Marantz HD-DAC1
Mar 2, 2020 at 1:23 AM Post #946 of 1,210

gimmeheadroom

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Disconnecting the optical cable (and using digitical coax) eliminated the problem. Thanks! So why did the optical connection cause the problem?

I have no explanation :frowning2:
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 9:25 AM Post #947 of 1,210

Ninosan

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Hello,
I need advice from you that you have this DAC.
I could have it new for around € 550.00. It seems like a great price despite it being an older DAC.
I could later combine it with an SMSL amp using the Maraz only as a DAC.
How do you see it as a pairing?
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 9:33 AM Post #948 of 1,210

MellowGold

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Hello,
I need advice from you that you have this DAC.
I could have it new for around € 550.00. It seems like a great price despite it being an older DAC.
I could later combine it with an SMSL amp using the Maraz only as a DAC.
How do you see it as a pairing?

Which SMSL amp are you considering?
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 9:35 AM Post #949 of 1,210

Jayzqa

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Hello,
I need advice from you that you have this DAC.
I could have it new for around € 550.00. It seems like a great price despite it being an older DAC.
I could later combine it with an SMSL amp using the Maraz only as a DAC.
How do you see it as a pairing?

I had a change to test the Marantz with hd800s, hd660 and hd600. I found the sound very lacking and disappointing myself. (As the measurements from audiosciencerewies indicates)

You can have a lot better sound with 550 euros. (Jds-labs element II for example)
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 10:25 AM Post #950 of 1,210

metric1

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As a former owner of the HD-DAC1 and a fan of the unit in many regards, I wouldn't advise buying it if your long goal is to use it purely as a DAC - there are just significantly better options for €550 (you're very close to s/h RME ADI-2 money, there, or a Denafrips Ares II - those two DACs are polar opposites, but I'm merely indicating that you can go many different directions for that kind of budget and you're in a league of difference compared to the humble HD-DAC1.)

The HD-DAC1 is great when you want a solid all-around single box for sensible money, by sensible I mean, I wouldn't pay more than €400 for one because the market/technology has moved on in many regards. Lots more compelling options now than there was back in 2014 when the HD-DAC1 was launched. If you want a reliable, well built and easy-to-live-with single-box solution that sounds great with lots of headphones for under €500, something that has a laid back and sweet character, the HD-DAC1 should be on the audition list.

If your objective is I want a DAC that can scale with my system and won't be the weak link for years - I wouldn't be looking at a HD-DAC1. Add another €100 to your budget and you're in the realm of fairly epic single-box solutions that will scale eminently (you can later add a great amp, upgrade headphones, all before you ever need to reconsider the DAC). Brands like RME, Naim, et al, can be had s/h for a €650 > €750 budget.
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 11:43 AM Post #951 of 1,210

Smoothstereo

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I agree with what others have said. I own the HD-DAC1 for over a year and still love it. It sounds fantastic and built like a tank. Never had any issues. But the question is, what is your ultimate goal. If you want a very good dac/amp combo with SE input and SE headphone output and dont plan to upgrade , and want simple set up, then this is a very good choice.

But if you want to chase better performance down the road, going dedicated separates is a better way to go.
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 1:24 PM Post #952 of 1,210

Ninosan

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Which SMSL amp are you considering?

I was thinking of the SMSL sp200.
However, I have also read the suggestions of others and I think you are all right.
I currently use the Fiio M15 + LCD-I4 . A fabulous couple although I miss a little more punch on the bass.
I would like to equip a fixed station to use with headphones of excellent quality. I am looking at the Sony MDR-Z1R. I do not exclude also a magneto planar headphone.
I agree to spend a little more but have a DAC that I don't have to change after 6 months but above all that no it is not of a lower quality than the M15.
the aim is to have a fixed position that has higher quality than the Fiio M15 + LCD-I4 pair.
I will try to see your suggestions online even if now is not a good time to buy.
If you have any other suggestions of pure DAC I accept them with pleasure.
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 2:12 PM Post #953 of 1,210

MellowGold

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I was thinking of the SMSL sp200.
However, I have also read the suggestions of others and I think you are all right.
I currently use the Fiio M15 + LCD-I4 . A fabulous couple although I miss a little more punch on the bass.
I would like to equip a fixed station to use with headphones of excellent quality. I am looking at the Sony MDR-Z1R. I do not exclude also a magneto planar headphone.
I agree to spend a little more but have a DAC that I don't have to change after 6 months but above all that no it is not of a lower quality than the M15.
the aim is to have a fixed position that has higher quality than the Fiio M15 + LCD-I4 pair.
I will try to see your suggestions online even if now is not a good time to buy.
If you have any other suggestions of pure DAC I accept them with pleasure.

I like the looks of the Cayin iDAC-6MK2 (https://en.cayin.cn/products_info?itemid=121). It's very hard to find a DAC at this price point that supports features like I²S and AES/EBU inputs. Would be a great DAC to build a desktop system around, IMO.
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 3:19 PM Post #954 of 1,210

metric1

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I was thinking of the SMSL sp200.
However, I have also read the suggestions of others and I think you are all right.
I currently use the Fiio M15 + LCD-I4 . A fabulous couple although I miss a little more punch on the bass.
I would like to equip a fixed station to use with headphones of excellent quality. I am looking at the Sony MDR-Z1R. I do not exclude also a magneto planar headphone.
I agree to spend a little more but have a DAC that I don't have to change after 6 months but above all that no it is not of a lower quality than the M15.
the aim is to have a fixed position that has higher quality than the Fiio M15 + LCD-I4 pair.
I will try to see your suggestions online even if now is not a good time to buy.
If you have any other suggestions of pure DAC I accept them with pleasure.

In terms of DAC suggestions, it really depends on what you like, the aspects and sound profile you're looking for in a DAC. Personally, my preference in a general sense is for R-2R and tube DACs. I like a little warmth, a little colouration, sweetness etc., for many people these aspects may be undesirable. I've owned Chord, RME and other chip DACs and never really got on with them, too many years listening to tube, r2r and nos DACs! The RME ADI-2 DAC is superb, for many people it is an end-game DAC and for good reason. It's very popular with EQ tweakers (perverts) more so than the average gearhead. It's a phenomenal DAC, no doubt, but didn't suit my personal tastes that well and all the additional value/features were totally wasted on me.

The Topping D90 (same DAC chip as in your M15) the RME ADI-2 FS, the Gustard DAC A22 (same chip as your M15) all use AKM chips - if you like your M15 then you can stay with a AKM-based DAC. The RME might be a very serious contender given the dedicated IEM output on the RME is said to be superb and may match your i4's very well. You also get a 1/4 output, I didn't rate the amplifier section of the RME, but the DAC section is top draw, it just wasn't to my particular taste (not at all a mark against the RME, more a reflection of synergy in my setup and my personal tastes). That said, as a single-box that will scale to be DAC-only (with benefits) in an end-game setup, the RME needs to be on the list, it's a very serious piece of kit, sounds phenomenal and allows almost unmatched configuration (if you're looking for that).

The alternative approach might be a complete departure from chip-based DACs to something with an entirely different flavour. R-2R DACs from Audio-gd, Denafrips or (budget allowing) Holo Audio might be an interesting alternative. You may find these to be closer compared to many of the qualities of the HD-DAC1, more so than the HD-DAC1 is to say, a Topping D90 or RME ADI-2 (or your M15) where it could be argued these DACs occupy the opposite end of the DAC spectrum. The D90 and ADI-2 are about neutrality, first and foremost, whereas I'm not sure neutrality is even peripherally in the design brief for the HD-DAC1!
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 5:20 PM Post #955 of 1,210

Smoothstereo

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To my ears, preferences, and gear, the HD-DAC1 is pretty neutral without the harsh brightness sometimes associated with neutral. I find my IFI Micro Idsd Black Label to be a bit warmer in comparison as a dac.

I would suggest looking into a Schiit Bifrost2 as another choice, as its getting a lot of praise here. I am actually interested in trying one out myself for comparison to the HD-DAC1.
 
Apr 14, 2020 at 6:42 PM Post #956 of 1,210

metric1

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To my ears, preferences, and gear, the HD-DAC1 is pretty neutral without the harsh brightness sometimes associated with neutral. I find my IFI Micro Idsd Black Label to be a bit warmer in comparison as a dac.

I would suggest looking into a Schiit Bifrost2 as another choice, as its getting a lot of praise here. I am actually interested in trying one out myself for comparison to the HD-DAC1.

At the risk of sounding combative, harsh brightness isn't something associated with neutral, in fact having a harsh or bright signature (imposed by the DAC) would qualify as colouration and is the exact opposite of neutral. A truly neutral DAC will not lie to you about harshness or brightness elsewhere (upstream component) or in the recording, but it won't add colouration that isn't there (elsewhere; recording etc.). However, it wouldn't be accurate to say the DAC is associated with harsh brightness because it is neutral, it just doesn't (shouldn't) hide that harshness (from elsewhere) from you. The presentation of the HD-DAC1 is smoothed in a way that makes its presentation incredibly appealing to many people, precisely because it isn't very neutral - it has a house sound and adds warmth and sweetness, it will hide that harshness from you (which many people agree is good, but it's not neutral).

I love the HD-DAC1 precisely because it isn't neutral, it is warm and sweet and I suspect many others also select it for this reason. To expand on this slightly, I compared the HD-DAC1 to my Audio Note CD-ZERO (valve based CD player) and the presentations had more similarities than they had differences due mostly to the colouration of the HD-DAC1 sound. This was very welcome to me, in fact, I slightly preferred the HD-DAC1 both running COAX (from the CD Player) and Roon > USB to HD-DAC1. The HD-DAC1 has just the right amount of warmth and sweetness and is very enjoyable, but it's not pipe and slippers warm, either, but neither is it neutral.
 
Apr 15, 2020 at 5:55 AM Post #957 of 1,210

Ninosan

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thank you guys,
you gave me many ideas but I'm also a little confused.
Among the suggestions I really like RME ADI-2 FS, I also read some reviews on the net.
Here is talk of hot and cold ..... if you allow me it is a bit the difference between vinyl disc and cd. Rough comparison but I think valid.
I like the warmth of the analogic (perhaps typical of Marantz) but it is difficult to make a choice without trying.
Maybe I would have the "warm" tone with a valve system, but some aspects of this system disturb me a little. Heating, valve wear, different valves with different timbre, etc ...
Maybe I'm also wrong in the order of choice. I should probably buy headphones first and then evaluate which DAC / AMP is most suitable.
Maybe we are a little off topic, I would have liked to try Marantz (spending little) his tone and the quality of the DAC. But I also know that this is an old thing.

Even the Toppings don't look bad from the measurements, but I also read that the measurements are sponsored, so .....
In any case I look at your suggestions and I will evaluate.
I follow you :beerchug:
 
Apr 15, 2020 at 10:03 AM Post #958 of 1,210

Ninosan

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I was also noticing the new TEAC UD-505.
It looks very interesting ...
 
May 24, 2020 at 1:19 PM Post #960 of 1,210

mmoraw

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That is correct,
Lowest I got is 62ohm (akg-k701), drives them just fine, same as 300ohm hd800, same here, although this to be said, my other amp, (diy piece) drives k701 with much more current, which those cans like, this results in more natural and truly fantastic low end. I love k-701's low end, but you need to provide them some quality amp.
HD-dac-1 drives them perfectly well, no hassle what so ever, but for some reason, my other amp, which is by far more capable in power delivery department, drives them the way I like it. Not sure whether this is something to be worry about, as this have more than enough reserves to drive whatever I throw at it, or maybe its me and placebo thing, either way, this is how I see it.
Beautiful amp/dac combo, I love it, have far to many pieces of gear around, but hddac1 is still one I love and use almost every day, despite I got "far more capable" amps and dacs, there is some magic in this one.
Regards.
 

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