Best DAC under $1,000

Discussion in 'CD/DVD/Blu-ray & Misc Hardware' started by egreen1976, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. egreen1976 Junior Audioholic

    egreen1976
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    What in your opinions is the best DAC under $1,000, and why???
  2. jp_over Full Audioholic

    jp_over
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    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.).

    http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,solo,dacs,rDac.htm#
  3. yepimonfire Audioholic General

    yepimonfire
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  4. JerryLove Audioholic Samurai

    JerryLove
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    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 :)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. oppman99 Senior Audioholic

    oppman99
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    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.
  6. Dr. Parthipan Junior Audioholic

    Dr. Parthipan
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    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?
  7. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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  8. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    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?
  9. egreen1976 Junior Audioholic

    egreen1976
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    Yeah the Emotiva fan boys run wild
  10. egreen1976 Junior Audioholic

    egreen1976
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    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.
  11. JerryLove Audioholic Samurai

    JerryLove
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    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.
  12. Harrison476 Junior Audioholic

    Harrison476
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    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.
  13. egreen1976 Junior Audioholic

    egreen1976
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    Not many DAC recommendations at all.... c'mon guys lets have some suggestions!
  14. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    Check out the Benchmark DAC1.
  15. timone Junior Audioholic

    timone
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    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.
  16. macmoss Audiophyte

    macmoss
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    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.
  17. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
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    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...
  18. cpp Audioholic Field Marshall

    cpp
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    Eastern Electric Tube DAC +Plus $1000
    DACiT $500
    Musical Fidelity V-DAC $500
    Kingrex UD384 USB DAC $500
    HRT Music Streamer II (about $150
    cpp,

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