DSD DACs

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mikeeastman

DSD DACs
« on: 20 Oct 2012, 02:13 pm »
I'm looking at get a new dac that does native dsd I was looking at the Mytek, but just read about the Benchmark DAC2 and exaSound e20, which can be battery powered a plus for me.  Any recommendation or input would be appreciated.


   Mike

Phil A

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #1 on: 20 Oct 2012, 02:28 pm »
There's a thread below with a bit of info and more I'm sure.  Ted B has been promising a review of the Mytek vs. Meitner since I had brown hair :green:  http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=106310.0

rklein

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #2 on: 20 Oct 2012, 02:42 pm »
Hey Phil:

I will make sure I remind Ted of his broken promises AFTER he helps me build by C.A.P.S. V2+ server Monday afternoon and AFTER I safely have his Mytek back in my possession for a 2nd time to try in my system....  :thumb:

Regards,

Randy

ted_b

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #3 on: 20 Oct 2012, 03:51 pm »
Although there are many DSD DACS now available, or soon to be, i have only heard three inhouse.  here is how I summarize them:

Meitner MA-1 ($7k list) Does all things wonderfully; is a state of the art DAC that is the foundation of my big rig.  This DAC has native 1 bit proprietary chips and converts everything coming in to DSD128.  It presents both DSD and PCM with aplomb.  If I won the lottery I'd get it's bigger brother, the EMM DAC2X simply because of the ceramic analog boards, but it's $15k list.   :o

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC ($1600 List)  Is not only the Swiss Army knife of DSD DACs (USB1, USB 2.0, firewire, toslink, coax, remote volume capability, preamp version has analog inputs, mastering version has pro SDIF inputs) but is the value leader.  it's sound is 90% of the Meitner, and it use the ESS Sabre chip (not my fave) to the best I've heard.  it's pro pedigree shows in its stark neutrality and greta detail.  This DAC is comfortable in all setups EXCEPT those that are already slightly clinical or analytical sounding.  It mixes perfectly with tubes or ss.

Sonore eXD DAC ($1299 list)  This is a very dedicated USB DAC, no other inputs.  But it does USB wonderfully, whether in Linux, OSX or Windows..due to being USB Class 2 audio compliant (as is Meitner).  It is the yang to Mytek's yin.  If your system is warm, tubey or a bit rich already the eXD DAC may be too smooth for you.  I loved it and would have a tough time deciding if I hadn't already committed to the Mytek for my system no. 2.  Either are desert island DACs under $2k.

Playback Designs is another hi-end option.  DCS will finally upgrade their boxes to DSD, and then we have the exaSound, Benchmark, Ayre and a few others on the horizon.    :thumb:

PeteG

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #4 on: 20 Oct 2012, 06:11 pm »
The Sonore exD is also pretty roomy inside for mods.

jtwrace

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #5 on: 20 Oct 2012, 06:13 pm »
The Sonore exD is also pretty roomy inside for mods.
Such as?

PeteG

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #6 on: 20 Oct 2012, 06:25 pm »
Better wiring, output caps, Op-amps, better XLR connectors. Nothing major.




wisnon

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #7 on: 20 Oct 2012, 07:22 pm »
Although there are many DSD DACS now available, or soon to be, i have only heard three inhouse.  here is how I summarize them:

Meitner MA-1 ($7k list) Does all things wonderfully; is a state of the art DAC that is the foundation of my big rig.  This DAC has native 1 bit proprietary chips and converts everything coming in to DSD128.  It presents both DSD and PCM with aplomb.  If I won the lottery I'd get it's bigger brother, the EMM DAC2X simply because of the ceramic analog boards, but it's $15k list.   :o

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC ($1600 List)  Is not only the Swiss Army knife of DSD DACs (USB1, USB 2.0, firewire, toslink, coax, remote volume capability, preamp version has analog inputs, mastering version has pro SDIF inputs) but is the value leader.  it's sound is 90% of the Meitner, and it use the ESS Sabre chip (not my fave) to the best I've heard.  it's pro pedigree shows in its stark neutrality and greta detail.  This DAC is comfortable in all setups EXCEPT those that are already slightly clinical or analytical sounding.  It mixes perfectly with tubes or ss.

Sonore eXD DAC ($1299 list)  This is a very dedicated USB DAC, no other inputs.  But it does USB wonderfully, whether in Linux, OSX or Windows..due to being USB Class 2 audio compliant (as is Meitner).  It is the yang to Mytek's yin.  If your system is warm, tubey or a bit rich already the eXD DAC may be too smooth for you.  I loved it and would have a tough time deciding if I hadn't already committed to the Mytek for my system no. 2.  Either are desert island DACs under $2k.

Playback Designs is another hi-end option.  DCS will finally upgrade their boxes to DSD, and then we have the exaSound, Benchmark, Ayre and a few others on the horizon.    :thumb:
And we await the worlds first tubed DSD Dac...I think finally HE may be turning his attention there, as he bought that board I emailed you about.

Jazz and Baroque

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #8 on: 23 Oct 2012, 12:58 pm »
Ted,

You mentioned "Playback Designs is another hi-end option." 

But the PCIe SOtM tX-USBexp board description says that this DAC will not work with it.   :o

From the Sonore website:

Unsupported Devices

Empirical Audio Offramp - these are based on the M2Tech Hiface v1 OEM board
W4S DAC2 - these are based on the M2Tech Hiface v1 OEM board
Chrod quteHD - these are based on the M2Tech Hiface v1 OEM board
JKSPDIF, JKDAC, JKDAC32 - these are based on the M2Tech Hiface v1 OEM board
Playback Design

Mike

wisnon

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #9 on: 23 Oct 2012, 01:26 pm »
Even AFTER upgrade as Ted suggested?

ted_b

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #10 on: 23 Oct 2012, 01:29 pm »
This thread is about DSD DACs.  Yes, with any DAC there might be restrictions.  If you have firewire then Mytek is right now the only non-pro DSD DAC I know of, off the top of my head. 

Norman, what upgrade did I suggest?

Jazz and Baroque

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #11 on: 23 Oct 2012, 01:59 pm »
Actually, I copied and pasted from the Sonore website the name for the PCIe board, not the PCI board.  I don't understand your comment "not the tx as you mention." 

Also, I am discussing DSD DACs, specifically the use of the Playback Design for DSD with a CAPS v2.  I think it is relevant to this thread.   :D

ted_b

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #12 on: 23 Oct 2012, 02:05 pm »
Actually, I copied and pasted from the Sonore website the name for the PCIe board, not the PCI board.  I don't understand your comment "not the tx as you mention." 

Also, I am discussing DSD DACs, specifically the use of the Playback Design for DSD with a CAPS v2.  I think it is relevant to this thread.   :D

Sorry, my bad.  Brain fart.  I deleted the SOtM question above.  When I saw "tx" I thought you meant the larger one.  Need more coffee.

I now understand you are looking to build the CAPS I detailed, but your question above seemed like "Ted, why are you including Playback Designs in your list".  :)  Cuz it's a DSD DAC. 

jtwrace

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #13 on: 23 Oct 2012, 02:07 pm »
I now understand you are looking to build the CAPS
:idea:

ted_b

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #14 on: 23 Oct 2012, 02:49 pm »
:idea:

Jason,
Sick em boy!!  Get em!!  :)  (I only assumed J&B is looking at the CAPS build based on his question).  But net/net, why build when Jason has a max'd out CAPS V2+ at $700 delivered!!!!!! 

BTW, the SOtM restrictions are only for the PCIe card, and only in Windows.

wisnon

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #15 on: 23 Oct 2012, 05:30 pm »
This thread is about DSD DACs.  Yes, with any DAC there might be restrictions.  If you have firewire then Mytek is right now the only non-pro DSD DAC I know of, off the top of my head. 

Norman, what upgrade did I suggest?

My bad it sDCS, not PBD that you said would be upgrading..
Playback Designs is another hi-end option.  DCS will finally upgrade their boxes to DSD, and then we have the exaSound, Benchmark, Ayre and a few others on the horizon.   

Phil A

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #16 on: 25 Oct 2012, 02:04 pm »
The first review of the new Benchmark DAC is up at Everything Audio and it has word length indicators!!! :thumb:  www.everythingaudio.net

Phil A

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #17 on: 25 Oct 2012, 04:12 pm »
Benchmark's site also has a summary of the features and what is really neat it has HT Bypass so that someone wanting a preamp that does not need tons of inputs but wants quality 2-channel sound can use this feature

New Features
DAC1 customers requested many new features which have been integrated into the new DAC2 HGC:
•Sample Rate Display
•Word Length Display
•More Digital Inputs (5 total)
•More Analog Inputs (2 total)
•More Analog Outputs (3 total)
•Digital Pass Through
•Native DSD Conversion
•Polarity Switch
•Asynchronous USB 2.0
•Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
•Home Theater Bypass
•Bi-Directional 12 Volt Trigger
•Power Switch
•Low Power Consumption



- http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac/dac2-hgc

srb

Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #18 on: 25 Oct 2012, 05:46 pm »
Some DACs use a digital display to indicate word length and sample rate, but I can see where the use of LEDs simplifies circuitry and eliminates a potential source of noise that some display types might have.
 
At first I was a little confused on the Input LED labeling and then realized it was a clockwise progression and that there are pros and cons to other ordering schemes.
 
I understand that the Sample Rate LEDs use 2 LEDs to indicate 44.1KHz or 48KHz along with another 2 LEDs for 2X or 4X multiplication factor to indicate all of the possible rates.  I was just curious why the silkscreen legends for those are not next to the LEDs like all of the other labeling, but instead offset between the LEDs.  No big deal, but I thought it was a little confusing looking and can someone point out what I'm missing on the reasoning?
 
Steve

ted_b

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Re: DSD DACs
« Reply #19 on: 25 Oct 2012, 07:03 pm »
Steve,
I agree that the silkscreening on the sample rate and multiplier leds looks like an afterthought....like the old



But I disagree that there are many dacs that show word length (i.e bit depth).  I know of few if any.