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Starting Point Systems DAC3

Discussion in 'DACs' started by highend64, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. highend64

    highend64 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Central CA
    Hi, I will be planning on purchasing this DAC. Does anyone have experience using this model? Thanks
     

     

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  2. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    It's pretty good for what it is. I suggest you research NOS DACs before pulling the trigger, if not already. Assume that the USB input works only on Windows.
     
  3. highend64

    highend64 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Central CA
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about it any suggestion is appreciated.
     
  4. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,163
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Yes, I'm running one in my secondary system downstairs which is perhaps the best match I've come across for that system. It's a very natural, organic sounding DAC which just sounds real to my ears. I found it fantastic in that system as the Dayton USA PS220-8 based drivers are incredibly revealing and a bit aggressive at the high end. The DAC3 has softer sounding highs which means this system is not fatiguing to listen to with the DAC3 in the chain. I'd tried a number of other DAC's in that system (S.M.S.L. M8, Gustard DAC-X12, Xiang Sheng DAC-01A) though none of those were such a great match in this system.

    Having said that, with some of my other systems it's too laid back however with modern speakers (bright &/or forward) such as Polks they're a fantastic match.
     
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  5. MudSlideSlim

    MudSlideSlim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    731
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    Pardon my ignorance, but who makes the DAC3?
     
  6. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,052

     

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  7. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

    Messages:
    61
    I am also looking at buying one of these. Anyone else have opinions?
     
  8. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,163
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I've since found that a Weilang Audio AKM 4497EQ based DAC has the tonality and smooth presentation of the DAC3 though the superior detail of a modern DAC. Better all up.
     
  9. mikerm

    mikerm AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    79
    I bought one & ended up selling it. I wasn't impressed by the lack of detail. It was smooth sounding, but I feel like it just left too much behind.
     
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  10. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    IMO it is a better fit for close field or maybe brighter headphone setups, I was never impressed how it sounded in my main 2-ch system. This DAC may be a ticket for those who think all digital is too bright and harsh.
     
    jt01 likes this.
  11. jt01

    jt01 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    527
    Location:
    Mid Michigan
    I have one of these and agree with mikerm and gvl. It's smooth sounding and would be good for taming systems that are too bright and/or harsh, but IMO is a bit dull.
     

     

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  12. pete_mac

    pete_mac Super Member

    Messages:
    2,843
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Indeed. This also describes the other TDA1543-based DACs that I've heard (the Project DAC Box FL and the Muse 4 x TDA1543 in both standard and modded format). Lovely midrange presentation with simple music, but lacks low and top end extension and resolution, and sounds congested with more complex music. I can see how those sonic characteristics would work well for some systems and preferences/
     
  13. Quadrunner

    Quadrunner Active Member

    Messages:
    144

    Does anyone have any experience to share on the improvement in sound quality using something with a higher sampling rate than redbook?
     
  14. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,163
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Well, I've found that using JRIVER to upsample to 1x native DSD using a AKM 4497EQ based DAC gives the most lifelike production of music I've ever heard.... The poor little Starting Point Systems DAC3 just can't compare.

    With straight PCM and no up sampling it's closer though still no comparison. Not really fair comparing it with a Gieseler Gross DAC though.
     
  15. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    The DAC3 maxes out at 96kHz. Upsampling in say JRiver helps a bit to bring some sparkle, but in a sense it takes away some of its NOS magic without bringing much to the table. I just run it in NOS when I'm in the mood to use it. It is a fun sound, like a tube DAC without a tube in it. Note the USB input didn't work with Linux, Android and I think MacOS, there was supposedly a firmware update in the works to fix these issues, but I've never seen it being released.
     

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