Adding a DAC


Being the sick old audio person I am I have been contemplating adding a PS Audio or ARC DAC to my system. I am running a Hegel 300 Integrated amp that has a DAC built into the unit. Can I add an outside unit to the system and quit using the Hegels DAC section? Thanks all.
jfd11
Yes. Via the balanced or unbalanced analog inputs.
Yes.  You connect your source to your DAC (probably using USB) and connect the DAC to your Hegel 300 Integrated amp using balanced inputs (or RCA).   You need to change your source on the Hegel from its internal DAC to an external DAC.  

 
From your H300 manual:

"DAC-loop This function makes it possible to upgrade the digital inputs of the H300 with an external high-end DAC. This is done by connecting the re-clocked coaxial digital output of the H300 to the external DAC. The output of the external DAC will need to be connected to the balanced input of the H300.

With the DAC-Loop activated and a digital source input selected, the H300 will enable the selected digital source input while selecting the balanced source input as the active input. This makes the external DAC able to receive the re-clocked digital signal, convert it and send it back to the H300 through its balanced input.

The DAC-Loop is activated/deactivated by holding the DAC+ button of the RC8 while pressing the IN+ button. A dot after the last digit of the displayed source input will indicate that DAC-Loop is activated. When selecting a digital source input with DAC-Loop activated, the display will read BAL for a short time. This indicates that both the selected digital input and the balanced input are active."

So, you will need an external DAC, a digital coax (S/PDIF) cable (NOT USB - coax is the H300’s only digital output connection), and a set of XLR cables to do this according to these directions.

I can’t see why you could not just hook up a DAC using whatever source (transport/laptop/server/etc) input directly into the external DAC and then use XLR cables from DAC to the H300 analog inputs as stated above in prior responses to your question.

Regardless, I would not be surprised if you find this to be a marginal improvement in sonics for the investment involved. Hegel DACs are very good. I suspect that the internal DAC in the H300 is equivalent to the Hegel HD-12 DAC based on reviews. I have the HD-12 DAC and find it to provide organic, dynamic, open sound with robust well-defined bass and natural, yet extended highs and excellent detail. What you end up with by adding an external DAC could be different, but not necessarily better.

Best of luck to you with whatever you decide.

Dave
hgeifman  and Dave many thanks for the help. As I said Dave I am a "sick old audio person". Looking at doing this as something to try. I confess I am NOT unhappy with the Hegel. I am still contemplating. Best to all Audiogoners. Thank you for many years of good deals and great conversations.
@jfd11 : You are welcome! Always fun to tinker and adjust approaches...and good from a learning perspective as well.

Let us know what you do and what your results are.

And all the best with your health.
Hi jdf11,

Understood. Wishing you the best with your health and your audio experience.  

Dave
Own PS Audio Direct Stream Dac and transport! Unless you want to go to 5 figures, they can't be beat!