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ACER 5738G + DacMagic MK2i vs Marantz CD63 SE Moded

Mogami Cables

madbullram

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Folks,
We did a 3 hour test on the following setup.

Dac setup:
ACER 5738G with SPDIF using wasapi drivers sending bit perfect audio through SPDIF to the Optical in of my DacMagic MK2i. Initially, when I was using foobar to play the music without WASAPI it was upscaling it to 48 so installed WASAPI and set it to 0 gain and all other settings to 0. DM was able to recognize it at 44.1

O/S: Windows 7 64 Bit home premium

CDP:
Marantz CD63 SE with HDAM by- pass mod and some basic mods. This system was clearly better when I had compared with CD63KI. So this is the reference.

Music Played:
L.Subramaniam Conversations
Rajesh Vaidya's Voyage
Yanni live at the Acropolis
Blue Man group Audio
Vaarnam Aiyiram
Taal
Best of A R R
Best of Eagles

DAC source: All source ripped using EAC to FLAC with 0 errors. Volume output at 100%

Way we tested:
1. Mostly A/B test with DAC and CDP playing the same song
2. Some songs we did alternate test, with CDP playing first and then ACER and Laptop
3. Blind Test: Only I knew which was played

Lab Rats:
My wife - My best critique gives honest opinion
Sam - works for ARR as an assistant in recording and a SAE student,
Raghu - A music buff,
Partha - Your regular guy who listens to music in iPod and N73 and thinks its wow

to make comparison simple, we decided on following parameters:
1. Music feel - How much it made them involved
2. Instrument separation
3. How well the singer was reproduced to his actual voice
4. Soundstanging


Scores:
Wife: DAC - 4.5/5 CDP 4/5
I think this output has more gain and it was more clear and felt more involved.

Sam: DAC 4.2/5, CDP 3.5/5
The base was tighter and more enjoyable. The instruments were more clear and sound staging was better.

Raghu: DAC 4.5/5, CDP 4/5
The DAc is the best I have heard Blue Man group, the pipes were almost as real as I heard them in their live concert and Roja song in particular "Thamizha " was beautiful that I felt like crying

Partha: DAC 5/5, CDP 4.8/5
Both sounds WOW to me and my iPod is 1/5 when I hear these. But I prefer DM sound as it was more loud.


Our man Flanker dropped in home last night. He swore that DAC can no way be better than CD63 his modded CDP. We played A/B and felt his CDP was better. So sent him out of the room, changed the connections, got him back and did blind test in A/B for Vaaranam Aiyiram Nengukkul song.

His comments:
CDP (he didnt know its was CDP):
Its nice but it was little lacking when compared to other one.

DAC (again he didnt know, he said as source 2)
More tighter base, though the voice was little NASAL I prefer this sound than the other.

Then told him source 2 was DAC and he was mighty surprised.

So in the first round, a simple lappy with bitperfect audio has out performed a basic modded Marantz CD63 SE.

Coming Up
1. Next week, same with mp3 @ 320 kbps
2. Once I get hold of a DVDp with optical output, will put an end to transport makes a diff or not issue.

ps1: Tried swicthing between CA Optical and MX Optical, both same sound

Ps2: in blind test, none could find the difference between Monoprice, MX, and Blue Jean LC ICs :D
 
Last edited:

iaudio

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Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
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Points
113
Location
Kuwait/Kochi
Folks,
We did a 3 hour test on the following setup.

Dac setup:
ACER 5738G with SPDIF using wasapi drivers sending bit perfect audio through SPDIF to the Optical in of my DacMagic MK2i. Initially, when I was using foobar to play the music without WASAPI it was upscaling it to 48 so installed WASAPI and set it to 0 gain and all other settings to 0. DM was able to recognize it at 44.1

O/S: Windows 7 64 Bit home premium

CDP:
Marantz CD63 SE with HDAM by- pass mod and some basic mods. This system was clearly better when I had compared with CD63KI. So this is the reference.

Music Played:
L.Subramaniam Conversations
Rajesh Vaidya's Voyage
Yanni live at the Acropolis
Blue Man group Audio
Vaarnam Aiyiram
Taal
Best of A R R
Best of Eagles

DAC source: All source ripped using EAC to FLAC with 0 errors. Volume output at 100%

Way we tested:
1. Mostly A/B test with DAC and CDP playing the same song
2. Some songs we did alternate test, with CDP playing first and then ACER and Laptop
3. Blind Test: Only I knew which was played

Lab Rats:
My wife - My best critique gives honest opinion
Sam - works for ARR as an assistant in recording and a SAE student,
Raghu - A music buff,
Partha - Your regular guy who listens to music in iPod and N73 and thinks its wow

to make comparison simple, we decided on following parameters:
1. Music feel - How much it made them involved
2. Instrument separation
3. How well the singer was reproduced to his actual voice
4. Soundstanging


Scores:
Wife: DAC - 4.5/5 CDP 4/5
I think this output has more gain and it was more clear and felt more involved.

Sam: DAC 4.2/5, CDP 3.5/5
The base was tighter and more enjoyable. The instruments were more clear and sound staging was better.

Raghu: DAC 4.5/5, CDP 4/5
The DAc is the best I have heard Blue Man group, the pipes were almost as real as I heard them in their live concert and Roja song in particular "Thamizha " was beautiful that I felt like crying

Partha: DAC 5/5, CDP 4.8/5
Both sounds WOW to me and my iPod is 1/5 when I hear these. But I prefer DM sound as it was more loud.


Our man Flanker dropped in home last night. He swore that DAC can no way be better than CD63 his modded CDP. We played A/B and felt his CDP was better. So sent him out of the room, changed the connections, got him back and did blind test in A/B for Vaaranam Aiyiram Nengukkul song.

His comments:
CDP (he didnt know its was CDP):
Its nice but it was little lacking when compared to other one.

DAC (again he didnt know, he said as source 2)
More tighter base, though the voice was little NASAL I prefer this sound than the other.

Then told him source 2 was DAC and he was mighty surprised.

So in the first round, a simple lappy with bitperfect audio has out performed a basic modded Marantz CD63 SE.

Coming Up
1. Next week, same with mp3 @ 320 kbps
2. Once I get hold of a DVDp with optical output, will put an end to transport makes a diff or not issue.

ps1: Tried swicthing between CA Optical and MX Optical, both same sound

Ps2: in blind test, none could find the difference between Monoprice, MX, and Blue Jean LC ICs :D

Loved the way you did the test.
And this is one report I have been waiting for, Thanks MBR.
 

psychotropic

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Location
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hey Ram, thanks for his and huge apologies for not calling you over the weekend. It was one of those hectic ones and it totally slipped my mind!! I will definitely give you a call as soon as I get free.
 

cooltoad

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Thanks Ram, cant get better than this for a shootout. Was about to try another IC. You might actually have saved me 2k for now.Looking forward to join one of these shootouts in the near future.
 

Asit

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Messages
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Location
Kolkata
Hi Ram,

Very nice of you to do this test and let all of us know. There are many who would be interested to know.

I have two questions:

1. You did not give us your own impressions. I know you wanted to give impressions of other people who did not know which one they were listening to, but still we want to know your own impressions even though you knew about the source. I have assumed that your impressions matched that of others that the laptop+DM combination was better than the modded Marantz 63SE.

2. Do you know the difference between the Dacmagic as released originally and the Dacmagic II which you have put to test? The reason I am asking is that a few months ago I have listened to the original DM with a Cayin 50T tube CDP as transport (Cayin A 88T tube amp, Epos speakers were the other equipments with XLO ICs and Ecosse speaker cables). Of course the 50T is a more expensive CDP (around 50K) and obviously was expected to do better on its own than the combination of itself being used as transport and the DM, but the DM sounded quite unimpressive in that set-up and I could not listen to it for long. The sound was quite dry, as if there was no juice in the music. To this day I wonder why I disliked it so much that day while I quite liked the 20K Marantz 6002 CDP so much so that I suggested that CDP to quite a few in this forum. It could be that the DM did not like all the tubes around it :).

Regards.
 

madbullram

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Asit da,
Well, I enjoyed watching my friends and also I think honestly I should also get into a blind test to find it.

1. My impression, DM by a small margin was good with better separation and enjoyable bass. BUT the margin is very small. So my take is DM is for someone who either wants to enjoy digital music in comp/media player or one who does want to use a DVDp, if you have a good player like Marantz CD63SE +m, DM is no use.

2. Quite possible, the friend I bought had DM1 and he was very disappointed but he is quite happy with MK2i and infact he prefers this to the latest DM3 (which he returned as he didnt like it) with Wolfson DAC, i think its quite personal. The 2i is supposed to have better design which brough distortion down by 50% so may be thats the difference, but honestly dont know. You know me, I believe what I hear and what my brain assimilates :) than specs

Here is the link that lists the differences, may that can tell u what is wrong, but I have never listened to DM1

Cambridge Audio Dac Magic 2. Free data sheet by GB Audio.
 

Kamal

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V.nice effort, MBR, I'm sure this'll be of help to a lot of persons toying with the dilemma of which way to go as re source-HDD + DAC or CDP.
Could you plz also let us know abt the Amp & Spkrs used?
Awaiting a comparison now between a budget DVDp + DAC vs the MarantzCD63SE.
 

thevortex

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Hello Ram,

Nice test and a good initiative. So, when are we going to do a comparo between the HTPC, CD Player and DAC? That would make the circle complete I guess. That is actually something I too look forward to. Lets plan something on these lines.

About blind tests - I think it is very difficult to produce accurate results for most people. My wife had great fun completely fooling me with blind tests. But I got better at it after some time. Blind tests really have to be repeated for it to be of any use, in my opinion.
 

santhosh

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Hey MBR, Thanks for this test.

I have the the CD63SE and am wondering how much of a difference a DAC would make to my setup. When you get a chance, could you please also do a test by using the CD63SE as a transport connected to the DAC via optical?

Marantz CD63 SE with HDAM by- pass mod and some basic mods. This system was clearly better when I had compared with CD63KI. So this is the reference.
Please share with us what modifications your friend has made to the CD63SE. Also would like to know what to expect from these mods. If there are links to these mods, kindly share them as well.
 

psychotropic

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My only concern with this DacMagic is the gain. If it does add some gain, then I think a comparison test can be fully reliable only once proper level matching is done. Otherwise, in spite of the best intentions of all participants, and all other precautions, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get an accurate comparative impression. Like the vortex suggested, let's do a full fledged shootout, with an SPL meter and all that involving the DAcmagic, the CD63SE (i can get my stock one also), and an HTPC.
 

gobble

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2. Quite possible, the friend I bought had DM1 and he was very disappointed but he is quite happy with MK2i and infact he prefers this to the latest DM3 (which he returned as he didnt like it)

Which dealers in India accept returns after you purchased it , because you dont like the sound? I'm curious ... :)

Cheers
 

Rajiv

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Which dealers in India accept returns after you purchased it , because you dont like the sound? I'm curious ...

Cheers

Hi,

Viren Bakhshi,of Lyrita Audio will.

Regards
Rajiv
 

Asit

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So will a few others :), but I'll not name anybody here because in none of the websites it is announced. This sort of a thing is always through a verbal arrangement between the customer and the vendor wherein the vendor also have to have some confidence that the customer is serious. In the US, it's an announced policy of many, if not most vendors; I also know many people in the US taking advantage of that (like ordering similar products from two vendors at the same time and doing a comparison at home and returning the one the customer did not like that much).

Regards.
 

thevortex

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Which dealers in India accept returns after you purchased it , because you dont like the sound? I'm curious ... :)

Cheers

The dealers I have had experience with will do that. Raghu of Decibel did do that. And Viren mentioned that he would be happy to take back his amp if I did not like it. However I fell for it after an extensive audition (at home).
 
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