Author Topic: Best DAC under R20k?  (Read 11467 times)

Offline scrarfussi

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2015, 11:01:35 AM »
That question is like asking the forum what speakers you should get etc, you will get a zillion different answers and be none the wiser after...
The way is to trawl the 2nd hand stuff , try what catches your fancy , and if it doesnt work , sell it on and try something else , if you make a small loss in selling on , treat it as "equipment rental money" or "school fees"
+100
 dacs are a personal thing .
and there is synergy with the rest of your system . 
being able to get one you can demo is super difficult
i agree with Francois on the cambridge audio dac .
i chose the wadia 121 simply because it has a signature i like .
there was a moon dac on avsa for R9000 the reviews on it are excellent . you can only buy and try and resell
suum cuique pulchrum est


"I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

Offline chrisc

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2015, 11:31:51 AM »
Apart from some Chinese DACs, I have always bought them second hand.  Most are very similar.  Right now using the DAC in a SONY AVR since am awaiting a Audio GD NFB unit

Offline Rupert

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2015, 12:25:19 PM »
There is too much in this burgeoning field for any one person to be an expert on, so I honestly welcome all input.

I admit I'm becoming a bit fixated on the NAD M51 now, though. Anyone know how much this is actually going for in SA?

Offline kamikazi

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2015, 12:34:33 PM »
There is too much in this burgeoning field for any one person to be an expert on, so I honestly welcome all input.

I admit I'm becoming a bit fixated on the NAD M51 now, though. Anyone know how much this is actually going for in SA?

You can check with Celestial sounds, but its going to be over R20k. I've seen too many people buying the M51 and then selling them on and it's been around for some time now and based on feedback I've read, many are sold because people find them "boring" sounding. Haven't heard it myself so don't know if there is any truth to that.. When you start looking in that category I'd be looking more towards something like Chord. The 2Qute DAC will be released soon and will be a DAC only version of the well received Chord Hugo portable DAC/amp. Check with Stereo Musicality if they have any Chord demos?

A lot of folks are suggesting DACs that can only sourced overseas, Rupert has asked for something that can be locally sourced. Btw, what is it that you don't like about the Yulong D18? What transports are you using?

My offer on a demo of the Concero still stands if you are interested. The Rega DAC and Concero are quite contrasting so should give you a firm idea of which camp you'd prefer.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 12:42:38 PM by kamikazi »

Offline Swindlehurstguy

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2015, 01:17:50 PM »
I'd go with a Wadia 122!

Offline naughty

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2015, 02:02:05 PM »
The Cambridge audio DACS are quite good... the Azur 851c (CD&DAC) was exceptional....as good as the "unobtainium" vivere DAC

Rega DAC also quite good!

Chord's have a "nice" sound.... Ill be hunting one as soon as I have the budget for one

Cambridge also have a standalone 851d DAC .... i havent heard one but i have read a few reviews of it so all im talking about here is the fact that it exists and may be a good idea to have a listen to it if you find it




Offline Rupert

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2015, 05:04:53 PM »
I'd go with a Wadia 122!

Specs and feature-wise, the Wadia 122 looks like a machine designed to tick every conceivable box. Have you heard it?  How much?  Where can it be found?

Offline Swindlehurstguy

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2015, 06:13:01 PM »
Rupert, if you have the answers to those questions let me know. It has only recently released so I. Expect we will hear more about it in weeks to come. The recommended retail is $1500, not sue what it will cost her, but my thinking would be to just bring on in from the States. Cannot wait to see the reviews, BUT judging from what it does it is going to be a winner. I had a 121 a while back, but the new one looks to be much much better.

Offline chrisc

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Offline gavinbirss

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2015, 08:46:59 PM »
A snip at R29k, see http://www.ebay.com/itm/WADIA-DI-122-CONVERTITORE-DAC-REFERENCE-CON-STADIO-CUFFIA-NUOVO-/251840053013?pt=IT_Home_Audio_Impianti_HI_FI&hash=item3aa2d63f15

Can't say I am blown away with looks, features or specs? Apart from having ESS SABRE DAC, there is very little info about headphone amp output. No AES/EBU input or I2S. Uses 5V/10W power supply yet can offer 8Vrms balanced...

The 121 manual talks about much more details...

Would have thought a more current technology would have streaming capability from wired/wireless rather than just USB.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 08:54:30 PM by gavinbirss »

Offline funcrusha76

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2015, 09:35:10 PM »
To answer this question would require having listened to a wide range of DACs in the price range you've mentioned. Alas, I have only heard a few dedicated/outboard units: Audiolab MDAC, Emotiva XDA1, Emotiva XDA2, Peachtree Audio DAC*It X, Cambridge Audio Dacmagic, Resonessence Concero and the Rega DAC.

Among those, the Concero is tonally the most well-balanced and will, in my humble opinion, accommodate most tastes.

Offline scrarfussi

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2015, 09:37:27 PM »


Would have thought a more current technology would have streaming capability from wired/wireless rather than just USB.
then it would be classified as a streamer
rather than a dac
suum cuique pulchrum est


"I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

Offline Swindlehurstguy

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2015, 09:45:00 PM »
@Chris and Gavin, yup saw that for R29000, bit of a rippy. Word is that Wadia will price them at $1500, that being the case well worth it, double that, I would be more inclined to spend the same plus a little extra on the Full size Chord Hugo, that has just come out.

Offline Rupert

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2015, 02:10:23 PM »
In-country Wadia prices quoted to me by various sources (subject to exchange rates, etc.):

121 ---- R12k
122 ---- R23k-R24k

My conclusion from all the products that are on their way is that Wadia are working very hard to set their brand up as the new price/quality benchmark.  If the di122 is going to be that much better than the 121, they might just succeed. Especially if local importers start competing. Let's hope the Rand gets stronger, eh?

Offline Rupert

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Re: Best DAC under R20k?
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2015, 02:14:02 PM »
Interesting that no-one has chimed in about the more affordable Arcam irDAC, seeing as What Hi-Fi can't stop raving about it.