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New Audiolab DAC

post #1 of 859
Thread Starter 

Word on the street is Audiolab are bringing out a new DAC..

 

The Audiolab 8200CD known as the cd + DAC is supposed to have an amazing DAC for value..

 

The new separate DAC which is built upon and apparantly a distance beyond the amazing DAC used in the 8200CD is supposed to be far superior to any DAC at that price range - it will be $600 approx

 

 

I spoke to an audiophile no names mentioned who works as a hifi sound engineer who once worked for NAD for 10+ years... He tested it alongside various DACs up to four times the supposed value one being a chord electric i cant remember the model... he said there wasnt much in it whatsoever.

 

Lets put this into perspective.. the Arcam rDAC is $470 , the new Audiolab approx $600

 

The DAC used in the rDAC is the Wolfon WM8741 - a DAC which apparantly is worth $16 to the trade

 

The new audiolab DAC is supposedly worth $80 to the trade. The DAC in the 8200CD - ESS Technology Sabre 32-bit, im not sure of its exact worth but its superior to that of the Wolfon. 

 

Its due to be launched in a few months...

 

Thoughts anyone?

 

post #2 of 859

^^^

 

Lots of chatter about this DAC on the UK board. Pretty sure it's a John Westlake (legendary digital designer) effort and if so should be one for the short list, given the specs and early reports. Not an easy brand to find in NA of late, but perhaps this will reintroduce it. I used to own an 8000s integrated, which sounded a bit dull but drove anything -- very nice piece for its time.

 

best,

 

o

post #3 of 859

It's finally released! 600£ in November.

 

AH_MDAC4.jpg

 

Specification
Model M-DAC
General description Digital-to-analogue converter
DAC ESS Sabre32 9018 chip
Resolution 32 bits
Maximum Sampling Frequency 84.672MHz
Digital input 2 x 24-bit/192kHz coaxial ,2 x 24-bit/96kHz Toslink optical, 1 x 24-bit/96kHz USB
Digital output 1 x coaxial, 1x Toslink optical
Output voltage RCA: 2.25V RMS,XLR: 4.5V RMS
Total Harmonic Distortion RCA: <0.002%; XLR: <0.0008%
Frequency response 20Hz - 20kHz (± 0.2dB)
Dynamic range RCA: >115dB;XLR: >122dB
Crosstalk RCA: <-120dB;  XLR: <-130dB
Dimensions (H x W x D) 59 x 250 x252mm
Power requirements (depending on region) 220--230V /100-120V (50 ~ 60Hz)
Colour Black, Silver
Standard accessories power cord, remote control handset, batteries, user manual
• Asynchronous USB supporting 24-bit/96kHz with remote control of PC / MAC Media Player via HID support
• High current, high linearity RCA single-ended & XLR true balanced with fully discrete J-FET CROSS* Class A output stages and built-in headphone amplifier
• Selectable DAC mode or Digital Pre-amplifier mode, allowing direct connection to power amplifiers and active speakers in digital only systems
• 2.7” high contrast OLED display
• "Actual"or"Nominal"Sampling Frequency display – displays the TRUE input sampling frequency with 1Hz resolution
• Digital level meters in dB with peak hold
• CD / DVD SPDIF subcode embedded Track and Time Display
• Advanced de-jittered optical and coaxial SPDIF output, with USB to SPDIF output.
• Full remote control + external remote / BUS I/O loop
• 26 internal regulated supply rails with 10 ultra low noise, low impedance discrete regulators
• 7 user selectable digital filters – fully software upgradeable via the USB port
• Organic ultra low ESR capacitors, high tolerance polypropylene film / foil capacitors, ultra stable very low VCR 0.1% MELF SMD resistors, 4 layer PCB
• External upgradeable power supply interface for a future upgrade path
 

 

post #4 of 859

This is currently the DAC I would like to get, and if it was available in North America right now I would certainly order it. The distributor for North America expects to have them in some time in December. They are taking pre-orders now for $799.00 which is certainly competitively priced compared to the competition.

 

I originally was looking at getting the AudioLab 8200CDQ, but after reading along in the gigantic thread over at pink fish media I caught the enthusiasm of it's designer for this new release which is said to have some sonic improvements over the 8200CD and 8200CDQ versions. Although those too are scheduled to be updated with  higher quality upgrades. I asked the North American distributor when they would have updated 8200's in (new power supply and display) and he said it would be 3 months. So if I can hold out until December I will order the MDAC, otherwise I might just opt for the current version of the 8200CDQ...

post #5 of 859

From the info I gathered including that spectacular review by what hfi, Audiolab MDAC is the best of the best under $2,000 perhaps even more.  And, their digital preamp function which let DAC control the volume without any loss or distortion is very interesting too.  That being said, does anyone know if a separate power supply must be purchased on top 600 pounds?  I'm pretty sure that MDAC doesn't have an internal power unit.. yet I haven't seen any price on the external PSU yet.  And, since there isn't an official distributor in U.S, is there anyone who is interested in a group buy?  If we can get about 10 people or more, we may even end up getting a discount.

 

Anyway, all being said, I really want this baby!!

post #6 of 859

There was some discussion in the onging Pink Fish Media discussion thread about the MDAC power supply, and it was mentioned that if you wanted to improve on the included (external) supply, then you could use something else. Here is the link to the thread as of today:

http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/showthread.php?t=106566&page=45

note that is page 45 of about the 6th iteration of that discussion. I will leave it to you to search out the Power Supply discussion.

 

There is no U.S. distributor, but the Canadian distributor does sell direct to the U.S. via thier website. If you can get a group-buy discount let me know.

 

I was checking the thread looking for the link to another review I have read about the MDAC, because in that review the reviewer claimed that the Headphone section was powerful enough to drive even demanding orthos, and mentioned a specific one. If I find that review I will update with link or quote.

 

Meanwhile, here is some info from the Pink thread comparing MDAC to CDQ:

 

"The 8200CD and MDAC both run digital only pre-amp sections, neither of them has analogue inputs/throughput capability.

The MDAc is the only current Audiolab item to have the CROSS output stage.

The MDAC comes with an OLED display, same as the upgrade kit one that is available for the CDQ.

Current production of the CDQ contains the transformer and OLED upgrade but these will be shipped by boat- so some time out yet.

The CDQ requires return to base software updates for half of the chips.

The MDAC is built to be upgraded by the USb input and will likely have a little java applications so it can be done from 'any' web enabled OS.

The silver MDACs have shipped, the black ones are currently being built, probably assembled by the time you read this. Silver might be in dealers this week, black very likely early first week Nov.

And that was pretty much the public consumption news and updates from John this afternoon... "

post #7 of 859

Didn't find the review yet, but did stumble upon some information about the Power Supply in this post from DAC designer John Westlake:

 

 

 

Trade: Lakewest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 721
 
MDAC Overview

I'm just working on the details for the MDAC "Press Release" - I thought it might be of some interest:-


Output Level @ 1KHz, RCA 2.25Vrms ±0.1, XLR 4.5Vrms ±0.1

Frequency Response, Ref. 1kHz, 20Hz to 20KHz ±0.2dB

THD 1KHz, 0dB, 20Hz to 20kHz BW RCA & XLR <0.0015%

Crosstalk 1kHz, RCA >120dB, XLR >130dB

Dynamic Range Awtd, RCA =>114.5dB, XLR =>121.5dB

• 32Bit 84.000MHz 512 Element MultiBit Array DAC

• Asynchronous USB supporting 24 Bits / 96kHz with Remote Control of PC / MAC Media Player via HID support

• x2 192KHz 24Bits Coax SPDIF Digital Inputs

• x2 96KHz Optical Digital Inputs

• High Current, High Linearity RCA Single Ended & XLR True Balanced with fully discrete JFET CROSS* Class A Output stage’s

• High Current, High Linearity CROSS* JFET Class A Headphone Amplifier

• Triple cascaded Jitter attenuation stages, with triple cascaded Asynchronies Clock domain isolation – all but eliminating the First order effects of Jitter from the external input sources on the Digital to Audio Conversion process

• Selectable DAC Mode or Digital Pre-Amplifier Mode, allowing direct connection to Power Amplifiers and Active speakers in Digital only systems

• 2.7” High contrast OLED display

• “Bit Perfect” Digital Data source analyzer

• Intelligent real-time Bit Depth analysis engine – Displays the “True” Bit depth of the Digital input source

• Digital Data Decorrelation Engine – Decorrelates the fixed “LSB’s” data pattern within the Audio data stream when less then 24Bits. Data decorrelation at the DAC substrate level reduces both Digital and Analogue Second order effects within the DAC at the silicon Die level

• MS Windows LSB Data restoration for “Bit Perfect” reply – corrects Windows’ LSB rounding errors. Allows Bit Perfect “Plug and Play” with Windows Media Player

• ASYNC USB Buffer level display to insure correct functionality and diagnostics of the USB HOST device in ASYNC Audio streaming mode

• “Actual” or “Nominal” Sampling Frequency display – displays the TRUE input sampling frequency with 1Hz resolution

• Digital level meters in dB with Peak hold

• CD / DVD SPDIF subcode embedded Track and Time Display

• Advanced De-Jittered Optical and Coax Digital SPDIF Output, including USB Audio

• Selectable Optical or Coax Clock-Lock interface – allowing “Jitter Free” Clock-Locked connection with compatible CD transports etc

• Full Remote Control + External Remote / BUS I/O loop

• 26 Internal Regulated supply rails

• 10 Ultra Low Noise, Low Impedance Discrete Regulators

• 7 User Selectable Digital Filters – Fully Software upgradeable via the USB Port

• Master Clock Jitter less then 3pS Short Term - Measured directly at DAC “XOut”

• Organic Ultra Low ESR capacitors, High Tolerance Polypropylene film / Foil capacitors, Ultra Stable Very Low VCR 0.1% MELF SMD resistors, 4 Layer PCB

• External upgradeable Power supply interface for a future upgrade path

John
post #8 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonsurf View Post

From the info I gathered including that spectacular review by what hfi, Audiolab MDAC is the best of the best under $2,000 perhaps even more.  And, their digital preamp function which let DAC control the volume without any loss or distortion is very interesting too.  That being said, does anyone know if a separate power supply must be purchased on top 600 pounds?  I'm pretty sure that MDAC doesn't have an internal power unit.. yet I haven't seen any price on the external PSU yet.  And, since there isn't an official distributor in U.S, is there anyone who is interested in a group buy?  If we can get about 10 people or more, we may even end up getting a discount.

 

Anyway, all being said, I really want this baby!!


Looks like a winner.

Where did you read that is the best dac under $2000? On what hifi I found only a short review.


Edited by soberspine - 10/25/11 at 2:26am
post #9 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by soberspine View Post

Looks like a winner.

Where did you read that is the best dac under $2000? On what hifi I found only a short review.



That is the conclusion I have so far.  I had concluded (just for myself) that Oppo BDP-95 is the best DAC under 2,000, possibly under 5,000.  I read a few users who compared to Oppos (either 95 or 93) and concluded that CDQ was better by a hair.  Then, I also believe (haven't heard an exact review yet) that MDAC is better than CDQ, so there was my conclusion.  Although there isn't a review on MDAC except on what-hifi, I did extensively researched on Oppo and heard it myself.  It was a damn fine machine.  I really wonder why not many head-fier's fall in love with it..  I was inclined to purchases BDP-95 for a while, but only thing it lacked was a preamp function, which MDAC has.

post #10 of 859

There is no way this DAC is going to be $600-700, it is £600 over here in England.  It will be more like $900+.

post #11 of 859

I am very interested in this DAC. If a group buy comes together, I'm in. 

 

The price is listed at $800 USD on the Canadian distributor's website: 

 

https://www.planetofsounddistribution.com/products/index.php?m=25

post #12 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonsurf View Post



That is the conclusion I have so far.  I had concluded (just for myself) that Oppo BDP-95 is the best DAC under 2,000, possibly under 5,000.  I read a few users who compared to Oppos (either 95 or 93) and concluded that CDQ was better by a hair.  Then, I also believe (haven't heard an exact review yet) that MDAC is better than CDQ, so there was my conclusion.  Although there isn't a review on MDAC except on what-hifi, I did extensively researched on Oppo and heard it myself.  It was a damn fine machine.  I really wonder why not many head-fier's fall in love with it..  I was inclined to purchases BDP-95 for a while, but only thing it lacked was a preamp function, which MDAC has.



It's pretty amazing how every DAC is better than DAC:s that cost several times as much... Those expensive DACs must be pretty damn bad, I wonder why anyone buys them in the first place when every DAC under $1000 is better?

 

Oppo BDP-95 the best DAC under 2000? Under _5000_ even? What exactly are you basing that statement on? Not reality, that's for sure...

 

I'm sure the MDAC is a great piece of equipment, but it costs what it costs - if you buy a DAC for $800, you get a 800 dollar DAC, not a 2000+ dollar DAC.

post #13 of 859

Guys, I'm like many here I guess, I'm on a journey. Bettering my gear little by little along the way, seems like a never ending road sometimes....

 

I have had plenty of Headphones and various Amps over the years and kinda like the stuff I have at the moment but feel my  DAC might be a weak link. I don't know a great deal about them if truth be known and have been running a DACMagic for the past year. I don't really understand many of the specs of either so would the M-DAC be a substancial SQ upgrade over the DACMagic or one of these smaller improvements that seem cost more for smaller gains the further along you go?

 

Cheers for any advice.

 

Nigel

post #14 of 859

One thing I really like about the AudioLab DACs is that they come with unique digital filters that can't be had on any other brand of DAC even with the same chip, even if you do spend twice as much - because they have been developed in-house. And they say that future filter options will become available that can be installed via the USB. Multiple reviews of the AudioLab 8200CD report that these are very good filters that give you some choice as to for example go for more detail, or smoother sound etc.

 

post #15 of 859

I thought the filters can only be updated by the dealers who have the equipment to do so?

 

The iBasso DB2 has changeable filters using opamps.

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