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Relatively neutral DAC for a Bryston B60 integrated amplifier, >$900, perhaps Canadian made?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello head-fi,

 

This is my first post here, so I do apologize if I have made any sort of mistake or participated in any misconduct. I searched for information on this topic beforehand, but found little information, perhaps it is too specific to have been asked already.

 

Regardless, I am shortly moving out of my parent's home in to an apartment, and I want to build a suitable audio set up for when I get there. I grew up with Bryston equipment (which, sadly, I am not allowed to take with me), and don't have any desire to 'switch brands', but there is a very definitive budget on my purchase. I have already chosen a Bryston B60 amplifier, and have around $700-800 left to purchase a DAC with. I do suffer from patriotism, and the idea of having an all-Canadian-made sound setup was compelling, but purchasing a matching Bryston DAC would have put me $2000 over budget.

 

So, I have come to you for assistance. I have been a long time reader here, but this is the first time I have ever felt the need to register. I am looking for a DAC that will complement the sonic characteristics of the Bryston B60 (quite neutral and clean, in my opinion) within my budget (less if possible). I would be willing to dig a little bit deeper for patriotism's sake. If the casings match in colour and style, that would be a large bonus. :)

 

The only option I have come across in this price range that I liked the look of (and the reviews of) is the Audio-GD DAC19DSP, although I am unsure of how well it will mate with the Bryston. There is also the downside of being unable to have a test listen before purchasing. I am willing to travel from my home in Gatineau (Ottawa) to Toronto for an audition, if need be, as my area has a dearth of hi-fi equipment dealers. If anyone has any suggestions, even of off-the-shelf solutions that I can perhaps find in a hi-fi store, I would appreciate it very much. Thank you all for your time.

post #2 of 12

 Or else to be save, stick with Bryston DAC.

What will be the source that you be using? (CD Player or DAP, etc) From my understanding of Bryston amplifiers are very dynamic since the last time I'd heard back in the 90s. What kind of DAC inputs you 'll be feeding with? Do you prefer solid state or tube base? What will be your preference of music genre? What's your room size gonna be? 

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi Furface,

 

I would love to stick with a Bryston DAC, but it is roughly 3 times my budget for the discrete Bryston DAC, and 1.5x my budget to get a coaxial-only input addon integrated in to the B60.

 

My source is going to be my computer and a CD player as a transport. I would love to avoid coaxial from the computer if possible, and use optical to break any possible transfer of dirty power over that line. My other source is an older Denon CD player that my father gave me, which is probably equivalent to about $1500 today? The DAC section in the CD player is rather wonky, however, so I planned on using it strictly as a transport.

 

Music preferences are varied to practically anything you can imagine, I have around 2000 different albums coming with me (yes, my apartment is going to be mostly CDs, I've spent a small fortune at Ikea already getting shelving). I hope to one day transfer all of those albums to my computer, but I only have my 300 or so most listened to albums on there in FLAC right now.

 

I very much prefer the solid state sound, and at this time I am not willing to consider a tube DAC.

 

My room is going to be small, but dedicated solely to music and perhaps a TV. I will be using my existing bookshelf speakers, as anything else would likely get me in to trouble with my neighbours.

 

Thank you for your input, Furface!

post #4 of 12

If you don't mind pre-owned equipments in which you can get them quite good prices as versus new. Brands like Theta (a bit digital sounding but very good) Cambridge Audio (warm) Wadia (digital sounding) Parasound (warm) MSB Technology, etc. I currently using my Parasound DAC-1000 for more than 10 years (coupled with the Theta TLC) sounded much better.

 

post #5 of 12

There is an internal DAC from Bryston too which I think fits into B60. Have you explored that option ?


Edited by Hifisound - 11/15/10 at 6:10pm
post #6 of 12

Sonic Frontiers SFD2 mkII is your answer ... canadian DAC, almost universally liked.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I've decided to sell of a few of my rare LPs (I was holding them in hopes of one day getting a turntable, but I don't think that is likely now) to make up the difference and just buy the Bryston add-on DAC for the B60. Total cost is right around $4200 with tax, which I am more than happy with. Looks like I am going Canadian all over, maybe I'll need to find some Canadian speaker wire too. ;)

 

My bookshelf speakers are B&W, but last time I was in Toronto, I got a chance to hear a Bryston + Totem combo, and it was pretty good, maybe I'll look in to that in the future.

 

Thanks again, everyone.

post #8 of 12

I may be too late but I would suggest looking at the following Canadian DACs:

1.a NAD C565bee which is their latest flagship CD player using the Sabre chipset and can allow one more digital source via its optical input

2.a Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09

3.a Blue Circle BC507/509 

 

As for Canadian speakers, there are quite a few brands to choose from such as Totem as you had mentioned as well as:

1.Paradigm

2.Axiom

3.PSB

4.Energy

5.Athena

6.Studiolab

7.Angstrom

and lots more

 

Good luck!  

 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94cdnm3 View Post

I may be too late but I would suggest looking at the following Canadian DACs:

1.a NAD C565bee which is their latest flagship CD player using the Sabre chipset and can allow one more digital source via its optical input

2.a Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09

3.a Blue Circle BC507/509 

 

As for Canadian speakers, there are quite a few brands to choose from such as Totem as you had mentioned as well as:

1.Paradigm

2.Axiom

3.PSB

4.Energy

5.Athena

6.Studiolab

7.Angstrom

and lots more

 

Good luck!  

 



Hey, thanks for the suggestions! I've heard good things about Paradigm and PSB, but I'm pretty sure Energy has gone down the toilet in terms of quality and ownership, last I heard.

 

As for the DACs: I've already made my choice, but I will check out the Grant Fidelity, it looks interesting. As for the NAD: I've heard NAD before, they sound awful to me. :/

post #10 of 12

If the internal Bryston DAC is anything like the BDA-1, then I think you're overpaying.  IME, several of the used DACs suggested above would be as good or better--for significantly less.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post

If the internal Bryston DAC is anything like the BDA-1, then I think you're overpaying.  IME, several of the used DACs suggested above would be as good or better--for significantly less.



From what I understand, the Bryston internal DAC is exactly the same circuit as the BDA-1, just with less inputs (only one coaxial in) and it uses the integrated amp's power supply (or the power supply of whatever you stick it in), instead of having two separate toroidals. It's also about one third the cost of the BDA-1. The convenience of having it integrated was nice, and from my demo, it sounded pretty equal (maybe a bit better) than my dad's equipment with my speakers.

 

Regardless, I made my purchase earlier today, and got a pretty good deal - I picked up a last-year's model they had in stock for a little over $2200 with tax, less than half of new. Thanks, everyone.

post #12 of 12

I think the internal Bryston DAC is very good. It is a very neutral, transparent and very natural/real sounding DAC. I enjoy mine immensely although the DAC in my Blue Circle Thingee is bit more forgiving on some material. Good listening to you!

 

PS: Before I forget, try different digital cables with your DAC because they affect the sonics. I had very good results with the Blue Jeans 1694a Digital Coax. 

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