My recommendation would be the NAD C545 (now going cheap!) which I've used into a Rotel RA02 for a few years. Superbly transparent.
Rega RP6/DV20X2L/Naim CD5XS/Flatcap XS/Naim NAT05XS/Pioneer N50/amp ??/Dynaudio 1.8-II
Well as I've mentioned I already have an Audiolab M-DAC on order to try out at home, with QED coaxial and interconnects.
Can't wait to try it out, should be arriving Saturday so I will let you know how it goes, I read a few people mentioning it's abit bright at times. To be honest though I do find my Rotel + B&W combinations does hit deep and sometimes lacks a little high end with electronic music, with rock it can be a little bright though. I will see how it goes.
Can someone ansrew me a couple of questions though:
Does the SPDIF connection bypass the onboard DAC on my soundcard, I assume this is the case?
If this is true, would it make no difference what-so-ever if I used my Asus soundcard SPDIF or my motherboard SPDIF connection?
Thanks for all the replys guys.... I cannot wait to try this DAC
Well the unit has arrived, first impressions are that it's very good. Quite an improvement from the Asus Essence ST, alot more detail. I've just been listening to the 'Kindered' EP from Burial on it and I can definatly hear things that wern't there before and the bass is alot tighter and punchier it seems.
Listening to Metalica 'Black Album' on it now and my god it sounds extremely good, I'm just slightly worried that it's a little bit too bright and harsh, haven't decided yet though. When the kick drum started at the beginning of 'Enter Sandman' I knew it was going to sound good the punch sounds so strong.
To be honest though I have always found rock/metal abit bright on my Rotel/B&W system even before the Audiolab M-DAC was connected, is there anything you could suggest?
My system is now:
B&W 685 (on Partington Super Dreadnoughts)
All QED performance interconnectsand cables
Ok I have used my unit for around 20 minutes total and now it doesn't seem to be working at all.
To begin with it takes ages to power up and then when it eventually fires up I get the error message 'No Comms'
Well that was short lived....
I have a very similar system and my DAC choice was AudioGD DAC19DF; it's an older model, but at the time I compared it to the Cambridge Audio DacMagic and Firestone Spitfire and I found it largely superior ( according to my ears ). The closest model they currently make is the AudioGD NFB-17.32, so if you can contact the UK distributor and listen to it, I think it would be a worthy alternative.
Squeezebox Touch -> AudioGD DAC19DF -> Rotel RA-1520 -> B&W 685
I'll recommend Rega's Apollo-R. I feel the Apollo-R with its rich, full bodied and flowing sound will help the Apollo-R to balance the RA-1520's upfront and start stop presentation.
All the best
Rick @ Musicraft
How does the Apollo-R improve over the original? Loved the Apollo I heard, little more open and detailed than my CD73T. However, it was decided, collectively, the Arcam just had a touch more smoothness to the presentation.
Hi plastic penguin
The Apollo-R CD player is more detailed, smoother and also has greater weight, depth, scale and timing. These qualities are carried along with superbly judged fluidity, nimbleness and drive whereas the Apollo CD player then sounds brittle and like its playing in slow motion. Simply put as good as the Apollo CD player still is however the Apollo CD player sounds somewhat mechnical and disjointed in comparision to the Apollo-R.
Btw, the Apollo-R CD player has an even higher level of build, fit and finish then that of the Apollo CD player.
Fwiw, i feel that Rega's Apollo-R CD player is (and i don't say this likely) the new RCD-965BX.
Musicraft (Derby), Specialist Hi-Fi/AV & Multimedia Dealer
good accurate audio monitoring and good sound reproduction to all
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