I have demoed both of them side by side in my sound room at home. They were both extremely good! The Bel Canto Dac-1 must use a pre-amp. The Birdland can be used with a pre-amp OR can be used by itself and will drive any system. I have communicated over the internet with several people regarding your question, with mixed comments (all good) pro/con each dac. In my system I preferred the Bel Canto, I heard more harmonic detail and base extension. Others have said the same thing about the Birdland. I suggest you demo both of them in your home as I did and decide for yourself. I could definitely live with both/either. As I mentioned before I preferred the Bel Canto on my tube system. I did not try it with my S.S. system. One visual drawback in my opinion is to keep cost down the Birdland is housed in an inexpensive plastic blue housing. I hope the info is helpful. Good luck and let me know what you decide. Feel free to email me if you have other specific questions.
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