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If you had $5000 to spend on a DAC what would you buy? - Page 6

post #76 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjames8 View Post
By all accounts Spectral gear is top notch. I have never heard any. Would like to be able to compare it to my 360S. Sounds like you stole it (was a great deal) for $2500 or less. Redbook is great. I have 2000+ redbook discs. The future is here, the future is now and the future for HIGH END digital audio is 24/96-192 or greater.
You should stay away - that comparison's not going to be pretty (i.e. your 360s)
post #77 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjames8 View Post
I will defer to the OP question, if you had $5000 what DAC would you buy(?), not sacd player, not DVD player, not in the future, now. For $5000, I would buy the Berekly Alpha DAC. Why, because by all accounts it is world class, it is certainly SOTA and it accepts and decodes up to and including 24/192 input signals. 24/96, 24/176 and 24/192 is not the future, it is right now. I own at least 100 discs that have 24/96 and 24/192 info on them and as good as 24/96 is 24/192 is way better sounding to these ears.

As to SACD being dead, don't believe the hype. Subscribe to Acoustic Sounds and or Elusive Disc E-newsletters and you will see that at least a dozen new SACD's are released everyweek. You can also check out SA-CD.net for up to date title counts, new releases and click thru's to buy that "dead" format. It is just as dead as vinyl. You want to talk dead, redbook cd as purchased from a bricks and mortar store, that concept is on life support and the prognosis is terminal, no hope.
I dunno man. I've done extensive reading and testing with my own ears.. and the difference between hi rez and red book is beyond subtle. I'm talking about more subtle to me then like differences in interconnects/power cables. The mastering is just far more important. A good mastering on redbook will sound better than a medicore mastering in hi rez... now do a rip of a hi rez file and convert it to redbook and shoot the two out? Too close to call for me... I'd give at most a small edge to hi rez at best.

That being said I'm glad I own a good 24/96 dac. 24/192 would be nice, but I'll live without it
post #78 of 126
Something by Bel Canto...
post #79 of 126
If one is to convert a high resolution file to 16/44, dithering is really necessary. Truncating 24 bit files to 16 bit sounds bad, and will give the listener a false sense of the high res file's superiority. That said, even the dithered 16 bit track won't have quite the sense of depth the original had.

If you ever listen to high res files, I'd stay clear of DACs that only do 16 bit. They have to truncate any 24 bit file that gets fed to them.

I find it extremely hard to believe that 192 Khz is a noticeable improvement from 96. I know that Dan Lavry has nothing good to say about 192 Khz sampling rates. But I've never personally compared the two, so who am I to say. One must trust one's ears.
post #80 of 126
I dunno I was using a 24/96 dac.. someone else did the conversion for me so I'm unsure if dithering was used. Either way the tracks didnt sound bad, they just didn't sound very different ;p My hearing may just be mediocre though.
post #81 of 126
I would select the Weiss DAC2 or Minerva. They have standard AES/EBU, S/PDIF and Toslink inputs, and in addition provide a Firewire input for connecting to a computer based music server or laptop. Brilliant engineering.
post #82 of 126
The DAC2 / Minerva sure is drool worthy. In the few comparisons I've read between it and some of the uber DACs, it sounds good, but not nearly as good. I'd love to get my hands on one.

Icarium, you so would have noticed if those tracks had been truncated, especially since you have a pair of Qualias! Truncating causes quantization distortion which adds a noticeable amount of grain. I also find it blurs the space between instruments. But a dithered track with the right noise shaping comes extremely close. I can still pick out the 24 bit file in a blind test. But I'm doing so with my own mixes, and it takes me a long time to distinguish the two with confidence.
post #83 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer View Post
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.
I would love to read anything more you can add about how these DACs compare in terms of performance and signature.
post #84 of 126
Yeah that's why im thinking that it was converted properly, but just throwing the caveat out that I am unsure.

I don't doubt that you and others and probably even I can hear the difference between the two in blind tests, but when listening for enjoyment at normal listening volumes... I doubt I can really tell the difference.
post #85 of 126
Wavelength Audio Cosecant USB DAC
post #86 of 126
I second the choices for the Berkley Alpha or the Weiss Minerva as stand alones. I had 5k+ to spend and got the Lyngdorf DPA-1, exquisite dac (which I compared with the Weiss when I was auditioning) plus so much more....
post #87 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonix View Post
You should stay away - that comparison's not going to be pretty (i.e. your 360s)
Really? So you have personally listened to the Spectral and my ML360S and know from first hand experience that the Spectral sounds better?
post #88 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjames8 View Post
Really? So you have personally listened to the Spectral and my ML360S and know from first hand experience that the Spectral sounds better?
Not side by side a/b if that's what you mean but I would not put the ML360s in the same group. IMHO, ML's best equipment were amps and those from the early days so call me an old fogie. Have recently heard the Berkeley Alpha and Emm Labs DAC2/TSD1 combo as well and consider both to be better than the ML360's - considerably. Yes, it was on different equipment platforms didn't make a level playing field etc.... need to hear the MSB platinum signature and the DAD AX24 - then think I'll get a better idea of what is supposed to be the current "state of the art".
post #89 of 126
The ML360S has held it's own for a lot of years. It is still one of the most resolving, detail oriented dac's that I have ever heard. It rings a lot out of red book discs and sounds fantastic with 24/96. I will concede that it does not sound quite as good as my Marantz DV9500 playing the same title in 24/192. I have exactly 2 discs out of over 2000 that I can make this comparison and only about 2 dozen 24/96 discs that I can play thru the 360S. With the growing availability of higher rez files than 16/44, it's time for me to get serious about a music server. But here I have to go back to the OP's question and IMO if you are going to spend $5K on a dac today, I want it to do 24/176/192 and it would be nice for it to have a planned up grade path for 32 bit files. The Sabre chip is already available that will process 32 bit files. It's a little like HiDef video. There is already a video camera that does 4000 lines of resolution. How long before 1920x1080 is obsolete? I am still watching a 6 year old 720 display, only because it still works and looks great.
post #90 of 126
It's not really the same. Current TVs only show like 1/3rd of the color range that the human eye is capable of processing. Even I think the most cutting edge tvs only show 70 percent (I could be wrong on exact percentages), but either way there is a lot there that our eyes can easily process that isn't there yet.

I don't think the same is true for audio and that's just color. About resolution... no one debates if people can see the diff between 480i and 720p and 720p and 1080p versus whatever the next standard is probably not as well We aren't there yet video. No one debates if a dvd looks better than a video tape and if a bluray looks better than a dvd.

While it is mostly accepted that there is a difference between hi rez audio and low rez there is still a lot of debate for it to be as clear cut as resolution and video...

Moreover people clearly can't hear a full 24 bits of audio... this isn't really like if you can hear over 20khz or not which Im sure some people can.. but 24 bits? 32 bits? Overkill

I don't your analogy is applicable/apt ;p
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