Probably nobody mentioned the Fiio D3 because apart from lack of USB (the guy is after building a computer based setup) even with the new chipset its not very audiophile sounding at all. It's cheap for a reason, unlike the hifimediy which is just cheap for no reason.
I'd like to think that any competent DAC didn't have any sort of sound and was transparent.
I usually aim for 'high fidelity' over 'high end' or 'audiophile', myself.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
I would suggest a second hand beresford caiman as that should be bang on £150. I think the newer bushmaster comes in at 200 after tax and shipping which is out of budget.
I have both the beresford tc-7520 (model before caiman) and the rpac. Beresford is miles better than the rpac. Rpac has no bass and the vocals are too forward for me. And thats on both headphones and through a hifi setup.
I also have the lindy and thats ok for the money, better than onboard sound. But..."you get what you pay for" still applies
Hi-Fi: Beresford TC-7520 Dac --> Marantz PM7000 Amp ---> B&W CM1
Headphone Setup: Arcam RPAC --> AKG 450
overdose you might be a little right, a lot of Audiophilles don't like music, in fact every audiophile show I go to they positively hate music and play midrange heavy jazz!. But it's not the kind of meaning I had in mind when I wrote audiophille, perhaps it's a UK interpretation
Also, I wonder how 450's and CM1's might be screwing with how the rpac sounds, could be the wolfson thing like the d3 though.
Sabre 902x and pcm179x range sound good tomy ears Although I have an old Meridian bitstream somewhere I liked for a long time.
hifimediy usb dac (100hrs+ run in!), Jungson JA-88D, Jungson Impression MK2, Vincent LS-310, Usher S520, Pink Triangle, Denon, Marantz, Modded Behringer, TDL, Harman Kardon!, Yamaha.
SUPERLUX 668B, 681 MK1 with parametric EQ (Electri-Q)
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