I am still amazed by this little DAC. I purchased the Reference 7 dac after this experience...the R7 killed the Bryston as well...the reference 7 only had this little thing to keep it honest...all my comparisons with the Reference 7 was against this thing. I think this speaks highly of it. Not everyone will like this presentation...but I can guarantee that anyone who attends a lot of live acoustic engagements, or plays an acoustic instrument will be able to define this DAC as extremely accurate in tone and timbre.
I can understand how some will enjoy SD more than R2Rs. There is an energy to the upper registers and liquidity in the upper segments (one mans liquidity is another mans digital sheen)...Techno and Ambients will do very well with SD as there really isn't any acoustic counterparts to draw comparisons to in a lot of these music. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
I was doing a sigma delta shootout and found that all my sigma delta sources have a hard edged and glassy upper frequencies, from Dacmagic, through to Pioneer Elite SACD and DIY Silicon Chip. What I once called a "warm" source in the form of Burr Brown SD chips actually sounded very hard and cold...this is in comparison to the Bryston.
The Bryston actually sounds very organic, warm and detailed and have none of that hard edged glassy sheen in the upper frequencies. The presentation "relaxes" compared to the midrange sigma deltas...voices and instrument gain an independance from the digital shine...I remember how much I enjoyed the Bryston...for these "organic" qualities. This is where the price premium is going to in relation to mid level DACS. For those interested the Silicon Chp DAC is a kit complete with pre punched chassis for $250 that comes a lot closer to the Bryston than the Dacmagic can ever hope. Wonderful for entering DIY.
What a price premium that is...around about 1.5K to 2.5K premium, depending on location, over mid range dacs for this "organic presentation".
The Muse does it for 60 bucks delivered and does it better. End of story.
Edited by SP Wild - 12/14/10 at 8:39pm