Looking for DAC to use with vintage system

Discussion in 'DACs' started by sagamore, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. sagamore

    sagamore AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    along the Teays River - Indiana
    I now have a refurbished Sansui 9090db to drive a pair of ADS L980's but need a DAC as most of my music library is digital coming thru an Airport Express. Previously used a NAD 3020 with a built-in DAC with smaller ADS L780-2's successfully but I need recommendations for this more robust system. Can a DAC under $300 make a significant difference?
     

     

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  2. slow_jazz

    slow_jazz Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    13,677
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    All my dac's are under $200.

    Right now I'm using a broken Denon DVD-5000 the dvd drive is broke but the dac still works good on it.
     
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  3. BigElCat

    BigElCat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    IMHO...it can make a difference.

    At that price point, I'd go with a Maverick Audio DAC....as seen on Ebay.
     
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  4. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

    Messages:
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    You're going to get a lot of opinions on this.

    Personally I would use a Topping D30 or D50 with USB from a computer, and if you have to use wireless I'd go CCA to Topping.

    There will be a difference. How much depends on your source files and setup in general.

    Eric
     
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  5. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    I was/am in the same boat as you and will be interested to know what you decide on. Without auditioning I ordered a hifime UDA38Pro for my sig system but I'm still waiting for it to ship.
     
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  6. ldatlof

    ldatlof We are all steak Subscriber

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    If I where in the market for a inexpensive DAC I would go with the Topping D30 based on the reviews on this site and elsewhere. I don't need volume control that the D50 has because I use a preamp that has remote control. In my main system I use a Hifime SPDIF Optical DAC which I originally bought for use with a Chromecast Audio in a bedroom system when the ESS chips were all the rage. I am very satisfied with it and the price is right at $59. I have also used and still own a Schit Modi and an HRT MSII and bought them when they were both the rage on the internet. I was satisfied with them too and I still use the Modi.
     
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  7. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

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    And don't forget there are quite a few well made, older, DACs up for sale here in Barter Town that are below or close to your financial goal.

    Obviously you have to subscribe to AK to get access but you'll find that the pricing here is better than what you find on eBay for the same gear.
     
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  8. sagamore

    sagamore AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    along the Teays River - Indiana
    I used to be a member for years but drifted away. Now retired I will rejoin and follow up on your suggestion. Obviously from my system I have no problem with older gear. Thanks!
     
  9. sagamore

    sagamore AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    along the Teays River - Indiana
    I do not understand and that could easily be my ignorance. I cannot connect my computer directly to the system hence the Airport. Why wouldn't I use the optical fiber connection from my Airfoil/Airport into the DAC and then out to the receiver? Isn't CCA copper coated aluminum wiring? What is its significance for sound quality? Thanks!
     
  10. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

    Messages:
    1,765
    Location:
    Lobster Pot
    CCA = Chromecast Audio.
    https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_audio?hl=en-US

    Capable of 24/96. I believe your Airport does 16/44 max.

    Eric
     
  11. sagamore

    sagamore AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    along the Teays River - Indiana
    Great advise, that would make a difference! I thought that sending the signal via optical out from the Airport bypassed its cheap DAC and sent the signal directly to the DAC in my NAD integrated amp which was 24/96? If that assumption is incorrect then I can effect a significant improvement to the system!
     

     

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  12. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

    Messages:
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    All again dependent on your source files, If you don't go beyond 16/44 FLAC then the airport will do just fine.

    Hopefully some Apple users can chime in here a bit too. I am one but don't use it for audio. I have a Windows laptop for that.

    Eric
     
  13. sagamore

    sagamore AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    along the Teays River - Indiana
    I have mostly lossless music and ripped CD's at highest possible quality on my Windows computer so Chromecast Audio would be a solid step up. I have greatly appreciated your input along with suggestions from other members.
     
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  14. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

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    There are people on this forum with much more knowledge about streaming source files from a PC than me, as mostly these days I listen to Tidal and stream radiostations.
    But I have used programs like Plex to cast to a CCA and had no issues with standard CD quality 16/44 stuff.

    Lots for you to research before you make a decision. Ask a lot of questions and people will help.

    Eric
     
  15. SonofJames

    SonofJames New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Adding another one to my list to consider, thanks allot! :)

    I just may grab a used Mojo though and be done with it.

     
  16. sagamore

    sagamore AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    along the Teays River - Indiana
    I decided to get a Topping D30 and connect optically to the Airport Express so that the wifi bypasses the Airport DAC. Awaiting delivery.

    It came this afternoon and I love the sound with the Topping DAC. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I was listening to John Butler Trio and the subtle strings really jumped out to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018 at 7:43 PM
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  17. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    ASR just posted UDA38Pro measurements. Just a heads up...
     
  18. bane.oh

    bane.oh Member

    Messages:
    94
    I agree with these gentlemen. The Topping D30 is awesome. I have a Marantz 2270 and CCA with a Topping D30 and I have to say, the DAC made a HUGE difference. I can now hear the space between the music if that makes any sense. It seemed to tighten up the bottom end and expand the soundstage too. Highly recommended. Oh, and it looks good with a vintage system too. This is something people forget to mention and something that is very important to me. The aesthetics of my system are my #2 concern as it sits front and center in my living room. I wish someone made a wood case for it so it would match my 2270.
     
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  19. SonofJames

    SonofJames New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Interesting topic, I also have a Vintage Audio system and I wonder if the dac I choose should be forgiving with lesser recordings or if my system is already forgiving by it's nature,

    I been looking at all those mentioned but have been leaning toward saving up for a Chord Mojo.
     
  20. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    You do realize the Mojo is aimed at portable players? It is powered by a rechargeable battery.
     

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