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g777o's picture
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 12/03/2012 - 13:02
Posts: 32
M-Dac & new irDAC

Audiolab M-Dac £599

Arcam irDAC £399

Has anybody heard both of theses DACs?

I want to buy a new DAC, my budget can stretch to both of these models. 

Is the m-dac a higher quality DAC? or is the extra cost  because of the digital preamp and headphne amp?


Shanka's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/01/2011 - 17:44
Posts: 515
RE: M-Dac & new irDAC


Maybe a bit late but I heard both at a demo a few months ago and it will depend on your preference.

The Mdac has incredible detail, I have not heard another dac that comes close but it comes at a slight price,
I find it moves all the music up to the front in the presentation and you can lose depth in your listening.
This is not a huge problem with rock or jazz recordings but have found it a bit strange on familiar classical recordings.
The vast detail and brighter top end can also make it a bit fatiguing over longer periods.

The Arcam is a good dac and couldn't really say much negative about it but does not get near the detail of the mdac and has a softer tone but all instrumentation seemed in the right place.However listened next to the mdac it does sound a bit woolly.

Hope this is of some help, my opinion only of course.

Have fun.

csq2's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 28/03/2010 - 20:07
Posts: 236
RE: M-Dac & new irDAC

My old Hegel HD2  was much more forward sounding than my Arcam irDac. At first, I thought the Arcam was too laid back for my tastes placing everything furtherback. However, this widened the soundstage, improved image depth, and had pinpoint detailing. In the end, you will find the Arcam irDac is much more detailed because it is able separate individual instruments better than the M-dac, which would cluster everything in front of you. The Arcam is not wholly sounding at all. In fact, it is very clean sounding with a very low noisefloor and reveals subtle details that you won't notice with the M-dac. 

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