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Will I gain in using a DAC

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by RobsterD, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Hi
    I'm thinking about purchasing a DAC for use in my system,which is
    Server with WAV files streamed to a HTPC with a RME 9632 soundcards analogue out via Marks Grant cables to a Audio Innovations S500 amp feeding B&W 9NT's
    I'm not that impressed with the RME's analogue out(this was the reason I bought the card),I feel that using its digital out may be the way to go with a DAC,trouble is I've not seen anyone doing this.
    Been lookin at the obvious Benchmark,Apogee etc and also the NOS DACs on eBay.
    What I would like if someone could demonstrate a good quality DAC for me local to Southampton or recommend a suitable DAC for my setup
    Thanks for looking
    Rob
    PS
    Anyone tried the Lite DAC75/60 advertised on ebay ?
     
  2. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    If you're up in London sometime, give me a shout and I can dem my NOS DAC.
    Note however that it would be in the context of a Naim/Linn system, which will sound completely different to your valve setup.
     
  3. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Thanks for the offer but I dont get up to London that often
    What NOS DAC are you using been lookin at a DAC AH seems cheap and cheerful.
    Noticed a Meridian DAC203 over @ Zerogain are these any good,I've also spoken to Audionote about there kit 1.1,which might be an interesting project
    Rob
     
  4. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    I've got a Meridian 203 (the Dac 7 version) and really like it - great bass, which goes deep but still carries the melody, and lots of treble detail. You occasionally see them for around the £100 mark on fleabay. Again, though, I've used the Dac with a solidstate cambridge amp - valves will sound different...
     
  5. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    As it happens, I used to have a 203 a few years ago.
    Whilst I've never compared my NOS against a 203, I believe that the NOS is a good deal better than the 203 would have been in my system.
    Mine is a Derek Shrek version. Can't comment on the others.
     
  6. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    What the luminous blue one,you're lucky he doesn't appear to be making them anymore.
    My concern with the older DACs ie the 203 etc is that theyre not gonna like the 9632 soundcard as they were designed for a transport and not pro use.Therefore I might have to go pro to cater for the 9632 and Foobar ie like the Apogee Mini DAC.
    Probably talkin outa my ***.
    Rob
     
  7. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    Hmm. The 203 doesn't seem to fussy re. what transport's used - for example, I use mine with a Sony CD player that was £60 new. I *think* some people use them with freeview boxes etc., but have never tried mine with either freeview or a soundcard. I guess you could try to demo with your soundcard, if the seller is near your home; on the other hand, if you got a NOS DAC there's a good chance the seller would have made it so would have the technical know-how to answer to this type of question re. their own DACs...

    Jon
     
  8. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Hi Jon
    Whats the diff between your DAC 7 and the DAC 5 on Zerogain and what inputs can it take ie 32 bit@44100hz which is what I o/p from the RME,tho I have messed about upsampling to 96Khz in Foobar
    Also what physical i/p and o/p has it got
    Cheers
    Rob
     
  9. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    tbh, not that well up on the technical details of how DACs work. Apparently there were substantial changes in the move to a DAC7, but I can't quite understand what they were ;) I've got a review of the 203 DAC7 which says what these changes were, and gives some technical details - PM me your e-mail, and I'll e-mail this if you like. Or others on the forum may well know more about the technical side than me.

    my DAC has 1 optical and 1 coaxial input; it's got just the standard (2 phono) analog out. It's possible, I guess, that the dac 5 is different in this way...

    Jon
     
  10. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Cheers Jon I'd be interested in the review
    This is my problem,lookin at my Foobar setting I output @ 32 bit and 44100hz I can upsample to 96khz in Foobar but no other bit setting works ,I also dont really understand what actually happens to the input data and the output result, must "google" more.
    Foobar uses a decent upsampler "secret rabbit code" which I've found gives quite pleasing results.
    My dilemma is will a DAC be better than software upsampling using SRC.
    Cheers
    Rob
     
  11. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    I know this thread maybe more suited to the PC forum but I feel it is just as valid on this forum as I'm still outputting to a dear old valve amp in 2ch :)
     
  12. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    Apparently the DAC 7 has 4 times oversampling and 32 times upsampling, if that means anything to you.... As I said, though, afaik the dac 5 version differs somewhat. Afraid I don't know whether a Dac would be better than software upsampling either...too many big words :( ;)

    I can't see how to attach a picture to e-mails sent through the forum - if you want a copy of the Dac7 review, pm me your e-mail.

    Jon
     
  13. mjn

    mjn
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    I use my PC to play uncompressed WAV, into MF 24-bit DAC, and it sounds great!
     
  14. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Using different DAC's will give you different results. I've found playing with a few NOS DACs that the best chipset is the CS8414 reciever and TDA1541 DAC (These are really hard to come by now). The single chip version of the TDA1543 sounds (IMHO) better than the 4 and 8 versions. You may also find some TDA 1545 based DACs around these have better bass response than the 1543s.
    The thing with the NOS DAC is its simple. No frills. Despite this it works well and is cheap. Most have Toslink and RCA (Coax) connectors for imput and unbalanced RCA for output. If I had to describe the sound I'd say it was quite 'Analogue' sounding. They are also quite transport dependent.
    They are really for the avid DIY enthusiast. If playing with power supplies, output stages and digital clocks is your thing then these are probably for you. Properly tweaked these can sound amazing especially for the (even modified) low price.
    Another one to look at would be the Chord DAC 64. Some are coming up on ebay for about £1000 or so. Good DAC that has it's own special way of doing things. Tends to sound a bit analytical after a while though.....
     
  15. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Im another who found using my M-Audio Transit USB 24/96 Soundcard to pipe a signal towards an offboard DAC (TAG DAC 20 – you can pick these up for £300-400 astonishing bargains at that price) it was pretty superb sounding too, I too used Uncomped WAVs. I sold that DAC but Im still part of the DAC brotherhood, my DVD-V player has 2 digital inputs and acts like a DAC too.

    If you have a PC in use with music, and value stereo quality I would certainly use a DAC for its superior anlg output stages than a SC (I know some are excellent before I catch some AAA) – if you have more than one digital source, ie PC, Freeview-Sky, DVD-V & CD. It’s a no brainer.

    The NOS DAC is a no brainer for someone trying out DACs for the first time TBH. Plenty of high end users like them too. Anyone buying a £100-200 CDP over one is certifiable IMHO.
     
  16. BUGANNA

    BUGANNA
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    Cambridge dacmagic 2, is the best dac ive ever heard, my audio note dac, is no better, only different.......

    it also has lots of in/outputs. far more than normal, with digital throughs too...

    so good in fact, I have 3 of them.........I only use 1, as no longer have more than 1 hi fi setup

    this would be the ultimate for anysetup, if sound quality AND value is of concern

    recommend you buy one, while (If) you can....

    PM me if u want more info..........I may be persuaded to part with 1 of them.....
     
  17. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Thanks for replies I'm now considering the following,Benchmark DAC1,Apogee Mini,Audionote 1.1 or upping my offer for Spligseys DAX in the classifieds.
    I'm not gonna have any options to listen to these so please comment on above,UE/Jeff seem to like the Apogee on AV****,but again any comments welcome,I will be using a RME 9632 outputting via spdif.
    Notice Apogee only has balanced out or 3.5mm,not the best connection for my AI.
    Thought !!! another dilemma would it be better getting a Border Patrol PSU and a cheap NOS DAC.
    Decided gonna go the NOS DAC route cheap and cheerful,just need to wait for one to come up on eBay,other than that might try the Scott Nixon,tho he's not returning emails must be on hols !
    Rob
     

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