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What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup (Read 3130 times)
asinghji
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What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
01/27/12 at 17:25:42
 
Hi,

Please share your experiences and recommendations for a DAC that goes well with Torii. I will be playing FLAC files from PC and Apple Lossless from Iphone. Please share your experiences / lessons learnt, with a similar setup. If you can provide suggestions for DAC around $1000 that would be great. I was looking into Rega, Cary Xciter, PS Audio Digital Link etc.

What else will I need apart from DAC, PC, Torii and speakers, in terms of what speaker wire, interconnect etc work well. Speakers will be Harbeth P3ESR or Compact 7.

To avoid confusion, kindly only suggest what Dac setup etc, you have actually listened to with Torii.

Any other useful info to get the best out of Torii and PC setup.

thanks
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will
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #1 - 01/27/12 at 20:11:45
 
asinghji,

As to DAC match with the Torii, I can't imagine that any really good DAC with the Torii could be a bad match.

I think the  main thing is that the Torii is very revealing, and the better the amp, and all that is downstream, the more important the front end is. It is after all the beginning of the music. So if your computer, cable or DAC truncates the data, or negatively effects the analog in any way, it is just damaged.

This points to starting with a computer that is well suited to the music serving (powerful enough, quiet, well isolated from vibration), a well optimized computer (most processing other than music serving cut off, adequate memory, and good player software), a good cable to DAC, a good DAC that effectively isolates noise and jitter, and good IC's to the Torii.

I use a 2010 Mac Mini, which is known to be very quiet, powerful enough, very easy to use, and easily adaptable to cut out extraneous processing that can effect the audio out. There is more to look at on the USB cable than just 1's and 0's. The computer itself can truncate data and make noise before the cable. And once on the cable there is potential for analog noise as well as micro timing issues (jitter) and data truncation between the DAC and computer.

I use all files without any compression since the decompression from ALAC or FLAC to the original WAV or AIFF format can cost computer power and potentially increase noise and timing issues. Subtle to reportedly indiscernible with a good computer, but real. I heard it with my battery operated Macbook Pro when I first explored Lossless or not.

The bottom line for fidelity with your Torii? If your room, speakers, cables and AC power are all up to the Torii, you will potentially hear everything including differences in power cable sound, ICs, which feet you use under you gear....seriously...everything. So starting off with better stuff as you are asking about is a very good idea to get the most cohesive possibilities from your new amp. Also: the computer you use matters, how it is set up matters, the file types you use, even lossless can matter, the cables you use matter, the DAC matters and the ICs matter.

If you are not familiar with the following links, they might be useful.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/ check the FAQs first

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=74816.0  This is about the Tranquility DAC which I use. I got a pristine open box for 1000, but then there are power, IC, and USB cables. It is a great DAC, but if you skim this thread you will find some good info on computer serving, whether you are interested in the Tranquility or not.

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/ If you have not been here before, his opinion of course, but this guy has some interesting reviews on DACs.

Also there are a few threads on these Decware forums about computer stuff....maybe in the ZDAC area??? and scattered around in areas where the threads wondered.

As with the Torii, Decware stuff is reasonable for the value. There are a few ICs for sale now in the classified section of this forum. The Zen Styx are also really good speaker cables and reportedly, the Power cable is very good, though I have not tried it. All are reasonably priced for the quality. Also, I use some MAC power and IC cables that can be very nice and bought inexpensively on audiogon auctions, and one other site. If you look at myaudiocable.com (MAC) you can see something about the other auction site. I particularly like their UltraSilver IC, though retail to retail, it is not twice as good as the decware IC, I like it a bit better, and if you can get one for 50-60 like I did, it is a major bargain.
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« Last Edit: 01/27/12 at 20:12:59 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Lon
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setu
Reply #2 - 01/27/12 at 21:25:17
 
I only tried some computer audio a while back and decided it was not for me, so I don't have personal experience to relate. I do trust will to really know what he's talking about and if I were ever to venture down the road to computer-based audio files and playback I'd pore over his posts with real attention!

I will echo his statement that the quality of the Torii Mk III will offer you the window into exactly what all the source and cabling are doing in your system, and will echo his endorsement of the products he lists as great bang for the buck audio.

I decided last year that my Torii Mk III and my HR-1 and ERR speakers will never be the weakest link in my system and I started a search for the best front end I could land. I settled on the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC as my DAC and there is nothing to complain about. I know, equiped with an internal "Bridge" it would really serve your purposes well, but it's beyond your stated budget. I have audio "penpals" who have told me that DACs from Wyred and the new PeachTree Audio DAC are really great values and should be auditioned. I'd heed their advice if I were looking. I had the Decware ZDAC-1 in my system for a year or so and that is a great DAC and one I would recommend, but those are likely going to be hard to find.  The model is discontinued, and few have been seen for sale in the used market.

Welcome to our discussions, and best of luck!
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« Last Edit: 01/27/12 at 22:19:44 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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asinghji
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #3 - 01/28/12 at 05:44:57
 
Will & Lon,

Thanks a lot for some great points. This gives me some ideas and I will continue to dig further based on your suggestions.

At this time I am using Sony Vaio laptop. No plans to switch to mac yet. So next want to get a decent dac which keeps the system synergy going with Torii and Harbeths. Will keep you posted
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Pale Rider
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #4 - 01/28/12 at 14:41:51
 
I reiterate Will and Lon's comments, especially about the resources to review (Computer Audiophile is an exceptional resource), and add a few additional observations.

1. I have a Cullen-modded PS Audio Digital Audio Link III that I have used with my Toriis briefly, and it is very musical. I have owned a number of DACs, and I would suggest you cannot go wrong with the PSA. That DAC right now drives my headphone rig behind a Mac mini and Audiophilleo Model 1 USB/SPDIF processor. That little box makes a huge difference, effectively making any DAC asynchronous, so that the computer no longer controls the clocking of the USB stream. The great thing about the PSA DAC is that you can start modestly and upgrade it and add a USB bridge like the Audiophilleo, or the Halide Designs, or even the Empire stuff as you go. All will help improve the quality of your musical information.

2. The DAC in my main system at home is the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC Mk II with the network bridge. Its musicality and resolution are simply stunning.

As Lon and Will both say, the great thing about the Torii is that, no matter what you put in front of it, it will simply get better with improved source components.

3. In between those two DACs, I would probably go for the Wyred4Sound. Very nice and musical. I heard it once, not through a Torii. Look for the 6 Moons review. IIRC, it requires special USB drivers, and that was one thing that deterred me from it.  There are so many good DACs out there right now, and while the prices of the top tier seem to be rising, the prices of the extremely good and middle tiers are getting better. Given how rapidly computer audio is evolving, if you can afford a DAC that has an upgrade path (e.g., PS Audio and a few others), I would try to do so.

4. As for cables, I am a big Decware fan. Although the ZenStyx speaker cable can get pricey with length, it is excellent, while the ICs are a tremendous value. I agree with Will that the MAC cables are an excellent buy, particularly if you pick them up on their occasional AudiogoN auctions, where the prices can be amazing. MAC also offers a few more price tier options than Decware, and they will make custom lengths very reasonably.

5. Regardless of your choice of computer platform, make sure you use a very good music controller. On the Mac and PC both, there are many good options for quality controllers. On the Mac, I have used Amarra, Pure Music, Fidelia, Audirvana, and a few others. Audirvana is excellent. Fidelia would be my second choice, though it is more convenient than Audirvana. For your Sony, there are quite a few good players, and some seem to be better than others depending on the choice of OS you are running.

Good luck!
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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will
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #5 - 01/28/12 at 16:31:54
 
Just another bit on DACs and jitter. Though async technology, is clearly a very useful means for improving DAC sound, it is apparently not absolutely necessary.

Though my Music Fidelity V-Link is an inexpensive async unit, it had praise from listening tests, so I tried it in front of my ZDAC. I liked the change on the whole. More inner detail, but the added detail effected that carefully tuned musical signature of the DAC a bit too. So I adjusted to it a little with my ZSTAGE, and cables, and enjoyed it very much. This combination has a very good sound and had the great flexibility from the ZSTAGE gain stage. But it ended up being a relatively expensive front end with cables...maybe 1900.  

Alternately, my NOS Tranquility DAC has no async. I don't know their proprietary jitter reduction method, but looking inside, it is clear that a very simple signal path was a design objective...less things to process the sound through. And in development, they tried async, but they found their alternate solution to sound more natural from much double blind testing.

From my listening all the cues for amazing inner resolution are there...incredible air, textures, ambience close and far, all the subtle details that bring out the natural timbre of instruments are present. Relatively speaking, this very clean, yet highly musical aspect of the sound is notably more resolving than the asynced ZDAC/ZSTAGE (from a careful listening perspective), and though I like the ZDAC/ZSTAGE setup a lot, I end up using the Tranquility all the time.

This is limited personal exploration, but before trying the Tranquility, from loads of reading, I consistently ran into great praise comparing it to many popular units, including high-res/async units. The comparisons that really got my attention were mostly from those who owned the other units, or were able to compare friend's or loaners. The NOS Tranquility was most often preferred (often, even playing high-res files) as more naturally resolving, and convincing. These DACs included Wyred4Sound, Wavelength, Ayre, Digital Link III, Peachtree and more.

Of course only the opinions of those waxing eloquent on the Tranquility, but the this fairly consistent listening test result led me to try it and I am very happy with it. I wish I could listen to the others to hear for myself!
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« Last Edit: 01/28/12 at 16:33:43 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Pale Rider
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #6 - 01/28/12 at 16:52:51
 
Will wrote:
Quote:
Just another bit on DACs and jitter. Though async technology, is clearly a very useful means for improving DAC sound, it is apparently not absolutely necessary.

On this I agree, but I think it helps the computer challenges  more than affecting the DAC. I had a wonderful hand-built Prometheus (yep, that is how it is spelled) NOS DAC, that was tube-like in its sound. The PSA is very musical, too. The sound coming out of boh was improved by the quality of the clocking going in. Two very different deigns, distinctly musical in different ways, both better with async, and both still different.

I have not listened to but have heard and read lots of praise for the Tranquility. As I said, lots of good DACs out there, and no one design approach is inherently superior. But the execution of that design can make all the difference. I am sold on the digital lens theory and PS Audio's execution of it. And now that I have my SACDs on my file server, I am listening o some sweet slices of heaven.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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will
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #7 - 01/28/12 at 17:04:40
 
Yes, different approaches are our friends as music lovers! Keeps thing lively. Your setup sounds brilliant. I would love to hear it! I noticed that Music Direct has a sale on the Bridged DAC, and since they let you return stuff, I am very tempted!
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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Pale Rider
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #8 - 01/28/12 at 17:15:15
 
Will, that's a good price on the PWD/Bridge combo. What's nice is that you can still upgrade to the Mk II at your leisure thereafter.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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Lon
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setu
Reply #9 - 01/28/12 at 17:23:57
 
will, I have no doubt that you would LOVE the sound of the PWD with bridge. I couldn't believe how incredible my PWD (without bridge, but the PWT connected via HDMI, the Blu-ray connected via coax or AES/EBU and the DVR connected via glass Toslink) sounded after break-in (about a month, really). I'm so happy with my system that I pinch myself. That's a good price indeed.
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« Last Edit: 01/28/12 at 17:25:33 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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will
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #10 - 01/28/12 at 17:31:06
 
Greg, what is the MKII?
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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Lon
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setu
Reply #11 - 01/28/12 at 17:49:21
 
PS Audio completely redid the digital input board (I think that's what you would call it) and have now released the PWD as a Mk II. The input board can be bought (now 1000 dollars) as an upgrade kit for the original PWD. Greg has it installed in his and reports it makes a great difference, a valuable upgrade.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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will
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #12 - 01/28/12 at 18:04:36
 
Thanks, Lon. And thus the reduced price for the original I wonder??? The new board would bring it right up to 3500, sort of the original retail with the bridge???
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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Lon
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setu
Reply #13 - 01/28/12 at 18:07:33
 
Right. Pretty good deal . . . I mean it's expensive, and I wish it weren't, but the sound . . . wow. (This is pre-upgrade, my experience. I'll get the upgrade one day soon enough. Or the minute I get a job and one is available--they've sold out of the kits fro this month and next.)
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« Last Edit: 01/28/12 at 18:07:56 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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asinghji
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Re: What DAC for Torii in a PC / iphone based setup
Reply #14 - 01/29/12 at 05:03:35
 
Hi all, thanks for some great input.

After hearing all the great things about PS Audio Dacs, I think I will try to arrange for some demo with a nearby dealer. Now while we are talking about PWD Mk II, if somebody can give some info about their experience with the Swiss made Weiss Dac 2 or Dac 202, that would be very helpful. I am also hearing some real good things about  that, and a used Weiss Dac 2 goes around $2000 on audiogon.
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