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Impressions of my new DAC: Grant Fidelity DAC 09

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Usual disclaimer: my ears, my setup, YMMV.


I recently purchased a Grant Fidelity DAC 09 and wanted to share my impressions.


I went to a friends to compare the DAC 09 to his Cary 306/200 cd player. The setup consisted of a s/pdif cable from the Cary to the DAC, then to a Musical Fidelity A-300 (Gold trim) integrated, and finally to B&W 705 speakers. After listening for a while, we began comparing the dacs. The DAC 09 was surprisingly close to the presentation of the Cary! They both sounded very full and detailed, but the Cary was more refined. This led to a tighter sound from the Cary with more separation. That being said, we really had to listen to pinpoint the differences which you generally don't have to do when comparing a $400 dac to a $2000 (used) cd player. I'm sure that the DAC 09 benefitted from the Cary's transport, but I imagine a decent computer setup would be just as effective. We also briefly compared the DAC 09 to the Bryston BDA-1. Again, the little dac stood its ground with its full and detailed sound. The Bryston was similarly refined like the Cary, but was smoother (and almost smoothed too much out of the sound! but not quite) like broader brush strokes with less micro detail. Of course, this may just be flavour of the month hype, but for $400 its not a terribly large gamble especially since I think you can request an in home trial and just pay shipping. As expected the Cary won the day, but if you don't have $2000 and already have a decent transport, the DAC 09 is very good value.


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