Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Best under $2K DACs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best under $2K DACs

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 

Has been a while since I was shopping for DACs. LOL, just got Vega, need something more budgetary for secondary system

 

What is the current best buy in this range:

- Linx Hilo (has AD feature that I'll probably never use, looks very good otherwise)

- Yulong DA8 (seems like the best price/performance ratio?)

- Exasound E20 (a bit over the range new but used is within the budget, wall wart PSU, some proprietary audio drivers that only work through players supporting ASIO)

 

I would prefer something with smaller footprint. DSD is a plus but not an absolute must. And I'll probably pass on Mytek or anything similarly digibright, DAC2 or such.

post #2 of 67
Had it not been the DA8, I probably would have landed with the Hilo. The Hilo has an attractive screen imo. Reports of excellent sound as well. I havent found any in-depth review of it, a comparison of it next to the DA8 is non-existent. Goodluck Andrew.
post #3 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

Had it not been the DA8, I probably would have landed with the Hilo. The Hilo has an attractive screen imo. Reports of excellent sound as well. I havent found any in-depth review of it, a comparison of it next to the DA8 is non-existent. Goodluck Andrew.


There are some in this thread

Yulong's new DA8

 

as well as more organized impressions from the same person here

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=517958

 

On SQ alone might not worth the price difference, plus Hilo is limited to DSD64 as it seems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcasey View Post
 

I wouldn’t want to have to choose between the two DAC’s.  The DA8 plays DXD and DSD 124, the Hilo will never play DSD 124 and DXD unless they change the design.  The Hilo is an AD converter to 24/192, wonderful for people who wish to rip their vinyl (haven’t tried it yet).  The DA8 has no such feature. I feel comfortable saying that the built in HP amps on both units are of the same caliber.

 

I give the slight edge to the Hilo when playing the same files.  By slight, I mean it might be difficult for me to discern them on a double blind test.  The Hilo seems a little more natural and/or analogue across the board at no cost to the extension of the Highs or depth and articulation of the Bass.  To be honest, I would like to have another member with more experienced and trained ears to compare them.  I will be keeping both.

 

project86, order a Hilo for review please.  Do you really need to sleep?


Edited by Andrew_WOT - 10/12/13 at 11:15am
post #4 of 67

Just go with a Buffalo.

post #5 of 67

You can get an Anedio D2 refurbished directly from them for 1 grand...thats just silly value and one of the best DACs in the price range

post #6 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post

You can get an Anedio D2 refurbished directly from them for 1 grand...thats just silly value and one of the best DACs in the price range
The DA8 has far better value imo.
post #7 of 67

DA8 really lacks behind D2 and a ton of other's, but it's also dependent on OP's preferences as the D2 can come across as ruthless and cold.


Edited by paradoxper - 10/14/13 at 8:38am
post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post

DA8 really lacks behind D2 and a ton of other's, but it's also dependent on OP's preferences as the D2 can come across as ruthless and cold.

Define "lack"
post #9 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

DA8 really lacks behind D2 and a ton of other's, but it's also dependent on OP's preferences as the D2 can come across as ruthless and cold.


That's quite an interesting perspective on otherwise praised by everyone DAC.

I really want to hear more, please. :smile:

 

Project86, long time fan of D2, commented the following in his D2 review

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by project86
 
Comparisons? For the longest time I felt the D2 was the absolute best sub-$2k unit out there, bar none. Time flies and this segment moves quickly, so finally there are a few others which compete - though nothing blows the D2 away. the Yulong DA8 is really special, as is the Matrix X-Sabre, both using the same ES9018 DAC and offering their own distinct presentations. Both of these newer units have DSD support and both are excellent for their asking prices, but neither convincingly beats the Anedio. They are different, but not better. 

And in DA8 review

 

Quote:

 Originally Posted by project86 

 

Matrix X-Sabre ($1,099) and Anedio D2 ($1470): The X-Sabre is the real meat and potatoes of my comparisons. A lot of people have asked about which one I prefer. And it's a tough one to explain. Why? Because the Anedio throws a curve-ball into the comparison. It's like this: In my X-Sabre review, I stated the Anedio was on a higher level. That remains my firm opinion. And for the first time this side of a far higher price, I actually found something I (sometimes) enjoy more than the Anedio - the DA8. So it would logically follow that X-Sabre is inferior to the Yulong, right? Not so fast. I actually like the X-Sabre more. Weird, I know.
 
In an Escher-like situation, the DA8 is better than the Anedio which is better than the X-Sabre which is better than the DA8. In actuality all three are quite close in performance, and the differences were best noticed on my Stax setup. I like the Anedio better than the X-Sabre, at least in this particular system, because it captures more details, and has better transparency. The X-Sabre has a more "fun" sound but it just doesn't quite do as much for me in direct comparison. The X-Sabre is not all that different from the Yulong in general character, but they each have slightly different nuances which make them distinct. Compared to the Anedio, I find the DA8 to be just fun enough, yet still accurate enough, to be the preferred choice. This is somewhat shocking because the D2 has beat all comers until this point. I just find the DA8 to be a more musically satisfying with very little compromise in micro detail and no compromise at all in imaging or bass texture. It's very impressive. But this doesn't always apply to every system, and at times the Anedio is the best of all.

 

I know, it looks like bench racing, but based on my reading of it, the performance is really close and can tip the scale one way or another based on sonic preferences alone, while feature wise D8 could be a better package as a whole (excellent USB implementation, DSD/DXD support).

 

But it might take a little while before I'll be able to comment on its performance myself. :smile:

post #10 of 67
 

I know, it looks like bench racing, but based on my reading of it, the performance is really close and can tip the scale one way or another based on sonic preferences alone, while feature wise D8 could be a better package as a whole (excellent USB implementation, DSD/DXD support).

 

 

I agree

post #11 of 67

Technically the D2 is just a better DAC than the Yulong across the spectrum. I agree with John when he says the D8 is just fun enough.

Preferences is also a big part of the equation. 

 

I'd take the D2 and M51 over the Yulong easy. It's all about what the enduser prefers. Musicality with just enough limited

error in technics or a technical DAC that lacks musicality. Then there's always the search for something in the middle.

 

The Yulong was enjoyable, had more of that fun sound than the D2, but I found the D2 more enjoyable overall..for what I like.

I'll also say that comparatively to other's the D2 is just too much, I find it similar to the Mytek, bright and lifeless compared to 

something like the M51 which is a bit more laid back. Relatively they're all kinda in the same ballpark. And small differences

really add up to push some over other's, etc.

 

More to the point, Andrew has a Vega, in which, I believe should best all the above and as such is only looking for a secondary DAC.

I'd take Gungnir or Concero over the aforementioned if we're talking strictly value.

post #12 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

Technically the D2 is just a better DAC than the Yulong across the spectrum. I agree with John when he says the D8 is just fun enough.

Preferences is also a big part of the equation. 

 

I'd take the D2 and M51 over the Yulong easy. It's all about what the enduser prefers. Musicality with just enough limited

error in technics or a technical DAC that lacks musicality. Then there's always the search for something in the middle.

 

The Yulong was enjoyable, had more of that fun sound than the D2, but I found the D2 more enjoyable overall..for what I like.

I'll also say that comparatively to other's the D2 is just too much, I find it similar to the Mytek, bright and lifeless compared to 

something like the M51 which is a bit more laid back. Relatively they're all kinda in the same ballpark. And small differences

really add up to push some over other's, etc.

 

More to the point, Andrew has a Vega, in which, I believe should best all the above and as such is only looking for a secondary DAC.

I'd take Gungnir or Concero over the aforementioned if we're talking strictly value.


Thanks a lot, that's extremely helpful, pretty much what Amos said in his review on the D2 signature, definitely not everyone's cup of tea.

Yes, I am looking for a secondary system DAC as I unloaded my Chord DAC64, kind of semi-regret that decision now , but it was really a hassle setting up all these components together just for casual music listening during office hours.

D8 can be that one box holy grail solution, and if not I'll throw GS-1 on the top.


Edited by Andrew_WOT - 10/14/13 at 11:55am
post #13 of 67

I think its all about preferences plus what is going into the mix. I use my DA8 both with external speakers and headphones. I had the NAD M51 and have a Eximus DP1.  I liked the NAD a lot, fast, musical, a bit laid back. Slightly light bass, lots of musical mid detail. Eximus is yummy, warm yum. DA8 has extraordinary presence, soundstage, and lots of detail and does it all without getting  bright or muddy. DA8 has great slam and lots of detail down low too. D2 sounds like it has more detail than all the DACs at the same price point. They all sound good to me..  depends on what you are looking for and mixing in.

post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

Technically the D2 is just a better DAC than the Yulong across the spectrum. I agree with John when he says the D8 is just fun enough.

Preferences is also a big part of the equation. 

 

I'd take the D2 and M51 over the Yulong easy. It's all about what the enduser prefers. Musicality with just enough limited

error in technics or a technical DAC that lacks musicality. Then there's always the search for something in the middle.

 

The Yulong was enjoyable, had more of that fun sound than the D2, but I found the D2 more enjoyable overall..for what I like.

I'll also say that comparatively to other's the D2 is just too much, I find it similar to the Mytek, bright and lifeless compared to 

something like the M51 which is a bit more laid back. Relatively they're all kinda in the same ballpark. And small differences

really add up to push some over other's, etc.

 

More to the point, Andrew has a Vega, in which, I believe should best all the above and as such is only looking for a secondary DAC.

I'd take Gungnir or Concero over the aforementioned if we're talking strictly value.

Well written. Thank you for your input. Did you own the DA8?

post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post
 

Well written. Thank you for your input. Did you own the DA8?

At that time the only DAC I didn't have extended time with was the D2, between these couple of DACs that I was considering the M51 won out for me.

I ended up owning the M51 for a minute, but ended up selling it in favor of going in a different direction. 

 

Mcullinan hit it right on that preference as well as what other gear you're pairing it with has a lot to do with the end result.

 

If DSD is a requirement, well, the choice got a whole lot simpler. :wink: 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Best under $2K DACs