- 173 Posts. Joined 12/2007
- Select All Posts By This User
Edirol UA-1EX or Cakewalk UA-1G
Head-Fi's Best Sellers
- 4 Posts. Joined 12/2013
- Select All Posts By This User
Need to write a quick post on the cakewalk. A bit of background first. When I auditioned M-Dac a year ago, it beat Rega, M1, Dac Magic and rDac in auditions I did at the time. I like a detailed revealing sound and the M-Dac brought out more detail, tighter bass, than the others - it was very noticeable. Audition was using ALAC files on an ipod classic through a wadia dock and into a 100w creek amp to $5k bookshelf speakers at the lhfs. M-Dac has been running in my main system since then - sony bdp-s580 -> mdac -> arcam a75+ -> p35 -> whatmough p11, with a REL t3, chord cabling. On this system using the sony blu ray to play cds through the coax with the mdac in fixed output mode, I got the best sound compared to alac files played by foobar to the usb and the optical. I preferred this sound to a cd37 that I auditioned at one point a year or so ago - but it was different speakers (much more expensive b&w floor standers) so not sure if that was the speakers or the cd player.
Fast forward to this year and I got sick of turning up the treble on movie sound tracks when listening them through the mdac. The voices are always too indistinct in quiet scenes, which I think is the speakers being voiced for music and not movies. Anyway I went to my local hi fi and listened to oppo 103->mdac vs oppo 105 stereo outs. Predictably, the 105 and mdac were close, with the mdac slightly better and both beat the 103 sound by a margin. This was into a top line denon power amp driving some sonus faber $5k speakers. So after listening to 'blowing in the wind' quite a few times at the store and with the memory still fresh, I went home and listened to this on my system and it didn't sound as good.The guitar was noticeably less distinct and realistic. Hence I started playing around with different sources into the mdac again and biamped the speakers, repositioned things, adjusted the sub. Improved things a bit, but still not up to the standard in the store. I also tried the mdac direct to the power amp. That made things worse.
I had my cakewalk ua-1g that I bought back in 2008 when I was djing plugged into a mac mini as an itunes jukebox for a second system and had not listened to it separately for years. So I plugged it into my laptop, loaded the driver and fired up foobar. Running alac files and wasapi into the ua-1g and with my current fav headphones of hd25-13s I was amazed as I compared this with the headphone out on the mdac both from cd and from foobar. With these headphones the UA-1g which is principally a recording device and bought several years ago prior to the recent boom in dacs, sounds significantly better to my ears. I was comparing with Dylan still so I switched to the more layered music of Tracy Chapman and the gap only grew. 'Mountains of Things' through the mdac is very good, but through the ua-1g it is noticeably better.
So I pulled out my vinyl and then normality was restored, the vinyl played on a vintage technics turntable with original cartridge sounds better than the ua-1g, more detailed, organic and natural. Still leaves me wondering, can I ever listen to a CD again? Will try this compro again at more length as I find it amazing that a $250 pro usb only dac can beat an mdac, but for the moment, I am in awe of the ua-1g. Listening to Little Birdy, Confetti with it right now and it is bloody brilliant - there must be magic dust in there somewhere or some super competent engineers to thank. This is my first post so thanks for reading!