T+A HiFi - DAC 200 - Official Discussion Thread
Jan 17, 2024 at 5:59 AM Post #406 of 454
Wanted to pass along some recent build info with HQPlayer 5 and the T+A 200.


The uncomfortable truth I learned from this build is that HQPlayer 5 + DAC 200 can compete with, and even beat, some very high-end DACs I've tried at a fraction of the price.
What very high-end DACs have you tried and feel the DAC200 is competitive with or on par with sound quality?
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 3:33 PM Post #407 of 454
What very high-end DACs have you tried and feel the DAC200 is competitive with or on par with sound quality?
People tend to get pissy when you bash their toys, especially the expensive ones, which is why I refrained from doing so in my original post. This question can also be a bit misleading because over say, 15-20k, it's largely about individual preference rather than performance until you hit stupid expensive territory.

The key takeaway is that this HQP5+DAC200 DSD combo goes a very long way toward closing the gap with DACs costing 2x and 3x as much. More specifically, the DSD side of this DAC paired with HQP5 is flat out excellent. I played around with DSD/PCM upsampling when I first got this DAC. But it just didn't move me, so I disregarded and carried on. It wasn't until I built a dedicated upscaler that I was finally able to rip the shackles off the DAC200 and see what it could really do. I was not disappointed...

There were quite a few lessons learned though. For example, if you are aiming for the highest upscaling rates (DSD1024 + heavy mods and filters), you should use an operating system with a real-time kernel (which rules out pretty much every version of WIndows). Otherwise, you may see latency issues, bottlenecks and subsequent dropouts in your system. That doesn't mean you can't use Windows for this purpose or that it won't work. Only that a RTK is a better fit for this use case.

Lastly, and to come to a point, I'd rather avoid getting sucked into a pedantic flame war with an angry herd of nerds because I just so happened to $h1t on something they purchased. It's not worth the time or the effort. I would rather petition those with the funds, will, savvy, and patience to build a DSD upscaler for their DAC200. It could be a transformative upgrade.
 
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Jan 17, 2024 at 4:27 PM Post #408 of 454
Lastly, and to come to a point, I'd rather avoid getting sucked into a pedantic flame war with an angry herd of nerds because I just so happened to $h1t on something they purchased. It's not worth the time or the effort. I would rather petition those with the funds, will, savvy, and patience to build a DSD upscaler for their DAC200. It could be a transformative upgrade.
OK. Good answer. At 3x the price we all know what you are referring to anyway. There are only a handful of DACs above 20,000 and most of us never get to listen to them at home in our own system anyway (which is really the only way to fully evaluate).
 
Jan 20, 2024 at 11:51 AM Post #409 of 454
I have DAC200 in home demo currently. It's directly connected to ATC SCM50ASL active speakers. I'm comparing it against Holo Spring 3 (lvl 2 + the best usb module) - Holo Serene preamp (lvl 1) combo. After playing with it since yesterday, I can already say that this is a special piece of hifi equipment. Paired with HQPlayer and upsampling to DSD256, the sound quality is stunning. Very open and holographic, clearly more so than Spring 3 + Serene. It punches great, has great resolution and airiness but doesn't sound fatiguing, like ever. Very dynamic and lively sound. Holo stack sounds smoother and there's maybe slightly more "oomph" on the bass range, because of the separate high quality preamp, but otherwise T+A does more things right. At least with this short audition. It's insane how much detail DAC200 can retrieve from the recordings without the sound getting fatiguing. Anyway, it's very good. I'll continue the auditioning before making any final decisions but we just might have a winner here.
 
Jan 20, 2024 at 12:20 PM Post #410 of 454
I have DAC200 in home demo currently. It's directly connected to ATC SCM50ASL active speakers. I'm comparing it against Holo Spring 3 (lvl 2 + the best usb module) - Holo Serene preamp (lvl 1) combo. After playing with it since yesterday, I can already say that this is a special piece of hifi equipment. Paired with HQPlayer and upsampling to DSD256, the sound quality is stunning. Very open and holographic, clearly more so than Spring 3 + Serene. It punches great, has great resolution and airiness but doesn't sound fatiguing, like ever. Very dynamic and lively sound. Holo stack sounds smoother and there's maybe slightly more "oomph" on the bass range, because of the separate high quality preamp, but otherwise T+A does more things right. At least with this short audition. It's insane how much detail DAC200 can retrieve from the recordings without the sound getting fatiguing. Anyway, it's very good. I'll continue the auditioning before making any final decisions but we just might have a winner here.

Suggest giving PCM mode on the T+A a solid try as well. PCM on the T+A can be very musical and appealing, particularly for vocal-centric genres. DSD is more technical and detailed. Your personal preferences might swing between the two. Just be aware that the PCM section requires a LOT of hours to settle into its best in my experience. Not sure if the unit you are listening to already has a bunch of hours on it.
 
Jan 20, 2024 at 12:22 PM Post #411 of 454
Suggest giving PCM mode on the T+A a solid try as well. PCM on the T+A can be very musical and appealing, particularly for vocal-centric genres. DSD is more technical and detailed. Your personal preferences might swing between the two. Just be aware that the PCM section requires a LOT of hours to settle into its best in my experience. Not sure if the unit you are listening to already has a bunch of hours on it.
Thanks, yes I have tried it and will try it more. With a brief listening, I prefer the DSD, just like I do with the Spring 3. But of course I will give the PCM side a try. This is completely new unit so it needs some hours on it. But plays great straight out of the box when it just warmed up properly.
 
Jan 20, 2024 at 12:27 PM Post #412 of 454
Thanks, yes I have tried it and will try it more. With a brief listening, I prefer the DSD, just like I do with the Spring 3. But of course I will give the PCM side a try. This is completely new unit so it needs some hours on it. But plays great straight out of the box when it just warmed up properly.
My initial preference was DSD256/512. Only after putting a lot of hours on the PCM section did it really get competitive to my ears. It's great to have both DAC sections to choose from, depending on genre / mood / personal preference. Both are excellent.
 
Jan 20, 2024 at 12:33 PM Post #413 of 454
...It's great to have both DAC sections to choose from, depending on genre / mood / personal preference. Both are excellent.
Exactly, this is what I've been doing with Spring 3 also. Every now and then I prefer to just play NOS, which to my ears has great timing but obviously lacks the depth and space of DSD256. Still it's a relaxing listen and nice every now and then.
 
Feb 17, 2024 at 3:51 PM Post #414 of 454
Guys, I think I already know the answer to this, but I'll ask anyway, as things are always evolving.

So this is the use case scenario:

BluRay player playing SACD or BluRay concerts directly to the HDMI board on the DAC200. I know this part will work, but...

Is there a way to apply equalization in the middle of that path?

Right now, I do it via an Atlona AT-HD570, which then sends the signal to a miniDSP 2x4 HD, which in turn sends the signal back to the DAC, in coaxial form. So, basically, I would like a similar hardware to the miniDSP 2x4 HD, but that would have an HDMI input and an HDMI output.

Thanks in advance!
 
Mar 1, 2024 at 10:37 AM Post #415 of 454
Just picked up a Dac 200. Will be paired with a Melco Na1 H60 ex for now. Coming from a Bricasti M3 w/network card so back to USB I go
Anybody recommend a cable in the $500 dollar range? I previously was using the original Curious USB prior to the Bricasti setup but would like to upgrade.
I run Roon and was wondering how confusing running HQ player is? I am very limited technically and have very little patience. Also is it really a 15-30 second delay to start the tracks?
Pretty excited about this player. Hopefully it will be a step up from my current config.
Thanks for any tips!!
 
Mar 1, 2024 at 10:49 AM Post #416 of 454
Just picked up a Dac 200. Will be paired with a Melco Na1 H60 ex for now. Coming from a Bricasti M3 w/network card so back to USB I go
Anybody recommend a cable in the $500 dollar range? I previously was using the original Curious USB prior to the Bricasti setup but would like to upgrade.
I run Roon and was wondering how confusing running HQ player is? I am very limited technically and have very little patience. Also is it really a 15-30 second delay to start the tracks?
Pretty excited about this player. Hopefully it will be a step up from my current config.
Thanks for any tips!!
I use Intona Premium USB with the DAC200. I’ve compared it against ~ten different cables and nothing just comes close to how natural and ”right” the Intona Premium sounds. I haven’t heard the higher end versions of Intona USB though.

https://intona.eu/en/products/4053

About HQP, normally it does not take 10-15 seconds to start playback. This can happen with the most demanding filters and modulators though. I upsample to DSD256 and playback starts almost immediately.
 
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Mar 1, 2024 at 10:49 AM Post #417 of 454
I just picked up the dac200 this week. I feel it's awesome when running 2 channels. I didn't even hook up my subs yet but it already beat my previous 2.2 setup with Anthem AVM70. The details, layers, and imaging are in a totally different world.

It also sounded good with headphones, but not as pronouncing as using speakers.
 
Mar 4, 2024 at 6:04 PM Post #419 of 454
When can we expect a successor model of the DAC 200 - at the Highend Munich show?
I don't think we'll see a successor for a while. The dac200 is going to be relevant for decades to come. It is possible we will see a new file format or super high dsd rates such as dsd 4096 but I question the benefit achieved through them. Scaling with HQ player surely has it's draw backs compared to tracks mastered in native high res dsd.
 
Mar 4, 2024 at 6:09 PM Post #420 of 454
When can we expect a successor model of the DAC 200 - at the Highend Munich show?
Generally T+A announces new stuff at the High End in Munich.

However the DAC 200 is a very new product. It will take many many years before it's replaced with a successor.

In a few years it might see upgrades. Like the R Series and HV Series will receive the new Streaming Module G3 soon.
For Reference the current Iteration of the R Series was released in 2015 and in 2024 it receives a new streaming Module.
T+A Supports their gear long term and doesn't replace them every few years with a new Iteration.
 

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