Looking for DAC advice (sub 1000) for my set up
Mar 20, 2017 at 3:04 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

Galm

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Hi there head-fi people!
 
So I have HD800SDRs with WA7 fireflies (2nd gen).  The goal was to get the HD800s warmer and I think it worked well.
 
However, the upgrade bug is already biting when I was comparing my Chord Mojo DAC to the one inside the WA7.  The Mojo lacked some detail (and bass actually) but has a smoothness that I really enjoyed.  But it bothers me that I can hear some detail lost between the two.  
 
I've been thinking about a few options, one of the ones that stands out is the Yulong Sabre D-18.  From what I can tell it's good for adding a little warmth and matches well with tube amps.  In fact the two pros listed on its headfi page are: 
“Neutral with a slight warmth, and musical, good build quality” “Fuses the usual strengths of the ES9018 DAC with a warmer, smoother tone than most - perfect for people who love vinyl or tube gear”

Seems like that's what I'm pretty much looking for.  (I've also looked at Schiit offerings, the OPPO 9038 new DAC thing, and a few others)
I do want a place with a good return policy, because I am hoping the difference will be fairly noticeable compared to the stock (2nd gen) DAC in the fireflies.  Which I know could be expecting too much...
Thanks in advance!
 
Mar 21, 2017 at 3:49 AM Post #2 of 11

jodgey4

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Audio-GD is another great brand that is known for having good ESS Sabre DACs (9018 certainly, and with 9028 and flagship 9038 products just announced) that maintain the good detail of these chips without having the digital and harsh treble response that many associate with Delta-Sigma chips. They have a good number of DACs, though many are DAC/amp combos or are balanced, which might not be what you want if you want to keep the WA7.

They also have R2R type DAC products such as the http://audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/DAC1911/DAC19EN.htm DAC-19, which I think might really work well for your situation if you want a natural sounding single-ended DAC.

Personally, if this were me, I'd probably sell the WA7 and just swing for a NFB-27 or NFB-29 :p, or maybe the balanced NFB-1 combo stack if you like separate components. I really like my 2014 NFB-28 :). There are plenty of other brands out there, of course, but I've had good luck with my AGD product and have heard a good number of other gear out there and am quite satisfied with the performance and value of what I have.
 
Mar 21, 2017 at 10:12 AM Post #3 of 11

Galm

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  Audio-GD is another great brand that is known for having good ESS Sabre DACs (9018 certainly, and with 9028 and flagship 9038 products just announced) that maintain the good detail of these chips without having the digital and harsh treble response that many associate with Delta-Sigma chips. They have a good number of DACs, though many are DAC/amp combos or are balanced, which might not be what you want if you want to keep the WA7.

They also have R2R type DAC products such as the http://audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/DAC1911/DAC19EN.htm DAC-19, which I think might really work well for your situation if you want a natural sounding single-ended DAC.

Personally, if this were me, I'd probably sell the WA7 and just swing for a NFB-27 or NFB-29 :p, or maybe the balanced NFB-1 combo stack if you like separate components. I really like my 2014 NFB-28 :). There are plenty of other brands out there, of course, but I've had good luck with my AGD product and have heard a good number of other gear out there and am quite satisfied with the performance and value of what I have.

Thanks for the response.  I really like the amp though on the WA7.  I've got some rare tubes in it and it's really a great sound for my tastes.  I don't really wanna change to a solid state.
 
Do you have any opinion on the Yulong?  I'll check out the DAC-19, it sounds pretty good.  Thanks for the response!
 
Mar 22, 2017 at 12:52 AM Post #4 of 11

jodgey4

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The Yulong I've heard good things about but I wouldn't pay for a balanced DAC for a SE amp.
 
Mar 22, 2017 at 12:58 AM Post #5 of 11

Galm

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The Yulong I've heard good things about but I wouldn't pay for a balanced DAC for a SE amp.

That...  Makes sense lol.
 
What's the difference between the DAC 19 and NOS 19?
 
I was also pointed by someone else at the Cayin iDAC-6 but I don't know as much about that one besides it's interesting tube and ss outputs.
 
I'm not going to switch to a solid state amp though.  My HD800s need the warmth my tubes add.
 
Mar 22, 2017 at 1:37 AM Post #6 of 11

jodgey4

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NOS means Non-Over-Sampling. That's kinda a complicated topic, and I'm a little tired sooooo :p. Some people find it more natural, buuuut from a technical point of view they're probably inferior. Probably. It's worth looking up if you have time.
 
Mar 23, 2017 at 12:28 AM Post #7 of 11

Galm

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NOS means Non-Over-Sampling. That's kinda a complicated topic, and I'm a little tired sooooo :p. Some people find it more natural, buuuut from a technical point of view they're probably inferior. Probably. It's worth looking up if you have time.

Sorry to repeat, but how do you think a Cayin compares to some schiit equivalent value wise?  Seems like the best option at this point and is nicer priced at like 660.
 
Mar 23, 2017 at 4:24 AM Post #8 of 11

jodgey4

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My brother owns the Cayin C5 and honestly I like it so much (and I've heard a good bit of gear) that I'd probably never consider spending more on a portable amp. If the rest of the Cayin lineup is anywhere near the C5, I'd give them the thumbs up!
 
Mar 23, 2017 at 4:26 AM Post #9 of 11

jodgey4

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To be fair though, battery power supplies are much cleaner than the average wall-powered and converted/filtered supply, so take that into consideration :). Batteries supply the DC you want natively, whereas most desktop gear has to convert AC to DC (though I think Schiit does a good job here, as does Audio-GD).
 
Mar 27, 2017 at 4:28 PM Post #10 of 11

Galm

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  To be fair though, battery power supplies are much cleaner than the average wall-powered and converted/filtered supply, so take that into consideration :). Batteries supply the DC you want natively, whereas most desktop gear has to convert AC to DC (though I think Schiit does a good job here, as does Audio-GD).

Got the iDac-6.  It's really awesome lol.  In tube mode it adds bass thump.  It also sounds a lot more musical now, it's really great.  Thanks a ton dude.
 
Mar 28, 2017 at 1:25 AM Post #11 of 11

jodgey4

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Glad to hear it!
 

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