I am a newbie here and just getting into hifi and I am sure this is a dumb question but if anyone can comment and help me out?

I am currently listening to a lot of youtube music videos(quality varies) and tidal from my hp laptop via hdmi connect to a marrantz 7704. the 7704 seems to be decoding the signal pretty well. I tried a audioquest dragonfly red and it gave me some interference or something. ( maybe I needed the jitterbug to go with it?) so I returned it and just using the hdmi. Happy with tidal also but really like the music videos. One question is hdmi sound quality not as good as I could get? Can a dac help from this source? a dac to try that uses an hdmi? or should I just forget hdmi? A dac to try for under 500 or should I just wait and spend more? Thanks

My startup system consists of bw 804 d3's ( I do see where people say they are a little bright but so far I am enjoying them:) Marantz 7704, McIntosh mc207, bw 805d3 and htm1d3 for movies, fathom 212 that I turn up for movies and back down for music, source as described above and audio technical at lp5 ( I know it is a cheaper one but wasn't sure how much vinyl I would listen to but I am impressed with the quality of the new vinyl and sound I am currently getting compared to digital) -room 13 x 15 no acoustic treatments yet

ok ok:) 

I think I am going to go with the yygy. That's seems to be the one everyone has been mentioning the most, It is backordered till 9-11. I just missed a used one that was gen5 but he sold it already for 1800 I believe. I think I will just buy new for only 600 more. It may a bit but will keep you posted. 

Thanks again
My experience from earlier this year: I've listened to a system that consisted of the B&W 802 D3's, The Bryston BP 26 pre-amp, Bryston 4B cubed amp, Bryston BDA 3 using high end HDMI cable fed from the oppo UDP-203.  then the DAC was removed from the setup.
Everything else was the same...I heard no discernible difference whatsoever. Now, I'm not saying S/PDIF or USB cable isn't going to make a difference - for they may.  But, after spending 3500 for the DAC and another 500-1000 for the cable...you'll have to be the judge as to whether your hard working dollars is worth the expense in the degree of difference you may (or may not) hear.
Also, I think how you're listening to the music matters too.  If you're critically listening to the music (studying the shyt out of it and not enjoying it but trying to hear the micro nuances) - or - merely relaxing with a glass of wine or favorite micro brew then (perhaps) those micro nuance changes will go completely unnoticed.
One last thought...any cable can start to sound good - after you've had it plugged in for countless hours (and happen to know the commercial drive behind the name) and price tag (IMHBAO)
Good luck.

I bet you would like the sound of the Denafrips Pontus ($1600 USD) as well as or better than the Yggdrasil and still have $800 in your pocket. 


You should trade in your Marantz AV7704 for the new Marantz AV8805. The AV8805 will perform and sound better than your 7704. For stereo music playbacks you should use USB to connect your laptop to the pre pro. And use HDMI for AV or video sources.

Besides the Marantz AV8805, I would highly recommend the following AV preamp processors :
* Anthem AVM60.
* Classe Sigma SSP Mk2.
* Classe SSP 800 (discontinued last year and today can be had for around $3500 ish). The SSP 800 has no USB DAC input.
* Lyngdorf MP-50 if it’s in your budget.
* NAD M17 v2.

However, the most ideal scenario would be to get a very good quality stereo integrated amp with HT bypass for your stereo music listening. And you can add a very good quality DAC or a streamer/DAC or streamer + DAC for your stereo music playbacks.
Or some stereo integrated amps have very good built-in DAC and would have USB DAC input.
So, use your AV processor for HT (surround movies) with your McIntosh MC207 multi-channel amp. But the amplifier section of the integrated amp will still be powering your front B&W 804 D3 speakers. There are countless options out there in choosing a very good quality stereo integrated amp.

It will be pointless to add a high end DAC with your Marantz AV7704 processor served as your stereo preamp for your stereo music playbacks. While your Marantz AV7704 is decent for HT use for movies but its stereo performance when used as an analog stereo preamp is lacking.
I would suggest getting a very good quality stereo integrated amp that has HT bypass mode for your stereo music playbacks.


I hear ya. I just listen to relax with a glass a wine or two:) at the end of the day. I don’t want to be overly critical. If it sounds good to me I am happy. I definitely don’t want to throw money away. If I did go with a new dac there is typically a trial period so if I did not hear a difference I would return it.

Thanks for the input.