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Ultimate DAC for 16/44?

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I own a Hugo that I use in my second system and I agree it sounds great.


In my main system I have a 15 year old Marantz CD player that has a DAC based on ancient TDA1541A ladder DAC chips. I no longer use it to play CDs, and I use the S/PDIF input instead. The transport I use is a Bel Canto uLink powered by an AQVOX psu connected to the CD player with a Black Cat Veloce cable. It is driven by a BeagleBone Black via a Black Cat USB cable. The BeagleBone has its own linear PSU, 3M and Stillpoints RFI/EMI shielding lining the case and connected via one of those controversial Audioquest ethernet cables (a Cinnamon in my case) to my network and a NAS.


Wisnon made this point:




I believe my old DAC driven by a very good modern transport as described above, is much better than it was originally when used with a CD transport. I feel I am getting a lot more detail and resolution out of it. Unfortunately the CD transport is broken at the moment and so I can't do a direct comparison to confirm that. I don't think the sound is anything like the modern state of the art, perhaps including the Hugo, but it is very listenable. Perhaps DACs like the TDA1541A are more sensitive to transport improvements than other more modern chip types.




Only to clarify: What I call a "Transport" is the piece of gear that feeds the music to the DAC, like a computer or music server, then non necessarily a CD player (that I don't use since a long time).


I guess Wisnon is about the same, but please clarify too, please.






PS1/ Peter, you are very right, some times we 'overfeed' the OP :)


PS2/ I love the way the Lampi B7 reproduce RBCD (rips) and also the exaSound e22 (w/Paul Hynes LPSU).


PS3/ I guess Peter NOS DAC is excellent on this too and is on my dream system (But when Peter's dreams are about Mac OS X ;) )

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Wisnon, assuming that you maybe have got agitated a little bit ...


I sure wanted to direct to what you said in your first post. But to me this seemed over-doing things. Besides that, someone may feel a bit annoyed to announce three times that he does not want to hear about DSD. And in the end this is the only reason why I injected my post, which I did not plan to do at all (when only the first post was there).


Let me put it differently, and it is just a real life example of how I can be deeply annoyed myself, spending half of my day in finding solutions to problems. Just a made up story, representative of what I mean :





Peter in the US show Law and Order, there are legal expression called "fruit of the poisoned tree" and "you opened that door". The OP brought up the very question of DSD and as he opened that door, it became fair game and cant be considered fruit of a poisoned tree.

It was used as a pretext and I merely pointed out the flaw of the pretext. The cheap iFi iDSD is a BETTER DSD Dac than the Hugo…and a worse PCM Dac


No biggie.

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Hi Norton,


I am happily listening to 16/44.1 using an Audio Note DAC (1.1x signature in my case) with a A-RT Legato USB/SPDIF converter. Audio Note DACs are limited to take only up to 24/96 and furthermore actually do process only 18 bit out of it, because they use the AD1865 converter chip. When I used a JKSPDIF MK2 as USB/SPDIF converter with test files comparing rebook vs. 96kHz into the AN DAC I couldn't hear any difference. Still I found the AN DACs to give me the most beautiful digital sound among those units I had listened to over the years. Second hand AN DACs are quite affordable.

Another remarkable improvement was exchanging the JKSPDIF MK2 for the A-RT Legato USB/SPDIF converter, even though the latter is exclusively 16/44.1 – but that it does really good.

Some weeks ago I had the chance to listen to the Voxativ setup incl. Totaldac that was mentioned here before (with Ampeggio, not Ampeggio Due I have to admit). It was really impressive especially in terms of resolution and soundstage but I have to say I get the same level of enjoyment with my comparatively cheap system at home – not saying that it sounds the same, but there is definitively not much that I feel to be missing.


Best regards


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Thanks Stefan


I wondered if Audio Note might get a recommendation here. As I understand it, most AN models were (are?) a NOS design predating computer audio? From what I've picked up on this forum, NOS seems to be in favour with some, but only when used with appropriate upsampling software to do the processing instead.

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Hi Norton,


the early AN DACs from the 1990's were using PCM63 chips with oversampling, after that all were and are non-oversampling units using AD1865. I heard some people still prefer the early units. Probably the "AN sound" does not only come from the DAC chip but much of it is determined from the surrounding technology like power supply and output stage.

CA member Billfort started an interesting thread comparing his AN DAC (a kit version) to a Ressonence Concero HD in conjunction with HQplayer. Take a look at post #68 and #108:

Pursuing great digital on the bleeding edge - AudioKarma.org Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums


@Peter: are you wanting to get rid of your AN3sig?


Best regards


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@Peter: are you wanting to get rid of your AN3sig?


Hi Stefan,


It is nice to always keep everything and all, but it is a bit of a waste if someone else can use it ...



(sales phasure com if you like)

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2.5      Ethernet^3     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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