But still, you bought a 1000$ Benchmark DAC?
And the rest!
I wanted something that had a pre/headphone amp. The Audiolab doodah wasn't available at the time, and I liked the ethos of Benchmark - totally engineering based with measurements to back it up and no audiophile claims about musicality or such. I didn't demo it beforehand, although the distance selling regs meant I could've returned it.
Synology NAS + Audio Station - ATV2 - Benchmark DAC1 HDR - Event Opal
Impressive Quoting Action there
To answer the question why upgrade, see my thread on aural deception etc. In the objective analysis there is no reason at all, but since when did the emotional connection with music, whatever that is, have much to do with practical commons sense or any reasoned logic.
This is why I can't understand the motives behind the great cable etc debates, other than an ego driven debate (and I mean that in the truest sense and by no means meant to be derogatory towards anyone: ultimately science cannot predict nor control that holistic emotional response.
All I know for a fact right now, is that Spotify is hi-fi.
JRiver MC17 -> Cambridge Audio DACmagic+ -> Roksan Caspian M2 -> ProAc D18
Thanks, when I clicked preview and saw it had worked...
I think a part of the reason I'm so happy with what I have is down to realising (to my own satisfaction) that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and it is getting caught up in some of the dodgier upgradeitus (or believing what you read in mags/forums) that leads to dissatisfaction with one's own kit. So far, every time I've 'gone' with the objectivists, I've been happy. The other part, just to contradict myself, is actually finding the pot of gold. Good luck with the search.
And possibly mobile phones.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
not yet, can't connect into the NAD. If I could, well.....
The NAD is a fantastic amp, but I am not going to make an impulse buy, partly because I still think the M2 is a thumping good amp, and has a better bottom end punch and control than the NAD has. So I want to try some better DACs to be fair to the Caspian, as the dacmagic isnt the most neutral smothest sounding around.
I've shortlisted the M-DAC, I'd like to listen to the Qute, but can't find any in stock to do a home demo or close enough to travek to; and there are no less than three Naim DACs on ebay - is there something wrong / unlikeable with them?
After your initial crowing over the Nad, I thought it was a 'done deal'. Can totally understand after a longer listen you could pick-up small deficiences, in comparison with the M2, but at around £1700 sounds like a 'no brainer' to me.
I suppose one answer would be to look at a high quality streamer/dac, something in the region of Linn Sneaky.
If the Nad 390 is as good as you say then pound-for-pound it's hard to beat.
Leema Pulse MKII-S; Naim CD5i MKII; Denon TU-260L MKII; MA RS6 speakers; Pro-ject Xpression 1; loads of different cables...
Formerly known as plastic penguin
I fail to see how anything that costs £1700 can be a 'no-brainer'. It is a lot of money.
Rega RP3/Elys 2, Roksan K2 CDS, Squeezebox Touch, Denon PMA720AE, Q Acoustics 2020i, Sennhesier HD595, Beyer-Dynamic DT770PRO, Chord Crimson/Chord Rumour 2
I repaced the M2 and DM+ back into my system after a few days of the NAD. It's really not clear cut, the NAD is probably morw accurate, it's certainly slightly more detailed, and has a smoother tonal balance - the M2 and DM can sound a bit glassy on edgy recordings. It's on acoustically recorded classical tacks where the openness and detail of the NAD shines, but on rock blues, pop, anything with a driving bass and rum rhythm I prefer the M2. It grabs the drivers of the ProAcs and shakes them like an Orca chasing down a seal. It has a tighter, deeper, more powerful and more tuneful bass than the NAD. Overall, it's a more coloured sound perhaps, but it's musical, tracks bounce along infectiously where the NAD is a little more restrained.
I suppose crudely the NAD is a string quartet, the M2 is Angus and Malcolm in your living room, and I think I know which I really prefer when I shut my eyes.
So to stop any more visual diversion from the real "truth" I've put the NAD back in its box, the affair is now over, for the time being. Qute arrives tomorrow, long live the King!
If there is not a clear advantage across all areas, you are doing the right thing.
The problem as I see it, is the Nad and Roksan are not that far apart in terms of price...so there will be pros and cons to each, rather than outright superiority.
I've generally found that it's surprising how often my rule of thumb works out, where you have to double what you spend, to get outright improvements across the board.
You obviously love the Roksan/Proac mix, so source improvement is the obvious next step.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Spot on Cno. And havi ng just spent half an hour chatting to the nice people at Roksan, I am not going to do anything for 2-3 months, as I think they have lined up exactly the next step I am looking for
Yes, it sounds like you have made the right decision Steve. I completely understand your emotional attachment to NAD and I think I would have found the choice very difficult myself, but if you aren't really feeling that you are losing anything by sticking with the Roksan, the expenditure isn't worthwhile. The new Roksan product you are waiting for sounds intruiging. They are another great brand.
I've something else for you to possibly consider for your "back burner".....Touraj Moghaddam, the designer of many Roksan products, like the Xerxes TT, is now starting to cause a stir with his Vertere cables: http://www.vertereacoustics.com/
Two of his offerings achieved 5* reviews with WHF.....and all being well, I hope to be going to a musical evening, where their superiority is (hopefully) going to be demonstrated by the man himself....we shall see!
I've now had a brief listen to the NAD (after using an M2!!) and am not sure I wholly agree with the comments about bass/rhythm etc - yet.
I suspect that the way the NAD interacts with the speakers (and then with the room) has a bearing on this. That is, I can't help thinking that if we both had better speakers we wouldn't have these issues - or, to put it another way, if digital amps of this calibre and dynamic range are going to become commonplace, speaker manufacturers had better put as much into bass control/quality as they have recently into the top end (for hi-res recordings etc).
Meantime - smooth, effortless, detailed and revelatory are adjectives that roll off my keyboard.
Rega RP6/DV20X2L/Naim CD5XS/Flatcap XS/Naim NAT05XS/Pioneer N50/amp ??/Dynaudio 1.8-II
Oh, you tease!
Give us a hint at least!
I just find the M2 bounces along more energetically, which I like. Plus to my ears the bass is just better - goes lower, more tuneful and more agile, which cannot be a speaker issue. Looks like I'm going to be one of the few who hasn't been totally knocked over by it, maybe I have a duff early sample. I still haven't written it off, it's a NAD after all...
Oh, you tease!
Give us a hint at least!
OK, how about a range of DACs, a range of Preamp with onboard DACs (so think K2, M2, and and),
For me, an M2 pre with onboard DAC + 2 x 150Wpc stereo power, or maybe 2 x similarly powered mono blocs.
The Qute / Elements / super DAC is also now suspended pending the appearance of the above. I've just jumped on a used M-DAC for £430 to see what the hype is about just to set a reference without breaking the bank - cold sell on if marginal gains, or sell on the DM+ if I decide to keep it.
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