The DAC Advice Thread

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

  1. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Don't they claim to be able to process DSD and PCM natively? Either they're using hybrid chips or they're using two separate chips for each device.
     
  2. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    Whatever iFi uses, it does sound like a delta sigma/Multibit hybrid to me. It really gives the sensation of being half way there between the two technologies.

    I only ever tried the iFi nano BL, the Zen DAC, and the Zen DAC Signature. These are all supposed to have these BurrBrown chips, which yeah, those are delta sigma indeed. I understand there is a second process involved which somehow isn't traditional delta sigma processing (?) despite the BurrBrown implementation. I personally believe it's simply a well tweaked BB chip.
     
  3. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Yeah, isn't it a BB1793 running custom filters? I'll be honest, the Pro iDSD Sig is something I really want to hear on my speaker rig.
     
  4. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    That's because it is exactly that ;) they use these DSD1793 chips on everything that says TI/BB on their line-up, they have just a few "Blue"/portable products that use Sabre/Cirrus Logic everything else is DSD1793.

    Yup :D also curious about the iDSD Pro but the fact that most reviewers immediately swap the stock tubes puts me off a bit, don't want to dabble with tubes on a supposed flagship DAC.
     
  5. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I finally sold mine a couple weeks ago. I liked it, but yeah did not like the tube mode (or most of the filters, or any of the extra features really). The streaming function was nice though.
     
  6. HeyWaj10

    HeyWaj10 Rando

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    A little update on my first week playing with the iFi Zen DAC Signature V2. Note: I only have SE inputs via the Schiit Lyr 3, so I have to use it in SE mode only - impressions are based on that output alone.

    For the $300 USD paid for this DAC, it sounds very good. Nothing stands out about its performance - just a good, quiet, and clean DAC. The part that was interesting to me was how very little change there is, IMO, from this standalone dedicated device vs. the built-in ES9028 DAC of the Lyr 3. Honestly, half the time I'm trying to convince myself there is a difference. There may just be the slightest bit of sharper clarity to the edges in the midrange and some more delineation in elements of the treble. But this is still a challenge to discern at times, source track depending.

    I do like the treble timbre of the Signature V2, while only slightly improved over the ES9028 card (a bit less splashy and a bit more accurate with familiar recordings). Maybe this has something to do with the Burr Brown DAC chip? I don't know, but it's an improvement. Again, not by much though.

    Bass, soundstage, and imaging are all the same. Going back and forth between DACs as quickly as possible makes it nearly impossible to perceive any notable differences. Hell, sometimes I forgot which one I was using after a while - only the Apple CCK or USB-C adapters gave it away. It is that close, by and large. Some times, with certain audiophile-class recordings, I could hear some differences, but given that I rarely listen to those tracks, it makes any differences moot, IMO.

    I am 99% sure I'll just be returning the Signature V2, only because I'd rather get the money back and wait for the jump to a Bifrost 2 when I can more than double the funds. It's been nice playing with this thing, though, and could see this being a perfect middle-ground DAC for a lot of people out there!
     
  7. Hotep303

    Hotep303 Rando

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    Hi guys,

    I've recently gotten Zen DAC v1 and it's one of the cleanest, clearest sounding DAC amp I've tried extensively. But I realized that it's way too polite and laid back for me so even though I'm able to hear things that I couldn't on the dongles I've tried, I much prefer the more aggressive, authoritative sound of these lower quality options. Even if it all falls way short in comparison with more refined DACs, I don't need naturalness of timber or necessarily authentic reproduction I'm ok with 'beautification' which for me would be fast attacks and decays and forgive me for a lack of a better term, but authority is what what I would call it... So I come here to ask for help. What is the most authoritative, dynamic, the absolute opposite of polite or laid back DAC/amp for 70-500 dollars that can be anything from a used desktop stack to a dongle? Not that I mind clarity and quality, it's just that I realized that as cool as that is - it's not detail or plankton that's giving me the most enjoyment with my mostly electronic music, but rather superb authoritative macro dynamics and otherwise decent quality throughout the frequency range, something very exciting, perhaps even aggressive, but not too bright or falling apart. I guess I crave control in macro dynamics, so bass and mids, but also a decent treble, not too dark. I'm listening to fairly sensitive dynamic IEMs (and some planars too sometimes). Preferably my DAC amp would be 4.4mm bal output.

    I've heard ifi micro iDSD BL has that kind of sound, but I've never heard it and it's the same company with the same chip.. Tempotec e44 dongle (Cirrus Logic CS43131) sounds like a good fit, but I really suck at interpreting other people's sound impressions, so it may as well be the opposite of what I need. Others say basic Modi Magni Schiit stack is what I need for that, but then I read about velvet 4490 and just want to stay away from Schiit altogether... Can anyone here decipher what I'm looking for?

    Thank you so much for reading ☺️
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
  8. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    hello. I am still, albeit in a more relaxed fashion, trying out the sources. my DDI currently has the AES/EBU output free (coaxial and optical are in use, it also has an i2S RJ45 output, but I am not sure I am ready to dive into that), I would therefore appreciate recommendations of DACs with AES/EBU input I could try. there are some conditions: first and foremost, price around 300-400 EUR tops, I am ready to go used and vintage, would probably even prefer to go vintage. then, they have to be built around 'interesting' chips, like the older R2R chips (another argument for vintage) or the newer non-ESS chips like AKM or PCM/DSD1796. lastly, they have to have single-ended output, although balanced XLR is a plus.

    in terms of DACs I have experience with Geshelli J2, a humble Topping D30 (OG, not Pro - in hindsight pretty punchy, detailed, fast, but somehow... plastic-y?), Chinese PCM56-based DAC which pairs well with my tube speaker amp and the Audio-GD R2R 11 which I really liked, but could not live with the clicks during the sampling rate changes, so returned. sound-wise the R2R 11 is something I am aiming at, I listen to a lot of vocal music and jazz, less so to hip-hop and electronica.

    so far I have identified the following: Parasound D/AC 1100 and Musical Fidelity M1. Behringer SRC2496 looks interesting, but it only has balanced XLR outputs.

    thank you.
     
  9. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    found another one - the OG Schiit Modius is built around AKM chip, has AES/EBU input in addition to optical, coaxial and USB, and has both balanced XLR and the SE RCA outputs.
     
  10. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    Adcom GDA-600 was recommended on Head-Fi, compared to Parasound D/AC 1100 it seems to pop up on the market more often and usually is pretty affordable. problem is, they seems to sell almost exclusively on Italian local classifieds Subito.it, which demands an Italian phone number for registration. I have created an ad here on SBAF, perhaps something will come my way eventually.
     
  11. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    Is there a DAC chart somewhere of sound signatures of popular DACs? Thought I've seen it on this site before but can't seem to find it.
     
  12. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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  13. sheldaze

    sheldaze Friend

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  14. karas

    karas Rando

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    Hello, I am looking for a new source after mine broke.

    My 2c channel is as follow : ND5XS > Naim Nap90, Nac92, Flatcap > Proac d18.

    The ND5xs is an OS DAC (Burr Brown PCM 1791A). I have not heard an other dac for a long time so it's hard for me to describe it. I would say very average nothing bothers me, but nothing stands out either.

    Prior to my ND5xs, I had a Naim CD3 which dac runs with a 1541 chip, I really liked the mids, and vocals had some magic. What bothered me was the lack of bottom extension and bass power and definition.

    My budget is 2k5, 3k maximum.

    I did some research and found two mains solutions :
    - a good "modern", closer to my ND5xs) dac like LIM or Soekris 2541,
    - a NOS dac I would like to get back some of the unique mid I got on the DC3 but with better extension and definition. I guess modern NOS should be fine, but I did not find any which are not compromised under 5k (pavane, Pasithea) and these are out of my budget (used market is not a solution where I live, these are too rare).

    I would appreciate some advice to let me decide.
     
  15. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    You have the budget so I would consider the Yggdrasil OG rather than the LIM. On the other hand, the Soekris 2541 seems like a good match to your description of the ND5xs, so I bet you will like it.
    I think the question is are you looking for a similar but modern version of what you had? Consider the Soekris. Are you looking for an actual upgrade? Consider Yggdrasil or others in its class.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022
  16. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    I'm sure he meant Yggdrasil LIM. Unless there's another DAC called LIM that I don't know about :cool:.
     
  17. caute

    caute Rando

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    Just purchased an old "0600xxxx"-serial number A1 gungnir with unknown (probably very old) usb, need some advice on whether to ship it to Schiit for the Unison upgrade (and get that sweet two-year warranty in the process) or just save up and get a Pi2AES and use BNC and forget about usb?

    I like the idea of the warranty and higher resale value if I ever have to (don't wanna think about that bc I love the gungnir, but I am not a rich person and I overpaid for this DAC, so gotta at least be mindful about things like this). I've heard some prefer gen 5 over unison with the A1, so maybe another option is to get the Pi2AES and put up a head-fi classifieds WTB for a gen 5 card?

    Also, it will be a while before this happens, if ever, but wanted to get an idea of what the natural upgrade path for the A1 is? Yggdrasil OG seems to be the conventional wisdom, but my biggest, and perhaps only, gripe with the Gungnir A1 is the lack of blackground, so could LiM be a contender as well? Not heard much on the tonal similarities between the A1 and the LiM, only between it and the OG.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2022
  18. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    I'm thinking of upgrading my ancient Bifrost Multibit with Unison (it currently doesn't have USB at all) to serve with my Bottlehead Crack and HD600 as a sunroom listening station. Would upgrading a Bifrost MB with Unison be a worthwhile investment at this point, or is the Bifrost MB such an old DAC it's not worth upgrading?
     
  19. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I assume your feeding s/pdif (coax) and/or optical? I suspect that unless there is an ease of use advantage with going to USB, it would be a wash (at best) as far a sound quality goes.
     
  20. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    My old desktop had coax and optical outs, so I'd always used coax. The Bifrost Multibit hasn't really seen much use since I got my Holo Spring, but I recently had the idea for this secondary listening rig, which would require USB since I'd be using either my laptop (via HQPlayer) or my phone (via UAPP) as my source.
     

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