Why do people buy expensive DACs?
Jan 15, 2011 at 3:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 132

wind016

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Before you say anything, yes I used the search. I came up with this link.
 
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/517082/what-makes-a-dac-better-than-another
 
It seems to say expensive DACs still sacrifice something... Now why are people spending $1000+ on DACs when there are supposedly equally good cheap DACs?
 
I'm willing to put the money up for something like the Anedio D1, but I'd really like to know if there is actually a real benefit before I drop that much money.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 3:47 AM Post #2 of 132

estreeter

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Only you can answer the 'VFM' question, but I think of it this way - I wouldnt be looking at top drawer DACs until everything else in my rig was at that level. There is no shortage of recommendations in the high-end forum, and I guess it just comes down to how deep your pockets are. As someone who is financially constrained to mid-fi, I have to rely on my trips to a dedicated Hi-Fi shop for exposure to that end of the cosmos. Personally, I would find it very hard to justify the price tags on many of the CDP/amp/speaker combinations I have heard at the shop, but its your wallet. In high-end terms, a thousand dollars is entry level (or below) for a DAC, so I guess its all relative. dCS make some seriously expensive gear if you want to upgrade :)
 
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 3:48 AM Post #3 of 132

KingStyles

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Because some of them sound better. Some of them dont. I havent found one that matches my skylla yet. cheap or expensive
Try to go to a local headfi meet first and try out some more expensive dacs so you will know if a more expensive one would be worth it too you. No 2 people hear the same. Some will say a specific dac makes a huge difference and the next person will say it doesnt sound any different than there computer soundcard. Untill you hear it, you wont know.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 6:56 AM Post #4 of 132

wind016

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Could anybody explain what kind of difference I might hear between a small portable DAC (such as an Ibasso) compared to something in the $1000-2000 range? Or whatever differences that they heard? I feel that my W11R headphone has very high detail retrieval and more so than any closed headphones that I heard before.  I also think my amp is up to the task to show me some more detail.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 7:15 AM Post #5 of 132
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With acoustic music, the differences between DACs are readily apparent. The soundstage is wider, with instruments having more space around them and sound more like separate instruments than part of a blur of music. The level of detail increases as well and the harshness (distortion) is lower.  With the DACs I've tried, the ones with the most comprehensive power supplies always won out.  I see a lot of high-end DACs with only minimalist power supplies and, honestly, I don't hold much hope for them at what the manufacturer is offering.  It could be that the much I don't know about electronics is biasing me here though.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 8:41 AM Post #6 of 132

sterling1

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Why do...because they can. It makes them  feel good, for awhile, then they may feel guilty, and pick at whatever it is that they purchased..They're convinced that spending big  will bring about satisfaction. Their mindset is that the most expensive things are the best things. Some of these folks are anal. I'm serious, some of these folks are compulsive/obsessive about this stuff. For these folks,   this stuff  never produces the pleasure sought, or is  a sufficient distraction from thoughts about their mortality. These are very unhappy people with insatiable appetites.   
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 12:01 PM Post #7 of 132

Happy Camper

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Quote:
Why do...because they can. It makes them  feel good, for awhile, then they may feel guilty, and pick at whatever it is that they purchased..They're convinced that spending big  will bring about satisfaction. Their mindset is that the most expensive things are the best things. Some of these folks are anal. I'm serious, some of these folks are compulsive/obsessive about this stuff. For these folks,   this stuff  never produces the pleasure sought, or is  a sufficient distraction from thoughts about their mortality. These are very unhappy people with insatiable appetites.   


Quite the judgment but I've found an instance of this to be true. The person can no longer even enjoy the massive investment they have accumulated because of their health. It is a tragedy but true.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM Post #8 of 132

Lazarus Short

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Quote:
 
Try to go to a local headfi meet first and try out some more expensive dacs so you will know if a more expensive one would be worth it too you. No 2 people hear the same. Some will say a specific dac makes a huge difference and the next person will say it doesnt sound any different than there computer soundcard. Untill you hear it, you wont know.


I once took my heavy & large Sony das702ES DAC (Sony's first) to a head-fi meet, and compared it to another member's smaller and more modern DAC (I don't remember make or model).  His was fed by an optical cable which looked for all the world like a clear, colorless plastic tube with nothing in it.  I thought his DAC sounded better - he thought mine did.  So there you go - maybe I should have offered to swap.
 
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM Post #10 of 132

leeperry

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coz a good DAC requires a good PSU, a well thought DAC output stage and full galvanic isolation on all its inputs....the cheap ones skimp on one or several of those points.
 
of course there's a gap between $99 and $999, luckily for us.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM Post #11 of 132

Lazarus Short

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Quote:
Good to see ya back around Sir Fezmeister.



 Thanks, Camper!  I should add that I bought my DAC on eBay for ~70 bucks, and don't know what the MSRP was.  It doesn't matter!!  It lacks such modernisms as optical or balanced inputs and outputs, but it sounds so good that I don't care to consider upgrading.  I think it's a mindset that dictates higher price = better sound, plus bragging rights.  I'd rather enjoy the music...
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM Post #12 of 132

Happy Camper

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Similar experience recently with the A GD 7. I was in the loaner program and got to listen to it for a couple weeks. I went back to my DAC and clarity was better from the Ref 7 but not at the price difference.
 
Old DACs were well designed and tweaks are being sold as breakthroughs today.
 
Jan 15, 2011 at 4:17 PM Post #14 of 132

wind016

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So... at the risk of seeming like I'm over simplifying, I guess the difference is in the power source? Just like it is in amplifiers?
 
I think I just might try the D1 just to get a peace of mind to finally know whether my Ibasso D10 is a major bottle neck. It's been really bothering me to not know.
 

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