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The Great Dac Search - Page 3

post #31 of 76
Oops... double post.
post #32 of 76
I got tired of all these DAC after hearing a few, and owned one. I went with CDP route and have never looked back. If I had the money Ayre C5xe would be my pick, of course I need to invest in another set of SACD to go with that
post #33 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?
I didn't buy mine from Voodoochile but used nonetheless. It is a wonderful dac and I'd recommend it to everyone in a heartbeat.
post #34 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
The Zhaolu Dac. I absolutely loved this dac, I really did. It improved with every modification I made. I sent it into ori and got amazing results. For less than $400 I had a fast, clear, dac with a beautifully large soundstage and an amazing midrange. I thought I was smarter than those who went out and spend big $ on dacs and such, and that my dac was the best thing in the under 3K category. Well, two things happened. Mike brought his Lavry DA-10 over one day and shattered my perception. By comparison the Zhaolu was light, lacking in bass, and didn’t image as well. I came to covet the simple “authority” of instruments that the Lavry presented.
Interesting. The Zapfilter and Ori's output stage really must be worlds apart in that case as the Zapfiltered Zhaolu had much more excitement/authority and the bass had better definition when compared with the Lavry. Imaging was great on both DAC's, and I don't believe there was any area where the Lavry bested the 'Zhalooser'... I will have to go back and check my notes to be sure though.

I am surprised that you were so impressed with the bass on the Lavry as that was the one area that I really disliked on it. The bass was sloppy even when compared to an unmodded Eastsound CD-E5.

I see you now have the ECD-1. Nice piece of kit there!
post #35 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?
Believe me, I am still smarting something fierce from parting ways with that DAC. It might not the everything to everybody, but it was downright astonishing in my rig. I mean, it routinely send goosebumps up my arms while listening. That's not happening anymore.

The buyer is listed in my feedback thread. When I get my situation straightend out, I will be on the lookout once again.
post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamoneagain View Post
You can add me to the list... My wife gave it a listen and said it was one of the biggest improvements she's heard in all my different setups.
That was my experience also. Your wife loved the DAC in my rig.

Well, I mean that the DAC was easily the best "bang-for-the-buck" in my rig, despite the price. It seems pricey when you hand over the bills, but after a listen, it's suddenly a smoking good deal. Everyone likes to say "wow, this (insert upgrade here) makes a huge/massive/major improvement, but in actuality, the improvements are often more subtle.

My Marantz is no slouch on it's own, with very nice PSUs, and discrete output stages; but it was left pretty far behind when A/B'd with the ECD-1's output. It re-defined the expression "big upgrade" for me.
post #37 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voodoochile View Post
That was my experience also. Your wife loved the DAC in my rig.

Well, I mean that the DAC was easily the best "bang-for-the-buck" in my rig, despite the price. It seems pricey when you hand over the bills, but after a listen, it's suddenly a smoking good deal. Everyone likes to say "wow, this (insert upgrade here) makes a huge/massive/major improvement, but in actuality, the improvements are often more subtle.

My Marantz is no slouch on it's own, with very nice PSUs, and discrete output stages; but it was left pretty far behind when A/B'd with the ECD-1's output. It re-defined the expression "big upgrade" for me.
This DAC has really shown the full potential on my Grado PS-1. I had been playing around with amps for a while and they all make a difference, especially going to tubes, but nothing like adding that DAC to the mix. It makes my early 80's albums that were slightly lacking, sound really good, like R.E.M.'s Murmur. But when I try some great recorded jazz albums like Keith Jarrett's Changes album, especially the song "Prism", it's truly a mind blowing experience. Another song that shows the full potential is Radiohead's "Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box" of the Amnesiac album. It was always like have specially effects floating all around you but now it's almost overwhelming. So amazing.

The main thing is it's so enjoyable and sucks you into the music. Everything I put on has that "wow" factor. After you get past that, you just get lost into the music. I haven't found anything lacking at all. It so hard to put the headphones down.
post #38 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mourip View Post
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.

Best,

Paul
I have a Bel Canto DAC2 on the way as I write this. Everything I read about it on-line led me to feel that this is an exceptional DAC. At the used price I got it for, I couldn't pass it up. As Paul said, the DAC3 is off the budget radar.

I'll post my opinions about it when I get it next week. As a point of reference, this is the first external DAC I have tried or owned.

My system is:
EAD CD-1000 mkIII (modded w/ Rubycon cap,Stealth diodes,Int. silver wiring)
Plinius 8100 SS integrated amp (100watts/ch)
Klipsch Chorus II (modded xovers)
Audio Magic Matrix (custom modified by Jerry Ramsey w/ every possible mod)
Two dedicated 20amp circuits to my dedicated audio room (a.k.a. Man Cave)

I plan on inserting the Bel Canto DAC2 between the CDP and integrated amp.

Mike
post #39 of 76
I have been thinking upgrade for my setup. Anyone know what from these would offer major upgrade?

1. Meier Audio Corda Opera (975e)
2. Electrocompanient ECD-1 (1700e)
3. Monarchy M24 ($1590)
4. Lavry DA10 ($975)
post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by jriihi View Post
I have been thinking upgrade for my setup. Anyone know what from these would offer major upgrade?

1. Meier Audio Corda Opera (975e)
2. Electrocompanient ECD-1 (1700e)
3. Monarchy M24 ($1590)
4. Lavry DA10 ($975)
I'd be willing to bet that the Opera would be the best upgrade, since it would upgrade your DAC and headphone amp at the same time. I don't have any experience with the ECD-1 or M24, but in my experience with a lot of other good DAC's, the differences are small and on the order of flavor. The Opera's headphone amp on the other hand is quite a step forward from most regular single-ended headphone amps.
post #41 of 76
I am very pleased to see that the Electrocompaniet ECD1 receive such good user feedback around here.
Cause I bought the ECD1 new without ever listening to one. Well spent $1600 I must say...
post #42 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by vman71 View Post
I have a Bel Canto DAC2 on the way as I write this. Everything I read about it on-line led me to feel that this is an exceptional DAC. At the used price I got it for, I couldn't pass it up. As Paul said, the DAC3 is off the budget radar.

I'll post my opinions about it when I get it next week. As a point of reference, this is the first external DAC I have tried or owned.

My system is:
EAD CD-1000 mkIII (modded w/ Rubycon cap,Stealth diodes,Int. silver wiring)
Plinius 8100 SS integrated amp (100watts/ch)
Klipsch Chorus II (modded xovers)
Audio Magic Matrix (custom modified by Jerry Ramsey w/ every possible mod)
Two dedicated 20amp circuits to my dedicated audio room (a.k.a. Man Cave)

I plan on inserting the Bel Canto DAC2 between the CDP and integrated amp.

Mike
Very nice Dac choice. The Bel-Canto Dac 2 is literally music to my ears. If you like analog sound this is the Dac for you, enjoy!
post #43 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
I am very pleased to see that the Electrocompaniet ECD1 receive such good user feedback around here.
Cause I bought the ECD1 new without ever listening to one. Well spent $1600 I must say...
The other thing I like about it besides the sound, is it looks like a highend piece of audio equipment. For some reason, a lot of DACs looks like computer equipment or just very techy with too many switches, lights, or displays. All this wouldn't matter if it didn't sound great too.

Even though I love this DAC, I'm probably not qualified to discuss DACs in general because I've only heard two, so I don't really have anything to compare to. So I'd think most would be happy with the ECD-1, but I don't know if you could spend a lot less and still be as happy.
post #44 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by dusty_v View Post
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.
you ever hear the song what a difference a day makes? that DEFINITELY applies here! I thought this DAC sounded very nice and clean coming out of the box, but MAN! The more and more I listen to it, the more engaging it becomes! At this point I likely have about 100 - 150 listening hours on it, so...if Dusty's right, things are only looking up! I'm sure there are better DACs than this one out there, but as my dealer put it, "I do have a DAC that sounds better than a VDA-2, but it costs $4800". To be fair though, he is a VINYL FREAK, and deals in mostly super expensive, high end equipment.
post #45 of 76
Thread Starter 

This is not a review...just impressions so far

So far I have the same impressions i had at the start.

dac: VDA-2/VAC-1

Soundstage:
it layers amazing well, probably better than anything i can remember till now. the size of the soundstage is somewhat good. it's is plenty airy in all directions, it has proper R/L placements and there are no discontinuities in the sound stage. if i can describe it, it would be a more impactful DAC-1 in this respect. it is very deep, makes a full 180 degree turn around your head, and has no major issues.

bass:
it is what would be described by zhaolu and benchmark lovers as a "tight" and definitive bass. it is what would be described by Lavry and Meridian owners as "light" and unauthoritative. overall, i don't think that it is bad, but it doesn't extend as deep as the Lavry did nor is it as impactful. but there isn't anything wrong.. it fits the HD650 and GS1000's bass better than the Lavry ever did.

Voices (pop music)
There isn't anything sweetened or grainy about voices. in fact, i think the tone i'm getting from this thing is perfect (better than stello and lavry). But there is one major (glaring) problem. basically, voices are not intimate sounding. instead they are hidden behind a thin veil of air, in a similar fashion to the Dac-1. The front voices just are not as expressed, or as present as i would like.

Dynamics
I don't think this is the most dynamic dac i've ever heard. overall, it isn't as bad as the Lavry in dynamics, but i'm not particularly impressed or taken back as i was with the Stello DP200. it's average.

Imaging
While the Lavry didn't have a particularly good soundstage, it did certainly feel as if i were in a small venue. somehow i'm not finding the same type of "realistic" imaging on the VDA-2, while it doesn't bother me to much... it certainly is a limitaiton for some music.

detail
this thing is very detailed, about as much as the benchmark (and that's all that i can ask). while i havn't discovered any new artifacts of the music, it certainly has made verything a pleasure to listen to.

Treble
A beautiful treble. not "hot" or edgy, not laid back or dark. it is exactly what treble should be out of a good source...nothing to complain about.

musicality
while it isn't boring... i'm not being drawn into the music. it's just there, letting the components do their thing. it's probaby the most under-stated dac i've ever heard.

comments
Overall, it feels like a much better improvement over the Dac-1, and a side step from the Lavry. the Lavry does sound different from all the other dacs i've tried, and that's probably what makes it a side step.
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