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To DAC or not to DAC

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My current headphone system is, PS Audio Power Port, PerfectWave power cables, Duet power center, Kimber Kable Hero interconnects Marantz SA-8003 sacd player, PS Audio GCHA headphone amp and Sennheiser HD-580 phones. The headphone amp is hooked up directly to the player. I'm thinking about adding the PS Audio Digital Link III DAC to the mix. I would like to hear your thoughts (pro or con) about the addition.

 

Thanks Bill. 


Edited by MildBill - 8/16/10 at 6:25pm
post #2 of 8

I love the PS Audio DLIII. Slightly on the warm/sweet side of neutral. For under $1K, it is hard to beat. That being said, I'm sure your Marantz CD player is also quite good too.

 

But the added bonus with the DLIII is that you can also hook up a PC via USB and output to your amp as well.

post #3 of 8

In my opinion, unless you plan to start enjoying the free, forbidden and sinful pleasures of lossless torrent downloads played back from your PC, you don't need a DAC.

 

The primary purpose of a DAC is to link together a PC and an amplifier or to improve upon the sonic qualities of a lousy CD-player.

 

You'd better buy better headphones.

post #4 of 8

The SA-8003 is not a bad player. If you go the dac route, IMO it's going to take more than the PS Audio DL III to get an improvement.

post #5 of 8

ironmine wrote:

 

You'd better buy better headphones.

 

+1

 

Maybe a set of Sennheiser HD600's or HD650's.  FWIW, I use 650's.

 

MildBill wrote:

 

I would like to hear your thoughts (pro or con) about the addition.

 

From your list, my opinion, you already have a pretty good system and to improve, you're going have to replace the whole system as your existing system becomes the weak link or a bottle neck when compared to better gear such as your DAC choice.  Maybe the more experienced can weigh in on the bottle neck issue.

 

My opinion, a better set of cans is always a good thing.  As I'm sure you know, there's a boatload of headphone choices in the $400.00 to $1,000.00 range and one over the other is more a personal choice thingy over an empirical choice thingy.

 

What's your budget?

 

Myself?  For the bookshelf, I have on order a used Burson HA-160 and on the wish list is a combo Blu-ray/DVD/SACD/CD NuForce OPPO BDP-83SE player.  It seems the OPPO deck has a between tracks snap/crackle/pop issue and there's some DVD freezing issues to be checked into before I buy.  Currently, got nothing on the DAC radar as the ASUS, Xonar STX is suppose to have a killer DAC.

 

I'd definitely check out better cans and get them broke in before adding more electronics.  This based upon your current equipment list.  Have you checked out a broken in set of HD650's on your rig yet?

 

What do the reviews say, SA8003 vs SA8004 vs PS Audio Digital Link III DAC.  Is the DAC you're checking out, better then the one onboard the SA8003?  Would you be better served by upgrading to the SA8004?  Is a dedicated DAC going give you better sound quality over the SACD players?  Have you checked out Audio-gd DAC's?  Can you find some sort of shoot-out between dedicated DAC's vs SACD player DAC's?

 

(Ya gotta love more questions to asked question.)

 

 

FWIW, I've purchased a lot of Marantz gear in the past.  As good as Marantz is, I see Marantz in the light of SONY; excellent gear but retail (cost cutting when manufactured) just the same.  I have a tendency to want to go towards gear that's based upon discrete as opposed to gear that's based on SS or IC's.  I'm also inclined to want to go to smaller (boutique/personal touch) companies such as Audio-gd and Burson vs SONY or Marantz.  For me, technical issues aside, the NuForce, upgraded OPPO BDP-83SE Blu-ray player, for the price, hits the middle ground smartly.  But that's a personal opinion.

 

O-kay, rambling and incomplete as my ideas and comments might be, those are my thoughts.

 


Edited by beeman458 - 9/12/10 at 9:52am
post #6 of 8

Take the DAC money and put it towards an HD800

post #7 of 8

+1 to headphones. Will be your best audible sound improvement for the money.

post #8 of 8

x2

 

The headphones should make the biggest difference in SQ.

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