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Every once in a while something happens....

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Knightshade, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    To all those who are thinking of buying a CD player.
    I have just sold my Exposure 3010 CD player. This has served me well for while and all credit to it as a transport it wasn't bad.
    I've always run it connected to a Chord DAC 64 with superb results. Now what you need to bear in mind is a second hand DAC 64 will cost you just over £1000.
    Now here's the interesting part.

    As a bit of a laugh really I went out and bought a £100 Sony DVD player and connected it up to the DAC 64. Switching between 3010 (Digital) and Sony (optical) for AB testing.
    The thing is this: My (Nor my wifes) ears couldn't tell the difference betwwen the two!
    So I now have a real budget system that blows away anything up to £4000 and probably beyond all for £1200!

    Think twice before spending your money people this is for real!
     
  2. recruit

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    Interesting Knightshade i've always had my eye on a Chord Dac, i did listen to the new Cyrus Dac a couple of weeks ago but did not think there was much difference in the quality of my CD8/PSXR and DAC X to justify spending £1100 i would like to hear the Chord though do you think it could add something more to my Hi Fi?

    John
     
  3. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    The DAC 64 is brilliant, but It does have its problems, especially with some transports even more so with some DVD players i.e. unable to lock on to the signal, etc. If you're watching DVD's, the buffer technology is a bit of a pain it puts the lip sync way out! All annoyances.
    But with all that aside, if you can put up with the slight quirkiness then as a DAC I’ve yet to hear better. I've compared it to the DCS Darius and still prefer the Chord.
    Bolt it to a CD12 and if money is no object it's, IMHO unbeatable.
    I think maybe where a lot of people who have tried the DAC 64 and not been impressed haven't really been giving it a fair crack at the whip. Apart from it being temperamental, it needs some serious amplification and speakers for it to show it's true colours.
    Don't take this the wrong way but I doubt you'd see the improvment that the DAC 64 can offer with your current equipment.
    Desperately trying not to sound like an elitist tw*t here......:(
     
  4. jimmy_b

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    Knightshade
    As we have seen with many recent DAC / transport related threads there seems to be a lot of opinion that spending big money on a transport seems pointless.
    IMHO The transport makes no difference at all (as long as it is good enough not to drop data). Hence, I find it interesting that you say the DAC64 is not so good with some types of transport. Would types/makes doesn't it like? What is the difference? And why do you think this is?

    Cheers
    Jimmy
     
  5. recruit

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    Hi Knightshade i totally understand what you mean, each part of the chain is relevant to each other and obviously the DAC64 is a very unique peice of equipment and High End, it's just that i am thinking of future upgrades.
    Thankyou for your opinions.

    John :)
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    KShade, If you bought a Sony 355 DVD player then you have done exactly the same experiment I did nad could tell no difference between it or a £500 Pioneer 717 a sterling transport FWIW. I bought one for the MIL and had it in my system for a few days, did some a/b testing with the 717 (the DAC 20 has 2 anlg outputs) and listened to both DVD transports I did a write up about it, note some of the opinion by other DAC users :

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=11377#

    both transports set up as follows :

    717 on Ash Design Rack > VDH Source Hybrid Coaxial 1m > DAC
    355 on Plastic TV Stand > DIY 75ohm Sat TV cable 10m > DAC

    Coming from someone who advocates CAT5 speaker cable I think you sound very far removed from that type of person dude.
     
  7. WhyAyeMan

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    Thats a touch misleading IMO. The DAC64 alone probably costs £1200, then theres the transport, cables, amps and speakers (which you yourself admit have to be serious bits of kit to take advantage of it). Thats not really my idea of a budget system, to be fair ;)
     
  8. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Hi Jimmy,
    Had problems with certain arcam DVD players, Also Denon and a couple of Yamaha's. I can't remember the model numbers but most of the problems were down to the DAC loosing contact with the DVD. Only thing I can come up with is the DAC is to sensitive?
    The other problems were with TAG DV32R missing the first 2 seconds off every track and the LINN Unidisk speaker popping everytime a disk was inserted. As to why, your guess is as good as mine. CJ can you shed some light on this?
    Most CD/DVD players with a COAX/BNC type connector have no problems at all. Such as Rega, Exposure, Densen, etc.

    PBirkett,
    Perhaps I should say 'Budget CD/DVD player'? I think £1200 is a reasonable price for a budget CD player.
    I know if I had the choice between buying a £1200 CD + DAC and £100 + DAC and get the same results I know where my money would go.
    You also have the benefit that when you do upgrade your amps you know your source is up to the job!
    I'm not really advocating Chord here either. There are plenty of other DAC's that would do the job (Almost);) as well for a lot less money.
     
  9. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Yes the Chord 64 is renowned for being transport sensitive in that it has trouble locking onto some CDP/DVDPs, at its launch the DAC 64 had to have it bandwidth spec in the toslink connection “relaxed” as Pioneer DVD players were found to be “out of spec” in toslink mode. Im guessing it is a mk I version KS ?

    If the DAC 64 was missing 2 seconds (even with buffer set to no delay) then it would point to the buffer kicking in when it should not have been, the disc insert click/pop is just a feedback surge in the digital output once disc type has been detected, I read something along those lines a long while ago in Audioasylum.

    What it points to is the DAC 64 being incerdibly fussy, no argument the unit sounds superb but there are myriad “issues” since it was released, compared to other DACs, that can be used with any transport and show no signs of failing to lock-on or drop-pouts etc.

    Yes I susepect your right KS, but I would be slow to point the blame at the CD/DVD that use toslink connectors elsewhere into DACs with no problem. If the DACs not locking onto a toslink signal something is inherently wrong in the design. A quick note that many DAC 64 users indeed use the toslink connector without any problems. Seem funny but all DAC 64s don’t seem to be created equal.

    Yep I would have to concur with that TBH.
     
  10. Knightshade

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    Oddly enough the mk1 works better than the mk2. I've been thinking of having the mk2 serviced by chord for a while now. Works fine with XLR connectors but Coax and Optical seem to be a bit questionable. I think your right about the 'not all created equally bit'.
    Perhaps Tag should join forces with Chord?
     
  11. alexs2

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    I could always chuck in my 5p's worth about transports and sound quality,by saying that going from a Linn transport to a Teac VRDS was immediately noticeable via the P-Tech DAC/upsampler I have here,and I don't think many would reckon either the Linn or the VRDS to be dropping data,or that the Linn has huge levels of data related jitter etc....I certainly wasn't expecting to find such an obvious difference,and only bought the Teac to allow me to use the Linn elswhere.
     
  12. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Alex, no argument if you hear a difference then power to you, and you should note that sentiment in these threads just as those of us that cant do. FWIW re. transports, especially DVD tranpsorts there has been a relative sea change in transport belief IMHO since the arrival of universal players, ie many audiophiles buying them for hi-res SACD or DVDA have utilised them as transports for CD duties too, this in turn I have noticed has made their use more wide-spread, get the DAC right and the effects of jitter to a large section of audiophiles in negated. On a similar note, I have been experimenting with my PC as a transport recently, both disc & HDD wise via a M-Audio Transit External USB 24/96 SC here is a post I made on HFC regarding the quality that may be of interest :

     
  13. alexs2

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    CJ....it could all come down to some very obvious difference between the 2 transports,but was clearly there.....that point about the M-Audio Transit is interesting,as I'd heard good things about it from elsewhere,and it would seem to be good way of getting good quality sound out of things like laptops especially.

    There was a good thread some time back about the sound quality from PC soundcards,and in particular the true high-end ones like the Lynx,and how it can at least equal that of many "hifi" products.

    So if this is the future,and the various CD/DVD-A/SACD manufacturers can all get their heads around providing a single PC card solution to that little problem(and also allowing them to retain their copy protection etc) then we should all be able to look forwards to hi-res audio,and video etc out of one box....if is the word though!
     
  14. Knightshade

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    Hi Alex, Cj,
    As you may recall i've played around with some M-audio sound cards in PC's and have had some mixed results. For the money i'd say it's a good way to go. It's similar to what has been said above but in this case a £200 sound card out performs a £800 CD player. Some would say they are better than £5000 players but I can't advocate that yet. In a few years time I think this will be the way to go for true high end audio.
     
  15. CJROSS

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    Alex, I pciked it up for £40 second hand and I must say it’s the dogs danglies, I know it is concieved for portable use but its also a very decent upgrade to a PC without a decent SC sporting a spare USB port, the main factor of course is that it sports a toslink dogital output, hence of great interest to DAC users like us, also the fact if you have more than one PC this device can flit between them very easily. The major bonus I have found with it is that it’s a very nice headphone amp+source driving very decent cans. Have not used it in anlg terms to a hifi amp due to the 3.5mm minijack anlg output (ie the headphone output) but headphone wise & transport wise to the DAC 20 well Im blown away. Its opned my eyes to using a PC via a decent DAC in a hifi system.

    Alex I don’t doubt it, a SC with proper RCA anlg outputs is in my mind as much a hifi source as any CDP and probably down to reduced cost of manufacture/casework/storage/shipping etc etc I could easily believe a £200 SC outguns CDP above £1000, Im not sure if you have caught some comments [Kish Kash] on here recently about jitter specs of some highly regarded Int. CDPs like Quads 99 but PC borner noise like jitter in DACs is oft held as disparaging comments (The use on the ground would seem to dictate otherwise). Paul [Pbirkett] above is the man in the know for all things SC and he is using a new SC that retails @ £70 rrp that should make very interesting reading over on HFC :

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=12957

    Funny you should mention this above Alex I was in John Lewis at the weekend buying the new PS2 (Still to be tried as a transport :D ) and I happened upon one of the most desirable PC unit Ive ever seen :

    http://www.johnlewis.com/Shopping/Product.aspx?ARA=Computing&CAT=Computers&SCT=Computers&PRT=Desktop+PC's&Type=SKU&Id=230205385

    Was playing a DVD when I saw it and quite frankly I was astonished, now the Sony VAIO also sport Firewire & USB 2.0 ports, and Im sure the standard SC (which sounded half decent) can be upgraded to audiophile levels, simply add audiophile amplifier [AV or Stereo], DAC [or use SC] and speakers. This sort of technology bolted onto Plasma VDUs and that’s where we are headed, well its where Im headed :D

    KS I missed what M-Audio cards you were using TBH, but I would say this dude there are quite a few people adopting PC based solutions even now due to HDD music collections even in high-end circles. Interesting times.
     

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