Jump to content
IGNORED

how does the Musical Fidelity A1008 DAC compared to others?


Recommended Posts

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows how does the Musical Fidelity A1008 (integrated amp) DAC compared to other DACs (like Bryston, Alpha, or etc)?

Sorry if this has been discussed before but I cannot seem to find the information.

 

Thank you in advance for your insights.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A bit of a gut reaction rather than actual direct testing ... but I'd say the DAC in the MF A1008 is around similar level to the Benchmark and Lavry DA10, above a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic, below a Byrston BDA1. Technically (and sonically) it's a very similar to the Musical Fidelity X-DAC v8 which was £800.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the A1008 is limited to 24/96 via SPDIF with it's USB port limited to 16/44.1 and 16/48.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may not be exactly what your looking for but I just read today on the internet (3rd party info) that the on-board DAC on the A1008 sounded muddied and nothing to write home about, the Ayre CX-7e sounded much better/no contest. I have a new A5.5 integrated with about 100hrs on it and I found the exact same thing. I A/B it against my ($300) Devilsound USB DAC and was immediately more impressed with the devilsound. The devilsound had better bass, it was faster and more dynamic with less veil.

 

Aside from that the A1008 gets great reviews in regards as a integrated, places near a KW and above the A series.

 

Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Mr Margee, you do a disservice to people when you give info on a piece and give info that is obviously out of context. The review stated that this was an external source of 2 digital sources an Imac laptop and wireless digital source. They said these two were muddy sounding but very listenable. When it came to a quality source they had nothing but praise. If you want to toot your horn on your equipment go ahead but don't give info to people seeking help which is slanted and bogus. When you reply give accurate info on the whole subject not what you choose to tell and discard.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Morning musicfid,

 

Thank you for your contribution to this thread

 

It's a little early on Sunday morning to defend myself but here it goes.

 

Here's where the 3rd party info came from:

 

"The thing that really interested me about the A1008 was the inclusion of the on-board DAC and the attendant digital inputs, as well as the USB input. Unfortunately, I thought this was a big let down in terms of performace. We tried two sources going into the A1008--a Sonos wireless music player and going direct from my Powerbook G4 via the USB port. It was immediately obvious that the Sonos did not sound as good as a source, so the Powerbook G4 did most of playing. The bottom line here is that I thought the on-board DAC sounded muddy. It's fine for casual listening, but it won't take the place of my CD player. In fact, we also directly compared the sound to an Ayre CX-7e which also happened to be in the room--I'd take the Ayre any day. But then again, I like the CX-7e and I've come close to buying it on multiple occasions".

 

They used two digital sources via usb to the onboard A1008 dac which has 2 coaxial inputs, one toslink, one usb. They said it sounded muddied, one was a Mac laptop which would be the majority all users, ok some PC's. I agreed with the statement above and I have the MF A5.5 ( the so called replacement of the A1008) and it too does indeed sound the same: very muddy. A very good description. This when I plug my Mac Mini into the A5.5' dac. I would never recommend it over a good separate USB dac or CD player like the Ayre nor does the 3rd party state it was "very listable" like you state.

 

It's funny that you just write this, I just recently (this week) damaged my Devilsound DAC interconnect and had to use the MF onboard dac in the mean time. It played music, it works but nothing worth getting excited about, it made my speakers (Totem Mani-2) sound like budget speakers. It was a huge difference and that was only comparing it to a $300 dac, imagine what it would sound like compared to the Ayre or Berkely? I now have a new devilisound which is a relief as I now have music I want to listen to.

 

I will state I love the way my A5.5 sounds being used strictly as a integrated amp, I'm playing more music now more than I ever had because of it and I now prefer it over my Ayre AX-7e with the Totems. I just don't recommend the dac portion of my MF and I don't think I misread or gave slanted and bogus info that was out context. If I did, I apologize. Can I now go back to my Sunday?

 

Good day.

 

 

Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr Macgee ... I do have to take issue with one thing you just wrote. You commented that "It's funny that you just write this, I just recently (this week) damaged my Devilsound DAC interconnect and had to use the MF onboard dac in the mean time. It played music, it works but nothing worth getting excited about, it made my speakers (Totem Mani-2) sound like budget speakers. It was a huge difference and that was only comparing it to a $300 dac, imagine what it would sound like compared to the Ayre or Berkely? I now have a new devilisound which is a relief as I now have music I want to listen to."

 

Now I'm not sure if you are aware, but the DAC stage of the A1008 is a very different animal to the USB input of the A5.5 integrated. The A5.5 uses the PCM2702 (I think that is the correct part number) chip to provide it's USB input. This chip contains a built in DAC and provides analogue outputs. I'm unsure what the actual USB input of the A1008 uses, but even if it relies on the PCM2702, the DAC section of the A1008 is basically the X-DACv8 - maybe not the last word in DAC, but it was considered a good DAC for it's £7-800 price tag when it was created a few years ago.

 

So in summery, while the comments made in the review of the A1008 may or may not be relevant (though I think you would be rather annoyed if the Ayre wasn't better), your experiences with you A5.5 compared to your Devilsound are like comparing apples and oranges.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, My mistake if that's the case. I never said the A5.5 was the same gear, only stated what someone else wrote and that I agreed that my Music Fidelity A5.5 sounded the same as someone wrote about the A1008. I never inferred anything, it was quite clear. Please read my original post again.

 

What level of performance of a USB dac should a person expect when we are at this level of equipment, built-in or not?

 

Have you compared the A1008 inboard DAC to the X-DACv8? You wrote your opinion that it's sonically very similar.

 

Now I have not heard the X-Dac and I'm stated as being ignorant but I seriously doubt that the inboard dac on the A1008 sounds as good as the X-DACv8 even though they share some of the same guts. You have so many complications and interferences with a dac sharing/living with a very power hungary amplifier & preamp compared to a dedicated stand alone DAC. I could be wrong as stated earlier.

 

I would rather pay the $1000 dollars for a proper stand alone DAC than use a built-in DAC when I'm playing at this level of the game. I'm betting there's no comparison even though it would be nice if there was.

 

When one ask how does the built in dac sound any good. You have to compare it with gear normally associated in this level of equipment.

 

 

 

Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sorry if I was a little curt but your statement really bashed the product in a way that it sounded as if everything was muddy. It's so hard to get a true opinion because so many people are loyal to a product or what they have. You should have explained the part about it being mussy on the digital from two sources that were probably suspect in the first place. I know of very few desktops, muchless a laptop that can provide a good source in the first place. I use Flacs on high end Cowon players and I would guess that they would not hold up against a good source. Each of us has an idea of what sounds good. I listened to a $13,000 Mac and B&w system the other day. When I was done I asked the salesman who bought this shit? I could have gone to ebay and put a better system together for a fourth of that. I didn't intend to insult you, just was to tell you that people need to hear everything not just a comment that really shows a different picture

than what the whole article said. If I had asked that question i would have blown the amp off even though I might not care about running a computer through it. I have a a5.5 cd player and I would guess that it has the same DAC or similar and it's not muddy. I called you to task because I'm going into tubes now and I go crazy by reading comments on equipment where, someone asks about certain equipment and the comments say, it's black, it's red, no try brand X, it's better. The sad thing is that many of the comments come from people who may not ever had heard the equipment.. I guess I'm saying, tell the whole story and let me decide which parts are what I want and which parts I don't care about. I wish there was a better way to get info on products. Many magazine reviews tell you absolutely nothing except that this speaker sounds good but not as good as $20,000 speaker A, which is 5 times the cost, well DUH That helped a lot. Many of the magazine reviews look to me like they use a form review and fill in the blanks. It's amazing how many of them sound similar and tell you absolutely nothing. Then there are ones that use $100,000 worth of equipment to showcase a $5,000 component and then try to tell you what it's going to sound on a system most people would probably be using it on. Again this being Sunday morning I might have been a little hard on you but I cold tell that the questioner really didn't get helped. I would like to hear a comment from you on reliability and ease of service. I get mixed signals on this subject.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have listen to the an A5 with the X-DAC v8 - not in A/B testing but I feel they are sonically very similar. The A1008 does pay attention to PSU with separate feeds to the DAC and Pre-amp and the two power amps from an external PSU. There are differences, but I did think the A1008 was a good one box (okay two with the PSU) solution.

 

If you read the "review" you referenced as well, you can find a few things that may raise questions over why they were disappointed with the performance of the DAC.

 

First the USB input on the A1008 is a standard adaptive USB interface so not able to give the best performance that people can get from modern USB such as Wavelength and Ayre. And even using the optical output of a MacBook can be disappointing. Second, a lot of people have discussed and been disappointed with performance of Sonos into digital sources (unless using high end reclocking, etc). Edit: sorry sounds like I'm really putting the Sonos down, I'm not, but it's never intended as a high-end transport though some people do find it the heart of outstanding systems. The A1008 makes no presences at reclocking or other methods to reduce jitter.

 

Neither sources (when coupled with a $1000 DAC) are really comparable to a $3000 CD player in the Ayre (IMO).

 

At the end of the day - you need to listen to any device before you buy it and then make your own choice.

 

Eloise

 

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...