Do I need a different DAC?

Petey

Active Member
I'm currently running a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ with an external linear PSU from MCRU. It sounds great, very revealing and clear with fast, punchy bass. I particularly like it's separation of instruments and how clearly defined they are. However, I do feel it can lack a little bit of warmth sometimes so I've been considering alternative DACs.

I've been looking at the following:
  • Denafrips Venus II
  • Denafrips Terminator II
  • Chord Qutest
  • Chord Hugo TT2
I'm trying to arrange a home demo for the Chords but I don't think this would be possible with the Denafrips.

Does anyone have any experience with these DACs, especially with comparisons against the Mytek?

I know the popular opinion is the M-Scaler makes a big difference to both the Qutest and Hugo TT2 but I demoed it with my Mytek last year and really struggled to hear any perceivable improvement. There were times when I thought I could hear a difference but when I tested again without it everything sounded the same. The Mytek tops out at 384khz so it wasn't using the full capacity of the M-Scaler, perhaps this had something to do with 🤷‍♂️

Just for context here's the rest of my system:
  • Dynaudio Heritage Special speakers
  • 2x Benchmark AHB2 amplifiers (running in monoblock)
  • Bluesound Node 2i streamer
  • Van Damme Blue Series Studio Grade speaker cable
  • Van Damme STARQUAD Balanced XLR interconnects
  • Monster Digital Datalink IDL 100 Coaxial cable
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Are you using the Mytek as a preamp into the Benchmarks i.e. to control volume? If so adding a preamp in-between and running the Mytek in fixed output mode may be a better way of "modifying" the sound to what you want. After Speakers and room, the preamp is probably the largest influence on sound IMO and dacs one of the smaller these days unless using it as a preamp?
 
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Petey

Active Member
Are you using the Mytek as a preamp into the Benchmarks ?
Yes, I'm using the Mytek as a preamp. It has 2 modes of operation, analog or digital, I'm running it in analog.

I wasn't aware an external preamp could make that sort of difference. Any recommendations ?
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Do you have a budget in mind and new or second hand (also which country as this is predominantly a UK based forum), also depends on how "warm" you want to go. You could go down the tube route which will give tyou years of fun rolling different tubes to find your ultimate sound (something from Rogue Audio is on the brighter side of tubes that may be worth a look), or go for solids state and choose the one closest to what you like, maybe something from Macintosh?

An example of a tube preamp that is not too warm.

 
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Petey

Active Member
I'd say £3500 would be the top end of my budget, I'm based in the UK.

I'm not sure I want to go the route of rolling tubes so I'd probably go for a solid state. What about the Benchmark LA4 ? I was incredibly impressed by their power amps I bought 2 of them.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I think the benchmark may be more of the same being renown for clean, clinical and detailed electronics. On my audition list would be -

The Musical Fidelity M8Pre (or M6Pre)
Anthem STR Pre (this has a built in DAC so you can compare with your Mytek and has ARC room correction)
possibly the Sugden LA4 preamp (bit over budget)

Off the wall suggestion, you could have a home demo of the Lyngdorf TDAI3400 which would replace all your kit in one box.
 
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Petey

Active Member
I’ve just confirmed a home trial of the Benchmark LA4, I should have it next week. I’m just interested to see what/if any improvements it can offer.

Thanks for the other suggestions, I’ll spend some time this weekend reading up on them. I’ve also been looking at the Schiit Freya Plus, it offers both solid state and tube capability and reviews well.
 
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HeartSleeve

Well-known Member
Are you using the Mytek as a preamp into the Benchmarks i.e. to control volume? If so adding a preamp in-between and running the Mytek in fixed output mode may be a better way of "modifying" the sound to what you want. After Speakers and room, the preamp is probably the largest influence on sound IMO and dacs one of the smaller these days unless using it as a preamp?
Agree with this, I imagine the ESS Sabre 9028PRO chip is going some way to making this setup sound clinical too.
 
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dollag

Well-known Member
If your needing a preamp too, I'd look at the holo audio spring 3 with its preamp module.

I had the spring 2 which imo was a lot more natural sounding than the pontus and even the terminator, especially in NOS mode. I personally prefer holo audio dacs compared to denafrips personally but i wouldn't say it's better. I do not like companies who mismarket their gear which denafrips does with it's r2r dacs calling them nos when they aren't.

my friend had the dave and mscaler and sold it after he heard a holo audio may. he uses hqplayer which basically can do what the mscaler can. too much to go into detail but should defo look into it, especially if you use roon as it integrates seamlessly.

alternatively, I am currently using a khozmo passive preamp which comes with a remote and is transparent as they come. that would fit the bill, again along with a holo audio spring 3 dac would be my advice, considering the rest of your gear is very clean. the spring is also very neutral but something abut it's deliver is just soooo natural, without losing anything.

magni hifi sell them but you could reach out to wildism in HK. CS is amazing and personally used him a few times.

If your in the surrey/london area, feel free to bring your dac along and have a listen to my holo dac.

personally though, i use my gear in my headphone rig, for my system, i swear by room correction which will trump any dac in performance gains. the lyngdorf is an amazing piece of kit and would highly recommend
 
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Petey

Active Member
If your needing a preamp too, I'd look at the holo audio spring 3 with its preamp module.
Thanks for the suggestion. I‘ve found a few reviews of the Holo May and Holo Spring and they’re all good. I really like the aesthetic too with the black and copper.

I don’t want to lose any of the resolution provided by the Mytek but just add a tiny bit of warmth so I’m curious if the Holo DACs will do this.

I’m not too far from Surrey so I may take you up on your offer, I’ll let you know.
 
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HiFi Dave

Novice Member
I think the benchmark may be more of the same being renown for clean, clinical and detailed electronics. On my audition list would be -

The Musical Fidelity M8Pre (or M6Pre)
Anthem STR Pre (this has a built in DAC so you can compare with your Mytek and has ARC room correction)
possibly the Sugden LA4 preamp (bit over budget)

Off the wall suggestion, you could have a home demo of the Lyngdorf TDAI3400 which would replace all your kit in one box.
Jay’s Audio DACs are superb vfm.
 
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Martin6

Standard Member
I've just bough the RME ADi2 which is pretty amazing, although I haven't quite decided whether or not I like it. The level of detail retrieval is staggering and the bottom end is as full as you want. Top end not too strident abd possibly too bright for some. Also probably a good bit less expensive than eithe Chord or Benchmark.
Martin
 
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