Help me decide on a DAC

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 590 times.

GregC

Help me decide on a DAC
« on: 15 Apr 2019, 02:46 am »
I owned an Exogal Comet DAC that sounded superb, but I got the upgrade bug and I want to get a DAC that is a step up (and not just a lateral move).

I can stream through an Ultrarendu, so a network streaming card is not critical.  However, a network interface would be convenient to simplify my setup.  I do not use Roon, just JRiver and LMS.  I use Windows and Android and I do not own any iOS devices.

I have read many reviews and the following DACs seem like they may be a good option. 

  • PS Audio Direct Stream (with or without a Bridge 2)
  • Bryston BDA-3
  • Wyred 4 Sound 10 Anniversary DAC

I read about pros and cons for the above DACs.  Bryston is in Canada and Wyred 4 Sound and PS Audio are both in the US.  That makes is easy in the event I ever need any service work done.  I know the DACs are well made and the companies offer excellent customer service.  I have an excellent preamp so I do not need to run them direct to my amps.

I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has personal experience with the above DACs.   

I have also read good things about the Auralic G2, but I am concerned if it ever needs service.  Some reviews have said the prior Vega may sound bright in some systems, and that is not the sound signature I want in my setup.

Here is the rest of my system for point of reference:

  • Origin Live Sovereign Deck with Origin Live Conqueror 2 Arm and ZYX Universe 2 cartridge
  • Modwright PH 9.0 SE phono stage
  • Spread Spectrum Technology Ambrosia Gen 2 preamp
  • Cambridge Audio CXU Universal Player
  • Kitsune SU-1 DDR
  • Furutech ADL Esprit ADC/DAC (for ripping vinyl)
  • Digital Amp Company Golden Cherry mono amps with upgraded linear power supplies
  • Ultrarendu with Uptone LPS 1.2
  • Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
  • Triode Wire Labs interconnects and speaker wire

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #1 on: 15 Apr 2019, 04:23 am »
I think you should take a look at the T+A DAC8.  A friend of mine owns one  and it sounds awesome.  It sounds best at 8x DSD  with HQ player but it is also great at lower resolutions.  By the way, JRiver sounds low fi compared to Roon and HQ player.

The PSA Direct stream is also an excellent DAC.

I own a Luxman DA-06 DAC and both those DAC's sound better.

Wind Chaser

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #2 on: 15 Apr 2019, 04:40 am »
I owned an Exogal Comet DAC that sounded superb, but I got the upgrade bug and I want to get a DAC that is a step up (and not just a lateral move).

The Sumoking replaced his Exogal Comet with the Digital Amp Company's DAC...

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=138311.msg1728173#msg1728173  :thumb:


RDavidson

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2447
Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #3 on: 15 Apr 2019, 01:55 pm »
I've been very happy with my DirectStream for a few years now. PSA's support is fantastic to boot. Before this, I had a W4S DAC 2 DSD SE, which is a good DAC, but boy, I was floored by the improvements the DirectStream brought. I'm talking about with Redbook CD's! There's detail and subtlety I never knew existed on my silver discs. I'm sure that high res is even more jaw dropping.

GregC

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #4 on: 15 Apr 2019, 02:59 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I read about the  T+A DAC8 in my research.  Most of my collection is FLAC 44.1/16 Redbook and I do not have DSD in my collection.  I use JRiver if I turn on my computer and I want to listen to other things that are not in my streaming library, but I mostly use Logitech Music Server on my Ultrarendu and it sound surprisingly good. 

All of my amplification is from Tommy, so I admire his work.  The Digital Amp Company DAC DAC would be great if it had more digital inputs.  I need at least 3.  On the Exogal I used the USB for the Ultrarendu, AES for the Kitsune SU-1 DDR from my computer, and BNC for my CXU. 

The PS Audio DS seems like it would meet all my needs, and I have owned a lot of their equipment in the past, but I worry about it being towards the end of its life cycle. 

dburna

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #5 on: 15 Apr 2019, 03:05 pm »
The PS Audio DS seems like it would meet all my needs, and I have owned a lot of their equipment in the past, but I worry about it being towards the end of its life cycle.

I wouldn't worry all that much. I spoke with Ted Smith, the main designer for the DSD Sr., at AXPONA on Saturday. They are planning to have another firmware release for the DSD Sr. around the time that PS Audio's new uber-DAC releases. As Ted told me, the firmware is largely the same for the DSD Jr., Sr., and new uber-DAC. The intent is to give every machine an update at the same time. True, DSD Jr.has been discontinued, but there are no plans to discontinue DSD Sr. any time soon that I have heard.

Regards, -dGB

Wind Chaser

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #6 on: 15 Apr 2019, 03:53 pm »
All of my amplification is from Tommy, so I admire his work.  The Digital Amp Company DAC DAC would be great if it had more digital inputs.  I need at least 3.

One input doesn’t cut it for me either, so depending on what happens with my current DAC ... I might inquire with Tommy about adding additional inputs ... a remote VC would be nice too. I’ve talked with Bill (Sumoking) a few times and he is quite smitten with Tommy’s DAC. And if I’m not mistaken, he has the first version of the DAC DAC.

ketcham

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 195
Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #7 on: 15 Apr 2019, 03:55 pm »
I would be cautious regarding recommendations.  A dac will sound vastly different depending on your AC power quality, AC cable, digital cable, your system, and room dynamics.  Plus in the end this is all subjective. 

I suggest auditioning if buying new.  That said, buying dacs used to me makes the most sense.  They are devalue the most and most rapidly of any component. 

In 2012 I purchase a EMM Dac2x which was all the rage.  It was bar none the worse investment.  So bad I convinced my buyer Matt Clott to buy same dac as my replacement.  From that spawn "best dac for redbook CD" on Audiogon.  Few years later he heard a revision of the Dac2x and loved it.  What is good for one is the antithesis of another.

PM with a price point and I can make some suggestions.  Like everyone here, they are only suggestions.

What sound characteristics are you looking for?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #8 on: 15 Apr 2019, 04:17 pm »
I would be cautious regarding recommendations.  A dac will sound vastly different depending on your AC power quality, AC cable, digital cable, your system, and room dynamics.  Plus in the end this is all subjective. 

I suggest auditioning if buying new.  That said, buying dacs used to me makes the most sense.  They are devalue the most and most rapidly of any component. 

In 2012 I purchase a EMM Dac2x which was all the rage.  It was bar none the worse investment.  So bad I convinced my buyer Matt Clott to buy same dac as my replacement.  From that spawn "best dac for redbook CD" on Audiogon.  Few years later he heard a revision of the Dac2x and loved it.  What is good for one is the antithesis of another.

PM with a price point and I can make some suggestions.  Like everyone here, they are only suggestions.

What sound characteristics are you looking for?


This is why the PSA DS is a good choice.  It has multiple software packages that sound different.  Of course you can also buy form a source that has a good return policy. :D

GregC

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #9 on: 15 Apr 2019, 04:51 pm »
Thanks for the responses everyone. 

As far as AC power I failed to mention I have a PS Audio P10 so the quality of AC is excellent.  My house was built in 2004 (which is new for the area where I live), so the AC lines to the homes are decent as well.

I like a sound that is resolving yet musical.  Hyper detailed will cause listener fatigue since my system is already neutral and resolving. 

The PS Audio was my first choice after I spent several weeks researching.  The PS Audio updates their software and their customer service (even with pre-sale inquiries) is to be commended.  They also have a 30 day trial.

The Wyred 4 Sound 10 Anniversary is supposed to be leagues above anything else they have done.  If I every need service they are driving distance from my house.

The Bryston is interesting because they supposedly sound great and have excellent customer service, the BDA-3 has two USB inputs so I can use one direct from my computer and one from my Ultrarendu and that removes the KTE SU-1 DDR and simplifies my system, my CXU could have the secondary HDMI go direct into the Bryston, and I have a preamp so a pure DAC still works.

GregC

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #10 on: 18 Apr 2019, 05:51 pm »
Another 2 DACs that I have read about with interest are a Vega G2 and a Mytek Manhattan 2.  My only concern is if they would be too hyper detailed and lead to listener fatigue.   Also, if they need servicing then that is more of a hassle.

zoom25

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 757
Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #11 on: 18 Apr 2019, 06:05 pm »
Crane Song Solaris and Dangerous Convert-2.

wushuliu

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3309
  • “Forget it, Jake. It’s Internet-town.”
Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #12 on: 18 Apr 2019, 06:10 pm »
I suggest auditioning if buying new.  That said, buying dacs used to me makes the most sense.  They are devalue the most and most rapidly of any component. 

Bingo.

GregC

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #13 on: 18 Apr 2019, 06:24 pm »
Bingo.

I agree that auditioning is the best option.  The only downside is if there is enough time for proper break in to know the end result.  Unfortunately I cannot audition some of the DACs I want to hear, and some of the dealers expect you to buy and try and then sell if it does not work out.

OzarkTom

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #14 on: 18 Apr 2019, 06:43 pm »
I am getting a big kick out of the Bluesound Node 2I. It is now hooked up to Alexa and with voice command I can bring up any song I want. It never sounds bad and the price is $499. I have owned or heard some of the $3500-7000 dacs and I do not miss any of them.

planet10

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 1430
  • Frugal-phile (tm)
    • planet10-hifi
Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #15 on: 18 Apr 2019, 06:50 pm »
DACs fall mainly into 2 camps (with variations*). DACs that use 1-bit chips and multiBit DACs (multibit chips are getting rarer and the latter are often done using banks of disckreet Rs.

Schitt and Denafrips are 2 manufacturers with more affordable R-R DACs. I have a Scitt Gubgnir muti-bit and i am very happy with it.

*(ie DACs that are directly implemnted on an FPGA and the RingDAC of DCS (and Wolfson))

DACs with 1-bit chips will be differentiated largly by the support circuitry and multiBit DACs will depend on the DAC implentation as well.

dave

GregC

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #16 on: 18 Apr 2019, 07:29 pm »
I am getting a big kick out of the Bluesound Node 2I. It is now hooked up to Alexa and with voice command I can bring up any song I want. It never sounds bad and the price is $499. I have owned or heard some of the $3500-7000 dacs and I do not miss any of them.

I have read lots of positive comments about the Bluesound Node 2, and the fact it makes you not miss more expensive DACs is a great testament.

GregC

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #17 on: 18 Apr 2019, 07:34 pm »
DACs fall mainly into 2 camps (with variations*). DACs that use 1-bit chips and multiBit DACs (multibit chips are getting rarer and the latter are often done using banks of disckreet Rs.

Schitt and Denafrips are 2 manufacturers with more affordable R-R DACs. I have a Scitt Gubgnir muti-bit and i am very happy with it.

*(ie DACs that are directly implemnted on an FPGA and the RingDAC of DCS (and Wolfson))

DACs with 1-bit chips will be differentiated largly by the support circuitry and multiBit DACs will depend on the DAC implentation as well.

dave

My experience has been with Delta Sigma DACs.  The Exogal Comet was FPGA and I was very happy with it.  I hope I do not regret selling it later. 

My wife is OK with a DAC for $4k or less so I am trying to get something that will be the best sound quality I can get for the money.

I have not heard an R-R DAC like Denafrips, Holo Spring, or Schitt.  I prefer a DAC that is musical and not in the clinical/sterile side of the spectrum.  But I also want it to sound real and not rolled off.

OzarkTom

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #18 on: 18 Apr 2019, 07:49 pm »
I have read lots of positive comments about the Bluesound Node 2, and the fact it makes you not miss more expensive DACs is a great testament.

The Bluesound is very musical, not sterile. Two of the previous DAC,s I owned were tube. Read the What Hifi Review.

audioengr

Re: Help me decide on a DAC
« Reply #19 on: 18 Apr 2019, 08:34 pm »
I would recommend in this price-range the Metrumacoustics Pavane or one of their lesser DACs.  All R2R from scratch and no reclocking on the S/PDIF inputs, so you will actually hear the benefits of low-jitter sources.

Another option is the Denafrip Terminator.

Steve N.