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Discussion in 'CD/DVD/Blu-ray & Misc Hardware' started by egreen1976, Nov 26, 2010.
What in your opinions is the best DAC under $1,000, and why???
I'd be interested in responses to this as well.
My intent is to stream from my laptop to my audio system. This DAC performs that function with the optional dongle. Also, I've heard good things about this product (I think on this forum but it might have been the AVS forum.).
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I don't think there are a lot of people with strong opinions on that question. It's not that we think that DACs are irrelevant; merely that a competent DAC (like the one in a good AVR) is sufficiently competent that adding an external DAC will not improve audible quality.
Of course, now that I've gone and said that, people will come in and prove me wrong. So you can either thank me for answering the question, or for being the sacrificial lamb that got others to come answer it
Best is a pretty subjective term. I've only had a handful of Dacs in my system, but in that price range I'd probably recommend the PS Audio DIII. It provides excellent clarity and tight bass. I put my friend's DIII up against my Wyred4Sound Dac2 and it was very close as far as sound and quality. In addition, yesterday I was able to do a head to head comparison with my Wyred and the PS Audio Perfect Wave. Other than the Perfect Wave providing a bit wider soundstage, I don't think I could walk into a room and determine which one was playing, they were that close.
How can we answer this if you dont tell us what you mean by best?
And why are people answering if they dont know what the poster means?
I'm surprised that it's mentioned since I don't believe there is one in the wild.
I would recommend that you purchase some of the DAC's you are interested in from places that have a no hassle return policy.
I also suggest that you lower any priority that you may have placed on price = performance.
At the margins involved with the DAC portion of the market you shouldn't have too hard a time finding a vendor with a trial period and no hassle returns.
Are you looking for Digital and Analog inputs? Are you looking for any bass management? Are you looking for USB? Are you looking for Balanced or un-balanced connectivity?
Yeah the Emotiva fan boys run wild
To clear a few things up..
1) Best means whatever the interpreter wants it to mean... hopefully when posting recommendations the poster will also post why they recommend the piece.
2) I'm not to interested inintegrated pieces. I would like optical, hdmi and usb inputs.
I own a peachtree nova now that I use as a DAC and I must say it kicks *** of most AVR dacs including my Rotel 15 series. I see the PS Audio DAC recommended highly most of the time.
Here is one burning question I can hope someone can answer..
My priority is 2 channel audio (Apple TV, Vinyl & SACD). I sold my Oppo BDP-83 because I don't use the blu ray player much at all. The Oppo was wonderful with SACD but I thought it would be wise to push my DAC farther down the line in my system so I could use it for Apple TV, Mac Streaming and SACD (if possible). I replaced my Oppo with a (gasp) Sony XX570 Blu Ray player. I don't care about the blu ray quality. My question is though will I be able to have my SACDs decoded by whichever DAC I chose rather than the Sony player. In essence using the Sony blu ray as a transport and having the CD and SACD audio decoded by the outboard DAC. I have heard wonderful things about the new 32 bit Sabre chip.
My short list so far are The Emotiva XDA-1, Peachtree iDac, and PS Audio.
Emotiva price looks GREAT except it has no line level out. That bothers me a ton. It seems to be an integrated digital pre amp more than a standalone DAC. The peachree is pricey and I really don't want to pay for any produce that has an "iDock" driving up it's price with a licensing fee.
Someone may correct me: but the short answer is "no".
It's part of the copy-protection scheme: the SACD license forbids SACD players from putting out unencrypted digital sound. It's aggravating. I hear rumor that there are some that will now put out the signal over HDMI (encrypted) so *maybe* you can find a player that does and *maybe* there's an external DAC that supports it... but last time I looked I could not find one.
One way to recieve high quality Hmdi audio is to : use a de-embeder which extracts the 24bit audio from the hmdi signal and send it to a DAC which can use a hi-res signal, then on to your amp/pre-amp.
Not many DAC recommendations at all.... c'mon guys lets have some suggestions!
Check out the Benchmark DAC1.
Check the Shanling DAC-50. Personally, I thought, it out-performed my OPPO 83SE. Just listened to it last night and that Sony Jukebox I have which has not been used for years seemed to have been resurrected from the grave.
A lot of good ones
Check out the SMSL DAC from China. Available on both eBay and Amazon. Sells for as little as $133. Competes well with much more expensive DACs. Not a world beater but an incredible value and very musical.
Like so many other products coming out of China, it's a triumph of value and reflects increasingly astute Chinese design. They are not just copying or stealing engineering excellence, they are creating it now.
Heads up to anyone else, the poster above me just resurrected a 2 year old thread. Don't think the OP is still looking for your suggestions...
Eastern Electric Tube DAC +Plus $1000
Musical Fidelity V-DAC $500
Kingrex UD384 USB DAC $500
HRT Music Streamer II (about $150