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Favorite DAC - PCM


Jean
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Hi all,

 

Can anyone suggest some DACs for exceptional PCM playback? Currently looking to audition some models in 2017, including Yggy, Benchmark DAC2 and Codex and curious to learn about some of the other big name DACs out there. I don't see a need for DSD playback anytime in the near future, PCM is all the sound I need ?

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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Bel Canto

How would you describe the sound? More Musical and warm/forgiving than others?

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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Not very good at describing but here I go. It's very resolving. If your content whether CD or Hi Res is of good quality you'll be very impressed. You'll easily be able to discern the quality of all your content. Sometimes thats a minus when you enjoyed an artists and now it's not as satisfying as you once thought. It lean towards the warm side. Clean mids and detailed highs. Tight accurate lows. You can definitely hear separation among the instruments and vocals. I enjoy all genres played through this DAC, I have the 2.7. It's like rediscovering your library.

 

I first listened to the 1.7 and Rega's Dac-R. The 1.7 was better sounding then the Rega, to me. Then I compared the 1.7 to the 2.7. Here 2.7 had more detail. Deeper lows and Clean highs. Then I listened to the 3.7 with its separate power supply. The 3.7 beats the 2.7 but that's twice the price and further engineered.

 

All models take trickle down technology from there Black series. I'm not pushing there products but I have zero complaints. I too was only interested in PCM. I've experimented with some inputs and upsampling. So far USB and no upsampling seems to be winning. Keep it simple :)

PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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AMR

Metrum Acoustics

Totaldac

Schiit Multbit

PS Audio Direct Stream (both original and Junior).

 

all have reps for being outstanding with PCM.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Hmmm, definitely sounds like it's worth a shot. Bel Canto definitely has a great reputation on every forum I've ready so far,

 

Is it polite with less-than stellar recordings? As I move more into the hi-fi world, it seems like I listen to better recorded music, but there are several guilty pleasures that I can't leave behind and hopefully my DAC would play nice with them.

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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Metrum Acoustics definitely looks promising. Have to check them out as well as the Direct Stream.

 

Do you have experience with any Metrum DACs? Can you briefly summarize their sound signature?

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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Metrum Acoustics definitely looks promising. Have to check them out as well as the Direct Stream.

 

Do you have experience with any Metrum DACs? Can you briefly summarize their sound signature?

 

I've been using a Metrum Musette for the past 8 months or so. I can't tell you what its sound signature is, because I'm not very good at that. What it does better than any of the other dozen DACs I've owned: 1) note to note continuity: the sense of the musicians making the music 2) convincing differentiation of tonality of voices/instruments. 3) convincing density of same. Where it falls down a bit? Macro dynamics, absolute transparency, possibly scale (although this could be a speaker/amp thing.) My favourite DAC of all the ones I've owned. The things it does well are more important to me than the things it does less well; this might not be so to you.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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Btw, the Benchmark is one of the lower ranking DACs I've owned. Super-transparent but quite inert-sounding, and tonally kind of colourless.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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Hi all,

 

Can anyone suggest some DACs for exceptional PCM playback? Currently looking to audition some models in 2017, including Yggy, Benchmark DAC2 and Codex and curious to learn about some of the other big name DACs out there. I don't see a need for DSD playback anytime in the near future, PCM is all the sound I need [emoji16]

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

I have an Aqua La Voce, pcm only. This is a beautiful, sweet sounding Dac. I tried the Auralic Vega for 6 months before that. It had impressive detail and other remarkable qualities but once I switched I was much happier and could relax into the music.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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Btw, the Benchmark is one of the lower ranking DACs I've owned. Super-transparent but quite inert-sounding, and tonally kind of colourless.

Interesting, I will keep that in mind for future reference......I'm definitely leaning towards a DAC with a tone to bring some life into my system. I'm looking to invest in a nice pair of studio monitors so I'm afraid that a flat DAC paired with flat monitors will give me a lifeless, less musical overall sound.

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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I have an Aqua La Voce, pcm only. This is a beautiful, sweet sounding Dac. I tried the Auralic Vega for 6 months before that. It had impressive detail and other remarkable qualities but once I switched I was much happier and could relax into the music.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

tapatrick,

 

Aqua LA Voce was on my list of candidates, I was actually waiting for a few more endorsements before actually trying it out.

 

Just out of curiosity, what type of music do you listen to? A simple breakdown would give me a good reference point for comparison, I want to make sure that my taste is "compatible"

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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tapatrick,

 

Aqua LA Voce was on my list of candidates, I was actually waiting for a few more endorsements before actually trying it out.

 

Just out of curiosity, what type of music do you listen to? A simple breakdown would give me a good reference point for comparison, I want to make sure that my taste is "compatible"

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

Hi Jean

I listen to every kind of music (except Opera). That includes Jazz, classical orchestra and quartets, rock, pop, electronic, solo guitarists and vocalists. I'm happy with how they all sound.

When I say the La Voce is sweet compared to the detail of the Vega I don't mean in the sense that people say 'warm'.

All the detail is there with an extra pleasing ambience and sweetness compared to the Vega.

I was originally going to go with the Eastern Electric Supreme Dac to match my EE integrated amp but because of production hold ups I stretched up to the La Voce and glad I did.

All this of course goes without saying that it dependent on the rest of your system.

Have you seen John Darko's review?

Cheers and good luck with choosing

Patrick

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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Btw, the Benchmark is one of the lower ranking DACs I've owned. Super-transparent but quite inert-sounding, and tonally kind of colourless.

 

This DAC is primarily designed for the recording industry, so your comments could be construed to being good as inert and tonally colourless. One wants a component that reveals all but adds nothing to it. I personally find it reveals easily what you put through it and exposes recording quality brutally. Unfortunately your favourite music may not be as satisfying as a result. Excellent recordings are stunning and poor are still listenable. I use the DAC2 as preamp and feed 3 sources into it. Keep the chain short as possible is the aim.

 

In saying that it appears NOS DACS do have a sound that has an edge over others.

 

All though I don't own one, the Phasure NOS Dac is certainly in the competition for great sounding especially matched with XXhighend software. In terms of dedicated PCM playback its up there. No preamp and all sound adjustments including volume are done in the software. Great for dedicated audio stereo playback system.

 

Robert

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Thanks for your input, this is exactly the kind of guidance I was looking for. I actually just found darko's review earlier this week and it piqued my interest.

 

La Voce definitely sounds like a top contender for what I'm looking to get out of a DAC.

 

Hi Jean

I listen to every kind of music (except Opera). That includes Jazz, classical orchestra and quartets, rock, pop, electronic, solo guitarists and vocalists. I'm happy with how they all sound.

When I say the La Voce is sweet compared to the detail of the Vega I don't mean in the sense that people say 'warm'.

All the detail is there with an extra pleasing ambience and sweetness compared to the Vega.

I was originally going to go with the Eastern Electric Supreme Dac to match my EE integrated amp but because of production hold ups I stretched up to the La Voce and glad I did.

All this of course goes without saying that it dependent on the rest of your system.

Have you seen John Darko's review?

Cheers and good luck with choosing

Patrick

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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robocop,

 

I can certainly appreciate that the Benchmark DAC is neutral in sound and does as little possible to add to the signal. I am concerned about it exposing the quality brutally, as it is some recordings suffer when I play them through my current system which is only entry level right now.

 

I have heard about NOS DACs for a while now and never really understood the concept. Is the principle that all upsampling is done via software like HQ Player?

 

I'm always taken aback by the signature shape of the Phasure NOS DAC. I've read a few times that it does not perform as well without XXhighend, would you agree?

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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Norton,

 

Would you be able to briefly summarize what the Chord sound signature is? Any time the topic of best performing DACs is brought up, Chord is always in the mix. I'm really curious what types of recordings make the Chord DACs shine.

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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How about the Holo Spring R2R DAC ?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

 

 

Definitely in my top 5 to test out, have you spent any time listening?

 

I've read that the Holo Spring can go head to head with Yggy.

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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Exceptional PCM playback? Chord DAVE, but I'm biased since I have one.

 

Extract from a recent review in Hifi+: 'everything you can throw at the DAVE musically is returned as best as you have ever heard it'. It then goes on to say that it compares with anything at even 10 times the price, which I have seen said often.

 

Interestingly, in the same edition (November) they also review the four box dCS Vivaldi which, coincidentally, is around 10 times the price of the DAVE. The DAVE review is the more positive of the two.

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All though I don't own one, the Phasure NOS Dac is certainly in the competition for great sounding especially matched with XXhighend software. In terms of dedicated PCM playback its up there. No preamp and all sound adjustments including volume are done in the software. Great for dedicated audio stereo playback system.

 

Great suggestion, made by PeterSt!

 

Also: Trinity if you have the budget.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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