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What new DAC do I want? (Read 8172 times)
Donnie
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What new DAC do I want?
11/07/16 at 00:02:32
 
I'm thinking about replacing my Wyred 4 Sound DAC. What should I replace it with?
Normally I would spend $1000-1500 for one. What is out there that would sound better than what I currently own?
I'm open for suggestions.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #1 - 11/07/16 at 16:52:34
 

What do you need it to do? (like media) What kind of connections do you need? USB only? Internet and USB?

The difficult thing is that there are so many different DACs coming out so frequently; the technology is advancing pretty quickly like computer processors (though not that fast or advanced, just feels kinda like it).

I'm looking for something under $500 myself, maybe as an Xmas gift to myself. So I'll drop some suggestions as I find them in my research as to what people are raving about *today*. But it helps to know what features you're looking for as well.

Off the top of my head; Chord, Shiit, and PS Audio are ones I would give a listen to. I'm also partial to FPGA based DACs (Field Programmable Gate Array). that's just a fancy chip that allows the manufacturer to completely redesign the DAC chip via software, rather than being pinned to a specific DAC chip.  I'm not sure you can get FPGA DACs in my $500 price range, but it's more likely in the $1500 price range. I'll keep an eye out and mention them as I find them.

Personally I'm look at sub $500 DAC that has USB and Network connectivity - and does DSD256 if not higher.  I'm also hearing a lot of raving about the micro Rendu which is Roon ready and allows you to go from Network to USB with major jitter reduction and sound improvement. But it's a $700 box by itself!
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Donnie
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #2 - 11/08/16 at 23:41:23
 
Thanks LR,
I will only use USB into the DAC. I have around a TB of music floating around in my current computers and don't really think that I will be streaming anything. Saying that, I never thought that I wouldn't be buying discs as late as just a few years ago, so you never know.
I have been looking a bit upmarket from my current Wyred 4 Sound DAC, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings to pay less.
So far The Mytek Brooklyn was looking pretty good, but it has too many whistles and bells for what I need. I don't really need a headphone output and preamp from my DAC.
Truthfully, I really doubt that my"Tin Ears" could tell the difference between what I already have and whatever new hot rod DAC is this weeks flavor. But it is all about the possibilities not the realities.
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Dominick
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #3 - 11/10/16 at 06:36:40
 
Donnie,

I am in the market for a DAC myself.  I have approx. 5-7 TB of music on my computer.  I didn't think I would be Internet streaming music either, but I have been using Spotify lately, and really enjoy the variety of music available to choose from.  

With that being said, I hqve been leading toward the Schitt DAC's.   Not many bells and whistles, and I have been reading a lot of positive feedback from their Multibit DAC's.  If you configure the Gungnir DAC in a multi bit, it would be in a similar price point to what you were looking at.  Here is the link...

http://schiit.com/products/gungnir

Then again....their flagship Yggdrasil DAC is supposed to be phenomenal, but it's more than the Gungnir.

For me...since I am starting from scratch with building my system, I need to keep my budget reasonable since I have my eye on either the Torii MKIV or the ZMA.  For me...I may start with the Bifrost Multibit, unless something else catches my eye in a similar price point.  

Hope this helps.

Dominick
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Rraymond
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #4 - 11/11/16 at 14:38:37
 
Dominick,
Take a look at the Peachtree Nova 150. I heard it at the RMAF show and couldn't believe my ears. It's a brand new model and they are having a hard time keeping up with orders. Also as a bonus it has 150watts/channel so it's plug and play so you can jump right in with great sound. I'm actually getting one tomorrow as a demo from my local store.
Rick
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Dominick
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #5 - 11/11/16 at 17:04:00
 
Rick,

Thanks for the info.  I will check it out.  It was great talking to you the other day.  

Just yesterday I found a HiFi store in my area, and was able to demo the Rega P3 outfitted with a Orfoton 2 Red.  

We listened to some of Beethoven and some Clapton.  I have to say that I was impressed with the P3 and will probably pick that up.... Probably as a Xmas gift.  He didn't have RP3 to compare, but some of the updates between the tables seemed to be worth the extra $$.  

Interesting enough....he had a Rotel 1580 DAC I was able to listen to as well. I actually liked it..it brought out some of the finer hi details without being Tinny.   Also...it also has a Bluetooth dongle to Stream devices.  It doesn't do DSD, but it does have balanced outs.  Retails for $800 bucks.  The only complaint was the USB input being sub par with the rest of the inputs, flattening out the mid/lows.  

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Tommy Freefall
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #6 - 11/11/16 at 21:11:45
 
Historically, Steve D. recommended the Teac UD-501 DAC.
It had a street price of about $900.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #7 - 11/11/16 at 23:41:03
 
The Teac is one to consider for sure - I've seen used ones for only $350
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #8 - 11/29/16 at 20:33:46
 

Donnie,

Any progress on your DAC search?

I've been building diffusers like a mad man...which is sad, because it's taking me like two weeks to build one....granted, it's a very complex one, but still...ugh.

So my digital exploration is on complete stand-still till I get more diffusers into the room. With the two demo units I built, I'm already hearing huge improvement in sound, so I'm eager to jump my listening system/room to the next level with better diffusion before I start trying to evaluate digital sources, software, and settings.

Besides, I'm super broke - so I'm hoping to live vicariously though you guys who might be buying new gear.  :)
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Donnie
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #9 - 11/29/16 at 23:05:29
 
LR,
Nothing yet. I look at different DAC's online, read reviews, and quite truthfully, get a bit overwhelmed. It's not like I can go and listen to a half dozen different ones side by side and pick a good one. There isn't a big market around here for them. There are probably only 3 guys in this county who even know what a DAC is, and they only know it because of me.
I will keep persevering on my quest.
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #10 - 11/30/16 at 01:33:41
 
Are the Benchmark DACs respected on this forum? They seem to be very well built.
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Rraymond
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #11 - 12/01/16 at 01:09:10
 
I did recently pic up a Definition Technologies "Adapt" DAC for $350. It uses airplay via your wifi so no internet connection required. The phone app allows you to sit back in your chair and choose your music. This is my first shot at a digital streamer and I have to say for the money, it sounds quite good to me.
Rick
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #12 - 12/01/16 at 15:58:59
 
Quote:
Are the Benchmark DACs respected on this forum? They seem to be very well built.


Any DAC that sounds good is respected in these forums...we try not to poo-poo anything.

That said, I don't know anyone that has one. Like Donnie mentioned, there are so many DACs available these days, it's really difficult to get a grasp on what's good.

I really dislike "generalizing", but in general, I find most modern DACs sound pretty damn good, maybe a bit alike. I think we gravitate to those few that stand out from all the "alike".

The plus side of this is that it's pretty easy to get good sound these days.
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Rich
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #13 - 12/20/16 at 04:02:40
 
I have the Schiit Bifrost multibit.  It's in the $500 range.  It does not have balanced outputs.  I think it sounds amazing for its price point.  It's the most analog sounding day I tried.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #14 - 12/24/16 at 12:48:51
 
same here schiit bifrost multibit.  other than no balanced outputs, i have nothing neg to say about it.  good bang for the buck.  buy one new.. all these guys on ebay think they can sell something for $100 more than you can buy a new one!

i have a schiit modi upstairs in my non critical system.  it seems pretty decent too.

been keeping my eye out for one of the teac's.... don't seem to see them at a price i am willing to pay.

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Matchstikman
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #15 - 12/24/16 at 14:31:59
 
Another vote for DACS from SCHIIT.

Also, check out iFi Nano iDSD DAC.  I use this on my desktop setup and I get great results.

https://www.amazon.com/iFi-Nano-iDSD-Headphone-Combo/dp/B00HI8WXVG/ref=sr_1_1?ie...
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #16 - 12/25/16 at 22:58:44
 
I was considering the iFi stuff for my computer desk/second system. Seems like decent bang for the buck.

I'm still hoping we have time to hang out this week Donnie - Palomino has limited time though, and we feel bad having you drive 4 hours to hang out for 3 then drive 4 hours back.

That said, you could also swing by my place on the way home; but I don't  have an under $1500 DAC for you to comparo (trying to keep on topic)
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Luis
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #17 - 01/13/17 at 19:27:19
 
Anything about the Gustard x20 pro?
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #18 - 01/13/17 at 20:10:02
 
I'm' not familiar with that one, but the guts look nice!

Interesting thread on Head-Fi I stumbled into while googling this unit. Sounds like some people had issues, and they are already modding them. Word is that new DAC chip used in it sounds really good.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/824593/gustard-x20pro-dac-es9028pro

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Luis
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #19 - 01/14/17 at 09:07:56
 
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Luis
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #20 - 01/23/17 at 09:29:28
 
I was just trying to figure out if upgrading my Rega Dac to one DSD capable was worth it but I just keep getting lost... now I found  this Mastering Quality Authenticated (MQA) format... Undecided

https://mytekdigital.com/hifi/mqa/

file:///C:/Users/Luis/Downloads/2016_BUYERS_GUIDE_TO_DIGITAL_SOURCE_FINAL.pdf

Well... this new Oppo Sonica looks good

https://www.oppodigital.com/sonica-dac/

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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #21 - 01/24/17 at 03:46:32
 

I wouldn't get too hung up on MQA - not many want to support it. I posted about it a while back before we had a digital section.
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beowulf
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #22 - 01/24/17 at 07:52:59
 
MQA is kind of like a container that allows big audio files to be packed into a more manageable size and streamed to your home network.  There are some other purported benefits when they are unpacked by an MQA compatible DAC, but I have not heard one to make a fair assessment.

That said, you can still play MQA files with any DAC, but your DAC just won't be able to take full advantage of all the tech when unpacking the MQA file.  My current DAC is a McIntosh D100 and it is not an MQA DAC, but I am still able to stream MQA packed files and play them back, just not to their full advantage and I'm not sure how much (if anything) I'm missing, but they still sound really good to my ears!

A lot of DAC manufacturers are not on board with the whole MQA thing as I think it requires them to mold their DAC creations into something that may not be exactly what they intended their DACs to sound like.  I think I read somewhere that there may also be some licensing issues, but not sure.

DSD is another of form of tech that was originally created by Sony Phillips for digitally recreating audible signals for their Super Audio CD format (SACD).  Note the actual file extensions appear as DSF or DFF on your hard drive (not DSD).  You can play those files through most DACs, but they need to be converted to PCM (the predecessor to DSD and more popular format of digital recreation) via  playback software such as JRiver, Foobar, Roonm etc. rather than natively played back as DSD files in a DSD compatible DAC.

The DSD files that I have in my collection are some of the best sounding digital I have ever come across.  Playing back DSD natively sounds excellent, but they still sound really good from DACs that can only handle PCM playback as well.

IMO a lot of that may be due to the care taken in the remastering of the analog master tapes rather than specifically being a DSD technology (more likely a combination of both).  Most of the earlier DSD files out there are ripped from Super Audio CD's (SACD) and when Sony put those out they put a lot of care in transfer and remastering of those files ... so I think a big part of why they sound so good is that they were just handled with much more care than a typical PCM CD was.  Just my theory of course, but I'm sticking to it! Cheesy

BTW I have the Rega DAC too in my bedroom system.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What new DAC do I want?
Reply #23 - 01/24/17 at 17:03:45
 
Quote:
A lot of DAC manufacturers are not on board with the whole MQA thing as I think it requires them to mold their DAC creations into something that may not be exactly what they intended their DACs to sound like.  I think I read somewhere that there may also be some licensing issues, but not sure.


This sounds like what I heard as well...there was something very specific that turned several manufacturers off. If I wasn't so busy at work (only taking a quick break to check forums right now), I'd dig up the articles that explained it better.

Tidal doing MQA will catch peoples interest, and if  Tidal takes off after this boost from Sprint, we may hear more for it, but right now it's too proprietary.  The only real positive I got from reading the MQA papers, is that it sounds like it's forcing the music companies to go back to source and proves provenance - i.e. no more HDTracks selling 192/24 tracks at a premium that were nothing but upsampled CD mixes.  
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