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Best DACs under $10k?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Post your experiences of the best dacs you have heard under $10k please.
post #2 of 34
In the price class I'd go with the Amarra 4 (metric Halo ULN 8) great dac with best in class sound
post #3 of 34
Ask a more specific question for a more specific answer. The question "Best DACs under $10K?" is incredibly open-ended and doesn't have any indication of what you're really looking for. There are lots of DACs in existence and surely you must have some idea of what you want if your budget is up to $10K. Asking people to post their own experiences is also selfish and can also be very time-wasting (for the people offering their experiences) when you haven't provided any further information. Do your own research and try to audition any DACs that you can or buy a used one which you can easily re-sell on venues like Audiogon.
post #4 of 34
Haven't heard it, but the EMM Labs' DAC2 seems the most technologically advanced.
post #5 of 34
Im actually at the lookout for a dac around this range, for many months I have been trying to find a dac that could match (and possibly replace) my analogue set (Lyra Helikon SL, ASR Basis Exclusive, Clearaudio Ambient CMB), its a tough decision but I have noticed that Im more and more using digital (Its impossible to find my music on vinyl), my Lyngdorf setup is already very good, however, when I get to play a record, still some other magic happens...

Around 10k the best dacs I have heard are the MBL 1511E and the Accuphase DP-600 SACD/DAC. Its not easy to describe the reasons, but both of this dacs made me wonder if I should get rid of my analogue setup. Both closely rival the liquidity and musicality of my analogue setup, however, Im leaning towards the Accuphase. Who knows what I will do, but Im seriously thinking about it...
post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyDebord View Post
Im actually at the lookout for a dac around this range, for many months I have been trying to find a dac that could match (and possibly replace) my analogue set (Lyra Helikon SL, ASR Basis Exclusive, Clearaudio Ambient CMB), its a tough decision but I have noticed that Im more and more using digital (Its impossible to find my music on vinyl), my Lyngdorf setup is already very good, however, when I get to play a record, still some other magic happens...

Around 10k the best dacs I have heard are the MBL 1511E and the Accuphase DP-600 SACD/DAC. Its not easy to describe the reasons, but both of this dacs made me wonder if I should get rid of my analogue setup. Both closely rival the liquidity and musicality of my analogue setup, however, Im leaning towards the Accuphase. Who knows what I will do, but Im seriously thinking about it...
I want detail, transparency and a natural sound.

Got the QBD76 and QB9 here right now. Tough choice between these two, both very good.
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post #7 of 34
my experience says to purchase a CD player instead.
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
my experience says to purchase a CD player instead.
I had someone telling me this lol.
post #9 of 34
A $$$$ DAC demands a $$$$ transport and a $$$ digital IC at least.
At a given (limited) budget CDP will give better performance than a DAC. The only advantage of the DAC will be a USB input if the owner uses a computer source.
It's my theory.
post #10 of 34
Today I got another lesson from my analogue rig, I was spinning some classic avant-jazz (ascension and bitches brew) and then continued with some Stockhausen and Ligetti. Every time I played a side of the vinyl I continued to play the same piece on digital.

At the moment I have the accuphase dp600 on test after ditching the mbl and all I can say is that analogue is simply amazing. The dp600 is superb as a digital device but I must say there was no match when listening critically.

So my recommendation is that instead of spending the 10k on a dac spend it on a good vinyl rig. I already own a vinyl rig that I love so I might actually go for the accu, but It wont replace my analogue set.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by c3p0 View Post
I want detail, transparency and a natural sound.

Got the QBD76 and QB9 here right now. Tough choice between these two, both very good.
Please try the Audio-gd Reference One. It will give you loads of detail, transparency, and a natural sound. Plus, I'm very curious to see how it compares to the QBD76. The Ref1 certainly beats out DACs that cost more than the Chord QBD76, but the QBD76 is one DAC I'd really like to audition (as well as some EMMLabs gear).

Edit: Reference One has now been replaced by the Reference Seven
post #12 of 34
The ultimate in transparency is the Blue Circle Audio BC 501OB which costs around $7800. There were some posts to this effect on the BC Forum a while back. I have to agree, this thing is erie transparent. I have seen thihs at shows mated with a not high-end studio transport. You can talk to Gilbert Yeung, the owner, directly. He is very accessible and down to earth. I don't own this Dac (I have an Audio Note), but I do own a modified SBH, which is quite transparent, although not on the order of the BC 501OB.
post #13 of 34
Check the Naim DAC when you can. It's special.
post #14 of 34
Monarchy, empirical, wavelength, Dodson, Northstar, Arye, dCS. They are all top on my list, made their name by doing only digital.
And I cannot disagree more about "just buy a cd player"....
A cd player is a cd-rom w/ internal wiring into a DAC in one box. Get a good intconn and you are good.
The best (to me) setup would be rip all your Cd/DVD-A into lossless files into a custom music computer (no fan/no moving parts)
use empirical to get i2c into northstar/dodson
OR
Arye /wavelength/dCS asyn USB.
OR bel canto usb link (tested to be bit perfect by stereophile) into monarchy/dodson.
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by btbluesky View Post
\
OR
Arye /wavelength/dCS asyn USB.
OR bel canto usb link (tested to be bit perfect by stereophile) into monarchy/dodson.
I don't understand using USB in a high end system at all. USB is not only bit rate limited but seems to suffer serious flaws as a digital transmission format. Particularly interesting was a set of tests showing the difference between a laptop connected with USB running on its batteries and connected to its power supply. When switching to wall power, the amount of jitter absolutely exploded, though even battery powered USB was still a jittery mess. S/Pdif and AES/EBU both have their problems, but USB seems to be far worse than both.
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