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Audio/Video Hardware => Digital => Topic started by: Rupert on March 09, 2015, 02:03:24 PM

Title: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 09, 2015, 02:03:24 PM
Approaching the same problem from a different angle.  What is the best DAC under R20k?  By "best" I mean sound quality only.  Everything needs to be there:
Don't need preamp or headphone amp. Don't particularly need DSD or USB either.  Just optical and coax inputs, really.  Outputs can be RCA or balanced, but RCA only is fine.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: xenithon on March 09, 2015, 02:26:02 PM
Very difficult to judge, in particular when it comes to system synergy / interactions. From what I have read (not heard, unfortunately) the Rotel RDD-1580 would be a very strong contender. In particular in terms of locally available DACs within that budget.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 09, 2015, 04:20:23 PM
I'd say your best bet is an older high end DAC, maybe an old ML or Theta DAC or something that is based on a ladder architexture, old Philips NOS TDA DAC for example. Its perhaps the only solution for digititus that I can think of.

Definitely not a Wolfson chipset though, almost every Wolfson implementation I've heard so far scored high on the digititus index, not even the Perfect Wave DAC 2 managed to fully mask it, but it sure was dynamic and detailed! The Rotel RCD-12 had me reaching for my ear plugs as did the Emotiva XDA-2. The Rega DAC seems to mask it well, but at the expense of outright detail where the Concero bested it. Most Burr Brown DACs also feature a high degree of digititus..

I don't know if one can source Metrum DACs locally, but sounds like the only solution that will work for you? My Concero DAC is also pretty balanced sounding, whilst keeping digititus in check if you are keen on borrowing it. Did you demo the Yulong DA8, what did you think of it?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on March 09, 2015, 04:33:19 PM
PS Audio Nuwave DAC - about R 8000
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 09, 2015, 04:54:09 PM
PS Audio Nuwave DAC - about R 8000

I wouldn't go that route, thought it was clinical sounding especially with CD quality music, though good dynamics and very quiet and very detailed, so nice for classical. Only shone really with high res material and good quality recordings, but unbearable with low quality and compressed recordings. Might sound better over coax though, the USB input was disappointing so the NuWave with an Audiophilleo 2 might be interesting.. And it was completely outperformed by the Vivere. The Concero manages to be slightly less detailed than the NuWave, but with a better balance and less clinical sound.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: stereosane on March 09, 2015, 05:03:14 PM
What about the NAD M51, sounded great to me, very smooth.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on March 09, 2015, 05:26:49 PM
I agree with the summary of the Nuwave DAC.  That is exactly what it is used for.  A good friend has it and is very pleased, it has the attributes you mention.  He also tried the Direct Stream, which although undoubtedly better, costs 6 times the price

What about a Denon DA300 DAC?  Going for about R 8000 - friend in Australia has one and goes on about it
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 09, 2015, 07:42:11 PM
wadia 121
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 09, 2015, 10:34:05 PM
NAD M51 under R20k? Where? I'd love to find one :'(  It might be exactly what I need.

My first DAC was an old Theta. Couldn't do 24-bit audio and shrieked like a really angry banshee when I inadvertently played some over it. Not keen to do that again :-)

Metrum DACs sound like a great option. More info needed.

The Denon DA300 is available in SA, I think, but I suspect it's at the cheaper end of the market. What HiFi also seems to think it lacks timing, bass, and punch. Not sure it would be an upgrade from my Yulong D18, which is already quite good.

From the reviews, the Wadia 121 is outperformed by DACs such as the NAD51 and M2Tech's Young DAC.

Haven't heard the Yulong DA8 yet. I won't pull any triggers before I do.

DACs really are troublesome components. I had a hard enough time finding a decent amp. This is worse!
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on March 10, 2015, 05:52:12 AM
I had a Metrum in my system for a couple of weeks. Didn't think it anything special.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on March 10, 2015, 08:28:47 AM
I looked quite hard at Gustard DACs which seemed to find favour on Computer Audiophile.  They start off at around R6500 and appear to tick all the points.  You can find them on eBay.  They have been around for a few years and have brought out a new model which is very well designed
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Adagio on March 10, 2015, 09:44:08 AM
I looked quite hard at Gustard DACs which seemed to find favour on Computer Audiophile.  They start off at around R6500 and appear to tick all the points.  You can find them on eBay.  They have been around for a few years and have brought out a new model which is very well designed

 :thumbs:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on March 10, 2015, 10:25:00 AM
There is a seller on AVSA with a Denon DA300 for R4900.  He lives in Tokai.  It got a reasonable write up here:  http://andreweverard.com/2014/03/19/review-denon-da-300usb-dac/
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Francois on March 10, 2015, 10:43:24 AM
The Cambridge audio DACS are quite good... the Azur 851c (CD&DAC) was exceptional....as good as the "unobtainium" vivere DAC

Rega DAC also quite good!

Chord's have a "nice" sound.... Ill be hunting one as soon as I have the budget for one
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rodney_gold on March 10, 2015, 10:43:32 AM
That question is like asking the forum what speakers you should get etc, you will get a zillion different answers and be none the wiser after...
The way is to trawl the 2nd hand stuff , try what catches your fancy , and if it doesnt work , sell it on and try something else , if you make a small loss in selling on , treat it as "equipment rental money" or "school fees"

Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 10, 2015, 11:01:35 AM
That question is like asking the forum what speakers you should get etc, you will get a zillion different answers and be none the wiser after...
The way is to trawl the 2nd hand stuff , try what catches your fancy , and if it doesnt work , sell it on and try something else , if you make a small loss in selling on , treat it as "equipment rental money" or "school fees"
+100
 dacs are a personal thing .
and there is synergy with the rest of your system . 
being able to get one you can demo is super difficult
i agree with Francois on the cambridge audio dac .
i chose the wadia 121 simply because it has a signature i like .
there was a moon dac on avsa for R9000 the reviews on it are excellent . you can only buy and try and resell
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on March 10, 2015, 11:31:51 AM
Apart from some Chinese DACs, I have always bought them second hand.  Most are very similar.  Right now using the DAC in a SONY AVR since am awaiting a Audio GD NFB unit
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 10, 2015, 12:25:19 PM
There is too much in this burgeoning field for any one person to be an expert on, so I honestly welcome all input.

I admit I'm becoming a bit fixated on the NAD M51 now, though. Anyone know how much this is actually going for in SA?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 10, 2015, 12:34:33 PM
There is too much in this burgeoning field for any one person to be an expert on, so I honestly welcome all input.

I admit I'm becoming a bit fixated on the NAD M51 now, though. Anyone know how much this is actually going for in SA?

You can check with Celestial sounds, but its going to be over R20k. I've seen too many people buying the M51 and then selling them on and it's been around for some time now and based on feedback I've read, many are sold because people find them "boring" sounding. Haven't heard it myself so don't know if there is any truth to that.. When you start looking in that category I'd be looking more towards something like Chord. The 2Qute DAC will be released soon and will be a DAC only version of the well received Chord Hugo portable DAC/amp. Check with Stereo Musicality if they have any Chord demos?

A lot of folks are suggesting DACs that can only sourced overseas, Rupert has asked for something that can be locally sourced. Btw, what is it that you don't like about the Yulong D18? What transports are you using?

My offer on a demo of the Concero still stands if you are interested. The Rega DAC and Concero are quite contrasting so should give you a firm idea of which camp you'd prefer.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Swindlehurstguy on March 10, 2015, 01:17:50 PM
I'd go with a Wadia 122!
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: naughty on March 10, 2015, 02:02:05 PM
The Cambridge audio DACS are quite good... the Azur 851c (CD&DAC) was exceptional....as good as the "unobtainium" vivere DAC

Rega DAC also quite good!

Chord's have a "nice" sound.... Ill be hunting one as soon as I have the budget for one

Cambridge also have a standalone 851d DAC .... i havent heard one but i have read a few reviews of it so all im talking about here is the fact that it exists and may be a good idea to have a listen to it if you find it

(http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/hifi-and-home-cinema/azur-851d)

Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 10, 2015, 05:04:53 PM
I'd go with a Wadia 122!

Specs and feature-wise, the Wadia 122 looks like a machine designed to tick every conceivable box. Have you heard it?  How much?  Where can it be found?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Swindlehurstguy on March 10, 2015, 06:13:01 PM
Rupert, if you have the answers to those questions let me know. It has only recently released so I. Expect we will hear more about it in weeks to come. The recommended retail is $1500, not sue what it will cost her, but my thinking would be to just bring on in from the States. Cannot wait to see the reviews, BUT judging from what it does it is going to be a winner. I had a 121 a while back, but the new one looks to be much much better.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on March 10, 2015, 08:14:00 PM
A snip at R29k, see http://www.ebay.com/itm/WADIA-DI-122-CONVERTITORE-DAC-REFERENCE-CON-STADIO-CUFFIA-NUOVO-/251840053013?pt=IT_Home_Audio_Impianti_HI_FI&hash=item3aa2d63f15
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on March 10, 2015, 08:46:59 PM
A snip at R29k, see http://www.ebay.com/itm/WADIA-DI-122-CONVERTITORE-DAC-REFERENCE-CON-STADIO-CUFFIA-NUOVO-/251840053013?pt=IT_Home_Audio_Impianti_HI_FI&hash=item3aa2d63f15

Can't say I am blown away with looks, features or specs? Apart from having ESS SABRE DAC, there is very little info about headphone amp output. No AES/EBU input or I2S. Uses 5V/10W power supply yet can offer 8Vrms balanced...

The 121 manual talks about much more details...

Would have thought a more current technology would have streaming capability from wired/wireless rather than just USB.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: funcrusha76 on March 10, 2015, 09:35:10 PM
To answer this question would require having listened to a wide range of DACs in the price range you've mentioned. Alas, I have only heard a few dedicated/outboard units: Audiolab MDAC, Emotiva XDA1, Emotiva XDA2, Peachtree Audio DAC*It X, Cambridge Audio Dacmagic, Resonessence Concero and the Rega DAC.

Among those, the Concero is tonally the most well-balanced and will, in my humble opinion, accommodate most tastes.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 10, 2015, 09:37:27 PM


Would have thought a more current technology would have streaming capability from wired/wireless rather than just USB.
then it would be classified as a streamer
rather than a dac
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Swindlehurstguy on March 10, 2015, 09:45:00 PM
@Chris and Gavin, yup saw that for R29000, bit of a rippy. Word is that Wadia will price them at $1500, that being the case well worth it, double that, I would be more inclined to spend the same plus a little extra on the Full size Chord Hugo, that has just come out.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 12, 2015, 02:10:23 PM
In-country Wadia prices quoted to me by various sources (subject to exchange rates, etc.):

121 ---- R12k
122 ---- R23k-R24k

My conclusion from all the products that are on their way is that Wadia are working very hard to set their brand up as the new price/quality benchmark.  If the di122 is going to be that much better than the 121, they might just succeed. Especially if local importers start competing. Let's hope the Rand gets stronger, eh?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 12, 2015, 02:14:02 PM
Interesting that no-one has chimed in about the more affordable Arcam irDAC, seeing as What Hi-Fi can't stop raving about it.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 12, 2015, 02:46:36 PM
Buy it an tells us what you think of it? If What Hi-Fi gave it 5 stars for the funky naming scheme then I'd panic, but a lot of other reviewers seem to have liked it as well. Doesn't offer much in terms of features.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 12, 2015, 09:51:59 PM
No. The bottom line is needing to recoup my expenses if I want to resell something I don't want to keep. That's the biggest problem, isn't it? One we all have to deal with.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Swindlehurstguy on March 12, 2015, 10:55:46 PM
Rupert , I had a Wadia 121, it did not tickle the fancy and let it go to another Forum member, you could always find one, I let it go at R5000, bit silly really, cause for computer audio it was okay. BUT I see that there is one floating around at R12000 in JHB, though Iwould not throw 12 at it! My instincts tell me the122 will be great!
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 13, 2015, 06:32:40 AM
Rupert , I had a Wadia 121, it did not tickle the fancy and let it go to another Forum member, you could always find one, I let it go at R5000, bit silly really, cause for computer audio it was okay. BUT I see that there is one floating around at R12000 in JHB, though Iwould not throw 12 at it! My instincts tell me the122 will be great!

funny thing wadia 121 works for me  sounds beautiful in my system


Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 13, 2015, 07:14:48 AM
No. The bottom line is needing to recoup my expenses if I want to resell something I don't want to keep. That's the biggest problem, isn't it? One we all have to deal with.

i disagree  with this approach t
sounds more like you asking what people like so if you want to resell there will be interest .
one of the best dacs i have heard is a msb link gold dac
only does 96khz
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 13, 2015, 10:13:47 AM
Rupert go demo DACs, rather than speculating about options, there are a ton of options and very few people here have heard a wide enough variety of DACs to be able to offer you sound advice. One of the issues that you have is that you own the Yulong D18 which would belong to the warm and syrupy DAC group which makes it difficult to interpret your wants in your first post.

Firstly if you like the Yulong D18, how far would you venture from that signature?
Would you trade warmth for a more neutral and detailed resolution?
Would you be willing to sacrifice detail to keep that warmth and musicality?
Looking for something in between?

I'd go as far and say that what you're looking for cannot be found in that price range, they all involve trade-offs somewhere. You have to accept that and list a couple that you fancy within those constraints and see if you can demo them (see if any forum members own them or if there are shops that will let you demo) or otherwise purchase 2nd hand and experiment if you are worried about losing money.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: WD on March 13, 2015, 09:44:41 PM
My choice hands down would be the Wyred4sound DAC-1 LE (Limited Edition) - about R17k locally. Same Sabre dac chip as the Vivere (I think) and the built in filters allow some tailoring of the sound to taste.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: CAD on March 13, 2015, 09:56:27 PM
I owned the W4S DAC2,loved it and picked it up second hand for around 8K so would consider WaterHond's option.

I would also agree with kamikazi to go audition if you can.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 14, 2015, 11:02:59 AM
Not too many auditioning options in CT. Not under R20k, anyway.  And I can also say that "sounds more like you asking what people like so if you want to resell there will be interest" is untrue.  The one DAC that gets sold here most regularly is the Audiolab M-DAC, and for that very reason I'm not interested in it. (Also, I've heard it two different people's systems.)

Only one person here has said something negative about the W4S range. I think that's the one DAC I'll buy without hearing it first (hint).
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 14, 2015, 01:24:10 PM
Also a DAC I'd like to demo, but unfortunately quite scarce in SA and a lot more expensive than the ID USD price. They seem to evoke a love/hate relationship similar to Yulong on many of the forums I visit, so I'd consider it a risky blind buy.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: palaughton on March 17, 2015, 02:20:08 PM
A cheap dac that punches well above it weight: http://www.ebay.com/itm/331095392715 . The  Maverick d1,  Google the reviews, looks promising, I want to give it a try.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: stereosane on March 19, 2015, 10:54:26 AM
Check out the Nad C510, it's a digital pre-amp / Dac, but according to the Hifi Choice review it is the Nad M51 in a different casing at half the price. I'm seriously considering getting one, I know someone with the M51, I only got to hear it for an hour and I was impressed but I think a longer Demo is in order..
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on March 19, 2015, 11:32:52 AM
A cheap dac that punches well above it weight: http://www.ebay.com/itm/331095392715 . The  Maverick d1,  Google the reviews, looks promising, I want to give it a try.
the maveric DAC's are amazing for the price.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Atjan on March 19, 2015, 03:42:13 PM
/\ Too cheap for Rupert I suspect. ;)
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 19, 2015, 03:48:00 PM
I think not good enough irrespective of value. There is a difference between awesome for the money and awesomer.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Atjan on March 19, 2015, 04:21:05 PM
I think not good enough irrespective of value. There is a difference between awesome for the money and awesomer.
I guess you tried it?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 19, 2015, 04:28:41 PM
Not in my system no but have listened to 2 of them.
They are good but imo compete maybe at twice their price vs non factory direct dacs.   The best of those will show it heels from what I have heard.
Keep in mind OP has a decent dac already and is looking to improve on that.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 19, 2015, 07:56:22 PM
/\ Too cheap for Rupert I suspect. ;)

Hey, I like cheap ;-) Just never had any luck with cheap stuff, is all   :ROFLMAO:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 19, 2015, 07:57:15 PM
funny thing wadia 121 works for me  sounds beautiful in my system

Scrarfussi, that's very interesting, seeing as you just sold a Vivere.  Do you think it performs better than the Vivere?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Atjan on March 19, 2015, 08:28:06 PM
Not in my system no but have listened to 2 of them.
They are good but imo compete maybe at twice their price vs non factory direct dacs.   The best of those will show it heels from what I have heard.
Keep in mind OP has a decent dac already and is looking to improve on that.

I'm shopping in the under R20k range....more specifically the under R5k one. :ROFLMAO:
So in the used market, what do you think will beat the Mav? I can't say that I've ever felt its a bottleneck in my system, which is why I stopped shopping at the Mav. Having said that, you know I strongly lean to the objectivist side of the scale....

Apologies to the OP, although I do think its a bit relevant. In my view the diffs between DACs are exceedingly small, which to me means the low end is the high-end, ito SQ alone. There are exceptions, of course. :)
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: JimmyCL on March 21, 2015, 08:09:45 AM
Hi Rupert, Will be able to source a M51 for under 20K if you are intereted. Also consider the new NAD C510 which is based on the M51. I am currently running the M50 as source into my system and is very pleased with the masters series sound. Do call me for more detail. Mod: contact details over pm is a good plan, also if you're a dealer then please pm an Admin
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 21, 2015, 10:54:44 AM
Hi Rupert, Will be able to source a M51 for under 20K if you are intereted. Also consider the new NAD C510 which is based on the M51. I am currently running the M50 as source into my system and is very pleased with the masters series sound. Do call me for more detail. 0833021564

The C510 is so new that there are scant reviews. But it is saddening that while it has HDMI inputs, it doesn't support DSD. Not that DSD was going to necessarily work over HDMI, but it really, really should.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 22, 2015, 11:07:21 AM
Any joy Rupert?
I am also looking, but with a narrower focus. I need a preamp function and RCA in to throughput my AVR.
Looking at Musical Fidelity M1SDAC (demo)- $600, Burson Conductor (With Sabre chip)- $1280 inc shipping, Oppo HA-1- around $1200, Jolida Fusion with stage 1 mods- $950.
 I may consider the cheaper Fostex HP-A8 (I received a broken one via post so bad memory association).
I haven't heard the Rotel (like Dean's) which ticks the boxes but 1 was sold cheaply here a while ago and the gent who sold it couldn't get rid of it fast enough for his liking.
DSD is a nice-to-have, but then bigger hard drives are needed (a pain).

I recently auditioned a Perreaux Audiant DP32 DAC/pre. It is very good but popped loudly when switching sources (can't be having that)- list price is around R26k

I know what type of sound I want. Warm, not clinical. The Perreaux was almost almost there.
If anyone has heard any of the above I would love to hear read your opinions. And what about the Marantz HD-DAC1?

Although it doesn't have analog in, I am also interested in an Astin Trew Concord DAC1, simply at the price I might get it at and for its quality.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 22, 2015, 11:43:42 AM
And there's also Audio GD.
So many choices, none to audition :(
For that reason filters and tube buffering become attractive options, so that one can attenuate the sound.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 22, 2015, 11:44:32 AM
Any joy Rupert?
I am also looking, but with a narrower focus. I need a preamp function and RCA in to throughput my AVR.

Not yet. I see a growing number of digital preamps these days, but I'm very happy with my Class A integrated. Would rather concentrate on JUST the DAC aspect of a component. In my experience, that by itself is complicated enough :-)

Anyone want to sell me an Auralic Vega for R16k?  :whistler:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 22, 2015, 11:48:09 AM
Not yet. I see a growing number of digital preamps these days, but I'm very happy with my Class A integrated. Would rather concentrate on JUST the DAC aspect of a component. In my experience, that by itself is complicated enough :-)


I may be coming round to that line of thought too. Especially since I heard what a nice valve pre does in my system.
I don't want a digital pre. No sir. Just sold one which was fine until I changed power amps. Synergy, synergy, synergy...
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: xenithon on March 23, 2015, 11:00:21 AM
There's a Metrum Hex DAC on the AVSA. I know the seller and have heard this DAC - it is glorious. Multiple inputs including 24/192 async USB. SE and balanced outputs. Think it sells for more than 2k so the R15k asking price is ludicrously cheap.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rockit on March 23, 2015, 12:21:50 PM
Hi

Any opinions on Marantz' HD-DAC1?
Cheers
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 23, 2015, 01:08:31 PM
I like Marantz products' but not particularly a fan of Cirrus Logic DACs. I'd definitely demo it before deciding whether to buy it.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Drifter on March 23, 2015, 04:21:27 PM
Hi

Any opinions on Marantz' HD-DAC1?
Cheers

Have not seen it in the flesh, but it does look really nice.
The SA price is a concern though. It is USD799 and in SA it is over R14k. I would have expected a local price closer to R8k or R9k.
It seems over priced here.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 23, 2015, 04:30:14 PM
^^^
 Musical Fidelity SDAC $699 plus shipping+ duties= +- R11500. R17900 here, plus courier if not in Jhb.
Say R6500 difference.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Drifter on March 23, 2015, 04:40:48 PM
I can understand if you buy straight from the retailer overseas. You then obviously pay the retail price + shipping + duties and that equals a higher value than the USD retail price.

If however you buy from a local agent / retailer, they obviously (being the SA distributer) get a discount from the overseas supplier, so if the product is USD799 they will probably pay USD550 for it. They will then land it in SA for USD 650 and make a profit of USD150. This will then allow them to sell it in SA for the equivalent of USD799. (This scenario applying if there are no further SA middlemen in the chain)

Or am I wrong with my calculations?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 23, 2015, 05:39:40 PM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/301562961445?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Bid. I would if I didn't need analog inputs.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: eldene on March 23, 2015, 08:12:13 PM
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Metrum Hex DAC for sale. Perfect condition.
Placed by Graham Crease | 2015-03-23 | R15 000 | 079 623-8494 Jhb


(https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRWJEDUo8ayZlejb43Mdw20KLpw31-jH4foxJA-pJ9asF2Vw3fpGw)


(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQeO2CTzkdkOnuHK1jlbcKTed3cNPLLaG04z5VisV61avhq9L6eA)
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 23, 2015, 08:18:35 PM
Andries Hartman.
I'll vouch for him and so will other forumites.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 23, 2015, 08:19:27 PM
Thank you! As it happens I'm in discussions with the owner of the Metrum Hex. I can also audition a NAD M51 now. And now the T&A and Astin Trew too!  All in one day. Unbelievable.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 23, 2015, 08:22:37 PM
that metrum hex looks beautiful
reviews are all great too
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: eldene on March 23, 2015, 08:36:08 PM
I thought the T+A would have been sold by now? It looks beautiful. The Metrum Hex does have good reviews  ,and sold for 2,299 according to the Absolute Sound
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 23, 2015, 09:29:43 PM
No. The bottom line is needing to recoup my expenses if I want to resell something I don't want to keep. That's the biggest problem, isn't it? One we all have to deal with.


i wonder if this will apply
on the T+A or the metrum
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 23, 2015, 09:43:09 PM
I don't know. Tbh I'm leaning towards the Metrum, even though it has fewer features and only one coax input compared to the T+A's four. I like the fact that the Metrum doesn't oversample.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 23, 2015, 09:47:13 PM
Oversampling, done right, can be good.
A friend just bought the Cary Audio DMC-600/600SE (not sure which) and is very impressed with the oversampling (never mind the rest of this beaut).
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 23, 2015, 09:53:21 PM

i wonder if this will apply
on the T+A or the metrum


This Metrum is selling for less than half its new price I think so probably a better chance on that than any other.

Most dacs oversample, some up sample, non oversampling is not the common way. I like what that does on a lot of things if not all.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 23, 2015, 09:55:02 PM
^^
What he said.
I meant upsampling- got my samples mixed.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on March 23, 2015, 09:55:56 PM
That Metrum include USB input? I see it doesn't do DSD.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 23, 2015, 09:59:17 PM
This Metrum is selling for less than half its new price I think so probably a better chance on that than any other.

Most dacs oversample, some up sample, non oversampling is not the common way. I like what that does on a lot of things if not all.


sure even if its selling at a 3rd of its price biggest problem is how many people have seen or heard  this dac
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 23, 2015, 10:33:05 PM

sure even if its selling at a 3rd of its price biggest problem is how many people have seen or heard  this dac

Sure, not everyone is gonna say whow, always wanted one. But some will and it is imo a very good price that one would not need to loose any money on in the near future.
In the US at $1200 odd this thing would have been gone in a day.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 23, 2015, 11:02:24 PM
That Metrum include USB input? I see it doesn't do DSD.
Yup, nor do I.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on March 23, 2015, 11:11:59 PM
Yup, nor do I.
Yip, but we all know you can't sing.  :P
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 23, 2015, 11:24:15 PM
I can understand if you buy straight from the retailer overseas. You then obviously pay the retail price + shipping + duties and that equals a higher value than the USD retail price.

If however you buy from a local agent / retailer, they obviously (being the SA distributer) get a discount from the overseas supplier, so if the product is USD799 they will probably pay USD550 for it. They will then land it in SA for USD 650 and make a profit of USD150. This will then allow them to sell it in SA for the equivalent of USD799. (This scenario applying if there are no further SA middlemen in the chain)

Or am I wrong with my calculations?

The old chestnut. Sadly for most mass and middle market gear we never get the price breaks, always paying the highest export pricing. Some manufactures allow a nice workable discount even at tier 1, many don't. USD retail excludes sales tax. We have 14% VAT at import and a rather expensive shipping route.
I know of distributors of smaller brands in the USA that (reliably) use postal service to bring in all their product from Europe for eg. Unthinkable here.

That said, its hard to justify nearly double the price in some instances. I guess that some product that looks overpriced here will slowly but surely have to adopt new business models. So perhaps more importers selling without dealers or even some brands cutting the whole lot out and selling direct.

Its all a viscious circle with forum opinions, online reviews, easily compared online specificatios and feature tick boxes, keen online pricing and little auditioning offered or desired (or willing to pay a premium for) the whole dynamic shifts slowly. Who knows what this landscape will look like in 10 years.
JBL sells direct in the USA now for eg.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 24, 2015, 02:42:21 PM
Pulled the trigger on the Metrum Hex.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on March 24, 2015, 03:01:01 PM
 :clap: :thumbs:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: WD on March 24, 2015, 07:44:50 PM
Pulled the trigger on the Metrum Hex.

What's the price - where from?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on March 24, 2015, 08:31:04 PM
Pulled the trigger on the Metrum Hex.
[/quote


 :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: kamikazi on March 24, 2015, 08:41:50 PM
Awesome, let us know what you think of it! :thumbs:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rupert on March 26, 2015, 10:03:21 PM
There's a Metrum Hex DAC on the AVSA. I know the seller and have heard this DAC - it is glorious. Multiple inputs including 24/192 async USB. SE and balanced outputs. Think it sells for more than 2k so the R15k asking price is ludicrously cheap.

I owe xenithon a debt of gratitude. Hooked it up tonight and so far the Metrum Hex is, indeed, glorious.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: eldene on March 26, 2015, 10:27:55 PM
 :2thumbs: Enjoy
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: chrisc on January 08, 2017, 04:36:04 PM
I know this is an old topic, but worth resurrecting since there is some valuable info here

My 11th DAC was plugged in last week and it works so well I am sure it has to do with equipment matching to what it is connected.  It is a Metrum HEX with the latest iteration of the USB board and in-line mains filters, received from Cees Ruijtenberg at Metrum in Holland.  A very helpful and informative gentleman and gave me an excellent price for the add-ons and mods.  He replies to emails within an hour.  I know the DAC does not do DSD but JRiver will translate DSD files to 192KHz.

This DAC is a 2014 unit and consequently falls well under the R20k range.  I see the newer models are discounted at Audiohobby.eu. the Octave going for 730, the HEX for 2044 and the Pavane for 4091
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: TerehceH on January 09, 2017, 12:44:28 PM
Also coming in after the fact, but my vote would be for the ADL Stratos. Feature-packed with great sound from such a little beast.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 09, 2017, 12:59:01 PM
I know this is an old topic, but worth resurrecting since there is some valuable info here

My 11th DAC was plugged in last week and it works so well I am sure it has to do with equipment matching to what it is connected.  It is a Metrum HEX with the latest iteration of the USB board and in-line mains filters, received from Cees Ruijtenberg at Metrum in Holland.  A very helpful and informative gentleman and gave me an excellent price for the add-ons and mods.  He replies to emails within an hour.  I know the DAC does not do DSD but JRiver will translate DSD files to 192KHz.

This DAC is a 2014 unit and consequently falls well under the R20k range.  I see the newer models are discounted at Audiohobby.eu. the Octave going for 730, the HEX for 2044 and the Pavane for 4091

Looks like a nicely engineered unit.
Any "pshycological" affects not knowning what DAC chips it uses? You know what USB chipset?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 09, 2017, 01:00:52 PM
Also coming in after the fact, but my vote would be for the ADL Stratos. Feature-packed with great sound from such a little beast.

Featured pack, yes.
The ES9018K2M is not a bad DAC implementation, although some have opposing preferences. I like it, although I have not heard the newest AKM chips.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on January 09, 2017, 02:33:18 PM
Nad m51 if you can get your hands on it should be less than 20k
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Francois on January 09, 2017, 03:02:02 PM
Just got a demo unit from Manufacturer of:


MHDT Pagoda, proper R2R DAC based on BB1704. (I will be their distributor if this is good)


Tad pricey at $1000-1295 but lets hear!



Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on January 09, 2017, 06:50:09 PM
Just got a demo unit from Manufacturer of:


MHDT Pagoda, proper R2R DAC based on BB1704. (I will be their distributor if this is good)


Tad pricey at $1000-1295 but lets hear!

 :drool: :drool:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Air on January 10, 2017, 05:20:50 PM
If the Rand strengthens a bit more against the Euro the Aqua La Voce would almost come close to the R20k ceiling. Until then, the other option would be to speak to the agent to see what is possible. I heard a rumor that he is known for some seriously good deals for seriously interested buyers.  ;)  (for now, the unit can be ordered with either the PCM 1704, Philips TDA1541A or the Analog Devices AD1865 chips) 

The other news is that the La Scala Mii is now made with discrete R2R ladder modules like their flagship DAC, the Formula. It still retains the transformer I/V stage with valves and MOSFETs as output stage but the PCM1704 chips are replaced.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Phase on January 22, 2017, 09:09:19 PM
Gentleman besides connectivity exactly how much progress have we made since the old Theta's?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on January 22, 2017, 09:12:21 PM
 Updates?
Soekris?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on January 22, 2017, 09:14:35 PM
Not sure what a fully assembled Soekris (case and all) would cost, but it'd be at the top of my list.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2017, 09:15:17 PM
Soekris will beat any dac in this price range finished and klaar
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2017, 09:17:34 PM
so good on the headphones that when i build this one into my main system i am going to get one for the headphones, just a single board setup will do. it is ridiculously good
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on January 22, 2017, 09:22:15 PM
Soekris will beat any dac in this price range finished and klaar

subject to debate

Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on January 22, 2017, 09:26:36 PM
subject to debate
Debate away ;)
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 22, 2017, 09:26:46 PM
Not sure what a fully assembled Soekris (case and all) would cost, but it'd be at the top of my list.

The DAC1101 is also a viable option...

http://www.soekris.dk/dac1101.html (http://www.soekris.dk/dac1101.html)
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 22, 2017, 09:31:50 PM
Debate away ;)

Lampozator says it is the best in the world...:
Conversion by means of the best in the world R2R DISCRETE LADDER.

http://lampizator.eu/Fikus/DAC_ATLANTIC.html (http://lampizator.eu/Fikus/DAC_ATLANTIC.html)

Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on January 22, 2017, 09:33:22 PM
Not sure how the two Soekris DACs compare except one is assembled. They aren't available for demo after all.
I guess my question actually should be, what- if any- DAC in this price range would replace a Cary Audio DAC100t?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2017, 09:36:31 PM
subject to debate
you debate while i listen, then all is good.
just get one.it will be the last one you get for some time.
only issue is cannot get it to run on windowz so running it off my MAC.
will be interesting to see once i have the other inputs how it does with the CD player and TV.
i am going to make it into a streamer too.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 22, 2017, 09:37:22 PM
Not sure how the two compare except one is assembled.
I guess my question actually should be, what- if any- DAC in this price range would replace a Cary Audio DAC100t?

Another DAC100t in 2 years.

Manufactures with DAC's selling for 20K are falling over each other to keep up with USB chipsets and off the shelf DAC chips.
Anything in the 20K class being current will have a ES9018K2M at least. But wait if they add a PCM1704 or Soekris they must up the price to the consumer.

Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 22, 2017, 09:38:49 PM
you debate while i listen, then all is good.
just get one.it will be the last one you get for some time.
only issue is cannot get it to run on windowz so running it off my MAC.
will be interesting to see once i have the other inputs how it does with the CD player and TV.
i am going to make it into a streamer too.

Linux users are going to flame you
 :BWAHAHAH:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2017, 09:39:13 PM
Nad m51 if you can get your hands on it should be less than 20k
but no match for the soekris,
i have here at the moment a vivere, mad m51 and a few others. the soekris beats them all hands down.
bring the T+A and we can compare.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2017, 09:40:38 PM
Linux users are going to flame you
 :BWAHAHAH:
yes i know i am going to have to go backwards and do a Linux install again
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on January 22, 2017, 09:41:22 PM
Now if only it was MQA certified...
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Phase on January 22, 2017, 09:41:50 PM
Gentleman besides connectivity exactly how much progress have we made since the old Theta's?

Sorry RJ was ment to post under "Best dac under 20K" can you please move...
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 22, 2017, 09:44:53 PM
Now if only it was MQA certified...

Don't even bother with lossy propriety tech that has financial loyalties.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2017, 09:45:34 PM
@ Phase, Gentleman besides connectivity exactly how much progress have we made since the old Theta's?
tons, the detail, sound stage and depth are better. i love some of the old Theta's, but they are not as crisp.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Phase on January 22, 2017, 09:52:01 PM
Really? While we falling over one dac launch after another, I know of guys buying up all the old ones...
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on January 22, 2017, 09:54:33 PM
bring the T+A and we can compare.
no match for the soekris.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Phase on January 22, 2017, 09:58:40 PM
20 years ago the Theta's were R2R now all of a sudden R2R is a buzz word and enjoying  a lot of hype! So in 30 years how far have we come besides USB?
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: gavinbirss on January 22, 2017, 10:02:12 PM
20 years ago the Theta's were R2R now all of a sudden R2R is a buzz word and enjoying  a lot of hype! So in 30 years how far have we come besides USB?

44.1K 16bit Stereo is not the standard anymore, DSD and hirez music now needs faster/newer DAC's
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on January 22, 2017, 10:02:14 PM
R2R was bloody expensive back then, cheaper now.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on January 22, 2017, 10:14:44 PM
I'm not saying that the soekris is not a good dac
my debate is on the price . I have a feeing it will cost more than 20k when you done .
and the amount of fiddling involved not the same as buying off the shelf unit .
 two members on this forum have the two soekris they still fiddling around still not complete  :whistler:

waiting to see how long you gonna be fiddling for  :EGrin:

in this tough economy its alot of money to throw into a diy fiddling process

my :2c:
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on January 22, 2017, 10:23:09 PM
Gavin fiddles because he wants to.  His DAC will always be on a plankie.

The other has just changed hands because the original owner realized he has 50,000 other projects he's get to tackle.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on January 22, 2017, 10:49:48 PM
Gavin fiddles because he wants to.  His DAC will always be on a plankie.

The other has just changed hands because the original owner realized he has 50,000 other projects he's get to tackle.

well the question always stands  How much more can you get out of it . possible combinations
valves  psu etc  :headbanger:
so id call it false advertising to call it a dac under 20k
You would need a lot of discipline to just stop at giving it a psu and usb board
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: itscraig on January 23, 2017, 07:01:37 AM
you can also buy a soekris already assembled and in a housing, that will be way below 20k.
you are only going to go over 20k if you do a dual board setup. if single board way below 20k and better than all the DAC's mentioned so far.
i am running it as a plankie in single board as i wait for all the other bits to arrive.
i would recommend that for anyone looking for a DAC in the -20k range they get the seokris because it is a true performer in its single board setup.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: adie on January 23, 2017, 07:12:01 AM
The Soekris dac1101 gets muddling reviews. http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/soekris-dac1101-r2r-dac-amp.153/
It is cheap though. EUR363.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Rotten Johnny on January 23, 2017, 07:40:55 AM
yes i know i am going to have to go backwards and do a Linux install again
shame, back to the future... :P
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: Phase on January 23, 2017, 07:53:06 AM
shame, back to the future... :P

 :ROFLMAO: Smart.
Title: Re: Best DAC under R20k?
Post by: scrarfussi on January 23, 2017, 08:01:47 AM
you can also buy a soekris already assembled and in a housing, that will be way below 20k.
you are only going to go over 20k if you do a dual board setup. if single board way below 20k and better than all the DAC's mentioned so far.
i am running it as a plankie in single board as i wait for all the other bits to arrive.
i would recommend that for anyone looking for a DAC in the -20k range they get the seokris because it is a true performer in its single board setup.

Enjoy will visit when you done