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Comparison: M-DAC vs ZODIAC GOLD w/VOLTIKUS vs HEGEL HD20 - Page 3

post #31 of 48
I have the Zodiac Gold and I don't get the clicking via USB when songs start and end, only when adjusting the volume.
post #32 of 48

Thanks for the great review, enjoyed the good read up! I would agree with your assessments of the M-DAC, also about it sounding a bit dry at times with certain types of music. In my view its also one of the drawbacks of the headphone output. But with well recorded music it is really a good piece of kit and love the detail retrieval and presentation! Will see if I can get an audition of the Zodiac, sounds like a really excellent piece of kit.

post #33 of 48

Nice review!

Thanks for the time and trouble.

I am trying to find a Dac to upgrade from my Cyrus audio DAC+ with added off board Cyrus power supply for the analog section.

I really liked the sound of the Zodiac gold but it's a little out of My price range for a minute.

Have you ever heard the Cyrus/

or could you suggest any other Dacs to look out for

cheers

James

post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenorwegian View Post

FINAL WORDS
This is a comparison between 3 very good dacs. Please keep in mind that my impressions of each one is based on how I think it sounds in this very fine company only, NOT "this is how it sounds compared to everything else in the world". None of them are anywhere near bad. When I'm listening to any one of them over a period of time, none of them leaves me wanting anything. It's only when A/B'ing them the differences I've described above becomes apparant.

Bang for buck table:

  Zodiac Gold with Voltikus HEGEL HD20 AUDIOLAB M-DAC
US$ 3595 2000 970
Price % compared to most expensive (Zodiac) 100% 56% 27%
Sound points for DAC compared to best (Zodiac) 10 ? ?

I'm trying the get the bigger picture here....Considering that your top choice is the Zodiac dac and it's a 10, how would you rate the Hegel and Audiolab from 1 to 10?

: )

post #35 of 48

I never use the headphone output of M-DAC. I campared it to my AMP when I got my M-DAC, driving two full-size headphones, and I found my AMP is much better. So if you have a relatively high expectation of your headphones, just get a independent AMP for them.

post #36 of 48
Thank you very much for this very informative read. I've been waiting for a shoot out which included the MDAC for a very long time smily_headphones1.gif
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by alavan View Post

I never use the headphone output of M-DAC. I campared it to my AMP when I got my M-DAC, driving two full-size headphones, and I found my AMP is much better. So if you have a relatively high expectation of your headphones, just get a independent AMP for them.

Agreed. This is a excellent feature for those saving up for a proper desktop amp, but most desktop amps or the more powerful portable amps would do better.
post #38 of 48

This is a very well written review. I just want to remind people that none of these DACs were working at their best. This is a comparison of their ability through the USB port, and the signal source is a pc playing flac and mp3 files. It might be a whole different store if we compare them with a decent CD player, or with a nice USB interface, or using their XLR output. So a very nice review indeed, but I am afraid the conclusion is very limited...wink.gif


Edited by alavan - 10/23/12 at 12:28am
post #39 of 48

Thank you for the comparison.

 

One question...how long does the remote control's battery last for the Hegel 20...

post #40 of 48
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the very late reply to you all. I've missed that you've all posted here.

 

SMOOTHLONDONER: Sorry, the ones I've mentioned in the comparison are the only ones I've had any experience with.

 

MOJO: I wouldn't rank them like that. They're all good, they just do things differently, so go and try the one that has a sound signature closest to what you prefer.

 

ALAVAN: I respect that people have different opinions, but you're really taking BS. None of these dacs were working at their best? BS. This is a comparison of their ability through the USB port? Wrong. Might be a whole different story if we compare with a cd player? BS. How would that work? Most people can't tell the difference between a cd and a flac file, so how would a cd player totally change the results?

 

XYMORDOS: It all depends on how much you use it :) But I've replaced it (and others) with a logitech harmony universal remote, so I don't use the remote that came with the hd20.

post #41 of 48
Thread Starter 

Just a quick follow up of sorts... I replaced the asus xonar essence stx with a stello u3 (with the hegel hd20 as DAC and auralic taurus as headamp + audeze lcd-3) and going from the asus to the stello gave an overall brighter sound with noticeably more detail. It made me sell the xonar because it really impressed with all the added details. But after a while I got to regret selling the xonar because the brighter presentation of the stello made even the lcd-3's fatiguing to listen to. So after a while I bought another xonar and sold the stello u3.

 

And Ias far as MUSICAL FIDELITY M1 HPA vs AURALIC TAURUS goes: the taurus outclasses the M1. You're hearing more details, bass hits harder and there's a bigger soundstage with much more air around everything with the taurus. Overall sound signature of the taurus is slightly brighter than the M1, but it hasn't made anything fatiguing to listen to (LCD-3, HE-500, W1000X, D7100). The taurus has made me stop looking at other headamp's compleatly.

post #42 of 48

That's quite disappointing issue from such an expensive device :\

post #43 of 48
Thread Starter 

Another follow up of sorts...

 

I've had the fortune of borrowing a hegel hd25 (and hegel h300...lovely!) and the differences between HD20 and HD25 is that the HD25 has more details, more air, and sounds more "clear" than the HD20. Everything sounds more real coming from the hd25. Don't expect a revolution if you're going from an HD20 over to an HD25: it's more of an evolution. The HD25 has sadly the same butt-ugly chassis and piss-poor remote control as the HD20 (and the remote for the HD20 works on the HD25)

 

That beeing said, today's adivce is: don't borrow expencive stuff like this because you might like it.. a lot wink.gif

post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenorwegian View Post

ALAVAN: I respect that people have different opinions, but you're really taking BS. None of these dacs were working at their best? BS. This is a comparison of their ability through the USB port? Wrong. Might be a whole different story if we compare with a cd player? BS. How would that work? Most people can't tell the difference between a cd and a flac file, so how would a cd player totally change the results?

 

 

Why are you so mad? I don't understand... Anyone with some experience would know who is talking BS here. You are mad because you are wrong!

post #45 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by alavan View Post

Why are you so mad? I don't understand... Anyone with some experience would know who is talking BS here. You are mad because you are wrong!


Well, that's certainly well reasoned response and with the sound data and logic you've provided, how can I not be convinced? 

 

Except that I'm not.  He compared the different units using the same set up and used realistic scenarios.  Just because your preferences are different in no way invalidates what OP did here. You're just setting up a strawman argument that you assume is correct because your preferences are not OPs.

 

And your "anyone with some experience would know ..." line is rhetorically obnoxious ad hominem crap.  Might I suggest that for your next response, just stick your fingers in your ears and go "Nyah nyah" at the screen?  It's more mature than what you just wrote.

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