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I need some advice on a DAC for a "scalable" desktop rig

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi to all you head-fiers!
As you may have already guessed from the title, I'm here to get some advice on a "nice" DAC: this basically means I'm not looking for some hi-end/Summit-fi equipment (still), but I want to avoid annoying bottlenecks as I'd like to upgrade my desktop rig over time instead of selling all my equipment and start over again all the times. wink.gif
By now I'm interested in the AMP/DAC Beresford "Bushmaster" TC-7530DC which is known to be equipped with a Wolfson WM8524 and I've read some articles which state it's pretty analytical sounding... Surely it will be more analytical than my beloved Fiio E17 (it sports a Wolfson WM8740, amirite?). ^^
Before the discovery of the Bushmaster (weird name, I shoud say) I was thinking about the E17+E0k9 combo... Since the E17+L7 combo isn't suitable to drive the less efficient cans on the market I thought it could be a good idea to add another Fiio amplifier to my collection... Then I realized that it would be preferable to pair a less "colorful" DAC to a new stand-alone amp and this is where the Bushmaster came in. smily_headphones1.gif

Currently I've laid my eyes on the Little Dot MKIII and the Lake People 109 P as future purchases, so I need to know if my £150 DAC of choice is good enough to be paired with one of these amps.
I've planned on getting the Grado SR225i (I really liked the SR80i), the Fidelio X1, the M-100 and the HD-650 for now (no, not at once! XD). I know, all these cans but the Sennhs don't really require a powerhouse to be driven, but again... Who knows, maybe someday the extra power will come in handy. L3000.gif

My primary source is a 1TB iMac with the little help of a 1TB NAS streaming FLAC and ALAC 44.1khz-16bit files (I have some MP3s and AACs, too).

atm I'm using the Fiio E17 on different sources, back and forth between my TVs, my portable rig and my iMac. If I can get a good desktop amp and DAC in my bedroom I could use it on the iMac and my Viera TV. Yes, you guessed it again: if you have any suggestions, keep in mind that the DAC must have at least one digital input (TOSLINK). An USB input would be appreciated but it isn't a necessity.

Thank you for reading!
Edited by MrScratch - 9/20/12 at 3:19pm
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

Little update: after some research, I've come up with the TubeMagic D1. Since this baby seems to be appreciated by head-fiers and it's a bang-for-the-buck DAC at the same time, I thought it could be a good idea to give it a try. smily_headphones1.gif

The thing is, should I get the D2 (w/ stand-alone amp) instead? I know asynchronous USB is a cool thing, but I really loved the idea of the on-board amp mounted on the D1 (not sure if the 6.3mm|1/4" socket uses a separate solid state amplifier or not or whatever). Does anyone know about any technical differences between the two DACs (asynch USB and on-board amp aside) and does it really improves sound over the D1 significantly (when used with an ext amp obv.)?

Should I fall back to my previous choice?

Thank you in advance. :-)
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Bumpity bump?
post #4 of 17
Teac has a DtoA, UH-01 or something like that; there's also the Emotiva XDA-1. Both offer balanced and SE outputs, and a whole lot of inputs. Very versatile components. Emotiva costs less but is physically bigger and lacks a headphone output.

Personally I'd upgrade headphones first, then worry about upstream, but I understand your goal in building a solid framework to work up from. Hence suggesting components that are able to do SE and balanced, and take a whole mess of inputs.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you.
I really like the Teac A-H01 which can be even used as a stand-alone amplifier. Apparently it has a better DAC chip compared to the UD-H01, a bigger volume knob and even a remote as a plus.
Is it the DAC/AMP you are referring to?

EDIT: I noticed that the A-H01 doesn't have XLR balanced outputs. The UD-H01 should be my best choice, I suppose. biggrin.gif

It shouldn't be a problem with headphones since the Sennhs HD650 are on my wishlist already. I'll get them thanks to a nice deal, sooner or later! tongue.gif
Edited by MrScratch - 9/27/12 at 10:48am
post #6 of 17
UD-H01 is probably it, yes. It looks like a Mac Mini sort of, should be around $300-$400. There's seriously too many complicated model numbers out there for me to remember all of them lol. redface.gif
post #7 of 17

I think the Teac is a really fantastic recommendation. I'd also throw the Bifrost in the mix, as it's a very good performer and an extreme value.

post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post

I'd also throw the Bifrost in the mix

I knew I was forgetting something popular. I was originally thinking MHDT (mmmm PCM56P) but thought better of it because those cost *substantially* more, and nothing else was coming to mind. redface.gif
post #9 of 17

how does, generally speaking, a Wolfson compare to something like a SabreDAC?  Aren't you at another level when you use a Sabre with a desktop setup?

post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by garysohn View Post

how does, generally speaking, a Wolfson compare to something like a SabreDAC?  Aren't you at another level when you use a Sabre with a desktop setup?

Maybe, maybe not. It's more preferential than absolute - DtoA converters (I should say, *modern* DtoA converters) are all darned good these days (and have been for ages). So basically you're going to divide along capabilities (e.g. can it do the format(s) you want) and preferences. IME the differences are relatively subtle, and with TOTL modern designs (I mean TOTL from the actual IC makers) more or less non-existent (YMMV), so it's something I worry about relatively little as long as whatever converter (the complete hardware) can handle all of the things I need (I/O features, formats, size, etc).
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
USB Audio Class2 High-Speed Input from PC/Mac (Tenor 8802)
32-bit/192kHz Dual D/A Converters (BurrBrown PCM1795 x 2)
Up-conversion to 32bit/192kHz


Well, if it will produce some audible artefacts I'll have the pretext to upgrade the rig with a V800 or a Gungnir. biggrin.gif
Edited by MrScratch - 9/30/12 at 6:43am
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Double post madness!

Well, in the end... I've changed my mind... Again. wink.gif
So, I've (FINALLY!!) made up my mind: I've purchased a Schiit Bifrost and a LP G109. These should satisfy me and keep me happy for a while, now I'm ready to challenge (almost) all the headphones coming my way! biggrin.gif
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Little update:
The G109 arrived last week and it's awesome. Still waiting for my Bifrost, though. Audiophonics.fr is SLOOOOOOOOOW. frown.gif

When I ordered it (2 Oct.) the product was listed as "in stock", now they say I have to wait 15 additional days. mad.gif
post #14 of 17

Any update on your bifrost?

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
My order is still being processed, as I wrote before I'm still waiting (damn those 15 working days). mad.gif FUUUUUUUUUUUU~
I'll contact Audiophonics.fr next week (Schiit distributor in France) to get some info on my yearned Bifrost, I think they ordered my unit directly from the States... I'm sure they didn't have it in stock by now. frown.gif
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