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If you had $5000 to spend on a DAC what would you buy? - Page 4

post #46 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanD View Post
Don't MDA1000 cost like $8000 though ?
I think its book price is like $7k, I know the entire setup (with the CD transport its "supposed" to go with) is ~$14-$15k (but the transport is a nice chunk of that)

so based on ~$7-8k SRP brand new, it wouldn't be all that impossible to find one used or with some sort of discount, possibly streching your budget a bit, and I didn't assume this is for a "I'm just gonna buy whatever is said to be most popular" type thread, at this price range, I assume the OP is gonna try and test out at least some of this equipment (at $5k~, I would), so I don't see the harm in throwing it out there, maybe he'll love it, and decide its worth an extra thousand or something, or maybe he'll hear it alongside something in the $4k range, and decide the differences between the two aren't worth $50, let alone $4k
post #47 of 126
You could find a used Audiomeca Enkianthus (make sure it has at least the 2nd revision to the Anagram upsampling DSP chip). It cost $5K new back in 2003.
post #48 of 126
If I honestly loved the way it sounded, I would keep it and spend the money elsewhere.
post #49 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
The new Chord QBD 76 would probably be a great bet. I haven't heard it yet but it has garnered some fantastic reviews.
Absolutely, Chords are amazing, sound, build quality, and most of all innovative technology used (and I don't mean that new Bluetooth gizmo)
http://www.kemela.com/store/Chord-El...ics-QBD76.html



post #50 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by feckn_eejit View Post
the only digital source component I'd ever break $5k for would be a top-tier EMM piece...
I think Wadia holds its own vs EMM (I only auditioned an EMM unit once, however).

The DAC built in to my Wadia 78i1 is pretty amazing, and you can use it like a standalone DAC. I see Wadia mentioned only once in this thread ... no high-end Wadia love? 'Cause they went cheap with that iPod and Ray Samuels thing ??

Anyway I think the question has to be asked: what is the bit rate and source. If you are using a high-end redbook CDP, 16/44.1, you will love a DAC with a very good interpolation algorithm (like upsampling). This will trump everything else in determining SQ, especially if fed S/PDIF or AES. Otherwise, if you are using a computer, then the DAC's internal USB handler, the buffer, and the re-clocking might come more in to play as factors affecting SQ.

If the source is SACD/DSD, or DVD-A, or hi res 96 or 192 (20 or 24 bit) files you downloaded, then other parts of the D-to-A algorithm will matter more. I think this is where Wadia triumphs (on SACD). They also output downsampled 88.2 LPCM from SACDs for storing on your hard drive ... and who else does that? (I actually know the answer but I was going for drama in posting).

(Usually MFSL) SACD > Wadia 781i > nice balanced XLR cable > KGSS > Spritzer mod 007a is my current best set-up and the Wadia algorithm plays a major role in SQ here I believe.
post #51 of 126
So Theta Gen VIIIs also go for under $5000. What do y'all think? Is that up there with the rest?
post #52 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
*snip*They also output downsampled 88.2 LPCM from SACDs for storing on your hard drive ... and who else does that? (I actually know the answer but I was going for drama in posting).*snip*
Now THAT is cool! ...who else does it!!?? OTOH I have a massive red book library and plenty of my Must Have albums are simply not available on SACD... if I ever leave red book it will be to go to vinyl... red book with the Assemblage upsampler isn't too terrible.
post #53 of 126
LPCM from SACDs and DVD-A's -- You can buy Wadia, add a board to an Oppo, or add a board to your choice of a number of CDPs from Pioneer, Denon, Marantz.

Links: First Oppo. Whoops, looks like there were legal issues with Oppo ... quoting another forum here:

Shawn Fogg's 3 or 4 spdif output card mod (looks like he's pulled references to Oppo on his site, Switch-Box.com ) That will send SACD as downconverted (but great sounding due to the correct math on the downconvert) 24/88.2 out of his card's coax output.

This card will work still -- but you may need to get another shop to install it. I just emailed them to find out.

Now the cool one -- the Vanity board.

Audiopraise Vanity :: High Resolution Digital Output for CD/SACD/DVD-Audio

This site will blow you away!
post #54 of 126
Holy crap, the Audiopraise board is the cat's ass! Wonder if it would work with my Pioneer DV-563a...
post #55 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
LPCM from SACDs and DVD-A's -- You can buy Wadia, add a board to an Oppo, or add a board to your choice of a number of CDPs from Pioneer, Denon, Marantz.

Links: First Oppo. Whoops, looks like there were legal issues with Oppo ... quoting another forum here:

Shawn Fogg's 3 or 4 spdif output card mod (looks like he's pulled references to Oppo on his site, Switch-Box.com ) That will send SACD as downconverted (but great sounding due to the correct math on the downconvert) 24/88.2 out of his card's coax output.

1/ re Oppo: no mod board needed, some Oppos (ie 980H) output the downconverted PCM, as well as decoded HDCD, on the HDMI output. the HDMI bitstream can be legally accessed and several diferent applicances can split out the audio stream onto TOS or coax SPDIF. search head-fi and hoffman on HDCD, and GIYF

2/ re Oppo & s-b: no conclusive info, but some anecdotal inputs indicate that as good as the design was, there were some performance problems reported in Oppo installs. I know some folk using the s-b solution with 3x high-end external DACs (and others with 3x Benchmark DAC1s) for 5.1, sound was amazing.

there are indeed several other companies making converter boards, the Vanity looks very interesting. I know no one who has an install (but would love to hear about experiences).
post #56 of 126
Several years ago I used to import and distribute the Bremen No.1 DAC from Sweden. Peter Steindl of Bremen is the same designer who did the Forsell Air Reference DAC. It is an exceptional sounding DAC which I still use today. They pop up occasionally for sale on the used marketplace. I seriously recommend trying to get one of them.

Donald North
post #57 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmodad View Post
1/re Oppo & s-b: no conclusive info, but some anecdotal inputs indicate that as good as the design was, there were some performance problems reported in Oppo installs...several other companies making converter boards, the Vanity looks very interesting. I know no one who has an install (but would love to hear about experiences).
Shawn/s-b said he is not doing the mod anymore, referred me to Gary at Custom Home Theatre

http://www.custom-ht.com/

Gary was great responding to emails, he is doing the mod: single S/PDIF on the older Oppos, full Meridian-style 4-way S/PDIF on the new Blu Ray. Any word if there are still performance problems? Gari is doing a group build (for the Meridian forum) on the Blu Ray which I guess he is about to get. Front L/R; Rear L/R; Side L/R; Center/Sub. I'm very tempted. Love your idea of multi Benchmark DACs! This could replace my ancient Meridian 561.

I have sent a Vanity and a Pioneer to Reference Audio Mod and am waiting (patiently -- Kyle that means you if you are reading this!) since November for it to come back ... then I will tell you how it sounds. Did hear SACDs ripped with it at a meet, sounded great, as good as my Wadia.

What other conversion boards do you know about ... urls?

Thanks for tip on HDMI > S/PDIF. Will check out.
post #58 of 126
The easy-to-find solution would be a used Emm Labs DCC2 or DAC6e.

The harder-to-find (but better sounding IMO) would be the Lavry Gold.

Of course, considering the large number of DAC's out there, it is hard for almost anyone to have a definitive opinion.
post #59 of 126
No contest, Berkely Audio Design Alpha dac. Never even heard it but by all accounts it is the cutting edge and takes the term "high end dac" to a new level. If I had $5K laying around I would jump on it in a heartbeat.
LL
post #60 of 126
I'll suggest a used Weiss DAC1-MK2 (HIGH Fidelity review).

The latest version accepts 176.4 and 192 KHz samplerate on a single wire in addition to the oldschool dual-wire connection previously used. According to the above review the signal conversion happens inside two AD1853 DAC chips, with some AD797 opamps in the output stage.

I might get one of these babies soon to replace the Stello DA220 MkII in my headphone rig.
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