Originally Posted by TJ Max
I wondered how this DAC which cost 4x as much as the X-Fi HD could not sound better?
1) even with the Creative Labs X-Fi HD you've already hit the point of diminishing returns. You've hit the level of performance above which differences in measurements are mostly inaudible to human ears, and overall differences in sound are going to be mostly small nuances, no massive differences. Especially if you're not using an external headphone amplifier (the one in Teac is nothing special) and something more high end and revealing than the HD558.
2) Teac is an all in one device that focuses not only on sound quality, but also functionality. A lot of that x4 higher price goes not towards the DAC part of the device itself, but also implementing the balanced funciton, headphone amp part, better build quality, etc.
I've said it in the Asus STX thread. I compared a 200$ sound card that is the Asus Essence ST to a 900$ Musical Fidelity M1DAC, which is a standalone DAC, so all focus goes mainly towards sound. And I hear no difference between it and the ST, not even with extremely revealing headphones such as AKG K701 or Beyerdynamic DT880. I mean, there is some difference in tonality, MF has maybe 1-2db more bass, ST sounds more detailed on the other hands, etc. But to say that MF is worth 5 times more? No way. Its worth exactly the same in terms of performance + maybe 100$ because it comes in a nice heavy metal casing and has balanced outputs.