Originally Posted by Currawong
I have Anakchan's Invicta here (it was Radio_head's I think), so I plan to stack the Master 7, NFB-10ES2, Anedio D2 and Invicta up for a DAC-off. I'll plug them into a regular power strip with normal power cables as if I use the Power Plant they'll all sound too good!
The comments about the Benchmark DAC 2 are interesting, as in the shop when I heard it I thought the sound was a bit so-so. Given the HUGE differences in power supplies and my experience with the Power Plant, I can't help wondering if some of it wasn't down to being in a shop full of electronics.
Update: On DAC performance alone, so far I've compared all but the Master 7. All were compared using the built-in USB.
Audio-gd NFB-10ES2: While not harsh at all, the music sounds rather like it would look watched on a TV screen: Good and enjoyable but there is a realisation (with experience) that you're not listening to the "real thing".
Anedio D2: Impresses with detail and bass impact, but is forward and aggressive with vocals and the mid range.
Invicta: More of a dark, "effortless" sound that makes the NFB-10ES2 sound only 2-dimensional and the D2 sound harsh. The subtleties and depth of the music and instruments is far more apparent. An entire drum note, for example, can be heard clearly from the initial impact to the decay and echo across the studio, whereas that last bit of subtlety is lost with the D2 and just sounds like "WHACK" with nothing else on the NFB-10.
Update 2: Ok, here is where I really struggle to explain things: The Invicta vs. the Master 7.
I was struggling to try and discern the differences, if any, in micro-detail on the Chesky binaural Amber Rubarth album. With both you can pick out the sounds of the performers clothes moving and feel the deliberation with which they played each note. Both reach into the music to such a degree that a trained musician could easily evaluate their performance down to the tiniest movement. But what struck me switching back and forth between the two DACs is: I felt the emotion more in each note with the Master 7. I cannot explain that, it is just what I felt, along with the detailed impression of the performance.