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  1. #1

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    Default Affordable Dac? Or new Pre-amp

    After testing and auditioning new speakers, as i thought they were my weak point (they are ONE, just not the worst), i've decided that i need to do something so i can take advantage of the SPDIF output on my cd player. The analog outputs sound like crap. I've tested cables, to no noticeable worthwhile improvement.

    The real nail in the coffin is that if i run the same CD player to my Pioneer VXS-50 using the SPDIF to my Paradigm Titans and a Mirage Omni S8, it sounds almost twice as good as running that cd player via interconnects to the Adcom/Onkyo/Esprit/RW-10D setup. This shouldn't happen.

    The sound i get from my Sansui tuna through the same setup sounds better at times.

    The mediocre analog signal from this cd player seems to be documented in numerous places online.

    So i've come to the conclusion that i need one or more of the below, keeping a fairly low budget:

    1) DAC
    2) Preamp w/ SPDIF input
    3) New cd player

    I'd like to stay away from option 3, as i LOVE the cd player using the optical output, and it makes for a dandy bedroom dvd player as well.

    Let's set a budget of $300 or below. What should i be looking at for options 1 or 2? Which option should i go with? I'd be inclined to think option 1, as it will carry over to new systems i may put together in the future, and i have no HUGE complaints with my preamp. (Other than no remote, no sub out, and no optical input.) Come to think of it, that doesn't sound too good, does it? :p

    Any help is much appreciated. :D
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

  2. #2

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    Look at the Cambridge Audio DacMagic. It is $400 new, but check the used market.
    Venom
    Let me tell you something about life, around every corner monsters await. I know, I am one.

    If I owned hell and this place, I would rent this place out and live in hell.

    Mains: Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1
    Preamp: Modwright SWL9.0SE
    Amps: Butler TBD2250, PS Audio Trio
    PrePro: Cary Cinema 6, Outlaw 990
    DAC: Benchmark DAC1
    Universal Player: Denon 2900
    Cables: StraightWire Encore II, Kimber Hero, Audioquest Type 4, CV-8, Columbia DBS
    Power Conditioner: Belkin PF60

  3. #3

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    The advantages of a standalone DAC is usually in the design of the power supply and analog stages; it's unfortunate but these are two of the most expensive areas. Quite honestly I haven't heard anything that is 'cheap' that makes a sonic 'leap' in performance. My starting point would be a Benchmark...which is out of your price range. I would look for improvement's in your system elsewhere. Proper positioning of speakers can work wonders.

  4. #4

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    Get a good tube cd player. I have a Carver SD/A490t and it is one of the best cd players I have ever heard.
    Sunfire TGP, Sunfire Cinema Grand, Sunfire 300~2 (2), Sunfire True Sub (2),Carver ALS Platinum, Carver AL III, TFM-55, C-19, C-9, TX-8, SDA-490t, SDA-390t

  5. #5

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    Adcom GDA 600 or 700 are outstanding units and while expensive when new are cheap on the used market.

    In your price range it's about as nice a sounding unit as you'll find. Extreme care was taken in the analog and PS sections of these units. I haven't found much below $1K that I like better than the GDA 600. They got it right the first time.

    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!

  6. #6

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    What do you guys think of the review in TODAY's Playback Mag...on Music Fidelity)s V-DAC box....a lot of claims are made in that review for only 299.?

    cnh

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    What do you guys think of the review in TODAY's Playback Mag...on Music Fidelity)s V-DAC box....a lot of claims are made in that review for only 299.?

    cnh
    Do you have a linky to the review and details of that unit?MF have designed a number very good DAC's over years so they certainly have the know how.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by venomclan View Post
    Look at the Cambridge Audio DacMagic. It is $400 new, but check the used market.
    Venom
    This.
    "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

  9. #9

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    Am i going about this the right way? Even if i just swap the stuff within the rack, and don't touch the speaker placement, there's a night and day difference when going between analog and digital outputs on the cd player, even if i keep the Pioneer VSX-50 for both.

    I appreciate everyone's input so far, keep it coming! :D
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

  10. #10

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    When using the analog out of your CDP, you're using the CDP's DAC. When using the coax/optical out, you're using the DAC of whatever component it's connected to, in your case, your receiver.
    "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

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    Music Fidelity)s V-DAC box....a lot of claims are made in that review for only 299.?

    cnh
    I found a bit of info on the V DAC.Impressive in that it uses a dual differential DAC (BB-DSD1792) and a sample rate converter(SRC4392) in a unit that sells for a mere $299.A few years ago this chip pairing would have only been found in far more expensive DAC's.In fact the 1792 is one of the most widely used DAC chips found in hi end DAC's and CDP's.
    MF seem to have the right pieces in place for the digital section but I could'nt find out any details of what op-amps they are using for the all important analog stage.The quality of opamps used in the I/V conversion and output buffer stages will have a big influence on SQ.
    I would really like to here one of these budget number crunchers.

  12. #12

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    Here's the review link....For the MF V-DAC..

    http://playback.avguide.com/issue/20

    cnh

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    What do you guys think of the review in TODAY's Playback Mag...on Music Fidelity)s V-DAC box....a lot of claims are made in that review for only 299.?

    cnh
    Here's the link. Very interesting......

    http://playback.avguide.com/issue/20

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    When using the analog out of your CDP, you're using the CDP's DAC. When using the coax/optical out, you're using the DAC of whatever component it's connected to, in your case, your receiver.
    Roight. I don't like the way the reciever sounds at the moment, because i don't have the remote necessary to get to a lot of the options, though. So i've pretty much decided that the DAC of the cdp sucks.

    Would it make more sense to get a standalone DAC at this point, or update my preamp from my Adcom GTP-400?
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Adcom GDA 600 or 700 are outstanding units and while expensive when new are cheap on the used market.

    In your price range it's about as nice a sounding unit as you'll find. Extreme care was taken in the analog and PS sections of these units. I haven't found much below $1K that I like better than the GDA 600. They got it right the first time.

    H9
    I've found a few online.... they have SPDIF in, yes?

    The MF V-Dac looks good to me, as well. :)
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
    I've found a few online.... they have SPDIF in, yes?
    Yes coax and Toslink.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
    I've found a few online.... they have SPDIF in, yes?

    The MF V-Dac looks good to me, as well. :)
    For the money it cant be beat.
    Linn AV5140 fronts
    Linn AV5120 Center
    Linn AV5140 Rears
    M&K MX-70 Sub for Music
    Odyssey Mono-Blocs
    SVS Ultra-13 Gloss Black:D

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