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New to computer based music - what DAC?

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Pete68's picture
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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

I have been doing a fair bit of research latley about which DAC to to get to go with a Sonos. Interesting candidates are

 

Sonos Connect modification - Basically a reclock making the Sonos a real peice of HiFi (£499)

HJC Reference Series 24 bit DAC - I have read good things about these from people who have them (£395)

NOS Mini DAC Octave - Also read good things about this being a DAC that can match DACs at the very high end of the pricing scale

 

I think it's worth spending money on a DAC if you go down the Sonos/digital route as for a lot of people it soon becomes there primary source of listening.

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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

Overdose wrote:

subseastu wrote:
Had a look at that and it doesn't really forfill what I want. If performance doesn't improve a great deal with price in relation to DACs then why is there such a spread of prices? Surely everyone would be buying £20 ones off ebay. I want a DAC that will play at the high resolution rates because I'm ripping my CD's in FLAC. Do DACs inpart their own signitures on the music?

CDs ripped to FLAC are CD resolution, ie 44.1KHz/16 bit. The DAC linked to will play them just fine.

Not all things are equal and really cheap DACs may well not perform as well as expensive ones, but the difference between them all is not as large as you may think. The DAC I linked to is a very good DAC and is just about audibly transparent, ie it should not impart a sound of its own.

The key to any piece of equipment is in its design, not its cost. DAC components are incredibly cheap (in fact most electronic components). The difference in price is more closely related to the cost of the bling attached and extra features, eg. More inputs, volume control (sometimes remote), analogue inputs, preamp section, nice case and a brand name.

If you want to spend a lot of money, then get yourself a Benchmark DAC 1. It is a reference quality DAC and its real terms audible performance will not be bettered, regardless of claim, as it is truly audibly transparent.

If you read up about the DAC I linked to, you will find that the designer built and tested it against the Benchmark, with favourable results. There is something like a 9 times price differential.

 

I know what you mean about paying extra for the bling and name of the product but I was lead to believe that a dac that could use 194Khz would be better for music reproduction? I'll have another lok at the DAc you linked to though.
Thanks for information.

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subseastu's picture
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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

12Designs wrote:

I have been doing a fair bit of research latley about which DAC to to get to go with a Sonos. Interesting candidates are

 

Sonos Connect modification - Basically a reclock making the Sonos a real peice of HiFi (£499)

HJC Reference Series 24 bit DAC - I have read good things about these from people who have them (£395)

NOS Mini DAC Octave - Also read good things about this being a DAC that can match DACs at the very high end of the pricing scale

I think it's worth spending money on a DAC if you go down the Sonos/digital route as for a lot of people it soon becomes there primary source of listening.

I've seen the Sonos mod beofre but I'm unsure about it due to some limitations that it may bring into the system

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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

Don't laugh at the moment I have a maplin USB wireless audio  unit streaming my PC content to my amp and speakers. This cost £40 yes £40! and I'm struggling to find a difference in sound quality compared to my Arcam 7 Cd player. Amp is Arcam 7 and speakers are TDL RTL floor standers. The Audio Pro WF100 sound interesting ( within my budget) but I'm still not convinced I would hear a difference.

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Ah that's a useful post ^^^ I

Ah that's a useful post ^^^ I forget which thread, but someone was asking on here only the other day if anyone had experience of the Maplin's DAC and nobody had.

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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

12Designs wrote:

I have been doing a fair bit of research latley about which DAC to to get to go with a Sonos. Interesting candidates are

 

Sonos Connect modification - Basically a reclock making the Sonos a real peice of HiFi (£499)

HJC Reference Series 24 bit DAC - I have read good things about these from people who have them (£395)

NOS Mini DAC Octave - Also read good things about this being a DAC that can match DACs at the very high end of the pricing scale

 

I think it's worth spending money on a DAC if you go down the Sonos/digital route as for a lot of people it soon becomes there primary source of listening.

I've got the Metrum Acoustics Octave DAC (mark 1 - see sig.) and it's a great piece of kit. The trouble is it's so transparant and honest that it doesn't make the Sonos sound that great.  I've never rated the Sonos that highly for sound quality to be honest. I've always wondered if there was something I was doing wrong...

 

 

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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

ngibbs wrote:

I've got the Metrum Acoustics Octave DAC (mark 1 - see sig.) and it's a great piece of kit. The trouble is it's so transparant and honest that it doesn't make the Sonos sound that great.  I've never rated the Sonos that highly for sound quality to be honest. I've always wondered if there was something I was doing wrong...

The common complaint from some quarters is that the Sonos suffers from jitter. A good DAC should be able to mitigate this problem, perceived or otherwise, so if the Sonos doesn't sound great through your DAC, it probably says more about the shortcomings of the DAC than of the Sonos.

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RE: New to computer based music - what DAC?

I know I'm joining this one a bit late but I spent a lot of time listening to DACs before I bought my PS Audio Digital Link 111 and used an ipod and Sonos as sources (both with WAV files). There is no doubt to me that a DAC greatly improves the Sonos sound. Other than the PS Audio (difficult to find and mine is now discontinued) I thought the Arcam rdac sounded pretty good. The Rega was also good, as was the MF but of what is readily available out there I would go for an Audiolab M-Dac if you feel that the difference in price over the Arcam is justified. 

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