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Thoughts on a bunch of DACs (and why delta-sigma kinda sucks, just to get you to think about stuff)

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by purrin, Dec 5, 2013.
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  1. purrin
    Here are non-Sabre alternatives:
    Emotiva XDA Gen2 - AD1955 $299
    Bifrost Uber (no USB) - AKM $419
    Mousai MSD192 - Wolfson $430
    Modi2 Uber - AKM $159
  2. prot
    Was it really necessary to be that rude ?!
    I posted those MB-sound reports more as a question.  Were those measurements and tests right? I do not know ... but I have no reason to doubt any of those people.  The AL1150 chip is quite a step-up and was measured by many people around 105DB SNR.  For example here.  Asus even claims 115DB for some of their top range boards.  And those are pretty well built audio solutions: well isolated, audiophile caps, replaceable opamps, etc.  Why is it so hard to believe that some of those actually sound better than most middle-low range dacs/amps who measure in the 85-100DB range? Say the ODAC or similar (which btw is an ESS DAC) ... or another ESS thingie like this.  A simple SNR measurement is of course not the whole story but one cannot just dismiss a 10+DB difference.
    Besides, where exactly is your test that proves the opposite?  What MBs and DACs did the all-knowing evillamer actually try?  Or we should all just trust evillamer&co because they say so !?
    sorry for the slightly offtopic and annoyed msg ...  I just dont think that such insulting and unsuported statements help anyone.
  3. Benfica1

    Thank you very much. I'll take a look at these.
  4. Sorrodje
    Beresford Caiman mkII deserves interest too : 320$ . Analog sound, a bit leaner but more resolving than a Metrum Octave well ranked in the #1 post.  Crappy HO but very good as standalone dac.
  5. AustinValentine
    The Mousai is also on Massdrop right now. If it hits lowest drop (and it probably will, 2 days left), it's only $299. Exceptional performance for the dollar. 
  6. hans030390
    AMB Gamma2.
  7. FayeForever
    Like what marvey has said, just buy a odac and be done with this thread.
    purrin, dan.gheorghe and negura like this.
  8. HemiSam
    Hear hear.  It's a good DAC, especially for the price point.  I'm not a big fan of it's amp section, but it'll work in a pinch if someone needs a single solution.
  9. Benfica1
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like it's down to these 3:
    1) bitfrost uber (no usb)
    2) beresford caiman mkii
    3) mousai msd192 dac

    The AMB is a DIY and don't trust myself to pull it off.

    What worries me about the mousai is that a couple of posts on massdrop mentioned that it wouldn't power on and I'm not sure about support and service for this unit. That leaves the beresford and the bitfrost. The schiit customer service and support that I've experienced is first class and that goes a long way. Decisions,decisions.
  10. hans030390
    Buy one used, then. I've seen some floating around currently for $250 or less with an included power supply (though you can run it off USB power). Based on memory, I prefer it over the Mousai. The Mousai is good but generally a bit greyer, less lively, and more polite across the board than the Gamma2. At least IMO.
  11. Currawong Contributor
    ...and the thread doesn't end up locked permanently when we can't be bothered reading a dozen pages of crap to figure out how to un-screw things.
    lukeap69 likes this.
  12. evillamer
    Found this AES article which examines the idle tone(unwanted noise?) of the sigma delta modulator.
  13. drez
    Seems a likely candidate for sd hash.
  14. conquerator2
    I should get the X12 this week :D
  15. Sorrodje
    (temporary) final thoughts about Metrum Octave mkI vs TotalDAC A1 comparison.
    Those last days, I borrowed the Octave I sold to a friend and a HD800 to a neighbour. Mine is not back home yet.
    I bought and received the totaldacA1 last week and I needed to compare the two DAC in order to be able to make my choice and keep the totalDAC or return it within the 14 days trial period. I read 6 moons and Srajan Aeben concluded that the Octave and the totalDAC sounded almost the same. that's why i wanted to be sure before any decision.
    To be honest, I must precise that I think all dacs sound almost the same... but all the game in the "almost" :wink: . so I agree with 6 moons, the metrum and the totaldac A1 sounds almost the same. But I think the totaldac is significantly better enough to keep it.  If I had to give you only one reason, I would say that there's some tracks I listened many many times before and in which i never noticed background noise and hum. with the totaldac I noticed the hums and noise for the first time. when I switched back to the Octave , I noticed it obviously but, in my mind, the fact i noticed them for the first time say something about the resolving capabilities of the totalDAC.
    Don't get me wrong, I've always thought that the Metrum was not resolving enough. It's really a great dac with a very specific tone but technically speaking its a bit weak. The consequencies on my listening enjoyment have always been subtle though. I owned the Octave during one year and two feelings never left me : First of all, Classical was not perfectly rendered. I miss some excitement/bite/dynamics. The second point is that I've never achieved to "forget" the dac. It seems i always heard the metrum coloration : thick , bodied and slightly unrefined. Extremely enjoyable for Electronic musics but less for acoustics and/or classical. Purrin found that the Octave a liquid sound. I think myself it's maybe more liquid than some other dacs but far from the last word in this field.
    The totaldac is IMO a clear step up. The bass slam is better, the dacs hits faster and harder and I feel like I can hear more harmonic richness in the mids. Textures are maybe better rendered. It resolves better too. I compared it the PCM1704uk dacs before. The totaldac offers this kind of lushness/euphonia/liquid sound but IMO it's faster and offer more slam and precision.
    The totalDAC A1 stays at home  and I'm saving money for the Yggy while I'll watch Yggy threads and read impressions. :wink:
    arnaud and drez like this.
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