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The Great Dac Search - Page 2

post #16 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
The sonicraft DAC-60 you tried is the exact one I now own, correct? I love it.
Yes it is.

UTEP10, are you bringing that ECD-1 to San Jose?
post #17 of 76
Quote:
While it is probably impossible to get every single thing right in this price category, there is like an "overall" leader, and right now i think that it's the stello. i'll wait till my vda-2 gets burned in and then try to compare it to other things.
Let the VDA-2 get a 100 hrs or so before you make any serious judgment...and will usually continue to improve even beyond 300 hrs.
The large 3300uF main p/s caps, 470uF NP analog stage p/s decoupling caps, and Rifa film output caps all need a little exercise before it comes into full bloom.

There really is no perfect DAC, or headphone amp, headphones, speakers, etc. The combination of products that gives one what he/she wants in overall sound is what we're always after. Sadly, we're never satisfied (at least in the long term)...or we wouldn't still be here looking for "something better"...that's why it's a hobby.
post #18 of 76
Though I've been through quite a few DAC's in the last couple years, I would say it's not as much about a lack of satisfaction, as it is the excitement of trying out various models and seeing how they stack up. I think someone could be satisfied with any of the $800+ range DAC's, as they all perform up to a certain high level of sound quality, but have their slight differences/variations which make them each interesting. I'm sure the VDA2 must have an interesting sound in one way or another since it has a rather unique and interesting design.
post #19 of 76
Quote:
I'm sure the VDA2 must have an interesting sound in one way or another since it has a rather unique and interesting design.
I wouldn't describe the sound of VDA-2 as "interesting"...but maybe the development process.

The output stage is meant to be as simple as possible while achieving the needed output level, etc. VDA-2 definitely has the least amount of "stuff" between the DAC IC and the output jacks.

Tuning of the sound was done by comparing master tapes burnt directly to CD, and the same master on vinyl test pressings (I have a friend who is a mastering engineer for a record company). :-)
We compared the CD's through VDA-2 vs. the record on our reference system and "fine tuned" the DAC to replicate the sound of the record as close as possible. They ended up sounding very close...the CD/VDA-2 is more dynamic, with no surface noise, pops or clicks...but otherwise it's hard to tell them apart. This is not done with headphones but a full range speaker system in a room (with some treatments). Headphones are another whole ball of wax...
post #20 of 76
The TC-7510 MKIII blows away the stock Zhaolu. It's a close match to the DAC-1, but at a fraction of the price. So unless you are looking for a more assuming DAC and you have deep pockets then you should give the TC-7510 a shot. I just hope that someone goes and hikes the price of the TC-7510. Like its low price is making people think it is inferior to designs that have been weighted down with expensive add-ons. In the mean time I have seen my mates sell off each and everyone of their DAC after listening to my TC-7510.
We all want better sound, but like unless it comes with an expensive price tag some people don't want "better".
post #21 of 76
Hello!

Great review of this dacs i wonder if you have tried the Citypulse da7.2x?

I am looking after a dac to my Squeezebox 3.

Best Regards David
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by dusty_v View Post
I wouldn't describe the sound of VDA-2 as "interesting"...but maybe the development process.

The output stage is meant to be as simple as possible while achieving the needed output level, etc. VDA-2 definitely has the least amount of "stuff" between the DAC IC and the output jacks.

Tuning of the sound was done by comparing master tapes burnt directly to CD, and the same master on vinyl test pressings (I have a friend who is a mastering engineer for a record company). :-)
We compared the CD's through VDA-2 vs. the record on our reference system and "fine tuned" the DAC to replicate the sound of the record as close as possible. They ended up sounding very close...the CD/VDA-2 is more dynamic, with no surface noise, pops or clicks...but otherwise it's hard to tell them apart. This is not done with headphones but a full range speaker system in a room (with some treatments). Headphones are another whole ball of wax...
I hear the VDA2 is very analog sounding.. & your post explains why.. Question about your balanced cables.. Could I connect the balanced cables to a balanced headphone? I would like to try out the VDA2.. But I want a DAC that I can listen to balanced with my headphones.. So I'm leaning towards the DAC1.. But I hear your DAC is warm & vinyl like. (if that makes sense) If its as warm as your VHP-1, with the same house sound it will be very enaging..
post #23 of 76
Quote:
I hear the VDA2 is very analog sounding.. & your post explains why.. Question about your balanced cables.. Could I connect the balanced cables to a balanced headphone? I would like to try out the VDA2.. But I want a DAC that I can listen to balanced with my headphones.. So I'm leaning towards the DAC1.. But I hear your DAC is warm & vinyl like. (if that makes sense) If its as warm as your VHP-1, with the same house sound it will be very enaging..
Performance would be better through a quality headphone amp, as DAC output circuits aren't generally designed to drive 30 ohm circuits etc.
600 ohms would be ok, but you'd also need some type of balanced volume control...lower loads would require higher value coupling capacitors to prevent low frequency roll-off.

Our products do have a very analog sound...meaning free from grain and hardness associated with some digital and SS gear, but I wouldn't describe them as warm.
post #24 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by utep10 View Post
Electrocompaniet ECD1 - My issue with the Zhaolu though was that it didn't make me want to listen for long listening sessions. The ECD1 took care of this. Almost as detailed as the Zhaolu but more musical for my tastes. Also, much more expensive then the Zhaolu but what the heck . This is me now .
Great to see that there are other Electrocompaniet ECD1 fans out there. It sure is a great DAC!
post #25 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post

UTEP10, are you bringing that ECD-1 to San Jose?
ayt999 inpersonation "Well, it is already in San Jose"

I haven't decided whether I'm bringing the setup or not. If not,
I'm sure we can work out a time to get together if you like.
post #26 of 76

ECD1 Club,

Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Great to see that there are other Electrocompaniet ECD1 fans out there. It sure is a great DAC!
Yeah, I was only aware of you and Voodoochile. Unfortunately, looks like Voodoochile had to sell his. I wonder who bought it?
post #27 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
Hi
While it is probably impossible to get every single thing right in this price category, there is like an "overall" leader, and right now i think that it's the stello. i'll wait till my vda-2 gets burned in and then try to compare it to other things.
Sooo...

How are you feeling about the VDA-2 now?

Thanks!
post #28 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mourip View Post
Sooo...

How are you feeling about the VDA-2 now?

Thanks!
patience, there are many things to discuss.
post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by utep10 View Post
Yeah, I was only aware of you and Voodoochile. Unfortunately, looks like Voodoochile had to sell his. I wonder who bought it?
You can add me to the list. I just got it a week ago. This replaced an Audio Mirror D2 DAC (modified lite DAC-Ah). The Audio Mirror was very musical and enjoyable, but the ECD-1 is a whole other category. Still very musical but the clarity, separation, and energy of every instrument and voice is simply amazing. My wife gave it a listen and said it was one of the biggest improvements she's heard in all my different setups. Although I haven't heard many DACs, I don't see how you cannot like the ECD-1 other than the price. The price is not too bad on used market but still above many of the other DACs mentioned here.

By the way, I didn't get Voodoochile's one. Found a demo unit on Audiogon in perfect condition. I started looking for one the right around the time his sold and was too late to even make an offer.
post #30 of 76
Ok. So we have defined this as the Great DAC Search. Given the limits of a reasonable price range for a truly great DAC, used or new, what are some of the other possibilities?

I am tired of always looking for the "budget best" and now want to find a real keeper. I will consider used, new but I want a source to grow with. I do not want my DAC to be the limiting factor in my system.

Any TwinDAC+ or Bel Canto users out there?

These look like good options especially the Bel Canto DAC2 (used). The DAC3 looks very good but is at the far end of my obsession money-wise. The Twindac+ looks very good by reports but only has .8v ouput with a high output impedance which means that my TVC might not like it.

Best,

Paul
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