I prefer this $60 DAC more than the Bryston DAC.
I was feeding this dac a 48khz signal, because that's all my computer can output and the results were unsatisfactory. I have since tried used the Cambridge Dacmagic as a USB convertor to get a bit perfect 44.1khz signal to it via optical and noticed that the smoothed over transients were removed and replaced by a certain kind of clarity. I then used the Dacmagics coax digital with a standard audio cable and it improved this "clarity" some more.
I then switched over to the Dacmagics analogue output and positively couldn't bear the Dacmagic. It almost made me feel sick. I then did the same test with the Bryston DAC, using the Bryston as a USB convertor - and then comparing this 60 dollar mini dac to the $3200 AUS Bryston DAC. I clearly preferred the mini dac. The Bryston still had far less of this "artificiality" than the Dacmagic...but there was still a bit of it there. The mini dac had none of this whatsover.
The sound of this mini dac is rock solid and very realistic to me. The Dacmagic had an artificiality, like a fake "sheen" throughout the entire spectrum. The Bryston still had a trace of this, even when upsampling was turned off. The mini dac had no trace whatsoever - instead it had a central body that was realistic and sounded much closer to reality to my ears. I cannot quite understand nor comprehend how I could possibly prefer a $60 Ipod sized DAC, over my $3000 full sized high-end DAC.
This is using the HD800, as the headphone. I will repeat this test with the LCD2 when I get it back and if the same results are achieved, both the Dacmagic and the Bryston will be gone for good.
Edited by SP Wild - 9/26/10 at 7:19am