New Audeze LCD3
Jun 3, 2012 at 9:57 PM Post #5,912 of 11,506

wuwhere

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In this hobby one has to be careful with statements like "price does not matter". Today's SOTA will not be tomorrow's. Its a moving target. Technology keeps improving. Today's 10k DAC will be matched or bested by tomorrow's 5k or less DAC. That's just the way it is.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM Post #5,913 of 11,506

googleli

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Among the pure DACs units I have heard or currently own, the Zodiac Gold and the Weiss DAC202 are very good products. The Headfi brand DACs I have heard, including the Lavry DA11, the Benchmark DAC1, the Grace M902 and the Schitt Bifrost are not even close in terms of naturalness and details retrieval. With the LCD3 I find the Weiss DAC202 to be a better match. If you listen to vocal music mostly, Weiss DAC202 is the choice. They also have the "Medea" model which is higher in price, so may be try that out too if you are interested.

In comparison to the two pure DAC units I currently have, the Headfi brands sound either very digital or details and dynamics compromising. We do not have many choices when it comes to headphone amps, but IMO there are far better offerings out there than the brands we see frequent mentioning here when it comes to source components. I read that the Berkeley Alpha is another very good DAC but I have not heard, so I cannot make a recommendation.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 12:26 AM Post #5,914 of 11,506

Anaxilus

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I don't know what a Headfi DAC is but many of us Headfiers like the Perfectwave.  The NAD M51 comes close to the PWD but just short only ever so slightly.  Most would not be able to tell the difference at all for various reasons.  The Gungnir is a big step up on transparency over the Bifrost.  Lavry and Benchmark DAC1 are less resolving than the PWD and NADM51 IMHO.  Check out the ODAC?  I'm planning to try one and think it may actually perform well though the fact that it's only USB powered has been holding me back.  I tried to plug my HD800 and music into a Zodiac Gold at the SHOW this weekend to try out but they said it wasn't hooked up.  
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Jun 4, 2012 at 12:37 AM Post #5,915 of 11,506

dagothur

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Quote:
 The Gungnir is a big step up on transparency over the Bifrost.

I thought the Gungir and Mjolnir won''t be released until August.  Did you get a review unit or some dedicated time with it?
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 12:40 AM Post #5,916 of 11,506

googleli

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Oh yes, almost forgot the PS Audio PerfectWave - I have heard it and it is a fine fine DAC, although I do prefer the Zodiac Gold for its accurate instrument placement, and the Weiss DAC202 for mid range and especially vocals. I don't think it is a head-fi brand though - it is quite commonly seen in speaker systems as well. The other brand DACs you mentioned (except the NAD which I have not heard) do not compete at the same level as the PerfectWave. I don't have a particular liking for Schiit Audio's products, headphone amps and DAC alike - they just sound off to me. Never heard the NAD though.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 12:48 AM Post #5,917 of 11,506

Anaxilus

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Quote:
I thought the Gungir and Mjolnir won''t be released until August.  Did you get a review unit or some dedicated time with it?

 
Yup, heard the prototype at the Village meet in LA which was 'ok' but needed fixes.  They were at the SHOW this weekend and they were both about 95% done if I had to guess.  Much better, only minor tweaks left.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 12:50 AM Post #5,918 of 11,506

Anaxilus

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Quote:
 
I'm not sure what your expectations were for the $300 Schiit DAC and amps especially when they were designed to be the bottom of the 3-4 levels of performance in their lineup.  Maybe you should go grab a Theta DAC and Sumo amp if you want to hear their past work from decades ago.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 1:01 AM Post #5,919 of 11,506

googleli

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Not really high, honestly, but having read some of the raving reviews here, I'd expect better.
Quote:
 
I'm not sure what your expectations were for the $300 Schiit DAC and amps especially when they were designed to be the bottom of the 3-4 levels of performance in their lineup.  Maybe you should go grab a Theta DAC and Sumo amp if you want to hear their past work from decades ago.

 
Jun 4, 2012 at 1:06 AM Post #5,920 of 11,506

Anaxilus

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Quote:
Not really high, honestly, but having read some of the raving reviews here, I'd expect better.

 
Oh come on now.  
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For the $300 range the BifRost is very good performing and engaging sounding DAC but an amazing transparent amp performing 3 steps above will pick out it's flaws.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 1:11 AM Post #5,921 of 11,506

googleli

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Nope, not even that. Even at the budget price range, I prefer the mDAC or DAC Magic much more than the Bifrost.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 1:15 AM Post #5,922 of 11,506

Anaxilus

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Nope, not even that. Even at the budget price range, I prefer the mDAC or DAC Magic much more than the Bifrost.

 
That's fine.  I know some others that weren't fans of the DAC Magic.  Schiit happens.
 
Jun 4, 2012 at 4:59 PM Post #5,923 of 11,506

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I've had some time with the Bifrost/Lyr stack and my LCD-2s, and I have to say that the best description for Schiit gear is 'solid.'  It doesn't do anything wrong, but having heard a small variety of amps and DACs with it, it doesn't really give me a 'wow' factor like the NFB does.  It's definitely good gear, but it's not 'special'.
 
Jun 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM Post #5,924 of 11,506

Jian

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I think that they are good DACs/AMPs in their price range, but just good, nothing special. At this price range there are better choices IMO. 
 

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