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Audiolab M-DAC vs Asus Xonar Essence One

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

It is that time of year when the upgradeitis kicks in, and I need your input! Next up: DAC/Amp combo. I have narrowed it down to either the M-DAC or the Essence One. I might consider the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus or the Benchmark DAC1 as well. Here are my needs:

 

-One box solution: I know separate components for power supply, amp, dac, etc. can yield better bang for the buck, but the convenience and space-saving of a single box are ideal for me.

-Good DAC, good pre-amp, good headamp. This unit will be fed with USB or SPDIF from my desktop (Foobar in Wasapi). It will be used as a pre-amp for active studio monitors as well as the main amp for my headphones (Denon D5k's). In other words, I want a versatile unit, but I don't want a "weak point." e.g. "This is a DAC first with a headphone amp thrown in." It has to excel at all its functions. I do not plan to add a separate headamp at a later time.

-Less than $1000 budget.

-Transparency and functionality are the goals. Op-amp rolling is neat, but I will not be playing around with this. I am not looking to color the sound at all.

-Something that can drive my Denon's decently is all I need for now, but it's a bonus if the amp can also power something like LCD 2.0's for later cases of upgradeitis.

 

Please keep the showdown/recommendations to the units I have listed. Thanks head-fi!


Edited by seekadds - 11/12/12 at 10:51am
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 

I'm heavily leaning towards the M-DAC at this point. The Essence One seems nice, and I've gone through as much of this thread as I could, but it's mostly people talking about the op-amp rolling, which I am not interested in. I need more feedback on the other features/performance! 

 

Anyway, last bump for y'all to talk me out of the M-DAC. 

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