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Review: NuForce DAC-80 - replacement for the DAC-100 (same sound, lower price)

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by project86, Aug 26, 2013.
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  1. project86 Contributor
    For what it's worth, I like the DAC-80 more than the Essence STU with the Muses opamps. I found the STU with Muses to be roughly on par with the Essence One. 
  2. Zebra
    Project86, do you have a preference between the Concero and the DAC-80?
  3. project86 Contributor
    Depends. Are we talking original Concero or Concero HD? DAC-80 has a more dynamic sound, very exciting. Concero is somewhat more relaxed, and Concero HD more detailed. Different sounds (and features) for different needs. 
  4. Zebra
    I am interested in your thoughts on the 24-bit Concero and the DAC-80 used as a USB DAC.
  5. Armaegis
    Now you just need to slap the Muses into the DAC-100/80 [​IMG]
  6. dlyz
    Thanks for the feedback guys. Its still tough decision to make due to the price of the DACs and my country's weak currency. I did ask around but so far and not many ppl have tested both DACs.
    So i changed my approach and asked, how far improvement will i get if i buy either DAC vs my STX. Some say very much improvement due to the better power supply and away from the EMI/RFI interference. Some say, by a small margin but improvement is there.
    What is your opinion on this? The answer will most likely make me pull the trigger to get the DAC-100, i wont be getting the newer DAC-80 because the new distributer in the country decided to mark up all NuForce products and DAC-80 is more expensive than the DAC-100. 
  7. project86 Contributor
    The original Concero is really great. So is the DAC-80, but if all you want is pure USB DAC functionality, no preamp and no SPDIF inputs, the Concero might be the better buy. It's more neutral overall versus the NuForce having that mild coloration tipped towards making everything sound good.
    Not sure if I dare. Got the Muses01 and 02 here, and seem to like the 02 best. Maybe I'll try when I get a moment. The stock LM4562 is no slouch though.
  8. curiousmuffin
    so what dac chip is it? :wink:
  9. project86 Contributor
    Says right at the beginning of the review - 32-bit AKM AK4390 DAC. 
  10. curiousmuffin
    my bad, only looked at the picture hah.
    interesting the chip that garners so much attention for this popular dac is also one of the least popular for diy crowd for reasons unknown to me. 
    thanks for the info :)
  11. Armaegis
    Probably because it takes more work than most DIY can handle?
  12. curiousmuffin
    i doubt that's the main reason.
    there are chips that are harder to 'handle' than 4390 that are more popular.
  13. Armaegis
    Who knows. Maybe they had a general architecture in mind and this one fit the best.
    Or maybe they picked it precisely because it wasn't popular for DIY [​IMG]
  14. project86 Contributor
    I just figure it's not a well known DAC chip, so it isn't used often. AKM in general gets less use compared to Cirrus, TI, Wolfson, and ESS. AKM is roughly in the same place as Analog Devices - both make good DAC chips which for some reason are less commonly used than others. 
  15. Clemmaster
    I love the Fostex HP-A3 which features the AKM4390.
    I find it sound very clean and transparent but also very smooth and maybe sweet even.
    It's very good at revealing ambience in the scene. Not the last word in terms of details, but the Fostex USB is quite outdated now (Tenor 7022L, which is fine but there's better nowadays).
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