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Topic # 146676 25-May-2014 22:14
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Do you have one?

What kind?

Do you know what a DAC is?

Thought I would start this as I'm pretty sure that there are a number of GZ members who rock out with their DAC out and I'm interested in what you guys are rocking.

Currently I have 2 Beresford DACs although one has just died which puts me in the market for a new one. My headphone (HD650, HD700s on the way) rig is a Beresford Caiman (gatorized) which is a pretty sweet DAC by an independent DAC designer out of the UK, Stanley Beresford. The one that just died is the model up from that, the Beresford Bushmaster which was doing duty in my stereo rig (Logitech SqueezeBox touch, bushmaster, Yamaha A-S2000, B&W CM9s).

For replacement I'm currently looking at the Arcam irDAC, NAD D 1050 and my current first choice the Audiolab M-DAC.

So what are you guys running and has anyone got first hand experience with any of the DACs above?




When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.


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  Reply # 1053156 25-May-2014 22:32
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I use an antique one that was made for going from a computer to a minidisc recorder. xitel MD link or something like that. Leaps ahead of the onboard sound, and vastly better than the cheap optical to analog converter I got origionally to use on my TV but also gave a blast on the computer when I had one with optical out on it. When I did try a couple of vastly more expensive ones I either found that I actually didnt like the sound or found no difference worth paying for.




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  Reply # 1053179 25-May-2014 22:58
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I have several, but my desktop ones are the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC MKII and the Auralic Vega (few things led to me having both). They're both amazing, but ultimately will end up selling both I think as they're not quite what I'm after.




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  Reply # 1053181 25-May-2014 23:13
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Dell XPS

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  Reply # 1053271 26-May-2014 08:57
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I just bought myself a new system comprising Cambridge Audio Azure 651 Amp, Monitor Audio Silver RX6 speakers and the Cambridge Audio DACMagic plus. The DACMagic has twin Wolfson 24 bit chips and to my ears, makes the whole system shine. Source is Apple Lossless files from my MacBook via DigOp cable. Very pleased with the setup.

Had certainly considered the Arcam irDAC as my very first separates system comprised Arcam CD player and Amp and I have long been a fan, but the Cambridge gear fulfilled my needs this time round and was more sensibly priced than the "kiwitaxed" Arcam kit, so I didn't go chasing it.

For headphones I have a DACPort plugged straight into aforementioned MacBook driving my Grado 325iS - again, sounds splendid to me!







.

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  Reply # 1053898 26-May-2014 20:30
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I've been quite impressed with the Audiolab MDac, as both a DAC running via a USB cable from a Mac, as a digital pre-amp, and as a headphone amplifier.
It's a multi-talented beast that sounded really quite good to my ears. It's a bit of kit that can move with you from system to system due to its versatility.
I've owned a Firestone USB DAC that I found 'average' at best, with annoying bright LED's... and my current preamp / DAC combo from Perreaux, but that's a different beast all together.

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  Reply # 1053903 26-May-2014 20:36
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I have a Fiio Alpen which I connect to my MacBook Pro via USB. It is a headphone amp with a Wolfson DAC.

Great product for the price.



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  Reply # 1058313 3-Jun-2014 06:29
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alasta: I have a Fiio Alpen which I connect to my MacBook Pro via USB. It is a headphone amp with a Wolfson DAC.

Great product for the price.


I had a Fiio F7 with an E9 amp for quite a while. They do make some really good gear especially for the price. I'm actually looking at one of their portables either the X3 or X5 for when I travel as my noise cancelling headphones require a bit of amplification for best results (senn PXC 450). 




When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.




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  Reply # 1058314 3-Jun-2014 06:33
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Well I got my new DAC and its not one of the 3 I was looking at originally. I ended up with a Rotel RDD-1580. It compares with the M-DAC sound wise and has twin Wolfson DACs. The reasons I went with the Rotel are 1. its looks like a standard piece of hifi kit and matches my other separates and 2. its was $250 cheaper on sale then the M-DAC.

I've hooked it up via balanced interconnects and straight out of the box its sounding very nice. Great sound stage with really good instrument separation. 




When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.


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  Reply # 1058556 3-Jun-2014 14:02
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I am currently running a HRT Music Streamer II+ out of a Mac mini into an Arcam FMJ Amp and Image speakers which sounds great.  I am looking to replace the DAC with something that goes to 24bit/192khz (the HRT only does 24bit/96khz) as the Hi Res music revolution takes off.

At the moment I am considering the Arcam iRDac as it has remote switching and most of the others in the $1,000 price bracket don't.

I'd be interested in others experience of this level of DAC.

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  Reply # 1058561 3-Jun-2014 14:07
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This is mandatory reading for those wondering about 24-bit and whether to bother:

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html



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  Reply # 1058586 3-Jun-2014 14:44
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NZtechfreak: This is mandatory reading for those wondering about 24-bit and whether to bother:

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html


Here we go.

Personally I prefer the sound of HiRes to non-HiRes but then I also prefer the sound of vinyl to digital.

Personally I don't really care about the science behind it, I just know I prefer the sound and that's what its all about right?




When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.


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  Reply # 1058591 3-Jun-2014 14:50
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geekiegeek:
NZtechfreak: This is mandatory reading for those wondering about 24-bit and whether to bother:

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html


Here we go.

Personally I prefer the sound of HiRes to non-HiRes but then I also prefer the sound of vinyl to digital.

Personally I don't really care about the science behind it, I just know I prefer the sound and that's what its all about right?


Do a volume-matched blind test between lossless 16-bit and high res and see if you can tell the difference, no better way to see if you're hearing anything more than placebo when listening to high res...

Naturally it all comes down to what you think sounds better, but given the inconvenience of 24-bit file sizes (and the expense of purchasing the music in those formats) I think you owe it yourself to do a blind test!

For me the only tangible advantage to the higher res stuff is if they have been lavishly remastered for an audiophile audience, but unfortunately that is anything but assured with many high res remasterings being just as terrible as their older 16-bit versions (and worse in some cases).




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  Reply # 1058592 3-Jun-2014 14:56
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I work on the theory that good sound is determined by the worst component in the system.  Music file, delivery transport (Mac mini), USB cable, DAC, interconnect cables, AMP, Speaker cables and Speakers.  So to ensure the best sound possible, you have to try and get the best from each, or at least remove impediments to good sound.

In saying that, I tend to agree that the quality of the recording and mastering is more important than the bit depth and sampling rate.

I recently bought a copy of Steve Earle's latest CD "Low Highway" which came with an Audio DVD at 24/96.  I listened to both versions through my system and found it hard to discern much difference.

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  Reply # 1058593 3-Jun-2014 14:57
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DAC, Hmm.
Rokki has a PS1 as a DAC, Spent 2k on it got it from the states ETC.
NikT has a little portable one for his phone.
Cheers

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  Reply # 1058594 3-Jun-2014 14:59
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bobmeister: I work on the theory that good sound is determined by the worst component in the system.  Music file, delivery transport (Mac mini), USB cable, DAC, interconnect cables, AMP, Speaker cables and Speakers.  So to ensure the best sound possible, you have to try and get the best from each, or at least remove impediments to good sound.

In saying that, I tend to agree that the quality of the recording and mastering is more important than the bit depth and sampling rate.

I recently bought a copy of Steve Earle's latest CD "Low Highway" which came with an Audio DVD at 24/96.  I listened to both versions through my system and found it hard to discern much difference.


Unfortunately once you get past a reasonable quality of gear the worst component in your system is your ears!

FWIW the article I linked to is produced by the guy who made the ogg vorbis codec, he is also a professional musician and recording engineer.




Twitter: @nztechfreak
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