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Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC - Page 21

post #301 of 449

Considering one of the DC-1's advantages is not needing a DDC with a PSU to sound its best, these are great news. Not so long ago, in most cases S/PDIF would always beat the USB alternative in DACs. USB input stage technology has improved significantly lately. Thanks for the tip.

post #302 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musica Amantem View Post
 

Considering one of the DC-1's advantages is not needing a DDC with a PSU to sound its best, these are great news. Not so long ago, in most cases S/PDIF would always beat the USB alternative in DACs. USB input stage technology has improved significantly lately. Thanks for the tip.

I second that, DC-1 sounds same from SPDIF or USB

post #303 of 449

Has anyone tried  DAC-1 with the 600 ohm Beyer 880s as an amp? I kind of want a backup/SS amp.

post #304 of 449

How does it compare to Yulong D100 DAC?

post #305 of 449

I don't know about the Yulong D100, but it sounds very similar to the Yulong DA8 on that unit's sharp setting.

post #306 of 449

I'm considering the Stealth DC-1 again, but for a different purpose than last time. I ended up getting the DM Source and it has made for an excellent DAC, headphone amplifier, monitor controller and pre-amp. I simply love it's performance. However, my rig ended up gravitating towards my basement living room rather than the desktop setup I was originally going towards. The problem with the DM Source is that I have to run the wires all the way across my room to the sofa. Also, it doesn't take optical for PS3. I'll have to spend on an adapter on that.

 

So I am basically looking for a balanced DAC w/ preamp through remote control to control my powered monitors directly. This time around a remote is a must so I can keep the DAC on the TV stand and just control it with the remote and also eliminate any wires running across the room. I'm hoping the DC-1 will be able to fit it's role. The pricing and features on the DC-1 is quite attractive. I also don't care for the headphone output on the DC-1 as it will be strictly for powering speakers. 

 

So assuming it has a great built in DAC that can keep up with the DM Source, I'm looking for two things:

 

1) Pre-amp quality - The volume control knob on the DM Source is really good in being able to make very smooth changes and the SQ or FR never changes. It's very transparent and accurate. From what I've understood, the DC-1's pre-amp is also analog but controlled digitally? Would you guys say the DC-1 will work okay for controlling monitors with it's pre-amp without losing out on sound due to bad pre-amp?

 

2) Remote Control - I've heard that the 0.25 db increment can be a nuisance with either too little volume change or too much change (with it being pressed down). How has this been going for you guys? Is it a complete nuisance or something that you can get along with? As long as it's half decent, I might be ok with it. This won't be a deal killer I suppose unlike the #1 above of Pre-amp sound quality.

 

EDIT: Will also be using the USB later on for a Mac Mini potentially for use with TV.


Edited by Zoom25 - 4/16/14 at 5:35am
post #307 of 449

1) The DC-1 volume control is stepped analog, not in the digital domain like their older XDA-1 and XDA2.  See the specs on their site to confirm.

 

2) The .25 db steps are fine on my rather high-end system.

 

3)  I believe you'll love the DC-1, enough to relegate the DM Source to headphone amp duty.


Edited by boatheelmusic - 4/16/14 at 5:37am
post #308 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom25 View Post
 I'm looking for two things:

 

1) Pre-amp quality - The volume control knob on the DM Source is really good in being able to make very smooth changes and the SQ or FR never changes. It's very transparent and accurate. From what I've understood, the DC-1's pre-amp is also analog but controlled digitally? Would you guys say the DC-1 will work okay for controlling monitors with it's pre-amp without losing out on sound due to bad pre-amp?

 

2) Remote Control - I've heard that the 0.25 db increment can be a nuisance with either too little volume change or too much change (with it being pressed down). How has this been going for you guys? Is it a complete nuisance or something that you can get along with? As long as it's half decent, I might be ok with it. This won't be a deal killer I suppose unlike the #1 above of Pre-amp sound quality.

 

+1 with those questions.

 

Emotiva say RCA line out is 'consumer level'.  By that, do the mean 2.5V?

post #309 of 449

Again, check the specs - the RCA out drives any unbalanced line fine, in addition to the balanced out.

post #310 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

1) The DC-1 volume control is stepped analog, not in the digital domain like their older XDA-1 and ADA2.  See the specs on their site to confirm.

 

2) The .25 db steps are fine on my rather high-end system.

 

3)  I believe you'll love the DC-1, enough to relegate the DM Source to headphone amp duty.

 

I'm planning to move the DM Source back to a desktop setup for smaller monitors and also driving headphones. It does really well with my current headphones. I'm also planning to get either TH-900 or HD800. I've tried the HD800 so far with the Source and it it's a very lovely sound. Much more preferred over my previous planar setups.

post #311 of 449

Besides, 30 day no risk trial period.

post #312 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

Besides, 30 day no risk trial period.

Yeah, I might get it new depending on what else I have planned. Would prefer something locally in Canada. The CAD is really hurting us right now. For Americans it's just $500. For us we have to pay shipping, customs/duties, taxes and then the dollar conversion so it ends up being a lot more than the listed $500. Although I suppose it's still a decent price overall as there really isn't that much out there under 1k like the DC-1.

post #313 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

Again, check the specs - the RCA out drives any unbalanced line fine, in addition to the balanced out.

 

Dude, I did 'check the specs' but they don't say exactly what the unbalance output is in voltage.  It's probably 2.5V but I was wondering if anyone could confirm exactly.

post #314 of 449

FWIW, here's a comparison I recently did.....

 

Over the last several months, I have auditioned a number of DACs, seeking to establish a baseline for my Emotiva DC-1, with which I’ve been very pleased and believe it is very clearly a value leader.  My requirements include preamp capabilities, so a sampling of DAC/preamps were evaluated.

 

The PS Audio PWD II is the only contender that I feel bests the DC-1, and that’s at a sale price of $2K, 4x the Emo’s price of $500.  I’m keeping both!

 

I’ve posted some of this in pieces before, but have pulled this all together in one place  for those interested in my observations.  YMMV, IMHO, and other disclaimers apply.

 

Compared below are the DC-1, Oppo BDP-105, BMC Puredac, Cambridge Audio StreamMagic, the NAD M51 and the PS Audio PWD Mk II.

 

The components I used for these comparisons  include the Emotiva XPA-1’s (Gen 1 -  1,000 watts RMS into 4 ohms), run fully internally balanced, to Magneplanar 1.7’s setup with great care for optimal tonal balance and imaging.  Listening levels were about 80db at my listening spot in all cases.

 

Oppo BDP-105

 

I got the 105 thinking to upgrade my video experience and add DSD, 3D, 4K and Blu Ray Pure Audio capabilities, and thought using it as a DAC/preamp as well may be a reasonable solution for my system.  The 105 was run balanced.

 

My observations are a distillation of four pages of detailed listening notes, which taken together reflect my impressions.

 

I tried streaming MOG, redbook CD’s, 24/96 and 24/192 hi res downloads and Patricia Barber’s “Modern Cool” Pure Audio Blu Ray disc for my listening. And, while the degree of resolution was different in each of these cases, the differences between the 105 and the DC-1 seemed consistent on my listening samples, primarily acoustic jazz.

 

For USB, I checked the Audio Midi settings on my MacBook Air for each sample, which was run on battery for this evaluation to minimize electronic noise. Used this way, the MacBook Air, with an attached Thunderbolt drive makes for a very flexible media server – highly recommended!

 

Literally out of the cold box, the 105 sounded less transparent and “thicker” through the mids than the DC-1, with more bass and less extended highs. Thinking some warm-up was needed, I let the 105 spin a blu-ray pure audio disc for 24 hours. I’ve heard the 105 needs a break-in period of 200-500 hours, but felt that excessive.

 

Returning to my evaluation after this warm up period, I found the character of the 105 to be dramatically different. Now, my notes said very spacious, good depth, detailed, extended highs, good harmonics on guitar strings, more sibilance, more recessed upper mids.

 

Returning the DC-1 to my system, I was immediately struck by the difference in sound, and used these terms in my notes:

 Sweeter, more lifelike, less “sheen” around vocal edges, more presence, less sibilance on Diana Krall’s “Walk On By” at 24/96 via USB, less fatiguing, more transparent with a jaw dropping 3D quality, each instrument firmly placed in space, less diffuse, more of an emotional connection to the music, female voices rounder, more timbre to drums, more articulate bass with harmonics clearly audible, more palpable.

 

After these comparisons, I enlisted my wife’s help in listening to these differences – she was a piano major with an excellent ear. Her remarks were that the 105 was more “trebly”, and noted that everything had an electronic “sheen” compared to the DC-1. She felt that while the 105 sounded “exciting”, the DC-1 sounded like real musicians were in the room.

 

In summary, it’s as if the 105 emphasizes highs at the expense of upper mids, where the all-important female vocals reside. My wife agrees with this characterization as well.

 

Some other notes:

 

-On the BDP-105, there was a loud “snap” through the system when changing tunes on the computer through USB – very disturbing at 1,000 watts into my 4 ohm Maggies, and not observed using the DC-1.

 

-I missed the volume control and analog inputs on the DC-1 – no easy way to connect my turntable!

 

-The USB input on the 105 sounded much better than its Toslink input, while both were equally great on the DC-1.

 

-While both units use the LM4562 IC for audio output, they use different DAC chips. I understand that the 105 has changed their implementation of their Sabre 32 bit DAC chips so they are no longer run quad differential like the DC-1 and the older Oppo BDP-95.  

-I didn’t notice any issues with the 105’s 32-bit volume control, but prefer the thought of the DC-1’s  digitally controlled stepped analog control.

 

-The included wireless adapter with the 105 runs on the G band, outdated for my N-band wireless environment.

 

-I did like the full-size look of the BDP-105, but sound quality is my first priority.

 

BMC Puredac:

 

Very similar in character to the Oppo 105; both use Sabre dac chips.  As others have reported, there is a sheen with these chips that’s very noticeable and irritating to me in my system.  With the same loud pops when changing sample rates as the 105, immediately sent back.  The BMC CEO concurred with snapping issue………and conveyed it would be rectified.

 

Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6:

 

Sounded very similar to the DC-1, yet not quite as refined.

 

It added bluetooth, internet radio and wireless access to my audio files via Plex, but I already hard all that functionality via iTunes, Apple TV and Airport Express.  It uses dual Wolfson 8740’s, run in a differential configuration.

 

I concluded that $799 for looks alone wasn't so rational.  But great if you’re not in the Apple ecosystem and want to add these capabilities.

 

It is a superb buy at $799 compared to their new 851D digital preamp that, for $1500 does the same things except for the internet radio.

 

 

NAD M51:

In my experience, the M51 and Emo DC-1 have an essentially similar character - say, for example compared to the Sabres or Metrum Octave as extreme cases.

 

The M51 seems to extend the highs and lows a bit over the DC-1, but nothing excessive.  Also slightly wider but not as deep soundstage.

 

Bass on the DC-1 is more articulate but a little less powerful....more harmonics heard on string bass on the DC-1.

 

The M51 had a bit more air and sibilance, but less metallic cymbal shimmer than the DC1.  More sandpapery on the M51. Not excessive, but definitely there.

 

The DC1 is more "present" and less congested in the all important midrange.....not necessarily more forward, but clearer if that makes sense.  The M51 is a little "softer".

 

Features tradeoffs - HDMI vs analog inputs, full size chassis for the M51 and programmable display titles, headphone out and front panel volume control on the DC-1, great remote on the DC-1.

 

Each is easy to listen to and non-fatiguing, but I felt the DC-1 somehow conveyed the emotional content of music better.  Many moments where my head snapped up to pay attention to the music rather than drift off.....

 

For the 4x price differential, I think the DC-1 is the clear winner here, and this really says something given the uniformly excellent reviews for the M51.

 

Sent back the NAD for this value reason.

 

PS Audio PWD MK II

Sonic impressions

 

Extended, tight, articulate bass – string plucks and harmonics on string bass very apparent

 

Great leading edge attack on piano keys

 

Has at least the midrange clarity of Emo DC-1

 

Very wide and deep soundstage left me in wonder as I stared beyond the sides of the speakers as I listened.  Jaw dropping.

 

Extended highs w/o harshness – no sibilance like Sabre dacs, plenty of air.

 

Depth of detail amazing – many new details heard on recordings I’ve listened to hundreds of times over the past 20 + years.  For example, Ron Carter breathing/humming on Golden Striker album; damper pedals on Diana Krall albums.

 

No snaps or pops, occasional slight clicks when changing inputs

 

Neutral, extremely well balanced frequency response

 

Operating flexibility – Phase, Sample rate, and Filter choices all adjustable to fine tune sonics for different recordings.

 

Great dynamics – plenty of power when called for, yet subtle as sin.

 

Volume levels – 62 for 80db at listening position 11’ back.  PS Audio says bit truncation may begin at volume settings below 50, so no issues here for me.

 

User factors & Value drivers

 

User upgradeable firmware on SD card- V 2.4.3 installed at receipt.

 

Beautiful, full size case – elegance and heft.  20 lbs!

 

Made in USA

 

Programmable titles

 

Touch Screen

 

Autodimmer or off

 

White gloves and cotton bag– polished top

 

Can add PWD bridge for DLNA server streaming

 

Directstream ready (PS Audio’s new DSD DAC initiative )

 

Great value at this time- From $4K, reduced to $2K new for limited time, same as trade-in credit toward Directstream.

 

Overall – The PS Audio PWD Mk II retains Emo DC-1’s midrange clarity while extending highs and lows and increasing soundstage and dynamics – very, very impressive!

 

 

 
post #315 of 449

You won't find a better fit for your new needs at any price close to what you can get a DC-1 for these days.  Yeah, the volume is stepped in .25 dB increments, but most HT receivers are stepped in .5 dB increments, so the Emo is actually better than most receivers in that regard.  The DC-1 volume control is analog, so it is adjusting the voltage out -- at 0 dBs it is a nominal 2v, but like all of these DAC/amp makers, it isn't likely to be exactly 2v... however, at least with the Emo you can adjust it to taste.

 

I didn't use the remote much, but I can say that, like all Emo remotes, it is a hefty beast.  My guess is that you will get used to the feel of the controls, just like with any remote. 

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