Author Topic: Best DAC upgrade choice  (Read 6863 times)

Offline BurE

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2019, 12:48:56 PM »
Thanks for all the words of wisdom!
I have acquired the Primare I32 mentioned as my brother is going to try the LS50 wireless.
It has the MM30 multimedia board so I can stream Tidal Hifi quality (FLAC) in house. :Whoohoo: :Whoohoo:
I haven't gotten much chance but will give feedback once I have given it some listening (I have 8 month old twins).
I will also compare it to the Classe doing duty as the power amp as I have fallen in love with it and am trying find a reason to keep it...

Offline BurE

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2019, 10:36:47 PM »
Hi Everyone, not sure if this should be in the digital section but here goes...
As stated above I use a primare MM30 board to stream Tidal hifi using hardwired (LAN) , this (only) controlled via the primare air app on my i phone as its the only one that supports the hi def files without using a pc/mac to control it. It sounds miles better than the bluetooth or airplay AAC files andI’ve obviously become used to how great my system now sounds. A month or so ago the issue started where it plays 6 sec or so than stops for the same time and then starts going repeating the cycle till I’m livid to the point of tears/madness. My internet is Mweb home uncapped 50mb line and had it even before the issue started. Someone mentioned that mweb throttle/shapes this as a download instead of streaming and slows it down. Needless to say a phone call to them ended with “blank stares” and no solution... any help or advice please!

Offline Nidri

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2019, 06:21:40 AM »
The problem might very well be with the Internet connection.
That said, it might also be worthwhile to try a hard reset on the network board.
I.e. disconnect completely from power for a few minutes so it has to reboot when you switch it on again.
Might be worth a try. Many software systems seem to benefit from an occasional reset.
Maybe also run a check for any available firmware updates.
Whilst Nidri takes reasonable care to ensure that the information in this message is correct and up to date, this might not always be the case. Nidri does not give any warranties as to the accuracy and safety of any information appearing in this message.

Offline kamikazi

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2019, 02:43:12 PM »
It is tricky to isolate streaming service issues. My Tidal service also appeared to have gone through a bit of a bad patch recently where it would stutter and buffer all the time and decided I would cancel my subscription, but for the last month or so it has been fine again so I've kept going with it.

That said I had the following concurrent network issues at home:
- ISP had having network issues with upstream service providers. This now seems to be better recently.
- My Asus router has new firmware that included a bunch of bugs, that caused the wireless service to deteriorate over time, till a point where it would actually drop the wireless network entirely. They've been steadily patching out the bugs with subsequent updates.

That said I would also look at resetting the multimedia board if it is possible. You can also try another router to see if that could be an issue.

Offline blizzard

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Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2019, 10:16:02 PM »
Used Tidal from the get go even before Jayzee bought it. That exact problem is why I cancelled my sub. There Servers are up to schiit.

For serious listening I download Hi Res music and listen through JRiver player at my command and convenience.From a quality point of view it still kills Tidal Masters .

For more relaxed listening and background music I use Spotify premium. Much faster hassle free streaming, and a better selection.

Never looked back to overrated Tidal

My :2c:
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 10:20:35 PM by blizzard »

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2019, 07:28:44 AM »
Never yet had an issue with Tidal even when I was on LTE. 


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Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2019, 12:12:44 PM »
For serious listening I download Hi Res music and listen through JRiver player at my command and convenience.From a quality point of view it still kills Tidal Masters.

How so? I have purchased many an album from HDtracks in the highest res possible, and played them back through Jriver and Amarra and Roon. Yes, higher resolution files are available, but from a SQ perspective I find very little between them.

I can state many a reason to steer clear of anything JZ related, but have never had a SQ or other problem with Tidal quality - not over LTE or other connection.



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Offline gavinbirss

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2019, 12:21:00 PM »
How so? I have purchased many an album from HDtracks in the highest res possible, and played them back through Jriver and Amarra and Roon. Yes, higher resolution files are available, but from a SQ perspective I find very little between them.

I can state many a reason to steer clear of anything JZ related, but have never had a SQ or other problem with Tidal quality - not over LTE or other connection.



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A good recording can be achieved on redbook also.

There is lots of speculation about what hirez recordings are made of. They have lots more potential that some offerings.

A redbook ripped streamed stays a streamed redbook sample.

Online Drifter

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Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2019, 06:10:17 PM »
I've used Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal respectively over the years. Even before Pandora and Spotify were available in SA I used them via VPN.
From a sound quality perspective, Tidal is definitely heads and shoulders above the rest. Apple is probably the easiest to use if you have iDevices and Spotify has the largest catalogue.
My choice remains Tidal.
For MQA streaming (Tidal) you definitely need a line speed of AT LEAST 50mbps. Honestly you probably need 100mbps.

For the guys with uncapped internet, most of those packages have a stringent fair usage policy and in many cases if you use around 300GB per month of data it may be worthwhile to rather move to a capped package that is not throttled or shaped. Several of the ISP's actually start to enforce fair usage at around the 250GB per month especially on some the lower cost uncapped services.

Also remember to check your router's advanced settings. Most routers have some sort of airtime fairness setting that ensures that, when multiple wifi devices are calling for data that exceeds the router's wifi throughput, some devices are sent less data in order to equally distribute the throughput to all wifi devices.
https://routerguide.net/airtime-fairness-on-or-off/
It took me a long time to figure this out. Most routers out of the box has this setting enabled and it caused me much grieve from wifi printing to wifi music streaming. Discovering this and disabling the setting has really changed my wifi architecture to such an extent that it rivals the stability of ethernet.

So to the OP, if you have a 50mbps connection and have significant drop-outs, I can almost guarantee you the issue is not with Tidal but either your ISP or you network architecture/settings.

Offline dingeth

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2019, 09:52:21 AM »
I've been using Tidal for around a year, and the sound quality is fantastic. I've got a lowly 4mb line as the ADSL in my area is horrible, but for my use case it's perfectly fine because i download the FLAC files to my iPhone in the highest quality using the tidal app, so that I don't have to worry about streaming ruining the experience. Granted, space may be an issue in the future, but currently i'm not anywhere close to the 256Gb storage available on my phone.

I'm perfectly aware that my use case is different from the OP, but is there not similar functionality on PC? (option to download to hdd)
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Offline keithp

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Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2019, 06:53:46 PM »
From Chas's comment -i by chance discovered the iFi iDAC2 as a pure linear 'drop in' DAC for any existing system & available in SA -best linear performance achieved in my case.
No optical in only USB2/3
There is the Black Label version with coaxial & optical in but the extra money spent should be used for driving headphones as well.
Then again with the higher budget FPGA maybe the option -but that others will  have appropriate experience with, out of my league.
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Online chrisc

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Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2019, 02:43:35 PM »
I measured Tidal MQA over a 2 hour period

Maximum was 7.4mb per minute, minimum was 4.3mb per minute

For Netflix it is 55mb per minute

Given that a 20mb fibre service can deliver 1200mb per minute, you should be safe with a 20mbps connection.   Friend gets by more than adequately on a 10mbps connection
Music is the shorthand of emotion

Offline Simango4

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2020, 04:23:18 PM »
Hi All

I have been a long time member and read a lot although I don't post often... so I wish to ask some help/advice from the vast amount of knowledge on the forum.
I currently feel that the next step( in the never ending quest...  :)) to improve my stereo system is a better DAC.
Let me briefly explain my current setup listening situation so you can get an idea of what would be worthwile/cost appropriate upgrades.

I mostly listen to AAC files through apple music on my phone (convenience) streamed through an apple tv (think it's a version 2) via Yamaha RX-V 1067 AVR in pure direct mode (think the AVR's DAC's is being used) through RCA's to Classe CA 2100 power amp powering KEF R700's.

Tried the same system with my brother's Primare i 32 with onboard multimedia card so everything is streamed, processed and amped in house so to speak and it sounded much better in the treble detail and instruments although the bass control with both setups are excellent (to my ears at least).
Even when we used my power amp through the primare's pre amp out it sounded much closer/similar.
This leads me to the (hopefully correct) conclusion that the DAC in the Primare is much better than the AVR and hence would be the next appropriate upgrade.

So to get to my actual question,
Please recommend a DAC or DAC/pre amp that would be an obvious/ big improvement on my AVR's DAC's that would support streaming, preferably airplay, recommendation can be new or used as there is often much better value.
I have no idea what price range i'm looking at but thinking of a max budget of R10k to R15k?

Apologies for the long winded question.

From a sound quality perspective, I'd recommend the NAD M51 DAC, It has a well detailed upper end, and a well controlled & detailed lower end - noting that I'm using the M51 with the same power amp (CA2100) as well, so synergy wise, the M51 + CA2100 is an excellent combo. However, I don't know how it would sound when combined with the sound signature of your speakers as mine are different from those KEFs (i.e. Revel Gem).

The only missing part would be the streaming function, however, an external device used as a streaming source - sending digital signal to the DAC either via USB, HDMI, Coax or Optical(not recommended as much as the other digital inputs) would sort that out. I personally use a Gaming/Home Theatre PC as my source for streaming and playback of downloaded media via USB input (the PC is dead quiet - except when gaming due to the graphics card fans maxing out - still not noticeable when gaming due to game sound).

The only thing I really miss out from the M51 is a 12V trigger out to control the CA2100 power amp.
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Offline keithp

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Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2020, 08:38:02 PM »
RME ADI Pro2 range, i promise you the second day you will have forgoten what you had to pay, in fact it will make every piece of existing equipment in your chain sound like you never thought possible.
Not just DAC usage but ADAC mater referencing extends audio possibilities, just my opinion.
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Offline Trashy

Re: Best DAC upgrade choice
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2020, 05:09:47 PM »
Sorry if I'm hijacking this thread but I've got a very similar situation/question.
I use tidal hifi, downloaded onto my phone and streamed using a bluetooth AptX HD adapter.
This goes via toslink into a Marantz Nr1403.
Would an external DAC such as the Cambridge dacmagic make a positive difference for my use?