Why use DAC w/ server equipped w/ one already?

Hello all. I'm still in preadolescent stage as it comes to hi-end hifi and am building a system gradually via the aftermarket. I'll try to be succinct. Not altogether optimistic of pulling it off though lol.

Thus far, I've purchased 2 items: Anthem Integrated 225 amp and Usher CP-6381 speakers. I've listened to neither thus far - the most maddening aspect of starting from scratch via the aftermarket. Read reviews endlessly; pare down to selections that give all indication of being can't-miss and still fit within the budget; wait patiently for them to appear on Agon or Amart.

The pieces purchased to date should yield a fairly clear indication of the budget in play.

After spending many hours learning the game, it became clear that a music server is the way to go. I'd all but decided, for good or ill, to purchase a spinner first so I could get started listening, plus I just want one (probably because I'm over 50). It would require the capacity to become a DAC at a later date. To that end, Oppo BDP-105 and Cambridge 752BD jump to head of the class because of the inputs.

So today I look through music servers to build knowledge for the future and see this Olive 04 server with a CD slot. Comes equipped with a DAC. Well holy hell, that' a game changer lol. Just get one of those and no need for a separate spinner. I start reading reviews and one string was laden with posts about hooking it up to a DAC.

So there's the question: why?? Why not just use the analog outs and hook directly to the amp? Is that the mindset from a higher-end perspective or am I missing a step?

Thanks for reading and ignoring that "succinct" folly to open the post.
the simple answer is that while the olive's internal dac is high-quality and well reviewed, you can always find an external dac that sounds better, as long as you're willing to pay for it. personally, i'd go with the unabetted olive for starters and see if it satisfies you--you can always add a dac later.
There are not only better DACs, there are better Master Clock sources. The MC is the most important part here, even more important than the DAC.

The best solution is ALWAYS to get the Master Clock out of the server, whether it is a Mac Mini, PC or a all-in-one server. The best way to currently accomplish this is to use USB, so you will need either a USB DAC or a USB converter (such as the Off-Ramp 5) and DAC. The USB converter and DAC will ALWAYS sound better than the USB DAC alone. Again, it sounds better because the MASTER CLOCK is powered from an independent power supply. The more you baby the Master Clock, the better your system will sound. There are servers out there that can drive USB output streaming music.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks for the replies. Perhaps I should approach from another angle. I have ~$2000 left in the budget. Essential purchases remaining are interconnects, speaker cable, player. There will be no intermediary device between server/player and amp. I'm open to the idea of a USB converter, but is there anything out there that can operate as capable MC for just a few hundred? If the USB converter runs serious coin, that configuration pushes into the future by a few years.

So how crucial is the USB slot for this purchase if a quality converter is off the table? Recommendations for completing my system within this meager budget? I figure to max out at $350 for speaker cables.

many thanks
You are over-thinking this, IMHO. Get your cables and the Oppo, hook it up and *listen*. If it sounds good to you, you are DONE. If not, then you can start sweating the purchase of a DAC.

I'm betting that you will be quite pleased with the Oppo and can stop spending money...

Given your situation, I agree with RW. Purchase the disk player since that seems to be your priority. Both players you mention allow access to the internal DAC. Should you wish at a later date to also use server, you can use the player as a DAC. If using computer as server, further enhancements could be obtained with use of USB converter.

My system consists of a disk player and a computer server. My player does not provide digital inputs so I needed a DAC. If it had, I would have forgone purchase of a DAC. However, I also use a audiophellio2 USB/SPDIF converter between computer and DAC. Regardless of what DAC used, the converter truly improved the sonic experience, always noted by Steve N. Though his might be the best, there are several other which adhere closer to your (and my own) budget.

So, a bit over a year has gone bye how do you like the Anthem and usher combo?