What's the best DAC?

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by Paddymossy, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Paddymossy Audiophyte

    Paddymossy
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    Hi all,

    After enjoying my set up for some years now, I'm now upgrading to hooking up a Mac Mini running Amarra software through a DAC in order to stream 24 bit recordings to my set up. Question is: what is the best DAC in the market up to let's say 1500 USD? I've tried the Arcam rDac, the Rega Dac, Apogee Mini Dac and hopefully I'm testing the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC-A soon. Any other suggestions?

    For the records, this is my set up:

    Pre-amp: Musical Fidelity A308CR
    Amps: 2 Goldmund Job 300 monoblocks
    Speakers: Totem Acoustics Model One Signature

    Any suggestions would help me a lot.
    Thanks
  2. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    Honestly? Look at the Appogge Duet + for $599 if you are determined to spend that much.

    Experience leads me to believe that $1500 for a DAC is simply flushing $$ down the toilet.

    MarkK from Audioheuristics.org owns a sub $200 Asus Xonar and ~$1K Benchmark DAC. He can't tell you which is which and the man has some serious chops.

    I'm running an E-MU 1212M PCIe audio card and for D/A compared to $1200 RME fireface I would be willing to say you couldn't tell me which is which stone cold.

    I know you didn't ask for this but given your setup and what you are looking to spend on a DAC I would personally reformulate my setup and get better speakers. Sell the amps, sell the speakers, take the $1500 budgeted for the DAC and get something else speaker wise. Again that is just me but I don't see the point in driving speakers with $1800 market value new with what is probably exceeding $5K of electronics (I don't know the MSRP on the Mono's).
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  3. ichigo Audioholic

    ichigo
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    Spend that money on a new blu ray player and some movies...or get some new CDs...you probably won't even get 0.01% improvement with a new rack, unless you are looking for a shiny box on your equipment rack.
  4. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    This is not a very dac friendly website, :D. I like that most of the posters here are skeptical of dacs but I know people who swear by them. You may want to post your question on computer audiophile; I don't think there is any dac that's too expensive on that website that won't get some positive remarks, ;). The musical fidelity M1 Dac-A has been getting some positive buzz. I've been really happy with my HRT musicstreamer II (which runs $150). I don't know if you use headphones (or whether you are happy with an existing headphone amp) but there are plenty of decent dac/headphone amps as well that you might want to check out like the centrance dacmini or one of the benchmark dacs.
  5. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    If you want to spend that much money on a DAC, there is one clear choice.

    It is the RME Fireface 800.

    [​IMG]

    Installed in my system.

    [​IMG]

    These units offer a lot of functionality. It is rock solid stable and is one of the best purchases I ever made.

    Visiting sites you see them everywhere. The uses have nothing but praise for them. At MPR studios in St. Paul, they are all over the place.

    Made in Germany, not China, these units have the finest clocking and lowest jitter in the business. Strongly recommended.
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  6. Warpdrv Audioholic Ninja

    Warpdrv
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    Thanks for posting here TLS, I've been looking for a good DAC that will allow me to get better SQ out of my streaming from my PC.

    Pretty confident that no-one is going to come in here and say your crazy, like they do to anyone else that turns their noses up at the thought of a DAC making any difference in SQ.

    Wonder why that is... :rolleyes:

    I will say that I got a good bit of information from one guy that posted in this thread...
    Difference in chips? What makes a good DAC a good DAC?

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  7. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    Just put a Fireface 400 in a mastering studio along with some high end Mackie Monitors.

    The A/D on that thing is just amazing. With that said if he simply needs D/A the Appogee Duet + will save him ~$1000 and no sacrifice in SQ.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
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  8. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    It's entirely possible to get a poorly implemented DAC, expensive or cheap.

    It's entirely possible to get a properly implemented DAC, expensive or cheap.

    Does the Fireface 400 blow my 1212M out of the water for D/A ($1200 vs $160) Nope. Does the Firebox do MORE than my 1212M. Certainly.

    Is spending another $1500 in electronics to drive some $1800 speakers the best avenue to increased SQ? Nope. The OP should think about reformulating his setup and invest a bunch more money in speakers.

    Because it doesn't matter how much DAC he purchases his Totems are only going to get so good. They are the limiting factor.

    He could get the Zaph ZRT 2.5's for $2K.
  9. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    What do you mean not friendly? ;) We all have a dac or two in our setups;)

    If you do away with them, the only thing that would entertain you are vinyls;):D

    People swear by lots of worthless stuff so others swearing by DACs is not very good evidence for them.:)
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  10. cpp Audioholic Field Marshall

    cpp
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    Look up the Ayre QB-9
    cpp,
  11. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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