DACs

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by three_paws, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Curious what DACs folks are using. I'm mostly a vinyl guy, but I have 2 externals that I use for streaming. I'm not floored by either, though I really like both for different reasons (DACMagic and Pro-Ject S2). My favorite phono cart is the Olympia, FWIW--I like that it's warm and energetic without being overly refined. Would be curious to hear if anyone has experience with a DAC that has a similar sonic signature.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
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  2. Art K

    Art K I bite you!

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Border Patrol SE-i. I love it! To use a cliche, it’s very analog sounding.
     
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  3. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    That's kinda what I'm after. Thanks!
     
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  4. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    I have my Marantz CD6007 with internal dac and a Audio-GD R2R 11 as an external dac and I'm really enjoying going from one to the other for different music.
    The R2R 11 definitely fulfils the warm /energetic thing and no one could accuse it of being refined.
     
  5. jesterthejedi

    jesterthejedi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix
    I’ve got an Ifi Zen Signature and Ifi Nano. Used to have an AudioEngine D1 but I sold it. Happy with both my Dacs they sound great and didn’t cost an arm+leg. One sits by the TV and does living room audio duties and the second is in my bedroom with my stack of components. The Zen handles the Mac/iPad/iPhone’s audio.
     
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  6. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    Location:
    London
    Chord Mojo.
     
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  7. Salparadise

    Salparadise Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    You need to read the Denafrips thread. There’s a wealth of info, comparisons, reviews of many brands. Lots of love for Denafrips of course.
    Denafrips Dacs
     
  8. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Thanks!
     
  9. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    The somewhat new Cary Audio DMS 700, a network player, has an interesting DAC that pairs AKM 4499EQ switched resistor (current output) chip with FPGA. I've been impressed. Of course, a hi end DAC is mostly an analog component, which I'd expect Cary to do ok with, but I'd wager that the digital in this unit was designed by a partner in Hong Kong or Japan, etc.
     
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  10. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    This one has been getting good reviews: Holo May DAC review on YouTube
     
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  11. all24bits

    all24bits Mature Adult

    Location:
    USA
    LH Labs Geek Pulse (upgraded and custom components) and a couple of LH Labs Geek Out dacs also customized and upgraded.
     
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  12. Gi54

    Gi54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Suggest put an Exogal Comet DAC on the list - very analogue, tonally neutral, accurate, non fatiguing and a superb soundstage - it has a beguiling quality that let's me forget about the kit and focus on the music.

    Its connected to stream Qobuz and Spotify 320 via USB from a dedicated laptop, and also via AES and RCA (each has its own SQ - use amp switch) from a Primare CD32 used as a transport.

    Have seen some s/h ads in US for the Comet plus PSU at circa $1k - an absolute bargain!
     
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  13. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Thanks, folks!
     
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  14. fcdvpds

    fcdvpds Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I love digital, CDs and DACs. At the moment I have 4 DACs and find all of the absolutely amazing. In order from cheapest to most expensive: Bel-cant DAC 1, Audio Not DAC one 1x Signature, mhdt Labs Atlantis and Audial S4.

    The bel0Canto Dac1 appears on the second hand market often at around 300usd...I can't imagine a better value option. It sounds warm and a little rounded off on the extremes, not energetic.

    The Audio Note Dac one 1x Signature sells on the second hand market around 400 to 700 usd. It's a little rough on the edges and definitely more energetic than the Bel Canto. It's one of the less boring DACs that I ve tried. It shows the differences in CDs and sources like no other. You change the source and you get a completely different sound.

    The mhdt Atlantis DAC is probably the best option for viny lovers and you can get it new for 850usd. It has the best sound stage I ve heard from digital, it's super versatile with 4 different inputs and playing around with tubes is great fun. The only issue is that it injects a little too much of it's signature showing less difference in tonality between sources and CDs. It doesn't mean that everything sounds the same but it's own sound signature is there at all times.

    The Audial S4 is impressive on its own. It is less midrange centric than the others, less coloured than the mhdt, less rough that the Audio Note but it cost substantially more...and it's by far the most energetic albeit more neutral than warm.

    Other dac worth checking for vinyl lovers is the Abbas Audio...I ve never heard one but the design is intriguing to say the least.

    Abbasaudio — Официальный сайт
     
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  15. h1pst3r88

    h1pst3r88 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    My Audio GD R2R-1 is arriving tomorrow, which will complement my Black Ice GlassFX DSD Wifi Delta-sigma tube DAC (mod'd bt Radu Tarta). I find the Black Ice to sound wonderful but have been really curious to try an R2R DAC. Underwood Wally is a big fan of the Audio GD stuff, and a local friend got the R2R-8mk2 and loves it.

    If I don't love the R2R-2, I will try the Border Patrol next for certain. I heard it at a friend's and it was really nice through a Line Magnetic SET amp with Omega speakers (the same setup I have).

    -Chris
     
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  16. MaxBuck

    MaxBuck Well-Known Member

    Location:
    La Quinta, CA
    Aside from additional features one might wish, I see no reason to spend more than the $99 it takes to buy a Schiit Modi.
     
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  17. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Plenty of sonic difference between DACs, so it's not just about features.
     
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  18. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Anyone have any experience with Bifrost 2/Gungnir?
     
  19. jazzsurfer

    jazzsurfer Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new york
    Creek dac 60 amazingly good
     
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  20. MaxBuck

    MaxBuck Well-Known Member

    Location:
    La Quinta, CA
    To the extent there are sonic differences, they're the result of distortion and other nonidealities.

    If you are looking for more distortion of the audio signal, you're looking for something different from what I am. The Modi is essentially sonically perfect.
     
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  21. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Alritey. I'll throw away my DACs.
     
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  22. gakerty

    gakerty Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Been using an RME ADI-2 for bout 3 years now, and see no reason to upgrade. It is neutral and doesn't call attention to itself. It seems to jive with my all tube system. I love the ADI-2 small form factor too, as I'm out of room on my rack.
     
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  23. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    Please post opinions of the Audio GD R1 once it's settled in.
     
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  24. Bachtoven

    Bachtoven Forum Resident

    Location:
    CA
    Chord Qutest. It's very detailed, has a huge sound stage, and is not sterile sounding.
     
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  25. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Really curious about that one! How is the bass? Do you know how it compares to Bifrost 2 or Ares II? (I'm trying to stay under $1k, so that's why I keep coming back to those two.)
     

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