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Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC - Page 19

post #271 of 449

PRE-AMP OR STRAIGHT THROUGH ?

 

I use my Dac-1 out to my Crack and my HD 600. After 2 months I'm still very happy it. Most of the time Ive been running it with the volume "fixed" and adjusting small volume changes with the Crack. This morning, after 2 months I finally unpacked the remote and activated the batteries, so for the last hour I've been running the Dac at -20db, "variable" and using the remote to adjust volume ( usually about +3). Can't really hear difference in SQ.  Just wondering what others do! Is one way better then the other?

post #272 of 449

Probably most accurate in your case to run the DAC at "fixed"  (0db)  output, and adjust the volume on your HP amp.

 

I drive my 1KW amps and Magneplanar 1.7's directly by the DC-1, so I use variable - no preamp stage outside the DAC.

post #273 of 449

Boatheelmusic,

 

I would be very interested in your take about the DC-1 used as a DAC and as a Preamplifier, with loudspeakers. I plan to do the same but I'm not sure if the DAC + Preamp signal offers a level of sound quality comparable to something like the Concero or Yulong D18 which are focused on only the DAC job. I want to make sure it would be a significant step up from my HRT MS II+ and that the Preamp function does not hinder the DAC's sound quality. I guess it is the DC-1's low price that makes me doubt. Any comment would be greatly appreciated.

post #274 of 449

Glad to.

 

For the DAC:

 

The DC-1 uses TWO AD 1955 chips in dual differential mode for astonishing specs - see the Audio Precision reports on the DC-1 page at Emo's site.  Over 200 pages of detailed test results!

 

These are the same DAC chips used in the brand new Cambridge Audio 851D, selling for $1,500 - they call them the Cadillac of dacs.

 

For SQ, I extensively compared the DC-1 to the ESS Sabre 9018 (as used in the Oppo BDP-105), the Sabre 9016 used in the BMC Puredac, and the Wolfson 8740 used in Cambridge Audio's Stream Magic 6 as well as the PS Audio Digital Link III.

 

In each case, on my very highly resolving system, the DC-1 had none of the sibilance the others exhibited, at no loss of detail.  Great bass, reflecting the large toroidal transformer they use.

 

For digital sources, I use my Macbook Air (unplugged from the wall) for Hi-res files up to 192 into the DC-1's USB input, an Apple Airport Express through toslink for streaming MOG from my iPad or iPhone, my TV out into the Coax input and my blu-ray player into the BNC input (through a coax to BNC adapter).  All work flawlessly -no distortion, noise, clicks or pops.

 

I connect my Thorens turntable through a phono preamp into the analog ins, and connect my powered subwoofer through the analog outs.  Again, all good.

 

The remote is an extremely well made chunk of aluminum that gets the job done.  A remote is a must have for me.

 

I'm not  primarily a headphone guy, instead preferring to listen to my Magneplanars in my rather large listening space, so can't comment too much there except to say that my Sennheiser HD-600's sound great to me!  I will say that the BUF-634 analog buffers are used in other high-end HP amps.....

 

I originally used the DC-1 through a preamp, but quickly realized I didn't need it with the DC-1's capabilities.  Sold.

 

By way of background, I've been at this for over 40 years, and have recently owned very high-end components, including Balanced Audio Technology, Audio Research and Dynaudio components.

 

For me, the combination of performance, features, price, 5 year warranty and 30 day no questions return policy can't be beat. I've tried, but have concluded that you'd need to spend over $1.8K to get more overall, including the Benchmark, Grace or NAD Dacs.  No DSD, but I'm not interested!

 

At the Emo site, you will find a forum that has over 60 pages of user experiences with the DC-1.

 

A no brainer, IMO.

 

Of course, YMMV, IMHO, and maybe even WTF!

 

Bill

post #275 of 449
post #276 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post

Probably most accurate in your case to run the DAC at "fixed"  (0db)  output, and adjust the volume on your HP amp.

I drive my 1KW amps and Magneplanar 1.7's directly by the DC-1, so I use variable - no preamp stage outside the DAC.
That was my feeling even though I can't hear a difference. I can't imagine what a better Dac then the Emotiva would sound like!
post #277 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musica Amantem View Post
 

Boatheelmusic,

 

I would be very interested in your take about the DC-1 used as a DAC and as a Preamplifier, with loudspeakers. I plan to do the same but I'm not sure if the DAC + Preamp signal offers a level of sound quality comparable to something like the Concero or Yulong D18 which are focused on only the DAC job. I want to make sure it would be a significant step up from my HRT MS II+ and that the Preamp function does not hinder the DAC's sound quality. I guess it is the DC-1's low price that makes me doubt. Any comment would be greatly appreciated.


I haven't heard the Musicstreamer, but I did directly compare the Emo to the Concero and Yulong DA8.  Side by side, level-matched, quick switching -- and I could not tell the difference between the Emo and the Concero. 

 

The Yulong also sounded like the other two (and many others, including the Benchmark DAC 2 and NAD M51) with one of its filters, and sounded almost the same as the Metrum Octave using its other filter.  That ability to sound like two different, but excellent, DACs, plus its DSD capabilities and quality HP out, led me to keep the Yulong, even though it cost more than the Emo or Concero.  But if you have no interest in DSD or using the HP outs, and you just want an excellent-sounding DAC with (or without) analog pre-amp capabilities, the Emo is a bargain.


Edited by Gary in MD - 2/17/14 at 8:49am
post #278 of 449

Thank you so much for the thorough reply, I really appreciate it. Will probably get this one.

post #279 of 449

Again, thanks to both of you (Boatheelmusic and Gary in MD) for the great insights. I´m convinced. I couldn't believe I could get a good DAC and Preamp at this price! 

post #280 of 449
No problem, and no risk!

Look forward to your review!

Bill
post #281 of 449

Are any people who own this using it as both a dac and headphone amp. If so I would be real interested in how the amp section performs. The main thing that worries me is I have both some high (300) and low (16) impedance headphones and I am hoping the amp would be able to handle both.

post #282 of 449

I use this dac with HD 600 and a Crack amp. The headphone amp is o.k. I guess but in a deferent  league then the Crack. Why have expensive phones with a great DAC and so-so amp? Just my 2 cents.

post #283 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordicai View Post
 

I use this dac with HD 600 and a Crack amp. The headphone amp is o.k. I guess but in a deferent  league then the Crack. Why have expensive phones with a great DAC and so-so amp? Just my 2 cents.


I could play devils advocate here and say why put a so so amp in a great dac. But you answered my question. The only dac amp combo I have heard anything good about is the Concero HP. They say the amp in that isn't half bad at all.

post #284 of 449

I don't think there is an amp at any price that will make 600/650 sound better then a Crack. They put a so so amp in the DC1 so it will be bought by people like you who want a DAC with an amp built. It's so-so amp because it's a fabulous 24/192 Dac with a great pre-amp, rca in/rca analog out,coaxial,usb , optical, xlr outs for speakers, remote control, built in power supply,well built with good components  and sells for $500. I'm pretty sure the Concerto has a better amp though.

post #285 of 449

Just one more question: Is the USB input stage good enough compared to the other digital input options in the DC-1? I could always save up for a quality DDC later on if the USB is not that good, but I rather not.

 

Finally, what is the level of fidelity in the preamp section? I definitely plan to use it to 'ride the gain' with my integrated tube amp, but it has to be 'transparent' to make it work.

 

Thanks very much for your thoughts.

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