Author Topic: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.  (Read 4992 times)

Offline Jason Willemse

Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« on: August 19, 2019, 07:29:13 AM »
Researching available DAC options has me stumped, and so I turn to the forum members for some suggestions! It gets tricky based on these rather specific list of requirements:

1. Must be a genuine audiophile grade DAC.
2. Must have balanced outputs.
3. Preferably have minimal frills and be simple.
4. Preferably be a DAC only. Not looking for a pre/headphone amp or streamer.

It's worth noting that my first choice would be to purchase the Marantz SA-10 SACD player and utilize it's digital input and DAC, mostly because it would match the PM-10 integrated amplifier. The cost of the SA-10 is simply ludicrous.

Thoughts and suggestions appreciated.  :thinking:

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Offline GoodEnoughGear

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2019, 07:32:23 AM »
What's your budget? Are there any that you've heard that you liked? What system will it be playing in?
Mobile: LG V30, CA Andromeda
Portable: LH Labs GO2A SE, KEF M500
Home: Soekris DAC1541, Genelec 8030+7050, Eddie Current Black Widow II, HD600

Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 07:42:19 AM »
What's your budget? Are there any that you've heard that you liked? What system will it be playing in?
System is a Marantz PM-10 integrated amp into Monitor Audio PL300ii’s.

I wouldn’t like to spend more than 30k, but would rather wait and buy what’s right if short.


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Offline Gerlach

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Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 07:46:11 AM »
Jip, first you need to check your price range that you want to go for.
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Offline Gerlach

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Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 07:51:34 AM »
Jip, first you need to check your price range that you want to go for.
System is a Marantz PM-10 integrated amp into Monitor Audio PL300ii’s.

I wouldn’t like to spend more than 30k, but would rather wait and buy what’s right if short.


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OK, see you posted that info now. Some of the DAC guys will pop up with some info with, but for that price you will get a descent DAC. Maybe a good option is give Hein a call at E-piphany. He stocks the new Cambridge units and they are really nice. They step up there game with there new range. 
Good drivers have dead flies on the side windows. (Walter Röhrl)

Offline chrisc

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Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2019, 08:00:34 AM »
Denafrips ARES-II

Going to import one as soon as the factory re-opens and have asked the supplier in Singapore for a discount, as this will be the 6th one I have purchased.   Many of us here in Cape Town have tested it extensively and it provides stunning performance and ticks the boxes you specify

It going to be in the region of R11000 to R12000

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/product-page/denafrips-ares-r2r-dac
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Offline hope

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2019, 08:02:01 AM »
What are you going to use as transport / streamer / computer?

Offline chrisc

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Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2019, 08:04:30 AM »
The computer is not serious.  I use a MacBook, but others use a Dell laptop and one has a old Windows machine running XP.

We all use JRiver ver 24 for the media server and the music is stored on an external HDD
Music is the shorthand of emotion

Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 08:04:51 AM »
...Will be a BlueSound Node 2i
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Offline gavinbirss

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2019, 08:27:04 AM »
I would suggest a Soekris DAC1321 (unbalanced) and DAC1541 (balanced but with headphone output and over budget) way above the ARES.

Offline naughty

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 08:32:48 AM »
you want a true audiophile grade DAC - if i was in your shoes i would very strongly consider the ifi pro iDSD it was just slightly above your proposed budget in terms of price if i remember correctly

https://ifi-audio.com/products/pro-idsd/

pictured with an i-rack pro





i-rack pro to make it complete - just looks amazing IMHO - obviously the DAC fits onto the rack



and as a bonus it does feature an headphone amp which provides up to 4 watts at 16 ohm though you will not necessarily be using it - but an added bonus if required






Offline juventino

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2019, 08:50:29 AM »
I would look at an Aqua R2R dacs. Contact @Air

DAC only, modular for future upgrades.
Listening put on hold for a while, but end game reached. Couldnt be happier with my system. Next will be new room tweaks.

Offline Crankshaft

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2019, 09:11:40 AM »
Denafrips ARES-II

Going to import one as soon as the factory re-opens and have asked the supplier in Singapore for a discount, as this will be the 6th one I have purchased.   Many of us here in Cape Town have tested it extensively and it provides stunning performance and ticks the boxes you specify

It going to be in the region of R11000 to R12000

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/product-page/denafrips-ares-r2r-dac

Any idea of how the Ares-II differs from the original?
I have the the original.  Sounds great, but keen to try something different.

Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2019, 09:26:13 AM »
you want a true audiophile grade DAC - if i was in your shoes i would very strongly consider the ifi pro iDSD it was just slightly above your proposed budget in terms of price if i remember correctly

https://ifi-audio.com/products/pro-idsd/

pictured with an i-rack pro





i-rack pro to make it complete - just looks amazing IMHO - obviously the DAC fits onto the rack



and as a bonus it does feature an headphone amp which provides up to 4 watts at 16 ohm though you will not necessarily be using it - but an added bonus if required

Thanks Nitin - this one definitely being considered as an option. Looks good and the circular display will match neatly, but do feel that I'm paying for the pre and headphone amp that I don't need.
To see, to bleed, cannot be taught. In turn, you’re making us...

Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2019, 09:32:07 AM »
Denafrips ARES-II

Going to import one as soon as the factory re-opens and have asked the supplier in Singapore for a discount, as this will be the 6th one I have purchased.   Many of us here in Cape Town have tested it extensively and it provides stunning performance and ticks the boxes you specify

It going to be in the region of R11000 to R12000

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/product-page/denafrips-ares-r2r-dac

This looks pretty neat! Love the simplicity... will read up some more - thanks.
To see, to bleed, cannot be taught. In turn, you’re making us...