digital suggestions? please

I'm not as up to speed on the new digital processors as most here so I'm looking for ideas/recommendations.

I have a very nice stereo setup - a Thorens turntable, high end Sony CD player, Sansui AUD-11ii and B&W 604S2 speakers. I would like to integrate the audio from my blue ray player (Denon), AppleTV, Apple laptop, Tivo XL and Verizon Fios cable box. I'm thinking about an external DAC unit like the PS Audio digital link III or perhaps a Cambridge DacMagic to improve the digital sound from the AppleTV and laptop. Most of my audio is ripped into WAV or FLAC formats if it's not on the original CD. I might consider going to a 3.1 setup which seems nice for dialog in movies but I'm not really interested with going to a 7.1 or 9.1 or whatever the current surround sound fad is these days. Sorry to disappoint the surround sound enthusiasts (I've always suspected that these systems are mostly limited by the weight load the floors can take and the depth of the buyer's pocketbook.)

I picked up a Pioneer Elite VSX 82TXS and a Marantz SR 19 on eBay to mess around with and learn from - meh - I was unimpressed. Both units are in great shape and the Marantz did sound better but my Sansui kicked its a88, look for both of them to be put back on eBay. So now I'm thinking maybe a higher end pre-processor and just keeping my Sansui.. It's about the _sound_ not the video - so I'm looking for suggestions that don't break the bank or require me to put cotton in my ears - well, that's what the Pioneer did sound like :-D


Dacmagic is in my system and after a power supply upgrade it sounds amazing! see

The power supply upgrade took the dacmagic to a whole new performance level

I'd look into a stereo DAC rather than a pre/pro. The DACmagic is a very good unit for the money. There are better at higher costs, just like everything else IMO. Depends on your budget.

You can go from your cable box or TV into a 2 channel DAC if you have the option of PCM (I think that's what it's called) output. My cable box has a digital output option that's simply called "2 channel."

My TV and DVDs sound far better through my Rega DAC than analog into my integrated amp. My old Theta Cobalt DAC also sounded better than going analog into my integrated amp.

Whatever DAC you're contemplating, make sure you have enough inputs. Most TVs now have an optical output, making that effectively an digital switching device. Not all TVs' optical outputs will have a 2 channel option though, as far as I know.
The Audiolab M-DAC is getting good reviews over at pink fish media. Certainly a contender in the under 1K category. Though if you factor in the yet-to-be-released upgraded power supply, you will be looking at just over that. In fact, it is the DAC that I am going with. The Benchmark DAC1 HDR is also a consideration in the under 2K category.
New Anagram Technologies ATF2™ 24-bit/384kHz audio up-sampling / jitter reduction
Optional Digital Preamp mode allowing connection directly to power amp or active speakers
24-bit/96kHz driverless USB Audio 1.0
24-bit/192kHz USB Audio 2.0 with ASIO or kernel streaming modes.
USB class 2 driver for Win
Asynchronous USB transfer
Selectable digital filters - linear phase, minimum phase and steep
Balanced XLR audio output and RCA phono output
Two 24 bit digital inputs (with optical or coaxial for each)
External input for optional BT100 Bluetooth receiver - allows audio to be streamed and up-sampled from any paired Bluetooth devic
Take a look at Dacmagic Plus upsampling to 24-bit/384kHz

Now with volume control and bluetooth capability
Dacmagic Plus with 24bit384kHz up-sampling

Plus Volume, Bluetooth connectivity and headphone output