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Thread: Which DAC...

  1. #1

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    Default Which DAC...

    So trying to figure out what DAC would be the best.

    I want to use USB for hi rez for now and also plan on using a squeezebox down the road.

    I want something that has wonderful SQ.

    Overall my budget is about 1500.

    I've been looking at the Wyred DAC 2, Antelope Silver (I thought it will do 24/192), and the PS Audio PWD (won't do 24/192 on USB unless you get the upgrade).

    I'm almost tempted to buy a Schiit Bifrost for now until I can make up my mind what better DAC but don't know if that would just be a waste of money or not.

    The PWD I've heard in a system and really like it, however would want to do the upgrade which is another 800 bucks to improve the USB.

    The Wyred I've only read is great, but no experience, same with the Antelope which has a different way of dealing with jitter and states is more analog in sound.

    I would like something fully balanced and that won't be a pile of junk in about a year. I think the Wyred is upgradable but not sure...
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  2. #2

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    Just don't get caught up in the "DAC of the week" club. Buy something established, with solid specs; that doesn't promise moon-beams shooting out of your bung-hole.

    Bel Canto
    Benchmark
    Wyred
    Bryston
    Cambridge

    Cry once, or cry twice---the choice is yours!
    Last edited by steveinaz; 02-06-2012 at 11:25 AM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  3. #3

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    If a more analog sound is your thing, throw Burson on that that list.

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    The PS Audio DLIII and Music Hall 25.3 are both very nice DAC's that can be modded for further refinement and still be well within your budget.
    DKG999
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    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  5. #5

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    I have the W4S DAC 2 and love it. It just keeps sounding better and better. I did upgrade the PC when I first got it and have added a HIFI tuning supreme fuse.

    MY only other experience with external DAC is a PS Audio DLIII.

    Besides the sound I really like that I can adjust the volume using the remote as my PREAMP does not have a remote.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

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    Just as an alternative suggestion, if you get a high-quality USB > SPDIF converter, then you can use any number of non-USB DAC's. This will give you a million more options for DAC's on the used market, and it will let you get some really nice pieces with excellent analog sections.

    I recommend the Audio GD Digital Interface (with optional external power supply, of course).

    http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/USBface/Digital1EN.htm

    Brand new shipped to your door it will run about 250, which leaves you plenty of scratch left to explore used DAC's.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

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    He is getting a squeezebox eventually so the USB thing is only temporary as I see it.

    Lots, and lots of choices and configurations. Good luck, your head will be numb after exploring the possibilties. If it were me and I was going to use a SQB eventually, forget about the USB unless it happens to come with whatever unit you decide on. In other words make it a non-factor.

    Just IMO, unless you think the USB is going to be permanent. Why do both? The SQB does everything you can do over USB and probably does it better.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  8. #8

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    Anytime I hear "buy this DAC, and just do this, this, and this to it; and you're all set" I think....huh? Your budget is high enough to do it right the first time. Just my opinion.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

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    Hi there in the land of Frozen Cows. I know this is low end but this technology is always changing and by the time I get it figured out most of the stuff out there today will/may be...on the shelf with mp3's, 45's, 78's 8 track. In the meantime I picked up an Emotiva xda-1 dac/pre for 250 delivered w/5 year warranty. Good luck. http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...enflup&17&4#17. Oh, and here is a little discussion on the xda-1.
    Main Family Room: Sony 46 LCD, Sony Blue Ray, Sony DVD/VCR combo,Onkyo TXNR 708, Parasound 5250,
    Polk SDS-SRS with mods, CSI 5 center + Klipsch SC2, Polk RT2000P rears, Klipsch KG 1.5's sides, Polk Micro Pro 1000, Polk Micro Pro 2000, Polk SW505, Belkin PF60, Signal Cable Classics,Monster IC's, 2 15 amp circuits & 1 20 amp circuit.

    Living Room: Belkin PF60, Parasound HCA2200, MIT ProlineEXP balanced IC's,Emotiva XDA-1 DAC/Pre,Emotiva ERC2 transport,MIT AVT2, Polk LSI 9's.

  10. #10

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    The Emo isn't in the same catagory as the others mentioned. Not that it's all that bad considering the price, but it doesn't really compare to the heavier hitters.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    The PS Audio DLIII and Music Hall 25.3 are both very nice DAC's that can be modded for further refinement and still be well within your budget.
    A big +1 to those with a fav being a modded MH25.3. I'll put mine up to anything. It also gives you the option of tube and SS out, and you don't need to spend a fortune on a good tube. In a month or two it will be compared to the ESS Sabre32 DAC to see what the difference might be. Hopefully Doug will be available so we can get that stock/mod comparison out of the way.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
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    polk 10bs--- prodigy hd2 modded Burson Audio opamps
    dcm time windows ---- parasound pre amp
    TDQ-1600 Broadcast Reference Tuner -- yamaha cd s700
    yamaha px-3 Denon dl-110 --- audioquest ic
    carver 1.5t--- bogdan speaker cables
    ps audio 200cx--- ps audio phono pre amp

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    He is getting a squeezebox eventually so the USB thing is only temporary as I see it....In other words make it a non-factor...
    Another good reason to get a separate USB > SPDIF converter and DAC. He can sell the USB > SPDIF converter later if he won't be using USB anymore, and the DAC purchase would be made purely on the quality of its SPDIF implementation and not limited by the few good USB choices out there.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  14. #14

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    There are lots of good USB choices out there and I just bought a USB dac to get rid of the extra conversion and gear in the chain. No room for it and I didn't like the extra cables and the extra outlet it used.

    Simple is always better if it can be achieved. Granted my rig is an office/secondary rig, but I just don;t see the need to add a converter to the mix if you don't have to. Obviously if he chooses or finds a great deal on a non-usb dac, this can be a solution. But, I don't feel it should be mandatory. Work it in as necessary, not the other way around.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  15. #15

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    Well after thinking about it, I think I'm really going towards the Wyred or the Antelope. Seems like both units are made very well and the one thing I really like about the Wyred is the fact that it has an upgradable section so that if something changes in the future they could upgrade the DAC.

    I do like the Burson, and would be really tempted to get the one with the headphone,DAC, pre amp in it as I wanted to do an amp for headphones anyways but IDK. I'm tempted to see about it though as there was a local place close by that would do the Burson with a pair of good headphones in a packaged deal for about the same price as the Wyred...dang.
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  16. #16

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    I am not sure how much faith you can put into W4S and future upgrades. TMK that has not been delivered on and until they do or don't you won't know for sure.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  17. #17

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    I love my Bel Canto. I assume you are in Wisconsin. I'm in N. Illinois and if you are close to the boarder you are welcome to hear mine.

    cubdog
    Shuguang Classic S8MK
    Bel Canto DAC 1.5
    Squeezebox Touch
    Sony SS-M7
    Robert Grodinsky RGR Model 5
    Emotiva XDA-1
    A/D/S L710

  18. #18

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    Cstmar, if I remember correctly, you are about an hour down the road from me. I have the W4S if you wanted to give it a listen. I havent auditioned the others on your list, but I'm very happy with the Wyred.

    Also, didn't you recently pick up an Integra 80.3? (it may have been someone else). If so, a hdmi sound card may be an option.

  19. #19

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    The Burson and Wyred units sound very similar, I would say between the two it would come down to which features you were prefer.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    I have an Eastern Electric MiniMax,it features the 32 Bit ESS ES9018 Sabre DAC chip. Can be easily modded by rolling opamps (pin type) and also has a dedicated tube output. It's a fun DAC to play with.

    An article to look at http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=798

    The original MiniMax has been upgraded by a newer model http://www.morningstaraudio.com/shop...mid=13&catid=6
    SDA CRS+4.1TL's/Modded SDA 1C's/Modded SDA SRS 3.1TL's/Modded SDA SRS 2.3TL's

  21. #21

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    Mike that MiniMax is a nice DAC. Especially if one is looking for a somewhat tubey sound. The nice thing is that It is still fairly detailed. My friend's full minimax setup is one of my favorites. The new Minimax DAC is 24/192
    design is where science and art break even.

  22. #22

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    Yes, I picked mine up "slightly" used for $650. You can switch to the Solid State output and by-pass the Tube out. if you like. It also does 24 Bit/96kHz sampling. I've only owned one other DAC in my time,it was a Parasound Ultra 2000, a great DAC for its time. The newer offerings just have a ton of features and options that make em' fun to play with.

    "If" I had the need I would not hesitate to pick up the MiniMax II
    SDA CRS+4.1TL's/Modded SDA 1C's/Modded SDA SRS 3.1TL's/Modded SDA SRS 2.3TL's

  23. #23
    Audiophile
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    I've owned two pieces of Audio-GD equipment, and thought both sounded and were build fantastically. High recommendation for Audio-GD DACs.

  24. #24

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    Checkout the Hegel HD-11 dac:

    http://www.hegel.com/hd11_qa.htm
    Linn AV5140 fronts
    Linn AV5120 Center
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    M&K MX-70 Sub for Music
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    I have always wanted the pwd based on what I have read from users. I think its also happens to be one of the best looking DACs out there and looks classy in comparison to the w4s

  26. #26

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    Ah crap.

    Well I talked to a dealer and he sells both the PWD and the Wyred. It was like a 200 buck difference between the two and that would be new. I'm going to look to see what other DAC's are out there and not just based on the USB being 24/192 for now.

    Choices...
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  27. #27

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    See if you can demo both.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Sorry, I've lost track of the DAC threads and am getting mixed up about what I've read where...

    Wondering:

    - What kind of lead time can I expect from Audio-GD?

    - Has anyone heard an Audiolab M-DAC?

    - H9, if you happen to see this: Did you ever try your Keces DAC on your main rig?

    - Anyone else have tasting notes on the Keces, especially the 131?

    Thanks for any help,
    Craig
    Beat Duke!
    Den: Rega RP6 , Jolida jd9ii , Jolida jd100 , SBTouch , W4S DAC1+ , Belles 20a , MIT Shotgun3 , WW Electra , Sunfire Sig II >> Polk SRS 1.2 (full upgrades, Dreadnought) , Schiit Valhalla >> HD600
    Office: MediaMonkey (wasapi) , Arcam rDac , Dared sl2000a , Pass Aleph 30 >> Revel Performa M22 , Dared MP-5 >> Hartley Reference Mini-Tower

  29. #29

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    Audio-gd expect to wait a while. Between slow production and long ship times
    we're talking months. I bought mine used to avoid all that.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

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    ugghh... was afraid of that.
    Den: Rega RP6 , Jolida jd9ii , Jolida jd100 , SBTouch , W4S DAC1+ , Belles 20a , MIT Shotgun3 , WW Electra , Sunfire Sig II >> Polk SRS 1.2 (full upgrades, Dreadnought) , Schiit Valhalla >> HD600
    Office: MediaMonkey (wasapi) , Arcam rDac , Dared sl2000a , Pass Aleph 30 >> Revel Performa M22 , Dared MP-5 >> Hartley Reference Mini-Tower

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