Help me with the DAC decision (RME|Benchmarek|apogee|mytek)
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Runningwater

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I am considering to update a DAC. And following DACs come into my budget range:

RME ADI-2
Any one has experience with it? It has some very positive review on the net, but some professionals said it's far away to Benchmarek/apogee etc. It has really nice function, both DA and AD. But I only care about the sound quality of DA. I consider it becuase it's really cheap.

Benchmark DAC1
Very good one, but too expensive in Europe.

Apogee mini-DAC
Very small and sounds smooth. But headphone amp is so weak. Even more expensive in EU, and very rare in 2nd hand market.

Mytek Sereto96 DAC
I am really interested in this one. A lot of people said it sounds better than apogee and benchmark. And it has really better headphone amp (Of course not better than grace m902)

Also I am open to other DAC options. Thanks a lot!!!!
 
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Alu

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You also might want to consider the Bel Canto DAC 2.

As for too expensive... www.audiogon.com
 
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Runningwater

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Alu
You also might want to consider the Bel Canto DAC 2.

As for too expensive... www.audiogon.com



Yes,I know Bel Canto is good, but it doesn't have a headphone out.
 
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Alu

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Runningwater
Yes,I know Bel Canto is good, but it doesn't have a headphone out.


Ah...no headphone amp? Then I'd go for the bench, judging from the many great reviews it got.
I bet that you'll find a cheap one on audiogon. (I got my dac from there as well, shipped from the US to Europe even)
 
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the terabyte

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I had the ADI-2 and I have the Apogee now. While the ADI was very good for the money (and there aren't too many in that gap between >$1000 and <$500), the Apogee simply outclasses it in detail and smoothness. The treble also seems more evident on the Apogee, though not overly so.

The integrated headphone amp on the ADI is not at all close to that in the Apogee, as well. I'm not sure what issue you have with the Apogee's built in amp not being powerful enough, but I can only listen with my SA5000s at 9:00 or below (the dial starts at ~7) and it has plenty of weight. I suppose if you're trying to power the K1000s or something that could be a bit different. It's certainly more powerful than the ADI, though.

Finally, you might add the Lucid DA9624 to your list as well.
 
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Runningwater

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Really thanks for you comment. I know you had ADI-2 before. Have you done any AB between ADI-2 and mini-DAC, especially in DAC part. I know that the headphone amp in ADI-2 is even weaker than miniDAC.

Thanks again.



Quote:

Originally Posted by the terabyte
I had the ADI-2 and I have the Apogee now. While the ADI was very good for the money (and there aren't too many in that gap between >$1000 and <$500), the Apogee simply outclasses it in detail and smoothness. The treble also seems more evident on the Apogee, though not overly so.

The integrated headphone amp on the ADI is not at all close to that in the Apogee, as well. I'm not sure what issue you have with the Apogee's built in amp not being powerful enough, but I can only listen with my SA5000s at 9:00 or below (the dial starts at ~7) and it has plenty of weight. I suppose if you're trying to power the K1000s or something that could be a bit different. It's certainly more powerful than the ADI, though.

Finally, you might add the Lucid DA9624 to your list as well.



 
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the terabyte

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Runningwater
Really thanks for you comment. I know you had ADI-2 before. Have you done any AB between ADI-2 and mini-DAC, especially in DAC part. I know that the headphone amp in ADI-2 is even weaker than miniDAC.

Thanks again.



I did some swapping back and forth, but it was evident enough to me that the Apogee was just a much better device both for headphone out and usage with an external amplifier that I didn't bother to take notes, sorry.

To sum up the differences (what I recall) using both as a source only with the K1000s as headphones through my Chazz amp, the ADI-2 seemed to have comparatively loose bass which sometimes made music more "exciting" but wasn't all that accurate or as I found suitable for classical works with tight drums. It did help with the K1000s, though. Added to this was what sounded to be less detail/presence in the highest treble octaves (perhaps due to my shift in focus to the more prominent bass, who knows).

The sound was less integrated across the spectrum, too, like comparing a speaker with a poor crossover to one with a good one, where you can hear the shift from driver to driver. I seem to recall the presence of grain in smooth female vocals with the ADI-2, though I probably wouldn't have noticed it unless I heard the Apogee.

If you have the money I'd recommend buying them both and selling the one you don't like, frankly, because you really don't know until you hear them for yourself what you will prefer.
 
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