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DSD DAC Suggestions

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Rastapopulus

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Hi Friends
I have a decent entry level stereo setup currently and considering to upgrade my existing DAC (Teac UDH-01) Reason for changing is because

1- current DAC runs on 110v. I would like to get rid of the transformer.
2- Current DAC is an entry level DAC and I was wondering if the higher end models or even a completely different chipset will deliver a better sound.

Some of the DACs I have been looking at are
1- Yulong Sabre DA-18
2- Benchmark DAC1 HDR
3- Matrix X Sabre
4- Oppo HA-1

I am open to suggestions of other brands of you know of but the cost needs to be within 1500USD.

Please could you share your experiences or suggestions.

Cheers
 
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manniraj

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Hi Friends
I have a decent entry level stereo setup currently and considering to upgrade my existing DAC (Teac UDH-01) Reason for changing is because

1- current DAC runs on 110v. I would like to get rid of the transformer.
2- Current DAC is an entry level DAC and I was wondering if the higher end models or even a completely different chipset will deliver a better sound.

Some of the DACs I have been looking at are
1- Yulong Sabre DA-18
2- Benchmark DAC1 HDR
3- Matrix X Sabre
4- Oppo HA-1

I am open to suggestions of other brands of you know of but the cost needs to be within 1500USD.

Please could you share your experiences or suggestions.

Cheers
As you are based out of HK have you checked Audio-GD DACs in the same price range. They have some very good quality DACs at VFM prices. Being in China it could be easy shipping to your place :)
 

Rastapopulus

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Hi manniraj
Have not heard of audio GD actually.
Let me google up.

Yes am based in HK. Is this Chinese made?
 

manniraj

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Hi manniraj
Have not heard of audio GD actually.
Let me google up.

Yes am based in HK. Is this Chinese made?
Yes its a China based company, here is the site. I use the NFB15.32 DAC and you can check the reviews on the diyaudio.com and head-fi.org websites.
 

Rastapopulus

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Hi manniraj
I had a quick look at the specs of the reference 5 model and looks to have some hardware limitations.
No DSD support, limited to 96khz sample rates, usb chip seems to colour the sound.

Do you play only redbook CDs? I use a lot of USB mode so that's important [emoji102]
 

manniraj

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Hi manniraj
I had a quick look at the specs of the reference 5 model and looks to have some hardware limitations.
No DSD support, limited to 96khz sample rates, usb chip seems to colour the sound.

Do you play only redbook CDs? I use a lot of USB mode so that's important [emoji102]
I use there entry level model NFB15.32 and happy as the USB chip does play till 384hz (as per the specs) I believe but I mostly only FLACs and WAV songs.
 

Rastapopulus

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Hi Fantastic
I will check the mytec. Could you share some details on why you say it is superb?
What have you paired it with ?

Hi manniraj
I will check that model
 

sidvee

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I have moved this thread to the DAC section where it belongs. In the future when you start threads kindly make sure it is in the right location.
Cheers,
Sid
 
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Fantastic

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Hi Fantastic
Could you share some details on why you say it is superb?
I must confess that I heard it over headphones ( Sennheisers I think ) at the RMAF with several tracks with different PCM bitrates and DSD off a hard disk.
I didn't do a side by side comparison with other DAC's that I also heard. Many were very good but there were very few with DSD capability . This is audio ! Many systems can be 'very good' even if they differ slightly between each other ! We need to pick what we prefer.
I wouldn't hesitate to buy the Mytek if I decided to plonk down that amount of money for a DAC. I think DSD capable DAC's will cost much less eventually. By that time we may even get enough genuine DSD tracks worth buying ! In the meantime I'm happy with my low cost DAC's that sound very good and are fantastic value for money ! The saved money is going into more music and concerts ! ;) ..........and hooch ! :cheers:
 

Rastapopulus

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@Fantastic
You are making me sway to the practical side of things now [emoji60]
The Teac I have is a reasonably nice piece of equipment actually.
 

Nikhil

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Rastapopulus,

There is a serious problem right now of getting true DSD material.
Although the potential to access all the early SACD vaults remains.
The next issue is cost - DSD downloads are at a premium and massive (file size).

However, DSD dacs accept PCM and do the conversion to DSD internally so you will still be able to enjoy your current material. Currently due to the shortage of DSD material - I am still going with a PCM DAC and letting JRiver do the conversion for me. Not a bad solution for the time being.
 

Rastapopulus

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@Nikhil
Ya. Makes sense actually. I do have a few DSD albums downloaded. But then I was looking for a new DAC and thought why not DSD capable of am getting a DAC.

I guess is an itch for the next gadget [emoji196]
Maybe I better stick with the Teac currently even if it is using a step down transformer.

Might better hold on to the cash for a speaker upgrade )if I ever am able to sell Mirage set) [emoji51][emoji51]
 

Fantastic

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@Nikhil
Ya. Makes sense actually. I do have a few DSD albums downloaded. But then I was looking for a new DAC and thought why not DSD capable of am getting a DAC.

I guess is an itch for the next gadget [emoji196]
Maybe I better stick with the Teac currently even if it is using a step down transformer.

Might better hold on to the cash for a speaker upgrade )if I ever am able to sell Mirage set) [emoji51][emoji51]
Older recordings converted to DSD format are really of not much interest. Genuine and affordable DSD files will take time. Maybe five years at least ?

Mirage is generally very good. Do you really think that you will get a BIG step up to a 'better' speaker with say an increase in budget ...say 2X to 3X more than you already spent ? Could you improve on the current Mirage setup. Could you improve the crossover parts ? If it's bass driver is a 6 or 7 inch did you consider adding a sub ? Better positioning ? etc....etc..... Enough to keep you busy for a while.
When did you last thoroughly clean up the sockets and connectors on your cables ? Did you check the mains plug and socket. Is it perfectly clean and making good contact ? Do you have a RFI filter in your mains line to your system ? So many things you can do before thinking of spending MORE money ! The items mentioned above might make your system sound far better than it currently is ! Check it out .

Give yourself another six months to decide if you really want something new ! It should be because your system REALLY doesn't come up to scratch and not because you WANT something new ! ;)
What model number is your Mirage ?
 

Rastapopulus

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Hi Fantastic
Let me first say thank you for taking the time and suggesting possible ways to improve my existing setup.

This will be a rather long post, so please get a mug of coffee or drink [emoji485][emoji484]


My aim was (and is) a stereo system to get "Vintage/Retro" sound. Warm but involving, clarity in resolution, spacious soundstage both width and depth, reasonably accurate imaging.

So I wanted to get speakers that were from the 80s and known for providing the characteristics.
The Mirage (L/R) I have are the OMD-12. I got a full 5.1 Mirage set from someone who was going for thinner speakers due to WAF [emoji51]

Next was how to drive them to potential. Selected the Yamaha A-S2000, a Teac DAC and a good CD player.

Being omnipolar, the speaker placement is crucial and my front wall is fully covered with a showcase.
So I had to place the speakers beside the couch (listening area) and it gave a weird soundstage and killed the imaging.

I somehow managed to place the speakers on the showcase but it did not have very good imaging or soundstage width which am almost sure is because it is too close to the wall [emoji24]

Also, the sound somehow seemed thin and hollow, lacked midrange, stuff still sounded all mashed up instead of being airy.

So, I went in search of a front firing speaker which was a bookshelf but had reasonable power handling.

Enter the Axiom audio M22 two way bookshelf speaker.
I found the soundstage was wide and imaging was much better but the front to back depth was lacking and the sound still seemed laid back and un involving. I bi-wired them and got improvement in resolution but still not a huge difference in front to back depth.

Changed my interconnects to Emotiva from unbranded ones and found a further improvement in detailing and separation but still laid back and un involving sound overall.

Next logical step seemed to be changing the amp to a faster one. I went for Class A monoblocks with huge capacitance and damping with a matching analog pre-amp to drive the Monoblocks (a month back)

The result was a significant improvement in speed, better attack and started fleshing out front to back dept in imaging. Added isolation to the speakers and further cleared the sound.

Each improvement was confirmed (double blind test) and verified by my non audio fanatic wife to make sure it is not me imagining things to justify the purchase.
Along with her describing the change/improvement, we also tested if we could play louder without her feeling annoyed [emoji196]

Recently, a few days back I swapped the emotiva XLR interconnects to Mogami and the sound is much more controlled and coherent.

I plan to see how the mirage perform with the monoblocks today [emoji51][emoji51][emoji51]
 
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Rastapopulus

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Btw, could you suggest some good RFI filters or power conditioners?
The one that I saw was costing 2k USD and that's a deal breaker.
 

reignofchaos

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When I was buying a DAC, the first thing I looked at is to see what files are the majority of my collection and make sure that your DAC is optimized to play those first. I realized that 95% of my music collection was 16/44.1 CD.

Taking this into view, I made sure I get the best possible playback for CD audio and also great playback for the remaining content. The more I read about DACs, the more I was convinced that for PCM content, a multibit ladder is the way to go. During the search, I got a good deal on my current DAC thanks to a friend who lives in SG (he's also a member of this forum) and I pulled the trigger.

Needless to say, I've been exceptionally happy since then.
 

Rastapopulus

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Just finished spending an hour listening to the Mirage OM-12 with the monoblocks.
This time I tried to give breathing room to the speakers behind.

I think I am almost there with the analog retro sound [emoji108][emoji108]

Still struggling to type as one of my hands is in a cast.
Will provide a detailed description in sometime.
 

Fantastic

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About vintage sound. Typically it's valve based sound which means significant 2nd harmonic distortion and monotonically decreasing higher harmonics. These will make it warm ( 2nd Harm ) and progressively decreasing higher harmonics will keep them quickly under the noise floor and not cause any harsh sounds.
A good tube amp is a possibility. The other possibility is a well designed tube preamp ahead of a very good ss amp. That should be a tube preamp with no negative feedback to retain it's harmonic distortion structure. All tube preamps do not sound the same. It's possible to design ss amps with higher 2nd harmonic distortion but they will never equal that produced by the tube amps.
You do realise that unlike most people you ARE looking for distortion.....the good kind !
Imaging is mostly to do with the physical build ( pcb etc) and supply related issues. If well designed the imaging will be good ( apart from the acoustic issues).

I used to make omnipolar speakers in the early 80's. Driver facing upwards with a inverted conical deflector above it. The tweeter did the same above the mid driver. There was a sub woofer also ! Very pleasing sound but very bad imaging. However orchestral music sounded great.Don't expect much imaging with the omnipolar as you will have numerous quick reflections from the surrounding area which is not good for imaging.

Good you got a bookshelf speaker. Get good stands for it and place something VERY heavy on the speaker. Maybe a 2 or 3 inch granite slab same size as the speaker top or a wooden tray of that size with sand in it. It will tighten up most sounds especially the bass. You can do a rough test by keeping something else that is heavy just to see if it really does help.....like maybe a big pile of heavy books ? You need to be careful. Dropping heavy things from a speaker top on to your feet means you will have a cast on your feet !

I've always believed that what we call front to back imaging is a combination of the ability of the electronics to have very good resolving capability coupled with the acoustics of the room. It's not just speaker dependent. Recessed midrange could be a speaker problem and room resonances/reflections. You could address this by relocating the speaker ?

The RFI filter is available as an extension to a regular IEC power socket ( like those on a desk top PC). You buy the unit and connect the RFI section to a extension box so that all sockets get the benefit. Might need to fit the IEC socket in a small box to avoid having exposed mains terminals. The IEC socket is of course connected to the mains via a usual PC type power cable.
I'll try to post a picture. You might even get an extension box with the RFI filter included in it. Check it out. Take a trip to Sham ShuiPo. I used to spend a lot of time there !
Cheers.
 
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