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Coco60

Enthusiast
I'm on the fence for a DAC. Sound quality wise should i buy the Holo spring 3 dac or the Musician Aquarius, which have about the same price range.
My set up is Cambridge CXN v2 and CXC CD transport, Rotel A12 integrated Amp but looking to upgrade this last one, and KEF LS 50 Meta.
 
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Coco60

Enthusiast
I will use my streamer with Tidal or Amazon HD plus radio stations and to play CD's all through the DAC.
 
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Coco60

Enthusiast
Because my mind is made up for the two mentionned DAC s !
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
I'm not challenging you... nobody can help you unless we know how you are using it.
What is your Streamer? Does it contain a DAC? Are you going straight to an Amp, or is it passing through a Processor or Receiver (and which?)?
 
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Coco60

Enthusiast
Yes my Cambridge streamer has a buit in DAC which i'm using, i take the analoge output (line out)and feeding this signal to the AUX 1 (analoge) of my Rotel A12. My CD transport digital out is fed to the streamer SPDIF coax input to use the streamer DAC . I am not using the integrated amp's DAC since the one in the streamer is better ! That's all no processor.
 
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Coco60

Enthusiast
Once i get the new DAC i will bypass the streamer DAC and connect all components to my future standalone DAC.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
I'm not really a DAC guy, but now the info is there and one of our other friends may be able to help. :)

Cheers!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
I'm on the fence for a DAC. Sound quality wise should i buy the Holo spring 3 dac or the Musician Aquarius, which have about the same price range.
My set up is Cambridge CXN v2 and CXC CD transport, Rotel A12 integrated Amp but looking to upgrade this last one, and KEF LS 50 Meta.
The correct answer is neither. Your problem is you have been reading and hanging out with totally idiotic audiophools lacking a lick of rational thought.

You already have Dacs, one in your your streamer and one in your integrated amp. You will not hear a wit of difference between any of them, and any other proposed DAC no matter how much it costs. Any minute measured difference will be dwarfed by other issues.

The sound of a system is dominated largely by the speakers and their interaction with the room

Now a room's contribution is very much dependent on the speakers in room total response. That is to say if the on axis response does not mirror the axis response closely, then there will be a mismatch between the direct and reflected sound which is a serious issue and not correctable by equalization.

Now, I have heard your speakers, and they are above average in many respects. However the midband dip at 2K and the rise at 4K is audible, making the speakers retiring and a little "brittle" at the same time. However the last two octaves of the audible frequency range drop off like a cliff below 75 Hz. Between 40 and Hz there is a lot of important musical information. The 20 to 40 Hz range is can also be notable for its absence on a lot of musical material. So this issue alone needs far more attention than worrying what DAC you are using.

Next those speakers have low acoustic efficiency being 85 db 1 watt one meter. So your little integrated amp, will not drive them to concert levels in even a small room, without contributing more distortion by far than any DAC.

These are KEF's measurements on your speakers.



Below are the on axis and off axis measurements out to 90 degrees.



For a speaker they are actually pretty good, but significantly short of what is possible currently.

When considering streaming audio, attention has to be paid to your router, and your home Ethernet infrastructure. Any bottlenecks will result in throttling of your stream and lowering of the bit rate to avoid dropouts.

Generally the best way to proceed, is to have the DAC in the preamp, and avoid needless daisy chains. Streamers really should be selected on ease of use.

I do most of my streaming from a DIY HTPC made from the finest components, and I also have a DIY Digital Audio workstation, with an RME DAC devoted to that. It is a pro mixer DAC. Generally this is a much handier approach to grabbing what is out there. So the preamp DAC does the lion's share. All Digital sources go to the preamp/processor, via a digital connection.

The bottom line is that money spent on either of those DACs is money flushed down the drain as you have far bigger fish to fry, to have any tangible chance of improving your situation.

The first two items, are capturing the last two octaves of the audio spectrum. To do this requires at least one good sub, and a preamp, or integrated amp with bass management. In addition to reproducing the last two octaves, it will significantly reduce cone excursion in your speakers and improve the quality of your speakers in the range they are able to reproduce. This will increase listening pleasure and realism enormously and make a real audible improvement. Buying one of those DACs, will buy "Sweet Fanny Adams.". It may help someone with their boat payment.
 
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Coco60

Enthusiast
Well... i'm reading many reviews on the Net to decide on my DAC choice since have no time to spend for listening in music stores! Just like an internal CD DAC wouldn't sound as good as an external one, trying to get the best sound by improving my existing setup ! So you wouldn't recommend me an external DAC, for my setup, even at $900 !?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Well... i'm reading many reviews on the Net to decide on my DAC choice since have no time to spend for listening in music stores! Just like an internal CD DAC wouldn't sound as good as an external one, trying to get the best sound by improving my existing setup ! So you wouldn't recommend me an external DAC, for my setup, even at $900 !?
So, you're willing to settle for something that others like, but you haven't listened to? Relying on someone else's hearing for something you intend to use isn't a good way to go.

Search the threads here for DAC comments.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Well... i'm reading many reviews on the Net to decide on my DAC choice since have no time to spend for listening in music stores! Just like an internal CD DAC wouldn't sound as good as an external one, trying to get the best sound by improving my existing setup ! So you wouldn't recommend me an external DAC, for my setup, even at $900 !?
What I think anyone on this forum will recommend is not wasting your money and achieving inaudible improvement another DAC could bring.

The drive home point is that you have other areas in your system to address that will give easily greater, and worthwhile improvements in your system, that really will add to your listening pleasure.

The most obvious is that you are lacking two octaves from the audible musical scale totally. That is a huge defect and not theoretical, but hard fact.

It really is a mistake to obsess over a single esoteric expensive item. This is common, and encouraged by verbose "journalists" with highly creative colorful language, which at the end of the day, is just meaningless hot air.

The real point is, that you have to consider, the overall engineering architecture of your system. So you need to set your goals and budget, and plan sensibly and logically to achieve those goals. Improvements should always be based on sound technical knowledge on how your funds will produce the maximum improvement. To think that spending 2.5G on a DAC, when you have a couple of adequate ones already, makes no sense at all. It is not based on any logic at all, but pure fantasy.

On this forum we have many technically experienced members,, who will not be afraid to confront you with hard truths.

I for one, have been in audio for 68 years now. I had my 75th birthday two days ago, so I am now nearer 80 than 70. I don't doubt the members here will waste no time in telling me when I am too senile to offer good practical advice.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
$900 for a dac? Is it going to make you breakfast or something? I'd look at the dac reviews on audiosciencereview if you really need an external dac, but more of the opinion that that isn't likely going to make any difference to the ones you have. Keep it simple is better. Concentrate on the speakers/room, not the electronics. Why such small speakers? Small room?
 
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Coco60

Enthusiast
$900 for a dac? Is it going to make you breakfast or something? I'd look at the dac reviews on audiosciencereview if you really need an external dac, but more of the opinion that that isn't likely going to make any difference to the ones you have. Keep it simple is better. Concentrate on the speakers/room, not the electronics. Why such small speakers? Small room?
Yes small room i live in appartment so can't use much power. My speaker are more than enough for my need.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yes small room i live in appartment so can't use much power. My speaker are more than enough for my need.
Then likely you are fine with what you have....is something particularly wrong? Personally I'd want a sub with those speakers but then I wouldn't live in an apartment either :) Spend the money on more wonderful things to listen to than your gear! (ps your gear differences you're talking about are not likely audible at all)
 
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Am_P

Full Audioholic
Well... i'm reading many reviews on the Net to decide on my DAC choice since have no time to spend for listening in music stores! Just like an internal CD DAC wouldn't sound as good as an external one, trying to get the best sound by improving my existing setup ! So you wouldn't recommend me an external DAC, for my setup, even at $900 !?
:) You are on a AV forum (not exactly the audiophile forum). To some guys, all DACs sound the same (These goofuses may even wail that the 2 dollar shite DAC in a computer and a dedicated high end DAC implementation sound the same , 100 dollar boombox and 10k speaker sound the same, etc, etc). To other guys, many subtleties can be heard in different DAC implementations. So, it's up to you and which camp you fall in. You will have more luck discerning these subtleties in higher end DACs when you have a fully treated room, other higher end gear/speakers, etc. Both the Musician R2R and Holo will sound better than whatever DS DAC implementations built into your streamer and your amp. R2R DACs don't typically measure very good, but sound great.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
:) You are on a AV forum (not exactly the audiophile forum). To some guys, all DACs sound the same (These goofuses may even wail that the 2 dollar shite DAC in a computer and a dedicated high end DAC implementation sound the same , 100 dollar boombox and 10k speaker sound the same, etc, etc). To other guys, many subtleties can be heard in different DAC implementations. So, it's up to you and which camp you fall in. You will have more luck discerning these subtleties in higher end DACs when you have a fully treated room, other higher end gear/speakers, etc. Both the Musician R2R and Holo will sound better than whatever DS DAC implementations built into your streamer and your amp. R2R DACs don't typically measure very good, but sound great.
We believe in science and sound engineering. You believe in superstition, and be capable of becoming spell bound by a witch doctor.
 
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Am_P

Full Audioholic
We believe in science and sound engineering. You believe in superstition, and be capable of becoming spell bound by a witch doctor.
It would be very easy to prove how much diddly you know about science and engineering...and it is either a giant conspiracy or incompetence with every DAC manufacturer, amp manufacturer, etc..except for a couple of audioholic diddlylords?? (Gtf outta here).
 
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Trell

Trell

Audioholic Ninja
It would be very easy to prove how much diddly you know about science and engineering...and it is either a giant conspiracy or incompetence with every DAC manufacturer, amp manufacturer, etc..except for a couple of audioholic diddlylords?? (Gtf outta here).
It would fun watching you making a fool out of yourself.

You do strike me as someone that believes whatever codswallop a marketing department writes, especially if the device is expensive.
 

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