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auditioning DAC1...decisions to make

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Steve

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Based on reviews here, I went ahead and ordered a Benchmark DAC1 off audiogon. My original plan was to use this in conjunction with my Sony DVD (DVP-NC685V) and PC to replace my Rotel 1072 (which I planned to sell to fund the purchase). I have been playing around with various configurations this morning. Overall, DAC1 is definately a step up in all configurations. Here what I think I heard:

1. DAC1 hooked via coax to Rotel is probably the best combination, but connected via coax to the Sony is pretty darn close. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I'm really hearing a difference or not. Granted, I have to switch between the two, so there is a bit of lag between listening sessions and the difference may just be my imagination.

2. Music from the PC sounds better through the DAC1 than before (using Outlaw 950 bulit-in DAC), but not quite as good as the above mentioned configurations. I'm losing some of the clarity in the highs, and a little definition in the bass. All files on the PC are Apple lossless format, playing from itunes through a USB to optical adapter, then into the DAC1. I am trying to convince myself that the difference is optical versus coax.

My goal is to eventually ditch CD's all together and locate music on a centralized server, so I really want the PC generated music to sound as good or better than anything I get off of a local player. That is the main reason I bought the DAC. I figured it would allow me to get closer to this goal. I'm really hoping the difference is due to coax versus optical, since I can easily address that.

I'm rambling, but thought I would share my experiences with this group.

At this point, I think I'll continue with my plan to sell the Rotel, mainly because money is tight with the new house being built.

PS - as always, any thoughts or comments are appreciated.
 
T

Taz

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Looking to do the same and the DAC1 is on my list, Anyone have any other recommedations on a DAC in the $1000-$1500 range.
 

sleepysurf

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I'm likewise using a DAC-1 for PC audio, streaming FLAC files from a Squeezebox2. Have you tried feeding it DIRECT to your amp? I'm getting superb sound with that 90% of the time, but still get some digital glare on the remaining 10% (though a new Squeezebox tweak seems to be addressing that).

At that same price point, the Lavry "Black" has garnered good reviews, though there have been a few reports of software/design glitches (being a new product).

Elsewhere, folks also recommend NOS (non oversampling designs), or even hybrid SS/Tube designs. Lots of discussions on Audiocircle, AA, A'gon, etc.
 

Jeff Zaret

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I do not have the Squeezebox but I have the Roku which is similar. I have the Channel Islands DAC VDA-2 and pleased with the result. I have the Rotel 1072 which I run through the DAC and really like the results. They do sell direct and have a great reputation for quality products at a great price. Dusty is a great guy to deal with and can answer any question you may have.

I have not tried running the Roku through it yet but may if time permits this weekend I shall give it a try.

Just my 1 cent worth tonight.

Jeff :cool:
 

Steve

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Haven't tried running the DAC1 directly into the amp...yet. I'll try that as an experiment to see how it affects things. Right now, I'm running it through my Outlaw 950 in bypass mode. I'm hoping there is not much difference to my ears, because that would complicate my setup for HT. (currently doing double duty, 2 channel and HT)
 
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Taz

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Jeff Zaret said:
I do not have the Squeezebox but I have the Roku which is similar. I have the Channel Islands DAC VDA-2 and pleased with the result. I have the Rotel 1072 which I run through the DAC and really like the results. They do sell direct and have a great reputation for quality products at a great price. Dusty is a great guy to deal with and can answer any question you may have.

I have not tried running the Roku through it yet but may if time permits this weekend I shall give it a try.

Just my 1 cent worth tonight.

Jeff :cool:
The price on that looks real good. do you have the outboard power supply with it seems like a nice add on for 159.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Taz,
Yes, I do have the outboard Power Supply. I talked with Dusty and asked him about it and his response was basically two thoughts. First, he said it depended on the equipment you were using and then it may or may not be worth the extra money. He stated if you had a low-fi system you may not hear the difference but if you had better equipment you would hear a difference in the low end. The difference I heard was a quieter "floor" and more bass which is what he stated. I am also hearing more "space" in some recordings and hearing added reverb on voices that were not that obvious before especially on older recording.


I hope this helps a bit. If you need more info let me know

Jeff :cool:
 
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Taz

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Jeff, Thanks for the info, I was looking at the DAC1, Musical Fidelity XDAC with the power Supply and maybe tube buffer nice three piece set up MD has it for 1300 right now and also at the Bel Canto DAC2. The Channel Islands is a lot cheaper then the ones I listed(Even with that power supply). Have you heard any of the ones I have listed or heard any opinions.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Taz,
I have not heard other DAC's in awhile. I took a chance on the Channel Islands after reading many reviews and talking with a few people. This is typical for me since I tend to over analyze and beat something to death before I make a decision. I like to buy something that will last and that I will be happy with for many years to come. :eek:
I like the fact they sell direct without added markup in price. I could not be happier. Dusty's reputation is first rate and he has a 30 day return policy. He is very approachable and straighforward in what he does. :D

I hooked my Roku last night to the DAC via fiber which on my DAC only goes to 96k and I did notice a smoother sound and a quieter "floor" on some of the radio stations. Of course, it all depends on the quality of the stations broadcasting on the internet. I use the coax input for my CD, Rotel 1072, which does go up to 192k and as good as the Rotel really is it was another step up in presentation, openness, and detail that was only there in small indications within the detail.

Jeff :cool:
 
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