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Hi,

 

My first post so be gentle with...

 

Firstly, just a little history. For more years than I care to remeber I have been a Naim/Linn user, but during 2007 I made some massive changes to my system. Out went the CDX2/XPS2 282 pre + HiCap and 250.2 power amp and in came a Mac/DAC1/Lamm LL2 pre and Dave Berning ZH-270 amp.

 

I could not beleive the sound quality I was getting from a Mac/DAC1 combo and to date I have not missed my CD player!

 

I currently have my Benchmark set to 0db which I find to be the best jumper setting for me. I have been looking at getting the maximum from a Mac/DAC combo and came across Emperical Audio and their modifications to the DAC1 and the Pace Car reclocker.

 

Can anyone please explain to me in simple terms if a Pace Car should be used with a modified DAC1 and if so why and what would be the benefits?

 

Can I also say what a great website and I'm just loving computer audio.

 

Monty

 

 

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Welcome to the site Monty. No need to worry about our readers being harsh on you. This is a laid back forum/website. Whether it is your first or four-thousandth post we still value your questions and input. Chances are if you are wondering something so are thousands of other readers.

 

I am also using a Mac / DAC1 combo and will never purchase another CD player.

 

Now on to your question. I spent some time in the Empirical Audio suite in Vegas last week and I was very impressed with Steve's products. I think a great next step for you would be moving to the modified DAC1 and Pacecar reclocker. We had one of our Computer Audiophile users comment on his experience with the pacecar and he was very happy with it. Here is the link to his comment if you haven't read it already - Pacecar comment.

 

To answer your specific question I will see if Steve from Empirical Audio will join the discussion. There is nothing better than getting information straight from the source. As I'm sure you know the Internet is full of misinformation and once it gets rolling the snowball effect is hard to stop.

 

Thanks for the nice comments on the site. we look forward to your further contribution and questions.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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On the Headphile forum many people, including Elias of Benchmark, maintained a thread discussing the DAC1. It was up to about 54 pages before the forum blew up.

 

One of the hot topics was DAC1 modifications. One of the more passionate posters took Elias to task for some of their design choices, and said his mods improved the unit. Elias said that they regularly receive modified DAC1s in their shop, and when subjected to their standard test suite the mods degrade the performance.

 

Clearly people are hearing some difference. Is it better? Worse? Good question.

 

I also question the necessity of the Pace Car. The DAC1 itself reclocks the signal it receives, so I don't know why another reclocking would help. The DAC1 throws away the incoming clock.

 

Background: I own two DAC1s. The first one was a somewhat unexpected solution to the problem of needing a good headphone amp. The second followed almost immediately based on the sound quality of the first. I use them with a Mac G4 Powerbook, with the USB version connected to a power amp and the non-USB one in the bedroom with the Squeezebox.

 

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First, regarding mods to the DAC-1: Elias has NEVER received one of my modded DAC-1's in his shop, so he has no idea what they sound or measure like. I have a hundred happy customers, some of whom have sold DAC's including the Accoustic Arts, EMM labs and other expensive stock DAC's when they received my modded DAC-1. All you have to do is read the feedbacks on the forums (all links are on my website).

 

Second, regarding reclockers and their ability to ignore incoming jitter: I have yet to find an upsampler chip that is completely resistant to incoming jitter. Much better to reclock through a buffer. Even doing this is evidently not totally immune because of power supply crosstalk.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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Monty - If you have a standard DAC-1, and you want to drive it wired from a Mac laptop, then I would recommend the I2S interface for the DAC-1 and an Off-Ramp I2S USB converter. This will come very close the the Pace-Car reclocker in performance at lower cost. The I2S interface on the DAC-1 is an advantage with either the Off-Ramp or the Pace-Car. Lower jitter.

 

Using the Pace-Car direct S/PDIF or using a USB converter requires that I tune the Pace-Car to the laptop. If you go with the Off-Ramp I2S ot Turbo 2, then I dont need your laptop to tune anything.

 

If you have a DAC-1 USB that you are driving USB from the Mac, then I would recommend a Superclock4, Turbomod and op-amp upgrade. This is almost as good as the Off-Ramp I2S driving the I2S on a standard DAC-1.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have a USB DAC1 that I am driving from my Mac.

 

What I'm really trying to do is optimize my USB DAC1 to get the very best from my Mac and give the best possible source for my amps.

 

Thanks,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Monty,

 

The Benchmark as others use a upsampler to reduce jitter between the digital input and the dac.

 

If you are using the USB input from a MAC I would think and Steve may agree with this point that further modification of the Benchmark may not really yield any better preformance.

 

If you are using SPDIF off the MAC then I would say it would be well worth the $ to talk to Steve.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Glad to see that Steve and Gordon have posted comments to this thread. I hope to see more from them in the future.

 

Gordon, i am beginning to salivate over the new Proton unit that Chris told us about just the other day. Is there a way to bypass/defeat the headphone section of this product?

 

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Gordon - no, I do not agree. There are few changes to the DAC-1 USB that also improve the sound quality significantly. The no-brainer is upgrading the clock to a Superclock4. The other changes have to do with significant circuit changes, such as eliminating the coupling caps and making it DC-coupled. This is only the tip of the iceberg of my Turbomod, which is quite extensive, and a bit expensive because it is so labor-intensive. Wow, I guess I made a tongue-twister!

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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Steve,

 

Since he was talking about the Pace Car I assumed the question was geared towards removal of jitter.

 

Sure what you say can improve the sound and I have done that also. It does take a ton of time especially with all those surface mount components.

 

But really at some point you have to look at the diminishing returns.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Hi,

 

As I sort of said in my first post, my journey to this point has been quite a ride. I never believed for one moment that a Mac running into a DAC could match an expensive CD player and in many instances out perform it.

 

Where I want to go next, is to optimize the audio potential of my Benchmark DAC1 that I have directly hooked up to my Mac and Steve seems to have given me the best value option.

 

I also need to know more about the science and terminology associated with computer audio - a whole new brave world to a ludite like myself!

 

Cheers,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Monty - there is a lot of reading on Audiogon, Audiocircle, Head-fi and here, as well as my own website and forum.

 

The problem is that this is a fast-changing area. Reading old posts about USB playback will lead you astray for instance. USB playback can be outstanding now, as well as using servers such as Olive, Sonos, Squeezebox and others. Just need to make the right choices to get good results.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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