Audio and Video Talk > Digital

DAC and Power supply advice

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Musicologist:
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? 

Mushroom:
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

chrisc:
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

ac koch:
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.

kamikazi:
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.

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