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DAC ideas

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Hello, I recently found this list and decided to upgade my music server to audiophile quality. I started out with winamp and ripping my CDs to mp3 many years ago back in the Windows 2000 days. Back then hardware was not readily available for audiophile grade sound in the consumer PC realm. The sound was good for background listening but whenever I wanted to really listen I had to go pop the cd in the transport and that gets old fast.


I think I have decided to go with a USB DAC. But which one? So many choices. I'd like to get one to match my current equipment since I do not plan to upgrade any of it in the near future. My current setup consists of the following:


ProAc Response Three speakers

Metaxas Solitaire II amplifier

Tag Model 1 preamp

Meridian 508 CD Player


Maybe if anyone has recommendations on three good USB DACs I could research on.


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Do you have a price point in mind? Also do you think you'll stick with rips from CD... or do you forsee exploring higher resolution music files?


If $1K is about what you want to spend and you're content with playback up to 24/96, then I've been very happy with the Wavelength Proton.


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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From the little bit of reading I've done it would appear that the quality starts to suffer if you go much below $1K for a DAC. Unfortunately most of my type of music is not available in anything higher than CD resolution so anything above 24/96 would probably not be beneficial. I will check out the proton.


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There are quite a number of DACs out there... I'm sure you'll find many options in the discussions here at CA. Chris is likely the person who has had the most comparative listening experience between DACs... so a careful reading of his posts would be informative.


In any event, if you should end up with the Proton I'm quite confident that you'll enjoy it. It takes a while to fully break in.




2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Give a listen to this one if you do not want to throw money at "snake oil" .

Best thing is to audition few DACs - only your ears will tell which one cuts it for you.




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