More Amazing DACs for Peanuts

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jmc207

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #40 on: 17 Sep 2017, 08:57 pm »
Fred,

Thanks for posting this. I've joined the drop for this. I'll see if this device will help improve my opinion of ESS-based dacs. I'm one of those who generally finds them somewhat clinical, overdamped (?), and lifeless. I prefer the sound signature of the Signstek that started off this thread.

John

Massdrop SMSL Idea- $69.99

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/smsl-iDea-dac-amp
« Last Edit: 17 Sep 2017, 10:09 pm by jmc207 »

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #41 on: 18 Sep 2017, 02:47 am »
Fred,

Thanks for posting this. I've joined the drop for this. I'll see if this device will help improve my opinion of ESS-based dacs. I'm one of those who generally finds them somewhat clinical, overdamped (?), and lifeless. I prefer the sound signature of the Signstek that started off this thread.

John

ESS dacs have a signature and these dacs are no exception. So if you haven't like the ones you've heard til now, these won't change your mind.

jmc207

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #42 on: 18 Sep 2017, 03:12 pm »
Yeah, I'm not expecting miracles, but I still think this little thing will be interesting to play with at times. I like that is has a volume control.

ESS dacs have a signature and these dacs are no exception. So if you haven't like the ones you've heard til now, these won't change your mind.
« Last Edit: 18 Sep 2017, 06:19 pm by jmc207 »

fredgarvin

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #43 on: 18 Sep 2017, 03:42 pm »
Fred,

Thanks for posting this. I've joined the drop for this. I'll see if this device will help improve my opinion of ESS-based dacs. I'm one of those who generally finds them somewhat clinical, overdamped (?), and lifeless. I prefer the sound signature of the Signstek that started off this thread.

John

I'm in too, I've been doing without a dac on the desk and this will be a test. The last dac I used in my big rig wasn't any better than what the Marantz player presents. I've been looking at SMSL, and maybe now Sabaj products.

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #44 on: 19 Sep 2017, 04:30 am »
Just noticed the DA3 allows you to select three different filters - Fast rolloff, slow, and Minimum phase. You can also have the display turn off. This isn't mentioned anywhere on their website or any product pages...

uncola

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #45 on: 23 Sep 2017, 05:01 am »
da3 arrived!  so far I've just tested it with iems..  no hiss at max volume with my audio technica ckr9 ltd iems.  has an adjustable volume range of 1-37.  the bottom side has a clear sheet of grippy rubber.  I think this device is targeted at people who want to use it plugged into the side of their laptop to drive some nice iems or full size headphones that don't need too much power.  The screen is pretty nice and the volume ramps up and down smoothly.  It's actually a nicely polished device, no bugginess or bad english in the menus etc.  I'm using the minimum phase filter for now.  Will test it as a dac with my preamp/firstwatt tomorrow!  I have a 3.5mm to dual rca cable around here somewhere

obligatory media because millenials don't read

https://youtu.be/Rfm8tliphdc




jtwrace

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #46 on: 23 Sep 2017, 12:46 pm »
wushuliu, do you know how the volume control works?  Does it cut bits or reduce voltage?

Thanks,
Jim
Is there a way to bypass the amp section at all?  Just use it as a dac? 

JDUBS

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #47 on: 23 Sep 2017, 01:49 pm »
Is there a way to bypass the amp section at all?  Just use it as a dac?

All DACs have an amp section.  There's not nearly enough voltage coming of the chip itself to drive anything.

I've got the volume of mine maxed out, input into my preamp. 

-Jim

jtwrace

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #48 on: 23 Sep 2017, 01:51 pm »
All DACs have an amp section.  There's not nearly enough voltage coming of the chip itself to drive anything.

I've got the volume of mine maxed out, input into my preamp. 

-Jim
How do you like it? 

JDUBS

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #49 on: 23 Sep 2017, 02:21 pm »
How do you like it?

So far so good.  Holding off on more verbose impressions until I've had more time with it.

I'm using it with 44.1khz source material upsampled first to 352.8khz and then to dsd512.  All via Foobar. 

-Jim

Odal3

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #50 on: 23 Sep 2017, 06:01 pm »
I am curious to hear your impression vs the ifi micro to give a point of reference (didn't you have one for sell recently?)

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #51 on: 23 Sep 2017, 07:37 pm »
Is there a way to bypass the amp section at all?  Just use it as a dac?

The amp section is embedded in the sabre mobile chips. Maybe at full volume it bypasses? Good question.

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #52 on: 23 Sep 2017, 11:38 pm »
One frustration about usb dacs is how picky they can be. In this case, I don't know if the stock cable that came with the DA3 sucks, if it's a bottleneck because it's part of a USB 3 chain and its just a USB 2 cable or what but I replaced the stock cable with cheap USB 3 adapters from Amazon. It completely opens up the dac and it just sounds marvelous. Like I said, cheap adapters, nothing special. I am guessing the stock cable just isn't very good or maybe it was a bottleneck power-wise.

karnana

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #53 on: 24 Sep 2017, 03:37 pm »
Does da3 only come with usb c to usb cable?

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #54 on: 24 Sep 2017, 03:58 pm »
Does da3 only come with usb c to usb cable?

Yes

JDUBS

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #55 on: 25 Sep 2017, 12:01 am »
The amp section is embedded in the sabre mobile chips. Maybe at full volume it bypasses? Good question.

Honestly I wouldn't worry about it.  I think it sounds great - volume maxed out into my preamp.  So good, in fact, that I'm buying a balanced cable and a new power supply for it.

This has got to be one of the greatest deals going!!  Honestly, I find it hard to fault.  Flawless playback at all sample rates and it just sounds GOOD!  The drivers are perfect.  I love XMOS!!

-Jim

JDUBS

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #56 on: 25 Sep 2017, 12:02 am »
I am curious to hear your impression vs the ifi micro to give a point of reference (didn't you have one for sell recently?)

Yes, I just sold it in fact.  The Micro is very good and hard to fault.  That said, I sold it and am keeping the Da3, so.....

-Jim

Odal3

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #57 on: 25 Sep 2017, 12:53 am »
 8)

DSkip

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #58 on: 25 Sep 2017, 03:00 am »
ESS dacs have a signature and these dacs are no exception. So if you haven't like the ones you've heard til now, these won't change your mind.

I'd challenge you to get your ears on the North Star Design DAC's if you haven't found a Sabre-based DAC you like yet.  I've heard several nice DAC's based off these chips and none have the ease of listening I've found with the NSD gear.  Unfortunately you won't find them for Peanuts - the Intenso starts at $1000.

The AURALiC gear also does well with the Sabre chips, but it does keep most of the 'signature' these chips have become known for.  It's just a much cleaner, quieter, and more refined version.


On topic, the SMSL stuff seems to be drawing a ton of interest as of late on several forums.  They have piqued my curiosity while at the same time I've been skeptical to try them given the mass of features they offer for 'Peanuts'.  The iFi stuff is solid for the money.

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #59 on: 25 Sep 2017, 03:48 am »
On topic, the SMSL stuff seems to be drawing a ton of interest as of late on several forums.  They have piqued my curiosity while at the same time I've been skeptical to try them given the mass of features they offer for 'Peanuts'.  The iFi stuff is solid for the money.

IFI makes great DACs no question. There are so many DACs out now and the product cycle is so fast that I certainly wouldn't say to someone to run out right now and grab a Sabaj/SMSL. I love it but I know in a year they'll probably have Es9028 chips instead. Six months after that you'll probably be able to get a decent ES9038 for not much more. Beginning of the year an ES9038 DAC started at $800. Now they are popping up at $400 on ebay already - $200 for bare boards...

At this point I am more invested in spending money on power supply solutions - these inexpensive dacs, like the signstek punch above their weight in my setup largely due to all the PS modifications I've done. If I had a $1000, I wouldn't spend more than half that on a retail dac and put the rest in power supply.