Author Topic: DAC and Power supply advice  (Read 803 times)

Offline Musicologist

DAC and Power supply advice
« on: October 25, 2021, 03:42:10 PM »
Hi

I am new to this forum and just need some honest advice please. I currently have a Musical Fidelity V90 DAC that I use with a Musical Fidelity M5 amp.
I stream "lossless" Apple music from an Iphone via the lightning / usb adapter, using a USB cable to the DAC, which sends it to the amp and speakers. It sounds good but I think it could improve with some expert knowledge.

1. The DAC is a few years old. Is it worth upgrading to another similar DAC?
2. What about something like the Maranz HD DAC1, second hand?
2. Should I just upgrade the MF DAC's original power supply to something else? Seemingly ifi has some great options?
3 Should I rather get a music streamer with built in DAC for R10,000 - R15,000?

I know it is very subjective questions, but what would you advise please? 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 04:00:41 PM by Musicologist »
I've seen the future of Rock and Roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen - Jon Landau

Offline Mushroom

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Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2021, 04:13:40 PM »
Hi Musicologist.

I would recommend investigating the following,

Option 1(Ease of use), within your stated budget.
Bluesound Node, a one-box solution with a great app.

Option 2(Sound quality), just over your budget.
Zen stream + Denefrips AresII
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Online chrisc

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Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2021, 05:00:38 PM »
A Denafrips ARES-II by itself is a good start.  This will make a substantial improvement - work on R11k

See vinshineaudio.com

Also:  https://www.avforums.co.za/index.php/topic,95849.0.html
Music is the shorthand of emotion

Offline ac koch

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2021, 05:17:39 PM »
I have a Zen blue connected to a valve amp that I use for streaming purposes.

Lossless from Iphone or Ipad into Zen .

Zen blue has a built in DAC.


Offline kamikazi

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2021, 06:01:33 PM »
I think it also depends on the rest of the chain, what other upstream gear are you using and what is it that you feel is lacking? It could even be down to something in your acoustic space, which could be fixed with not too much money. It is often an area that people forget to evaluate for gains, which can be quite substantial.

Component wise I definitely think the MF V90 could be a bit of a bottleneck, but it is a capable unit and punches above its price class, so a PSU would definitely give it an extra shot in the arm if you like the sound of it, but want a bit more. The Denafrips Ares suggested here could also be a great option for a new DAC at a reasonable price. You also have the opportunity currently of getting a Chord Qutest DAC at a very good price locally, though I haven't heard this specific Chord model yet, but Chord is pretty good. Maybe have a look at a Zen streamer + PSU upgrade and if that doesn't give you what are after, then perhaps look at a new standalone DAC?

A dedicated streamer as a transport is definitely preferred compared to streamer/dac combination solution. These often have compromises and limitations where they either do one or other well, but for units to excel at both you need to pay a lot of money. Often people end up spending extra money getting a standalone DAC after purchasing a streamer/dac combo, so then you might as well skip that up front with a streamer only solution. Your V90 should probably outperform the DAC portion of most mainstream streaming solutions.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 06:08:52 PM by kamikazi »

Offline XL1000

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2021, 06:11:52 PM »
I may be convinced to let go of my brand new Ares II. Looking to get the next model up the food chain.
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Offline tptb

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2021, 04:24:59 AM »
I may be convinced to let go of my brand new Ares II. Looking to get the next model up the food chain.

Price?
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.

Offline roddy100

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2021, 08:53:37 AM »
The power supply to your DAC can make differences to the sound. Note, not always improvements. Depends on the overall balance of your system.

IFi Audio, available locally, have options.

In the ultimate solution you end up with: dedicated power supply, some kind of device to do streaming and manage USB cleaning, DAC into your amplifier. Plus cabling.

And then the rest of your kit may not reveal the value of the upgrades. Best advice is to find fellow audiophile and listen to as many setups as possible. Good luck and let us know how you go.

Offline AlleyCat

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2021, 08:58:20 AM »
I may be convinced to let go of my brand new Ares II. Looking to get the next model up the food chain.

@XL1000, you are obviously enjoying the Ares II to make this decision. Please post your thoughts on it in https://www.avforums.co.za/index.php/topic,95849.0.html

Pontus has been and continues to be on my radar too, other needs are superseding that move.

@Musicologist, by Aaron's dac, you won't regret it.
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline Musicologist

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2021, 10:05:30 AM »
Wow. Thanks for taking the time to advise, all...It is a really cool forum where people actually respond.
I've seen the future of Rock and Roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen - Jon Landau

Offline XL1000

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2021, 11:46:56 AM »
@XL1000, you are obviously enjoying the Ares II to make this decision. Please post your thoughts on it in https://www.avforums.co.za/index.php/topic,95849.0.html

Pontus has been and continues to be on my radar too, other needs are superseding that move.

@Musicologist, by Aaron's dac, you won't regret it.


It would be unfair of me to pass comment on a DAC i have had for such a short time, suffice to say it was a lightbulb moment from the very first track.
Kind of like, "Is this really what's been missing?".
So I have offloaded nearly all my gear amassed over the past decade and a half and have the means to invest in a really good system. (Within my budget that is.)
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Offline AlleyCat

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2021, 12:56:37 PM »
It would be unfair of me to pass comment on a DAC i have had for such a short time, suffice to say it was a lightbulb moment from the very first track.
Kind of like, "Is this really what's been missing?".
So I have offloaded nearly all my gear amassed over the past decade and a half and have the means to invest in a really good system. (Within my budget that is.)

'Nuff said. Happy for you upgrading to the Pontus. Seems like you are making all the right choices. Enjoy!

"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline XL1000

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2021, 02:33:21 PM »
'Nuff said. Happy for you upgrading to the Pontus. Seems like you are making all the right choices. Enjoy!



Thank you kindly, the Ares II is sold, there was a fair amount of interest and four definite takers. They are not wrong - it's a fantastic DAC.
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Offline AlleyCat

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2021, 03:16:20 PM »
Thank you kindly, the Ares II is sold, there was a fair amount of interest and four definite takers. They are not wrong - it's a fantastic DAC.

 :2thumbs: Well done Aaron,and to the next buyer/user.
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline Zealot

Re: DAC and Power supply advice
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2021, 03:48:24 PM »
Thank you kindly, the Ares II is sold, there was a fair amount of interest and four definite takers. They are not wrong - it's a fantastic DAC.

Eagerly awaiting your lightbulb moment with the Pontus :2thumbs: