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Is there any high end DAC that can sound as good as turntable ($10,000 budget for each)


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Hello, 

I currently have a DAC and streamer setup which cost about $3000. Recently, I bought a turntable with phono preamp, which cost $600. 

 

I compared the sound by some familiar songs and found that the turntable combo sound 90% detailed as the DAC combo but it is more emotional, involving and better soundstage. The only problem with this turntable option is that I don't have LPs and I don't want to spend $$$$ to build an LP library that can make me happy as I am now with Tidal. 

 

I have a friend, he is a fan of turntables and recently switched to Reel to reel. He also has a Wavelength DAC cost $3000 but he said there was a big gap between his digital and his analog sources. 

 

My question is if there is any higher end DAC and streamer combo  that can beat turntable and phono preamp combo (let's say the budget for each combo is $10,000)?  Or there is always something that is limited only to analog sources like turntables, reel to reel and this makes no DAC can replace them?

 

Thank you.

Huy

 

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Do you plan yo use Roon ?

What is your other items ?

 

You may like Dave (look here, he likes Dave a lot). 
 

I normally don’t promote my Theta Generation VIII much as it’s expensive and only supports AES/EBU and SPDIF. But maybe worth to test it against other DAC’s if you have that possibility. 
 

Old DAC’s may sound very good and may “beat” many of today’s DAC’s.


I like to give an advice that many probably will disagree in. Stay away from USB. Use optical Ethernet only. (Well then only Lumin left I guess 😀). 
 

From one of the links above:

“It has been stated that the reverberation time in a large venue like Carnegie Hall measures between 1.8 to 2 seconds.  At the Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center just a mile away, this more intimate arena has a shorter reverberation time of 1.4-1.5 seconds.  Which is preferable depends on whether I am listening to a solo guitar, four string quartet or a full orchestra but regardless, I very much enjoy hearing the acoustics of a great building and never would I prefer to hear music in an anechoic chamber.  This is where most DACs stumble and where I find the DAVE excels.  This is also where I find PCM superior to DSD.  DSD provides you an expansive and a soft "tube-like" sound but this softness, which can be a wonderful way of masking the harshness of many chip DACs also results in a diffuse and imprecise presentation with respect to depth and timing and my careful A/B of my own recordings has convinced me of this.  As someone who values the accurate spatial portrayal of a live musical performance, I have found that a good music server can providemuch but a good DAC can provide more”.

 

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2 hours ago, quanghuy147 said:

Hello, 

I currently have a DAC and streamer setup which cost about $3000. Recently, I bought a turntable with phono preamp, which cost $600. 

 

I compared the sound by some familiar songs and found that the turntable combo sound 90% detailed as the DAC combo but it is more emotional, involving and better soundstage. The only problem with this turntable option is that I don't have LPs and I don't want to spend $$$$ to build an LP library that can make me happy as I am now with Tidal. 

 

I have a friend, he is a fan of turntables and recently switched to Reel to reel. He also has a Wavelength DAC cost $3000 but he said there was a big gap between his digital and his analog sources. 

 

My question is if there is any higher end DAC and streamer combo  that can beat turntable and phono preamp combo (let's say the budget for each combo is $10,000)?  Or there is always something that is limited only to analog sources like turntables, reel to reel and this makes no DAC can replace them?

 

Thank you.

Huy

 

If you go to a hifi show where they are comparing analog to digital, typically half the room will prefer analog, half digital. You are in the former catagory so just make sure you only take advice from folks who actively run turntables. I don't have any recommendations as I am in the same boat as you. The best sound I've achieved so far has been with files, rather than Tidal though. 

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I'd like to quote @dminches who's very well versed in both digital and analog domains

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-245#post-676299

Quote

The power supply is way more important than the computer itself. And then it is the tuning of the software and firmware.

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/60329-analog-still-better/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-1078341

On 9/6/2020 at 11:07 AM, dminches said:

I enjoy both formats.  I listen to reels, LPs and digital files.  I prefer analog but after getting the Pacific and the Sean Jacobs DC4 for my server I am enjoying digital more and more.

 

I don’t know why people argue as to which one is “better.”  People should just listen to what they like.

 

Most likely DC4 should be one of the best choices out there

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/59258-sean-jacobs-custom-hifi-cables-dc34/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-1053536

On 5/22/2020 at 6:01 AM, adamaley said:

My DC4 arrived today. First impressions are a little overwhelming. It leaves me wondering why I hadn't made this jump all this while.

 

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20 hours ago, quanghuy147 said:

I currently have a DAC and streamer setup which cost about $3000. Recently, I bought a turntable with phono preamp, which cost $600. 

 

I compared the sound by some familiar songs and found that the turntable combo sound 90% detailed as the DAC combo but it is more emotional, involving and better soundstage...

 

I have a friend, ...He also has a Wavelength DAC cost $3000 but he said there was a big gap between his digital and his analog sources. 

 

My question is if there is any higher end DAC and streamer combo  that can beat turntable and phono preamp combo (let's say the budget for each combo is $10,000)?  Or there is always something that is limited only to analog sources like turntables, reel to reel and this makes no DAC can replace them?

It is always hard to know because some people just really like vinyl even when presented with state of the art digital sound which I personally think sounds far superior.

Wavelength DACs were great when they first came out... They might have been one of the first asynchronous USB DACs out there. Not sure how competitive they are nowadays.

I find for people who are looking for digital sound that surpasses their expectations of vinyl, most people are not happy with DAC chip DACs. Some people prefer Chord DACs, others DSD DACs, e.g. PS Audio DirectStream, while many actually prefer ladder DACs such as your Schiit Yggdrasil. It is always difficult to guess what you’re looking for.

It is also difficult to know why you found vinyls being more emotional or with better soundstage. Yggdrasil probably has more low-level signal linearity issues even compared to most ladder DACs which are more prone to this issue so maybe that’s where your soundstage issue comes from. It is possible that if you bypass the Yggdrasil upsampling and use HQPlayer to upsample and noise shape the 384kHz signal into the DAC, you might get the sound you want? Or maybe you’ll be happier with the next-level ladder DAC? Some people prefer ladder DACs with no oversampling (unlike Yggdrasil) and personally I think it’s because non-oversampling filters introduce euphonic harmonic distortions.

But as @seeteeyou said, it is definitely possible that your digital streamer/server power supply is introducing too much noise into your DAC, undermining the performance of your DAC.

Unfortunately, without auditioning a new DAC at your home (or trying those power supplies recommended), it’ll be very difficult for you to know whether you’ll be able to get the sound you’re looking for. But if you’re mostly using Tidal and have a digital setup, I don’t think you should switch to LPs. Best to invest your time and money into digital audio.

The other issue is about bang for the buck. Not sure if you’re a headphone listener or speakers. Simple digital parametric EQ for DSP/room correction all the way to more complicated convolution filters can dramatically improve the speaker sound (which would be much harder to do with vinyl). And the cost for that would be significantly less than thousands of dollars in upgrading to a new DAC. Just something to think about, perhaps

Roon (convolution filter using Acourate) > ultraRendu > Peachtree X1 (Toslink) > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature + Sunfire TS-EQ10 subwoofers

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10 hours ago, ecwl said:

But as @seeteeyou said, it is definitely possible that your digital streamer/server power supply is introducing too much noise into your DAC, undermining the performance of your DAC.

 One and a half has also discussed that aspect in the previous post.

Quote

Have often thought about a R2R or even DAT, but the mechanical transport problems do outweigh the romance and nostalgia associated with the machines.- one and a half

 I previously owned a Sony DAT player but they were costly to maintain as Gary has said.(above) and there were very few pre-recorded DAT music tapes.

 I have also previously owned a Nakamichi cassette deck, and they sounded great after being tweaked, but maintenance costs were also quite expensive, as were the cost of Metal tapes needed for the highest quality recordings.

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 28-06-2020

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2 hours ago, sandyk said:

 One and a half has also discussed that aspect in the previous post.

 I previously owned a Sony DAT player but they were costly to maintain as Gary has said.(above) and there were very few pre-recorded DAT music tapes.

 I have also previously owned a Nakamichi cassette deck, and they sounded great after being tweaked, but maintenance costs were also quite expensive, as were the cost of Metal tapes needed for the highest quality recordings.

See also from Ken Kessler:

 

"For any format, whether new or revived, it is the availability of pre-recorded music that determines its health. That's why the LP came back like gangbusters, and the otherwise-hugely-impressive Elcaset withered away."

 

Yup, cassettes in various forms are very complex, especially DAT. I also recall the cost of Metal tapes, and they were chewed up as equally with the poor LN Type 1 tapes. Nice to remember them, but also nice to forget. A lot of DAT tapes out there, underground with musicians, as they recorded direct to DAT as masters. That's now what 30 years old tapes, condition of which would not be great.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/24966-ecdesigns/page/15/?tab=comments#comment-1066676  

On 7/10/2020 at 6:28 AM, hopkins said:

I was listening today to "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section" , and it had incredible drive, which I had only previously heard with a vinyl setup. Very dynamic.

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/24966-ecdesigns/page/47/?tab=comments#comment-1084035

1 hour ago, hopkins said:

I get what people say about vinyl, and its funny to see that you can get dynamic and vivid sound so easily with a basic turntable, whereas digital can require much more effort. 

 

But I find my digital rig equally satisfying now. So its all good :) 

 

Here they are, you'll have to purchase both items as a complete set

 

https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/da96etf

https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/shop/da96etf

 

https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/u192etl

https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/shop/u192etl

 

Hopefully they're able to ship outside EU

 

https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/corona-impact-on-production-and-sales

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7 minutes ago, Kal Rubinson said:

The problem for me is that there has not been a relevant new vinyl issue in 2 decades.  So, who cares?

 

You don't listen to anything recorded in the 20th century? 

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27 minutes ago, Rexp said:

And vinyl is much better according to this EC Designs user.... 

 

 

 

Norton has a much much better vinyl rig than me, and I refrained from posting my point of view here, but the OP did mention he has a relatively modest vinyl rig as well... 

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16 minutes ago, hopkins said:

 

Norton has a much much better vinyl rig than me, and I refrained from posting my point of view here, but the OP did mention he has a relatively modest vinyl rig as well... 

I'm sure the ECD DAC is excellent, one of many good DAC's out there, I think you might agree that the server/player is more important than the DAC? 

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Just now, Rexp said:

I'm sure the ECD DAC is excellent, one of many good DAC's out there, I think you might agree that the server/player is more important than the DAC? 

 

Yes, one of many. 

I think both server/player and DAC contribute. Neither are perfect... 

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The only real answer is, possibly...

 

There are millions of combinations of items on both sides that make this an impossible question to answer.

 

A good first step with regards to vinyl playback is get a table with exceptionally low Wow and Flutter, such as the Technics SL1200G. Full disclosure, I own one. It practically eliminates speed variations compared to the belt driven variety of turntables.

https://www.technics.com/us/products/grand-class/direct-drive-turntable-system-sl-1200g.html

No electron left behind...

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13 hours ago, hopkins said:

 

You don't listen to anything recorded in the 20th century? 

Sure. But for the past 2 decades, we have been in the 21st century and I have thousands of recordings made in this period.  My point is that there have been no new classical vinyl releases (save for a handful of "audiophile specials) recorded in the 2 decades.

Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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8 minutes ago, Kal Rubinson said:

Sure. But for the past 2 decades, we have been in the 21st century and I have thousands of recordings made in this period.  My point is that there have been no new classical vinyl releases (save for a handful of "audiophile specials) recorded in the 2 decades.

 

Exactly, to quote you "who cares" ... 

 

Vinyl and digital do not have to ne mutually exclusive. 

 

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The OP was asking:

 

“My question is if there is any higher end DAC and streamer combo  that can beat turntable and phono preamp combo (let's say the budget for each combo is $10,000)?  Or there is always something that is limited only to analog sources like turntables, reel to reel and this makes no DAC can replace them? “
 

I think he would like suggestions for what equipment worth looking at. 

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It all depends on the Turntable, the phono amp, arm and cartridge, amp, speakers used. Pretty much the same can be said for the DAC, depends on which dac connected to which equipment and speakers.  $$$ $ at times do come into play.

The Truth Is Out There

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