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What dac? Laptop optical out >> ??? >>> woo audio wa6 SE >> hd 650
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Not sure what connectivity you will need but I'll throw a couple suggestions your way. The Woo DAC is going to be quite bright and lean, nothing wrong with that, but it is not designed for a rich sound sig. Something else in the same price point would be an Audio Note DAC 2.1, which will blow the Woo out of the water by a far margin. It will also compliment your 650's quite well, I have the 3.1 and it is absolutely fantastic with the 650s. Here is a quick comparison with some current solid state gear. At such a price point I wouldn't be afraid to grab a deal off of audiogon, especially if you don't need a thousand input options. A lot of these DACs that are only a year old are being tossed because of the "input race" so something that was quite a large sum is now hugely discounted (assuming you don't need all the new inputs). Another DAC to keep in mind would be anything from the Bel Canto series. These are really top quality DACs that can compete with the really highend out there (5,000 and up) unlike a lot of the popular DACs floating around. Anyway, if you could specify what you really want in a DAC I think we could offer you some more advice.
If you want to keep your Woo's sound sig with no coloration from the DAC - and I think that is the way it is supposed to be - have a look at Metrum Acoustics Octave.
Edited by Szadzik - 7/10/12 at 7:38am
I personally would recommend something with USB, especially if you have the option of setting up a computer based rig. I recently bought a Peachtree iNova (refurb direct from Peachtree) to replace my Music Hall Mambo. Initially the iNova was connected to my Macbook Pro's optical out same as I had done with the Mambo. Then I started reading about programs like Aurirvana and "integer" DAC modes and such. I decided to try a USB cable I had lying around and the improvement over Toslink optical was startling. The USB trounced optical in so many ways that I now consider USB with "integer mode" a must-have feature for any DAC.
The DAC only version of the iNova is the iDAC and is also available as a refurb. I know it's over your budget but it is Stereophile "Class-A" rated.
The iPhone dock ought to work with an adapter cable, best check with Peachtree to be sure.
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