Playback Designs DACS
Mar 2, 2023 at 11:00 PM Post #16 of 194
I absolutely 💯 agree! When one has a DAC such as this it does make you rethink the importance of such a foundational piece of the audio chain. Although I run a different brand and model I do have a great deal of respect for Playback Designs and for the anchor roll in the digital front end.

Glad that your loving it! And happy to see people choosing quality brands from quality digital designers and not just the same old same old.
Which dac do you have? I think you mentioned previously of AK's ex partner as a manufacturer but forgot the name.

My new order of importance is:

1. Headphones/Speakers
2. AMP/DAC
3. Server
4. Cables

^Still pretty typical order but definitely will never put amp above dac again
 
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Mar 2, 2023 at 11:15 PM Post #18 of 194
I run the Weiss DAC501-4Ch. Love it!

Happy that your loving your DAC too!
I really like the small foot print on the Weiss, it is great to have so many great options right now.

Sometimes the options available are a little over whelming!
 
Mar 2, 2023 at 11:42 PM Post #19 of 194
Which dac do you have? I think you mentioned previously of AK's ex partner as a manufacturer but forgot the name.

My new order of importance is:

1. Headphones/Speakers
2. AMP/DAC
3. Server
4. Cables

^Still pretty typical order but definitely will never put amp above dac again
100% DAC over Amp (especially headphone amps) after you cross over to the true summit-fi level DACs.

Never had the pleasure of listening to Playback Design but I know they're highly regarded and I'm sure it sounds fantastic, congratz on your new DAC.
 
Mar 3, 2023 at 12:16 AM Post #20 of 194
You know how people always talk about order of importance being amp, dac then server?

I am starting to feel with a little more dac experience, that I can understand why some people would rank dac before amp in order of importance.

I think ranking either of them above the other can potentially be the wrong way of looking at it as they are both so important in their own ways. I am guessing people generally put amp above dac in terms of amount of money spent to affect total amount of sound. Though DAC nuances are much less, sometimes those nuances truly make or break a song.

This DAC is damn wonderful and if you happen to be in NY, feel free to come listen and give your own description in this thread.

To summarize with my limited audio vocab, music is presented in a very clear/concise/realistic manner while retaining musicality.

The drums sound very very realistic on variety of songs. Unsure what it is doing, but it is doing some good s***.

My dac background is limited but it went in this order:

Benchmark DAC
Dave Chord
Holo May
Playback Edelweiss

Benchmark was great value and an all around decent DAC

Dave was a bit clinical to me, warranty was trash and will never buy chord again

Holo was musical yet has enough detail, one of the strongest value out there amongst dacs in general, I would be content with this DAC

Edelweiss is kind of a hybrid of Dave and Holo May in the sense that it is very detailed like the DAVE, but yet retains high levels of musicality like the Holo May, when you combine those two positive attributes, you just get this clear fun presentation mashed together.

Side Note: Diminishing returns are heavy here but at the same time "going backwards" will be bit hard from here on out. College tuition for kid? *shrugs*
I think for headphone use, I have put most of my electronics budget into the streamer/dac because headphone amp is easy and even 20yr old designs are good enough to put a couple of watts max into an easy load. 2 channel is trickier due to way more difficult load, room dimension and acoustics and speaker type.
 
Mar 3, 2023 at 12:17 AM Post #21 of 194
100% DAC over Amp (especially headphone amps) after you cross over to the true summit-fi level DACs.

Never had the pleasure of listening to Playback Design but I know they're highly regarded and I'm sure it sounds fantastic, congratz on your new DAC.
MPD8 sounds like F music. :beerchug:
 
Mar 3, 2023 at 10:06 AM Post #22 of 194
MPD8 sounds like F music. :beerchug:
What do you mean sounds like F music?

My vendor told me MPD8 is a bit more smooth than the MPD6, unsure how accurate that is, but I am so far enjoying my MPD-6.

I just can not see myself spending MPD8 money, so the choice was easy for me, haha.
 
Mar 3, 2023 at 10:15 AM Post #23 of 194
I run the Weiss DAC501-4Ch. Love it!

Happy that your loving your DAC too!
The weiss was actually my 2nd choice very close to the mpd-6. I used to live in California, Fremont. If you ever come by NY for whatever reason and are willing to bring the weiss, feel free to swing by and listen to both dacs back to back.
 
Mar 3, 2023 at 10:20 AM Post #24 of 194
What do you mean sounds like F music?

My vendor told me MPD8 is a bit more smooth than the MPD6, unsure how accurate that is, but I am so far enjoying my MPD-6.

I just can not see myself spending MPD8 money, so the choice was easy for me, haha.
That was a compliment :k701smile:

We are still waiting for your detailed evaluation after the honeymoon period.
 
Mar 3, 2023 at 9:10 PM Post #25 of 194
So far the further impression I get is that when I was listening to the DAC without my server/streamer I was starting to think "damn this sounds awfully good" even without the K50.

When the K50 was done repaired, and thrown back into chain, it makes me feel that dedicated streamers/servers "do more" for great dacs.

This is of course just based off small sample size of mine, but I have had situations where I am putting a server/streamer prior to DAC and it did not do much.

Just a random post...

Enjoying the DAC so far, no buyer's remorse yet, hopefully never, haha.

I traded in my Revel F208s and my anthem integrated STR for this DAC, so it did not sting my wallet that much.
 
Mar 4, 2023 at 2:31 PM Post #26 of 194
I tried MPS5 and MPD5 which are both discontinued, super rare in used market more expensive than MPD6 with Riviera AIC10. They sound very full bodied way much more than Weiss DAC which could be lean and a tad bright without proper treatment as isolation and cables. But Weiss is less colored that is why I like it. The MPD5 is also more dimensional and smoother but less detailed than Wavedream. Yet the caveat is speed plus it does have a house sound mimicking turntables.

The link that color the sound most are the source and cables, not amp or pre amp.

Among current streamers, K50 is way too soft to me, MU1 is less clean with that added mid bass but it is dimensional and organic sounding. Aurender N20 is my fave but lacking dimensions, so I personally end up streaming PRAAT via Esoteric streamer dac. Plan to try Aurender W20 but my custom made master clock only has one output and other clocks can’t totally fix the weird stage of X9000 like my current one.

The foundation of a system is power amp and pre amp. The best flavor is no flavor to embody the original master recording.
 
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Mar 4, 2023 at 3:21 PM Post #27 of 194
I think the foundation of a system is the source (streamer + dac). If you don't spin any records, it's time to ditch that preamp tech from the 60s and be amazed at the transparency of directly driving your amp with your dac (assuming great output stage and volume control).

MPD5 was fantastic the last time I heard (2011 I think). I bought Linn Klimax at the time - see my above comment about ditching preamp.
 
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Mar 4, 2023 at 6:29 PM Post #28 of 194
I owned most sources you mentioned before reaching my conclusion, losing huge sum of money.

There are many preamps in the market, it is unfair to deny all of them. The 50% of clarity in my system is from my preamp.



I tried a lot TOTL pre as well, most of them are mismatch, the hardest part is to find a well matching pre, which takes me many many years.

If pre has no value, why all TOTL loudspeaker systems are all separate? Even the KG Clan leaders and highest regard headfi “experts” all use pre + CFA3. Drama and beef aside, that part they got it right, and I’m a fair person.
 
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Mar 4, 2023 at 7:07 PM Post #29 of 194
I owned most sources you mentioned before reaching my conclusion, losing huge sum of money.B4FBB9AF-3511-424E-A7E8-5B12FE194341.jpeg

There are many preamps in the market, it is unfair to deny all of them. The 50% of clarity in my system is from my preamp.



I tried a lot TOTL pre as well, most of them are mismatch, the hardest part is to find a well matching pre, which takes me many many years.

If pre has no value, why all TOTL loudspeaker systems are all separate? Even the KG Clan leaders and highest regard headfi “experts” all use pre + CFA3. Drama and beef aside, that part they got it right, and I’m a fair person.

Did you try Emm Labs DV2 or Playback MPD-8 or the new Linn Klimax NG without preamp?
 
Mar 4, 2023 at 7:33 PM Post #30 of 194
Did you try Emm Labs DV2 or Playback MPD-8 or the new Linn Klimax NG without preamp?
Yes except MPD-8, plus I have tried many more sources that you didn’t thought about. I even owned Emm Lab’s own pre.

None of them could have the organic dynamics from a well matching pre, the gap is not small, irregardless of the retailing price. More and more DACs have good built in pre, but still can’t compete with a right dedicated pre. Many flavored sources could have better flavor with the built in pre, but the dynamics still not there compared to a right pre.
 
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