DAC for complicated ears?
Jun 8, 2009 at 8:56 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


1000+ Head-Fier
Mar 24, 2009
Okay, so heres my story.
I have an essence STX, a xonar DX and a sansa clip.
Out of these, I consider the clip to be the best sounding (i know, right?).
To me the midrange on the STX sounds echo-ey even on dry tracks. When it comes to commercial music (whenever I listen to it) I find it unlistenable (and in fact, I think it makes the whole STX sound like crap because of this).
I feel the slightly "lower end" (what I consider to actually be a higher-end sound than the STX, albeit rough around the edges) sound of the clip sounds flatter on all my headphones currently mentioned in my sig, and it actually just sounds plain nicer.

Is there a DAC that would suit my needs?
I want things to sound nice and smooth - refined.
I do not want to hear how crap the recording is (although to be fair I do not listen to a lot of material that is recorded 'poorly' by todays standards, and a lot of it is recorded great), I do not want a DAC that will bluff a nice sound by warming up a certain part of the spectrum (ala the STX and DX).
Alternatively, I could be doomed. But i'd love to hear from you...
Price is no object, but the lower the cost the better (I dont want people to just reel-off expensive dacs for the sake of it).
tl;dr Im looking for a DAC that has a great sound without revealing (or bluffing) the crapness in recordings. Does such a thing exist?
Order of importance:
1. Smoothness
2. Clean sound.
3. Flat response
4. Good looks.
5. Balanced output (I really dont care about it, and would probably prefer a DAC without it given the extra cost of cables for a doubled PRAT).
tl;dr again
Dry, analytical, no romancing, can be forgiving if required.
its okay if the DAC overshoots the rest of my gear.
edit: oh I should mention that I'd prefer to have one for my computer-rig (if a dac exists in this case). I have bad luck with cds and they get scratched often, so I rip them and put them in the pile.
@ post below, theres a guy locally who sells it i'll give it a listen.
Jun 8, 2009 at 9:07 AM Post #2 of 2
I would strongly suggest that you at least audition the Cambridge 840C. I have found it compares well to even the much more expensive Wadia 581. Very nice organic sound with great transparency and real bass impact. I use one on the end of of the digital output of my STX.

Hope this helps


P.s I have a Cambridge Dacmagic as well and the 840c annihilates it.

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