What is analog passthru in a DAC? Do you mean one that can function as a linestage too?
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Aroc, the msb link II had a set of analog inputs to which one could hook up a source. When the the dac wasn't operating, the analog signal would be passed through--very handy for connecting multiple sources to a single input.
I'm just starting to educate myself on pc audio, but the consensus seems to be that a toslink connection is best (though others have of course expressed other opinions). The cable box only has an optical out.
So basically, I'm looking for a nice,musical dac that has three digital inputs. Most seem to have only two.
Thanks for the input so far.
Here are a couple of different options and a big issue:
Birdland Odeon Lite DAC-multiple inputs and built-in volume control. No pre-amp needed, but no analog passthrough. $400-$500 used
Musical Fidelity CD/Pre-24- Transport/DAC/pre-amp and digital switcher w/multiple inputs, all in one box. No pre-amp needed. All of your digital and analog components will work and you can get rid of the pre-amp. $1100-1400 used
Quad 99 CD-P CD player with 6 (3 coax, 3 toslink) digital inputs and an analog volume control built-in. If all of your sources are digital, get rid of the pre-amp. $850-$950 used.
Monarchy Audio Model 33 DAC/pre-amp. I think it only has one toslink and one coax input, but it also has 3 analog inputs. It also has a volume control. If you need another input, use a Monarchy DIP to add one. The Dip will accept a toslink, coax and Balanced input and it outputs on coax. So, adding it to the mix can allow you to add digital inputs.
One potential problem for any of these units is your cable box. Do you have the ability to switch your digital output to PCM on your cable box. If not, none of these options will work. A standard 2 channel audio DAC will not convert a dolby digital format to PCM. My cable box outputs DD5.1 when tuned to most digital channels and DD2.1 for most analog channels. My DAC won't convert it.
Reubent and Tfkaudio,
Thanks for the helpful suggestions. I really like my audible illusions pre and would be hesitant to part with it, especially since I do most of my listening through its very good phono stage. That was an especially astute heads up re the cable box output. I'll make sure to check that out.