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Crystal Delta-Sigma DAC

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Kind of weird question, I know, but my home theater receiver (NAD T751) uses the Crystal Delta-Sigma DAC chipset, and I really like the way it sounds. However, manufacturers of CDPs and outboard DACs often don't list the chipset used, so does anyone know of any mid-fi priced (that is, ~$400) CDPs or outboard DACs which use the Crystal Delta-Sigmas?

Thanks for any help you can provide...
post #2 of 6
Not sure but one thing to keep in mind is that chip set in another unit may sound completely different depending on how the chip was implemented and how good the analog output and power section of the unit is. Throw a given chip into a $300 CD player with a minimal analog output stage/power supply design and compare that to a $2,000 CD player that uses the same chip with an elaborate analog output section/power supply and they will be very different sounding. That is a drastic scenario but even if you look at a $400 receiver and a $400 CD player both using the same chip, again depending on the implementation of that chip they may sound very different.
post #3 of 6
Sean H is right on the money...the delta/sigma (1-bit) style converters are used mostly in budget cd players. I don't think you want to specifically look for that chip.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally posted by Canman
Sean H is right on the money...the delta/sigma (1-bit) style converters are used mostly in budget cd players. I don't think you want to specifically look for that chip.
Not all delta/sigma converters are 1-bit designs. Plenty of the Crystal Semiconductor DACs use a multibit delta-sigma design. The Crystal CS43122 is one of the finest DAC chips in the world (and priced accordingly!) and uses such a design.

In general, I've found that Crystal DACs tend to be slightly on the warm/rich side, especially compared to DACs from Analog Devices and AKM, which sound on the analytic/slightly bright side. (I don't have enough experience with Burr-Brown or Wolfson DAC chips to comment on how they sound.)

There are plenty of standalone CDPs that use Crystal DACs. The NAD T532 is one example, but I can't recommend it because the highs can be grainy for reasons I can't quite fathom (not irritating or bright, just grainy... odd). On the other hand, the Grace 901 DAC/headphone amp uses the expensive CS43122 DAC chip and is widely praised (check out the two-part review in Stereophile for impressions and some pretty stunning measurements).
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally posted by MirandaX
The Crystal CS43122 is one of the finest DAC chips in the world (and priced accordingly!) and uses such a design.
On that note, are there specific DACs that are good to look for in a source?
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Interesting info, MirandaX. I wonder which specific Crystal my receiver uses... it doesn't say anywhere I can find.
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