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Thread: DAC suggestions

  1. #1
    megamonkey Guest

    Default DAC suggestions

    Hi all,

    Got my SHL5s not too long ago and I'm very pleased with them indeed. Now looking to get a good DAC and would really appreciate the input of fellow harbeth fans which ones I should look to audition. I listen to all types of music and my main criteria is the musicality of it. I first and foremost want to enjoy my music, so I wont sacrifice coherence for detail etc.

    Feel free to give suggestions up to about $5000.

    Signal chain: Macbook - Kimber BBUS AG - DAC?? - Luxman 505u - Kimber Timre - SHL5.

    Input greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards

    Per

  2. #2
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    Default

    The new Rega DAC has been well received and is very affordable at 1/5 of your budget. You may also want to upgrade from the Kimbre Timbre as well. The Kimbre Hero will give you considerable improvement.

  3. #3
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    As above. The Rega DAC sees off many very expensive DACS. Try also the Naim DAC, which is very good indeed.

  4. #4
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    Default

    The Beresford Caiman punches well above its weight.

    http://www.beresford.me/main/main.html

    Buy it with the Gaitor pgrade.

    From the world of Pro Audio look at

    http://www.tcelectronic.com/bmc-2.asp

    http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipmen...troller--63517

  5. #5
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    Post DAC suggestions

    I have a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic. Reputedly the best option below £1000. Sounds like the new Rega could be a challenger though!

    If you can get hold of one (they seem to be US-only?) Havana Labs MDHT tube DAC is a well-regarded option and very musical, but only 16/44.1. Above that price are the Wavelength Audio tube DACs that can do upto 24/192 if you're inclined...

  6. #6
    megamonkey Guest

    Default

    Thank you for your input.

    Art K: Thanks for the rega and cable advice. However I see things was written a little hastily on my part - I apologise - but I have kimber 8tc for my speakers, timbre is the interconnects from my current loaner DAC. Missed one out and ordered them incorrectly...

    Labarum: I'll have to look Beresford DACs and your other links as I know nothing about them. I only glimpsed at the Beresford link and they seemed extremely competetively priced - do you think they can compete with the likes of naim dac for instance once upgraded?

    hifi_dave: recommending both - what would you say is the strength of the rega vs the naim and vice versa? Apart form the obvious price advantage of the quite inexpensive rega dac (looks like it's around 550GBP in Sweden)?

  7. #7
    megamonkey Guest

    Default

    GregD: Thanks. I've heard the DacMagic, not in my own system though but it seems a competent DAC for the money. Havana Labs may not be available as you say. Know little about them but haven't seen them around for as long as I've been DAC-hunting at least. Wavelength - heard good things about these dacs - have you heard any of them? If so - which one+would you care to briefly describe its sound signature? I'd really appreciate it.

    cheers

  8. #8
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    The Bereford DAC has quite a following here

    http://www.theartofsound.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3

    It is a product in continuous development through a dialogue between users and maker.

    Stan Beresford will offer you your money back if yo don't think the DAC makes a worthwhile improvement.

    The BMC-2 is a professional audio product. No nonsense, just a fine product.

    Nether of these products has remote control volume or source switching.

    In the HiFi market you can end up paying a big premium for a name and a smart case. With DACs this is especially so. Most of the work is done in the main chip. Provided the supporting circuitry is competent the same chip sounds the same.


    Going up market, look at the first two products in the left frame on this page

    http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/

    or the basic model DAC-1

    http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac/dac1

    Domestic DACs from a Pro Audio manufacturer.

  9. #9
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    I own a Benchmark DAC1 USB that I use with my nearfield system. As this DAC is going to move to my video edit workstation soon, I've been looking for a new DAC as well.

    Right now, the hot value in the DAC market seems to be the Wyred4Sound DAC2:
    http://www.wyred4sound.com/webapps/s..._groupid=18157

    Quote Originally Posted by Labarum View Post
    Going up market, look at the first two products in the left frame on this page

    http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/

    Domestic DACs from a Pro Audio manufacturer.

  10. #10
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    I recommend that you give the Bel Canto DACs an audition - see HUG thread here:
    http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/s...1828#post11828
    The DAC3 with VBS has now been replaced by the DAC3.5.
    You might find some of the other suggestions in the above thread useful.
    David

  11. #11
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    I use the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC in my Naim system driving my Harbeth P3ESRs and have found the results to be very satisfying. It's definitely worth considering. The more expensive option would be the Naim DAC which I've not heard but is supposed to be excellent.

  12. #12
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    Post Wavelength tube DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by megamonkey View Post
    GregD: Thanks. I've heard the DacMagic, not in my own system though but it seems a competent DAC for the money. Havana Labs may not be available as you say. Know little about them but haven't seen them around for as long as I've been DAC-hunting at least. Wavelength - heard good things about these dacs - have you heard any of them? If so - which one+would you care to briefly describe its sound signature? I'd really appreciate it.

    cheers
    Here is a link to the Wavelength site: http://www.usbdacs.com/Products/Products.html

    (I hope that worked!)

    There are many options available for them and even NOS tubes. Stereophile rates them class A in the past. Unfortunately I have not heard them. Just a thought, have you considered Weiss DACs? Pricey and with a professional background but again very well-regarded near your $5000 budget.

  13. #13
    megamonkey Guest

    Default

    Labarum: beresford seems interesting on account of it’s affordability, and if I can return it I guess you cant go wrong really. Only I’m in Sweden and it’s painstaking to send things back and forth just to audition. Recently did just that with a dac. If I don’t find anything soon Beresford might be a good start/interim costwise.

    I’ve had mixed reviews of the benchmark. Maybe this is always the case with audio components but I’ve heard a few things that has put me off them as a main contender.

    jplaurel: Have you heard the W4S DAC2 - whats your verdict?

    singslingr: yeah have heard good things about both M1 and naim but heard neither myself. Sent a request to audition the naim.

    GregD: Wavelength is definitely a contender. Haven’t found anyone willing to let me audition it though – makes it difficult…

  14. #14
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    You have a Rega distributor in Sweden, so why not try that. It has been very popular over here.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by megamonkey View Post
    Labarum: beresford seems interesting on account of it’s affordability, and if I can return it I guess you cant go wrong really. Only I’m in Sweden and it’s painstaking to send things back and forth just to audition. Recently did just that with a dac. If I don’t find anything soon Beresford might be a good start/interim costwise.
    Sign up to http://www.theartofsound.net/forum/ and make a few posts. If you order by Private Message (PM) Stan may give you a discount. If you want a Caiman with the Gator Board pre-installed, you will have to do it that way. Stan sends stuff all over the world, so you won't have problem.

  16. #16
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    No, have not heard it yet. They are backordered. I expect it to arrive in about a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by megamonkey View Post
    jplaurel: Have you heard the W4S DAC2 - whats your verdict?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by megamonkey View Post
    Hi all,


    Feel free to give suggestions up to about $5000.



    Per
    Considering the nice budget frame I would definitively go for a NAIM DAC. It delivers a fine resolution paired with the right portion of soul. I currently own a Cambridge DacMagic which sounds very good already but since I have heard the NAIM.........
    Never expected such differences between DACs .

    Good luck

    Gerald

  18. #18
    megamonkey Guest

    Default

    hifi_dave: Ok, I'll look around, have to see if a home loan is possible.

    Labarum: I'll consider that, thanks.

    jplaurel: Oh ok, interesting. Let us know what you think once you've given it some time.

    gerald: Yeah naim has been mentioned by a few here, did you hear the naim in a all naim system though? I'm concerned it wont sound as good outside of one...Gonna try and borrow one home and see for myself.

    Got and email last night stating that I can borrow the DAC 10 from Danish Audio Design. It's a tube dac, something I've never heard before, but I trust the guy who says I might like it so will give it a shot. Will have to use a USB-RCA bridge for this option, but Halide the Bridge should make it asynchronous as well so that seems like a rather good option - we'll see. May also borrow the naim dac and something else next weekend to make a comparison.

    If anyone is interested I'll briefly feedback how I got on at a later date.

    Cheers

  19. #19
    Tran Khoa Guest

    Default

    Hi i have received my REGA DAC a week .
    Well compare to my REGA Apollo... the sound of the REGA DAC is more open and clear, you feel more.
    I have tested with the PC
    Sound card is Asus Xonar Ds. output by optical to the DAC. Using MEdia Monkey playing in WAV files.
    The sound it's not comparable to my REGA Apollo as transporter. There is a bit noise, and sound is missing something.. it's like slower, not as clear.
    I was thinking getting the Asus Xonar St soundcard. Wonder if it would improve.
    PPl told me i dont need a very good sound card for it, just need a 192hz one and it's good to go, since it's output only Digital. But i think different Better soundcard output better jitter, and lower the noise. So the DAC work less.
    Well have to test to know.

  20. #20
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    Have had the MHDT Havana DAC for quite a while. A very pleasing and musical DAC indeed. But it is beaten by the M2Tech Young DAC in every aspect. Would recommend both DAC´s. But the M2Tech Young is THE winner in a head to head contest IMO. Young is right up there with the best DAC´ s and You have to pay a lot more to get the same level of performance!!

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