Hands's Non-Oversampling DAC Comparison Master List

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Hands, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Friend

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    Thanks for the tip. I actually happened to see that about an hour ago. It took me more than a few minutes to decide to pass on it for now. Going to aim to be satisfied with what I have for now rather than impulse buying an upgrade so quickly.
     
  2. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    I am currently comparing Modi Multibit (closed-form OS) vs Onyx (NOS), both accompanied with Eitr. It is honestly a much more even fight than expected.

    Modi Multibit improves significantly with Eitr, to the point it gets dangerously close to Onyx in overall fidelity. Especially if your music library is not filled with top notch masters or you tend to listen with Tidal rather often. Modi Multibit plus Eitr combo is spectacular and I wouldnt hesitate much to call it endgame, seriously!

    Onyx seems to have that NOS character (gentle, fluid, clean, nonfatiguing, no artificial brightness in treble region) without introducing any actual shortcomings (soundstage, imaging, detail, extension, clarity... all is there). In that sense, its a fantastic all-rounder - will work great with bad recordings, will work great with good recordings. It also improves with Eitr but not as much as Modi Multibit - built-in USB is respectable.

    To take another view on the topic:

    1] Onyx, in absolute terms, is IMHO an overall better but severely overpriced DAC compared to Modi Multibit with Eitr. Price/performance ratio gets huge hit. In more relative or subjective terms, it could still be considered a bargain by some who simply need NOS and otherwise do not want to settle for sonic compromises.

    2] I seem to prefer NOS but have no issues with closed-form OS by Schiit either. Dont hear the differences between these two technologies as dramatically as someone like @Hands or @purr1n . Maybe that speaks for how Metrum mastered NOS sound with their latest offerings? Anyway, I could happily live with both (which cannot be said about delta sigma DACs). Dont expect night and day variations - we are still talking about DACs, not headphones.

    It is still 50-50 if I keep Onyx, or return it. Should I decide to return it though, I am probably not gonna upgrade to Gungnir Multibit or Yggdrasil. I have lately confirmed what I suspected already - I am more of a tone/timbre guy who is, generally speaking, not going to appreciate high-end amps and DACs well enough to justify the huge expenses. Second-hand market seems ideal for me unless we are talking headphones.

    Btw, for those who havent deciphered this already, I definitely belong to #team warmpoo.;) My opinions often match closely with those from Hands... well, except for Valhalla 2 (with the right tubes anyway).
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Do you use speakers? I'm pretty much deaf in terms of headstage. Actually had to struggle to learn headstage, and still think people make way much of of it.
     
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  4. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    No speakers, a pure headphone listener here. Based on my experience so far, I am usually only concerned about general lack of stage depth and width in association with headphones or headamps. (e.g. I find the difference in staging depth between Vali 2 and Valhalla 2 very significant.) On the other hand, havent heard a DAC so far that would fail completely in this regard. Onyx is perfectly fine to my ears, Modi Multibit is too.

    I will give it more time. But while I generally seem to be very sensitive to different tech (dynamic vs planar magnetic drivers, hybrid vs full tube amps), not so much in regards of NOS vs Schiit OS as it seems. The fluid and calm nature of Onyx is appealing to me quite a bit but Modi Multibit with Eitr is also fine.

    My goal is to have a DAC that is on the calmer (non-fatiguing) side, without being too fuzzy. A solid high-fidelity all-rounder for modern music, so to speak. Onyx is pretty much it but overpriced. Modi Multibit is kind of more trebly (zingy) and less clean but also acceptable when used with Eitr. Yggdrasil might be too revealing of bad recordings I fear. Gungnir Multibit might be too close to Modi Multibit with Eitr to justify the additional costs.

    Lets see what happens, exciting times!
     
  5. Dzerh

    Dzerh Friend

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    May it has sense for you to check Ross Martin Audio 1794A as a budget option. Here is review on SBAF
    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...sil-watering-the-ash.4036/page-21#post-137380

    I have not heard the DAC and my advice is based purely on reviews.
    Ross Martin site is quite a mess.
     
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  6. AvijitS25

    AvijitS25 Acquaintance

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    @Hands Is there a possibility you will be looking at the new Flint by Metrum, it is currently up for pre-order for around ~580
    this is the link to it on the website. It should be out in a few months.

    https://metrumacoustics.com/flint/
     
  7. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Possibly. I'm trying to downsize a few things currently.
     
  8. paras1te

    paras1te Rando

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  9. skem

    skem Friend

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    Any views on the Sonic Fronteirs vs the Pavane level 3 / Adagio. I’ve had one person give me a comparison but thought I’d solicit more views. I like everything about the Adagio (stage is fine, detail is excellent, timbre is awesome!!) except it’s quiet/neutral bass response (bass dynamics are good—nice and explosive, but too quiet for my otherwise bright system). Wondering if a vintage NOS DAC is a good choice for more warmth or just too much of a compromise on detail/timbral accuracy.

    I’ve read the vintage DAC thread but I didn’t see much by way of comparison to Pavane.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  10. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Well, I'm not hearing any soft bass and dynamics are explosive with my pavane Lvl2. A less than ideal source might be the issue so if you have the Adagio I'd look in fixing the rest of the chain than rolling dacs. Get an LPS powered AES output and call it a day.
     
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  11. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    ^ What he said. The Pavane is bloody good and bass heft/extension is an obvious strength even compared with the mighty Yggdrasil (A1). Don't waste your time or money side-grading for different tradeoffs especially at this price point. Fix the rest of your system which you already admitted is bright, or just EQ a bit.
     
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  12. skem

    skem Friend

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    Admittedly there was a temptation to side-grade and save $4k. But I take your point.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    What I love about the Sonic Frontiers is the expansive and deep deep stage placement. I ran laid-back/dark sounding tubes. Some can be thick, others can be punchy. There are a ton of 6DJ8/6922, some not too pricey.

    I would not consider other vintage DACs - they are likely near the end of their lifetimes. SF is still serviced by PCX. Or at least was.

    SBAF should have a Sonic Frontiers DAC as a permanent loaner.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  14. etane

    etane Rando

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    I came across a Muji dac awhile back and was always curious about it. Anyone ever heard of it? I found it on ebay.

    Muji DAC II Digtal Analog Converter TDA1541 R1+SAA7220P/B PCC88 ECC88 tube

    I mean, it's NOS, it's TDA1541, it has tubes. Tons of black colored caps in the chassis.
     
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  15. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    unless its different than every other TDA1541 based DAC I've heard, it'll probably sound like someone disconnected your tweeters or put 3 sheets of charmin TP over the drivers in your headphones. Try it and report back!
     
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  16. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    The SAA7220 is the oversampling filter. This isn’t a NOS DAC.

    Be very cautious of random eBay DACs.

    @yotacowboy A good 1541 implementation is hard to come by. I’ve heard the default SAA7220 OS component is a common weak link, and if it’s NOS, then that of course may not be to one’s taste anyway. But when done right, it’s a “legendary” DAC for a reason among some other old school multibit DACs.
     
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    @etane no matter what you really intended, your post reads like an ad. Plus, do not play with font sizes unless in need.
     
  18. etane

    etane Rando

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    Will not do.
     
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  19. etane

    etane Rando

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    Duly noted. not aware of this chip and what it does.
     
  20. etane

    etane Rando

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    as opposed to listening to grating high frequency pitch used to train dolphins. more power to you.
     

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