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and then there was this: http://www.centrance.com/products/dacport/

 

arrived yesterday. Very impressive piece of kit. Easily the detail of a Benchmark with the organic richness of a Lavry. All via USB.

Problems with W7 64 and J River: the Asio driver is not recognised - a 64x - 32 player problem. Wasapi output does work but not convinced it's exclusive access (actually convinced it isn't). Still sounds very very good.

No problems with Mac and Linux.

 

 

and.....is on the Stereophile Cover in June:

http://www.centrance.com/products/dacport/i/stereophile_cover.jpg

 

6-page review by John Atkinson; he puts DACport through its paces and finds 140 dB of dynamic range and 91 ps jitter. John summarizes:

 

- "I wholeheartedly recommend DACport: A great-sounding product at a great price!

 

Amen.

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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Hi Chris

I'm using it as a dac to my Bel Canto s300iu via a custom breakout cable. It is very clear.

I haven't tried it with Sennys 650's yet - I will try and do so this weekend. I hope it has enough gain.

A friend with the BelCanto 3 Dac reports he likes the Dacport as much as the BC Dac but in a different way.

It certainly synergies well with the Bel Canto amp.

Cheers

Andrew

ps G'day Dave - like your Mag...

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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Hi Chris,

 

Yes we have raised the gain by about 3-4 dB after your excellent observations at RMAF, so now the output level is loud enough with most headphones - Sennheisers, Beyerdynamics (incl. 880, T1), Grados and IEMs.

 

There is still about 4 db of headroom left in the output amp, which is nice because we know that it will never clip, even at full volume, even into 32 Ohm cans. The fact that it doesn't clip lets many people use DACport as an external USB DAC, by simply setting the level knob to Max and leaving it there.

 

If you are coming to CAN JAM June 5-6, please stop by our booth and take a listen. We will be premiering a new product there as well.

 

Michael

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi - I am using a newly acquired DACPort with my AKG K702. It is a very revealing but sweet sounding combination which works exceptionally well.

 

I have not compared it to using the 702 with my iDecco yet but when I do I will let you know if there is a difference worth getting excited about or not.

 

cheers - Vincent

 

Sydneysider

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When my DACport finally arrived after a long delay I almost thought some lady´s little private toy had been mistakenly delivered instead of the DAC I expected.

 

It sure does NOT look impressive.

 

But it does get a bit hot when in use.

 

And no, it doesn´t vibrate.

 

My expectations where low to say the least, when looking at the thing.

 

How could a tiny little thing like this really deliver good sound?

 

But I had bought it as a DAC Headphone combo for my travels and now after a week of almost constantly in the "hot" mode I am beginning to like it quite a lot.

 

Let me start by saying that compared to connecting my headphones directly to either of my two Macbook Pros the difference in sound quality is very obvious indeed!

 

The step is basically one from Mid Fi to real HI FI.

 

But is it really HIGH END?

 

In some respects definitely yes.

 

The lack of distortion, the dynamic range, and the fact that it drives both of my headphones to earsplitting levels if I want to.

 

And above all,the very impressive resolution of low level detail in complex acoustic symphonic music definitely puts it in the HIGH END category in my world.

 

With Grado GS1000i or Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones this little thing sounds more real in those respects than ANY CD player I have ever heard irrespective of price.

 

Yes it is actually that good!

 

With this little thing you get real 24 bit resolution and up to 96khz sampling frequency via USB.

 

No RBCD player ever made can do that!

 

On the other hand it lacks a bit in true HIGH END capability

 

On its own it does not quite deliver REAL BODY, WEIGHT, SOUNDSTAGE and truly realistic BASS.

 

The good thing though,seems to be that even that problem can be partly overcome by using it as a USB DAC pre in combination with an amplifier and speakers and also in my case together with my home system headphone amp the Musical Fidelity V3 which has a separate PSU unit.

 

With this combination I have a 24/96 Dac that can seriously compete with some of my non DSD recorded SACDs in sound quality.

 

To take just one example the stunning SACD of Vaughan Williams London Symphony on Chandos sounds possibly even a bit better at least on my system played as a HI RES download than on SACD.

 

I have beeen playing most of my now over 150 gigabyte of hi res files this past week and this little thing reveals things better than other USB DACs I have listened to.

I have heard both the Belcanto, the Hegel ,the Benchmark and the Music streamer 11+

And without having any of them at hand right now it seems that in combo with my Headphone amp and PSU the little DACport is at least the equal of both the Belcanto and the Hegel and clearly better than the Musicstreamer.

 

I am not suggesting that it sounds as good as the more than 10 times more expensive new Weiss or even the Minerva.

 

But it certainly is very good and worth hearing at its very reasonable price 399 Dollars.

 

Play some really demanding large scale music like Pelle Gudmundsen´s

Plateuax pour piano et Orchestre a DACAPO 24/96 download or Acousence´s stunningly realistic Schostakowich 15 the symphony, or David Matthew´s on Chandos or 2L´s recent Trondheimssolistene in folkstyle for true musical enjoyment in hi res sound.

 

For 24/88.2 sampled recordings I would really recommend the BSO Daphnis and Cloe, pure sweet analogue Euphonia all the way via the DACport!

 

And with the 2L recording I can guarantee that the little DACport delivers the goods very close to the mastersound.

 

I was present at the sessions and although downsampled to 24/96 the sound via the DACport it still quite close to what I heard both Live and via the DAD in the control-room.

 

No recording system I am aware of takes me all the way ,not even the DAD and DXD,but even the DACport takes me close enough to just enjoy the music without any real complaints.

 

 

 

I don´t know how they did things.

 

But my ears tell me they did some of the most important things in music reproduction very right indeed!

 

And that is saying a lot in favour of this little toy!

 

Is it all I will ever need?

 

No, I still want to be able to play both 176.4, 192 and why not 358.2 or for that matter pure DSD at home so I am still looking for that ultimate DAC.

 

Meanwhile with the DACport in use, I will be able to listen to music with a smile on my face basically wherever I want to take my Macbook Pro and my headphones!

 

Chrille with another AMEN added to the list.

 

ps All the above of course using Pure Music Player in Memory Mode!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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on the Stereophile website it really appealed to me. It strikes me as the sort of thing I could carry around with the MBP and my Senn HD580s and barely know it's there. Unfortunately all my funds are tied up in the main system overhall at the moment. Something to look forward to then.

 

RS

 

Standard Mac mini 2010/iTunes (ALAC)/Pure Music & Pro-Ject RPM9.1/Ortofon Rondo Blue/Project PhonoBox SE -> Bel Canto DAC2.5 -> Acurus A200 -> Aphion Argon2 Anniversary/Impact500 & Sennheiser HD650 -> Comfy couch.

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  • 5 months later...

My DACport arrived today. My first impression was - boy, is this thing small. Nice build quality though. Streamlined. USB in one end, headphones out the other. The sound? Very limited listening so far, but I like what I'm hearing.

 

I've been using a Weiss DAC202 in my "portable" system, one that I would set up at a favourite coffee shop on weekends. Great sound, layers of detail to music, air around instruments - you name it. However, I'm getting tired of lugging the 202 around, the power and firewire cable, my MBP and assorted other cables, etc. People look at my table, many bemused, wondering what the hell I'm doing. Set-up and taking down takes about 7 minutes each. The DACport is a nice, small & wonderful sounding device. Set-up is as simple as can be. It's certainly not the same as listening to the 202, but I hardly expected it to be. However, I love the fact that the DACport actually sounds good, and is hardly noticeable. The 202 is of course a much more expensive device, and does sound better overall, but it should given the price & build quality. For what it does, however, the DACport is a bargain.

 

Home system - Naim 272 preamp/streamer, Naim 250DR power amp, Naim Core ripper/server, Chord Dave DAC, iMac running Audirvana, Burmester B10 speakers, JL e-type subwoofer, Focal Utopia headphones, Siltech Ruby Mountain II power cable for the amp, Naim Powerline power cables for my other Naim equipment, Siltech Golden Eagle digital cable, Crystal Cable Reference speaker cables, Audioquest Diamond USB cable, Furutech power distributor, attached to the wall with a short run of Odin power cable.

 

Portable system - A&K SP1000 DAP, Focal Utopia headphones, ALO Audio Continental tube portable headphone amp.

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I like my DACPort, and use it when I travel with a laptop. Perfect traveling DAC/AMP in my opinion. No batteries to mess with or charge, asynchronous USB, which you don't see regularly on a portable DAC.

 

Recommended.

 

[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > DIY M2x Monoblocks > Daedalus Audio Muse Studio Speakers

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > Boulder 508 (Zu DL-103/Hana ML/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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Hi Chris,

 

Comparing two DACs on the basis of Adaptive vs. Asynchronous is like compaing two cars on the basis of motor oil. Somehow we are forgetting engine power, steering responsiveness, gas tank capacity, ride quality, comfort features, etc. People on his forum are smarter than that. They know that a buzzword doesn't a successful product make.

 

Less than a year since it's release, DACport was just named runner up in Stereophile's DAC of the year award. And funny thing is - the winner of the line-up also uses our Adaptive USB technology. May be we can finally cast some doubt on the validity of a single buzzword? What if it's actually not an issue how you communcate with the computer if you know what you are doing? Thousands of customers can't be wrong...

 

Before we focus on an isolated buzzword, perhaps we should actually listen to sound quality.

 

Cheers,

 

Michael

 

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Hi Michael - I certainly didn't compare any DACs let alone DACs on the basis of how they communicate with a computer. I simply needed to correct a previous post. Misinformation is not something I like spreading here on Computer Audiophile.

 

That said, I think you are trying to minimize the difference between asynchronous and adaptive USB. Equating USB communication modes to motor oil in a car is quite misleading. Let's stick to the facts and let people decide the importance of each component themselves.

 

 

 

Adaptive Mode USB Audio

The computer controls the audio transfer rate.

The USB DAC must update its master clock once per millisecond.

USB runs at 12 MHz whereas 44.1 audio runs at 11.2896 MHz.

The USB DAC must derive its clock from a frequency synthesizer.

The computer sends USB audio with many variations in timing when an adaptive DAC is used, thus more jitter that must be dealt with through a number of possibly compromising processes.

 

Asynchronous USB Audio

The DAC controls the computer

Master clock located in the DAC

 

 

 

Your comments about the Stereophile awards are incorrect at best and purposely misleading at worse. The DACport was not named Runner Up for DAC of the year. The DACport was named as one of four Runners Up for Headphone Component of Year. The Benchmark DAC1 HDR was the top selection. None of the components in the running for Headphone Component of the Year offer asynchronous USB transfer mode.

 

 

 

As I've always said people need to listen to products themselves. It's entirely possible to create terrible adaptive and asynchronous DACs. The USB transfer mode (asynchronous or adaptive) is one of many pieces to the puzzle. In my and many respected audio engineer's opinions this transfer mode plays a critical role in the final sound quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I stand corrected - DACport is not the "Runner up", but "One of four runners up". Sorry for such a glaring omission...

 

The rest, however still stands:

 

1) Benchmark DAC-1 HDR uses CEntrance Adaptive USB transfer mode

2) DACport uses CEntrance Adaptive USB transfer mode

3) None of the components in the running for Headphone Component of the Year offer asynchronous USB transfer mode.

 

Adaptive and Asynchronous are different technologies, in theory. But there is a crucial distinction between comparing dictionary definitions and actual practical implementations. That's where the argument falls apart, because what you buy is the experience of a designer, not a dry dictionary definition. The final product, no matter what's under the hood, is where reality takes over and theoretical argument alone does not carry the day. Actual implementation is what wins you the award, not a textbook definition.

 

Now for my turn to address an "incorrect at best and purposely misleading at worst" comment in your reply:

 

Adaptive Mode USB Audio

...

"The USB DAC must derive its clock from a frequency synthesizer."

...

 

This phrase may be written by someone who either doesn't know of other options, or purposely twists their words around. All of our Adaptive DACs get their clock from a precise, local, mil-spec, 1ppm, quartz oscillator, and NOT from a frequency synthesizer. Using the word "must" therefore is misleading to the customer and spreads disinformation.

 

---

 

Just listen to the gear guys, don't fall for marketing terminology... a buzzword doesn't a DAC make.

 

 

 

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Michael - You're picking and choosing pieces to emphasize instead of looking at the whole. Sure you were one of four runners up. That's but one piece of your initial misinformation. The fact that there was no category for DAC of the Year yet you claimed to be runner up for DAC of the Year is pretty disingenuous. I'm not seeking to attack you I just want readers to have the correct information. People will read this thread for years, thanks to Google, and it would be a bad thing for them to read misinformation and make a purchase based on this misinformation.

 

Nobody here has ever claimed that async or adaptive are in and of themselves better than the other. You keep beating the drum about this but you're preaching to the choir. Computer Audiophile readers fully understand the skill of the designer matters very much.

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hi Chris,

 

I kindly request that we are careful with language. You say that you're not seeking to attack me and then you contradict yourself by taking a positive comment "Being a runner up" and misconstruing it by making a negative implication in the following sentence. Sadly, that exaggerates your point out of context and while expressing an attitude, fails to give your readers correct information.

 

We can play with semantics all day long, but the fact is that DACport (http://www.dacport.com) is a USB DAC with a headphone amp. The only way to experience DACport is over USB. You could say that the category name is not ideal for it, but that's a different matter. We didn't invent the category name, we only got the mention.

 

Sorry if in haste I chose imprecise phrasing in my earlier post. I can see how that offended you. Let's put away our armor and get on with the business of listening.

 

 

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