Corda Aria vs. minidac (or hr micro)?
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jim

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Can anyone compare the relative sound quality coming from the following dac/(builtin) amp combos? This will be for office use, with ety er4s'.

corda aria
headroom microdac/amp
apogee minidac

I'm mostly interested in minidac vs. aria.. can anyone give some comparative comments? I like the fact that the minidac is more versatile than just a headphone amp.. but the $1100 price tag is making me consider the aria more.

btw, does anyone know if these work in linux? That's actually a huge requirement for me, because that's all I have at work.

thanks!
 
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Malus

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I use a MicroDAC under FreeBSD, so I'm assuming that it should work the same under Linux.
 
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Iostream

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I cannot compare the DAC in the Aria as you requested, but I can confirm it works fine in Linux.
 
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jim

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Thanks for confirming that the microdac and aria work with linux. That's good to know. I think I'll probably end up ordering an aria soon, unless someone helps me out and persuades me to spend more money.
Anyone heard them both?
 
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Meyvn

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from what I can gather about reviews, I get the feeling it's a trade off in quality between the two cheaper ones. The Corda Aria is much more amp than DAC, whereas the Micro Stack is half and half.
 
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angler31337

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I can speak for the Corda Aria and Micro Stack. Sort of.

It's difficult to give a good reading of the Aria's DAC, since it is sort of inseparable from the amp. In a kind of qualitative sense, the Aria DAC does an excellent job of turning digital into analogue, and is quite quiet over the relevant range. With ety's, I find the Aria provides a very polite, ear friendly sound.

The Micro DAC is certainly more expensive (at $300 for the DAC alone) and is an exceptional value for the money. The Micro DAC (with the Micro Amp) is dead silent over almost the entire range on low gain setting (when compared to the amp alone), and exhibits a very low noise floor in general. When paired with the Micro Amp and etys, you get a sound that is much more forward than the Aria's--more analytical, less relaxed/relaxing.

If you've got cash to spend, the Micro DAC + RSA SR-71 is supposed to pair well with the ER-4s (I can't speak to this personally. But I wish I could.)

Did anything in there help?

-Angler


EDIT: Changed wording to make it a little less confusing.
 
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jim

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Thanks for the replies so far guys. So after some more research, I've decided to just bite the bullet and get a Minidac or Lavry DA10.

Turns out that Lavry is in Seattle, so I'm going to head over there at some point and have a listen.

So far, it sounds like most people are in favor of the Lavry, so I probably will just end up going with that. However, what should I use to I feed it? I only want to consider USB devices..I can't add any pci/pcmcia/anything that needs device drivers to my work computers, unfortunately. Can I just get something cheap, or do I have to spend a bit to get decent spdif?

Thanks again folks.
 
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