonder if Sonos Connect does the DAC conversion of analog signal, that comes in to the device, and then do the conversion again while sending it to 'analog out'?

I think it does and I look for a possibility to use Connect as a preaplifier but without double conversion?

I need to plug in hi-end CD (with better DAC then Sonos) to power aplifier and would like to use Sonos as a preaplifier but without loosing quality.

It is possible?

Pawel

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30 replies

From my experience in early days with Sonos, not trusting at that time the DAC quality in Connect and use of high end SACD player, I suggest this alternative that now works very well for me:
1. Rip all CDs to a NAS.
2. Wire the Connect in variable volume mode to the power amplifier - analog out to analog in.
3. Enjoy all your music much more conveniently with no loss of quality.

To your other question - the Connect will always do the double conversion of any signal at its analog inputs before the signal is sent on to the analog outputs and there is no way to avoid that.
What's a CD player? 😉
I understand it's a legacy mode of operation for a Bluray/DVD player.
I understand it's a legacy mode of operation for a Bluray/DVD player.

Thanks! 😃
Thank you for all answers!

I plan to have either Technics SL-C700 or Exposure 2010S2.

But even if Sonos DAC is as good as these inside CD players, I think, if you do tripple conversion (bits to analog, analog to bits, bits to analog) it has to interfere with the quality of sound.

Correct me please if I am wrong.
If you're set on playing CDs you don't want to loop through a CONNECT to do so, adding an unnecessary ADC/DAC.

But what I don't get is why, in this day and age, anyone would go buy an expensive CD player. Rip your CDs to disk using a secure ripper instead. It will recover data from the CD more accurately than the best CD player, since it can do so in non-real-time with multiple passes and online checksum verification. Then simply stream the files through a CONNECT, via digital out to a top notch DAC if you wish.

Sonos would index your entire collection*, providing all the benefits of metadata search, browse and instant play. Drop the quaint ritual of shoving a physical CD into a player. I stopped all that 9 years ago. The CDs are now just wall decoration.

*There's a hard limit of 65000 tracks, less if metadata or filenames are particularly long. For most this isn't an issue. An alternative without such limits is to use an external server such as Plex.
well,
some people have habits.
some people have kids. :)

taking me into consideration:

I hate touchscreen phones, my kids always take tablets away - it is much easier for me to play CD than look for a tablet. And then you have to look for a charger (if you have kids you know that even if you have 10 tablets, all of them are discharged), then try to start it, then unlock it (kids usually change password or pattern on them), then try to connect your NAS but there is usually some problem with the library, then you have to go through the library of thousand of names, titles to find what you like at the moment, then you find out that sonos needs to be updated, etc, etc....

I can give you more examples if you want 🙂 but I am fed up with all this /$#!t/ taking sometimes at least 15 minutes of my life. I would prefer to grab a CD, open non-linux CD player, which reacts immidiately when I press 'open' button, and just play 🙂.

I think you will understand this after forties, because then you will try to save and enjoy every minute of your life :)

p
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I don't think Sonos equipment falls in your category of things you would enjoy. Although it works fairly flawlessly at what it does.
I moved to Sonos in my early fifties in 2011 with no problems. It helps that the kids have left a while ago, though a feisty little granddaughter is often at home. She is very IDevice literate, and even understands charging and the effects of the lack thereof. But I have been able to restrict her interface to Sonos to the play/pause button on just one play 1 unit.
To the OP - I very much doubt that any quality loss from the extra conversion can be audibly heard. I haven't understood why you want the Connect though.
I have Sonos cause it is the best streaming and multiroom device on earth.

This is why I would prefer to have it integrated with my stereo and CD.

This is iteresting if tripple conversion will be audibly heard. Maybe I will put it together and try :)

thanks for advices!
Even if you want to maintain the CD Player ritual I don't understand why you'd wire the CDP to the amp through the CONNECT, especially if you fear a loss of quality.

Plug the CDP into one amp input, and the CONNECT into another. If you want the amp's audio to feed back into the Sonos, for play in other rooms, wire its REC/TAPE outputs to the CONNECT's inputs.

The only reason for wiring the CDP through the CONNECT is if you want to play the CDP in sync through the amp's speakers and the Sonos speakers as a group and the amp has no 'tape monitor' facility.
I do not have pre-amp. only power amplifier. volume control is in Sonos only. The solution is to buy pre-amp and connect without sonos, but I wanted to avoid it.
I do not have pre-amp. only power amplifier. volume control is in Sonos only. The solution is to buy pre-amp and connect without sonos, but I wanted to avoid it.
Ah, okay. But you presumably have a CD player now, so does it have its own volume control?
I have not buy it yet. Do you know such CD with volume control?
I don't. I haven't had a CD player for years, though a DVD player could in extremis be co-opted into playing a CD in 'legacy mode' if a guest happened to bring one.

So you've been rhapsodising about pressing 'open' and 'play' buttons on a 'non-linux CD player' without actually owning one?
To the OP, you do realize that if you are worried about things like "hi-end CD (with better DAC then Sonos)", that CD players are more prone to errors because they are reading in real time, and are more prone to error correction anomalies (again, if you are worried about those things, which it appears you are) due to the fact that CD players have to error correct by "guestimation" of what the byte was, whereas streaming from a file has sufficient buffering that it can simply re-request the errant packet, assuring bit-perfect transmission with no possible "guestimation" errors? Now all of this probably means nothing in real world conditions and wouldn't pass an ABX test done on a hearing trained, Juliard schooled German Shepard, but it seems if you are worried about DACs and such, you would not want to start the reproduction chain with an inherently flawed delivery system like CD?
Well, I do understand certain concerns re using computer equipment and all those gadgets to play music.
I already have to spend my working hours using this newfangled stuff, right? (forgive me, 50+..)
Sometimes I miss my Vinyl and CD player, too - But only when I'm in my sentimental mood.
When I think of all the time I wasted searching for CDs (..did I file that one under Jazz or Rock or Fusion or shouldn't I begin to just file them alphabetically..?)..
(Or earlier fiddling with records and record players and being so, oh so careful and look, there's a new scratch!)
Sometimes you just have to embrace change, I think.
(Although I still buy them so I can read the booklets if I really want to...)
For what its worth: I had a Marantz CDP bought new in 2002 or so, that had a volume control. Model number was 6001; I can't be sure, and I doubt it is available now, but other players now in their range may still have that feature. I never used it, because it was redundant.

When I think of all the time I wasted searching for CDs

Another big advantage of Sonos is how it allows you to defeat the 80/20 rule, if you want to, where most people listen to less than 20% of their CDs, more than 80% of the time. Add all the CDs you have in the NAS - except the obvious dogs that aren't worth a listen even if these have been ripped to the NAS - to a playlist and select random play. Music you have but haven't listened to for years, will be again heard, without the kind of dedicated effort it would take to do this with CDs+CDP.
It is not about better or worse DAC. This is about a signal which will be converted three times (CD + 2xsonos) - this may affect quality in my opinion but: 1. I do not have enough technology knowledge to assess it properly, 2. I have not tested it and maybe this is the best way to find out.
It is not about better or worse DAC
Well of course it is. If the signal has to go through a Sonos ADC and be reconverted to analog by the Sonos DAC you'll be suffering from whatever non-linearities are introduced by both DACs -- the CDP's and Sonos'. Frankly if you're concerned enough about things to be spending nearly £1000 on a CDP the last thing you should be doing is putting the signal through two more converters. Get a pre-amp, or even a decent quality passive input selector switch.
HI look for a possibility to use Connect as a preaplifier but without double conversion?

I need to plug in hi-end CD (with better DAC then Sonos) to power aplifier and would like to use Sonos as a preaplifier but without loosing quality.

It is possible?


I thought I'd revisit the original question. Perhaps it's worth stating explicitly that the Connect has absolutely no capability to act as a pre-amplifier. It's a wireless streamer and DAC. Whatever you decide to do, forget the idea of using the Connect as a pre-amplifier.
Well, yes, but in this context I suspect the OP thinks of a 'pre-amplifier' as being a device with line-level inputs and outputs, capable of switching between sources and with variable negative gain (aka a 'volume control').

With all due respect to the OP I think he perhaps ought to fully grasp how home audio works, including AD and DA conversion, before dropping close to £1000 on a new CD player.
. volume control is in Sonos only.

Maybe I've misread other threads around here, but I was under the impression that later Connects (after about 2011) may no longer be bit-perfect if you use the volume control. In which case, if the Connect is screwing with the bits anyway, I wouldn't worry about anything else... If you're worried about ultimate sound quality, then maybe spending the money on a pre-amp might be a better bet.

I accept your point about the complications inherent in making modern technology work, but would agree with others that buying an expensive CD player may not be the best way forward. Yes, it is a pain making sure that there's a charged device available to control Sonos, but is it really that difficult to keep a single device charged, purely for your own/Sonos use? Sonos makes it so easy to find and play music that I'd hate to be without it. Having said that, ripping a large CD collection is an absolute pain, taking many hundreds of hours, but IMHO it's been well worth the effort. The other benefit is that you can put your CDs away, freeing up space in the living room.
I thought I'd revisit the original question. Perhaps it's worth stating explicitly that the Connect has absolutely no capability to act as a pre-amplifier. It's a wireless streamer and DAC. Whatever you decide to do, forget the idea of using the Connect as a pre-amplifier.

If you can plug something into it, plug it into a power amp and use the Connect to control the volume and drive the amp, then it probably could be considered a pre-amp in some sense - I can understand the confusion.