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Luxman DA-200 or W4S Dac-2 - Need help finding the right DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 49
Thread Starter 

Just carefully explained the whole situation to my lovely spouse ... you'll never guess which one she would like me to buy.

 

The Luxman ... rolleyes.gif

 

Then again when I ask her opinion on speakers, she favors a B&W 802 to an 804 as well ... the bigger the better it seems. Not that I'd ever want those 802's, far too expensive for what I would be using them for.

I just love listening with headphones.

 

However, there are conditions attached to the Luxman ... not having too much fun when I grab a beer with my best friend.

 beerchug.gif

 

Still trying to decide though, reading up on the Matrix.

post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleheadMay View Post

I'm in the market for a DAC to connect via USB or optical to my iMac.

I wonder if 192/24 will be better than 96/24 or if the quality of the DAC chip is more important.

Also, will both of these DAC connected via USB decode ALAC? That's a must for me.

And, what is the best connection method: optical or USB?

 

Not sure that I will find anyone that has heard both but maybe someone can tell me what the difference in chips used is since I know absolutely nothing about chips except that I prefer them salty. ;)

I believe the W4S uses an "ESS Reference audio (ES9018) 32 bit" and the Luxman uses " Burr-Brown PCM1792A" and how would these compare to the "Cirrus CS4398" used in my Marantz network player?

 

Recommendations for other quality DAC's in the €1000-€3000 range are welcome, as long as they can handle ALAC, have an USB and optical input and both RCA and XLR outputs.


In all honesty, using the headphone output, I didn't like the DA-200 when I tried it. Music sounded unnatural, but then, I'm extremely picky about the sound of pianos and violins which sound digital out of most DACs.

 

If you didn't already know, the DAC doesn't decode the files, the computer decodes the ALAC or whatever into a PCM digital signal and sends that to the DAC, so you don't have to be concerned about that side of things, only whether or not it will connect to your computer. This means it must have either a USB or optical input.  I'd recommend USB if buying a serious DAC.

 

What will you be using this DAC with? Your P-1u? Is there a reason you sold your Perfectwave DAC?

 

post #18 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info on the decoding Currawong. I more or less got to that conclusion but glad I see it confirmed. I don't suppose asynchronous USB works differently?

 

I don't care much about the headphone output of the DAC but don't mind having it if only it were to have a different flavor.

The DAC would be connected balanced to the P1-u with the option of connecting it unbalanced to another headphone amp. I have the HA5000 or HA5000ANV in mind for now.

It would be fed from an iMac via USB.

 

I see you tried the DA-200. How did you like the DAC part?

 

Concerning the PWD, not a bad word about the SQ.

I was living at an apartment at the time but now we moved and my setup changed.

There I had my speaker and headphone system both connected to the PWD.

Now I have my speaker system in one room and my headphone system with my computer, thus the need for two DAC's.

The main reason I sold the PWD though is that I needed it to be able to read ALAC via network streaming which had always been promised by PSAudio, but alas they didn't keep their promise. I preordered it long before it came out. Wasn't to happy with that, so I sold it.

Now I'm streaming via Airplay to the Marantz NA7004 for my speaker setup, not the best method since everything gets downsampled I believe, but I plan on connecting a MacBook via USB to the NA7004.

 

So, a separate system for speakers and headphones is what it will come down to, using a shared library of course.

post #19 of 49

That explains much. ALAC (or other file) decoding is only for network streaming (where the DAC acts as a computer in that case). Nothing of the sort happens using USB, optical or coax.

 

I think Airplay is limited to CD quality essentially, so if you have high-res files then they would be down-sampled.

post #20 of 49
Thread Starter 

I wonder if this scenario is possible for my speaker setup:

 

Place my iTunes library on a NAS. NAS needs to have a USB port to connect to a DAC.

But the NAS should have to do the ALAC decoding then.

Not possible? Or are there NAS that are able to do that?

post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleheadMay View Post

I wonder if this scenario is possible for my speaker setup:

 

Place my iTunes library on a NAS. NAS needs to have a USB port to connect to a DAC.

But the NAS should have to do the ALAC decoding then.

Not possible? Or are there NAS that are able to do that?

 

The part you may be missing here is where something shows you a list of songs, lets you pick the song, play it, skip forward or backwards, etc. This is what separates a PC or Network player from a pure NAS, which a network based storage device. There are products like the Transporter or the PerfectWave that are players + DACs that can stream from your NAS, but an average DAC does not incorporate the playback functionality, and hence will not work from a NAS alone.

post #22 of 49
Thread Starter 

I'll stick with the MacBook option then, since those network players can't play straight from iTunes I believe.

As far as I know they need some kind of DLNA/UpNp software.

post #23 of 49
Thread Starter 

Currawong, I just found your thread on Mac OSX players. 62 pages, will be a really nice read for tonight, :)

I was getting intereted in these anyway since I decided not to use network players and use Macs with DACs instead.

Thanks for the interesting post which I already read and for starting that whole thread.

 

I wonder though, is it better to use a separate app for ripping (Max, XLD) instead of ripping with iTunes when you want everything in ALAC anyway?

post #24 of 49

If the CD is new and not scratched, then iTunes with error correction is fine. The advantage of the better ripping programs is that they can re-scan sections with errors (from scratches or whatever) to get the best result. The issue is, error correction on CDs is only very basic and can't deal with even with moderate scratches. It was only designed to be good enough for playback to the point the player could just fudge around errors enough you wouldn't notice.

post #25 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I used to rip mostly with XLD lately but read that some of the players (from your thread) might have a problem reading those.

I do keep using it for converting hires FLAC though.

post #26 of 49
Thread Starter 

Well, I couldn't wait anymore. I decided on the Luxman after all.

The extra connectivity (line input) was something I will enjoy having as well.

I'll have it tomorrow afternoon and will be trying it out with the Aurvana Plus player.

post #27 of 49

Congratulations on the Luxman! That Onkyo DAC-1000 looks nice also but no analog-in. I'm kinda sorta in the market for a new DAC/Amp/Pre-amp myself and I'm curious why no one here mentioned the Benchmark DAC1 PRE because it seems to have the features you were looking for? 

post #28 of 49
Thread Starter 

Yep, it seems quite comparable connectivity wise.

post #29 of 49
Thread Starter 

Well, the dac is in da house.

Not going to comment much on the SQ since I've only heard it for a few hours and I have nothing to compare it with but the PWD from memory.

Same gain on XLR and RCA outputs, the PWD had much louder XLR outputs.

I don't find the phones out all that bad though, but they're certainly not a P1-u.

Quite a nice device I must say, but so tiny sitting on top of the P-1u.


Edited by AppleheadMay - 12/14/11 at 1:27pm
post #30 of 49
Thread Starter 

Maybe this DAC my be of interest to someone?

 

http://www.accusticarts.de/pages/en_tube-dac_ii.html

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