So I have been auditioning DAC's for the past 4 days. Have these in house for the time: Wadia 12, lavry DA10, Stello DA100 sig, Digital Audio Denmark ADDA 2402 and a M2TECH (USB to Coaxial) on folowing system: PC (winxp) Foobar asio out -> EMU 0404 pci -> Coaxial out -> DAC -> via XLR Primare I30 -> Vienna Acoustics Beethoven concert grand. Also tried my CD-player as transport.
Didn't expect the listening experience to be this hard. Maybe the rest of my system is just not revealing enough. I have had several friends come by to help me figure this out as the differences between the DACs and my obviously excellent soundcard (EMU 0404 pci) are very minor. At first I thought I was deff but as my friends had the exact same experience this is probably not the cast :)
First off the DAC I like the best is the Stello. It's by far the more musical of the lot and provides more listening enjoyment. Lavry da10 is very neutral with a very clear treble but the sound is on the boring side. (more detailed sonic descriptions also of the other 2 dac's in a later post if needed)
But most importantly none of them really rises significantly above my EMU 0404 ananlog out. I'm quite surprised by this. Damn it's hard to spot the differences although I can sit in my sofa and click back and forth between sources. The lavry sounds closest to my soundcard, neutral and somewhat bright while the stello sounds a little darker and rich (perhaps thick)
I also had a friend bring his Rega Apollo by which we tested vs. the stello and my Arcam 8se. He was quite disappointed that there was no bigger differences to be heard. The sound of the Apollo was quite close to the Stello although a little more refined. My Arcam was sonically different from the Stello but sounded just as musical (this is a 10 year old player 1200$ new)
I might borrow a NAIM dac and a primare CD31 also just to try something a little more expensive although the Digital Audio Danmark ADDA 2402 should be something like 7000 - 8000$.
I simply need to know if this is all there is to achieve by throwing money at DAC's
Edited by nightrhyme - 5/31/10 at 11:42am