Help me find a USB DAC (most "analogue" sounding)
Feb 28, 2011 at 6:45 AM Post #16 of 37

Paganini Alfredo

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Posts
540
Likes
12
Well I have only anectodal reports that it makes a "big" difference, from the people who had the older units and had them upgraded to the new LFP edition.
 
Here's a link; http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=q88206bvtj555p72krtedd9242hqjc44&topic=84680.0
 
Also take those opinions with a grain of salt... Seems like some people's opinions of small changes could move the Earth sometimes!
biggrin.gif

 
I'm sure if you're only gonna be using the DAC portion of the Isabellina it would be a good deal, I say go for it.
 
Feb 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM Post #17 of 37

librarian

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Posts
658
Likes
19
Thanks, Alfredo. Yeah, it seems that everyone who got the upgrade thinks it's fantastic and a HUGE improvement. (but since they all found the isabellina to be great as well until this upgrade came, I might just pull the trigger on this deal...)
 
Mar 1, 2011 at 1:12 AM Post #18 of 37

KingStyles

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
Posts
2,716
Likes
46
The original one was very good. If you get a good deal on it, I would buy it and see if you like the sound signature of it. If you like what you hear, you can always send it in later to have it upgraded. Just see of you like that sound signature first. The upgrade will improve on that sound signature. If you dont like it, then you probably wouldnt like the upgraded version either.
 
Mar 1, 2011 at 2:58 AM Post #19 of 37

librarian

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Posts
658
Likes
19
@kingstyles: thanks for the advice. I don't think I will upgrade the unit later on, as I live in Denmark and this would be very expensive for me. Friday I'm going to test it with a few of my favourite headphones, and if I like it, I'll take it home with me :)
 
Mar 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM Post #21 of 37

realmassy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Posts
1,734
Likes
239
I own an Havana and owned a Audio-GD Ref.5: they're both great dacs, with the Ref.5 being slightly less dynamic and darker.
But...Havana has a tube buffer, so you can play with tube rolling and tailor the sound :)
 
Mar 1, 2011 at 7:08 PM Post #22 of 37

king.mark

Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Posts
74
Likes
10
One more vote for the Digital Link III.
I love the way mine makes my headphone sing, it has the modes, 96KHz and 192KHz, the higher mode gives you a huge sound stage and is a little colder but the 96KHz mode is perfect, I use it exclusively.
This DAC should deliver exactly the sound signature you're looking for and it should be easy to find used on Audiogon.
 
Mar 2, 2011 at 6:08 AM Post #24 of 37

Adu

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Posts
619
Likes
1,370
Location
Europe
I listen to USB Dac (DIY) made by a friend of mine; it's called microDAC v1.1. This Dac use Burr Brown 2706 processor without oversampling. The sound it's warm, without the harsness, almost analogue sounding.
I've insert some images with it:



 
 
Mar 2, 2011 at 8:31 AM Post #25 of 37

sawindra

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Posts
68
Likes
20
the The RWA isabellina HPA sounds digital in comparison to Burl audio b2 bomber dac and universal audio model 2192, get a DDc like the kingrex uc-192 and enjoy "analog" sound of these dacs. For vintage dacs look for Apogee da-1000.

 

 

 
Mar 3, 2011 at 3:25 AM Post #27 of 37

librarian

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Posts
658
Likes
19
Thanks for all the suggestions, quite overwhelming!!!
 
@sawindra: The Isabellina is digital sounding? I think you are the only one around who claims that... I haven't listened to it yet, so I don't know. BTW, I need USB, the dac's you suggest, they don't take usb, do they?
 
Thanks
 
Mar 3, 2011 at 7:06 AM Post #28 of 37

sawindra

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Posts
68
Likes
20

hi..you can use a DDC unit like the kingrex UC192..converting from usb to spdif, same function just a different route to your plan
 
 
Quote:
Thanks for all the suggestions, quite overwhelming!!!
 
@sawindra: The Isabellina is digital sounding? I think you are the only one around who claims that... I haven't listened to it yet, so I don't know. BTW, I need USB, the dac's you suggest, they don't take usb, do they?
 
Thanks



 
 
Mar 4, 2011 at 6:16 AM Post #29 of 37

svyr

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Posts
3,432
Likes
481
 
 
 
The only problem is they tend to have the least analog-like sound. Pianos and violins sound harsh and unnatural with them and they don't sound "neutral and transparent" in my opinion. The Audio-gd Reference 1 was the first DAC I owned that truly, to my impressions, disappeared.  Now I think of it though, a similar-sounding piece of gear is the Cambridge 840c CD player, which works as a DAC as well. It can be found second-hand for about $800 or so, which is great value. However, it doesn't have USB input, so you'd have to use a converter.
 
NOS is fine...IF, and it's a big if, you don't mind sacrificing detail. The "natural sound" comes as a result of severe distortion.  I'm a detail junkie, so I know that a NOS DAC wouldn't suit me, for example.


I don't know about NOS DACs in general, but my Prometheus NOS DAC also has a substantial noise floor compared to say MD11 or D100 or DAC-1. It's reasonably quiet but at borderline at quiet-normal listening levels (modern music) but clearly noticeable at very loud listening (not painful or anything) levels for quiet music (non-vol leveled classical).


+1 on sacrificing the details. The non-rolled off highs on say D100 or DAC1 are almost serrating at times (especially DAC1), but it does give an impression of being a lot more detailed. The irony is that a NOS DAC actually goes pretty nicely with my Stax gear :\






:D sorry, needed to upload some bad pics for a review...otherwise I'd never get to it. (mmm dodgy wood finish, dodgy soldering (scratched board, not quite straight on parts, really long legs on some through hole components), not cleaning the solder flux, noise floor, no power switch (although they'd put one in if I didn't forget to ask),


PS IMO, might be a better idea to buy something like Aqvox USB DAC MKII, where the dac and parts are modern, but you can turn off SRC and control oversampling... (although it doesn't look like you can make it NOS)
 
Mar 5, 2011 at 3:09 PM Post #30 of 37

librarian

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Posts
658
Likes
19
@everyone: Thanks for all your good suggestions. I went for the Isabellina HPA, that I tested friday. I got it for 1500$, which is a very good price here in Denmark (they sell for 3200$). The unit is practically new, not even properly burned in yet, I guess. Though I don't know how much burn in it needs...
 
I don't find the amp section to be impressive. Good enough for situations where the portability of the unit is handy. Love the portability of this unit:)
 
Things don't allways turn out the way we think they will. I found that my dx1000 had good synergy with isabellina - also the internal amp. But paired with my Woo Audio WA2, I'm very happy. I get the feeling of the music as organic and dynamic. This is IMO a very nice digital setup with very little digital sound. The DT770/600 also benefits from the dac section of the isabellina and it sounds great on the isabellina-wa2 combo and also the isabellina-lisa III combo. Jazz is incredible good on the dt770/600 isabellina-wa2 combo. But the biggest win is rock music on dx1000 isabellina-wa2- it sounds absolutely amazing on this rig :)))
 
The fact, that I chose Isabellina, doesn't mean that I don't appriciate all the other suggestions. I'm not through with this at all. And there was some suggestions I very well might look into later on. So thank you very much, everyone. Love this place :)
 
 

 
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top