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Best DACs with asynchronous 24/192 or higher USB and volume control? W4S DAC2? Up to $2000.

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

I am looking to upgrade from my Musical Fidelity M1 DAC A but have not found many options yet.

 

Quality USB implementation must be a priority on my DAC of choice. I know that there are plenty of expensive DACs out there with poor USB support and still only 16/44.

 

Volume control is preferred but not mandatory. With my current setup I am only able to turn my amp up to about 8 o'clock max. Maybe up to 9 o'clock on some older recordings and classical. I would like to be able to have more wiggle room on my amp, if possible.

 

Options?

 

The only one I know of after quick research is the W4S DAC2. What else may interest me? I am looking for a neutral or slightly warm sound. I would prefer to not get something leaning towards bright. Thanks!

post #2 of 51

Volume control, so a DAC/Amp?

 

I control the volume via my computer.

post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Volume control, so a DAC/Amp?

I control the volume via my computer.
No. I have a dedicated headphone amp. Some DACs have their own volume control. If I turn down the volume in foobar I will potentially lose some detail. Someone correct me if I am wrong about that.
post #4 of 51

Eximus DP-1?

post #5 of 51
post #6 of 51

NAD M51 fits the criteria.

post #7 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk View Post

NAD M51 fits the criteria.

That is definitely looking like a solid option. Reading reviews now.

That Fostex definitely interests me. Looks like it's very new so I'll have to see what the reviews say. Wish I could actually just try all these DACs out before buying.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post

Eximus DP-1?

Hmmm. Perhaps that is a bit too much. Unless they go much cheaper used. Will certainly consider it. I definitely still have plenty of videogames I can sell to get money. And perhaps if I like go of some of the drumming equipment I never use anymore. We'll see. Or just budget my money from work well.

 

Anyone have personal experience with any of these DACs? Thanks!

post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk View Post

NAD M51 fits the criteria.

x2. My fave that I have owned so far. Slight toss up with the Calyx 24/192 DAC, but that doesn't have volume, so it's out for you. The NAD's volume control is well beyond that of the W4S (yes I've owned it). It's detail retrevail and imaging are also better. The only plus for me with the W4S was that it takes up considerably less space on the rack. Otherwise in my opinion, all points go to the M51.
post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obzilla View Post


x2. My fave that I have owned so far. Slight toss up with the Calyx 24/192 DAC, but that doesn't have volume, so it's out for you. The NAD's volume control is well beyond that of the W4S (yes I've owned it). It's detail retrevail and imaging are also better. The only plus for me with the W4S was that it takes up considerably less space on the rack. Otherwise in my opinion, all points go to the M51.

Thanks. Any thoughts on the treble of both the DAC2 and M51? I'd prefer something that is not on the bright side of neutral. A lot of the music I listen to isn't of the best recording quality and contains sibilant vocals. Can't be sure whether or not my current DAC could be accentuating that as I have no other DACs to compare to. Perhaps something on the warmer side wouldn't be a bad thing.

post #10 of 51

is there a  particular reason you're read set on asynchronous? 

post #11 of 51
The NAD pulls all the detail out of your files, and up samples everything into next week. I have some poorer recordings as well, they did fine on both DACs, but these guys are approaching some high end ranks for sources, better in always equals better out. Most DACs in this price range will make that very apparent.

I don't have the W4S anymore so it's tough to say. The Calyx is definitely the mellowest (least aggressive treble) of the 3 for my ears, but again you are looking for digital preamp it sounds. So no go. Definitely go have a listen if you can. Though I really think you will find nothing shy of a change of source file and/or headphones will cure sibilance woes. A good DAC, which all of these are, just plays what's there in the recording.
post #12 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

is there a  particular reason you're read set on asynchronous? 

Hmm, I guess not. But I do want good USB implementation. The DAC will be connected to my laptop. No optical or coax output on it.

post #13 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obzilla View Post

The NAD pulls all the detail out of your files, and up samples everything into next week. I have some poorer recordings as well, they did fine on both DACs, but these guys are approaching some high end ranks for sources, better in always equals better out. Most DACs in this price range will make that very apparent.
I don't have the W4S anymore so it's tough to say. The Calyx is definitely the mellowest (least aggressive treble) of the 3 for my ears, but again you are looking for digital preamp it sounds. So no go. Definitely go have a listen if you can. Though I really think you will find nothing shy of a change of source file and/or headphones will cure sibilance woes. A good DAC, which all of these are, just plays what's there in the recording.

Thanks. Right now the M51 is looking most appealing. I think I may pick one up within the next month or two. I came across a review that does actually compare it to my current Musical Fidelity M1 DAC A. It does mention the M1 DAC being "prone to brightness" and not sounding pleasant on lower quality recordings. 

 

I do not expect any DAC to cure the sibilance in a poor recording. I just want one that isn't on the brighter side of neutral and potentially accentuating sibilance. That is all. I have gone through quite a few headphones recently before deciding that I really enjoy the colored sound of A-T headphones. Not the most technically proficient, but they just sound good to my ears. And I went ahead and got the matching HA5000 for my W5000 headphones. The AD2000 also remains while the W3000ANV is on its' way out. The Beyer T1 was the worst offender for me as far as sibilance.

post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenErik View Post
The Beyer T1 was the worst offender for me as far as sibilance.

 

Well that's currently my favorite phone, so I'm probably not as sensitive to it as you. So take my recommendations with a grain of salt.

post #15 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obzilla View Post

 

Well that's currently my favorite phone, so I'm probably not as sensitive to it as you. So take my recommendations with a grain of salt.

Perhaps not. Although the tubes may or may not help with the brightness. The only thing I didn't like about the T1 was the seemingly out of control treble. If I had used the T1 with a different setup maybe I would still have it.

 

Do you feel the M51's upscaling does a lot for redbook audio?

 

Open to more suggestions from anyone, but the M51 is looking most interesting at current. 

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