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Replacing my M-DAC - Page 3

post #31 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotISguy View Post

I am looking to buy the mdac to pair with my DSM3's. (upgrading from dacmagic) Do you connect your speakers via analogue or digital? I would like to go the digital route which should be no problem but I'm wondering if the mdac still processes the signal and adds "its own sound signature". (something I want) Or is it a purely passthrough channel.
 



 


Hi, I personally don't really know 100% as I used the analogue outputs. I would guess that it would not process the signal since the sabre chip would have to do so thus it would be an analogue signal right?

 

The manual says:

 

By default the optical and coaxial outputs are set to spdif. In this mode the m-dac outputs a re-clocked jitter attenuated signal to external dac.

 

Clock Lock - This provides a jitter free clock locked connection with compatible cd transports

 

Make with that what you will, I'm guessing it's just a passthrough but removes jitter so while it will produce a better sound I don't know if the sound will be the same as the one from the analogue outputs or not. Hey I'm not afraid to say that I'm probably the last person to be answering technical questions but maybe those snippets from the manual will help. If not hopefully somebody else will chime in and help you out soon.


Edited by Sleepaphobic - 2/24/12 at 7:29am
post #32 of 45

I don't know man, the build in hp out can't beat proper stand alone amp like my lyr but it's still the best build in amp I ever heard.

 

I will just suggest get some proper ext amp, lyr with philips sq!

 

Mav
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepaphobic View Post



If you are using it just as a DAC it has no weaknesses especially at that price IMO but the headphone out is not the greatest thing in the world. As I said before I'm not expecting 1 box to work wonders but was wondering if there was anything that does a better job as an all-in-one.

 

 



 

post #33 of 45
If your looking to for a higher end DAC that's not too outrageously expensive I would look into either the Audio-GD Reference 7.1 or the NAD M51. Both seem to offer better performance than their $2k price points suggest from what I've gathered.

Or, for all-in-ones that are equally able in the amp and dac sections, the new Audio-GD Reference 10 and NFB-20 seem to be safe bets as well. Both take design from their respective TOTL DACs and HP amps whereas the Reference 10 is PCM1704 based and the NFB-20 is Wolfson 8741 based. The Reference 10 sells for about $1800 and the NFB-20 for about $1400.

I was seriously considering the Reference 10 myself but now I'm leaning toward getting the M-DAC and pairing it with the new Bryston amp and using with T1 as I am trying to sell my LCD-2 currently. Granted, the Audio-GD and NAD recommendations are from what i've read and not from personal experience so take it FWIW. I have heard the Bryston though and enjoyed it very much.
Edited by JWahl - 4/23/12 at 8:34pm
post #34 of 45
Thread Starter 

Hey man thanks for the info I will check those out. I have blown most of my cash on other toys lately but I will defo look into those 2 DACs when I can.

post #35 of 45

In my opinion,the sq DAC differences is not as great using a diff amp . I have try ABing dac section of DAcport, Ultra Desktop Amp, Wyred 4 sound dac-2, ALO Solo dac and Peachtree Nova. There are some tonality diff between them and some has more detail esp the one with ess sabre 9008 or 9018 and wolfson are slighly warmer & less detail... but then the diff is not that great.. I mean you have to sit down and try to notice it, then aha... I hear that difference. Its even harder to notice with phone like LCD-2 and if someone creep up and swap the Dac, I doubt I will be able to notice it for the next 2 days..

 

I have also swap several dac playing through speaker (B&W 683) and I fail the blind test.. I could get it right some of the time with some tracks but boy... was its really hard to tell.. its like, ohh this sound like eerrr.. Dacport? or ALO SOLO? .. man it was hard to tell them apart. Its much much easier with HD800 (I still didn't get all right).

 

Of course I also went out and bought a cheap $45 walmart CD-player for the sake of experimenting and yes that is whole big differences in SQ. really huge. I will get it right 100% of the time with speaker or phones..but when I am approaching dedicated Dac in the $1K -$2K range.. its harder to tell them apart.

 

Its a different story for using diff amp.. Amp has great diff even in the $1-2K diff, I can immediately spot that diff within 20sec..

 

I would stick with M-DAC. infact I am going to get one pretty soon for my bedtime rig.. biggrin.gif. If you wanna sell, PM me..


Edited by Audiowood - 7/5/12 at 11:28am
post #36 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiowood View Post

In my opinion,the sq DAC differences is not as great using a diff amp . I have try ABing dac section of DAcport, Ultra Desktop Amp, Wyred 4 sound dac-2, ALO Solo dac and Peachtree Nova. There are some tonality diff between them and some has more detail esp the one with ess sabre 9008 or 9018 and wolfson are slighly warmer & less detail... but then the diff is not that great.. I mean you have to sit down and try to notice it, then aha... I hear that difference. Its even harder to notice with phone like LCD-2 and if someone creep up and swap the Dac, I doubt I will be able to notice it for the next 2 days..

 

I have also swap several dac playing through speaker (B&W 683) and I fail the blind test.. I could get it right some of the time with some tracks but boy... was its really hard to tell.. its like, ohh this sound like eerrr.. Dacport? or ALO SOLO? .. man it was hard to tell them apart. Its much much easier with HD800 (I still didn't get all right).

 

Of course I also went out and bought a cheap $45 walmart CD-player for the sake of experimenting and yes that is whole big differences in SQ. really huge. I will get it right 100% of the time with speaker or phones..but when I am approaching dedicated Dac in the $1K -$2K range.. its harder to tell them apart.

 

Its a different story for using diff amp.. Amp has great diff even in the $1-2K diff, I can immediately spot that diff within 20sec..

 

I would stick with M-DAC. infact I am going to get one pretty soon for my bedtime rig.. biggrin.gif. If you wanna sell, PM me..

hmmm that's weird coz for me it's usually the other way round. For sure the differences aren't as big but still fairly noticeable. I decided I'm going to keep the m-dac until I can afford smthg like the alpha or msb dac. 

post #37 of 45

Can anyone comment on the M-PAX please? This is the first time I've heard about it and cannot find any information about it. 

 

Exposure 2010s2 DAC also seems to be a good one for the money and the price is roughly the same. At least here it is.

post #38 of 45

 I used to have the Havana; very 'natural' sounding, but that is because I found it dull; not very dynamic and slightly rolled off treble.

I love my Rega DAC; full and dynamic, but very natural, not that 'digital' unnatural sharp sound.

BTW, I tried more DACs before the Rega, the Havana, Audio-GD Ref5 DSP and the Meier Stagedac, and despite that they should all sound the same theoretically, being roughtly in the same price class, in practice they sounded very different to my ears, if you define a big difference as the the gap between being able to listen for hours vs getting tired in 15 minutes.

post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by dura View Post

 I used to have the Havana; very 'natural' sounding, but that is because I found it dull; not very dynamic and slightly rolled off treble.

I love my Rega DAC; full and dynamic, but very natural, not that 'digital' unnatural sharp sound.

BTW, I tried more DACs before the Rega, the Havana, Audio-GD Ref5 DSP and the Meier Stagedac, and despite that they should all sound the same theoretically, being roughtly in the same price class, in practice they sounded very different to my ears, if you define a big difference as the the gap between being able to listen for hours vs getting tired in 15 minutes.

I owned a few Rega CDPs before, and they do products well. Very fond of Rega equipment in general.   Can you describe why you hear in the Rega DAC that you didn't hear in the others?

post #40 of 45

Difficult, it gives a very organic musical sound, not the last word in transparancy and detail but very natural, nothing mechanic at all.

Perhaps it is more what the other dacs did wrong: the Meier sounded 'digitally detailed' with an accent on the frequency extremes and tonally off in the mid like f.i.voices giving fatigue, the Havana was natural but dull loosing the musics edge which made it boring, the Audio-GD a good alrounder but slightly mechanic that let me lose interest.

All three machines (as well as the Touch and before that the squeezebox Classic 3 sans dac) never let me forget I was listening to electronics, with the Rega I just don't care; I can listen to it for hours, it is never sharp yet never dull, no fatigue, good tonal balance..it just doesn't make any unfogivable mistakes (except that 5 setting filter button that can drive you mad).


Edited by dura - 7/30/12 at 2:47pm
post #41 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by dura View Post

Difficult, it gives a very organic musical sound, not the last word in transparancy and detail but very natural, nothing mechanic at all.

Perhaps it is more what the other dacs did wrong: the Meier sounded 'digitally detailed' with an accent on the frequency extremes and tonally off in the mid like f.i.voices giving fatigue, the Havana was natural but dull loosing the musics edge which made it boring, the Audio-GD a good alrounder but slightly mechanic that let me lose interest.

All three machines (as well as the Touch and before that the squeezebox Classic 3 sans dac) never let me forget I was listening to electronics, with the Rega I just don't care; I can listen to it for hours, it is never sharp yet never dull, no fatigue, good tonal balance..it just doesn't make any unfogivable mistakes (except that 5 setting filter button that can drive you mad).


Glad you like your rega dac. Any thoughts on differences in bass between these dacs?


Edited by moj0 - 8/12/12 at 6:29pm
post #42 of 45

the Havana has a soft bass, the kind of undamped softness some tubes bring.

The Audio-GD is balanced in the bass, it does not stand out in any way.

The Rega might be a little bit too bassy, especially in filter #1, and the bass is slightly soft, but that does not stand in the way of the music.

The Meier had (on my speakerbased) system a fantastic bass; clearly deeper then the others, powerfull yet well damped.. 

post #43 of 45

The only other DAC/Amp combo i have heard is the Arcam rPac and the sound out of that was frankly the same as my Macbook Air headphone out. I really could not find any difference, but that was a £150 unit. Now the M-DAC is £600 frankly that is a lot of money if you are going to use it as just a DAC. I personally have felt disappointed listening to the M-DAC from the HD800. The sound is too forward, lacks detail and resolution in the upper frequency and the soundstage is narrow. I have been invested another £300 on a Meier Corda Jazz and that does help a bit with the fidelity but no where near as I would like it to be. Hence I have been advised on Head-fi by other members to go for a tube amplifier and plonk another £700 for the sound I really want. Now come on I have spent:

 

1) Sennheiser HD800 £1000

2) Audiolab M-DAC £600

3) Meier Corda Jazz £300

4) Various RCA and USB cables another £100

 

That is a total of £2000 and I am still not happy with the sound. Something is wrong here. Are our expectations from Headphone audio too high? 

post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zigy626 View Post

The only other DAC/Amp combo i have heard is the Arcam rPac and the sound out of that was frankly the same as my Macbook Air headphone out. I really could not find any difference, but that was a £150 unit. Now the M-DAC is £600 frankly that is a lot of money if you are going to use it as just a DAC. I personally have felt disappointed listening to the M-DAC from the HD800. The sound is too forward, lacks detail and resolution in the upper frequency and the soundstage is narrow. I have been invested another £300 on a Meier Corda Jazz and that does help a bit with the fidelity but no where near as I would like it to be. Hence I have been advised on Head-fi by other members to go for a tube amplifier and plonk another £700 for the sound I really want. Now come on I have spent:

 

1) Sennheiser HD800 £1000

2) Audiolab M-DAC £600

3) Meier Corda Jazz £300

4) Various RCA and USB cables another £100

 

That is a total of £2000 and I am still not happy with the sound. Something is wrong here. Are our expectations from Headphone audio too high? 

I think you should try an Auditor. Heard that setup and thought it was great. I use a V200 and it solves a lot of the problems for me except for the soundstage. 

post #45 of 45

The M-DAC and HD800 don't make for a particularly happy marriage. Still, your problem isn't the source but the amplifier. You won't get what you need from the Meier no matter what some folks here want to believe. The Auditor, like someone suggested, would be an improvement due to this amplifier's particularly high voltage output. Generally, I think your system is improperly matched and there are significant differences in level of performance your components can achieve. This is never a good idea because it inevitably leads to unsatisfaction and additional cost to remedy the problem.

 

I like the Meier portable amplifiers but their full size amplifiers are really a complete miss with the HD800. The end product of such a combination is unclear to me because the amplifiers don't build on the qualities of the headphones but rather try to in inflict their own character. Not in a very good way I might add because the character is inconsistent from genre to genre. Naim, for example, is a rather good example of how "character" is done the right way.

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