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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. Stillhart
    No, actually, that was very helpful, thanks!
    Oh right, I do recall reading that.  It went in one ear and out the other, though, since it's not a feature I'd use.  Thanks!
    Or maybe a used HA-1?
  2. kapanak
    Oh yes, if cosmetics was the only concern, the HA-1 certainly is attractive for the price.
    In terms of sound, it is utterly horrific XD
  3. Maxx134
    I am actually on the camp that you CAN hear differences in all changes of equipment and to me the dac differences were more noticable on better equipment.

    Also the Matrix X-Sabre Sounds very similar as HA-1 dac section.
    Edit: both bright signatures.

    While I have herd differences in cable the reasoning was not clear-cut because its not just the metals/materials but also overall design.
    The Largest benificial difference I herd in a cable so far is the Draug2 cable.

    My position still stands that there are completeley rediculous prices in Audio cable.

    And yes I must agree if anyone wants to pay those foolish prices it is completly their own business..
  4. jacal01
    Dunno about the very visually attractive priority, but the upcoming Audio-gd DAC-19 10th anniv. release may be considered a competent <$1000 ($750 till 8/1) new DAC product, with its PCM1704 R2R DAC, DSP digital filter, and non-feedback (current driven) analog output stage.  ACSS (current) output connectors are available, if not XLR.
    Eye candy fanboys may want to chime in here.
  5. Timestretch
    I'm not sure if I can tell a difference between DACs. I've tried a few of very different price ranges mostly at head-fi meets. What I'd like to do is find a DAC that sounds very distinctly superior or different to the DAC1, and occasionally switch between them to get those different feels.   
    And if it looks very cool, then that's ideal as well. The DAC1 is an ancient, rugged, utilitarian studio device and I would like something more beautiful on my desk. Again, since I'm not positive I know the audible differences between DACs, appearance & features could be a lot of the distinction for me. 
  6. mikek200
    First off,I want to aplogise, for my rude tone in my reply,earlier,{guess it struck me,the wrong way} ,,and I doubt,if ever I will spend $1K on a cable ,again
    The first place I jump to ,when a cable is needed is monoprice,or,the buy/sell forum.
    Have a good day,
  7. Stillhart
    Definitely take a look at the Oppo HA-1 then.  Despite what haters in this threat say about Sabre DAC's, it's not THAT bad.  lol
  8. thegunner100
    Head-fi meets aren't the greatest places to listen to dac differences. Were you using your own music, amp, and headphones? If not, then the comparison isn't truly valid.
    Like Maxx said, the better your upstream gear (amp and headphone), the bigger the differences will be between dacs. I can't say how good or bad your Crown amp is but the he-6 is more than resolving enough to tell the differences between gear. You just have to get a different for yourself and do comparisons in your own time and quiet environment. 
  9. kugino Contributor
    the Nad M51 can be had for about $1000 used.
  10. frenchbat

    Just get a good usb to coax converter, and feed data to your benchmark through coax. You'll thank me later.
    The usb input on the benchmark is but an afterthought.
  11. Timestretch
    Ah, I actually use toslink. Without galvanic isolation between my large PC and any DAC I've ever personally tried, I get interference (coax/usb both seem to fall prey to this). I am not sure why this is the case, but it plagued my friends before they moved to toslink with their DACs, too. The interference comes as strange clicking noises, weird staticy buzzes whenever you move the mouse of your PC, overall louder noisefloor, etc. I've yet to see a USB DAC where this doesn't happen (try turning your volume all the way up with no music playing and see if you can recreate)    
    So far I have to say I like the look of the NAD M51, and actually the Schiit Gungnir, too. It would be neat to get a DAC that lacks any headphone output or volume control. Just a simple, sleek design. 
    conquerator2 likes this.
  12. frenchbat
    Never tried the toslink, so I have no idea how good it is on the benchmark. Any decent converter should give you galvanic isolation though. I personally use a diy card, with a linear psu, and never had trouble with static or interference.
  13. wahsmoh

    I ran into the same problem as you. I was using an adaptive USB-coax converter called the Peachtree T1. I found the same problems.
    Switched back to pure PCM S/PDIF pass-through of my soundcard and use a toslink cable. Problem solved.
    I am waiting on my Gustard U12 before I give up on USB converters.
    I see nothing wrong with toslink as long as your DAC didn't include it as an afterthought. I know it sounds good on my Theta and I will give the coax another chance when I get my Gustard converter. The Gustard has its own transformer and is wall powered versus USB powered so it should have less noise and better signal isolation.
  14. haywood
    IIRC the Modi is only recommended in combination with Wyrd (and people use Wyrd with much more expensive DACs as well).

    Given your budget the only other option from those not panned is the ODAC or something better used. You might be able to find one of the vintage r2r models being talked about in your general price range but keep in mind: 1) they're quite old and internal components age and can go bad, 2) they're limited to more or less redbook, 3) there's no USB so people use an external converter like the Gustard U12 which is more than your budget.

    If you can go higher that opens up more options, $500 is probably more realistic to do much better than Modi.
  15. DecentLevi
    Hello again, thanks. So it looks like you're upgrading your DAC because the NFB-15 is too warm and mid-forward? Also I've scoured the web and I can't find this one for sell new/used ANYWHERE. But I guess that's OK. Yes please post your impressions on your Adcom once you try it out. Thanks much!
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