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post #496 of 771

Just got my DAC Straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTechKid View Post
If you only ever plan on having it hooked up to an amp and never using it to drive headphones directly, the DAC STRAIGHT would be my suggestion.
My DAC Straight arrived today and I paired it with my Grado RA1 AMP and Grado SR325is headphones and I can finally listen to music from my laptop. Previously, when I simply output from my PC to my AMP, the sound was just so bad that I had to instead use my iPOD Classic (160Gb) with LOD.

I can't believe the improvement in sound with this DAC! I am really enjoying it. It's built very well and seems very solid for a such a small device.
post #497 of 771
I would love for one of the reputable members to do a shootout between the DAC STRAIGHT and the new PICO DAC. I think the results would surprise everyone.
post #498 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTechKid View Post
I would love for one of the reputable members to do a shootout between the DAC STRAIGHT and the new PICO DAC. I think the results would surprise everyone.
Uh oh - A shootout! HeadphoneAddict / SkyLab I think he's calling you out
post #499 of 771

Don't forget...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTechKid View Post
I would love for one of the reputable members to do a shootout between the DAC STRAIGHT and the new PICO DAC. I think the results would surprise everyone.
Let's not forget the price difference of $100 (DAC Straight) vs. $500 for the Pico DAC.
post #500 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulrider4ever View Post
Uh oh - A shootout! HeadphoneAddict / SkyLab I think he's calling you out
I am on the pre-order list for the Pico DAC-only, but I don't think it would be a fair fight.

I have compared the Pico DAC/amp to a few PCM2702 based DAC/amp (Predator, 3MOVE, XM5), and while their amp sections were all on a similar level using analog input, the internal DACs with 2702 did not have that last bit of refinement, micro-detail, air, ambience and space that you get with the Pico when using it's DAC.

However, I am a big fan of the PCM2702 as a budget cost-effective and nice sounding DAC chip - it is much better than a couple of PCM2706 DACs that I have tried. I have no doubt that I would think the hotaudio DAC sounds nice, and it's probably better than my Headstage USB DAC Cable that I keep around for a quick use with non-dac amps that I have laying around.
post #501 of 771
Remember also that the DAC STRAIGHT can NOT drive headphones directly.

It does not have a OUTPUT BUFFER and can only drive loads greater then 5000 Ohms.

It takes its' audio signal straight off the DAC...

They are really two different beasts....

The DAC STRAIGHT is meant to drive headphone amplifiers, regular amplifiers, receivers and such...
post #502 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotaudio40 View Post
Remember also that the DAC STRAIGHT can NOT drive headphones directly.

It does not have a OUTPUT BUFFER and can only drive loads greater then 5000 Ohms.

It takes its' audio signal straight off the DAC...

They are really two different beasts....

The DAC STRAIGHT is meant to drive headphone amplifiers, regular amplifiers, receivers and such...
That's exactly it. There is no sound colouration or loss of quality with subsequent circuitry or amplification. I think it sounds really, really good with my RA1 amp and SR325is headphones. The detail and sound stage really came to life.
post #503 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I am on the pre-order list for the Pico DAC-only, but I don't think it would be a fair fight.

I have compared the Pico DAC/amp to a few PCM2702 based DAC/amp (Predator, 3MOVE, XM5), and while their amp sections were all on a similar level using analog input, the internal DACs with 2702 did not have that last bit of refinement, micro-detail, air, ambience and space that you get with the Pico when using it's DAC.

However, I am a big fan of the PCM2702 as a budget cost-effective and nice sounding DAC chip - it is much better than a couple of PCM2706 DACs that I have tried. I have no doubt that I would think the hotaudio DAC sounds nice, and it's probably better than my Headstage USB DAC Cable that I keep around for a quick use with non-dac amps that I have laying around.
At the end of the day, aren't the best DACs supposed to be completely neutral and transparent? I'm a beginner headphone hobbist at best, but all I want out of my DAC is for it to convert 0s and 1s to analogue and for my headphones to add character. The minute my DAC is adding its own color, or detail trim, is the moment I'll be looking for an alternative. If you can achieve true neutrality from a $100 DAC, why look beyond that (assuming of course it has the inputs you desire)?

The above is not an argument by any stretch, just a call for a better understanding.
post #504 of 771
If anyone is looking for one of Dave's Supreme DACs I have one I posted in the FS section of the forum. Its a great DAC but doesn't get as much use as it did, so I have to clear some room in my office. PM me if interested.
post #505 of 771
My friends told me the price variation made them scare to buy ones. It is even higher than American stock market change rates :P
post #506 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTechKid View Post
At the end of the day, aren't the best DACs supposed to be completely neutral and transparent? I'm a beginner headphone hobbist at best, but all I want out of my DAC is for it to convert 0s and 1s to analogue and for my headphones to add character. The minute my DAC is adding its own color, or detail trim, is the moment I'll be looking for an alternative. If you can achieve true neutrality from a $100 DAC, why look beyond that (assuming of course it has the inputs you desire)?

The above is not an argument by any stretch, just a call for a better understanding.
Right - neutral and transparent are a must - I didn't say otherwise. I said the better DACs will have "that last bit of refinement, micro-detail, air, ambience and space" that the lesser PCM2702 DAC will lack. I never said anything about the DAC adding character, color or anything else. The better DAC isn't adding anything, it's just NOT HIDING anything (i.e. not failing to let everything in the music come through).

Why look beyond neutral and transparent? There are a lot of other criteria important to good sound including what I listed above, plus frequency response, attack and decay or transient response, accuracy of timbre and tone, imaging, channel separation and signal to noise ratio, and more. I'm sure you know this and didn't mention it, but I thought I'd throw it out there so you know I didn't forget about those things either.
post #507 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindowsX View Post
My friends told me the price variation made them scare to buy ones. It is even higher than American stock market change rates :P
Yes, I used to play the stock market...

And it reminds me of the good old days before the "GREAT RECESSION"
post #508 of 771
Still haven't dropped funds on one of these beauties (been on holiday for a week). Is there a quality+price ranking on the USB DACs (for between source and tube/portable amp)? Like:
HotUSB1 < Dac Destroyer < DAC Straight < Supreme ??

Also, is he still making the HotUSB1?
post #509 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTechKid View Post
At the end of the day, aren't the best DACs supposed to be completely neutral and transparent? I'm a beginner headphone hobbist at best, but all I want out of my DAC is for it to convert 0s and 1s to analogue and for my headphones to add character. The minute my DAC is adding its own color, or detail trim, is the moment I'll be looking for an alternative. If you can achieve true neutrality from a $100 DAC, why look beyond that (assuming of course it has the inputs you desire)?
I would just point out that you cannot run a signal through a circuit without changing the signal. A straight wire with gain will alter a signal. The point being that all DAC's affect the signal and the sound. We only approach electronic perfection, more or less, we don't achieve it.
post #510 of 771
Any idea of how the supreme/straight DACs perform against any other DACs? I'm rattling my brain trying to figure which DAC to buy.
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