I might not be the one that this question is directed towards to, but I'm very satisfied with the m903. Not looking back :)
- 41 Posts. Joined 7/2011
- Location: Vorarlberg, Austria
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The W4S Dac2 is really good but I prefer the Eximus DP1 as it is warmer and more lush sounding to my ears with wider and deeper soundstage. The W4S may have the upper hand in the details department though. Still for the price, the W4S DAC2 is really good given a used one can be purchased for slightly above a grand.
I'm with you on this, however, the W4S DAC2 is really good value for half the price of the Eximus DP1. I wish April Music would release just a DAC section of the Eximus DP1 for around the 2K though, b/c I think their headphone module is slightly overrated to my ears.
I am in a similar situation and although I really like the Grace m903 I do not find use for all of its functionality. What would be awesome is to have the standalone DAC portion with volume controls on the RCA connectors and balanced connectors, but remove all of the excess headphone amp and monitoring.
The ASYNC DAC inside the Grace sounds great, but without specific measurements I have no idea whether something else would sound / measure better. I feed my Balanced Ultra Desktop Amp with the Grace m903 fed via USB and to me the combination is awesome. The headphone amp on the Grace is just so so. It lacks bass and for the cost I was surprised at how close it sounds if not identical to the O2+ODAC combo.
I do like how quiet the m903 is and how easy it is to control all of the outputs, but the headphone amp leaves much to be desired. If anyone has the m903 and is feeding it via USB I recommend a couple of things:
Keep the output volume from the PC at full including the player volume
USB 2 has fewer skips that USB 1
Choosing 24-bit bit depth improves the noise floor on the m903 ( Foobar2000 )
If feeding an amp keep the outputs on the m903 at 85 ( no hidden boost ) for volume to avoid clipping as I have detected some clipping above 85 into the BUDA I utilize.
I currently have the MF M1DAC-A, placed between a Rega Planet integrate and a Mira cd player. I feel it sounds much better when used as DAC/upsampler for the CD player (coaxial connect) than it does as a DAC for the computer (Usb connect). Is it only me?