I made a quick a-b listening last night. I used wa2 and dx1000 for the comparison. I listened to some r&b and a little bit of reggae (identical recordings/masterings).It is actually very close. The digital setup was louder, a tad more detailed, there was more bass. The vinyl setup had a more natural soundstage and was more realistic all around, I think. Though the digital setup was not harsh at all, the sound had more edge than the vinyl setup. But these things were more subtile than I had imagined.
This was just a quick a-b. My favourite vinyl setup includes hd650 (not dx1000), so I'll get back to the subject when I get the chance to listen more. But for now, I'll say, that in sound quality the two setups a very close and I find it hard to choose which one I like the best. So for me the Isabellina HPA was a GOOD purchase. I love it
@graphicism: I get your point, but I don't think that I can get a dac, that sounds exactly like my vinyl setup. Close is good enough for me. I don't believe my vinyl setup is the best ever, anyway. I just like it. Besides that, I think that the Isabellina has some other qualities. I have listened to some tracks (that I unfortunately don't have on vinyl so I cannot a-b), where the presentation really shines and gives me an experience I could not imagine before Isabellina. And this is tracks I know very well...
I have tried cheaper dacs. The v-dac was good, the pico was good, the udac is also good - i have the udac for office and transportable, and I like it (I liked the pico better, though...). Off course there's also the dac's in my portable players and my cd-player. But none of these blow me away... The Isabellina is more quiet, more focused, more dynamic, and it has more of everything, lots of detail - while still beeing musical and pleasing to my ears.
I'm not sure which direction I'm heading. I need to do some more listening - which is a pleasure - to identify the good and bad things in my digital vs. analogue setup.