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Advice needed on a DAC upgrade - Page 4

post #46 of 99
Thread Starter 

Yes trying to get one,

missed out this week as I took my eye off the ball so looking out for another.

Is it best to go for the mk1 , mkii or mkiii.

As for the other dacs i'm off to have a look at then now :)

Cheers Colin

post #47 of 99

For the Meridian?  If there are different versions I'm not aware, but I could have sworn that there was only the one; Meridian 563.

post #48 of 99
Thread Starter 

well the one I was bidding on was billed as a mkii

perhaps he just had a heavy drugs problem :) lol

post #49 of 99
Thread Starter 

ps found some reviews and the Synthesis Matrix looks like a cracking DAC but dam it they all seem to say the bass depth isn't as good as solid state :/

post #50 of 99

Correct, it does not thunder to 20hz, those frequencies are amplified in solid state gear so that it seems to have such extension when the music itself does not.  The DAC has weight, which I believe all the reviews mention.  That's what counts, it does not amplify false frequencies it carries natural notes with weight. It smokes a Bel Canto 3.5...not sure how much solid state it gets. Feel free to PM with any questions you have.  

post #51 of 99
Thread Starter 


yes re read the reviews and you are exactly right.

Reviews aren't everything and at times can put you off for no good reason with un needed and misleading comments/info.

I would love to take a chance on the Synthesis Matrix but at the mo unless a used one comes up I'm out of luck.

Currently bidding on a Bel Canto DAC 3.5 mkII.

Can't see any 563's for love nor money at the mo. We;;ll there is one with with 566 upgrades what ever that means?


post #52 of 99

The 566 is just the 20bit successor to the 563, I've personally never heard it but I'm sure they sound very close if not exactly the same.  Improvements like this don't tend to make an absolutely jaw dropping difference.  I know the owner of Synthesis very well, that's how I ended up buying the DAC in the first place as I had to talk to him quite often as I'd never heard of the company nor could I find a retailer in the US.  So I might be able to work you a deal depending on what price you were looking for, ~3500 is about the going rate for those though.  If you end up with the Bel Canto 3.5 you will really enjoy it.  Make sure that it has the associated power supply as that allows for the greatest improvement in dynamic range.

post #53 of 99
Thread Starter 

Hi yes it has the power supply with it and to be honest was only going to consider it if it came out very cheap but reading back through the reviews I think it will be a little to clinical for me perhaps.

And i'm still mulling over the 566 now you've gone and bandied words around like deal & Synthesis in the same sentence!!!

Yes I would be interested in couple of  months in a deal on the Synthesis....

I have £1500 together at the moment which is about £2400 USD so i'll need to put a bit to it.

post #54 of 99

Is that what the reviews are saying haha?  I really didn't find the Bel Canto to be clinical at all, very smooth DAC if anything, it was just as lush if not lusher than the 563.  Not as lush as the Matrix though.  If the benchmark is the extreme in clinical DACs and the Audio Note is the other extreme the Bel Canto would sit halfway between neutral and the AN DAC.  It's really not clinical at all.  

post #55 of 99
Thread Starter 

Sorry got my wires crossed I was reading the reviews on the bryston BDA-1.

Bloody hell it must of been late last night lol.

The review on techradar of the matrix looks good


Could you ad a few comments on it as you have one I think you will be the better critic.

post #56 of 99
Thread Starter 
post #57 of 99

Those reviews seem a bit harsh haha, to be honest what I'm suggesting in terms of equipment will be so far the opposite of what you're currently using it will make your head spin.  The DAC you are using is going for the ultimate HiFi approach, extreme bass slam, high extension, detail retrieval, and frequency response.  It is over-engineered to achieve jaw dropping specs, not natural sound.  What I'm suggesting is a completely reversed approach, and I'd implore you to just give it a try, if you don't like it sell the DAC and try something else as this is what the hobby is all about anyway.  What you've got yourself is a world class HiFi machine, four stars in most reviews, critics raving....I abhor that equipment.  I want things with less than perfect reviews, rolled off highs, less bass slam, and just ok detail retrieval.  From owning over twenty DACs (that's just DACs not the equipment that surrounds it) I've come to realize that I just want things to sound normal.  Bryston, Northstar, Boulder, MBL, etc - they want specs.  I want things to sound like music, nothing more nothing less.  You don't need off the charts specs to achieve this.  The AN DAC 5 uses a DAC chip that's been out of production for years and only computes about 18bits to boot.  But it produces music, not sound.  I want emotion, soul, something that will move me and make my feet tap, something that will make me forget I'm listening to my stereo.  Critical listening is for the birds, get lost in your music.  


Now, as I said I really feel that it would be in your best interest to just try what I'm suggesting before you jump in head first.  The 563 will certainly give you a taste of the other side of the spectrum, the bel canto 3.5 much more so and the matrix is diving in head first.  What you are going to get by moving up the line is weight.  Even the highest of notes should carry weight, you should be able to feel them physically as even the smallest of things have presence.  That's what your Cyrus is not giving you, you hear the notes, but they've lost presence; they don't have any weight.  This weight is at the very heart of sound, it carries impact, 3D space, motion, emotion.  You don't get bass by diving into 20hz you get bass by portraying the thick physical impact of a kick drum and that has little to do with 20hz.  So the reviews you are reading won't really like the Matrix or AN DACs and rightfully so, they don't match today's audiophile sound signature.  They are heavy and rich, weighty and soulful, warm and non fatiguing.  My first all out system was top of the line Krell amps with Wilson watt puppies, backed by a Boulder DAC, and its associated transport.  I would sit and listen to it for a couple hours playing each song in search for bass impact, sparkling highs, crisp midrange, details I'd never heard before and after a while I started to notice that I would emit a sigh of relief after I turned it off.  It was great sounding but it took so much effort to listen to and my ears thanked me for turning it off.  My system now is completely different but exponentially more enjoyable.  I don't think I've turned it off all day and in fact I'm listening to it as I write this.  The Matrix will not force you to listen to it, it will not extract every last painful detail, it will play music as the artist intended it with all its flaws and all its beauty; it's represents a sonic immersion of the soul not a hearing test.  

Edited by colinharding - 10/11/12 at 4:36am
post #58 of 99
Thread Starter 

Do you know what,

After a listening session yesterday with my dac and reading the last paragraph of your post what you are saying is only now really hitting home woth me.

Because that is exactly how I FELT, LOADS OF DETAIL LOADS OF THIS AND THAT but i switched off it was a relief!!!

I am going to try your route as it is really making sense to me.

I suppose like a lot of people i have got caught up in the world of DATA AND DETAIL,

what ever I buy and how ever "good it sounds" there is always something missing, my lizzard brain niggerling at me telling me there is something missing....

Yes it's the bloody music, the enjoyment, being bathed in a blanket of sound and yes! Forgetting the equipment providing it.

OK so the decision is made to stop following the heard.

It seems more and more to me lately that these days the hifi world is more and more a money making device for the most part an real passion for sound and integrity is going out of the window.

Cables for example are the biggest farse and a liscense just to print Money!

Equipment is made from numbers and detail retrieval with the music taking second place.

I too want something with music that doesn't grate sound like a walty hag when I play my lesser cd's.

As you say something with weight, It occurs to me that is one of the main things that has spoilt my enjoyment or the lack of!

So what remains,

well I suppose as you suggest the sensible option is to sourse a meridian and go from there and if i'm sold jump in for a Matrix.

What do you thing a fair price for a meridian 563 or 566 would be?


post #59 of 99

Very good post, colinharding. I tend to agree all around, but particularly about the all-embracing search for detail. People yadder yadder on here through thread after thread about this or that phone having more detail than another, but I've no doubt at all that much of that detail comes from exaggerated, spiky treble. The fact is, live music is not all about detail. I'm into classical/orchestral music and infrequently atttend concerts, and there are two things that strike me each time I go: the lack of treble compared to most headphones, and the lack of detail. The balance of live music (at least, heard from a reasonable distance--if you want to sit among the instruments that's your business) is just very different from what we've come to accept as a good sounding headphone. We seem to be obsessed with articulating and separating every note so as to hear it with bell-like clarity, all at the expense of the flow of the music--the musicality of the music. I think it's time those who are seriously pursuing hi-fi as an ultimate goal (as opposed to those who just want a "fun phone", which is fine) stand back and take a hard look at the direction they're heading in. They might get a shock at how far they've strayed from the path.  

post #60 of 99
Thread Starter 

Another quick though colin what do you think of the Musical fidelity tri vista sacd that doubles as a dac.

One has come up with an ailing transport but I would just be interested in the dac side at the moment any ways and could fix the transport at a later date if necessary.

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