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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by furball View Post
    Point well taken.

    But still, I don't know if this analogy is valid in the audio world. Take the world of computers for example. Most laptops from 10 years ago were built like tanks compared to today's mostly cheap plastic laptops. But if given a choice, would anyone prefer to use a 10 year old laptop over a modern laptop?

    Again, I am not sure the analogy is all that valid in the audio world, especially since technologies in the audio world haven't progressed at nearly the same pace as those in the computer world. But food for thought nonetheless.
    No, not a good analogy. Computer processing is a whole different ball game. I'm a big fan of discrete circuits, component layout, attention to detail and generally speaking today's unit don't have those upper most in their components. As always there are exceptions but a lot of these $350-400 and under DAC's just don't hold a candle to what you can buy used from 6-8 years ago for the same price today.

    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!

  2. #32

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    No substitute for good quality gear be it old or new.Some older dacs out there are pretty damn good still.Like a MF tri-vista dac.Everyone drools over chip sets being used,but it's not just that as design and other parts used play into the end result.Some of todays cdp's have great dacs built in and you can find a few threads on members who upgraded their cdp's and sold their outboard dacs.Quality is key,don't throw 5 Franklins into a so-so dac when you can most likely get the same result by buying a quality cdp.Not dissin' outboard dacs,but don't see a reason to buy cheap ones.Computer rigs is a whole 'nother story.Just my .02

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    Well, oddly it takes some time. Lemme splain...

    I was bored one week, so I decided to just let the CEC run on it's own. I hadn't done this since buying the DAC1, so it had been about 2 years. At first I thought the CEC sounded pretty damn good (and it did)--but after about a week, I was ready put the Benchmark back in. Lost was the punch/slam, dynamics. The soundstage was smaller and not nearly as deep. Cymbals didn't quite have that "wood on brass" sound. There was less seperating space/air between musicians.

    I use the word "subtle" in the context of, you're not gonna be immediately impressed---but, after taking some time and listening to a large sample of your music, then the real differences come to light--in a more than subtle way.

    Make sense?

    I hesitate to be too excited about recommending external DAC's because most people who have never heard one usually expect this big "POOF" to happen, and their music will be instantly transformed. DAC's take listening time to really appreciate everything they bring to the table.
    Well said Steve.

    I have had at my disposal a friends Lite Audio DAC60 dual 24bit dac. It's a tubed unit. Very solid build quality, modded from Pacific Valve. A really nice looking and feeling piece. I just can't get into it. It sounds flat and lifeless compared to my Adcom and it just doesn't have the extension, detail and layering I'm used to. I have been demoing it in my system for a couple weeks and it's just different and not nec what I like as far as sound. It certainly isn't awful, just certain subtle things are different.

    I'm not sure if it's the tube output or the dac chip set used or a combination of both. One of the nicest sounding dac's are manufactured by Monarchy Audio and they still use the Burr Brown PCM-63PK chipset and those, while updated, are atleast a 10 year old D/A chipset. So newer is not always better depending on how the circuit is implemented.

    Also for me as a rule I dislike the sound of the 1bit "bitstreaming" type D/A chip known as delta-sigma loop processing.

    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!

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Everyone drools over chip sets being used,but it's not just that as design and other parts used play into the end result.
    Very good point. I have used a variety of DACs using the same chips yet each had a different sound. Its all in implementation.

    P.S. My experience with the Paradisea is one with upgraded tube and opamp.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Everyone drools over chip sets being used,but it's not just that as design and other parts used play into the end result.
    Exactly. The most important--and most forgotten--final analog output stage.

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  6. #36

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    for your stated budget you might consider:

    MSB Link DAC III ($249) and have it modified by ModWright (Level I $250).
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by halo View Post
    for your stated budget you might consider:

    MSB Link DAC III ($249) and have it modified by ModWright (Level I $250).

    Yeah, I mentioned the factory-upgraded MSB Link III (Nelson) in my original post. Then, down the road I could get the upgraded power supply.

    This is a tough decision. Now that I've had a taste of the NOS sound, I'm wary to go back to over or upsampling.

    If the MHDT dacs were more readily available, I'd probably be leaning in that direction.

    So right now the primary contenders are
    1) Mod my DAC-ah to fix the clipping and improve the sound (thinking about the asi-tek.com com mod, which is the same as the RAM mod).
    2) A new MSB Nelson Link
    3) Something used that strikes my fancy
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  8. #38

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    Russ has a stellar unit in the FM right now. Monarchy 18B

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63377

    For a DAC around $500 that would be my number one choice. Excellent sounding piece, extremely well built with lots of attention to detail and design, especially in the analog output section.

    Nothing else in this thread really measures up except the Benchmark and you won't find one of those used for $500.

    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!

  9. #39

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    eff you, my parasound can crush those other pieces...............


    put em up...............

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Russ has a stellar unit in the FM right now. Monarchy 18B

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63377

    For a DAC around $500 that would be my number one choice. Excellent sounding piece, extremely well built with lots of attention to detail and design, especially in the analog output section.

    Nothing else in this thread really measures up except the Benchmark and you won't find one of those used for $500.

    H9
    Have you heard an MSB? Just wondering is all :)
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by adam2434 View Post
    Yeah, I mentioned the factory-upgraded MSB Link III (Nelson) in my original post. Then, down the road I could get the upgraded power supply.

    This is a tough decision. Now that I've had a taste of the NOS sound, I'm wary to go back to over or upsampling.

    If the MHDT dacs were more readily available, I'd probably be leaning in that direction.

    So right now the primary contenders are
    1) Mod my DAC-ah to fix the clipping and improve the sound (thinking about the asi-tek.com com mod, which is the same as the RAM mod).
    2) A new MSB Nelson Link
    3) Something used that strikes my fancy
    adam - the MSB Nelson and the MSB modified by ModWright are two different things. ModWright also offers a level II mod for the MSB Link DAC III @ $375.
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  12. #42

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    I think H9 is just pointing out Russ has a nice DAC for sale, he gets I am kidding. There are many fine quality DAC's out there for Adam to consider.

    RT1
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  13. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by halo View Post
    adam - the MSB Nelson and the MSB modified by ModWright are two different things. ModWright also offers a level II mod for the MSB Link DAC III @ $375.
    Yep, thanks, I just meant that I was looking at MSB DACs in general.

    I've read about those mods and do wonder how they would stack up against the Nelson, which can purchased for $500 new, which is about the same cost as the Link III with the Level I mods.
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  14. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    I think H9 is just pointing out Russ has a nice DAC for sale, he gets I am kidding. There are many fine quality DAC's out there for Adam to consider.

    RT1
    Bingo. ;) Plus I've had a lot of experience with some Monarchy gear, BTW, it doesn't need to be modded to sound great.............it comes that way :D:p
    "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. #45

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    I'll also add MSB has a great reputation. I looked long and hard awhile ago for a decent DAC and the Monarchy was always at the top. They don't come up FS too often. I had 2 deals fall thru on 18B's back then and I got a killer deal on my Adcom so that's what I went with, plus I needed (2) coax inputs.

    I was originally buying a dac for DVDp because it sounded so poor. I ended up using it for both my Nak cdp and my DVDp and have never looked back.
    "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!

  16. #46

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    Thanks for the input Brock. There are a lot of DACs out there (as Ted pointed out). Sometimes its just a little overwhelming. Just my $.02. YMMV :)
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  17. #47

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    I just spied a Channel Island VD-A2 on the 'gon for 400. You could get the upgrade VAC power supply later.

  18. #48

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    Oddly enough, NOS dacs benefit the most from monarchy DIPs due to the way the data points are converted, very sensitive to jitter. I have a monarchy DIP classic backing up my MHDT. I can hook any source I want and get the same liquid sound... it's nice.

    I would look into the monarchy 24/96 DIP if you really want another NOS DAC... I wish I had 24/96 support, but the classic is 44.1khz only, not that it's bad. Redbook done right sounds oh so nice.

    I am so impressed with the quality of the DIP, I often wonder what a monarchy DAC would be like.

  19. #49

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    MSB DAC III with PB1000 power base: link $500 obo
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  20. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yashu View Post
    I am so impressed with the quality of the DIP, I often wonder what a monarchy DAC would be like.
    The DIP is a great piece and believe it, Monarchy makes a great DAC. I have always been impressed with Monarchy because it adheres to my philosophy of KISS. No frills, high quality parts, solid design. The music/analog comes first. No, BS approach.

    I just hope the earth doesn't split in half now that I have agreed with Yashu on something.

    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!

  21. #51

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    Well, I decided on a new MSB Nelson Link DAC III - ordered one tonight. They're closing them out for $500, which is about 1/2 of the original MSRP. Figured I give something else a try and wanted to buy new this time (although the DAC design goes back to 2000). At that price, it's like getting an unused piece at a used price.

    I like the idea that it reclocks the bitstream, given that I'm using my PC as a source (in addition to my Sony), and PC SPDIF is known to be jitter-prone.

    Of course, I'll lose the nos sound, but what the heck, time to try something new.

    Down the road I'd like to pick up the P1000 power supply upgrade or the power supply upgrade from Monolithic Sound.

    Thanks to all for the input. I'll report back once I break it in.

    Data sheet is attached for those interested.
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  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yashu View Post
    I would look into the monarchy 24/96 DIP if you really want another NOS DAC... I wish I had 24/96 support, but the classic is 44.1khz only, not that it's bad. Redbook done right sounds oh so nice.

    I am so impressed with the quality of the DIP, I often wonder what a monarchy DAC would be like.
    Thats odd... I have the Monarchy 24/96 DIP and I wish I had a classic 44.1 Khz.
    My 24/96 Dip works flawlessly.... I just was curious what the master clock would provide in the DIP Classic.

  23. #53

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    Well... I have not compared them, but for 16bit redbook, I can't imagine it getting much better (for the price). I only wish I could play with some higher bitrates. I think that is the only reason for wanting to try the 24/96.

    From what I understand, the classic can be upgraded to 24/96 support with a little something, it may just be as simple as a jumper.

  24. #54

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    Got the MSB Nelson Link today.

    Here are my initial impressions.

    Build/Appearance:
    Solidly built and surprisingly hefty for something with an outboard power supply. It won't win any beauty contests with its plain-Jane, dark grey matte finish though. The led's are also very bright.

    Sound:
    I should not be listening until it breaks in a bit, but could not help but give a listen right out of the box.

    Wow is the 1st word that comes to mind. The solidness and depth of the bass is the 1st thing that struck me, literally. The DAC-ah has prodigious bass, but lacks definition compared to the MSB.

    The other words that come to mind are timber and timing. It sounds balanced from top to bottom, with no part of the spectrum calling undue attention. The sound is much more detailed than the DAC-ah, but is not bright or harsh at all. It also has very good timing and attack, which gives music nice snap and drive - toe tapping appeal.

    I had upsampling engaged the whole time.

    I need to give it a few days to break in, but I'm impressed so far.

    I also have the P1000 power supply upgrade coming (new from a member here). It has a torroidal, filter caps, rectifiers, etc. and takes place of the large wall wart that comes stock. As good as it's sounding without break-in and with the wall wart, I can't wait to get it broken in and get the P1000 connected.

    Need to get back to listening - Buddy Guy's Blues Singer is cued up.

    Edit: the stock power supply is not a wall wart; it's more like a laptop PC power supply.
    Last edited by adam2434; 02-15-2008 at 11:45 AM.
    Polk LS90
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    Cambridge Audio C500 Preamp
    Sony 222ES CD/SACD
    MSB Nelson Link III DAC with P1000 Power Supply, Music Hall DAC 25.2
    Squeezebox Classic
    Sony BDP-S1000ES
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  25. #55

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    Meant to post a pic (albeit crappy)
    Attached Images  
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    Polk FX500i
    Outlaw LFM-1 Sub
    Polk Monitor 7C (secondary location)
    Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX
    Audiosource Amp Three (2), Amp One/A (1)
    Cambridge Audio C500 Preamp
    Sony 222ES CD/SACD
    MSB Nelson Link III DAC with P1000 Power Supply, Music Hall DAC 25.2
    Squeezebox Classic
    Sony BDP-S1000ES
    JVC DLA-HD250 Projector
    Da-Lite HCCV - 100" Permwall 16:9
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  26. #56

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    congrats on your score!

    If anyone else is looking for one of these, here's on (zero feedback seller, though) for what seems to be a good price. Upgraded with power supply and such.

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....onv&1207630476

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    That is a pretty good price.

    I'll have about $750 in my new units.
    Polk LS90
    Polk CS400i
    Polk FX500i
    Outlaw LFM-1 Sub
    Polk Monitor 7C (secondary location)
    Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX
    Audiosource Amp Three (2), Amp One/A (1)
    Cambridge Audio C500 Preamp
    Sony 222ES CD/SACD
    MSB Nelson Link III DAC with P1000 Power Supply, Music Hall DAC 25.2
    Squeezebox Classic
    Sony BDP-S1000ES
    JVC DLA-HD250 Projector
    Da-Lite HCCV - 100" Permwall 16:9
    Time Warner HD Cable
    Panamax 500 DBS
    MIT, Blue Jeans, AR, Outlaw Cables
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  28. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyGwis View Post
    congrats on your score!

    If anyone else is looking for one of these, here's on (zero feedback seller, though) for what seems to be a good price. Upgraded with power supply and such.

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....onv&1207630476
    Here's a what looks to another good deal, just posted, in case somebody's ready to pounce on it:
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....onv&1208223789

    MSB Nelson DAC, P1000 power base, AND Monarchy DIP24/96 with AES digital cable all for $795 from a seller with tons of feedback.

    Edit: on second though, the first deal is still better since the DIP is only $200 new (on a side note Monarchy's website plays annoying music. I hate it when websites do that).
    Last edited by mulveling; 02-14-2008 at 09:21 PM.
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    touche, Mul, touche!

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