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Advice needed on a DAC upgrade - Page 2

post #16 of 99

I really can't agree that: "Colored" equipments sounds real  All components are colored to a degree but markedly colored gear imposes a specific fingerprint between the music and the listener.  I've heard a number of systems voiced to be extremely euphonic and on some music it sounds great, however, with more extended listening to a broad variety of material you realize that strings and brass never have an edge or stridency even when they would in a live situation.  It can also work in the opposite direction where all recordings have a bleached, bright, hyper articulated quality.  My idea of a good system is one that gets out of the way as much as possible sounding full and rich when the music and recording call for it but also capable of being biting and aggressive when appropriate.  That isn't an unattainable goal although it can be difficult to obtain within real life budgetary constraints.
 

post #17 of 99

Sure, but I would also just as staunchly argue that equipment by todays standards does exactly one of two points you've mentioned.  It is the dichotomy of the two, not a duality.  The equipment is either wildly harsh and detail oriented or overly mushy and warm (I'm disregarding neutral all together as a neutral opinion is intrinsically not an opinion at all), realism has taken a backseat to aggressively tailored equipment.  You have to face the fact that the equipment is in the way, that's the crux of the entire issue and its purpose to boot.  It's in the way just as much as a guitar amp is in the way of a guitar's sound.  The recording itself preserves that sound as best it can, but it preserves it as inert one dimensional data.  Your equipment is tasked with bringing it back to life, if it doesn't have some sort of color, some sort of euphoric soul then the music sounds bland.  You've been given a canvas with a sketch on it, if you want to paint it neutrally with just one color then fine, just as well you can paint it all white and bright yellow for a harsh grating effect, but I prefer a pallet of expression.  Van Gogh didn't get there with a paint by numbers kit and nor should you, he observed his emotional responses to real life experiences and painted them with equal amounts of saturation.  Let you equipment get in the way, let it move you, after all; isn't that what music is made for?

post #18 of 99

Basically I disagree with almost everything you've written in the post above. We certainly aren't going to resolve this argument here since it has been going on for decades and probably has burned hotter in the 21st Century than was the case on the 1980s & '90s.  On one side you have the people who believe that audio should strive to come as close as possible to the sound of live music and that the reproduction chain should be as transparent and neutral as possible.  This was basically the position of John Crabbe back in the day when he ran Hi Fi News & Record Review, Peter Walker when ran Quad, J. Gordon Holt at Stereophile and Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound (circa 1980s).   On the other side of the equation, and feel free to correct me if you think I'm mischaracterizing the opposing stance, are the faction who believe that the system should sound emotionally appealing and that if that involves significant departures from neutral or accurate in coloration, distortion or frequency response so be it.  I'll happily stipulate that some of the gear that was going after accuracy was not pleasant to listen to, especially some of the older solid state gear, but I would argue that this has been more the exception than the rule especially since the late 1980s.  You really have to go out of your way to hunt for gear that is "wildly harsh".

 

I can't really contextualize this in the framework of headphone gear or computer servers since that part of the audio world is relatively new to me.  I have, however, been closely involved with the high end stereo scene for decades and I listen to a huge range of music both live and recorded.

 

PS I would argue that an electric guitar's amp is part of the instrument and as such cannot be "in the way of the guitar's sound" if the sound coming out of the amp's speaker(s) is the sound that the guitarist is after.


Edited by plantsman - 10/2/12 at 3:22am
post #19 of 99

Understandable, but you've created a contradictory argument.  If I'm striving to reproduce live music than coloured (which is a term that didn't exist until "bright" numbers satisfying equipment entered the field anyway) equipment is a necessity.  When is the last time you went to a concert that spanned an 'accurately transparent frequency range' from 20hz to 20khz?  I'll answer that for you, never.  So ascertaining neutral equipment that is transparent but also an accurate reproduction of live music is a perpendicular statement.  Musicians' instruments are coloured, they vibrate with distortion, the music doesn't come from a sealed vacuum it comes from buzzing equipment that generates an audible noise floor.  To find ideals like this you'd have to look at magazines that do not use the formula of increased advertising equating better reviews.  Joe Roberts would be an excellent example in his articles within Sound Practices.  Peter Qvortup of Audio Note is also a great example of engineers that look for sound rather than meeting exacting graph responses.  So yes, I'd agree with your stipulation that designers like these depart from neutral or accurate presentations to favor a coloured or soulful approach.  But if you're trying to reproduce a live music setting that is inaccurate to start with, you cannot fool your ears into believing it without conforming to its inherent approach.

 

Now, lets not kid ourselves, we need not look that far for gear that is "wildly harsh."  The benchmark DAC is an easy target as is most equipment produced today, tube or solid state (almost any KT88 amp will fit the bill).  The 80s solid state gear was predominantly fueled by a want to replicate "tube like sound", think Amber series 70, Sansui, even your Kenwood tuner (late 70s I think).  What I'll give the moniker of a paradigm shift, didn't occur until the late 80s and early 90s.  Around this time equipment specifications were published, more so than just their surface specifications, and consumers used these as guidelines and now rules by which to grade their components.  To meet more stringent guidelines a paradigm shift in musical taste had to occur; from a warm soulful, live sounding auditory reproduction to thin, accurate, transient reproduction.  Again, if that's what you like then by all means, but you need to hear both sides of the argument.  Plantsman, you, whether you like it or not, are on my side from what I can tell in your listed gear.  The Roksan Xexes is a very nice coloured, muiscal, dimensional turntable, I used to have one so I'm aware of its sonic characteristics.  You've exemplified these characteristics with your cartridge choice.  Granted that is your source and I've no idea what your actual transmission line is.  But from the two components you have listed, I'm not sure why you assert that you want your gear so neutral when it is, in fact, straying from the mark if anything.  I'm sure you have good ears if you've been to a great deal of concerts, I can tell by your source list, there's no need to categorize your gear as something that it isn't to fit the modern stereotype.   


Edited by colinharding - 10/2/12 at 5:09pm
post #20 of 99
Thread Starter 

Oh what have I started :)

post #21 of 99
Thread Starter 

What do people think of i019791 Audio GD SA-2 suggestion?

post #22 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothlondoner View Post

Oh what have I started :)

 

Just friendly discussion biggrin.gif Plantsman makes some really good points though and you should take his advice into consideration no less than you do mine.

 

I'm not sure you are going to get more than the two of us as far as 'audience participation' goes lol, the high end audio forum isn't the best place for this topic.  I realize that DAC is musical according to Kingwa but you have to take that with a grain of salt when his comparison is his other gear.  Everything he makes is very neutral sounding, not a lot of flavor.  The Ref 7 I had was bested by the Meridian 563.  

post #23 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothlondoner View Post

Hi Folks.

I'm looking to upgrade from my cyrus DACX+ which I use with a cyrus external power supply also.

I have been considering Chinese alternatives to get more for my money.

DAC@S Ive been looking at include 

Lite DAC 68 (tube anologue stage)

Lite DAC 83

Monarchy Audio NM24

Wired for sound DAC-2 (TAS210)

I'm considering new & second hand so I'd be open you DACS from any where I just want to better what I have.

I'm Running the DAC in to Beyerdynamics A1 connected to the Beyerdynamics T1 headphones.

Also Into My Amplifier an AVI S21Lab Series Intergrated Connected to a pair of Spendor A6's.

All units connected with quality cabling.

Any suggestions, reviews & experiences greatly appreciated

Well I used to own the Beyer A1 and Beyer T1 and my DAC of choice with them is the Benchmark DAC1. I liked how it sounded, and a used DAC1 is not hard to find at $800. Wyred for sound makes some good ones too, but look into Schiit Gungnir and Audio-GD DAC's. You really do have a good budget, and those T1's will have a noticeable difference when you scale up your DAC.

 

 

 

Thomas

post #24 of 99

What about the new Woo-Audio DAC? It's been out for a while but no one ever spoke about it...

post #25 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xymordos View Post

What about the new Woo-Audio DAC? It's been out for a while but no one ever spoke about it...

Not heard much about the Woo DAC, I'll look it up right now! I'm very interested......DAMN YOU MY WALLET IS CRYING!

post #26 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xymordos View Post

What about the new Woo-Audio DAC? It's been out for a while but no one ever spoke about it...

 

Looks great but it's bright and thin sounding, I listened to it through a Woo WES Maxed with 007, 009 Stax.

post #27 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by colinharding View Post

 

Looks great but it's bright and thin sounding, I listened to it through a Woo WES Maxed with 007, 009 Stax.

Aww....I guess it was not meant to be. I plan to upgrade my 160D and just use the amp part of my Burson amp. My LCD-2 need a external DAC lol. 

post #28 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post

Aww....I guess it was not meant to be. I plan to upgrade my 160D and just use the amp part of my Burson amp. My LCD-2 need a external DAC lol. 

 

Shouldn't you be thanking me lol I just saved you wallet!!  Go with a Bel Canto DAC 2.5 for your "external DAC" it is a really smooth, sweet sounding DAC with great dynamics and three dimensionality.  If you really want to make your wallet hurt upgrade to the 3.5 with VB, that's a really nice DAC.  

post #29 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by colinharding View Post

 

Shouldn't you be thanking me lol I just saved you wallet!!  Go with a Bel Canto DAC 2.5 for your "external DAC" it is a really smooth, sweet sounding DAC with great dynamics and three dimensionality.  If you really want to make your wallet hurt upgrade to the 3.5 with VB, that's a really nice DAC.  

Will do, I'm liking the review at 6moons, but it'll take me a bit of saving before I go and spend $1950, don't want to hear the nagging from you know who about "wasting money" (IMO jewelry is a waste not Hi-Fi). beyersmile.png

 

 

Thomas


Edited by vampire5003 - 10/3/12 at 9:08am
post #30 of 99

Bright and Thin eh? I see! Thanks for saving my wallet :D

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