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DACmagic+ PSU Upgrade

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SteveR750's picture
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There's lots on ebay, some purporting to transform it into a world beater. I take that with a whole cellar full of salt, but do they really make £200 worth of improvement? If so, how does it compare to say an IC change? Is it as subtle as high bitrate lossy files to CDA? 

My DAC quest is still live, but much as I liked the Chord Qute, it's ridicuously over priced given the fairly small difference sonically between the DACmagic+ in my system.

If they do improve the sound, then how? I dont want to spend £200 on a placebo device...

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Overdose's picture
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RE: DACmagic+ PSU Upgrade

SteveR750 wrote:

There's lots on ebay, some purporting to transform it into a world beater. I take that with a whole cellar full of salt, but do they really make £200 worth of improvement? If so, how does it compare to say an IC change? Is it as subtle as high bitrate lossy files to CDA? 

My DAC quest is still live, but much as I liked the Chord Qute, it's ridicuously over priced given the fairly small difference sonically between the DACmagic+ in my system.

If they do improve the sound, then how? I dont want to spend £200 on a placebo device...

It is very difficult to differentiate DACs and digital sources in general, even given large price differentials (which have little to do with sound quality), so it will be even more difficult to determine any differences between so called accessories. If a power supply is properly designed, it will not be a problem in the first place and I have not heard anything about the DACmagic Plus (or any other DAC for that matter) that suggests a problem with a PSU.

What does a substandard PSU sound like anyway? I cannot imagine a manufacturer letting a quality product out of the door that had a sub standard power supply creating audible artifacts. It would not be good for business and would be trashed in reviews. When was the last time you heard a review stating that the reviewer felt an improved power supply is required? If any manufacturer is selling a line of equipment that offers an upgrade path for the power supply, then I'd be instantly suspicious.

A power supply has a simple job and doesn't in any case, cause any change in the sound presentation. I haven't bought various upgrade power supplies to know this, but I have built several with very obvious circuitry changes, capacitor arrangements and transformer types none have been a problem and all have done the job they were designed to do, ie provide power only.

If you don't want to spend £200 on a placaebo effect, then leave the PSU alone. That will buy you a fair amount of new music.

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: DACmagic+ PSU Upgrade

SteveR750 wrote:

There's lots on ebay, some purporting to transform it into a world beater. I take that with a whole cellar full of salt, but do they really make £200 worth of improvement? If so, how does it compare to say an IC change? Is it as subtle as high bitrate lossy files to CDA? 

My DAC quest is still live, but much as I liked the Chord Qute, it's ridicuously over priced given the fairly small difference sonically between the DACmagic+ in my system.

If they do improve the sound, then how? I dont want to spend £200 on a placebo device...

Tricky one, Steve. You've tried several different dacs over recent months without finding a solution. Can't answer your question directly as I've no experience with these PSU upgrades.

The only thing I can say, drawing on my own experience of a Rega Dac recently, is the uplift is small at best. Honestly found a bigger upgrade with Naim Nait 5i-2 CDP. But as you've got cracking speakers and amp already I don't really know what to suggest, other than enjoy your kit. Smile

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Formerly known as plastic penguin

SteveR750's picture
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Joined: 12 Mar 2005
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RE: DACmagic+ PSU Upgrade

OD, my ythoughts too, but I am intrigued by these things...

The question was more borne of such intrigue and not any real desire t spend any money, after I bought a new TV and DVD + soundbar thingy over Xmas, plus a sky subscription, I'm  watching a lot more TV. That and traveling a lot more with my new job means my Galaxy S3 and spotify is getting the most use; and I have to say, if music is just an emotional experience, then that delivers 99% of that which my home system does (and I'd argue that the additional 1% is only some kind of feel-good-cos-its-nice-kit kind of emotion if I was really truthful....but I'm not, so it doesn't sound as good).

In fact my biggest itch is portable travel headphones, I have a real love / hate thing going on with the etymotic HF3 but that's another thread.

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Overdose's picture
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RE: DACmagic+ PSU Upgrade

If you're handy with a soldering iron, why not try a few cheap DIY power supplies? It would be easy enough and far cheaper than buying a bespoke solution. You'll also gain some insight into what goes into a PSU and maybe pick up some new skills.

If you have an itch, then it needs to be scratched. Wink

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