ACK dac or Muse 2 / older dac to replace Sa8260

i am looking to replace my marantz sa-8260.

how is the !ack dac ?

is it musical and analog sounding ? or would i be better off with a muse II and cec transport ( ie would i be better off with a older more $$ dac).

please advise.

thank you !!!

The whole design of the Ack DAC seems to be based on the simplicity and lack of over/upsampling, lack of digital filter concept used by 47 Labs and Audio Note.

I have heard the 47 Lab's DAC (not the Shigaraki), and I have read a fair bit on the Ack DAC and other clone DAC's. All is good press, saying great sound for cheap money.

I think if you went that route, you wouldn't lose: either you love the sound for relatively cheap, or if you don't, you sell at not much loss.....

Good luck.
just finished auditioning both of these, and the punchline is, the Benchmark went back for a refund and the ACK! is staying!
The Benchmark is a great DAC, no doubt - I can see where it garners rave reviews. It is highly detailed, very transparent, very exciting listening. But after awhile, its relentlessly detailed presentation gives you the proverbial digital headache. I started listening less & less. It would be great for studio use though.
The ACK! on the other hand reminds me more of my trusty VPI turntable and records - everything's there, and everything just sounds right, just like music should. No glare, sweet but not sugary, nicely balanced, dead quiet. And, you can listen for hours on end - you have to drag yourself out of the listening room because it's time to go to work. Bonus - it's half the price! Worth the wait.
In my modest system - Quicksilver monos, B&W CDM NTs, McCormack passive pre - it was no contest at all. Good luck & good listening!
p.s. If you love good female vocals, check out Christine Kane's latest CD at Fantastic!
I've recently auditioned the dAck! I could certainly see how some really like the sound of this unit. If I had to sum up the sound, I would say SMOOOOTH, especially for vocals. And very quiet. But if you want spacious sound with extended highs, there are other units in similar price range that can do better. By nature of its design, the very high end of the dAck! is slightly rolled off, and some have described this unit as dull - I wouldn't go that far. I've seen some actually using a different capacitor (Sonicap instead of the Auricap) in the analogue section to get some of the sparkle back. In direct comparison to other DACS, it may sound dull but over the long hall, you'll get used to it and enjoy the other qualities of dAck! But I've passed on the dAck! and decided to go onto a better, albeit more expensive CDP. DACs are in general more pain in the butt IMO because you need the "right" transport, "right" digital cable, and deal with battery issues in the case of the dAck! I'm looking into the new Stello CDP, not out yet but should go around ~$1500 retail, probaly more like $1300 with the inevitable discount. The Stello DAC ($1195) has been described as sounding very close to the ultra expensive Zanden DAC. If you can splurge the extra, I'd give Stello a try (link to reviews on Good luck.
I've improved my Ack! significantly by replacing the 3.3 mF AuraCaps with Dynamicaps, a pair of 5 mF and a .01 bypass per channel. It really opened up and the bass improved big time. I use it with an EAD T1000 with a Mapleshade/Insound Zepher dig link. Extremely open yet smooth, dead silent with wonderfull dynamics; the best I've heard.
I've owned both the Ack! and Muse2. I finally sold the Muse2 after many years of faithful service and bought a MF A324. I sold the MF A324 after hearing the Ack! I use a Theta transport. The Ack! beats both the the Muse and MF in my all tube system. The Ack! makes serious music. It's the lowest cost component in my system, by far. If you listen to alot of vinyl, the Ack! will fit nicely in your system.
Please advise Ack! users. I've been very interested in Ack! dac for quite some time and wondered if my system would benefit. The highs at times are too much, probably because of the revealing nature of Magnepans, and I'd rather hear a lusher, non- fatiguing, blacker background, fuller lows, and smoother well rounded mids. Would I accomplish this with a Ack! dac used with a Cary 303/100cdp or would I benefit more by using a different cdp, such as a Audio Aero Prima cdp or similar cdp?
I would not say that the dAck! has soft highs, but sweet and extened. The mid is not half so rounded as the tube DAC by Scott Nixon or the cj DACs--the dAck! having a more transistory mid. The bass is deep and impacting, but not midbass bumped like a tube DAC, a la Scott Nixon. The Cary is tube DAC, is it not?
The Cary 303/100 is a ss cdp and not a tube dac.