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yancey47

DACs

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I'm interested. I am going to get one but I'm not sure what. Looking at the AudioEngine D1 or the peachtree DAC-IT. About a 300 dollar difference but I'm leaning peachtree. Anybody have one and have any recommendations? Btw, digital music is lossless and I'd be streaming from iMac to Airport Express to DAC to Onkyo 606.

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I'm interested. I am going to get one but I'm not sure what. Looking at the AudioEngine D1 or the peachtree DAC-IT. About a 300 dollar difference but I'm leaning peachtree. Anybody have one and have any recommendations? Btw, digital music is lossless and I'd be streaming from iMac to Airport Express to DAC to Onkyo 606.

 

Something to keep in mind is that even if you're pushing lossless files to the dac, when it passes through the Airport Express they will be downsampled to 44.1/16. For most people that wouldn't be a deal breaker, but it might be for some. I already have an Airport Express and am planning on getting a DAC soon like you. I just figure when I'm up for the occasional critical listening session I'll just bypass the Airport and plug my laptop directly into the DAC via USB.

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I have very little experience with DACs but if you're interested in something with a tube processing stage and a ton of flexibility, check out the Grand Fidelity TubeDAC-11.  It's got 5 different inputs (2 sets RCA, 1 coaxial, 1 optical and 1 USB) and 2 sets of RCA Outputs - one with transistor and one with a 6N11 vacuum tube.

 

For $350 is sounds pretty damn good to my ears.  of course I haven't compared it to any of the other DACs mentioned here.

 

One negative is that it's a rebadged chinese unit, but Grant Fidelity has some sort of deal with the company that makes them and really stands behind the quality of the gear.  As far as I can tell, the unit is well made, sturdy and has a fair amount of heft to it.

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Just a question. If you were using an airport express that downsampled to 16bit, would you really need a kickass DAC to perform the job?

 

Not sure what you're asking...there may be some confusion about digital audio or DACs in general. Lossless audio (synonymous with "CD-quality audio"), is naturally 16 bit. Unless you have been specifically purchasing high-res audio (24bit, 96kHz/192Hz), then there shouldn't be any bit crushing or downsampling involved.

 

But to answer your question as best I can, YES. It's highly important for you to have a kick-ass DAC. There's nothing that your speakers, amplifier, or preamp can do to make up for jacked up signal at the source. So the better your turntable is (as well as DAC and CD player, etc), the better the rest of your system will perform. All the other components have more to work with. And an Airport Express with a DAC is the cheapest way to get Airplay into an existing system.

 

Is there anything I skipped over? :/

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Not sure what you're asking...there may be some confusion about digital audio or DACs in general. Lossless audio (synonymous with "CD-quality audio"), is naturally 16 bit. Unless you have been specifically purchasing high-res audio (24bit, 96kHz/192Hz), then there shouldn't be any bit crushing or downsampling involved.

 

But to answer your question as best I can, YES. It's highly important for you to have a kick-ass DAC. There's nothing that your speakers, amplifier, or preamp can do to make up for jacked up signal at the source. So the better your turntable is (as well as DAC and CD player, etc), the better the rest of your system will perform. All the other components have more to work with. And an Airport Express with a DAC is the cheapest way to get Airplay into an existing system.

 

Is there anything I skipped over? :/

Would you be better off running 24bit files off say a $100 DAC or running 16bit files off a $1000 DAC, is my real question I guess?

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Yeah, getting a better DAC is going to be better in the long run. Bit depth is more important than sample rate (16bit to 24bit is more dramatic jump than 44.1kHz to 96kHz), but getting a better DAC will take your lossless audio to another dimension. But if you spend 1000 on a DAC, you're going to get one with selectable sample rates and bit depths, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Look up the Rega DAC.

 

No one cares that it's "only" 16/44.1:

 

That's because most people don't even know what 16/44.1 is capable of. But if you're implying 24bit/96+ isn't important, I'm gonna have to disagree with you.

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That's because most people don't even know what 16/44.1 is capable of. But if you're implying 24bit/96+ isn't important, I'm gonna have to disagree with you.

 

Oh, I'm fully aware of the benefits of hi-res files. The dynamic range is out of this world, and to me the most noticeable advantage. But without really good equipment behind it, hi-res is of no importance. So in regards to timbrh's question, it's a no-brainer. But today it's almost impossible to buy a DAC without at least 24/96 support, so it doesn't really matter :)

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Oh, I'm fully aware of the benefits of hi-res files. The dynamic range is out of this world, and to me the most noticeable advantage. But without really good equipment behind it, hi-res is of no importance. So in regards to timbrh's question, it's a no-brainer. But today it's almost impossible to buy a DAC without at least 24/96 support, so it doesn't really matter :)

 

 

Thanks for the input.  I picked up a Schiit MODI DAC for now to get me started and have dedicated a laptop to my office setup.  Loaded up mainly 24/96 FLAC  albums onto Media Monkey (some 16 bit albums where there is no current option for 24 bit).  I've opened home sharing so if I were to need to play any mp3s, I can stream the ones wirelessly that are on my main computer in my family room.

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Thanks for all the help. I like digital for the convienence like right now where I have a cat snoozing on my lap and don't want to get up. And I have some music that wasn't on vinyl or the vinyl was stupid expensive and cd was 10. I just figure I might as well try to make it sound better. Definitely weaker right now.

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It's definitely cheaper to get good analog sound than it is to get good digital sound. But a little Cambridge Audio DAC Magic would get a lot of people pretty far in terms of improving their digital setup.

 

Depends how you're acquiring your music.  Going the high-end digital route would save me so much more money in the long run than having to buy vinyl at these inflated prices these days.

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It's definitely cheaper to get good analog sound than it is to get good digital sound. 

 

I'm sorry, but this is impossible. It takes a $2k table, $3k tonearm, $3k cart, a $2k phono, $1k in cabling (very quick, raw estimates), and a really good base to give you more than what a $1.5k DAC can give you. That is, IF the record is actually pressed properly. Analog is never the cheaper option, it is actually a much harder, much more expensive path, that can give you better results only with proper selection of recordings.

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I'm sorry, but this is impossible. It takes a $2k table, $3k tonearm, $3k cart, a $2k phono, $1k in cabling (very quick, raw estimates), and a really good base to give you more than what a $1.5k DAC can give you. That is, IF the record is actually pressed properly. Analog is never the cheaper option, it is actually a much harder, much more expensive path, that can give you better results only with proper selection of recordings.

 

Absolutely.  If it weren't for the enjoyment brought about by actually spinning records, I would have saved myself a ton of money and gone the high-end digital route a long time ago.  And you're right, if the pressing sucks, everything else is gonna suck along with it.

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I gotta agree with Slinch here ... sort of.  A lot of this is really subjective. If you've got $500 into your analog gear and $500 into a DAC, and you prefer the former, that's fine.  I mean, what am I going to do?  Argue that there's something wrong with your ears?  Tell you that you're not hearing what you hear?

 

Plus, there's other variables to consider.  A lot of folks love the ritual of vinyl ... the inherent nostalgia that's built into holding a record and the process of extracting music from its grooves.  Digital can be kinda boring and impersonal, and even though that shouldn't color the way you hear music played through an excellent DAC, sometimes it does influence our listening habits.

 

But here's where I'm on Slinch's side: there's just so much more potential to dump loads of money into analog.  You can tweak, upgrade and switch components for years and years and still never be quite happy with what you're hearing.  There's always this need to push your rig further in an attempt to reach vinyl nirvana.  That's why there's all these audio guys who are sitting on so much unused gear: spare turntables, cartridges, tonearms, cables, etc etc.  That doesn't even include all the periphery gear, such as RCMs, protractors, brushes, mats, anti-static guns, bla bla bla.  On the other hand, it's pretty rare to find an audiophile that sitting on five extra DACs.

 

The point I'm trying to make is that people hear what they hear, and that's fine.  But when it comes to analog vs digital, there are infinite variables involved in the former and only one or two in the latter.  Given all those variables, it's much more likely that someone will hit the nail on the head with a $500 DAC than they would with a $500 turntable.  Not saying that it can't be done; it's just a lot tougher if you consider the synergistic nature of all the parts that comprise analog playback.

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Sorry to resuscitate an old thread, but I have been thinking about adding a DAC to my setup, and I'm wondering what other folks are using. Specifically, I'd love to be able to stream music wirelessly (not necessarily 24 bit) via Wifi or Bluetooth. I know that Airport Express to DAC is an option, but are there other ways? Any and all thoughts always appreciated.

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Need to know how much you're looking to spend and what you're planning to connect it to. If you're an apple/iTunes user (and maybe even if you're not) the Apple TV is a good solution. I have gotten good results with an Apple TV plugged into a Schiit Modi optical with a Marantz PM5004 and Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s.

The DAC in my main system is a Emotiva XDA-2.

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