How many DACs?

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by Magick Man, Dec 18, 2017.

How many DACs have you?

  1. 1 (There can be only 1!)

  2. 2-3 I keep it light.

  3. 4-6 I'm a packrat.

  4. 7-10 Bigger packrat.

  5. 11-15 This is getting out of hand.

    0 vote(s)
  6. 16+ I think I need professional help.

  1. Magick Man
    Today I was counting DACs & DAC/Amp combos I've accumulated and was surprised to find out I have 22, with 9 of them attached to my computer at the same time (and a few I'd forgotten about). :rolling_eyes: Time to clean up after the holidays, I guess (I don't want to even talk about how many sets of cans... many unopened).

    How many do you have in use, or even just lying around?
  2. Music Alchemist
    Hey there. I enjoyed your posts in the past!

    I had 15 or so DACs (and DAC/amps) total, but am focusing on speaker upgrades at the moment and am temporarily using a cheap one.

    Here's a photo I took when I owned the Chord 2Qute, Schiit Modi Multibit, and Fulla 2 at the same time.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  3. Oscar-HiFi
    2 attached to the home laptop, 1 in my Hifi and 2 at work, need to slim down to 1 at work really.

    Got another couple in boxes too, that are not being used.
  4. SilverEars
    It would be informative if those that owned many DACs can provide a comparisons and rankings of all the DACs tried. It would be helpful for me as I'm looking for good sounding DAC at good value. It would be informative to know which ones arn't good value, and which are.

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  5. ostewart
    let me try and sum them up in one line...

    JDS Labs OL-DAC - won't find better for the price in my opinion, plug and play, neutral, just sounds right.

    JDS Labs EL-DAC - like the OL DAC but supports higher bit rate and also Coax input, again just sounds right, and never leaves you analyzing the equipment. It just gets out of the way to allow you to enjoy the music.

    Topping D30 - great if you are on a budget and need optical/coax/USB inputs, analytical sound, I prefer the OL DAC ever so slightly though as it sounds a little more refined/natural.

    Matrix Quattro II - detailed, analytical and excellent for critical listening or if you want something that is extremely revealing at the expense of a little musicality. A very technically capable DAC that is a little underappreciated around here.

    Space Audio Plus - nice and detailed for the size and price, a little lacking in body but still a nice little DAC.

    iFi Nano iOne - This thing is awesome, has plenty of features and sounds tonally correct with great soundstage, detail and depth. A real steal for the price.

    iFi Micro iDAC2 - I am a big fan of this one too, like JDS Labs they focus on making the sound realistic, it doesn't try and extract every micro detail and shove it in your face, but it isn't buttery smooth and laid back either. Detailed, resolving but natural.

    Now some of the above were on loan (iFi + Space units) and I ended up purchasing both JDS Labs units after auditioning them as they are the ones that sit in my system and just do what they are supposed to do without me thinking I need to upgrade them.

    The Quattro II is a little too analytical for my tastes, but it does have a lot going for it and worked very well paired with the iFi iCan Pro headphone amp, along with other warmer tube amps.

    Topping is just great on a budget, but I still prefer the OL DAC in my reference IEM system.
    bixby, trellus and SilverEars like this.
  6. SilverEars
    Thanks Ostewart. I'm not only looking at buget only, but also value not at budget pricing.

    Have you compared the new JDS DACs to the ODAC? Any comparison?

    Lately, there seems to be a stream of R2R DACs coming out in the market. I wonder if people have tried them as well as the Schiit multibits, and is there a difference heard. Which Schiit would be considered best value in terms of performance, and conparison to other hot stuff out there would be informative.
  7. ostewart
    Most people rate the Modi Multibit highly, but unfortunately I don't really have any extensive experience with the Schiit gear.

    ODAC vs OL DAC - the OL DAC in my opinion sounds wider, deeper and cleaner than the ODAC :D
  8. IMO this is a horribly digital sounding dac. Vastly inferior to Mimby. I didn't just dislike it, I hated it.
  9. ostewart
    I don't like the use of the term "digital sounding" as it means nothing...

    But the original iDAC was a little on the brighter more analytical side of sound, the iDAC 2 fixed this and was a little smoother with a tad more body and a very fine DAC in my personal opinion.

    It's like the vinyl Vs digital argument, multibit DACs are objectively worse that Delta sigma ones, but many people enjoy the sound of them more. Each to their own, just be happy with what you have.

    I do have a feeling the iDAC 2 is better if you want a more revealing and resolving sound, the Mimby more suited to a smoother more relaxing sound.

    One is not vastly superior to the other, that is purely a matter of subjective opinion.
  10. Good thing I didn't ask if you liked my terminology or not, right?

    When comparing the HRT Music Streamer HD, the Meridian Director, The iFi iDac2, and Mimby the iDac2 was vastly inferior to every other dac in presentation. "Digital sounding" means that what is being presented sounds like an approximation of an instrument rather than an instrument itself. "Digital sounding" means to me that the presentation usually has a noticeably hard edge to the sound and sounds artificial.

    I had 4 dacs sitting there and that one distinctly sounded worse than the others. You can butter that up however you want, it's a crap dac.

    When I post there's this neat little box in the corner with my avatar and name and everything meaning the post is mine. I don't need a "this is subjective" primer. Of course it's subjective. I'm providing my own opinion because I can.
    Fearless1 likes this.
  11. Music Alchemist
    Each excel in different areas as far as technical/measured performance goes, and one is not going to win over the other there simply based on whether it's R2R, DS, etc. DAC design is far more complex than that. A $100,000+ R2R DAC is obviously going to perform a lot better than a $100 DS DAC. On the other hand, a $10,000+ Chord pulse array / FPGA DAC measures even better despite technically still being DS thanks to its ingenious design.

    For those who want to learn about the many types of DACs:
    ostewart likes this.
  12. ostewart
    I fully agree with you there :) even though I said most of the time DS is objectively better. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and a lot more to do with implementation
  13. Music Alchemist
    Um... The vast majority of R2R DACs are technically superior to the vast majority of DS DACs, though, and the vast majority of high-end DACs (from four to six figures) are R2R.
  14. VinylDan1
    I upgraded to a Schiit Modi Multibit, kept my Schiit Fulla 2 and use it's fixed line out for my self powered computer speakers. It's excessive, but makes switching back and forth in OSX very easy and I can keep my volumes set where I like them.
  15. Whazzzup
    Ill keep it light

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