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Squeezebox 3 compares to which CDP/DAC?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone here compared stock Squeezebox 3 to external DACs and/or CD players. What is its equivalent in terms of sound quality? To which level of DACs/CDPs can mods raise it to?
post #2 of 63
I A/B'd it pretty carefully against a HeadRoom Micro DAC and felt the two were at very much the same level, sounding very, very nearly identical into a Gilmore Lite and ER-4S's.
post #3 of 63
I compared my SB3 to my DIY Monica DAC and found that the Monica did just about everything better with the exception of the highest frequencies. Back to back comparisons of the two left me feeling that the SB3 was pretty deficient at bass extension and definition. I've never heard one modded but plan on modding mine in the not-too-distant future.
post #4 of 63
I have tried mine with three dacs - a entech number cruncher, a zhaolu d2c and a CIAudio VDA-2. To me the squeezebox sounded better to me then the entech, on par with the zhaolu (although I prefer the squeezebox) and even though I found the vda-2 to sound better, I ended up selling it because it wasn't enough to justify the price in my mind....hence I am looking for a new dac.

Also FWIW this was all tried with a Bolder modded elpac which in my mind makes a noticable improvement on the squeezebox's analog outs.
post #5 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyangryhappy View Post
I have tried mine with three dacs - a entech number cruncher, a zhaolu d2c and a CIAudio VDA-2. To me the squeezebox sounded better to me then the entech, on par with the zhaolu (although I prefer the squeezebox) and even though I found the vda-2 to sound better, I ended up selling it because it wasn't enough to justify the price in my mind....hence I am looking for a new dac.

Also FWIW this was all tried with a Bolder modded elpac which in my mind makes a noticable improvement on the squeezebox's analog outs.
I've been shopping for a DAC for my SB3 which also has upgraded power supply (Power One linear) The VDA-2 was on my shortlist along with the Paradisea +but after reading this I'm questioning getting an external DAC altogether.
post #6 of 63
I partner sb3 with citypulse 7.2x
the sound is definitely better than sb3 alone in bass and also midrange. the overall sound is more detailed and the dynamic range is wider

I have compared sb3+ citypulse 7.2x with Meridian 596 (dvd player). They are very much on par with each other. Comparing this combo with the analogue output of transporter, I cannot tell the difference between the two on some bass light music. On the passage of music where bass is present, the combo beats transporter's analogue output easily.
post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyangryhappy View Post
I have tried mine with three dacs - a entech number cruncher, a zhaolu d2c and a CIAudio VDA-2. To me the squeezebox sounded better to me then the entech, on par with the zhaolu (although I prefer the squeezebox) and even though I found the vda-2 to sound better, I ended up selling it because it wasn't enough to justify the price in my mind....hence I am looking for a new dac.

Also FWIW this was all tried with a Bolder modded elpac which in my mind makes a noticable improvement on the squeezebox's analog outs.
I must admit that the VDA/2 is also on my short list along with SB3. I was thinking this would be a killer combo. Im sure it depends on individual taste and setup.
post #8 of 63
The SB3 stock is comparable to an ipod SQ-wise IMO. Modded PSU would boost it's performance to an entry level CDP SQ. VDA-2 is a HUGE improvement, but keep in mind you need really good equipment down the chain to get the results I mentioned from the DAC, you need a good amp/set of cans. see my sig for more info.v
post #9 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by omendelovitz View Post
The SB3 stock is comparable to an ipod SQ-wise IMO.
Hmmm interesting - I would not have thought that
post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn&cough View Post
Hmmm interesting - I would not have thought that
Perhaps I should clarify - The stock SB3 sounds better than an iPod, but we're not talking significant differences. They both sound very flat (depth-wise) and although the SB3 has slightly better bass reproduction than an iPod, it isn't another league. I remember more SQ similarity b/w the 2 sources than disparity.
post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by omendelovitz View Post
Perhaps I should clarify - The stock SB3 sounds much better than an iPod, but we're not talking significant differences.
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post #12 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77 View Post
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corrected.
post #13 of 63
I bought a Squeezebox to use in the bedroom with headphones, but found out that its headphone output is mediocre. I got better sound from an Archos portable. After some research I bought a Benchmark DAC1 and have been delighted ever since. I haven't compared this combination to anything, but the sound quality is very good.
Computer --> Squeezebox --> DAC1 --> Shure E500 or Sennheiser HD25
post #14 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Chaos View Post
I bought a Squeezebox to use in the bedroom with headphones, but found out that its headphone output is mediocre. I got better sound from an Archos portable. After some research I bought a Benchmark DAC1 and have been delighted ever since. I haven't compared this combination to anything, but the sound quality is very good.
Computer --> Squeezebox --> DAC1 --> Shure E500 or Sennheiser HD25
Upgrade your cans and you'll experience a whole new dimension of what your system can do. since you like Shure/Senn, try some 650's. I really miss my 650's, but then again, my GS1k's compensate very nicely
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyangryhappy View Post
Also FWIW this was all tried with a Bolder modded elpac which in my mind makes a noticable improvement on the squeezebox's analog outs.
A linear power supply would also make a noticable improvement from the SB's coaxial digital out as well.
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