The DAC Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by señorhifi, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    So I love the Yggdrasil A2/og - the tone, the FR, the resolving ability. I've compared it to much more expensive DAC's and wound up preferring the Yggdrasil A2/og. I'm not exactly in the market for a new DAC, but I'm curious if there is a better DAC in terms of resolving ability and blackground with the same tone.

    I've tried these and prefer my Yggdrasil A2/og for these reasons:
    • Soerkis 2541: Too much summing/removal of "grit" along edges of notes. Artiifi9cially smooth.
    • Yggdrail LIM: Same ^
    • Wavelight: I din't find it better than the Yggdrasil A2/og in any way except blackground, but found it less resolving
    • Wavedream Edition: Amazing except recessed vocal range ruins it. Also too expensive for me
    • Holo May: Dry tonality where natural decay is truncated
    Is there an upgrade DAC I'm not thinking of that would suit me? Tons of plankton and grit (more than Yggdrasil A2/og), black background, good natural tone, flat FR, good soundstage
     
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  2. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Without knowing about everything out there, I suspect you're not going to find a better plankton machine than Yggdrasil A2 without spending Wavedream money but that's just a wild hunch on my part.
     
  3. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    If it were me, personally, I'd take another spin through the watering the ash thread. On some other forums I frequent, some of the folks who hold the Yggdrasil A2 in high regard also jive well with the Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha DAC as the only "reasonable" upgrade for not utterly stupid FU money. But, this is all hand waving and conjecture on my part. I've not heard much above the used Yggdrasil pay grade.
     
  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I have an SPL Mercury that I'm quite happy with, but it's kinda rare here in North America.

    You could always chase down the rabbit hole of word clocks though.
     
  5. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    The grit you mention on the Yggdrasil, I wonder if it is the same aspect that my friends and I refer to as 'tactile texture'. It is a very addictive aspect and not easy to come by outside AD chip based Schiit Multibit DACs and I have a theory. DACs do have their own tonal profile, while measuring flat in FR. My theory is, the tonal response of the Schiit MB DACs, which is a combination of i) slightly fuller-mids, ii) slightly elevated lower treble and, iii) non-prominent upper-treble, seems to partly responsible for the tactile texture these DACs exhibit.

    Let's consider OS DACs first. As you move up the DAC ladder, more often than not, you will find manufacturers boosting the upper-treble. Doing so helps a DAC pull off certain effects such as, more microdetails in the treble region, more precise imaging, sound being detached from speakers and playing in thin air, etc. But doing so seems to reduce the tactile texture effect. Rockna, Chord, Denafrips all have a more elevated upper-treble and don't do the tactile texture like the Schiit MB DACs.

    On the flipside, good NOS DACs do have a more controlled upper-treble. But these DACs also have a more linear lower-treble. What this does is, there is a lot of texture in the sound, but the textures don't have the same tactility as the Schiit MB DACs.

    I am not claiming the tonal response of the Schiit MB DACs is what results in the tactile texture. But I am definitely noticing a correlation and I am convinced the tonal response is partly responsible. And TBH, I notice this effect on the HD650, HD580 too.

    Because of this reason, I feel it may not be easy to find a direct upgrade to the Yggdrasil.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2022
  6. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I'm not sure I agree, or maybe we're talking about different things. By "grit" I mean the grit along the edges of notes that we perceive as detail. DACs like the Soerkis and LIM smooth over some of this grit in exchange for a very black background. So does the Wavelight to a lesser degree.

    But the Holo May and Wavedream Edition both had the same or more grit than the Yggdrasil, but the Holo had terrible decay characteristics where notes just ended and seemed to be truncated and cut short causing a very dry tone, and the Wavedream even if I could afford it has recessed vocal range. Pretty badly. So I've heard a couple DAC's with equal grit, they just had deal breaking problems and I find the Yggdrasil A2 more well rounded.

    Interesting. It would be cool to try a different DAC.

    Series 2 "MQA" that just sold used for 7k?

    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649818634-berkeley-audio-designs-alpha-dac-reference-2-mqa/

    Or the series 1 that just sold used for 1.7k?

    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649497742-berkeley-audio-designs-alpha-dac-series-1/
     
  7. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    @rhythmdevils you can try a pro audio DAC like a second hand lynx hilo or antelope pure 2, both sound very good and do not struggle with grit, transient, sharpness. they are the best pro DAs I have tried that are still made

    you are only going to find so many DACs that have the 'sauce' without having one or more serious flaws. once you have found a DAC that has the 'sauce' with shortcomings that you can live with then it's time to invest more into the source and ancillaries and hop off the DAC merry-go-round
     
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  8. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    I hear you and yea, we were referring to different things. 2 other DACs that are popular among my friends are Bricasti M1 and Sonnet Pasithea. M1 seems to have the grit, but might not have the natural decay. Pasithea might be able to do both grit and decay. But might need external oversampling to shed some of the NOS traits.
     
  9. GanGreinke

    GanGreinke Friend

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    I was also going to say that the Pasithea + external oversampling (like HQPlayer) might be what @rhythmdevils is looking for. I upgraded from the Yggdrasil A2/OG to the Pasithea, and I personally think the grit and decay from the Pasithea are an improvement over the Yggdrasil.
     
  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I wouldn't' say I'm on the DAC merry go round, I'm happy with my Yggdrasil, I've just been trying some different amps that I always wanted to hear lately and that spilled over into other DAC's too. I've got my headphone dream team until I hear an Abyss or Susvara. But I think I'm likely all set with headphones.
     
  11. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    @rhythmdevils

    I know this "grit" you speak of and its something I enjoyed with the A2 Yggdrasil... there is something satisfying about this texture. It gives the music another dimension I feel. The LIM smooths this over but not totally. Still I preferred the non gimped SE outputs and lack of nervosa inducing warmup on the LIM. I think the Bifrost 2 is a good "best of both worlds" compromise there. This is less advice for you and more me thinking outloud about something I've known but havent discussed much re: grit.
     
  12. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I’ve been going down this road with respect to trying to optimize my digital front-end (including Yggdrasil A2 as well). I just realized the other day that I’ve actually got more invested now in my digital source than Yggdrasil itself. Maybe a bit “nervosa” to some, but things are sounding really damn good (and each component has made an appreciable difference, otherwise it didn’t stay). But IMO, you have to invest fairly heavily if you want stream (rather than disc spinning) and go beyond the performance of a Pi2AES and decent power supply.
     
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  13. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    This thread and its predecessor(s?) make me glad that my decidedly mid-fi ears and gear obviate the need to get back on the afore-mentioned dac merry-go-round. It's as good as it is gonna get. I'll be dead before I can afford an improvement like a twenty-year-old Yggdrasil.
     
  14. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I probably shouldn't be, but curious to know what source you're working with.
     
  15. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Sonore OpticalRendu with a Plixir Elite BDC linear power supply, fed by a Sonore OpticalModule (Ethernet to fibre optic network isolator) with an Sbooster MKII linear supply. The OpticalRendu is outputting to the Yggdrasil with an Audioquest Coffee USB cable.

    Everything was bought used over time, and I generally try pay no more than 60% of retail for anything (a few pieces were less even) - still pricey altogether though, relative to the price of Yggdrasil and the rest of my system, but I just love Yggdrasil, and the better I feed it, the more amazing it seems to get with just plain old Redbook files and streaming. Plus, my digital front end feeds both my headphone system and my 2-channel system, so for me it’s worth it to optimize it.
     
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  16. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    That's a huge thread to try to wade through. When you say the Berkeley Alpha DAC do you mean this one? or the new Alpha DAC 3? The "Reference DAC 3 gets into FU money... :)
     
  17. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    For me, all their dacs are fu money , even a used og.
     
  18. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Have the BF2 in to sample this "grit" again on my ZDSE and I remember now how satisfying it sounds. The LIM on the same amp is close, but I can definitely see how it is slightly truncating it. I was dead set on the LIM but may have to seriously consider getting the OG... would be my second time owning it.
     
  19. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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  20. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    my understanding is that iFi is not using those PCM DAC chips, but a newer Burr Brown chips which are Delta-Sigma, they are kinda shady about disclosing more info on the chips used too...
     

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