It begs to be asked! V-DAC or DACMAGIC?
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timb5881

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With the discussion on each of these dac's going into triple digit posts, has anyone compared them? I have been waiting, trying to decide as to which one to buy. If I had the money, I would buy both and do a side by side comparison. For the last several years I have been using an Adcom GFD 600, and it is my bench mark.
 
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shampoosuicide

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For what it's worth, I counted at least 4 posts and 5 people in the V-DAC thread who'd heard both the V-DAC and the DacMagic who think the V-DAC is clearly better. Audio, a German Hi-fi magazine, also scored the sound of the DacMagic as 100 (RCA) and the V-DAC as 110 (RCA).

However, What Hi-fi did give the DacMagic 5 stars, while the V-DAC received 4 stars.
 
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oldson

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depends on what they are tested with, of course. and the person who does the tests.
toss a coin!
 
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anadin

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I owned both the V-DAC and the DACMAGIC at the same time.

I kept the V-DAC and sold the DACMAGIC.
 
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SleepyOne

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Could you elaborate why you prefer one over the other?
 
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wolster

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I asked for opinions on the V-DAC over at stereonet and received this response:

"I recently went to a Melbourne dealer to listen to the V-DAC based on reviews and the recommendation of a trusted audio buddy in the US.

My budget was around $500 for a DAC as I build my headphone system so couldn't stretch to a Lavry et al.

The dealer also had a DacMagic so I took some discs and my Sennheiser 600s in and took a listen to both.

I ended up buying the DacMagic at $699. In comparison to the V-DAC the DM was much cleaner, crisper and extended top & bottom. I also preferred the dynamics as well, more entertaining. An important element as the DAC would be feeding my Yamamoto tube headphone amp.

The mid range of the V-DAC was smooth and creamy but that was about it in terms of strengths to my ears. At one point I was listening and thought 'Is this all there is?' and started to question my headphone journey.

I stress the above test was with my stuff and my ears. Different preferences and equipment could easily change the comparison so I would strongly recommend a listen with your gear.

As both DACs were pretty new in the store, (if you believe in burn-in) maybe the V-DAC will open up a bit. After a hundred or so hours now, I remain happy with my purchase.

Good luck!
__________________
Cheers, Greg
"
 
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JazzG

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Can't speak about the DACMAGIC but have the V-DAC and am very impressed with it and would highly recommend it. Am using the LD MK III and DT880s with it.
 
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spahn_ranch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wolster /img/forum/go_quote.gif
As both DACs were pretty new in the store, (if you believe in burn-in) maybe the V-DAC will open up a bit.
Cheers, Greg
"[/i]


I haven't listened to the DM but I'm a believer in burn in with my V-DAC. >800 hours on it now and while it has improved all over, the difference between keeping it and looking for something else is that it's gone from, while impressive, sounding just somewhat incoherent and occassionally producer of wow-factor special effects, to flowingly musical and dang right on the beat; not as over enthusiastically forward as it was at all of 0-40 hours. At this point in burn-in, everything acros the frequency range is locking in. A valid somparison in that respect may be to say the difference is akin to a soup simmered for a minimum of 25 minutes vs 40. Time allowing, I give my soup 45 min.
In short, matured would the operative word to insert in the above paragraph. Smooth, non-fatiguing highs is imperative to my "back from 5 years ago killed by Grado SR80's with bowls" ears, and as I prefer musical over analytical, I'm very pleased with my V-DAC; what I'm curious to compare it with is not so much another solid state 24 pup of any price range, as a NOS tubed creature like the MHDT Havana, or for that matter a quality turntable setup. But enough OT and shooting above target for now.
 
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You have hit upon an important strength of the V-DAC. The non-fatiguing aspect. This is where so many shop auditions fail and it is - I believe - also why we tend to upgrade excessively. A component - whether that be a DAC or otherwise, should not only instantly sound good, but it should sound good during long listening sessions and over a long period of ownership. I have tended to find that components which seem really nice during an audition are difficult to live with long term.

This is the strength of the V-DAC. It does not jump at you and annouce at the top of it's voice to the entire world how fantastic it sounds. But you know it does a great job because you forget about the audio gear itself and become completely involved in the music. Instead of always thinking about the technical quality of the recording you are thinking about the quality of the performance. When you do that you know you have the right gear. And great gear does not sound spectacular, any more than when we go to an orchestral concert we come out marvelling at how "hifi" it all sounded.
 
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MatsudaMan

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If the DacMagic sounds anything like the 840 cd player, than v-dac wins hands down. In my experience, Cambridge just doesn't do it for me where it counts - the midrange. Also, where the fundamentals of musicality is concerned (tonality), the v-dac wins me over. It's all about sound signature and magic. I frankly think it's the v-dac with that has the "magic".
 
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dallan

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I was originally going to buy a v-dac but read an article comparing it to something called a dacmagic in an English sound mag. The dacmagic won there comparison hands down so i ended up buying it. I really just wanted something to upgrade my soundcard which it did well. I have to admit though the usb input compared to a cd into the optical input is quite a difference even it the usb is a big jump above the soundcard. I think it works better as a stand alone dac and having not heard the v-dac i wish that i could have abx the usb on both....i ended up getting a cheap cd transport to put in my computer area because there was such a difference. Still use it for the computer but make an effort to use cds thru the player when possible. That said with the old sony cd player as a transport into the dacmagic the SQ is great.
 
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spahn_ranch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ADD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You have hit upon an important strength of the V-DAC. The non-fatiguing aspect.


My once damaged ears picked up some treble etchiness with it at first but somewhere between 300-500 hours it mellowed out.

No report I've read including first impressions mention brittle or etchy or shrill et al, so it may be worth noting here that while I usually can do long listening sessions with Porta Pro's, I rarely could tolerate my recently sold SR-80's for more than a few tracks; 2-5 years ago it was bad to the point that I cringed at the usual kling klang from kitchen hardware. With that background, I feel safe saying that most people will find the V-DAC a quite pleasantly non-fatiguing component.
With a music stash mostly consisting of digital, I thought I had given up on cans, but with the V-DAC and/or possibly a tubed NOS I'll be tempted to once more audition a shop's RS-1's for a weekend.
 
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anadin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SleepyOne /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Could you elaborate why you prefer one over the other?


I just thought the V-DAC had a better overall balance in terms of SQ than the DacMagic.

You really can't go wrong with either one especially if you live here in the UK as there both such great value.
 
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wizia

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What about some KECES? DA-151 Mk2 goes for $260 and $365 for the DA-131 Mk2.
 
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I have the 131 mk 2 and I do think it´s a step up from the DacMagic. But well as with most DACS they output clean sound so it´s just a matter of personal taste and synergy with your system really. There is 0 background noise on either the DacMagic or the Keces for example. Both are neutral DACs I would say. But the Keces is just more enjoyable to listen to but it´s really hard to describe differences so I am not going to try. Another benefit is that you if you go crazy can get power cables for the Keces... IF that is good or bad but then a DacMagic may encourage you to spend the big buck on a balanced setup instead lol.

Comparing looks is easier. Keces do look a lot cleaner and nicer than the DacMagic. It´s so clean both on the out and inside. Should definiatly be on the list. I am getting a Valab NOS DAC 2009 which is also getting a lot of buzz as of lately. It´s the cheapest alternative too. Build quality doesn´t seem to match the standards perhaps but well it does have it´s charm with a rusty old ford built in someones garage beating a Ferrari isn´t it
 
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