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Which DAC? (Read 3895 times)
Tripwr1964
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Which DAC?
12/04/17 at 19:10:30
 
looking for something a little new...

Teac 503 or OPPO Sonica???
plan on a Zbit on backend too.

plan to feed it with a transport or cd player and PC player.
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, UFO2, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Hana SL, JC3+, Schiit bifrost multibit, CXC, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/betsys/Augies/Alpha15. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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beowulf
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #1 - 12/05/17 at 08:14:54
 
Not interested in moving up the Schiit line?  If you need a transport though the Oppo UDP-205 is pretty much a no brainer as far as bang for the buck is concerned ... killing 2 or even 3 or more birds with one stone.

Although the McIntosh D100 DAC that I use utilizes the SABRE based chips ~ a lot of companies have moved into their own FPGA designs and that's the direction I would look towards at this point.

To throw a couple more contenders into the ring ...

The Chord 2Qute DSD DAC would be interesting and within that price range as well.  I heard its actually a Hugo in a small chassis.

I've also heard a lot of good things about the Border Patrol DAC which is a NOS (no over-sampling) design based around the R-2R resistor ladder chips with no digital filtering ... this looks very interesting to me, but the price is about 2x the Oppo Sonica.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #2 - 12/05/17 at 15:34:04
 
beowulf,

not sure going up the schitt chain yet.  like to get some reference points before i cash out >$2k for a dac.  i like my bifrost multibit, but haven't heard much else.

thought about the 205 too and running everything thru it.  $1300

i play mostly redbook flac files via pc and daphile.  thinking of trying to live without a cd/transport for a bit..

did pickup a sonica last night on audiogon for $499 (couldn't resist).  going to give that a try.  believe its dac is the same as the 205...  let you know what it think.

thks tim
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, UFO2, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Hana SL, JC3+, Schiit bifrost multibit, CXC, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/betsys/Augies/Alpha15. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #3 - 12/05/17 at 21:18:02
 
Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the Teac or the OPPO products.

However, I have two DAC's currently.  In my main system I have the Hegel HD30 which is really an amazing piece of gear.  It is on the pricey side, but it is highly recommended.  It also has en ethernet port that streams music directly from TIDAL, Spotify, etc.  Interestingly, the CD-quality stuff from TIDAL sounds better than most CD's.

The second DAC in my bedroom system is a Copland DAC215 which is also a 6922-based tube preamp.  It is around $2k, so a bit on the expensive side, but considering that it is both a DAC and a preamp unit, it is worth checking out.

A.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #4 - 12/06/17 at 13:32:51
 
ty alper!

that will give me some stuff to study for my next step.

will have my used sonica thursday... be interesting to see how it measures up to my schitt multibit (which i've always liked... but haven't heard much else).

cheers
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, UFO2, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Hana SL, JC3+, Schiit bifrost multibit, CXC, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/betsys/Augies/Alpha15. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #5 - 12/06/17 at 16:20:10
 
Benchmark dac's look pretty nice too... and maybe closer to my price point.
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, UFO2, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Hana SL, JC3+, Schiit bifrost multibit, CXC, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/betsys/Augies/Alpha15. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #6 - 12/06/17 at 19:20:22
 
Benchmark's DAC3 series, which I have not heard, are in the ballpark of $1,700 - $2,200, as far as I can see from their website.  You can also go for the refurbished DAC1 which sells for $1,150, but I remember hearing one that sounded a bit on the harsh side.  I am not sure, though, if it was a new unit and needed some break-in time or not.  But, none of my DAC's so far (3 different models of Hegel, Copland DAC215, Cambridge Audio DACMagic 100)

If you are looking for a budget DAC, you can check Cambridge Audio.  I used to have their DACMagic 100 (for $199) and it was a steal for the price.  Also, you can give a try to Musical Fidelity's V90-DAC for around the same price.  These last two are small packages with a lot to offer and they sound fine right out of the box.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #7 - 12/08/17 at 12:18:31
 
well tried the Sonica last night...

well lets just say my schitt bifrost multibit, isnt coming out of the rack just yet.

the Sonica using usb from my player/pc/daphile flac files was a bit on the harsh/animated side.  just seemed like everything was a tad too much.

my schitt is much smoother and analog sounding compared to the oppo.

i am going to give this Sonica a good hard listen this weekend and see if my initial opinion changes.
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, UFO2, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Hana SL, JC3+, Schiit bifrost multibit, CXC, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/betsys/Augies/Alpha15. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #8 - 12/08/17 at 22:41:58
 

I'm not familiar with that Oppo - I have the BDP-105 which I liked, till I heard a DAC with a better chip.

The Teac NT-503 smokes my Oppo, but I've not heard the newer Oppo stuff. If they are still using off the shelf chips, then yeah, your Multibit, and the Teac will smoke them as well.  

I still prefer my DirectStream, but the Teac is very close second.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #9 - 12/08/17 at 22:48:47
 
LR, did you download the new Redcloud software for DirectStream DAC today?  If not, you need too.  You REALLY need too!!

Been listening for the last 4 hours.  My guess is it will create a bit more distance from that stock Teac.
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Rachel//Super Zen//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Muse Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//Zen Head//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Omega SAHOs//DM946//Oppo UDP-205
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Lon
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #10 - 12/08/17 at 23:27:18
 
Good news Jeff, these upgrades are wild. I at first was hoping there weren't too many as it's a pain for me . . . somehow they never download correctly so I've been buying cards from PS Audio. But the Torreys then Huron were really good improvements. Nice to hear that Red Cloud is as well; I ordered a card today.
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #11 - 12/09/17 at 10:03:02
 
Yeah Lon, I was really pleased with how reliable and easy this update was.  I installed Redcloud and also updated the new firmware on my Bridge II today, which was stupidly easy since it updates via ethernet, so nothing to download.  

I listened all day and night.  Just finished... I am out of gas, but what a ride.  I think you are going to be in for a pleasant surprise!   Smiley

Let us know when you receive the update and have time to listen.
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Rachel//Super Zen//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Muse Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//Zen Head//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Omega SAHOs//DM946//Oppo UDP-205
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Lon
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #12 - 12/09/17 at 13:02:40
 
I should be joining you guys on Red Cloud mid-next week. I have had so much change going on in my systems lately. The ZROCK2 has changed how I use my P10 and the tonal controls on my Torii Mk III and gotten me changing sound in ways I haven't for a while. . . so my "benchmark" has been more fluid. But I'll be able to hear the differences in the OS I'm sure.

In my second system I did something radical: I bought a Peachtree Audio Grand Integrated for an awesome price and it is now the centerpiece of my second system. Its interior DAC is very good, better than the Denon flagship universal players by a hair (both are 32 bit DACs) and though it's a Sabre and I haven't like these in the past it doesn't seem to share the same shortcoming I've heard in others (a sort of dryness and a midrange edginess). It's really spacious and yet smooth sounding. The headphone amp sounds nearly as good as the Taboo Mk III I had in that system on my Oppo headphones. . . which is a feat. And the (most recent incarnation of I think) ICE class D amp section has immense power and really drives the speakers I've been using (Peachtree Audio bookshelf, Trapeziums) so much better than the Taboo even when driven upstream by a ZBIT AND a CSP2+). Great sound . . . not traditionally solid state or tube like, a good fusion of the best of both. It has a tube buffer stage built in as well that is switchable in or out, even with the headphones.

And it has a current source volume control which really works well at keeping consistent balance at all volumes and really allows detail and nuance to shine through. Even if used as just a preamp (has preamp outputs) it's a very good piece of gear, with that excellent volume control and great DAC, and  has two coaxial and two optical inputs and a USB input and has built in USB drivers for MAC for those who might use computer audio.

As it has the built in DAC I can now watch and listen on headphones to programs on TV upstairs when Lucy is doing something else downstairs, a plus.

Peachtree Audio also made basically the same DAC/pre (with balanced inputs and I think outputs) and called it the Grand Pre--that too would be a good choice for a DAC. I've seen these for about 1000 now that they've been discontinued by Peachtree (Peachtree seems to just build a big run of a component and then come out with a new model rather than make another run).
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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Kingrex
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #13 - 04/11/18 at 16:32:21
 
I'm going to throw a small wrench in the thinking here.  I am new to this forum, but on Audionirvana and Computer Audiophile quite a bit.  I have done extensive testing of power supplies to the audio rack as I am an electrician.  I have also played a bit with music servers.  I have had 3 in the past.  The most current music Server is a Mojo Audio Deja Vu.  I am writing this as I and others I communicate with have found the source (server) is far more important than the DAC when it comes to playback.

I was tutored on how to take my fine sounding Server, a server that was as nice to listen to as a friends Chord CD/DAC, and took it to levels I never knew were possible.  It so out performed my nice analog system I took the whole analog apart and started an entire rebuild to try and get close to what my digital does.  "Hot Rodded Rega RP6"  Look that up on Google.  That is my analog chain.
What I did with my digital was nothing really insane.  I started with a server that had an amazing power supply.  This is probably the most important part of the server.  From there I made a duel boot operating system running Win Server 2016 ( yes operating systems have a sound).  I then did all sorts of bios tweaks, added audiophile optimizer, Roon with HQ player.  I turned off any upsampling.  I tell you, the jump in quality was flooring.  Better than any speaker or amp change I have made.  I have had 3 DAC in the past.  Bel Canto Ref 2, DEQX Premate and my current RT Audio Ultra USB Orpheus EX.  The DAC changes were all improvements, but not near the sonic upgrade as what I got from optimizing an already fine server to a stand out server.  And all I did was software changes.

I'm just trying to make the point that chasing the DAC tail "IMHO" is not the correct path to high quality digital playback.  Getting an excellent server will go way further than you could imagine.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #14 - 04/12/18 at 15:33:19
 

Kingrex, can you tell me more about the hardware in your server? What's amazing about the power supply? What overall is the system hardware?

The software I get, and have been down that same path as well - though with my DirectStream DAC the updated OS made a bigger improvement than the Optimized server software, but I do agree that the OS and tweaks make a big difference.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #15 - 04/12/18 at 15:39:28
 
To the point mentioned by Kingrex, it kind of justifies my experience with my Hegel HD30.  That DAC has pretty much all sorts of input options, one of which is an ethernet connection direct to the router.  I use TIDAL for streaming and there are two methods that I use with this system:

- ethernet connection directly to the router
- USB connection to my Mac Mini

The quality of streaming via ethernet connection is significantly better than the USB connection to the computer.

In my second system, I recently installed Amarra Luxe 4.2 just for TIDAL streaming.  As much as Amarra sounds great, it has serious issues with iTunes integration as well as its library functions.  So, I just use it as an engine for TIDAL streaming.  The MacBook Pro is connected directly to my Copland DAC via USB and it sounds much better than the regular iTunes connection, again via USB.
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Kingrex
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #16 - 04/14/18 at 16:21:58
 
I am no expert when it comes to the actual materials and techniques used to build a power supply.  What I have learned via friends and a lot of reading on Computer Audiophile (CA) is that power supplies from traditional computers inject all sorts of noise in music.  When you get rid of the noise, the music just seems to rise out of the ashes.   Most server builders use linear power supplies.  Some do not.  A well designed linear power supply will generally have multiple power rails allowing the components in the computer to be isolated from each other and not inject their own noise back up into the power supply to be sent back out to other components in the computer.  A good server will have the following isoltated from each other.  The SSD that is running the operating system, The SSD holding the music library and the mother board.  The mother board will have isolated 12volt, 5 volt and 3.5 volt rails.  Some go a lot further and provide isolated power to the individual clocks on the mother board.

On a simple system where a laptop is used, ethernet is generally better as it is isolated from the noise to some degree.  USB is not isolated and many times gives unsatisfactory results.  With a good clean server usb can be phenomenal.  I believe mine is.  Especially when playing music from the internal drive as compared to my NAS.   However, Adrian with The Linear Solution brought one of his ethernet switches to my house.  With it installed the playback via my NAS was better than what I got from my internal storage.  Tidal was way better.  Not better than my NAS, but much better that without the switch.
Adrian also brough a plain old apple laptop with playback software his company has developed.  It was pretty much as quiet as my full blown server.  I only had a few minutes to listen to it and I think it was lacking some dynamics.   Of course the Linear Solution is also coming out with their own server containing something like 25 individual power supply.  That server with their software is going to be amazing.  It will not lack dynamics anymore.

Anyhow, my long winded rambling is to emphasize the point that the source and how it is configured is extremely important.  Flopping between DAC IMO should come second to finding the right source.  Once you have the right source, you will be better able to hear the real difference between the DAC that follow it.  
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #17 - 04/17/18 at 01:26:53
 
well update on my end.

tried oppo sonica.... wasn't much into that.

i upgraded my bifrost multibit with generation 5 usb board.  that was the ticket... not sure what that new usb does exactly, but it makes streams and playing ripped redbook a dream.  glad i went this route.  new life for $100!

thats what i like about schiit and decware gear!
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, UFO2, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Hana SL, JC3+, Schiit bifrost multibit, CXC, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/betsys/Augies/Alpha15. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Which DAC?
Reply #18 - 04/17/18 at 16:40:17
 
Thanks Kingrex, I follow you 100% and there is a lot I agree with. It sounds like you've really squeezed the technology for all it's worth and listened to the differences!

Tripwr1964, that's great! Nice for $100! I'm betting they have a new buffer to help lower the jitter - as Kingrix alluded to, it's all about noise reduction and ultimately Jitter reduction!

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