Putting Hi-Fi gear in a mid-fi system -- HELP


After many years I'm getting back into Hi-fi. Here's my joy and my problem;

I picked up a Theta DS Pro Progeny DAC for $175.00 (stealing it!) and I'm placing it in a (gulp)
Sony STR450 Mid-Fi A/V receiver, and the front end is an old JVC CD player swapping out with a JVC DVD player. First off let me say the sound from the Theta is obviously marvelous (with some limitations). First off the output voltage from the Theta on it's Ananlog RCA jacks is more than my Sony can handle -- on Extreme dynamic range peaks there is audible distortion.

At one time I thought you could buy small -2db or -4db attenuator pads you could place inline with your RCA jacks and cut down some of your juice -- does anybody out there know of such puppies ?

My second problem now is my CD player is not up to snuff -- no Toslink, and the digital co-ax jack distorts. Whwn I plug the Toslink in from my DVD player, 90 % of my distortion disappears. Can you guys point me to a good CD player/transport with fiber out that I could get at a good price ? I know you guys are gonna tell me I need to look at a good preamp with adjustable gain, but that's not in the cards right now -- still working on the WAF for more high-end gear and she likes the Sony for movies right now. So I'm looking for any help or tips you guys can provide.
Even some of the mid- or even not-so-mid-fi players sound pretty decent when connected to a good DAC. I've got a Sony 300-disc jukebox that I connected to the DACs in my Classe SSP-75. Definitely not the equal of a player such as an FMJ 23, Shanling or an AudioMecca, but very respectable and almost grotesquely better than the same unit using its own analog outs. The main problem I hear in this setup is some fine grain in the treble and a distinct etch in the same area.

You might do just fine in your rig with a decent mass-market player. You'll want to upgrade it in the future when the rest gets improved, but it might last you the couple of years while you save your money (and WAF).
You might check out a monarchyaudio.com DIP, digital interface processor between your cd and theta. This is from their web site:

Its main functions:

Jitter reduction/signal conditioning
Signal Boosting(to 6 times higher)
Ground Isolation(to avoid noise/hum)
Format change(from Opto to RCA, from RCA to Balanced, etc)
Data Alignment (new data stream output)
The most dramatic feature is the ClassicÂ’s built-in precision clock. The original clock retrieved from the transport is abandoned.

A new reference clock is introduced to hold the sampling frequency at a precision 44.1KHz(standard CD format, hence the name "Classic")

This precision clock, at a strong signal strength, allows any conventional D/A converter to operate with far better precision and efficiency, resulting in higher definition, better instrument localization, wider and deeper sound
field , and above all, more involving music enjoyment.

The DIP Classic accepts all 2-channel stereo signals, with sampling frequency from 32 Khz to 96Khz. The output will work with ALL D/A converters.

Price $249.-
Why not use the DVD player only?
There is at least one high quality in-line 10 dB attenuator out there. Contact me with a private email and I can fill you in.
Your Dac has 4.5v output which is for sure on the high side, 2v is pretty standard for most cdp's.
Thanks for your responses guys, you have given me something to work on. A little more info -- my RP56 DVD player only has one fiber connection out, and I'm tired of swapping betwixt the the Theta and the Sony for 5.1 shtuff.

I'll be emailing a few folks as they have some interesting information they'd like to share with me. If I get a solution soon I'll post back with the results.

Thanks again all for responding.
Theta has fantastic service. They just calibrated, tested, and lowered my output, on my DAC(DSPro Basic I). All for a mere $100.00.

Give Theta an email. Fast response with reasonable turnaround for such a low price modification.

I love my DAC, but that HOT output needed some taming.
Use your DVD player, stick with Coax (the distortion is related to the Receiver not being able to take the 4.5volt output of the DAC). Have Theta service your dac or change your receiver.
After some deliberation guys, I've decided to send the theta back to it's mommy and have the techs do their thing. Looking in the sale area it looks like I'll put more money into something I could have bought already out there, but I'm sorta attached toit now.

Live and learn I guess . . .