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Best DAC under $2000

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Hello everybody,

I'm new in here...can you recommend a very good sounding DAC. I mean tube-like warm sound. I don't like typical "machine" sound (ie. RME ADI-2 or Benchmark DAC1).

Budget is $2000 and the USB-input is a big plus. I have laptop, cd, dvd, tv, so at least 2-3 inputs are required.

In Finland the Bel Canto DAC-3 is too expensive, it's costs $2900 in here. Because shipping and customs fees the Monarchy M24 costs $2000 in Finland. I can get used Stello CDA320 CDP/DAC for $1900. Second hand or DIY is also ok.

Any recommendations? btw. sorry my english, I'm not native english speaker.

I did use the search but there is so many models...
post #2 of 66
I use a MHDT Labs Paradisea+ bought from the seller via Ebay. Do a search on the forums for "paradisea" for more information on it.

It does have a USB cable and I finally switched to using this instead of a Coax cable.

I wouldn't call it the last word, but it's certainly good enough for my purposes (listening rig at work) as I find it transparent and involving enough to listen to for hours at a time.

I have upgraded it with a DIY filtered power cable and a Bendix 6385 tube.

You might want to consider buying a Wavelength Brick DAC now that Gordon Rankin has upgraded all his USB DACs with asynchronos modules.
post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 
Thanks,

If anybody knows any shop has cheap offer of Monarchy M24, because I have to pay $500 shipping and taxes, if I order it.

I found the old tread...

Monarchy M24
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/mon...ot-one-235688/
post #4 of 66
I highly recommend the Electrocompaniet ECD1.
A versatile and great sounding DAC, which should be right in your price area.

post #5 of 66
Benchmark DAC1 USB. It supports 96K via USB without any special drivers and is probably the most universally acclaimed DAC of the past 10 years. Plus it is a bargain compared to other DACs and will have a good resale value at a place like Audiogon should you ever decide to sell it.

I suggest you compare it yourself to another DAC before assuming it has a "machine" like sound based on something you read on the internet somewhere. You may be very surprised by what you hear (I know I was when I first heard it, after reading posts by some people said it didn't sound very warm). No, it isn't warm. But it isn't cold either. It is just right. And the later models (based on my own blind tests) are MUCH better than the old (pre-2006) models that most of those people were referring to when they wrote stuff like that.
post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrith View Post
Benchmark DAC1 USB. It supports 96K via USB without any special drivers and is probably the most universally acclaimed DAC of the past 10 years. Plus it is a bargain compared to other DACs and will have a good resale value at a place like Audiogon should you ever decide to sell it.
x2 on the DAC1. I have been lusting for one for a very long time!
post #7 of 66
The DAC1 is soon going to be available in a model that includes an analog RCA in so you can use it as a preamp. You lose the AES/EBU XLR connections, however.
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajani View Post
Thanks,

If anybody knows any shop has cheap offer of Monarchy M24, because I have to pay $500 shipping and taxes, if I order it.

I found the old tread...

Monarchy M24
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/mon...ot-one-235688/
No doubt that would be it (depending upon one's preferences in SQ). You might be able to find a "demo" unit at Monarchy for around $800+, or perhaps they'd "cut you a deal," since the shipping and taxes are so great. But... even at that... it's still among the best at any price.

Monarchy Audio
post #9 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrith View Post
Benchmark DAC1 USB. It supports 96K via USB without any special drivers and is probably the most universally acclaimed DAC of the past 10 years. Plus it is a bargain compared to other DACs and will have a good resale value at a place like Audiogon should you ever decide to sell it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgonino View Post
x2 on the DAC1. I have been lusting for one for a very long time!
Read OP. Both of you.



OP: Try and see how cheap you can find a Wavelength Cosecant (it would have to be used). Its a Tube USB Dac - but that is assuming you can live wthout other digital inputs, the thing is USB only :-/
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
I highly recommend the Electrocompaniet ECD1.
A versatile and great sounding DAC, which should be right in your price area.

Is there anyplace decent in the US that has these? The dealer site specified on the Electrocompaniet website is not up.
post #11 of 66
Have you considered Stello DA220 MkII
SoundStage! Equipment Review - Stello DA220 Mk II Digital-to-Analog Converter (4/2007)
And another great review http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/rev...-opera-226919/

I have DA100, single ended version of DA220, and USB implementation is top notch.
post #12 of 66
Bel Canto Dac2.

Checkout audiogon.com or ebay for a used one.
post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by OptionTrader View Post
Is there anyplace decent in the US that has these? The dealer site specified on the Electrocompaniet website is not up.
The World Hifi Group website work fine for me (though a limited one).
Don't know any distributors/dealers over there though. But someone else might know..
post #14 of 66
Thread Starter 
The Monarchy Audio did gave me a better offer:

Monarchy M24 (2007) ...$1080 (direct from factory)
Shipping ... $160
+ plus customs fees and taxes
Total $1500-$1600.

The regular price is $1590.

I want it to be silver color.


One more input would be nice, mut is this a good choise?

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/new...y-nm24-236333/
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajani View Post
One more input would be nice, but is this a good choise?
rajani - have you heard any of these DACs? I would highly recommend finding someplace in Finland where you can listen to them before spending your money. It will alleviate bad feelings if you don't like it!
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