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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 9  

post #121 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

I might lend my SA-1 but I doubt the dark LCD-3 is a good match for it.

 

I read this thread quickly but I read someone (brunk, IIRC) offered to lend the HE-6 and/or HD-800. Those would be more suited for the dark/warm SA sound.

Unless Craig is willing to lend you the SA-2 - which is more neutral / less rolled off - but I doubt he is willing to part with his new toy, even for a week or two :p

 

The Ciunas DAC might be a more interesting challenger here. I think I can part with it for few weeks, my Chord QuteHD will do just fine :tongue_smile:. BTW, I'm glad you added this one to the shootout, it certainly deserves more talk around here! While a LPSU is a nice improvement (I tried the Main Cables R Us and Teddy Pardo), the stock SMPS is not that bad honestly. It's enough to appreciate the different approach to sound the QuteHD delivers.


Anybody else have an opinion about the Ciunas DAC?  Can it compete in this field?  If so, it looks reasonably priced...

 

And which specific power supplies did you try for the QuteHD?  If they are low-cost enough and have reasonable return policies, I could check them out too... and maybe run my TBI Millenia with one of them.  Heck it might even beat battery power for that amp (Sorry Mike).

post #122 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegrobe View Post


Hmm...let me think about it. Let me read through the thread. It would be great to see an AGD 1704 unit represented.

Although I've only had it two weeks!

Gary- are the amps you will be using balanced or single ended?

And USB input only? Not to stir up problems as I am just popping in ...but wouldn't feeding each DAC with the same dedicated transport kind of level the field, really hearing the difference of the DAC itself rather than what is probably wildly varying quality of USB implementation? Just thinking out loud.

Craig


Craig:

 

I will be using SE equipment, except from my amp output to my cans.  I will be using both USB and optical, but mostly USB, since that is fast becoming the connection of choice in the DAC world.  I'll be feeding as many of the DACs as I can at the same time via USB or optical, then having them feed a 5-way switch connected via cheap RCA cables into my one Odyssey Cyclops speaker amp driving my LCD-3s directly from the speaker outs via an XLR speaker tap.

 

Are you really willing to ship your brand new DAC across the country and let me use it for a month?  That would be incredibly generous of you, but you should definitely think long and hard about it, and then think long and hard again before agreeing to it.  You folks are incredible for even considering sending me your hardware and those who have already agreed to do so or have sponsored a DAC are beyond incredible.  I'd better do an incredible job on this review, huh?  Not that I'm feeling any pressure or anything (runs to the door, and screams like a maniac, then remembers he should have opened the door first, except it is pretty cold out).

post #123 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post


And which specific power supplies did you try for the QuteHD?  If they are low-cost enough and have reasonable return policies, I could check them out too... and maybe run my TBI Millenia with one of them.  Heck it might even beat battery power for that amp (Sorry Mike).

Nahhh!

:-)
Edited by zilch0md - 11/19/13 at 7:46pm
post #124 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Ooooh I just found a 4-way, powered optical splitter on Newegg for $32 delivered... makes testing optical inputs a lot easier on me!  YAAAYYYY!

post #125 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

Ooooh I just found a 4-way, powered optical splitter on Newegg for $32 delivered... makes testing optical inputs a lot easier on me!  YAAAYYYY!

It may be just fine, but give every output channel a close listen before relying on it.  It's just a 4 channel digital repeater but better tested than burned!

post #126 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Absolutely.  Same with the analog switch.  If I hear any difference in any of the outputs, I send the splitter and/or switch back and do things the hard way: swapping cables and taking notes and swapping cables and taking notes and swapping cables and taking notes.  I will be taking notes anyway, but the swapping of the cables gets pretty durned tedious... So I hope the hardware works.

post #127 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 


Anybody else have an opinion about the Ciunas DAC?  Can it compete in this field?  If so, it looks reasonably priced...

 

And which specific power supplies did you try for the QuteHD?  If they are low-cost enough and have reasonable return policies, I could check them out too... and maybe run my TBI Millenia with one of them.  Heck it might even beat battery power for that amp (Sorry Mike).

 

The Ciunas compares favorably to the SA-1 (technically, it's even a notch or two better).

Another notch (possibly two for some) above is where I would put the Eximus DP1, NFB-27 and the Chord QuteHD. So yes, the Cinuas is a very good DAC. For the asking price, it is a "killer".

But it's USB only and not nice looking.

post #128 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post


Couldn't find enough info on that site to figure out whether the DAC41 is a contender, as in all I saw was a picture, no information.  I suppose I could call, but that seems a bit strange for somebody trying to sell stuff on the internet.

I'm afraid I couldn't tell you myself. It sure sounds a lot better than the Bifrost but at that price, it better. It's pretty much just a revised Tranquility SE, a DAC of which there are a good number of reviews out there to read. I saw one comparison that said the UF was closer to neutral and a tad better technically but owners tend to stick with this DAC once they get it and rarely have much experience in the same price range. And I'm as clueless as the rest of them. confused_face(1).gif
post #129 of 1331
To answer your question regarding the LPSU for the QuteHD: I own both the TeddyPSU (120V, 12V/2A version) and the Mains Cables R Us (230V) but I left the latter in France because I couldn't have the voltage changed to USA specs.
I probably never will have the opportunity to compare both.

They're roughly the same price: $350-400.
I prefer the look of the Teddy, though.
post #130 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

The Ciunas compares favorably to the SA-1 (technically, it's even a notch or two better).

Another notch (possibly two for some) above is where I would put the Eximus DP1, NFB-27 and the Chord QuteHD. So yes, the Cinuas is a very good DAC. For the asking price, it is a "killer".

 

But it's USB only and not nice looking.

 

Yes, it's ugly, but it runs on an internal LiPo battery - a good thing!

 

Quoting Isaac DeHann's (Stereo Mojo) review of the JKenny Ciúnas DAC:

 

 According to John [Kenny], “Each element, significant to achieving the best possible signal quality, has been addressed. Battery power provides extremely low PS [power supply] noise - one of the most important factors in digital audio. The high current output battery used (120 Amps instantaneous current) is the most stable power supply available for digital circuitry. Using this isolated power supply avoids issues of common mode noise & ground loop noise, often associated with non-isolated power supplies.  

 

Amen brother John!  

 

 

 

Here's how I power the Resonessence Concero, despite my conviction that its power filtering is even better than that of the the CEntrance LX:

 

 

LaCie USB DualPower Sharing Cable for Rikiki - closeup of "tape" mod

 

Here's how I power my CEntrance LX:

 

Anker Astro3 10,000 mAh LiPo batery pack supplying "clean" 5VDC power to the DACport LX, with only data coming from the laptop, having taped the 4th pin of that USB connector. 2 amps of clean 5V power!

 

LaCie USB DualPower Sharing Cable for Rikiki

 

LaCie USB DualPower Sharing Cable for Rikiki - closeup of "tape" mod

 

Mike

(Beating the battery-powered horse...)

post #131 of 1331
Not sure you are looking for more DACs to try. Music direct is selling the marantz na 7004 for $399. They have a 30 day return policy. The unit uses the cirrus 4398 chip which seemed to be missing from the line up, I think.
post #132 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post


Craig:

I will be using SE equipment, except from my amp output to my cans.  I will be using both USB and optical, but mostly USB, since that is fast becoming the connection of choice in the DAC world.  I'll be feeding as many of the DACs as I can at the same time via USB or optical, then having them feed a 5-way switch connected via cheap RCA cables into my one Odyssey Cyclops speaker amp driving my LCD-3s directly from the speaker outs via an XLR speaker tap.

Are you really willing to ship your brand new DAC across the country and let me use it for a month?  That would be incredibly generous of you, but you should definitely think long and hard about it, and then think long and hard again before agreeing to it.  You folks are incredible for even considering sending me your hardware and those who have already agreed to do so or have sponsored a DAC are beyond incredible.  I'd better do an incredible job on this review, huh?  Not that I'm feeling any pressure or anything (runs to the door, and screams like a maniac, then remembers he should have opened the door first, except it is pretty cold out).

Gary- yes, I am in the process of thinking long and hard. I am kind of hesitant only because I don't have anything else to use while it's gone (although having a break isn't the worst thing in the world). And also it's not even fully burned in, I'm noticing some changes still though not night and day stuff.

I was kind of hoping someone would come forward with a master 7, as it's more the real Audio-gd "flagship" although the SA-2 is the TOTL single ended offering. More people are probably interested in the M7, and I'd love to hear/own one eventually...But really I find nothing lacking with the SA-2 for my preferences so I suppose it would be an interesting "contestant" as well. I would be very interested to see how it measures up to these other offerings, so that's a motivation.

I'll get in touch with you by tomorrow via PM should I decide to send it....But please don't anyone get too upset if I don't!
post #133 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhk808 View Post

Not sure you are looking for more DACs to try. Music direct is selling the marantz na 7004 for $399. They have a 30 day return policy. The unit uses the cirrus 4398 chip which seemed to be missing from the line up, I think.


Always interested in ideas for the competition... Does the crowd think that this is a viable competitor?  I see that it only has USB up to 96kHz/24-bit.  Granted, much of the testing will be done feeding 44.1kHz FLAC rips, but I intend to use some Hi-Res stuff as well.  Do people feel that this DAC is good enough to be in?

post #134 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegrobe View Post


Gary- yes, I am in the process of thinking long and hard. I am kind of hesitant only because I don't have anything else to use while it's gone (although having a break isn't the worst thing in the world). And also it's not even fully burned in, I'm noticing some changes still though not night and day stuff.

I was kind of hoping someone would come forward with a master 7, as it's more the real Audio-gd "flagship" although the SA-2 is the TOTL single ended offering. More people are probably interested in the M7, and I'd love to hear/own one eventually...But really I find nothing lacking with the SA-2 for my preferences so I suppose it would be an interesting "contestant" as well. I would be very interested to see how it measures up to these other offerings, so that's a motivation.

I'll get in touch with you by tomorrow via PM should I decide to send it....But please don't anyone get too upset if I don't!


Craig:

 

Neither you nor anybody else should feel any pressure or guilt about not sending me your hardware.  I can tell you that I would not send my brand new DAC, the only DAC I own, to anybody, let alone somebody I didn't know who lives on the other side of the country.  If you really want to send it, then great, I promise to take care of it as if it was my own (and I still have perfectly functioning hardware from the 1970s).  Of course I can't vouch for the shipping companies... we can insure it, but I know that if I were you I would be really p'd if something happened to it during transit either way, even if you were eventually made whole. 

 

So I certainly won't get upset if you don't send it, and as OP I hereby forbid anybody else to be upset (Do I have any powers like that as OP???)

post #135 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 


Always interested in ideas for the competition... Does the crowd think that this is a viable competitor?  I see that it only has USB up to 96kHz/24-bit.  Granted, much of the testing will be done feeding 44.1kHz FLAC rips, but I intend to use some Hi-Res stuff as well.  Do people feel that this DAC is good enough to be in?

 

I've never heard the NA7004, but it has the same DAC as the greatly admired Marantz SA8004 CD player.  The NA7004 is basically an SA8004 without the CD drive.  They're quite similar otherwise, with a USB port in the front for reading files from a thumb drive and a USB port in the rear for connection to a PC.  

 

I have no experience with it personally, but for $399 through Amazon (where Music Direct is a Marketplace Seller), it could be a "sleeper" of a good deal.  

 

I've often thought it would be nice to stop using a laptop as my desktop source, as I hate the temptation to surf and do other tasks while listening to music - and the NA7004 includes a remote control.  

 

http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-NA7004-Network-Audio-Player/dp/B003R7KMU6

 

Mike

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