A new dac, worth the money?
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Stitch

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I am considering different upgrades. Either some new phones or a new DAc to go with the GS-1.
My current dac is the DACmagic and i like it. Some say it delivers equal to $1000 dollar dacs, other say its not really special.
What kind of upgrade could i be expecting with spending 1000-1500 bucks on a new dac, e.g. a Hegel D20, W4S DAC1 or 2, Anedio D1.
I like a detailed and neutral sound and wide soundstage. Music gerne is mostly metal(death, trash, prog), classic and heavy rock, blues and classic pop.
 
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Willakan

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Buy headphones, you have a decent DAC. Any improvements DAC-wise are of dubious authenticity and highly subjective. If you really want a "better" DAC, the Benchmark DAC1 is prettymuch measurably perfect - that is its flaws are so past the point of audibility as to render their discussion irrelevant. If you want an "improvement", buy that, but don't blame me when they (Benchmark and your existing DAC) sound the same level-matched.
 
I would focus on headphones - no-one is going to argue whether they sound different. 
 
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fatcat28037

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Quote:
Buy headphones, you have a decent DAC. Any improvements DAC-wise are of dubious authenticity and highly subjective. If you really want a "better" DAC, the Benchmark DAC1 is prettymuch measurably perfect - that is its flaws are so past the point of audibility as to render their discussion irrelevant. If you want an "improvement", buy that, but don't blame me when they (Benchmark and your existing DAC) sound the same level-matched.
 
I would focus on headphones - no-one is going to argue whether they sound different. 


X2, very well put.  Treat yourself to some really really nice phones.

 
 
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Stitch

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Sound advice.
How about "side-grading"? Say i'd want a more neutral, wider sound. Doesnt have to be a 4digit price tag.
 
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Willakan

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The DACmagic IS neutral - it has a completely flat frequency response. Whatever you're looking for in a DAC, it isn't neutrality. As I believe that looking for something that isn't neutrality in a DAC is an exceptionally bad idea on several levels, I would again recommend that you buy headphones instead that change the sound to your preference.
 
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Stitch

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Ok, thats one thing my wallet likes to hear :)
 
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I've seen people mention that the DACMagic is great, but its USB input isn't as good as the SPDIF inputs. So if you're using USB, getting a good USB to SPDIF converter to use with the DACMagic may yield an improvement.
 
 
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Stitch

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Its connected to mt stello cdt100 with coax. :)
 
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I'm in a similar fix in relation to a DAC. I am using a DAC made in 95. I've been listening to some pretty good ones and while there are slight improvements, it isn't like upgrading a headphone. So I keep using the old DAC in hopes that something comes along to revolutionize computer audio. The USB to SPDIF converters was a nice tweak for old DACs by getting better signals. Now if they can put a battery powered DAC chip in the USB cable with RCA/XLR output......
 
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Pratt

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Quote:
Buy headphones, you have a decent DAC. Any improvements DAC-wise are of dubious authenticity and highly subjective. If you really want a "better" DAC, the Benchmark DAC1 is prettymuch measurably perfect - that is its flaws are so past the point of audibility as to render their discussion irrelevant. If you want an "improvement", buy that, but don't blame me when they (Benchmark and your existing DAC) sound the same level-matched.
 
I would focus on headphones - no-one is going to argue whether they sound different. 


x3. I have a DAC Magic and I think it was too much as it is. $400 for a metal box? Please. When it goes I'll probably spend $200 to $300 tops and even that is too much. All DACs sound either the same or virtually the same and all you need is 16/44.1 output (so no fancy "hi res" nonsense on all these new DACs).
 
Headphones and speakers, however, do not all sound the same or close to it. I still question whether cans over $500 are really worth it (again, it seems even $200 is getting ridiculous for some plastic/metal/wood and drivers), but I have not heard any either, at least considering what they go for today.
 
Worry about headphones/speakers, then everything else (although the room the speakers are in greatly matters).
 
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I am happy with my humble MSII - for the money I paid, its great - I wouldnt bother with any of the other rungs on the ladder prior to the D1, and I can only go on project86s excellent review there. For now, I'll stick with what I have, but if you have $1500 the D1 would be my personal choice.
 
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Stitch

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Quote:
I am happy with my humble MSII - for the money I paid, its great - I wouldnt bother with any of the other rungs on the ladder prior to the D1, and I can only go on project86s excellent review there. For now, I'll stick with what I have, but if you have $1500 the D1 would be my personal choice.
 
 
From a few quick reads the anedio is also on top of my list but $1270  alone is not the issue. Its the difference in sound that matters more. If the price is gonna give me a great advantage i'd consider it. But it just does not seem so.
 
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estreeter

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Diminishing returns are a grim reality - whether its 'worth it' or not is a question only you can answer. If I told you that playing Metro 2033 on the 360 was the single most addictive and enthralling experience I've ever had, would you immediately dash out and buy the console and the game ? The reality, as I see it, is that sooner or later you will be looking for another 'fix', and those fixes usually mean spending more money. When project86 tells me that the D1 is superb VFM compared to any number of high end DACs and amps he has heard, I believe him - I just need to believe him badly enough to make the next step :wink:
 
 
 
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Stitch

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+1 to that. I like to keep in mind that things twice(or triple) the price isnt gonna sound two or three as good.
 
oftopic; Metro 2033 was a great experience on the pc :)
 
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I had to draw a line thru PC gaming when it became apparent that I was upgrading my machine every 12 months - its still the best platform, but continually buying 'future-proof' kit that quickly becomes obsolete really sucks. One of the upsides of audio is that most of the gear that sounded good 5 years ago will still sound good to most of us - imagine trying to play a current game on a 5-year old PC ......
 
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