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Thread: Cary dac

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    Default Cary dac

    http://caryaudio.com/products/xciter/XciterDAC.html

    Any of you guys get an ear on this ? It's been out for about 3 years already. Reviews seem excellent, but not alot of chatter on them. Kinda wondering why. I know the dac markets are crowded, but these seem to be a slight step up from the sound of Cary's 306 cdp's which were and still are top notch players. Any thoughts ? Asking because ones on the 'gon right now for a tad over 7 bones.

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    Hey Tony. Cary is known for solid design. There was a thread at diyaudio that mentioned how the DAC came about. The story goes that Dennis Had of Cary heard an SS amp with National LME semiconductors in it and was so impressed, the tube guy designed the Exciter DAC around LME output chips in four months.
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    Thanks Rich, haven't heard that story. Regardless, in the ever so crowded dac field, it seems this one may stand out in it's price range. I like the Cary sound, if you want to call it that. Just curious as to why there isn't more reviews on them as compared to so many other dacs. Used at 7 bones screams frickin' steal to me at the moment, I think retail was double that.

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    Sometimes it is good to get off the beaten path. You'll just have to do some specific searches at the usual places with different spelling (xciter, exciter). I thought I read somewhere that via USB you only get up to 48KHz with it, so if that were important to you check for a manual and download it. If that were the case, for higher res files you'd need a separate USB/SPDIF converter. The specs say up to 192KHz but they don't say what inputs.
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    USB isn't important to me, I use digital coax anyway. Sound quality above all else is however and it appears this dac has that in spades. I'll try your tips on the search bro, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    . I thought I read somewhere that via USB you only get up to 48KHz with it, so if that were important to you check for a manual and download it. If that were the case, for higher res files you'd need a separate USB/SPDIF converter. The specs say up to 192KHz but they don't say what inputs.
    Yep 48k ,as it appears to use an archaic C Media CM108.An odd choice IMO considering that async devices abound and most of the competion are going that direction.On the other hand the 32bit bit AKM4399's are finding there way into a number of new DAC's such as (Bryston BDA2 ,Schitt,Esoteric).The exellent LME'opamps are very detailed but neutral (maybe a bit to the analytical side) so I would think the antithesis of the typical tube flavour one might expect from a Cary product.But thats all conjecture on my part since I have never heard said unit.

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    Hey Fred! I was thinking......Fred would just take a look at it and have it all figured out...lol

    It took a bit but I found the thread (I've been doing a lot of reading there). Post 18.

    http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid...r-jfets-2.html
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    To impress Dennis Had at Cary is no easy task. Thats why this dac has me jonesin'. Musicality is my main concern over numbers. Most Cary products put that first to begin with. The exciter may not be the choice for USB users, thats obvious, but not everyone uses usb anyway, like me.

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    You know the drill Tony, your rig, your music, your ears. I will say I enjoy the LME op-amps in the Keces dac at the 1/2 the price. Buy it, audition and flip or keep as necessary.

    Good luck

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    A drill I myself preach too Brock, but I also believe the Keces is not being made anymore so that option is out. Unless of course you'd like to part with yours.

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    Thats kewl Tony, my motto has always been go your own way. The only reason I mentioned the USB thing is not all the details are presented in the specs. A prospective buyer sees 192KHz accepted, but not via USB. More often than not, the DAC chip has more features/capabilities than implemented by the manufacturer. Most products are designed with a price point in mind. There is the suspected 4-1 rule, that is 1/4 is parts/labor. You start adding parts with that formula and price quickly goes up.

    I see AK DAC projects at diy Fred but never looked too deep into them.
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    It's about time your going to add a DAC to the mix. The Sonos alone is pretty darn good but after you add a nice DAC & hear the difference you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner!!! That Cary is a solid player & will keep you happy for quite some time to come. The price seems almost too good to be true. And yes you are correct in saying that the DAC market is getting very crowded at all price levels...more so in the 500-1K arena though. That's one of the reasons I picked up the CAL Alpha DAC. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time & the seller let it go for a song. He knew it too but wanted it to move out fast. Sometimes patience pays off. Keep us in the loop on your next move.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    A drill I myself preach too Brock, but I also believe the Keces is not being made anymore so that option is out. Unless of course you'd like to part with yours.
    No, no, no I wouldn't.

    The Cary is definitely a few more rungs and probably more up the ladder than the Keces. But it uses the same LME op-amps and I think that's part of what gives it the sound it has. I am not easily impressed but you know the story on the Keces, atleast in the current rig I'm running.
    "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

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    I see AK DAC projects at diy Fred but never looked too deep into them.
    IMO AKM's D-A chips are on par with the popular Burr Brown and Crystal(Cirrus)offerings and are starting to show up in more designs.I still have the little 24/192k AK4396/LME project I posted a couple of years back.It is no Buf III but it is a decent sounding DAC IMO considering the simplicity.

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    So far in my USB-based journey, I have found time and time again that a good stand-alone USB > SPDIF converter paired with a good DAC is better than an all-in-one USB DAC solution. This is, of course, gear dependent, but I have found the same results over and over again. I am currently using a Stello U3 USB > SPDIF converter (via AES/EBU) and it is the best I've heard. It is as good as my ARC CD-1 as a transport, if not better. One advantage to using a USB > SPDIF converter is that you can then use any number of DACs that don't necessarily include a USB input.

    One Polkie, I forget who, A/B'd the W4S DAC2 going direct USB vs. using the Audio GD DI as a USB converter and reported that using the DI sounded better. I own a DI. It is awesome, but the Stello is better.

    I recommend the Stello U3 > any DAC of your liking.
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    Btw, hows that monster Bat vk-500 sounding on those Maggies with the Ar pre ? Gotta sound frickin' awesome.

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