Originally Posted by Yikes
Why is it that most people believe that the point of technological or performance diminishing returns happens to be magically within their spending limit?
That's because of non-indipendent reviewers offering giant-killers at any price... Giant-killers on sale for anyone's pockets! Yeaaah!!! Any "much" you spend, you get something that beats stuff costing ten times more.
The other way round: why you don't find anyone admitting that the returns started to diminish at the half of what they spent?
To be honest, I've met people with huge spending limits to be so happy with their new MF V-DAC in their no-compromise rig... Or people happy to amplify their 3,000+$ speakers with a T-amp... I've owned a T-amp and strongly repented of having not got something else within my spending limit and in the same price range!
When it comes to DACs, jitter reduction stages and sought-after analog output stages are needed for a really loyal playback. Then a good PSU can be welcome.
This stuff costs. C'est la vie.
By the way, nowadays "entry level" priced DAC give objectively very good results, since the technology implied in most DACs is extremely similar, at any price range, and they are all transparent enough to make us appreciate our music even at Hi-Res even if they're not the best solution available.
IMHO, if you don't need top-notch fully balanced impedance-matched rig, and/or you are not willing to spend time or money in configuring OS and SW to make your expenses worthy, an entry level unbalanced DAC could really be a definitive choice, in 2011.
It's also a matter of coupling with the rest of the rig. I've got an Arcam rDAC priced at 350€, I'd never dare to say it sounds much better than a 150€ Asus soundcard, ceteris paribus, without a proper test.
I chose the Arcam because I own a laptop and that little thing features the dCS USB 2.0 asynch input. But I am aware that when it comes to audio, the USB technology has flaws, and I'd never say that a PCI soundcard + DAC solution would sound worse, the same, or better, just because the reviewer said the dCS technology is "woah!". etcetera.
I was just saying that IMHO, most of the times it is common sense not to spend more than the professionals do, especially if there is no technological issue, it's just about a deltasigma chip put in a bad-looking aluminum case rather than in a jewel-box. At least I'm sure that the first solution will be soldered properly and that was designed to last.
Edited by Edoardo - 10/25/11 at 7:18am