Scratch my itch for a new DAC

Discussion in 'DACs' started by brad44, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    933
    It is just it's very surprising that a mess like that can actually sound good, as I do like my DAC3 as well. And higher frequencies look significantly worse than the picture above. However I'm usually hesitant to recommend it to others in a general case.
     
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  2. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    2,809
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I suspect a good instance of where a piece of gear sounds far better than it measures. I only purchased mine out of curiosity and was shocked at just how good it sounds I've only tried it with one of my systems to date though I'm hoping I get the same incredible result with my secondary system as it's a touch too revealing and not particularly relaxing with music (Dayton USA PS220-8 drivers). So far I absolutely love the DAC3 compared to my far more expensive Gustard DAC-X12.... I'm replacing that with a Gieseler Groß DAC though and I'll try the Gustard on my computer system.... If not a good match it will be sold and I'll buy a second DAC3 :)
     
  3. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Denver
    I love my Maverick Tubemagic D2. Not only does it sound great but it’s very tweakable. I just upgraded the op-amps to Sparkos discrete at it took the DAC to another level. I couldn’t believe how much better it sounded with those. Can also roll a tube in it.
     
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  4. mcgjohn

    mcgjohn Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Chicago area

    A friend of mine let me borrow the Denafrips Ares DAC. Have listened to quite a few 4 figure DACs, but this Ares is one of hte most analog sounding DACs I have heard. Was really tough to send it back. So went on line to order one, and decided to try the next one up in the series, the Pontus. It did everything the Ares did only better. So am now planning on selling off my other DACs.

    If you have not heard the Denafrips DACs, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen. Would have to say its among the best DACs I have heard.....until you get into the DCS range...

    best
     
  5. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Denver
    Those looks cool. I guess the Ares would be the main competitor to fully upgraded Maverick D2. But man, look at all those CAPS! :yikes:

    Would love to test one out, but still it's only 1 implementation, can't tweak it like the Maverick, but I guess if you really love the sound in your system and don't want to play, you're set.
     
  6. mcgjohn

    mcgjohn Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Chicago area

    Its about the only piece of gear, I have bought and not modified they sound so good stock.
     

     

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  7. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    I love the TEAC UD-501 I have. It sounds stellar. People who hear it are amazed that it is digital.
     
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  8. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Denver
    You made me spend all day yesterday reading up on the Ares, now I want one :D
    Would be awesome to do a compare.
     
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    My system is not fancy at all. But, the combination between room treatments and the system, it is just stellar.
     
  10. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Denver
    I feel the same way. I don't have elite pieces but I'm pulling tons of performance out of it. Moving into new place next month and will be interesting to see how the room dynamics change. Actually looking for some floor standers at that point.
     
  11. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    2,809
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Mines much the same. It's composed primarily in inexpensive Chi-Fi gear, used gear from Stereonet Classifieds, interconnects sourced locally and components and parts bought on eBay. The most expensive component is my S.A.M Aldebaran turntable from Croatia, also sourced via eBay.

    The only room treatments in use though is a cow skin rug, a faux furr throw on the couch + cushions. It's simply proven unnecessary and WAF factor really does override sound quality in my household. The little boss decides what I can and can't do.
     

     

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  12. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Denver
    The WAF always has priority :D - at least mine will let me get whichever speaker I want as long as they're white. I see you're getting the Gieseler Gross DAC, will be looking forward to your review
     
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  13. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    2,809
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'd already have it were it not for the need to sneak it into the house unnoticed. ;)

    I'm not sure Klipsch Cornwall speakers would fit in my listening space. They're my dream speakers.... The Aurum Cantus F620 speakers really sound great though so I need to forget about the Cornwalls.
     
  14. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    The Aurums, to me are better than Cornwalls and they are too shouty for me. Klipsch horns make me want to commit suicide.
     
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  15. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    2,809
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think you've just helped me partially squash my upgrade bug. Damn thing always recovers though :(
     
  16. SPEC2man

    SPEC2man Are we there yet? Subscriber

    Messages:
    838
    Location:
    Vancouver Washington
    I just read a positive review of the BoarderPatrol DAC ... strictly old school 16/44.1 with an EZ80 tube rectifier. I picked up some positive vibes in CNET and Parttime Audiophile price ranges from $995 - 1850 ... they aren't exactly giving them away but lately, it seems more like a bargain than most. The no hi-res support is kind of a bummer ... maybe not a deal killer. I've heard the Schitt Gungnir and it was scary good - I'm currently running a Levinson 360s and it's no slouch but its technology is getting up there in years. To me, it's a critical balance between new tech support and a solid analog output section. I'm thinking the BoarderPatrol DAC has a strong emphasis on the analog output.

    Personally, I'm currently leaning towards the Oppo Sonica and when I recover financially, I will likely send it off to Dan Wright for the $2500 mod and yet I keep hearing the voice in the back of my head yelling SCHITT, SCHITT, SCHITT!

    It's kinda like standing at the candy machine and having too many choices ... I typically just walk back to my desk with nothing.
     

     

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  17. grey

    grey AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    786
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
    What is your location?

    I've been eyeballing a Buffalo dac for quite a while. In fact, I almost pulled the trigger on one. It's a small diy project and I wasn't able to grasp all of the parts required to put it together at the time.
    http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/digital/buffalose.aspx

    I read the "integration guide" recently and it seems that the documentation is better now and it all makes sense. Quite possible that I was just working too many hours with no sleep. The reports are good!

    My current unit is a Lavry DA-10. The later and very similar DA-11 is equipped with usb. It's the only one I've found that isn't annoying so far, but doesn't seem to have the dynamics I'm looking for. I'm putting together another system that's more efficient and I suspect that it will do well there.
     
  18. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    933
    If the best analog output section is no analog output section then the BP DAC surely fits the bill. According to this review there is no output buffering, which likely means this DAC uses passive I/V conversion downstream of the DAC chip, in other words it is a resistor, well 2 for L/R channels. There is nothing wrong with it if done properly, and in fact many TDA1543 DACs use this approach. The rub with me is that there are decent DACs out there of similar design at 1/10 cost of the BP DAC, like the Starting Point System DAC3 from France. Sure, there is no tube rectifier and no copper casework, but you can get DAC3 for under $150 shipped from France and there will be enough cash in your pocket left to buy a very nice external linear PSU to power it, and it has a jitter removing design too. TDA1543 is simple but a good sounding chip that has some of that Philips DAC sound magic and some boutique shops use this fact to justify charging $$$$ for basically DIY-grade designs as these chips are very simple to design around. Just my 2c.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  19. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    2,809
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm a big fan of the Starting Point Systems DAC3.... I prefer it to everything I've heard previously including those costing more than 10x it's cost. It very much reminds me of the sound you get with a modified Denon DL103 cart and tube phono stage. Very analog and natural sounding
     
  20. mcgjohn

    mcgjohn Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Chicago area
    they are really nice. Best 600 bucks I found in a DAC. Have not listened to em all, but have not heard anything close to that price point that will outperform the Ares.

    If you check with Vinshine audio, they used to have a trial period. If you bought it and did not like it, you could return for a refund. I doubt many of them came back though.

    The Big boy on the block, the Denafrips Terminator is supposed to be surprising all sorts of reviewers; competing with DACs in the high 4 and low 5 figure price points. You may want to contact Vinshine audio and ask them it they still have that plan in place.
     
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