2017 DAC recommendations??

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 2740 times.

Wind Chaser

Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #40 on: 27 Oct 2017, 08:32 pm »
Just pulled the trigger on a Benchmark DAC3 L. Should arrive next Wednesday. I currently use an Eastern Electric mini max with Dexa op amps and no Tube. Can't wait. Will give impressions next week :D

It might require more time that that to settle into DAC duty. :wink:

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #41 on: 31 Oct 2017, 09:39 pm »
Whilst I do heed the advice from wind chaser on run in time, I feel compelled to comment on my initial thoughts after receiving it today............... The Benchmark DAC3L sounds stunning and kicks my older DAC to the curb big time. Lower noise, much better headroom and much more clarity and soundstage. Benchmark has a 30 day return policy and in my mind it could be 30 minutes. Sound right out of the box is stunning and a huge
improvement over my old DAC which has been modded with Dexa op amps. Will report more later but could not be more pleased with it. Give the DAC3L a look and a listen. My wife even thought it was a significant improvement which is unusual for her to comment. Best audio purchase I have made in a long time. Heard it first at RMAF 2017

pstrisik

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 767
  • It ain't easy being an audiophile in Alaska!
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #42 on: 1 Nov 2017, 12:54 am »
Whilst I do heed the advice from wind chaser on run in time, I feel compelled to comment on my initial thoughts after receiving it today............... The Benchmark DAC3L sounds stunning and kicks my older DAC to the curb big time. Lower noise, much better headroom and much more clarity and soundstage. Benchmark has a 30 day return policy and in my mind it could be 30 minutes. Sound right out of the box is stunning and a huge
improvement over my old DAC which has been modded with Dexa op amps. Will report more later but could not be more pleased with it. Give the DAC3L a look and a listen. My wife even thought it was a significant improvement which is unusual for her to comment. Best audio purchase I have made in a long time. Heard it first at RMAF 2017

Do you know if the lack of headphone amp is the only difference between the L and HGC?  I'm thinking DAC3 also, but don't need headphone amp.  Just don't want to lose any other features or functions.   Thanks

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #43 on: 1 Nov 2017, 02:12 pm »
I believe the headphone amp is the only difference. There is another model DX, I believe, and I think it has a headphone amp as well. Give Benchmark a call, they were very helpful on options etc of the models. BTW the DAC3L manual is also the manual for the DAC3 HGC so I think other features are the same

pstrisik

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 767
  • It ain't easy being an audiophile in Alaska!
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #44 on: 1 Nov 2017, 02:49 pm »
I believe the headphone amp is the only difference. There is another model DX, I believe, and I think it has a headphone amp as well. Give Benchmark a call, they were very helpful on options etc of the models. BTW the DAC3L manual is also the manual for the DAC3 HGC so I think other features are the same

Thanks, I did email Benchmark support and they confirmed what you say.  HGC and L are identical except for the headphone amp.  I also asked about the HT pass through as it wasn't clear to me, even reading the manual, if I could have analog input from my HT pre/pro (RCA) and output via balanced XLR to the amp or whether the HT function only works through the RCA outs.  They confirmed that it works through both balanced and unbalanced outs. 

So, I think a DAC3 L is in my future!

.......Peter

DSkip

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 73
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #45 on: 1 Nov 2017, 05:54 pm »
https://www.audiothesis.com/incanto

The North Star Design Incanto meets your requirements.  It implements the ES9016 chipset and makes it sound as good as anything out there using the same chip.  The difference is that this implementation is VERY holographic and it is not dry like most other Sabre-based DAC's.

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #46 on: 14 Nov 2017, 10:44 pm »
A follow up on my new Benchmark DAC3 L.............. After a couple of weeks in service I can't think of a better addition to my system. Very well built and it adds so much compared to my old DAC. My wife describes it as "you can now hear so many layers in the music that we did not hear before". The floor noise is extremely low if there at all, great dynamic range. The improvement sounds just as substantial on my old red book material as it does on hires music. You can look at my system in my profile for associated gear. Wide sound stage, loads of detail and very musical (believe this is due to the 2nd and 3rd harmonic special circuit), not clinical. I could not be more pleased. I have not tried it yet as a DAC/pre just as a DAC. Next up will be to remove my Nuforce P9 pre from the loop and see how it performs as a DAC/pre. I looked long and hard for a new DAC and landed a jewel. Strongly suggest you give it a try (30 day return if not satisfied but I mentioned earlier it only took 30 min to know it was a keeper). 

BTW the Benchmark folks on the phone are very knowledgeable, customer oriented and helpful. 5 yr warranty if you register the DAC on-line  with Benchmark.



pstrisik

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 767
  • It ain't easy being an audiophile in Alaska!
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #47 on: 14 Nov 2017, 11:11 pm »
A follow up on my new Benchmark DAC3 L.............. After a couple of weeks in service I can't think of a better addition to my system. Very well built and it adds so much compared to my old DAC. My wife describes it as "you can now hear so many layers in the music that we did not hear before". The floor noise is extremely low if there at all, great dynamic range. The improvement sounds just as substantial on my old red book material as it does on hires music. You can look at my system in my profile for associated gear. Wide sound stage, loads of detail and very musical (believe this is due to the 2nd and 3rd harmonic special circuit), not clinical. I could not be more pleased. I have not tried it yet as a DAC/pre just as a DAC. Next up will be to remove my Nuforce P9 pre from the loop and see how it performs as a DAC/pre. I looked long and hard for a new DAC and landed a jewel. Strongly suggest you give it a try (30 day return if not satisfied but I mentioned earlier it only took 30 min to know it was a keeper). 

BTW the Benchmark folks on the phone are very knowledgeable, customer oriented and helpful. 5 yr warranty if you register the DAC on-line  with Benchmark.

Hey David, that is encouraging to hear!  I received my DAC3-L yesterday and hope to connect it tonight.  It is replacing a Cambridge Audio Azur 851 DAC, which is already superlative.  I plan to first connect it "in place" with my existing system.  Fed by source and feeding an Audio-gd HE-1 pre by XLR.  I will try without the pre later (to connect directly to First Watt J2 by XLR).  I first want to get a sense comparing apples to apples.

Benchmark strongly recommends using the DAC3 as pre connected directly to amp for lowest noise.  We shall see.

Are you connecting to your pre with RCA or XLR?  If XLR, did you change the jumpers?  I changed mine to -10db for starters since they say it is shipped with XLR outs best set for studio.  For most home users they recommend -10 or -20.  If you are connecting with RCA, this doesn't apply.

I'm surprised at how compact it is.  My CA Azur 851N is about four times its size so it will be nice to shrink down a bit, particularly since I am all separates (source, DSP, DAC, pre, amp).


......Peter

mr_bill

Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #48 on: 14 Nov 2017, 11:36 pm »
Nice addition Peter!

Let us know how the new Dac3 compares to the Cambridge 851 - that is a comparison I would be interested to hear as the 851 is no slouch!

pstrisik

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 767
  • It ain't easy being an audiophile in Alaska!
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #49 on: 15 Nov 2017, 12:05 am »
Nice addition Peter!

Let us know how the new Dac3 compares to the Cambridge 851 - that is a comparison I would be interested to hear as the 851 is no slouch!

From everything I'm reading, the DAC3 shouldn't disappoint.  My 851N is the streamer/DAC combo.  I've moved to an Auralic Aries and don't use the streamer portion of the 851 any longer.  The other motivation is that I have been using a switch to choose between preamps, either an Onkyo pre/pro for home theater or the Audio-gd for stereo.  It's a good quality manual switch from DECWare, but still....  It is RCA only and adds more to the chain.  With the DAC3, I will be able to use its HT bypass to eliminate the switch and connect the DAC to pre or amp with XLR instead of RCA.  But wait, there's more....  to switch from video to stereo after watching with my wife, I no longer have to get up to turn the knob, which really interrupts to mood!  It will be switched with the remote now.  So sound quality isn't my only motivation!  But it better sound at lease as good!!  Stereophile reviewed them both and, if I am recalling correctly, the 851D was class A and the DAC3 class A+.

         ........Peter

Wind Chaser

Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #50 on: 15 Nov 2017, 12:40 am »
A follow up on my new Benchmark DAC3 L.............. After a couple of weeks in service I can't think of a better addition to my system. Very well built and it adds so much compared to my old DAC. My wife describes it as "you can now hear so many layers in the music that we did not hear before". The floor noise is extremely low if there at all, great dynamic range. The improvement sounds just as substantial on my old red book material as it does on hires music. Wide sound stage, loads of detail and very musical ... not clinical. I could not be more pleased. I have not tried it yet as a DAC/pre just as a DAC.

Not to steal your thunder, but I could literally write the above about the Nuprime DAC-10. Granted the DAC it replaced was old, but sonically it compared very well against a Lampizator Level 3, which as a well respected DAC in its time. One of the reasons, actually it was a very big reason why I chose the DAC-10 was because of the built in integrated preamp. Whether I go balanced or single ended, low level gain or high level gain, this thing is absolutely dead quiet even when I turn up to 11 on my fairly efficient speakers. I’m extremely impressed with this DAC and how well it pairs with my mono-blocks.

I should also add the build quality is much better than what I’d expect at this price point.

Folsom

Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #51 on: 15 Nov 2017, 01:14 am »
I don't see any Soekris models listed.

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #52 on: 15 Nov 2017, 05:04 pm »
Wind Chaser....... No thunder stolen and I'm glad you are enjoying the DAC10!!!!

Peter, I use RCA from the DAC3 L to my preamp. Also something I learned after reading the manual for the DAC3 if you're not using it as a preamp as well, press and Hold the mute button on the remote, the red light on the unit will flash and the DAC volume knob will move and reset itself to about the 3 o'clock position or 2 v output, Benchmark said to do this if you use a preamp or HT pass thru. I called Benchmark to ask what position I should have the DAC volume knob in as I was playing with the DAC volume and my pre volume. Now that it is set using the remote I only use the preamp volume for control. I plan on switching to use as a preamp as well after Thanksgiving when I will have a chance to do some critical listening. Enjoy your new toy!!!!

pstrisik

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 767
  • It ain't easy being an audiophile in Alaska!
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #53 on: 15 Nov 2017, 06:31 pm »
Wind Chaser....... No thunder stolen and I'm glad you are enjoying the DAC10!!!!

Peter, I use RCA from the DAC3 L to my preamp. Also something I learned after reading the manual for the DAC3 if you're not using it as a preamp as well, press and Hold the mute button on the remote, the red light on the unit will flash and the DAC volume knob will move and reset itself to about the 3 o'clock position or 2 v output, Benchmark said to do this if you use a preamp or HT pass thru. I called Benchmark to ask what position I should have the DAC volume knob in as I was playing with the DAC volume and my pre volume. Now that it is set using the remote I only use the preamp volume for control. I plan on switching to use as a preamp as well after Thanksgiving when I will have a chance to do some critical listening. Enjoy your new toy!!!!

Maybe we should start a dedicated DAC3 thread.  Care to start it copying over your 10/31 post when you received it and the "A follow up on my new Benchmark DAC3 L" post from yesterday?  I will copy over my comments following those.  I don't want to clutter up this "which DAC" thread with minutia about one.  If you prefer not, I'll start it with my own mini review.

.....Peter

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #54 on: 15 Nov 2017, 11:08 pm »
Peter, good idea to start a Benchmark DAC3 thread. We can also sent a link to Benchmark as well. I'll let you know how the preamp connection goes in a couple of weeks. Enjoy your new DAC and I hope you like it a much as I do mine. BTW have a great Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for all of your blessings including a killer DAC

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #55 on: 15 Nov 2017, 11:09 pm »
I will start it but it will be in  a couple weeks

pstrisik

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 767
  • It ain't easy being an audiophile in Alaska!
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #56 on: 15 Nov 2017, 11:11 pm »
Peter, good idea to start a Benchmark DAC3 thread. We can also sent a link to Benchmark as well. I'll let you know how the preamp connection goes in a couple of weeks. Enjoy your new DAC and I hope you like it a much as I do mine. BTW have a great Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for all of your blessings including a killer DAC

Thanks.  I start it tonight then to get it going.  General impressions are positive, though I learned to live with changes for a bit before reaching conclusions.  Hearing is such a fickle sense!

.....Peter

David C

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 396
  • Don't try and lay no boogie woogie on the king
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #57 on: Yesterday at 12:54 am »
Fickle and your ear has essentially no memory so there you go. That's one reason I rely on my wife who not into stereo gear at all but has great hearing and a strong opinion. There are other realms that that does not exploited to.

rajacat

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3126
  • Washington State
Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #58 on: Yesterday at 01:14 am »

Wind Chaser

Re: 2017 DAC recommendations??
« Reply #59 on: Yesterday at 02:17 am »

http://www.musicalparadise.ca/store/index.php?    Pick your DAC chip. :)

I considered the MP D2 but apparently the preamp isn’t all that great. Also don’t believe it comes with a remote, which is another deal breaker.