Rank the DACs you have tried

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by SilverEars, Dec 18, 2017.
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  1. Music Alchemist
    So? Unless you compared the DACs on the same system, with everything else being the same, you might as well say you did not compare the DACs in question. (Just heard them on different systems.)

    I used an $1,800 DAC paired with a ~$350 speaker system and am getting better sound now with a $30 DAC paired with a ~$1,000 speaker system. (Or $3,500+ if you count other components.) That doesn't mean the cheap DAC is better.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
    kid vic and alphanumerix1 like this.
  2. Liu Junyuan
    1) Yggy currently tied with Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 Mk II SE +
    2) Soekris DAC 1541 (close to Yggy, better in some areas)
    3) Gumby (occasionally preferable to Yggy)
    4) Holo Spring level 3
    5) Metrum Amethyst
    6) Theta Progeny
    7) Gungnir DS w/USB gen 2
    8) Oppo HA-1
    9) Musical Fidelity V-DAC tied with original Modi

    Computer Sources

    1) Lynx AES16e
    2) Sonore microRendu with Uptone Ultracap LPS-1 into Mutec MC-3+ USB
    3) Eitr (trades blows with uRendu but I preferred uRendu most of the time; by far best value per dollar for performance)
    4) Mutec MC-3+ USB (too expensive but extremely versatile)
    5) Gustard u12
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  3. chillysalsa
    1. Eastsound E5 (sorry that is a CD player, but I had to put it there because the DAC, based on a Crystal 4390, with TCCO/TCXO clock and discrete class-A output, I think there are some DACs with similar achitecture so I had to list it here).
    2. Breeze Audio generic AK4497SEQ dac w/ MUSES 8920 output
    3. Scott Nixon TDA1543 tubedac
    4. ADCOM GDA-600 (using PCM63J)
  4. Thenewguy007

    Why the Holo Spring level 3 so low? I hear opinions that it's either better than the Yggy or it's worse than the Gumby. Opinions on it are all over the place with it.
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  5. m17xr2b
    Have these been tested on the exact same headphone source and cables? Would't want to have your oppinion invalid because of this.
  6. pibroch
    1. Dangerous Music Convert-2 (USB input)
    2. Oppo 105D (USB input)

    Fed into pair of Geithain RL906 active speakers - same speaker and listening positions.
    Will test the Convert-2 against the Crane Song Solaris early January.
  7. Thenewguy007
    Can't wait to hear your impressions!
  8. biosailor
    Impressive to see the long list of DACs that have been compared! So far I had only two and the ranking is pretty obvious:

    1. Aqua Hifi La Voce S2
    2. Schiit Bifrost Uber

    The Bifrost was uninvolving and flat sounding, while the La Voce S2 opened up things immensely. I am thinking of upgrading to PS Audio's DirectStream DAC.
  9. pibroch
    So my impressions now:

    1.Dangerous Music Convert-2.

    3.(Equal 3rd) Crane Song Solaris and Oppo 105D.

    The Solaris' sound is much more detailed and less distorted than the Oppo's with more separation between musical instruments. The Oppo doesn't have the low mid absence of the Solaris and so in this sense sounds more natural.
  10. Crazycuz2k
    These are the standalone DAC’s I own, in order of most recent to oldest. I’d like to think each new DAC is better than the previous, at least specs wise they are. I still have a fondness for the DLIII when connected via coax though.

    1. PS Audio DirectStream Junior
    2. Oppo Sonica DAC
    3. Schiit Modi Multibit
    4. Meridian Explorer
    5. PS Audio Digital Link III
    6. PS Audio GCHA (DAC/HA combo)
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  11. smodtactical
    wondered the same
  12. sheldaze
    Easier for me to put these into tiers, rather than to pick one I prefer over another. That said, I do own Yggy A2, Onyx, Qutest, and Cyan. I will put an asterisk next to those DACs I have owned or still own, and two for those I still own.

    Tier 4 is what I personally found to be usable for speakers. Those below had something odd, which became too audible for my use in speakers.
    Tier 3 is what I personally found to be usable for headphones. I ranked the Hugo 2 here because I liked it with headphones, but not when connected to any of my headphone amplifiers.
    Tier 2 is...well, it's a step below the top tier.

    Tier 1
    Chord Dave
    Metrum Pavane
    Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 (**)

    Tier 2
    Chord Qutest (**)
    Holo Audio Spring Dac Level 3
    Metrum Onyx (**)
    Schiit Gungnir Multibit (*)

    Tier 3
    Chord Hugo 2
    Holo Audio Cyan (**)
    Metrum Amethyst (*)
    Soekris dac1541

    Tier 4
    Arcam irDAC (*)
    Meridian Director (*)
    PS Audio PerfectWave DAC (*)

    Tier 5
    Chord Mojo (**)
    Grace Design m9xx (**)
    Schiit Bifrost Multibit (*)
    Schiit Modi Multibit (*)
    SLC1966 and smodtactical like this.
  13. Whazzzup
    Agree it’s moot unless your dac is the only thing switched out. For the record TT has no mentions and source like my DX, can make this dac more capable than it gets recognized for. This is a mid market dac that can surprise
  14. techboy
    With the HD 800. It plain sucked. It was loud enough, but sucked.
  15. Anaz
    1. RME ADI-2 DAC
    2. Chord Mojo
    3. Audio-gd R2R 11
    4. RHA Dacamp L1
    5. Massdrop x Grace SDAC
    6. Emotiva Little Ego
    smodtactical likes this.
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