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Author Topic: Help me find a new DAC  (Read 39127 times)
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Fidelio
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« on: October 11, 2009, 02:19:56 pm »

So, I am getting a new DAC. I know this is a personal choice, but I would still be interested in hearing input from you guys.

I need a Toslink input, gonna be running it from my Onkyo sound card. NOS seems interesting, but I am open to oversampling DACs as well. Other than that, everything is game, but I need something that runs cold at idle since I keep my gear on 24/7, so no tubes.

Price isn't very important, but I will not get something frightfully expensive.

So, I have a few I've thought about.

- Moodlab Concept or Dice
- Beresford Caiman
- MHDT Labs Constantine+
- Audio Note DAC Zero (has a tube, but is designed to be left on 24/7)
- Naim DAC

I am not that preoccupied with detail and soundscape, I would like something that sounds natural and non-analytical. Good timing is essential above all.

Any thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2009, 03:33:10 pm »

Phasure NOS1  Wink

http://www.phasure.com/index.php?topic=642.0

Or ask GerardA, who has nice DAC for just about 100Euros, I believe
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2009, 03:37:06 pm »

Well, I can't buy the Phasure yet, or am I wrong? Moreover, what would the price be I wonder?
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2009, 03:51:30 pm »

Hey Fidelio,

I can't wait untill I hear Phasure NOS1 DAC in combo with xx ofcourse.
It will be around 3k to 4k but it will be best price/quality out there.
For me thats a LOT of money, but I spend it wisely.

I'm looking for new DAC too, but I wait for NOS1 first.
I think its gonna be good, very good.

Peter is taking this to a whole new level, never seen someone working with this passion and dedication.(and so much "in house" knowledge)
He is doing this for himself, just himself, but willing to share this with all of us (audiofreaks)
This will set the standard.
No industry cutting costs somewhere, think about it.

IMO get a good "in between" DAC

Roy
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2009, 04:10:05 pm »

IMO get a good "in between" DAC

I will, but I think the Phasure DAC will be more than I am willing to pay for a DAC, if 3-4k is in Euros.
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2009, 04:19:23 pm »

IMO get a good "in between" DAC

I will, but I think the Phasure DAC will be more than I am willing to pay for a DAC, if 3-4k is in Euros.

Not implying that there is something wrong with the DAC you have, in the first place

This is still in beta stage, peter is learning from everyones opinion, respect your honesty.
Only then ''we" can learn.

But yea, ist in euros but I believe Peter said something around 3300 euro's (VAT ??)
Rediculusly much, I don't think so.

But do you have an oppertunaty in listen to the ones you have mentioned, don't buy without listen to them !!
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2009, 04:47:19 pm »

I think the ones you mentioned are also good price/quality.

But the NOS1 has some benefits I like, as a maybe digital filtering for speaker XO, that way I save up 1000 euros on x-over parts, anyway (maybe some sofware costs, OK)
No preamp hopefully, no modifying needed, update-able, REAL online service.
Looking forward to A WHOLE NEW project of connecting amps and speakers, haha Wink

This is all because I still have a "card-blanche", have nothing special right now, but really enjoying how xx makes it better and better.

Maybe I get one "in between" myself, because for me its a lot too, you know?
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 05:57:58 pm »

http://www.pacificvalve.us/USBDACs.html
Pacific Valve Fathom DAC might be one to try and the MoodLab looks good... I haven't looked for anything for awhile and bought blindly with the Stello.  I wouldn't recommend that at the moment.  I'm wishing I could try a NOS dac of some sort... but make sure it really is with PeterSt I'd say, because I'm still not entirely sure what that is other than dac company claims.
I'm hoping to be able to sell the FF800, Stello, and a couple other things hanging around so I can afford the NOS1 myself... and now I'm having to put braces on my kid ack $4500. US ... I don't even want to know what 4K in euros is in dollars :/, heh so I maybe joining you in an inbetween dac sometime
That doesn't mean I want PeterSt to 'dumb' down the NOS1, (which I don't think he will), to make it fit a lower price.  It just may take me a bit of time to get there.
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 06:10:37 pm »

And in the mean time "learn" why a DAC is THAT important.

So don't be a BIG spender without understanding what it is you are looking for, I know what I want.
And aint about the money, Its the knowledge of the subject that can provide you with a decent DAC.
Lots of people, can help here.
What is right and what is wrong, by just some specs, I mean just listening is tough enough, as you know, and also do.

Hope Peter will succeed
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 06:15:28 pm »

Guys, let me think of something. I already have something in my mind, but I'm currently trying to finish something else. Give me some time for later today to write it down.

Peter
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Fidelio
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 08:06:22 pm »

Thanks for all the feedback. Buying without an audition is not really a problem, because nearly all the DACs I have been contemplating have a return policy if one doesn't like it.

Thanks for the link. Saw the Moodlab was quite expensive there, it is much cheaper from the manufacturer in Taiwan. I really don't need USB because I will be using Toslink to avoid ground loops in the system.

Looking forward to hearing what you have to write Peter yes

Hmm, the Audio-GD DAC-19MK3 looks nice. Dual BB 1704UK DACs.
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2009, 11:55:01 pm »

Altmann Attraction DAC?
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2009, 12:15:15 am »

Altmann Attraction DAC?

Hmm, you are being busy, looks interesting, how is that being powered.
It could be that simple, yes.
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2009, 12:18:18 am »

The Attraction DAC is designed to be powered by a single 12V car- or motorcylce battery,
as battery power is pure, and a prerequisite for precision DA conversion. Power consumption is 200mA.

I see
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2009, 12:25:00 am »

But it costs less then 100 euro in parts.
and you pay 1000 euros, don´t think so

IMO
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2009, 12:41:11 am »

16/192.

yes
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« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2009, 01:07:40 am »

16/192.

yes

OK, thats bold.

makes jou wander, yes
 Happy
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« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2009, 01:51:35 am »

Altmann Attraction DAC?

16/192.
yes

This is one I'd looked at and thought about, but didn't get because I wanted to use XXHE volume - 16 bits isn't enough.  I like the basics of its design.  dunno if battery is ultimately trustworthy, but maybe...If all you run is 16/44.1 material double arc oversampled and no XXHE volume (you have a preamp)... well, I'd sure like to hear this thing with XXHE,  gut feeling says it sounds decent/better than what I've got, (except for the volume part). 1K isn't cheap either though
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« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2009, 07:28:23 pm »

Well if you cant wait or afford the NOS1, your best bets are IMO to stay with the same dac chip and get a good implementation.
The Naim in your list fits the bill (but it is very close in price), the Audio-GD dacs are also good values, esp the reference one at 1500$+shipping and taxes.
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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2009, 07:35:44 pm »

Thanks for the replies guys, I have ordered a DAC today and am eagerly anticipating it. Will post some impressions once I have got the chance to use it a bit.
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« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2009, 09:53:18 pm »

Just for the record since Roy meantioned me:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/137976-experience-diy-dac.html

This DAC costs 100 euro's on e-bay and sounds more then 10 times the money..
But you have to put it in a box yourself and it realy starts to sing when you use outputtransformers (20 euro extra).
And for that you need to know what a soldering iron is.

I think it can only really be beaten by Peter's DAC!  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2009, 09:05:03 pm »

Quote
Just for the record since Roy meantioned me:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/137976-experience-diy-dac.html

This DAC costs 100 euro's on e-bay and sounds more then 10 times the money..
But you have to put it in a box yourself and it realy starts to sing when you use outputtransformers (20 euro extra).
And for that you need to know what a soldering iron is.

I think it can only really be beaten by Peter's DAC! 

GerardA... so do you have this DAC and how you like it?  it looks interesting and I am interested in getting one.
however, being that most good dacs are thousands of dollars in price and way out of my range.. maybe this one could work...
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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2009, 11:14:39 pm »

Hi Beto,

Of course you should buy Peter's DAC!
But while waiting the Hong Kong DAC is very good value for money.
You can find it here:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Gigawork-24%2F192-Up-sampling-DAC-DA-CONVERTER-w%2F-USB-kit_W0QQitemZ120474001273QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090927?IMSfp=TL090927141006r431

In the diyaudio link there are options for improvement. I put outputtransformers in stead of the opamps and
this really makes it a HighEnd DAC.  Everytime Digital(XXHE) gets better I try to improve my Vinyl but I'm afraid
digital has won now..
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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2009, 06:09:25 pm »

Hi GerardA..

Of course I will try to buy Pete's dac when its out, but for now, I ordered this one to get my hands wet... this is the very first dac I buy..
I never was interested in too much audio gear or should I say snake oil coming from the audiophile world... but after I attended the RMAF, it all changed, I saw the light!... Happy I even now believe in power cords..... Happy...

Thanks bud!
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2009, 10:29:46 am »

Ok, so I got a Moodlab Concept NOS DAC for using until the Naim DAC comes out. Seems like a proper product based on rational principles. It will do max 16/96. Will report back one I'd had a chance to live with it a bit.

    
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2009, 11:04:53 am »

Ok, here I am with a little preliminary feeback, hence my idea. I must say, I wrote a larger story already two days ago, and during writing it, I got dissatisfied myself. So, this is actually about ANOTHER idea, and to me it looks way better than the previous.

Notice : All I'm doing here is cutting down on the price for a "world's best DAC" hoping that everybody can enjoy it.

Allright. I am writing right now because it already took too long, but to be honest I must do some soldering to test "the thing" from my idea. I'm not telling yet what that idea is (depends on the soldering results too), BUT that the price now can be 2165 euro if you only like a most strange setup.teasing So, start to be afraid in advance, but I think you will like this even better than whatever the original idea was.
No, nothing changed about the DAC itself nor will the quality change, but it is about the idea of Arc Upsampling which brings new "hardware" possibilities here (go figure !) and for which I have to do some soldering. And some programming btw.

I hope to know everything tomorrow night, and besides the price, already for the "functionalities" this will bring, I hope this idea works. But remember, it will be strange !

If it doesn't work I sure will have disappointed you, but it 100% sure is worth the try. You will see ...

More tomorrow.
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« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2009, 04:27:50 pm »

Hi Peter,

Great work You have done so far. I have some remarks and a request about your development of world's best DAC:

Quote
Notice : All I'm doing here is cutting down on the price for a "world's best DAC" hoping that everybody can enjoy it.
In mine opinion this is a contradiction. World's best products are sadly enough not for everyone.

Quote
the price now can be 2165 euro 
This is a league to high for me. Please make a second DAC the Poor Man's NOS DAC for about 700 euro's! Then there are more "everybody's". Great change that I will become a buyer.

Regards,
Johan
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« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2009, 05:35:33 pm »

Quote
the price now can be 2165 euro 
This is a league to high for me. Please make a second DAC the Poor Man's NOS DAC for about 700 euro's! Then there are more "everybody's". Great change that I will become a buyer.

Regards,
Johan

I'm afraid that that price point would incur more compromises that Peter is willing to make.
I remind you that he is selling the DAC without taking int account all the time spent and the money for the test equipment, and with a very little markup. If he were a <insert your favourite highend brand> the DAC would cost from 8k euros up.
That's the naked truth.
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« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2009, 03:24:48 pm »


But while waiting the Hong Kong DAC is very good value for money.

In the diyaudio link there are options for improvement. I put outputtransformers in stead of the opamps and
this really makes it a HighEnd DAC.  Everytime Digital(XXHE) gets better I try to improve my Vinyl but I'm afraid
digital has won now..

Hello Gerard,

for this price I could not resist to try this dac. Could you tell me whether you use it for XX with upsampling Arc Predicted in double or quad ? You use it with coax I see, how do you get from PC to Spdif ? And as I have some trafo's that could be used I would like to try your modification as well, could you give a (brief) description or link on what you did ?

thanks,

Leo
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« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2009, 04:00:35 pm »

Hi Leo,

I use SPDIF from a motherboard connector (Gigabyte). Before I used the SPDIF-output from my Terratec FW 24, but this sounded less good, rough and to forward. I just finished a 2m RG59 cable for SPDIF since I moved the DAC the 1m cable was to short and I had to use a 6 meter cable which sounded less convincing. Now with 2 meters it's sounding good again.

My experience says not to use an extra soundcard, but I guess depends on hardware (PC/DAC) and cable.

Optical output I tried and sounded almost as good as coax. (A little softer/watery/less good timing/punch...)

Since Gerard is using this DAC too it would be interesting to know his experiences too!

I thought I was using quad with Arc but it seems it's Double now. Maybe 176 is not supported by Windows or XXHE, have to check this sometime, but it sounds so good I did not feel the need to do that yet.

The modifications can be found at DIYaudio.com. :
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/137976-experience-diy-dac.html

Even there you can find new modifications I did not try yet.

Gerard.
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2009, 04:46:41 pm »

Quote
My experience says not to use an extra soundcard, but I guess depends on hardware (PC/DAC) and cable

For me its the other way around, I really need a soundcard, I did some listening a couple of months ago, The onboard sound device is really horrible, dead, no dynamics, boring. (also Gigabyte)
I'am still on a Toslink, will modify my soundcard next week, and try a coax (I have good experiences with the coax Belden 1694A or use the 1505A)
Toslink and xx always sounded "good" to me, so there was no rush to "upgrade" to coax.
But I have the parts still laying around.

Nice to see people playing around with the Hong Kong DAC, its that cheap, so why not.
Good choice

Grtz
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« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2009, 06:11:38 pm »

Hi Leo,

Well i had the pleasure to receive a package from Hong Kong yesterday...  Happy

And have been very busy with it... I use the usb from the dac. At the moment i can only use Double an Quad. But no 24 bit and so no ARC. That does not work at the moment. I am thinking about a new soundcard with a spdif output.
Maybe that is the trick....  Grin

About the sound.... There was a day that Peter told that the album from Ibrahim was his favorit... So i bought it.... I thought that Peter has a very bad taste... rofl rofl
But now i understand why.... It now sounds like a piano.... So Peter sorry for that.... Wink
The 100 euro is well spend and i still have the spec mod to go like GerardA....

Grtz Gerard
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« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2009, 07:26:36 pm »

rofl

Quote
But now i understand why.... It now sounds like a piano....

So, how did it sound before ? (I am really curious)
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« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2009, 07:34:14 pm »

rofl

Quote
But now i understand why.... It now sounds like a piano....

So, how did it sound before ? (I am really curious)

I like piano too... but only if it sounds deep... The piano before sounded flat... Like the low notes do not come out the piano. And now the notes sounds seperate from each other.. it is not easy to explain but i like to feel the piano... befor it did not with this cd... I am sure it will be much better with your DAC.... But this makes me happy now....  Happy

Grtz
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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2009, 12:09:04 am »

Well I have the new DAC playing now in 44.1 (works with its own usb, a Trends usb converter and fireface 400) and 88.2 which only works with spdif from the fireface. The 192 option with quad upsampling in XX will only produce very, very low level sound like crosstalk from a not chosen input in an amp.
The Altmann dac however does work on 176 (with just the 16 bits) from the fireface, another riddle to be solved I guess.
Even in unmodified form this new DAC sounds very nice, so thanks for the suggestion to look into this one. Tomorrow I will have to decide whether to hunt further for the quad upsampling or heat up the iron for modification.
I do hope you realize Peter what kind of heavy decision making all this waiting for your DAC is causing in once peacefull and content homes !
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« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2009, 10:35:56 am »

Well have send a email to Hong Kong yesterday.... They say that USB do not deliver 24 bit. Only the COAX and the OPTICAL does that.
That makes it easyer.... Happy

Now search for a new soundcard....

 Happy
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Januari 2017 XX 2.05
OriginAE x11v Home build HTCP ~ Asus x79 mobo 3930K 12 core underclock 500 MHz,
16GB, *Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0* *from RAM*, music on music server / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *0.10*  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core *3-5* / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive *none* (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Not the best (OS from RAM issue) / Time Stability = Off (OS from RAM issue) / Custom Filter Mid 705600 / -> USB3 (Silverstone both sides isolated = Sw#3 of NOS1a = Up) -> *Clairixa USB 15cm* -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 0.70m -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink ->> Metrum Amps ->> Metrum Acoustics ESL Open Baffle.
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« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2009, 12:30:43 pm »

Now search for a new soundcard....


Not..... Fixed my problem with the EMU 1212m... That now does deliver 24/192 spdif... So my Hong Kong dac now can do Arc Prediction.  Happy

Happy man overhere... Save's me 120 Euro.....  Happy
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Januari 2017 XX 2.05
OriginAE x11v Home build HTCP ~ Asus x79 mobo 3930K 12 core underclock 500 MHz,
16GB, *Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0* *from RAM*, music on music server / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *0.10*  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core *3-5* / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive *none* (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Not the best (OS from RAM issue) / Time Stability = Off (OS from RAM issue) / Custom Filter Mid 705600 / -> USB3 (Silverstone both sides isolated = Sw#3 of NOS1a = Up) -> *Clairixa USB 15cm* -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 0.70m -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink ->> Metrum Amps ->> Metrum Acoustics ESL Open Baffle.
PeterSt
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« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2009, 12:53:56 pm »

Haha, good. If you're only tempted !
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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - July 17, 2021 (2.11)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 14/28 cores in BIOS and set to 10/20 cores via Boot Menu) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/0/0/*1*/ Q1Factor = *4* / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = *10ms* / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *10.13*  (max 10.13) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *62* / Nervous Rate = *1* / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / Custom Filtering *Low* (16x) / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^3
A: W-Y-R-G, B: *W-G* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius*^2.5* A:B-G, B:B-G Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers. ET^2 Ethernet from Mach III to Music Server PC (RDC Control).
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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