Starting Point Systems DAC3

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

  1. highend64

    highend64 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    641
    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

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    1,120
    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:
    641
    Location:
    Central CA
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about it any suggestion is appreciated.
     
  4. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    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:
    740
    Location:
    San Diego CA
    Pardon my ignorance, but who makes the DAC3?
     
  6. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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  7. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

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

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    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:
    94
    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:
    1,120
    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.
     
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  11. jt01

    jt01 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    530
    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

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    2,873
    Location:
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    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:
    3,307
    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:
    1,120
    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.
     
  16. mahgister

    mahgister New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    quebec
    My experience with this dac is without reservation for the ratio quality/price... More than that the final resulting sound of this jewel is tightly relates to his implementation in an audio system and in your electrical house grid...With a clean line, i experience none of the limitations that some reports , this dac is not a microscope tough, but his musicality and holograpgic presentation, his naturalness is my most important purchase in Audio... Price is way low for this diamond even new, Buy it used, there is many people that will sell it for a so called "upgrading"...To really beat it you must pay way more...

    By the way before cleaning my audio house electrical grid, and before cleaning my audio grid, this dac was like somes say its sound : not detailed enough...But after cleanliness, this dac sound only musical with all the details, my other ordinary dacs, sounded like trash beside it... Finally the sound of any reviewer system is different than that of any others reviewers, and more than that, almost all people had never listen to their own gear ultimate potential in the first place,because of muddy electrical line and noisy audio grid, i dont even speaks about ubiquitous mechanical vibrations the importance of which almost all people understate... Because of all that i dont generally now trust really any reviewers except for very general indications... This dac in my clean line and house is a marvel without defects that i can hear of,and for me end of the game...This is simply the law of diminishing returns... A sound that is musical not a microscope is all that i ever wanted...I had it now...

    By the way what i had said about this French Nos dac ,i can repeat about my AKG K 340 criticisms and negative reviews, that all come from people without a clean line nor a clean audio system, and the same is true for my Beloved Sansui AU 7700, his sound is good out of the box in any house, but to really listen to it you must have a CLEAN audio grid and more that , and this is another completely underestimated problem, a CLEAN house electrical grid... After that you have only music and not relatively good or bad sounds ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019

     

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  17. mikerm

    mikerm AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Interesting how much the price for this DAC has increased since I bought & subsequently sold mine. Has he made some improvements in the last year? It really was nothing impressive when I tried it. Very flat and one dimensional. Your “clean power” explanation makes no sense since it’s powered by its own internal battery.
     
  18. mahgister

    mahgister New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    quebec
    Trust me i speak by experience not by opinions... I listen to it before and after cleaning audio grid and electrical grid and by the way these two things are different...Mine was absolutely not flat but holographic and 3- d sound, and by the way i had DAC2, not even Dac 3 ,but the differences it seems are not way much better ...Your appreciation and description of this dac speak more about your system problems than about the final quality of this dac...If not, why do i listen the exact opposite of your impressions? Probability bend more toward your audio grid cleanliness and electrical house grid cleanliness problems ... I dont want to be rude, if it seems so i apologize...My best to you..

    By the way even a battery makes noise, but in normal listening grid we dont hear it because they are already noiser problems...In a clean grid you will hear it if you clean the battery noise...

    My only discovery in this audiophile field is not the necessity to upgrade and pay more to have more, it is the necessity if you had already relatively good gear the necessity to eliminates the noise...Companies that sells gear, reviewers, almost all people underscore that very important facts... I am not an engineer, but it is my most important discovery about audio, clean all and nothing sound the same, music appear suddenly in a system that was not satisfying before that, even if it was good gear already...My love for this French dac comes from that and the ridiculous price paid for this gem used and the reason why this dac is so good i think is that: MINIMAL design with and already philips tda 1543 chip... Expert knows that introducing complex electronical parts in a system a sac or an amplifier has a price that is the increasing of the floor noise, it is a trade -off between the goal intended by the engineer that introduce a new electronical part and the final sound...
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  19. mikerm

    mikerm AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    94
    Hey to each his own, but I tried it in multiple systems in multiple locations and it sounded the same in every scenario. How did you clean your home and audio grid?
     
  20. mahgister

    mahgister New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    quebec
    By my owns methods, first treating the room, after that eliminating vibrations around the gear, and lastly using crystals, and stones of my own design(you can laugh i am used to it)...

    This dac will sound the same in any non cleaned house and audio system, it has sound the same in my non cleaned system : not so good...But now its sound 3-d and musically organic without any lack of details... Forget this dac, think about any piece of gear, this will be the same...Any non treated room .house, audio grid, will destruct the musicality of an amplifier or of the speakers etc... Even headphones,for example i dont like so much my non treated non cleaned AKG K 340 headphone; but now they are so good that they trash all my others headphones including 2 Stax , the reason was my non cleaned audio grid and non clean electrical house grid... Now that i have eliminated vibrations even in this headphone, and introduce some stones in the cable ,now they are so good that all negative reviews of these can made no more sense,but before the cleaning methods my impressions of the Mighty AKG K 340 were similar to some negative impressions ,for exemple lack of coherence between the drivers... Now i am in love with them...True gem like my dac...And impossible to upgrade because of multi-thousand dollars costs will be necessary... When music is already there you speaks no more about "sounds"... And i can say the samething about my SAnsui AU 7700 before cleaning methods and after...It is not the same amplifier...Now i am in love with my gear, why? Because cleaning reveal the qualities of your piece of gear...They are better dac than this French dac, better headphones that the K 340, better amplifier than the Sansui, and better speakers than mine,but after cleaning, improving their sound will cost me 10,000 dollars perhaps more not one thousand ...I listen more to music now than to the sound of my system
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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