If you like it, you don't need a DAC. Trust your ears.
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@itzhak1969 " The Ayre CX-7 has also 2 xlr and unbalanced analog outputs,You should try them and see if the sound is better than the digital xlr you should use it instead"
Preamp is rca only, so if I wanted to try the xlr from the Ayre , would have to get the adapters.....and not sure if would make a difference ? could try I guess.
toyo18, I know that Ayre made a high end CD player that could be connected to a computer and used as a stand alone DAC but I don't remember the model number of the CD player. Anyway, the DAC chip that was inside that CD player was their best, most analogue sounding DAC chip but it became discontinued because they were unable to acquire the parts. So my question pertains to whether or not you can connect your computer to your CD player?
"Preamp is rca only, so if I wanted to try the xlr from the Ayre , would have to get the adapters.....and not sure if would make a difference ? could try I guess."
Don’t do it. adapters may degrade the sound ,rca are good enough. Your player has already very good build in dac IMO you don't need standalone dac.
I was using CD transport/player as a means to feed into pre-amp/integrated amp to listen to music for many-many years.
For me, below things pushed me to use DAC and get rid of my CD transport:
a. My CD-transport couldn't handle hi-res audio ( I use HDTracks to buy my hi-res audio) .
b. I was getting tired of getting up everytime I wanted to change the CD and listen to a different album/track.
Now, I have connected my laptop (running JRIVER - with all my CD ripped + Hi-res audio) into the DAC and can select/change tracks on my phone, while sitting on the sofa, sipping beer. I am exploring/enjoying old music, which got lost in the heap of CDs previously.
All the best with your decision.
How do you know that you need a DAC? that's easy.
I have come the same route, that is, from vinyl.
You know you need a DAC when you find that, no matter what you have invested in your digital set-up, you find yourself returning almost all of the time to your vinyl. When you find the right DAC, and that does not mean that you have to spend a fortune, you will want to listen to your digital collection at least as much as to your vinyl collection--because of the convenience. I found such a DAC; othrs have found such a DAC. For me it was a long and convoluted road through digital before I wanted to listen to digital as much as to vinyl.
I strongly second the suggestion of @ssnkssnk. Eventually you will want to rip your digital to files and play through some sort of streamer set-up. Not only will it be ridiculously convenient, but the SQ will exceed that of silver disk playing.
As far as I know, Ayre uses a delta-sigma or single-bit processor. One reason you might want to try a DAC is there are multi-bit non-oversampling (NOS) DACs out now that generally seem to please analog folks more than the upsampling single-bit DACs. You can try a Metrum DAC from HiFi Heaven or a SW1X DAC that uses tubes in the output stage. They both offer an in-home trial, so read the reviews and see which one sounds more like it meets your sonic priorities and give it a go. As a vinyl guy, I’m almost sure you’ll prefer one of these DACs to your Ayre. Obviously you can use the Ayre as a good transport. Oh, and you probably want to invest in an Emprical Audio Synchro Mesh reclocker to get the best out of your DAC.