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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Desktop Amps & DACs)
Last edited: 12/6/16
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I first had the chance to audition these at the Wikia meet in San Francisco, taking them around and trying them in different rigs. For $4000, they had a lot to live up to. While on the...
Magaosi K3 Pro Review: Triple Threat Magaosi is another Chinese IEM maker to burst onto the Chi-Fi scene. While its IEM portfolio is shallow, it is not without quality. Their new triple-driver...
INTRODUCTION few months back my friend tried these headphones. Few days ago she wanted to buy it from me. And I quote her to start this review off "I've never heard music like I did with this...
I have had the headset for about 12 months now so I will just drop some of my long term expectations to anyone wanting to buy this. I have the second (current) revision of the headphones with the...
*review this right after i have this headphone. burn in test not yet available Lost my AKG K403, my very first HD headphone (to me). Very low on budget, found this, bought it, waited for a near...
New Audiolab DAC - Page 25post #361 of 8783/31/12 at 2:46am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #362 of 8783/31/12 at 5:20ampost #363 of 8783/31/12 at 7:28amQuote:Originally Posted by estreeter
And that is exactly the same claim being made by owners of the W4S, Yulong D18 and a host of other DACs in this highly competitive segment. I posted the link to the impressions claiming that the NAD M51 trumps the M-DAC, but again its a single, subjective opinion. I know this thread isn't about measurements, but the 'better than DACs costing 2-3 times as much' line is starting to get repetitive. I'm all for VFM, but wouldnt 'excellent bang-for-buck' suffice ? Unless you've spent extensive periods with 'Dacs upwards of 2-3 grand', and are prepared to give specific comparisons, its the equivalent of me telling you my Mazda 3 smokes cars costing 2-3 times as much when I put my foot down .....
Just my opinion, I'm entitled to an opinion aren't I?. If you want to test it objectively get out your
Measuring equipment . Let me know what you you find comparing it to Bryston,BelCanto,Weiss,
Etc.post #364 of 8783/31/12 at 8:08am
I guess some people just want to be more scientific and just let them be. To us, hearing is believing.
It actually doesn't matter there are people willing to try out MDAC cos stock are never ready and on shelve. Audio lab has not been able to fullfill orders.
to Stress, I don't earn anything saying MDAC are my preference best value for money DAC in the market now.
Quote:post #365 of 8783/31/12 at 11:29amQuote:
And you've heard all of the kit from those manufacturers, for extended periods in your own rig ? I specifically said 'this isnt a thread about measurements' - Mauricio is the measurements nut. I'd be happier if you had even heard any of the 'upwards of 2-3k DACs' you seem to feel belong on the scrapheap.post #366 of 8784/1/12 at 1:41am
This is why I really only pay attention to people like Project 86 who have owned a LOT of kit and done extended listening with it (i.e. they don't review it after having it 3 days) before submitting a review. As he states, his reviews are just his opinion and to his tastes but I have more faith in this kind of review and find it easier to figure out what I want via it than someone reviewing something who has bought it as their first or second component. While I haven't found the former type of review for the M-DAC, I've owned anothe Sabre-based DAC briefly (a couple of weeks) and found it a clear step up over my previous DAC (realism of voices/instruments/depth of soundstage on good recordings etc) so... it's worth a pot.
The only thing is now, all this talk of the new Schiit DACs has turned my head, although the statement one won't be till the end of the year at least so I'm sure I can have a good innings with the M-DAC, lol. I just love DACs! My vice given I use active speakers and don't have to play the stereo amp game. In terms of buying and selling it's only a small loss each time and hey, it's a hobby. Some of my friends blow loads of money on drinking at the weekend, I only drink a little and concentrate on hi-fi lol.
Edited by Somnambulist - 4/1/12 at 1:43ampost #367 of 8784/1/12 at 2:25am
The upcoming Schiit DAC eschews Sabre. I wonder whether it will actually bring something new/better to the table. I mean, it's not like the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC-A is not already there at that price point...post #368 of 8784/1/12 at 2:37ampost #369 of 8784/1/12 at 7:57am
I am in the same boat. I've been researching and wanting to buy a DAC for over 2 years ! Other "toys" kept getting in the way of the DAC, but now is the right time for me and I don't really want to wait until the end of the year or longer to see what the Schiit statement will be about. The Anedio D2 is very high on my list of wants, but the MDAC is cheaper and said to be quite good indeed.
Last Friday I went in to a local shop and listened to the Audiolab 8200CD and 8200DQ to get a feel for the sound of ESS. Both those units apparently have the same DAC chips, but the MDAC is supposed to be "tweaked" to sound better, that's what I was told anyways. I compared both units agains each other, against a new TEAC DAC and the WeissD2 unit.
Bottom line, the Audiolab gear sounds very nice to me and in line with what others have said ie: detailed, excellent sound stage both in width and depth, excellent bass, great dynamics etc..I did however find the vocals somewhat recessed and overall mids slightly dark, but still very enjoyable. Of note is that with different cables, they sounded different from each other, but with the same cables they sounded exactly the same.
The WeissD2 was remarkable in that it reached deeper and pulled up more detail, more information, it extracted every bit of sound that was there. It was a little lighter in Bass than the AL units, but I sitll preferred the overall sound of the Weiss, I just don't have the budget for it !
The TEAC was decent for the price, but no where near the same SQ as the AL and obviously not even close to the WeissD2. But on a thight budget, it's woth a listen with other DACs in same price point.
One issue I have with the MDAC is availability !.. it's currently back ordered until mid May possibly longer.. and because they sell out even before they are in stock, there is no demo on the shelf to listen to. Like he told me, they are all sold before they even reach the store..so no need to have one out on the shelf at this point.
P.S has anyone seen any internal pictures of the MDAC ? I can't find any.. and it would be nice to see the insides..
Edited by Riker - 4/1/12 at 7:59ampost #370 of 8784/1/12 at 9:56amQuote:
I had this saved on my PC, I found it somewhere on the Internet. It's supposedly a pre-production unit but should be mostly identical.
post #371 of 8784/1/12 at 10:33am
Thanks so much !!
Do you know if this DAC is or will be hardware upgradable ? I've heard talk about firmware updates via USB but was wondering if it was hardware upgradable like I believe the Bifrost is.
Rikerpost #372 of 8784/1/12 at 10:35ampost #373 of 8784/1/12 at 12:51pm
The D18 is just a DAC, the M-DAC has the digital pre and headphone amp as well so naturally there's more stuff inside, although the power section is external. In terms of hardware upgrades I know the main one will be this M-PAX thing which is an external power supply the same form factor as the M-DAC which you plug in instead of the stock power brick thing. There is a list somewhere, and this is all Westlake stuff not Audiolab btw.post #374 of 8784/1/12 at 1:31pm
This is what we've been waiting for. Or at least I have.
M-DAC headphone amplifier compared to a four channel Beta22 using LCD2:post #375 of 8784/1/12 at 2:19pm
I have to agree that the headphone amp is surprisingly good with my JVC DX1000 and the T1 I had on loan, sounding nearly as good as my Little Dot MKVI+ but my HE-500 sounded noticeably better on the LD. The head amp is of great quality but doesn't seems to output must juice so might not be so good with low sensitivity cans.
- New Audiolab DAC
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