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Is there a good DAC for <$250? - Page 2

post #16 of 28
AudioAsylum is where it is being hyped up the most...and there are people with decent rigs thinking it is quite good especially price considered. I mean one of the most recent threads has someone comparing it to his Accuphase DAC...and I probably would not want to go look up how much the Accuphase takes out of the wallet...

Ummmm ok ouch, I did check anyhow...apparently it happens to be the highest Accuphase models which is SACD...this is not cheap. The Accuphase DP-100 is a 13k SACD player. The DC-101 is a 15k SACD DAC.

Of course the Accuphase won out...but according to the inmate, it was worthy enough to even be compared! This is far from saying it sucks. In fact it would have made more sense to me if he said it sucked seeing as an Accuphase setup is only about 100x more expensive.

I will wait for the dust to settle, as well as more feedback from whoever has it with a headphone setup.
post #17 of 28
I think that in the next few weeks the ART DIO will soon be forgotten. They are already showing up on Audiogon, with upgraded power supplies for $150. There is a real fascination in the audio hobby regarding 'finding the next great bargain'. Many like to say 'compares well to Levinson, etc,,,,,'. But what does that really mean. We all know that audio is the law of diminishing returns. It's part of the hobby! Is any 20K converter really worth 100 times more than the dio? To some, of course. To others, not. That is why we are all not listening to Bose at home and using $10 street style headphones!!!!!
post #18 of 28
earache said...

I think that in the next few weeks the ART DIO will soon be forgotten. They are already showing up on Audiogon, with upgraded power supplies for $150.
I have a difficult time believing the DI/O will just be forgotten. But the hype will die down, and it'll be as well-known as a MSB Link DAC, and probably recommended for the same price range. Now a $150 DI/O sounds real interesting...
post #19 of 28
Wouldn't the ART DI/O be a good upgrade for someone like me who has a mid-fi cdp that could be used as a competent transport? I mean, if it rivals $2000 players on redbook discs it must be quite a step up from a $400 player, right?
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
When I visited Audioasylum, there was a whole thread of people who said it wasn't worth it. Then again, I didn't really check to see what they were comparing it to.
post #21 of 28
TO the original quesiton, have you looked at the CAL Gamma? Can be had at teh sensoryscience site for $100 (new). I love this little dac, it isn't in the same class as their other dac's but they cost several times more, even used (I got the Sigma II for $300 and the non 24/96 Alpha for $450 at bid sites). And to my ears it is certainly a huge improvement over most consumer elecronic dac's.
post #22 of 28
I got my DI/O at an in store closeout at Mars Music for a whopping $129.

Note that it's a pro audio product, not designed for consumer audio. Hence the high output voltage. A side benefit is that it's more than just a DAC. It's also an A to D convertor. Just the thing for converting LPs to digital prior to feeding them into your computer for burning. (There's a 12AX7 on the A to D side, so you can add "tube warmth" to your digital conversion.)

I can personally attest to it working extremely well with a Grado RA-1 into Sennheiser HD600 headphones. Very close to my Theta Chroma 396 DAC, at a fraction of the price. However, due to the high voltage, you can barely turn the volume control on the Grado before you're at full blast (stock configuration). Inline attenuators have solved that problem.

In my non-headphone system, the DI/O is clearly better than the redbook section of my Sony DVP-S9000ES. It also does 24/96 D to A better than the Sony. Fuller sound, less dry, much more depth, more alive (for lack of a better word).

The DI/O is NOT the world's greatest DAC, slaying all the high priced ones and setting new sonic standards. It is, however, one of the best audio values I have ever seen in terms of price/ performance.
post #23 of 28
As Tim D said, this Pioneer (that I have as well) can output 24/96 OVER THE SPDIF. Very few players can do that (because Hollywood and RIAA doesn't like it)! Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be many disks with high sampling rates that are not DVD-A (which isn't the same) but there are some. I do have external 24/96 DAC now but I have zero disks to test it with . Anyhow, I wouldn't sell it. Keep it for DVD if nothing else.
post #24 of 28
hmm, tim d also mentioned a standalone SACD dac... i wonder what transmission interface it uses, isn't the limit for S/pdif 96/24 PCM? And do any SACD players support this new interface? i'd bet Sony would do everything in their power to stop it, even if only 1% of the audiophile market can afford it...
post #25 of 28
I read a review of the Accuphase SACD DAC Tim mentioned. It uses a proprietary connector for the SACD data, regular SPDIF for PCM. And I believe Accuphase has not and will not make this interface public, as only it's SACD transport makes use of it.
post #26 of 28

but if they use a propriatary format, i guess there isn't much advantage of getting seperates, might as well get a complete cdp...
post #27 of 28
Oh, I'm sure they'd tell you there were benefits... kinda hard to know for sure since no single-disc SACD player is anywhere near the Accuphase's price, and I haven't seen any direct comparisons...
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
In reply to bearwise:

Yeah, I found a CAL Gamma for $89. But I know if I go with that, within a month I'll want to upgrade it. I also fear that the amount of improvement won't be noticeable.
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