Good news for Rega DAC owners (and potential owners)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Puma Cat, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    For those of you interested in using the new Rega DAC and would to enhance it's flexibility for computer audio-based use (given that it's clear that many customers DO want asynchronous 24/96 USB functionality in their DACs), Musical Fidelity has a new, asynchronous,24/96-capable USB to SPDIF convertor that sells for only $169:

    http://www.stereophile.com/content/musical-fidelity-v-link-usb-spdif-converter

    No need to have to drop another $450 for a Halide Bridge....
  2. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Or $150 for a Hiface...
  3. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
  4. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    This is what I am waiting on to connect my Mac Mini to the Benchmark. I also have heard that it measures well.
  5. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Yup, given that the other V-series products have received very favorable reviews, and Musical Fidelity has a well-earned rep for producing high-quality products, my guess is that it will be quite a good performer for the money.
  6. JonP

    JonP New Member

    Personally speaking, something just does not feel right about buying a brand new DAC and then having to buy a conversion device. Which is effectively what would have to happen if I went out today to buy the Rega DAC, since it is brand new on the market. I could understand someone already owning an existing very high quality DAC and wanting to purchase a conversion device because they love their existing DAC and wish to keep it (seems to be the case with LeeS for example).

    But I think I would otherwise prefer to do without inline converters and instead look for a DAC that can take a USB output at the desired resolution natively - or - in this case - wait for Rega's next model which will surely (if they listen to customers and follow market trends) allow for higher resolution and sample rates.

    I have nothing against these converters since I can see a specific market application for them. But I just don't think it is a sensible step to buy a brand new DAC and the converter at the same time - which seems to me what the title of this thread alludes to.

    I can certainly understand that this combination might give the best sound for the price for someone right at this specific point in time, but it might not be an economical decision if, say, Rega bought out a version "one and a half" of the DAC in sooner than we think that accepted higher resolution and sample rates.

    The other thing to consider is that without the converter, we now have $1200 to spend on a DAC instead of $1000, the latter being the retail US price of the Rega.

    Just my own opinion of course.
  7. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    I agree with you completely; my preference would be that the Rega DAC supported 24/96 asynchronous USB right out of the box. But for those who would like to use the Rega DAC and have asynchronous USB functionality (which gets around a lot of the jitter issues that S/PDIF has), this is a reasonable way to go.

    Of course, the V-link will appeal to others, as well, like folks that own the original, non-USB Benchmark DAC1.

    Personally, as far as USB DACs go, I'm sold on the HRT Music Streamers....they provide superb performance for money. Now that my MSII is fully broken in, I have a hard time distinguishing it's performance from my Oppo BD-83SE. And this is with first-class source material, like the excellent Audio Wave Blue Note XRCD remasters. It's that good, which makes me think the MS Pro must really be something special.

    For a guy who primarily listens to vinyl, for me, the HRT 'Streamers really hit the sweet spot with respect to the performance/price ratio.
  8. IanL

    IanL Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    I think this is something each person will have to ask for themselves. I can see your point of view. But speaking personally as well, if I was in the market for a stand-alone DAC right now, I would be checking out the Rega DAC. And if I needed a reasonably-priced adapter to use it, I would just consider that as part of the cost and pay up. It's like buying a nice interconnect.

    Although there are other nice options out there that some people will prefer, the way Rega makes digital sound is pretty addictive. If the sound of their CD players already appeals to you then when you go shopping for a DAC you will put them near the top of the list to check out. I wouldn't let the fact that I had to purchase an adapter to use the DAC in my specific system keep me from getting the sound I really love.
  9. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    And considering that Rega has never being a company to rush to market with anything, the thought of a v.1.5 in the "near future" is highly unlikely.
  10. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I see your point but I think I might view it a bit differently.

    At this point I have a DAC and now want to connect my Mini. I have to get an SPDIF converter so something from a reputable company at such a reasonable price is a godsend for me.

    Now, there is also a versatility from a converter plus DAC strategy. For instance the DAC can enhance older CD players like my Sony SCD-777ES. So you get some basic CD player enhancement via this route. Conversely with a USB DAC like an HRT you cannot enhance the CD player.

    Second, Rega makes fine sounding digital in my experience. If you want hirez files also in that Rega sound quality this is really the only way to go.

    My bet is you really want hirez and more hirez music selection is likely in the future.
  11. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    P.S.

    The total incremental investment is reasonable. You get a Belkin Gold USB cable for $30 or so, $169 for the converter and spend maybe $123 on a good 75 ohm cable like a Black Cat Veloce (see my avatar). So just around $300 and you get hirez functionality with the Rega.

    Not too shabby.
  12. JonP

    JonP New Member

    As an aside, I was looking at the HRT streamer plus (one of the few DACs - like the Rega - that does not upsample), but I read a review where someone thought it wasn't good with complicated orchestral music. Have you heard large scale orchestral works with yours? I find it frustrating that I might see it (hear it) differently to the reviewers but the only way to hear one is to buy one. What I really want is a USB DAC that sounds as good (even exactly like) as my Xonar ST soundcard.
  13. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    You can buy a Belkin Gold USB cable from Amazon for about $6 and save yoursefl $24. ;)
  14. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Just through optical though, right?
  15. Yes, mini-Toslink. Ah, I get it--your DAC does not have a Toslink input. I didn't think about that possibility. ;)
  16. JonP

    JonP New Member

    Are you trying to hypnotise me? :winkgrin: I want it, and I want it now.

    We should place bets. How long will be from today that Rega bring out a revised DAC with 24 bit USB capability?

    My bet: Within 400 days. So by February 20th, 2012 :agree::love: They'll call it the same model. It will just be a "subtle" change. Like Musical Fidelity and the XCan V8P versus the XCan V8.
  17. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Of course the Rega DAC can be connected directly to the Mac Mini via the Mac's optical output. That is 24/96 feed and it's directly connected to a PC without a converter. The cables can be bought for less than $20.
    -Bill
  18. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Yes, this came up in the Rega DAC thread. The problem is that optical has jitter issues compared to asynchronous USB.

    Regarding cheap optical cables: the quality of the optical cable really matters when using TOSLINK. I used to use a cheap $20 Belkin going from my Airport Express to my Arcam AVR for streaming digital musical content to the Arcam (which has an excellent DAC), and found that going to a Monster M1000 series optical cable made resulted in a significant improvement in sound quality. I didn't think that with a digital signal with an optical cable that cable quality would matter, it's just bits, right? Wrong. Frankly, I was shocked at the level of improvement. These sell for right around $100.
  19. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    I think the jury is still out on all of that. The difference in optical cables is certainly a factor for data transmission over distances. For instance, when you are talking about the broadband companies laying fiber bundles, they use glass fiber as it has less reflection issues than plastic. Toslink is typically plastic but then there are also varying grades and types of plastic so it's hard to generalize. I've got some dirt cheap, thin, plastic Toslink cables and some slightly nicer looking ones (maybe just a jacketed version of the same thing in reality) and I don't hear any difference in any application. I also have a quite nice looking Belkin model that I have yet to use. Back when jitter was a more of a concern due to the DACs of the time, I also had some glass types and even ST optical, which is the industrial/telecommunications grade of connector system that incorporates a glass fiber. Wadia used that and I believe that they recommended optical over Coax at the time. most DACs that I have used, I have found that Coax was my preferred connection, if there was any noticeable difference at all. I attributed that to the optical converters used in the DACs rather than the cables themselves. For a 3' - 6' length, I'll have to hear the difference to believe it, given the same DAC. I'll have to give the new Belkin model a try. In any event, one would think that optical would be a very good link from a PC to avoid any noise associated with a ground connection to it.
    -Bill
  20. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

  21. I have received free shipping from them on multiple occasions.

    When I have had to pay for shipping, it has been $2.00 or less. Last time I bought a USB cable from them, it was around $1.50 for the cable and the shipping was free.
  22. If you are using a DAC with good jitter rejection--and almost all good modern DAC's that offer Toslink inputs are good in this regard--then use of Toslink is a non-issue.

    In short, if your DAC has a Toslink input but you are planning to use an USB-to-SPDIF converter anyway, you are going to get zero increase in sound quality and you will have wasted your money buying a completely unnecessary adapter. Of course, it's your call, but it doesn't mean that's the right call.
  23. JonP

    JonP New Member

    I once owned a V-DAC and although I never liked the sound of it, I did notice differences to the sound when I used different optical connectors. It sounded noticably better when I used a Van Den Hul optical connector versus a standard toslink I originally bought from an electrical store. I also had a third toslink cable (midway in price between the other two) and it sounded different with that cable as well.

    It was only some time after owning that DAC that I saw a review mentioning it's jitter was not that great through the standard audio inputs but was supposed to be excellent via USB.

    That experience is one reason why I shy away from converters in the line of a digital transmission. I even noticed differences in sound when I added a simple toslink to mini connector on the end of a normal toslink cable.

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