or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 5  

post #61 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

Thanks for the offer Armaegis, but I would prefer that we not donate your DAC to Canadian Customs.  On the other hand, I could order one for the testing if folks think it should be included.  Any comments on adding the Nuforce DAC-100 vs. the Benchmark, BMC or NAD? 

 

I did notice on the Nuforce website that the DAC-100 is listed as discontinued, replaced by the DAC-80, though you can still buy the -100.  Don't know that this disqualifies the DAC-100, but does make it slightly less appealing to test since it might not be as helpful to future viewers of the thread to have analysis on hardware that is no longer available new.

 

Discuss?

 

They should be essentially the same except the 100 has a headphone output and a copper chassis, while the 80 has a higher RCA output.

post #62 of 1331

Here's something of honorable mention.

 

The Dangerous Source DAC

 

Head-Fi Thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/647917/dangerous-music-source-dac

 

Best Deal / Return policy:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/997041-REG/dangerous_music_source_monitoring_device_with.html

BH has 30 day policy and no re-stocking fee

post #63 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post
 

 

They should be essentially the same except the 100 has a headphone output and a copper chassis, while the 80 has a higher RCA output.


Any other inputs/comments on using the NuForce DAC-80 instead of the Benchmark, NAD or BMC?

post #64 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Here's something of honorable mention.

 

The Dangerous Source DAC

 

Head-Fi Thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/647917/dangerous-music-source-dac

 

Best Deal / Return policy:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/997041-REG/dangerous_music_source_monitoring_device_with.html

BH has 30 day policy and no re-stocking fee


I looked into this unit before starting this thread, and while it has lots of bells and whistles, they aren't necessarily things I need, The SE outputs are also not RCA, so I'd have to get adapters (I have no amps with balanced inputs).  Not a big deal, but points to the fact that this equipment is aimed at recording studios, not audiophile playback rigs, so the functionality, and likely the tonality, of the system is different.  That's why it didn't make the initial list. 

 

On the other hand, these differences might make for an interesting comparison with the audiophile DACs and add another dimension to the tests.  Plus, it's $900 + adapters, which is cheaper than a lot of the audiophile DACs on the list.  So I'm open to including it.

 

Any comments?  Votes?  Which DAC should it replace in the current list?

post #65 of 1331

If the Benchmark is in consideration, another that comes to mind that straddles the audiophile/pro market is the Grace m903.

 

edit: SPL (of Phonitor/Auditor fame) is also coming out with a usb interface called Crimson that looks really interesting (and cheap... compared to their other gear)


Edited by Armaegis - 11/12/13 at 1:43pm
post #66 of 1331
The newer Yulong would be interesting as well if anybody would offer it up.
post #67 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

The newer Yulong would be interesting as well if anybody would offer it up.

You mean the Yulong D8? Great idea, but where it falters is that it's pretty much unobtanium for Gary because that was a special pre-order only. :( 

 

Unless someone would be willing to sell it to him.

post #68 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Sorry folks, we're going to have to settle for the the Yulong DA-8, since I don't believe Yulong has shipped any D8s, and might not before the end of the year.  I need to call Grant Fidelity in the near future anyway to talk to them about the DA-8, so I'll ask them about the D8 as well, but don't get your hopes up.  Besides, my secet patron has indicated a desire to own the DA-8, and didn't mention the D8... he'll have to speak up (via PM) if he wants me to try for the higher-end DAC.

post #69 of 1331

I could use some secret patrons too... :D

post #70 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Any other discussion of the Grace m903?  Cost is $1895, similar to the Benchmark.  A quick look on their website doesn't provide much other than marketing and specs, nothing about the chip or anything special about their design.  The 2 pro reviews I just read weren't exactly gushing.  Of course, that's just 2 guys' opinions.  Anybody else got one?


Edited by Gary in MD - 11/12/13 at 9:07pm
post #71 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post
 

I could use some secret patrons too... :D


You have to behave yourself... and happen to be planning a multi-DAC comparison test, including a DAC that the particular person was going to buy anyway.  So I guess you just have to be lucky.

post #72 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

Any other discussion of the Grace m903?  Cost is $1895, similar to the Benchmark.  A quick look on their website doesn't provide much other than marketing and specs, nothing about the chip or anything special about their design.  The 2 pro reviews I just read weren't exactly gushing.  Of course, that's just 2 guys' opinions.  Anybody else got one?

 

There's some comparisons here... http://www.head-fi.org/t/654526/all-in-one-comparison-centrance-dacmini-vs-benchmark-dac1-vs-grace-designs-m903

 

For what it's worth, Headroom also carries Grace. I'll also toss in a mention for Fostex HP-A8. I think that one is on Jude's list.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

You have to behave yourself... and happen to be planning a multi-DAC comparison test, including a DAC that the particular person was going to buy anyway.  So I guess you just have to be lucky.

 

I've done my rounds with headphone comparisons already. I don't quite have the liquid funds to do a big DAC shootout, and even if I did and managed to find some secret patrons, Canadian Customs would make it prohibitively expensive anyways :( I was actually supposed to review the Auralic dac when it first came out, but I literally could not get it past customs and had to eventually refuse shipment.

 

The most "high end" dac shootout I've done is the Bifrost vs DAC-100, running them both through a preamp for comparison and easy switching.


Edited by Armaegis - 11/12/13 at 10:15pm
post #73 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post
 

 

 

 

The most "high end" dac shootout I've done is the Bifrost vs DAC-100, running them both through a preamp for comparison and easy switching.

 

What was your conclusion between the Bifrost and DAC-100?  Thanks.

post #74 of 1331

Bifrost wins for noise floor, but I preferred the DAC-100 on everything else. Copy and paste from my review: http://www.head-fi.org/t/645068/review-nuforce-dac-100

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
So anyways, in my A/B comparisons of the DAC-100 vs the Bifrost, I felt the DAC-100 was the clear winner. I fed both into the Nuforce HAP-100 (preamp/headphone amp) and was able to switch mid-song between them with the push of a button. It wasn't a huge difference, but it was palpable once I knew what signs to listen for. The Nuforce offered just that much better resolution in the upper ranges. Cymbals had more shine to them, strings had a more faithful tonality, and vocals had just that indescribable breath to them. I dislike using such subjective here, but without a suite of measuring equipment it is the best I can describe. Quite often I found myself actually turning down the volume, not because it was too loud or sibilant, but because it felt like there was too much... information for lack of a better word. It felt like a detail overload sometimes, where I could literally pick out these little bits and pieces of all the different instruments and their layering, and it was just too much to handle all at once.
post #75 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

@anoobis - For your peace of mind, the ODAC is, in my opinion, inferior to two other ESS9023 DACs I've spent considerable time with, but superior to a third. 

 

Mike

 

Much appreciated, it's good to get the opinion of someone who's been able to make a considered comparison. I did read the additional information and it shows that it's not all about the sound.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

 

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.

 

Fair enough. I'd like to expand on why I suggested it in the first place but just we're clear, I completely respect your prerogative in the selection, I'm not trying to persuade you to include it.

 

My understanding is that, as a result of the design goal of the ODAC, it measures (and is supposed to sound) very close to the Benchmark DAC1. The Benchmark DAC1 is a well-respected and by no means entry level unit. From that point of view, I would argue that its market segment is to compete with more expensive DACs. So, I suggested it firstly for the interest of the comparison beyond its price point (on the assumption that its SQ is above its price point) and secondly because I know you were looking to add to the list at relatively little cost.

 

So, having said that, I will concede to your greater experience and can fully appreciate that you don't want an ever-expanding list. On a side note, you suggest that more expensive gear does generally offer worthwhile improvements [if not necessarily as good a value proposition]; which is reassuring. I think!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison