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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 3  

post #31 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post
 

So which headphones and amps will you be using for this comparison? Someone should lend you a pair of hd800s :D


LCD-3's only, though I could break out the ESP-950s if I have time.  The LCD-3 amps are the Odyssey Cyclops and the TBI Millennia MG3, though I'll mostly be using the Cyclops.  Neither of my amps is configured for the HD-800, but I could probably send my spare resistor box back to Jan at TBI and have him configure the box for the Senns if somebody wants to provide the cans.

post #32 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

If this is a community quest and Gary the master of ceremonies, then as a community, we should be offering up our gear so that the man isn't putting out so much of his money for our entertainment since he's putting in the time.

Gary, I will offer the Hilo for services. Though I will miss having my music over the holidays. Guess I'll rig up my old DAC since it is a good cause for the community. When and PM me your address. I'll pay there, you pay back?


HC:

 

Thanks for offering the Hilo.  I will absolutely pay the return shipping.  And I will try to keep it only for as long as I absolutely need it. 

 

It will be sometime in mid-Dec through the first week of Jan, but until I know exactly what I have coming and when it can show up, I can't give you an exact window.  The most difficult part of this effort is coordinating the arrivals and departures. They have different return windows (some 14 days, some 30 days) and there's no point in having them all start their return-window clocks at the same time since I can't listen to all of them at once, so I try to stagger the deliveries somewhat.  If there is a particularly good or bad week in that period let me know, and I'll accommodate your needs. 

 

Another option for you, or anybody else:  if you want to deliver the hardware in person and participate in this grand adventure, I'm willing to take any help I can get.  Then you can just take it home with you when we're done.  Some of you are close enough to me that it won't be much of a haul.  And if you're coming from farther away, you can combine it with a tour of all of the DC attractions (such as they are).  Don't worry, no threat of a Govt shutdown until mid-Jan at the earliest! ;)

post #33 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

Gary,

 

I had already been considering this, so here goes... Count on me to send you my well-burned-in Resonessence Concero (ESS9023) - if you're interested after assembling your list of candidates.

 

I'll include the Apple remote and summary instructions on how to select the built-in filters.  Just send me a PM (if and) when you're ready.

 

Mike


Thank you sir!  I'll be in touch!

post #34 of 1331
I'm good for leaving it for the duration. If that's a month, so be it. If it gets the ax prior, then it is what it is. biggrin.gif
post #35 of 1331

yeah.we can try to make reasoned decisions about what should be tested.  I reserve the right to make the final decisions, but I have very limited experience with DACs in general, and even more limited experience with DACs in this particular class, so I'm looking to you folks for good information that will allow me to get the right hardware in the final mix. 

vrt

post #36 of 1331

Subbed.  Interested in seeing the results!

post #37 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Folks:

 

Just to let you know, I've updated the OP to reflect latest status of the DAC list.  I've bolded all of the things that are almost certainly in the test unless something unexpected comes up.  The dance card is filling up fast, so please provide comments, recommendations, etc. over the next week or two, and I'll work to get it all to come together over the holidays...

 

Update:

 

For those too busy (or lazy) to click back there, here's the list as it currently stands:

 

  • Emotiva Stealth DC-1.  It's an AD1955-based DAC, making it relatively unique these days, and it's on sale for $499 shipped, making it cheap.  Emotiva has a great trial period -- 30 days and you pay only return shipping.
  • Benchmark DAC-2.  One of many ESS 9018-based mid-range DACs around, it has the advantage of coming from a company with an established reputation.  More important, it has a 30-day free trial period, and they're on the East Coast of the US, meaning low return shipping costs for me.
  • Anedio D2.  Another well-regarded 9018 DAC, and Anedio has a $49 loaner program.  Kudos to them for that!!!
  • Resonessence Concero.  An ESS 9023 DAC, it's <$1K and will be supplied by Zilch0MD (Thanks Mike!).
  • BMC PureDac.  Guess what:  another 9018 DAC, but at least it looks different... unfortunately Moon Audio has a 5% restocking fee, which might knock this one out of the comparison.  I'll talk to them and Vapor Audio to see if there's a way around that.  Update:  this one already has one vote for kicking it off the island.  If I find another contender it will probably be the next off the list unless somebody provides a very strong argument for it.
  • Matrix X Sabre... yeah, another 9018 DAC for ~$1K.  Returns on this one appear to be more difficult, making it unlikely to make the field, unless somebody can find a low-risk way of getting me one.  Too many 9018 DACs, not enough time or money.  As of now, off the list.
  • Yulong DA8... What, another 9018 DAC?  Yeah, because it has a great reputation and I have a volunteer to take it off my hands for full price if I decide I don't like it.  That person may reveal himself if he chooses, but I'm thanking him anonymously right now, because it means that this DAC will almost certainly be in the competition.
  • Metrum Octave Mk II.  A non-9018, NOS DAC that appears to have a supplier that offers low-cost trials.
  • Lynx Hilo.  Does way more things than I need, but has an excellent reputation and Happy Camper has volunteered it for the test, so it's in. 
  • Schiit Gungnir.  An AKM 4399-based DAC, and I have somebody willing to loan me one.  That's a good thing, since I already used my annual Schiit return on the Mjolnir I tested last summer (yeah, another potty pun, sorry, but they asked for it). 
  • Chordette QuteHD.  A proprietary FPGA-based DAC, making it the kind of unique entrant that makes these comparisons fun to do.  Acoustic Sounds has a 30-day return policy, no restocking, so this unit is in the test.  Thanks for recommending this one JD007!

Edited by Gary in MD - 11/11/13 at 9:54am
post #38 of 1331

Looking forward to the comparison, very curious about the gungnir, dc-1 and resonessence concero..  maybe you can find someone to lend you an audiogd?  their stuff gets a lot of attention on head-fi

post #39 of 1331

I'm going to go ahead and make a case for the NAD M51.  The M51 uses proprietary direct digital circuitry.  This is featured in other NAD products such as their M2 amplifier and in the Nuforce DDA-100.  As far as I know they are the only two companies to use such technology and NAD is the only company to use the technology in a stand alone DAC.  I am not completely sure how the direct digital works but its safe to say it is unique.

 

As far as returns and purchasing, Audio Advisor has a 30 day return policy and only asks you pay return shipping.

post #40 of 1331

Have fun with all that kit! I look forward to reading your conclusions.

 

Now, this is probably asking for trouble, and I know it's outside your lower limit, but I think it would be great if you could include an ODAC in there (not necessarily directly against everything else); seems like a good opportunity.

post #41 of 1331

Gary,

 

I am willing to offer you my beloved HE-6 or HD-800 for this comparison. I will make the case for HE-6 because your amps are compatible, and you are accustomed to planars/orthos. The problem with loaning various headphones for DAC comparison in general is that it really adds complexity/bias on your part you may find undesirable if you catch my drift lol.


Edited by brunk - 11/11/13 at 10:59am
post #42 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncola View Post
 

Looking forward to the comparison, very curious about the gungnir, dc-1 and resonessence concero..  maybe you can find someone to lend you an audiogd?  their stuff gets a lot of attention on head-fi


As I've indicated, I'm open to Audio-gd stuff, I'm just not willing to risk the investment on non-returnable gear.

post #43 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmstrmbn View Post
 

I'm going to go ahead and make a case for the NAD M51.  The M51 uses proprietary direct digital circuitry.  This is featured in other NAD products such as their M2 amplifier and in the Nuforce DDA-100.  As far as I know they are the only two companies to use such technology and NAD is the only company to use the technology in a stand alone DAC.  I am not completely sure how the direct digital works but its safe to say it is unique.

 

As far as returns and purchasing, Audio Advisor has a 30 day return policy and only asks you pay return shipping.


I'm open to the NAD M51.  Opinions on adding the NAD and dropping the BMC, or any other 9018 DAC other than the Yulong?

post #44 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 


I'm open to the NAD M51.  Opinions on adding the NAD and dropping the BMC, or any other 9018 DAC other than the Yulong?

I don't know, it's hard to knock that BMC if you want the added features. IMO, we need to try and find you a NOS DAC manufacturer that is stateside.

post #45 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anoobis View Post
 

Have fun with all that kit! I look forward to reading your conclusions.

 

Now, this is probably asking for trouble, and I know it's outside your lower limit, but I think it would be great if you could include an ODAC in there (not necessarily directly against everything else); seems like a good opportunity.

 

The ODAC is nice entry-level hardware, but can it really compete in this class?  I'm willing to listen to others' opinions on it, but I've done some research on that unit as a backup/portable DAC, and I've never seen credible analysis that shows it to be competitive with the big boys. 

 

RANT ALERT!!!  I've generally found that the folks gushing about the ODAC usually are comparing it to stock computer sound-card DACs or low-fi DAPs, so it sounds great in comparison.  And that's a good thing -- they should be commended for making an affordable product that introduces people to better sound than they can get straight out of their PC.  I also admit that I've seen a couple of reviewers who love everything sent to them free gush over the ODAC; however, they aren't really doing critical analysis.  Sorry for the rant, but I find it really frustrating when I want detailed, critical analysis of a product and I find nothing but generalized fawning.  I hate to tell you how many times over the past 40 years I've read "the XYZ can compete with units many times its price" and then when I try it, I find it gets thoroughly thrashed. 

 

If others think it would be worth including the ODAC I'll add it, but if most here think there's no way it can compete I'm not willing to throw it to the wolves.  It's not fair to the ODAC.  It was designed for a certain market segment, and should not be asked to "compete with DACs many times its price".

 

Rant over.

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