Author Topic: Recommend a DAC  (Read 2413 times)

Offline keithp

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
  • Total likes: 3
  • Keith Gregson on fb.
Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2020, 11:42:39 AM »
Sure, here you go...

https://www.audioexchange.co.za/product/ifi-zen-dac-new/

https://www.audioexchange.co.za/product/musical-fidelity-m1-dac/


Now don't waste time, Francois is a fantastic gentleman, if not happy with your choice he will be sure to exchange... :dop:
My first DACs were iFi from Audioexchange, iDAC2 & Black label -i moved over to another brand because of bluetooth & mobile DAP options. i also purchased iFi xCAN -these are my best sounding DACs headphone to IEMs [i also own ADI2-PRO FS for sampling purposes] i will never sell my iFi for less than what i paid then!-the iDAC2 used with R3k AT-MSR7 OTG headphones makes these 35ohm 45mm cans sound like 20k headphones! -or maybe a spot less..
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 11:45:50 AM by keithp »
Keith Gregson on fb.

Offline vdL

Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2020, 07:39:41 PM »
Please feedback how it compares to the NFB-15

The ifi is pretty amazing. Really good build quality and just works. Plug in and it plays. The NFB's software is finnicky.

The ifi has a really nice balanced sound but I miss the punch and power that the Audio-gd had but the sound signature is nicer to my ears. The Audio-gd worked really well with my Valve Audio Exclame and Quads 22L2s. The valve preamp just balanced the otherwise very clear sounding components in my build.

When you are driving high impedance headphones I would look for a headphone amp to complement the ifi. One thing I really dislike is that it always outputs on line out and headphone out. I would have prefered a switch since I would like to use either at different times.

Offline vdL

Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2020, 07:41:09 PM »
It is definitely worth to repair. If you suspect a diode, it doesn't happen in such circuit, I would rather point to a relay. If you are in JHB, maybe I can help.

If you can get A-GD R2R11 second-hand around R4K, it would be great.  If the built-in HPA is a lower grade than in the NFB15, then a replacement HPA is in a R28 DAC combo, but it would be exceeding your limits.

Tested the relays and they are working fine and its not a diode problem either. I am gifting the unit to someone who only needs line out and that still works fine. I bought my Audio-gd for R2k so R4k at this stage is a hard swallow hahaha.

Offline Banjuka

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Total likes: 2
  • My heart is warm and slightly v-shaped.
Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2020, 12:03:20 PM »
The ifi is pretty amazing. Really good build quality and just works. Plug in and it plays. The NFB's software is finnicky.

The ifi has a really nice balanced sound but I miss the punch and power that the Audio-gd had but the sound signature is nicer to my ears. The Audio-gd worked really well with my Valve Audio Exclame and Quads 22L2s. The valve preamp just balanced the otherwise very clear sounding components in my build.

When you are driving high impedance headphones I would look for a headphone amp to complement the ifi. One thing I really dislike is that it always outputs on line out and headphone out. I would have prefered a switch since I would like to use either at different times.

I changed the firmware on my iFi Zen Dac to the latest GTO filter (which you download for free from the iFi website) - it really changes the sound signature quite a bit. I found the GTO filter really made the sound from my DT770 Pros sound far more organic, more analogue - also does amazing things to the soundstage and imaging. I love it!

Offline Tenflare

  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
  • Total likes: 19
  • Gaming on orthodynamics since 2006.
Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2020, 10:40:42 PM »
The EarMen Donald Dac (love the name) is now available locally (https://www.cplanaudio.co.za/products/earmen-donald-dac-dual-power-supply-digital-to-analog-converter-with-mqa-support). It's got a lot of the features of the Zen Dac, including MQA (rendering) and DSD.

Overseas it's about the same price as the Tone Board so it possibly represents a better value proposition with MQA and the fact that it includes an actual enclosure (can't comment on the Cirrus Logic CS 43198 vs the Sabre on the Tone Board or the Burr Brown on the Zen).

On Cplan though, the price is probably a bit too dear for its target market but that's neither here nor there.



« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 10:44:45 PM by Tenflare »
Never use a graph when a good metaphor will do...

Offline kamikazi

Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2020, 11:38:34 PM »
That's pretty cool. Hopes it means we get more Auris Audio goodies soon, they have some delectable valve based amplifiers.

The Khadas Tone board is still a much better deal. Think mine ended up around R2.5k to import from Audiophonics. It's an accomplished little DAC, listening to it right now and still pretty amazed at the sound that you are getting for that money.

I did a bit more research into the iFi Zen DAC today and have to say it's pretty nifty how they got their own digitial filter in there. I initially thought it smelled a bit of BS, but the PCM1793 does take a programmable custom filter and that they managed to squeeze this processing into the XMOS chip which is a pretty neat solution to say the least. I'm not sure how much horsepower that chip has available but I doubt it's going to be a match for a fully fledged FPGA implementation, but it's still custom. The PCM17XX DAC series of chips aren't too bad, I've owned quite a couple, they got nice full bodied bass, and most are very agreeable sounding, but they do show their age a little compared to some of the newer delta-sigma stuff around.

Offline Tenflare

  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
  • Total likes: 19
  • Gaming on orthodynamics since 2006.
Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2020, 12:35:21 AM »
That's pretty cool. Hopes it means we get more Auris Audio goodies soon, they have some delectable valve based amplifiers.

The Khadas Tone board is still a much better deal. Think mine ended up around R2.5k to import from Audiophonics. It's an accomplished little DAC, listening to it right now and still pretty amazed at the sound that you are getting for that money.

I did a bit more research into the iFi Zen DAC today and have to say it's pretty nifty how they got their own digitial filter in there. I initially thought it smelled a bit of BS, but the PCM1793 does take a programmable custom filter and that they managed to squeeze this processing into the XMOS chip which is a pretty neat solution to say the least. I'm not sure how much horsepower that chip has available but I doubt it's going to be a match for a fully fledged FPGA implementation, but it's still custom. The PCM17XX DAC series of chips aren't too bad, I've owned quite a couple, they got nice full bodied bass, and most are very agreeable sounding, but they do show their age a little compared to some of the newer delta-sigma stuff around.
I'm planning on getting my Tone Board through Digi-Key as they have free delivery at orders at and above R2000 so I can squeeze in a Hammond box as well. I am worried about customs though. 
Never use a graph when a good metaphor will do...

Offline Katji

Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2020, 11:58:25 AM »
^^Customs... I was reminded last night, reading a lonnng thread - Brazil 60% and Italian said [Customs here spoils everything .]

Offline sajunky

Re: Recommend a DAC
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2020, 08:33:05 PM »
This a real deal for MQA users. All others should look elsewhere.

Normally Cirrus Logic strikes a balance between Sabre and AK. But here is an extensive noise shaping (as indicated on ASR), it doesn't quality for a desktop. A balance is lost in this implementation.

For portable use I have a Nobsound 8x TDA1387DAC/HPA. I am sure there are many implementations of this chip (DAPs/dongles) that sound better.
If it measures good and sounds bad—it's bad. If it measures bad and sounds good, you've measured the wrong thing.
/ Daniel R. von Recklinghausen, Chief Engineer, H.H. Scott/