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Tearing my hair out over DACs! - Page 3

post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post

What about the Bifrost with Uber Analog and Gen2 USB for $519?

I enjoy mine, it's very fun sounding. The only thing is if your budget extends to the $1500 mark you might as well get a better DAC. Regardless, look at Audio-GD as well, I'd recommend the Sabre 9018 chip if you go the Audio-GD route smily_headphones1.gif

PS: Not that it's relevant but I'm selling my M^3 amp, you may like it smily_headphones1.gif
post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post


I enjoy mine, it's very fun sounding. The only thing is if your budget extends to the $1500 mark you might as well get a better DAC. Regardless, look at Audio-GD as well, I'd recommend the Sabre 9018 chip if you go the Audio-GD route smily_headphones1.gif

PS: Not that it's relevant but I'm selling my M^3 amp, you may like it smily_headphones1.gif

Yulong D18 is the best Sabre DAC under $1k IMO. 

post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

Yulong D18 is the best Sabre DAC under $1k IMO. 

Interesting....
post #34 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

I think the models that keep coming back are those listed below:

 

Peachtree DAC-ITx ($499 US)

Concero HD (Bundle - $850 US)

Schiit Gungnir with USB Gen2 ($850 US)

Wyred4Sound DAC2 DSD ($1599 USD)


I'd put this one http://www.head-fi.org/t/780385/gustard-x20-dac as the no1 candidate ...  ~$800 and a lot of super reviews.

 

Another one http://www.head-fi.org/t/598365/eastern-electric-minimax-plus ...  a lot of flexibility/features,  very good SQ OOTB and great if you are willing to do a bit of diy (very simple opamps & tubes replacement). Not sure if it's made anymore, should be about $700 second hand.  The new model http://www.eeaudio.com/minimax-dac-supreme.htm looks very good too for about $1300

 

A similar one http://www.head-fi.org/t/745032/lks-audio-mh-da003 ...  ~$1100,  very good OOTB and with some DIY skills it can get into the amazing league.

 

A few reviews in those threads did put both no1 and no3 (modded) above the $2200 headfi hype-dac (iggy).


Edited by prot - 4/8/16 at 2:38am
post #35 of 52
Interesting discussion at the right time. I (as well as many others) are looking at dacs in that range $500-1500. Its good to have a bit of up to date across board opinions here. I am curious though that noone has mentioned any of the PCM1704 DACs/R2R DACs, or even NOS or tube dacs if you are looking for slightly warm.

Actually, remembering back to hearing a lot of Naim kit, I believe all the better naim dacs used PCM 1704 chips R2R. I remember they were focused on mids and bass, not overly bright, but cost around 2500. If I remember correct that is;) With the external power sources we are talking serious money though;) Naim gear has that anologue feeling to it and might be a good idea to not mess up the synergy for sure, especially if you already invested in naim gear that usually specializes in dynamic differentiation, structure and rhythm, you should feed it a dac of similar characteristics. Else why did you get Naim if that is not what you are looking for???

I myself am looking for a DAC and like the look of the Audio Gd's build solidness, but have not heard the DAC 19 ($800) 2xPCM1704UK R2R and was wondering how that compared to a yulong d18 or a gustard x20, or even against a NFB 29H for that matter. Seems like a solid contender, but the Sabre chips are definitely cheaper. Has anyone heard the naim TOTL and the AudioGD DAC19 and can comment on them if they are similar?

I have heard quite a few highend dacs at shows but want something for the office and have been surprised at how close, especially the Chinese dacs have come recently. Schiit I have only heard the Bifrost Multibit, which was good, but I would like something a bit better as well.

Europe has quite a different availability, it is much, much easier to listen to a Total dac than a Schiit Gungir for example and that would be the DAC to rate almost all DACs IMO, but again we go into very diminishing returns. For me the most important thing is that the magic, excitement and soul of the music come over well, PRAT and good rendering of vocals.

Cheers WB
post #36 of 52

I subscribe to the KISS principal. Buy a Schiit Modi 2 U and live happily ever after.

post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Rick View Post

I subscribe to the KISS principal. Buy a Schiit Modi 2 U and live happily ever after.


 



Ah yes to have such innocent ears again;) Would save a huge amount. And in the end you can have serious fun without. Just when you have people with good ears over that will not work, well at least for speakers;)

Cheers
WB
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by WB2016 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Rick View Post
 

I subscribe to the KISS principal. Buy a Schiit Modi 2 U and live happily ever after.

 



Ah yes to have such innocent ears again;) Would save a huge amount. And in the end you can have serious fun without. Just when you have people with good ears over that will not work, well at least for speakers;)

Cheers
WB

You might be pleasantly surprised.  :wink_face:

post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Yulong D18 is the best Sabre DAC under $1k IMO. 

I briefly owned the DA8 which is a step up from the D18 and didn't like its sound signature all that much.

 

As previously mentioned by prot I would have thought the Gustard X20, Minimax Supreme and LKS to be more interesting. Then, moving away from ESS chips, there's the Gungnir Multibit or ''Gumby'' that draws a lot of positive comments. Then moving up in price there's the Ayre Codex.

 

With the exception of the Minimax Supreme (already own the original Minimax) these are the DACs I'm currently looking at. I'll probably be bundling my choice with a W4S reclocker.

post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by WB2016 View Post

Interesting discussion at the right time. I (as well as many others) are looking at dacs in that range $500-1500. Its good to have a bit of up to date across board opinions here. I am curious though that noone has mentioned any of the PCM1704 DACs/R2R DACs, or even NOS or tube dacs if you are looking for slightly warm.

Actually, remembering back to hearing a lot of Naim kit, I believe all the better naim dacs used PCM 1704 chips R2R. I remember they were focused on mids and bass, not overly bright, but cost around 2500. If I remember correct that is;) With the external power sources we are talking serious money though;) Naim gear has that anologue feeling to it and might be a good idea to not mess up the synergy for sure, especially if you already invested in naim gear that usually specializes in dynamic differentiation, structure and rhythm, you should feed it a dac of similar characteristics. Else why did you get Naim if that is not what you are looking for???

I myself am looking for a DAC and like the look of the Audio Gd's build solidness, but have not heard the DAC 19 ($800) 2xPCM1704UK R2R and was wondering how that compared to a yulong d18 or a gustard x20, or even against a NFB 29H for that matter. Seems like a solid contender, but the Sabre chips are definitely cheaper. Has anyone heard the naim TOTL and the AudioGD DAC19 and can comment on them if they are similar?

I have heard quite a few highend dacs at shows but want something for the office and have been surprised at how close, especially the Chinese dacs have come recently. Schiit I have only heard the Bifrost Multibit, which was good, but I would like something a bit better as well.

Europe has quite a different availability, it is much, much easier to listen to a Total dac than a Schiit Gungir for example and that would be the DAC to rate almost all DACs IMO, but again we go into very diminishing returns. For me the most important thing is that the magic, excitement and soul of the music come over well, PRAT and good rendering of vocals.

Cheers WB

 

I think that the reason you don't see much mention of 1704 DACs is that not a lot of people have heard them/owned them for an extended period. They tended to be expensive in the past, when engineered well, because they were/are very demanding of their implementation. I have heard TOTL Naim DACs and they are nice. At the time, I was using a Marantz CD7 and then a SONY SCD-1. I have heard Sabre DACs, including tweaked designs, but they just don't sound natural to my ears. It would be cheaper for me if they did.

 

Audio-gd are famous among those looking for ultra-fi at 'affordable' pricing, and for their devotion to the 1704 chipset. When I bought my (4x) 1704 DAC, I did consider their line (Master 7 in fact). As it happens, I went for the Lite Audio DAC 83 and LT ONE transport for two main reasons. Firstly, the Lite transport is a better design, I believe, than the one Audio-gd was offering. Their I2S protocol, and especially their pulse transformer design for signal connections is similar to concepts you might find on Audio Note UK's high end DACs and transports (which I can't afford).

 

Secondly, I like the design of the output stage of the DAC 83. The output transistors are the same (older/semi-vintage) as those used in Audio Innovations Alto amplifier of many years ago. As you'll probably know, Audio Innovations were famous for the tube/valve designs. Coincidentally, Peter Qvortrup, who helped form Audio Innovations went on to establish the Audio Note UK brand. There are also a few tricks to the filtering stages of the DAC 83 which seem to be based on a few ultra-fi ideas floating around some years ago, for DIY 1704 DACs.

 

I still keep a couple of Cambridge Audio CD3 players around (4x Philips TDA1541A in the digital section, Philips transport). However, there are a few DAC83s left, some available on eBay. That would be my highest recommendation for a DAC up to $10k. They can be had, new, for $1.5k or lower, if you make an offer. Here's a review of the DAC83 (not Darko) that may interest you:

 

http://www.thresholdlovers.com/articles.php?lng=en&pg=1685

 

The only other DAC of interest to me at the moment, is the EC Designs Mosaic DAC, the T24. But I want to hear that in a few systems first.


Edited by jusbe - 4/12/16 at 11:27pm
post #41 of 52

I was with the school of believers that all dacs under 2K sounded all the same. That was when I had a pair of Philips X2 headphones, I brought it with me to audio shop and was literally testing out every dac & amp but which to me all sounded the same. Then the shop owner said, try these Audeze LCD-2s on. Lets just say I now own the Audeze LCD-2 along with some nice Schiit stuff now. So my point is if the headphone or speaker is not "good" enough, its hard to tell the dacs apart.   

post #42 of 52

I have been swapping dacs like mad for the past 5 years. After getting my current one (Aqua La Scala) I told myself it's enough of chasing the rabbit. Not that Aqua is the best dac under the sun, it's just good enough for me not to care about chasing the next best thing, and concentrate on actually getting pleasure from listening to my music collection. I have also decided to build an analog system and start collecting vinyl records. So I guess my digital chasing days are other (I sure hope so).

post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by FunkyMonkey909 View Post
 

I have been swapping dacs like mad for the past 5 years. After getting my current one (Aqua La Scala) I told myself it's enough of chasing the rabbit. Not that Aqua is the best dac under the sun, it's just good enough for me not to care about chasing the next best thing, and concentrate on actually getting pleasure from listening to my music collection. I have also decided to build an analog system and start collecting vinyl records. So I guess my digital chasing days are other (I sure hope so).

Vinyl continues to please me/us. It's the one thing that is not constantly changing in format, is a pleasure to buy, own and listen to, and means we can get down to the business of listening to music rather than faff about with IT/computers/file types/etc. We chose our DAC/transport for the same reasons you did. It's more than good enough for the time being.

post #44 of 52

Fully agree with your take on vinyl. For me also, the tangible aspect of building a record collection, and the small ritual needed to actually play a record is a very important aspect of this hobby. There is a certain geek pride to it. Apart form that, a proprely built analog system just sounds fantastic (it ain't cheap tho).

post #45 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by FunkyMonkey909 View Post
 

Fully agree with your take on vinyl. For me also, the tangible aspect of building a record collection, and the small ritual needed to actually play a record is a very important aspect of this hobby. There is a certain geek pride to it. Apart form that, a proprely built analog system just sounds fantastic (it ain't cheap tho).

Yes. I regularly tell people, who ask about our vinyl, that we enjoy the time it takes to put discs on and put them away. This attention is a valuable exercise, and a way of staying engaged with listening - and also reading the cover notes and looking at the art work.

 

I tell them, if you don't think time and attention paid to things is valuable, they should talk to Google or Facebook. Google's whole business is about your time and attention, and getting you to click on things! I'd rather be playing more music and learning about composers and performers.

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