Author Topic: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.  (Read 5041 times)

Offline Jason Willemse

Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2019, 09:02:37 PM »
Some lovely options in pictures.

The Aqua LaVoce S3.





The Bryston BDA-3.





iFiís DSD Pro.




Soekris dac1541.





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« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 09:05:40 PM by Jason Willemse »
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Offline juventino

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2019, 10:15:24 PM »
Some interesting options.

Personally my order would be 1, 4, 3, 2 taking into consideration your requirements.

I would add 1 more Dac that should fit your pricing, but unfortunately is not supported in SA is the bigger brother of he Aries, the Pontus!
Listening put on hold for a while, but end game reached. Couldnt be happier with my system. Next will be new room tweaks.

Offline JJJ

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2019, 01:36:44 AM »
The smaller brother of the EMM Labs Dac, Meitner MA-1.
Detailed, musical and no frills.
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Offline gavinbirss

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2019, 09:38:50 AM »
Regarding the requirement of balanced output.

Some DAC's are not truly balanced and generate the balanced output via opamps, so if your pre or power can do either the same or is transformer coupled there is very little benefit other than being able to run a balanced cable.

So in some cases a DAC with unbalanced outputs may be just as good, like the Soekris DAC1321.

In the case of the Soekris 3dB of signal to noise is gained by the true balanced outputs.

Online oradba69

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2019, 11:12:10 AM »
I would like to add.
Compare whatever you get to demo with the node2's normal(unbalanced) output.
I had a Vivere and as good as it is, I prefered the smoother sound of the node2.
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Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2019, 12:59:09 PM »
I would like to add.
Compare whatever you get to demo with the node2's normal(unbalanced) output.
I had a Vivere and as good as it is, I prefered the smoother sound of the node2.
I have... and Iím not satisfied. Itís a bit lean for my liking.


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Online shadow.clone

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2019, 01:14:03 PM »
I have... and Iím not satisfied. Itís a bit lean for my liking.


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How so? "Thin" mid-range and/or bass?

Doing audio tuning/adjustments at the DAC is common practice but one that makes little sense to me as it's quite expensive and entails a lot of trial and error. Not sure how loud you listen, but look into equal-loudness contours.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 01:17:27 PM by shadow.clone »

Online royj

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Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2019, 05:35:03 PM »
What about the T+A Dac 8.
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Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2019, 06:29:04 AM »
How so? "Thin" mid-range and/or bass?

Doing audio tuning/adjustments at the DAC is common practice but one that makes little sense to me as it's quite expensive and entails a lot of trial and error. Not sure how loud you listen, but look into equal-loudness contours.
Listening at levels considered ďloudĒ certainly has itís place for me, but would be a very small part of my typical listening behavior. My room is treated, very quiet, and allows me to enjoy my music at low levels. It is at these low volumes that I expect the system to perform with a ďfull-bodiedĒ sound. This is where I found the nodeís DAC to be in the lean side, lacking in mid-bass and tonal richness therein.

The practice of changing DACís is an expensive one - but one that makes sense if one wishes to tune a system to oneís liking without unnecessary processing. I dislike EQ, upscaling and filters for the most part, so avoid them.

The changing/tuning via DAC options is much like having the right stylus/cartridge on the turntable.


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Offline Stanp

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2019, 06:53:00 AM »
I would never buy a CD player; a DAC is just much more versatile and perhaps easier to re sell if need be.
I love my Aqua La Voce; it is called "The Voice" for good reason.  :)

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Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2019, 08:40:57 AM »
I am about to order a Denafrips ARES-II from Vinshine Audio for a fellow forumite.   Price is just under R12000.   There might be a reduction in shipping if I get another at the same time
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Offline Wolla

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2019, 09:09:27 AM »
@Jason Willemse have you auditioned a Bel Canto DAC before?

I also do not like EQ and filters and fluff. The DAC must just sound good, no matter what you throw at it.

The BC DACs has digital pre as well, which works 100% and sound good at low levels also - something that is difficult (if not impossible) to achieve with a normal volume pot. But you have a choice to either use line-out, or pre.

They also have IR remote capabilities.

Offline Jason Willemse

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2019, 09:11:26 AM »
@Jason Willemse have you auditioned a Bel Canto DAC before?

I also do not like EQ and filters and fluff. The DAC must just sound good, no matter what you throw at it.

The BC DACs has digital pre as well, which works 100% and sound good at low levels also - something that is difficult (if not impossible) to achieve with a normal volume pot. But you have a choice to either use line-out, or pre.

They also have IR remote capabilities.
Thanks, but admittedly want something without any pre if possible. I have not had the opportunity to listen unfortunately.






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Offline naughty

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2019, 09:35:59 AM »
Thanks, but admittedly want something without any pre if possible. I have not had the opportunity to listen unfortunately.


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in this instance - the pre is probably just one extra output connected to a volume Pot which allows you to connect directly to a power amp instead of having to have an integrated or separate pre-amp

Online shadow.clone

Re: Choosing a DAC - suggestions please.
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2019, 09:41:27 AM »
Listening at levels considered ďloudĒ certainly has itís place for me, but would be a very small part of my typical listening behavior. My room is treated, very quiet, and allows me to enjoy my music at low levels. It is at these low volumes that I expect the system to perform with a ďfull-bodiedĒ sound. This is where I found the nodeís DAC to be in the lean side, lacking in mid-bass and tonal richness therein.

The practice of changing DACís is an expensive one - but one that makes sense if one wishes to tune a system to oneís liking without unnecessary processing. I dislike EQ, upscaling and filters for the most part, so avoid them.

We find our own truths in this hobby so I can appreciate your viewpoint.

The changing/tuning via DAC options is much like having the right stylus/cartridge on the turntable.

This captures my sentiment quite well. We don't have to treat DACs as "lego/tetris blocks" which have to be swapped in/out until there is an "ideal" match. You can shape and morph audio quite readily in the digital domain until there is a good match. Besides, there is a lot of filtering/DSP going on in the DAC so its a case of relying solely on the designers' choices or having some influence on it.

This, of course, is not what you asked but I thought it was worth mentioning, even if it's only to tinker around and get a better understanding/appreciation of your system.