Finding a DAC with Digital Passthrough / Digital Bypass


My latest project is trying to find a solution for sending audio to Zone2 and Zone3 without needing to use the COPY–>MAIN feature on the Anthem Pre-Pro.  The  problem is that there is only a DAC on the main zone.  Zone2 and Zone3 need an analog feed or your don’t get audio.  The only work around for a digital source is to “copy” the audio coming from the “main” zone to Zone2 or Zone3.  The problem there is that I can’t play a different audio source in Zone2 or Zone3.  It has to be the same as Zone1 (main).

So, I need help finding a DAC with digital bypass. I have an Anthem AVM50v and I want to use that pre-pro to continue to decode all multichannel digital sources. However, for Zones2 and Zone3, I need an analog signal or I cannot send audio to those zones unless I copy the MAIN zone to Zone2 or Zone3. That’s fine in most instances, but sometimes, I want to play a different source in Zone 1 (MAIN) and a different source in Zone 2 or Zone 3.

The only way I can do that is to have an analog signal to feed the Anthem. My biggest problem is currently my AppleTV and my iTunes Media server. Neither have analog outs. (for my iTunes server, which is 50 feet away, I’m using the V-LINK USB to S/PDIF converter.

I’m looking for an inexpensive DAC that will have digital bypass so that I can get the analog out from that source to support Zone2 or Zone3 but at the same time, it will continue to send the original digital signal to the pre-pro in case I want to decode multichannel audio that comes from movies and multichannel music, etc. The only unit that I’m currently aware of with this capability is the DAC Magic Plus from Cambridge Audio, but it’s $600. I was looking to spend less than half that amount.

Any thoughts or suggestions?? I haven’t been able to find any other options.

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