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Upsampling DACs

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 
I am thinking of adding an external DAC to my CD player (Musical Fidelity X-Ray). I am consideirng one of the latest upsampling DACs such as the Bel Canto DAC 2.0, Perpetual Technologies P1A/P3 or Musical Fidelity A3-24 DAC. Would be very interested to hear the views/reviews taht anyone out there has.
post #2 of 106
I'm thinking of purchasing the Musical Fidelity A3^24 DAC within about the next month -- I'll be sure to post what I think about it! I've heard from others who have heard both the Bel Canto and the Musical Fidelity that the Bel Canto is a bit dry and not at all like the older DAC1.1.
post #3 of 106
My DAC AFAIK upsamples to 20 bit... whether it does or not is immaterial, because it sounds just great... comparing the DAC against my standard Marantz line out, the bass (contrary to the reviews i've seen) is slightly heavier than i'm used to (but in a nice, rather than an offensive way)... the mids are much more fluid (although that is no great acheivment ~ that was one of my players failings) and the treble, that is strange... its a lot darker than through the player itself, but does not sound dark... maybe my CD63SE was / is a spitty player to begin with?

I'd be interested in a review DanG... more toys to spend my cash on maybe
post #4 of 106
You might also want to add Audio Aero Capitole to your list. The people at EVE seem to think pretty highly of it and the DCS.
Quote:
Originally posted by DanG
I'm thinking of purchasing the Musical Fidelity A3^24 DAC within about the next month -- I'll be sure to post what I think about it!
Oh, yes, please do!
post #5 of 106
I wholeheartedly recommend that you consider the P3A with Modwrightm mods directly from Modwright. At its price, the P3A is an incredible value. I'm not sure it maintains its effective cost/performance ratio or not with the addition of the P1A but the P3A alone is phenomenol.
post #6 of 106
Any of the 3 you mentioned would be huge improvement over Dac contained in old X-Ray unit.

The Perpetual P1/P3 (with monolithic power supply) is a complex
arrangement but capable of great detail, also most expensive.

I am probably going to upgrade to Bel Canto Dac 2 myself (have Dac 1.1 now) I think the BC sound is more natural and musical to my preferences. Although as Dan has mentioned sound may be different from previous dac 1.1, will have to try one and judge for myself.

MF Dac is slightly less expensive vs BC Dac 2 and it has many fans, have not heard one yet but again it would be huge improvement over your X-Ray.

Also used market you may find Bel Canto Dac 1.1 or Perpetual P3
with modwright mods (kelly mentioned this) for @$5-600 and although no longer cutting edge technology you will hear big improvement over X-Ray Dac.

>>>>>>
You might also want to add Audio Aero Capitole to your list. The people at EVE seem to think pretty highly of it and the DCS.
<<<<<<<
OMG Dusty, now we are talking about much higher price range
post #7 of 106
Thread Starter 
Dear Dark Angel and DanG,

Looking forward to your reviews of the Bel Canto 2.0 and the Musical Fidlelity A3-24 DAC respectively.
Have herad the A3-24 DAc in comparison with standalone MSF A3 CD player. Improvement was quite significant. Sounded more spacious. Switching between 96kHz and 192 kHz sampling rates also produced clearly audible differences with the 192 kHz sampling rate offering a wider soundstage.
Have not had a chance to hear the Perpetual technologies P1A/P3 or the Bel Canto DAC as yet.
post #8 of 106
If you go with the P3A, check with Modwright for pricing before you pick up a used one. He offers pretty good prices on new units with mods and you keep the other advantages of a new unit (30 day trial, approved mods keep the unit under warranty, can be traded in for 85% credit toward future Perpetual Tech products).

From everything I've read, I'd expect the Bel Canto to be better than the stock P3A, but at a high cost. I'm not sure anyone has compared the modded Level II P3A and the Bel Canto. I couldn't find anything anyway.
post #9 of 106
To add to DarkAngel's list of cheap ways to get into upsampling, I would add the GW Labs DSP and MSB Tech's Link DAC III (w/upsampling option).
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel
Quote:
Originally posted by Dusty Chalk
You might also want to add Audio Aero Capitole to your list. The people at EVE seem to think pretty highly of it and the DCS.
OMG Dusty, now we are talking about much higher price range
OMG, you're right! I thought I saw one of their components (possibly the Audio Aero Capitole CD Player?) that was much cheaper than the multi-thousand US$ Audio Aero Capitole DAC.

Never mind.
post #10 of 106
Wheres all the ART DIO fans gone?

is there a difference between a DAC and an upsampling DAC?
post #11 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by taoster
...is there a difference between a DAC and an upsampling DAC?
I'd like to know this too... to find out how bad my DAC really is
post #12 of 106
From what a professor, specializing in signals and systems, tells me, upsampling is effective at upto 2x. Anything beyond this is pointless and unnoticable.
post #13 of 106
I bet a DAC is a great thing to get for use with headphones since headphones allow you to hear a lot of detail. Someday, I'll get one.
post #14 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by Cousin Eddie
I bet a DAC is a great thing to get for use with headphones since headphones allow you to hear a lot of detail. Someday, I'll get one.
Definetly is Cousin Eddie...

The S/N ratio, heck... all the specs that have numbers (except distortion and jitter which are now basically non-existant) have shot through the roof... things are a LOT clearer and cleaner to listen to... I never realised just how bad my Marantz sounded until 2 weeks ago when I got my DAC (Originally retailed for somewhere between $600-$800 but I got it for $100 )

The Marantz is grainy, spitty, sharp... yes those words might contradict each other, but they are true... the DAC by comparison is really lush, smooth and powerful (more contradictory words) its really hard to describe... when I get around to it, I think i'll do a mini-review of it

If, as markjia suggests, an upsampled DAC can acheive 2x the musical performance of a standard one... then that really proves that there is no end to the quest for audio nirvana... but, i'm glad at least that i'm on the right path
post #15 of 106
Just to clarify, by 2x, I didn't mean twice the preformance. But rather 2 times upsampling.
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