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High-end non-upsampling DACs

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Hi!

I was looking to compare some of the newer non-sampling DACs to my current Ed Meitner designed Musatex DAC. Could you guys help me compile a list of products in the $2k and up category? I'm not really sure if there are any, other than the older Meitner gear, that's why I ask

note: while I understand that in these types of threads people like to interject with various "giant-killers" that are well under the OPs budget, but I'd appreciate to stay around the above price range
post #2 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvdunhill View Post
Hi!

I was looking to compare some of the newer non-sampling DACs to my current Ed Meitner designed Musatex DAC. Could you guys help me compile a list of products in the $2k and up category? I'm not really sure if there are any, other than the older Meitner gear, that's why I ask

note: while I understand that in these types of threads people like to interject with various "giant-killers" that are well under the OPs budget, but I'd appreciate to stay around the above price range
Most dont know that the Empirical modded DAC-1 with I2S input is NOS. Also the I2S input on the Northstar 192 is NOS.

Steve N.
post #3 of 76
Thread Starter 
interesting. I hadn't thought about i2s stuff. However, I thought that the i2s required 24-bit data, so wouldn't the i2s have to be upsampled somewhere in the chain to work?

edit:

sorry, what I meant to say was "reclocked" not "upsampled".. Sorry, I was a bit confused.
post #4 of 76
Dunno where you got that idea. i2s bus is the native interface for 16 bit dac architectures. I have no idea whether it even passes 24 bit word length. Steve since you're here and I'm sure you dont mind tooting you're own horn, would you mind anwering some questions about your SS DAC (which also happens to be NOS correct?).

Have you decided if its going to be true balanced yet?
Any closer idea how much it will cost? If its around 7k I'd actually be really interested.
post #5 of 76
Quote:
Dunno where you got that idea. i2s bus is the native interface for 16 bit dac architectures. I have no idea whether it even passes 24 bit word length.
The I2S interface dates back a while, it's true. But relating it to 16 bit DACs only is quite wrong
It actually supports digital streams from 16 to 32 bits, and sampling rates of 32, 44.1 and 48 kHz, or integer multiples of them.

Back on topic:

NOS D/A Converters around 2k $:
- 47 Labs Shigaraki or Progression DAC, upgradeable with separate PSU's
- Audio Note DAC 1.1 or 2.1 Signature (or non-signature)
- an all in one solution: Tentlabs NOS cd-player (I own one).

And (waaaaaaaaay) above your budget:
Zanden Model 5000, Audio Note high end DACs , etc
post #6 of 76
dont forget altmann attraction DAC, it is between $1000 and $1600 depending on a configuration. for many users it is the best sounding DAC regardless of a price.
post #7 of 76
[A bit off topic and no pun intended: Altmann products do have a fame for overpricing and overstating their products. The BYOB amplifier in particular is a known joke to many diyaudio.com engineers and veterans I know and respect]

Back on topic: The Altmann DAC deserves probably an audition (on my account as well - I haven't heard it yet).
post #8 of 76
Audio Note DACs are all non-oversampling and I believe they start at around 2K.
post #9 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by drew8mc
Audio Note DACs are all non-oversampling and I believe they start at around 2K.
I'm sorry but it's not true, all their DACs are 1xOversampling. Their entry level DAC is around $800 non-assembled, wich means like 1 or 1.1 K.
post #10 of 76
My Esoteric D-03 can be run with or without up/down sampling or DSD/redbook conversion.
post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Killercrush View Post
I'm sorry but it's not true, all their DACs are 1xOversampling. Their entry level DAC is around $800 non-assembled, wich means like 1 or 1.1 K.
Actually, 1x Oversampling is just a fluffy feel-good 'in house' name for non-oversampling. Have spoken to Brian of AN on many occasions. And there are several AN DACs which come in well under 2k USD. They charge about 200USD for construction of most of their kits.

I've had a Level B DAC2.1 and it was promptly returned due to terrible background hiss despite hours and hours of debugging and testing on mine, Brian's and an experienced electronics engineer's part. None of the other components in my system makes the sound and I've had many other DACs which didn't have it. Removed the DAC, and quoila, silence. Upon having shipped the parts back to Brian, they weren't able to determine any obvious cause. Before shipping it back to them though, I took it to an electronics engineer friend of mine whose been in the military signals and home radio crowd for decades: he said the design of the thing was very poor. Transformers positioned and oriented badly, common grounds not actually working they way they should, power lines being shared when they shouldn't, the transformers output being all over the place. On the AUDIO side of things, I wouldn't touch them again with a ten foot pole. Great service and very patient with customers, though I could have done without getting up at 4am many mornings in a row to debug with him over the phone (it was a kit).

I've got a Tube Research Labs modded DAC-AH all but done, it should arrive shortly. Paul, one of (if not THE) main man at TRL says the DAC-AH with all their current mods is one of, if not the, best DACs current obtainable. He's heard and modded EMM labs stuff, Theta, many many other expensive units. The cost of the DAC is ~175USD and all their mods cost about 1000USD, so that's getting close to your 'minimum' cost :P I don't know what frequencies you need support for, but I know it does 44.1khz and that's all I need.

I'm also waiting on a DAC from Storm Audio within the next month, to replace a faulty unit. I was trying desperately to recreate it's sound when I bought the AN DAC as I thought the NOS part was the key. The reason I threw 1000USD at the 'lowly' DAC-AH was for the same reason - to try to recreate the sound of the D02. Anyone whose heard it will know what I mean. According to a few friends of mine, the 47 Labs Progression DAC is beaten pretty easily by a number of other NOS DACs. One thing I do know, if you want a kicka5s NOS DAC, there are a lot less choices on the market than if you're after a US/OS one. Which astounds me after hearing the difference, I thought it would be the other way.
post #12 of 76
I've spotted a nice site wich offers a NOS DAC with 60 x TDA1543 :

http://www.dddac.de/

You just have to look in the for sale section of pre-configured kits.
post #13 of 76
Holy CARP! I wonder if there is a point where more chips starts to hurt the sound rather than help it, due to having to synch a clock signal into so many chips, and the extra IC's and stuff so close to each other. Must investigate....

Nice find!
post #14 of 76
HI-END, NOS

Try NAIM's CDP?
post #15 of 76
hey

take a look at the Audio Zone Dac1

i think he uses the old phillips dac chip.

i have heard it and its sounds real good.

$1200.00 bucks
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