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Comparison of Dacmagic and 840c as dac. - Page 3

post #31 of 55
interesting, though from experience the 840c is quite a lot better then a dac magic. (though i haven't got to compare them side to side).
post #32 of 55
A little update here... I haven't directly compared my DacMagic to my 840c yet because I don't think it would be fair to do so. I don't think my DacMagic is sufficiently broken-in yet because it's exhibiting a noticeable ringing all across the spectrum compared to other DACs I've used in my system. It sounds kind of sloppy so far whereas the 840c is much crisper sounding. The soundstage is nice and wide on the DacMagic at least. I'll give it more time to break-in before doing some really critical listening. So far I'm not that impressed with it in my system.
post #33 of 55
Thread Starter 
Great to see this flurry of activity on this thread... await comparisons when the component settles in.
post #34 of 55
MIK _> I have also found that about the trends... there is little that beats it. I have found that the lite auto usb _> spdif comes close...

I compared to a ps audio link III usb vs trends trends hands down (both spdif)
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenk View Post
MIK _> I have also found that about the trends... there is little that beats it. I have found that the lite auto usb _> spdif comes close...

I compared to a ps audio link III usb vs trends trends hands down (both spdif)
Glad I'm not the only one hearing it. I think my DacMagic is now sufficiently burned in to start doing some comparisons. I figure the only way to do a fair comparison of the DacMagic and 840C used as DACs is to connect another transport to each of them. I will hopefully have time today or tomorrow to play some CDs I'm very familiar with in another transport connected to both my 840C and DacMagic. Unfortunately the only other transport I have at the moment is my PlayStation3. I'll use its toslink output. I don't think it would be a fair fight if I compared the output of my 840C through my DacMagic to my 840C playing a CD directly.

But for anyone considering using the digital output of a DacMagic to connect to another DAC, look elsewhere. It is pretty terrible. On the other hand, the DacMagic is pretty pleasant to listen to in a headphone setup when it's doing the digital to analog conversion.
post #36 of 55
why not use the trends as the feed... its got a very low jitter figure, and would probably be a good comparison source.

There is a new music hall dac which I saw and heard at CES. Tube output, uses the same burr brown 2702 usb receiver as the trends, which does direct i2s.
post #37 of 55
I just did a comparison between my 840C and DacMagic each used as DAC only. The setup was as follows:

PlayStation3 (optical) > 840C/DacMagic (unbalanced) > Emotiva RSP-1 preamp > JL Audio F112 sub / D-Sonic 1000S amplifier > Paradigm Signature S6 v.2 speakers

I played CDs I was quite familiar with in my PS3 and switched back and forth between my 840C and DacMagic.

As a DAC, 840C is marginally better. It sounds ever so slightly less "digital" than DacMagic when used as a DAC. The differences are not huge and are actually quite difficult to spot. The differences show up most in loud horn/brass hits with many instruments playing at once. On the DacMagic, these sections can sound harsher and more sibilant than on the 840C. Bass lines are also often crisper on the 840C. It's hard to describe the differences, but the music sounds just a little tiny bit more real and lively on the 840C. If I wasn't doing a direct comparison, I would be hard pressed to say the 840C is clearly better than the DacMagic as a DAC.

When comparing the 840C as a CD player to both the 840C and DacMagic as DACs, the 840C as a CD player is definitely better. Everything is crisper, low frequencies are clearer and have more pop. Both the 840C and DacMagic when used as DACs sound like they have a bit of reverb going on, while the 840C as a CD player has no additional reverb to it that I can hear. Sound decays faster on the 840C as a CD player.

So, if you want a DAC to use with your computer or other digital sources, the DacMagic is a good option (just don't use its digital output). If your main plan is to use a DacMagic with a CD transport, get a 840C instead. 840C will give you noticeably improved performance when used as a CD player.
post #38 of 55
curious how they stack up using SPDIF / computer source.... generally I find toslink a bit more constrained and less transparent, wondering if the gap may widen with spdif....
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenk View Post
curious how they stack up using SPDIF / computer source.... generally I find toslink a bit more constrained and less transparent, wondering if the gap may widen with spdif....
I already moved my DacMagic back to sit beside my computer so I won't be doing that test today. However, I did play a CD over optical to my 840C and compare it to FLAC files I made from the same disc played through the Trends to the 840C over SPDIF. Again, it's hard to articulate differences but I slightly preferred the sound coming from my PS3 over optical. It's just about a toss-up between them. While the Trends is quite good at USB to SPDIF conversion, I suspect the USB to SPDIF conversion process adds even more jitter.

I've come to the conclusion that all of these methods of transporting digital audio are inferior to a one box CD player. I'm hopeful asynchronous USB DACs will be able to match a CD player eventually. Look for my DacMagic to Ayre USB DAC comparison in a few months I guess.
post #40 of 55
Thats really interesting with the trends. I found that actually with a tweaked mac (g4) with nap set to off... it beat an audio research cd2, and a CEC tl5100... neither is as new as the 840 though... so I dunno, it certainly does seem to effect sound what source.

Tonight, im going to go home and compare an intel mac mini to a powerbook g4 and see if there is any difference. I suspect the noise profile of the machine is what is having the effect.
post #41 of 55
Thread Starter 

dacmagic v. 840c as dac

Thanks, Mik, for your impressions. The differences are not so dramatic as I expected they would be. I am not much interested in USB at this point as my interest is using external sources -- e/g DVD player, wadia i-tranport--with a dac.

The dacmagic keeps being portrayed in the hi-fi media as a giant-killer. Just picked up the Feb. Hi-Fi News and Steve Harris actually uses the term and says that it deserves to be considered as an upgrade for more expensive CD players.

Should you have an opportunity to try another source with the spdif input, I'd like to hear the results.
post #42 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickbianchi View Post
Thanks, Mik, for your impressions. The differences are not so dramatic as I expected they would be. I am not much interested in USB at this point as my interest is using external sources -- e/g DVD player, wadia i-tranport--with a dac.

The dacmagic keeps being portrayed in the hi-fi media as a giant-killer. Just picked up the Feb. Hi-Fi News and Steve Harris actually uses the term and says that it deserves to be considered as an upgrade for more expensive CD players.

Should you have an opportunity to try another source with the spdif input, I'd like to hear the results.
You're welcome. I can't say how great the DacMagic is in the world of DACs, but I am pleased that it is so close in performance to my 840C when used as a DAC. I still look forward to eventually owning a USB DAC that can match the sound quality of a CD player. It's quite possible that adding a DacMagic to a CD player inferior to the 840C will give a nice boost in performance but I wouldn't expect much benefit to using it with a $2k+ CD player.

I'll try a comparison with SPDIF inputs in the next couple of weeks when I have some free time again.
post #43 of 55
To my ears, DacMagic is as least as good as other highly respectable DACs like Pico, Apogee Mini Dac.
post #44 of 55
Thread Starter 

What do you use it with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cankin View Post
To my ears, DacMagic is as least as good as other highly respectable DACs like Pico, Apogee Mini Dac.
You may have mentioned earlier and I may have missed what equipment you use ahead of the Dacmagic.
post #45 of 55
Has anyone simply tried using a digital out from the 840C to a DACmagic to test then swap back to using the analog out from the 840C and test?
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