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cafeintegral's picture
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DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

Long time reader, first time poster here, needing a bitch of advice. 

 

I am looking for a DAC recommendation, I've done tons of reading and research and can likely afford to audition two of these with the manufacturer's generous policies. A good DAC is important to me, and allowing some room for it to grow with the system is nice, though I dont see my system taking a quantum leap any time in the 5 year plan. I undersatnd the hype/snake oil and "science" angles and really I'm looking for a sound investment that is generously featured and will keep me happy and content.

Must Haves:

-Optical IN - 

Bonus: Gain/Volume Control

 

Brief system breakdown:

Airplay to Airport Express or AppleTV optical out into DAC - 

 - From here I would run it into one of two amps: A Sansui AU5900 that is sounding great, or an AU317 - which was just recapped and reconditioned, also sounds great with some room for improvement once it's done burning in. This feeds to a pair of Cambridge SX-50's - nothing too crazy. 

 

Generally, I like the sound the Amps give me with my table, and I often use the Loudness curve since quiet ambient listening is what I use during the work day. When turned up I either prefer a flat curve, or a touch of EQ sometimes adding/removing bass or adding/removing treble. 

 

On to the suspects:

In the sub-$200 region:

Audioengine D1

In the sub-$300 ranks:

Emotiva XDA-2

DACMagic 100

In the sub $400 rank:

Cambridge DACMagic Plus - Available for about $420

Schiit Bifrost - $349 with Uber costing $419, but still in the same ballpark

NAD D 1050 - Can swing one for about $405

 

I understand that this last category is a bit more volatile, since the pricing is more attractive that their retail and makes them. They also may stand to be a considerable jump.  Then again, the Emotiva retailed at $400 when it launched. 

 

Anwyays, your advice will be greatly appreciated, as it's been tough really nailing this down.  I am thinking of test driving a couple of them, and retunring the other. Would rather NOT spend the $400, but if its worth it for a long time, then I might as well.  But if say the D1 is enough, then let's be honest. 

 

Thanks in advance, 

 

 

 

gasolin's picture
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RE: DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

Volume knob on Nad D1050 is only for headphone, mabye Nad  D3020 (amp and dac)

 

 

Overdose's picture
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RE: DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

In all honesty, unless you are using an earlier AEX you won't notice much, if any difference from just the AEX analogue output.

 

alchemy1969's picture
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RE: DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

My recomendation in 200 region is  CA Dac Magic 100 , after 1,5 year of every day listening and 3 other DAC compare that is best DAC for that money....

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