Gary, If you haven't done so already I would recommend you install JRiver and get familiar with it. If you have problems with the DACs being perfectly synchronized, you can adjust delay at the millisecond level. If you need help beyond what forums and PMs can provide, we could setup a remote session and I can show you the ropes :)
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Considering the poor review level here I felt I had to post a review: I spent some time checking reviews of these AKG K451 headphones, and found conflicting comments. What I can do is confirm...
Summary: These headphones give an accurate picture of what the producers had in mind when they mixed their music because they have a well-balanced, present, but not over-powering bass. Songs...
My current set. My favorite and my private oasis. These beauties will cut out most if not all ambient noise like while driving in a car and household noise when the music is flowing. I became a fan...
I was asked to listen to the Musical Fidelity MF100 and received them about 4 weeks ago. I get quite a lot of headphones through my door, I only review the ones I like and I like these a lot. I...
Got the SE846 last week and did some hours of comparison with my current SE535. My bias was towards keeping them - I like flagship products as a "there is nothing better" products, i.e. do not...
December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 17post #241 of 133111/28/13 at 10:50am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #242 of 133111/28/13 at 11:15am
Go brunk! I love this team effort! Gary's remarkable humility, in crowd-sourcing recommended DACs, coupled with folks like brunk stepping up, makes this effort so "legit," for lack of a better adjective!
Mikepost #243 of 133111/28/13 at 11:16amThread Starterpost #244 of 133111/28/13 at 11:31ampost #245 of 133111/28/13 at 11:39amThread Starter
It's already started... the DA-8 is down to $1144 on Amazon.... still trying to decide if it is worth saving $55 and risking poorer service by dealing with Shenzen vs. Grant.
And the Fiio X3 is down to $180 on Amazon... and.... I... must... STOP.post #246 of 133111/28/13 at 11:50am
Take one for the team. You're providing a valuable community service and will be rewarded with accolades from your peers. Money can't buy that... oh wait, yes it can!post #247 of 133111/28/13 at 2:49pmpost #248 of 133111/28/13 at 10:58pmpost #249 of 133111/29/13 at 7:46amThread Starterpost #250 of 133111/29/13 at 12:04pmIt would not fit into Gary's timeframe but a classic comparison like this should involve gear owned by members so no one is out more than shipping rates. If suppliers wanted their gear in the comparison, they offer it as a review unit. This is the kind of review that offers free press for the participants. It would be nice for more than one set of ears to be involved in this but it is what it is. Really looking forward to it. I can say one thing will come from it. Gary will be hard pressed to tell the differences after a while and in the end will just want to listen to music and no more comparisons.post #251 of 133111/29/13 at 12:14pmpost #252 of 133111/30/13 at 11:48ampost #253 of 133111/30/13 at 1:10pmpost #254 of 133111/30/13 at 1:30pmThread Starter
Haven't bought anything except switches, cables, splitters, a Fiio X3 ($139 delivered... couldn't pass it up) and HD650s ($377.69 delivered, after 15% discount on Amazon... not a great price vs. previous years' holiday prices, but good enough). Unfortunately the only thing that has arrived are the switches and splitters, along with one Monoprice cable that I ordered after all of the others... and it got here first. So I can't even set things up and test the setup yet.
At this point I'm pretty sure the NAD M51 is in the field, as it is easy to get with good return policies from very reputable sites (Crutchfield, Music Direct, etc). I'm hoping for some sort of coupon or special from one of those places, but if nothing shows up by Monday or Tuesday, I'll just order it for the list price of $2K.
I talked to Moon Audio, and they won't budge on their restocking fee, so the PureDAC will only be in the field if Vapor Audio will ship it with a free returns period of at least 2 weeks. I have a call in to them as well, and haven't heard back. If I don't hear from them in the next couple of days (by Tuesday or so), that would pretty much rule out the PureDAC. Sorry, I would rather pay for shipping to include an additional DAC in the contest than pay a restocking fee. It's a matter of principle to me.
With the PureDAC hanging by a thread, the final 9018 choice will likely come down to the Anedio D2 or the Benchmark DAC 2 HGC. The Anedio is significantly cheaper, but the Benchmark has inputs and outputs out the wazoo... Are all of those bells and whistles worth it to me? I don't know yet. Do I want to go with the well-regarded D2 or the well-regarded DAC2???... I don't know that yet either. I do know that I have a headache though... so anything you folks can do to help me make that decision would be appreciated (as is the offer by Failed Engineer to supply the D2 for the test... at this point it isn't the availability of these 2 DACs that is at issue, it is how many 9018 DACs I want in the field... if the D2 ends up in, I'll contact you).
The final choice is the Dangerous Music Source or the Arcam irDAC, or both. The marginal cost of adding the irDAC into an order of the NAD from Crutchfield is going to be minimal, assuming I don't end up keeping both. So all things being equal on the NAD price, I would buy it from Crutchfield and throw the irDAC into the deal, and the field. However, if I don't buy anything else from Crutchfield, I'll have to decide whether the DM Source is a better choice for the field than the Arcam unit.
Note that I currently think there are 9 incoming DACs in the field. If I add one of the 9018 DACs, plus both the DM Source and the Arcam irDAC, I would have 12 incoming DACs plus my old Emotiva XDA-1 to compare -- 13 total. That's a lot of DACs to compare and write up, even if I do nothing else for 3 weeks.
If they all end up sounding alike to me, as some have suggested, that makes it easy. I just write a single post stating "They all sound alike." and keep my old XDA-1. But I don't think that's going to happen...
In the near term, however, I will be downloading JRiver in the next few hours, and checking prices on the units that will be in the field. Shenzen had a special on the Yulong on Amazon, but it expired. If it shows up again I might buy it from them, because Grant Fidelity has not returned my phone call and e-mail from yesterday (yeah, it was Thanksgiving -- in the US, not Canada), whereas Shenzen did reply promptly to a question I asked them a couple of weeks ago. Grant's being in North America is not an advantage if they aren't responsive to contact requests.
I'm not expecting any new deals on the other 4 that I know I will be buying (Emo Stealth is already on sale, and the Chordette and Metrum have such a limited supplier chains that I don't expect discounts). However, I will wait until cyber Monday to see if somebody offers a deal.
Edited by Gary in MD - 11/30/13 at 1:35pmpost #255 of 133111/30/13 at 2:11pmQuote:
That would however be a hilarious way to write the review. After all these weeks of build-up and suspense, thousands of dollars spent, a cheap hotel in Thailand...
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- December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison
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