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Thoughts on a bunch of DACs (and why delta-sigma kinda sucks, just to get you to think about stuff) - Page 35  

post #511 of 6360

Someone started dobbing in people to the teacher for being rude, so I'd like to point out that suggesting something is wrong or suspicious because someone likes a DAC from a particular maker or doesn't like a positively reviewed one is just plain rude. 

 

I'm going to comment on DACs instead. I've had a couple of DACs here and tried many in-store (including SACD players that doubled as DACs) that have been positively reviewed and I thought they were rubbish. My theory is that:

 

1. Hi-fi magazines have such low expectations of what DACs will do (compared to vinyl) that they accept mediocre sound from them.

2. Many of the reviewers haven't ever experienced an old R2R DAC and how much better they sound, especially given many of them were very over-built, something you only get now in insanely expensive models or from obscure companies like Audio-gd.

3. They are always being reviewed connected to expensive power conditioners that negate any faults in the PSU design and the DAC ends up sounding good.

 

or some combination of the above. The rubbish-sounding DACs most definitely improved between being plugged directly into the wall (or a computer in the case of, say, a $1700 USB-powered DAC) and being plugged into a Power Plant Premier (or using a better PSU for the USB-powered one). 

 

Other than that, personal preference and synergy with one's system I'd consider important too. 

post #512 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

I just compared 13 a few weeks ago. thank you to my generous salesman. I picked the best value, and the best overall. one cost me $500 and one cost me $62,000. actually I think that says more about the one that was $500 lol. it perhaps also says something about my sanity. yes, it is very difficult. these are not huge differences we are talking about. you also must be sure it is not your mind.---oh, wait I forgot. my cheapie choice is loathed by purrin. so I suggest you listen to anything first or returnable. be it under a grand or a 100 grand. one thing I hope we all can agree on, is it is up to each individual as to which they prefer. if there was such a thing as right and wrong in regards to this game many a company would be out of business.

Won the lotto eh , big guy ? :biggrin:

post #513 of 6360

I said many times this is all personal preference. you do have one point currawong. the teac is plugged into a very good power conditioner and using cables that cost much more than it does. I suppose that could make a difference. plus now mine is highly modified so all comparisons are moot. when it was stock I did not think it was rotten but I never did plug it in the wall. I also agree that old nos dacs still sound very good. I usually do not prefer dacs that give me no choice about upsampling. I didn't even think about it but if gear is worth it's salt it should sound good plugged in the wall I guess. I never tried.

post #514 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by thathertz View Post
 

 

I had my MPX3 checked out in the UK and it was fine. Gorgeous amp....like you say, I was lucky I guess. I moved on to the Extreme Platinum (with a Plitron transformer and TWO independent power supplies) which I also had checked out, and it's been a dream amp I must say. Right now I have D7000's and my amp supposedly doesn't play well with low impedance phones - the bass control is not great but overall they sound way better than they ought to ;)

 

I can imagine the DAC1 pairs very well with the MPX3...you have the slightly (sorry) clinical nature of the DAC1 paired with the warmth and romance of tubes :)

 

I see why it's hard for you to decide on the next step. Anyway, I wish you the best and don't give up on the MPX3 :)

 

I'm really interested in hearing your thoughts going from the MPX3 to the Extreme Platinum. Yes that's exactly why I like the DAC1 so much, it pairs off quite well with the MPX3. Even if I move up the tube amp ladder, I don't think I'll ever sell the MPX3. I'd probably just build a secondary system around it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

Just got a PM from a friend. He said to try the Benchmark DAC2. That if you like the DAC1, forget the USB converter crap and just get the DAC2.

 

 

Yes I have considered this for awhile but unfortunately I have no way to demo the DAC2, so I would have to order it with a 30 days return condition. That said, it's about 1800usd and in that price range, the number of choices grows significantly, notably the NAD which I demo'd is around that price and might (or might not) be a good fit (I loved it when I demo'd it only a few days ago).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishski13 View Post
 

as someone who recently went through a lengthy in-home DAC shoot-out, i can appreciate the efforts put forth by purrin et al.  i found it arduous to compare only 4 different DACs, and even more so when mixing it up with a USB-S/PDIF converter.   

 

also, my comparisons suggest that playing around with USB-S/PDIF converters is fertile ground for possible improvements.  the MF V-Link has a sonic sig that made every DAC sound more like the BM DAC1/V-Link pairing.

 

 

So can I take it that the prefered USB/SPDIF converter to pair with a dac1 is the MF V-Link? That seems like an affordable alternative.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

it's the msb diamond dac iv with some upgrades. I even got a deal on it! one of the dumber things I have done. on the other hand no one seems to agree with purrin about the teac. it is not the best by any means but it is not class "s" either really. maybe he had a busted one or something. I just don't agree with him. I would take the m51 over the pwd mkii. just goes to show, as I said everyone must listen for themselves. I think the schiit and teac are comparable. I made mods to the teac and now to me it is better than a stock pwd mkii. the msb is like Ferrari. ultimate performance at any cost. i already have bands playing every day as i operate a recording facility. playback can be even better in some cases. i know i rubbed this in already but there are dacs under a grand that are nice. of those everyone already knows which i pick currently. before that it was the bm dac1. oh, for the record the dcs dac is like 100 grand. do realize diminishing returns kick in at a mere 5 grand.

 

Yikes, reading this made me want to try a teac... I have demo'd the m51 only a couple of days ago actually, but without my own stuff. I thought it sounded really great, I'm just not sure it would be the right fit with my system so I will try it again this week, this time with my own gear. Nevermind the msb diamond - that's going to be way out of my price range for awhile yet (I think you scared a few people in this thread talking about that one) :biggrin: 

post #515 of 6360

the m51 is being replaced by a more expensive dac in the master series. same dac guts apparently but looks real nice. sorry about the msb scare :) I guess all I could say about the teac is listen to it and decide. after I modded it it really stepped up the game. stock it is by no means the best but just speaking for myself, it is far from trash. I think I might trade it for the ayre qb-9 which is better and much more money. I need something small in my bedroom.

post #516 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

the m51 is being replaced by a more expensive dac in the master series. same dac guts apparently but looks real nice. sorry about the msb scare :) I guess all I could say about the teac is listen to it and decide. after I modded it it really stepped up the game. stock it is by no means the best but just speaking for myself, it is far from trash. I think I might trade it for the ayre qb-9 which is better and much more money. I need something small in my bedroom.

By curiosity, how did you mod the teac exactly? edit: nevermind I just read the teac thread where you posted about it already


Edited by elmoe - 2/13/14 at 3:08am
post #517 of 6360

 I have had the teac dac for about 9 months now. At some point I will open it up and see the fuse value so I can upgrade it with my preferred high-fi tuning supreme fuse. the dac is pretty decent but of the two dacs that I own I prefer the more atmospheric presentation of my older peachtree decco 2 dac. The teac does process 192 and dsd (which I have not ventured into yet) while the decco 3s dac will only do 96khz.

  But in my set ups I sense that there is a less dimensional presentation produced by the teac dac section as compared to the dac section of the decco 2. But I have upgraded the fuse in the decco 2 with a hifi-tuning supreme fuse. I Can not remember the amount of difference in the soundstage presentation but from what I remember I still think the decco 2 had a more analog like presentation and atmospheric sound.

   I have read a review of the newer peachtrees and there was some mention of the more atmospheric presentation of the earlier dac.

 Sometimes new is not necessarily better even when the resolution level may be more broad that does not always mean the execution and or results are better.

   At least that is what I have found in my set up. I still believe the teac is definitely worth investigating and presents a excellent value for the price . I am hoping the soundstage presentation will improve with the fuse upgrade on the teac.  But the warranty does not expire until may and I can wait at least for a little while longer before I plunge into the fuse upgrade.

   I have to admit that I probably underestimated the performance of the dac section in my peachtree decco 2. It for now sits in my main living room set up and sounds nothing less than stellar.

post #518 of 6360

It's going to take alot to convince me "upgrading" a fuse is going to change anything... No offense...

post #519 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

This "grain" is difficult to describe and only in relation to the other DACs in the comparison. I think most people who are used to modern sigma-delta DACs wouldn't notice it much if at all. Have you ever had an opportunity to hear an R2R DAC? (Wadia, AGD-M7, Metrum, the Valab TD154x based, PCM63, or PCM1702 based DAC, etc). Or even vinyl? Vinyl and R2R DACs have a liquid quality, a certain continuous-ness of sound over time which the many modern sigma-delta DACs, even the best ones, do not quite have. With the Vega, this grain is extremely fine, which is a good thing. Really not too different from the PWD2 in this respect. However, my main issue with the Vega was with its overall timbral presentation. The relative brightness of the Vega and this fine grain combined together resulted in a somewhat robotic, synthesized, or artificial quality. This was evident on every recording, particularly with voices. It wasn't anything highly annoying and in any case, I'm nitpicking to an extreme, and not even considering the effects of EXACT mode to goes ameliorate the grain.

 

....

....

....

Haven't had your experience with so many dacs, and only listened to MSB Analog Dac which is no delta sigma, but what I have heard matches exactly your thoughts! I've heard many implementations of delta sigma dacs from 100 eur to 10k. There were differences, of course, but after a point the differences were too little for the money. I think that over a point, no matter how good is the implementation is, they are limited by the chips themselves. This is just a guess, so I may be wrong, of course. 


Edited by dan.gheorghe - 2/13/14 at 8:36am
post #520 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

I said many times this is all personal preference. you do have one point currawong. the teac is plugged into a very good power conditioner and using cables that cost much more than it does. I suppose that could make a difference. plus now mine is highly modified so all comparisons are moot. when it was stock I did not think it was rotten but I never did plug it in the wall. I also agree that old nos dacs still sound very good. I usually do not prefer dacs that give me no choice about upsampling. I didn't even think about it but if gear is worth it's salt it should sound good plugged in the wall I guess. I never tried.

 

Well, as you said, you never did plug it in while it was stock. To me, that still says something because I'm seen that Teac sitting on a desk or shelf not plugged into anything too many times now. Anything I wouldn't use or plug in got thrown into Class S. I know - harsh. 
 
As for NOS (not to be confused with R2R), I'm not a big fan. I like oversampling.

Edited by purrin - 2/13/14 at 8:26am
post #521 of 6360

To be fair he said the teac was plugged into a power conditioner with an expensive power cable - but it was STOCK then. Also, if the modified teac rivals (or betters) the pwd mk2, it's probably worth spending a little time with it, considering the difference in price. That's a 4000 bucks DAC getting beat by a DAC + mods totalling around 1000usd.

post #522 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

To be fair he said the teac was plugged into a power conditioner with an expensive power cable - but it was STOCK then. Also, if the modified teac rivals (or betters) the pwd mk2, it's probably worth spending a little time with it, considering the difference in price. That's a 4000 bucks DAC getting beat by a DAC + mods totalling around 1000usd.

 

Does anyone actually pay full retail for the pwd mk2? Seems like everyone buys it used for around 2500 usd.

post #523 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzxgene View Post
 

 

Does anyone actually pay full retail for the pwd mk2? Seems like everyone buys it used for around 2500 usd.

 

Well, I don't know about that, all I can say is that I certainly wouldn't, but I'm just comparing retail prices. I'm sure you can find the Teac + parts for the mod for cheaper if it's used as well.

 

Then again for someone to buy it used, someone must have bought it new... ;)

post #524 of 6360
Thread Starter 

They seem to be going for well less than $2K used. I got my PWD1 for $1800 new and got in on the upgrade board special. I think the PWD2s may have gone up in price recently since the 2.4.3 firmware isn't as nasty sounding as the 2.10/20 firmware that the new production PWD2s could only run.

 

On the MSB DACs, I've heard that MSB will budge a little on the fully-loaded ones. The real trick is to grab a fully or nearly fully loaded one on the 'gon. For the crazy high-end stuff, no one pays retail; unless you are doctor rolling in the dough not having to take Obamacare patients.


Edited by purrin - 2/13/14 at 9:41am
post #525 of 6360

Purrin do your opinions about the Master-7 USB slightly change with the 2014v2 drivers?

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