Mike - Curious what you mean when you say "vintage". DACs are a somewhat newer technical development. "Newer" being truest, I suppose, relative to them as standalone devices. I usually associate vintage with something old...say, mftd. 25 years ago or more. Since DAC technology has been advancing rapidly, I'm not certain how well served you would be with a "vintage" DAC, whatever that means. Of course, giving an idea about your budget will help with better quality suggestions. Regardless, this link might be of some interest.http://www.head-fi.org/t/404357/old-dacs
If small, affordable and newer is of any interest, you might find a device from Audioquest (Dragonfly), iFi or Schiit a good choice.
Good luck in your search.
Hey ghosthouse - remember Audio Alchemy? 1980's...
I owned the entire line up at the time. Quite good in it's day.
EAD DSP-7000 is champion.
EAD DSP-7000 is champion.
+1 as long as it's the MKIII version. Great DAC!
the Audio quest dragon fly blows the doors of my MSB Link3 i would stick with something newer I agree with ghosthouse
I just purchase the Elears as well, but went with Ayre Codex for the DAC. Only a week breakin so far, but I do like what I'm hearing.
But to answer your question I might look towards a Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista DAC
Why the hell would you want a vintage DAC...??! There are so many excellent modern budget DACs...
In the past i’ve owned a California Audio Lab’s (CAL) Alpha, a Audio Alchemy Digital Decoding Engine v10 (DAC) and a Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista. These days they are all considered very vintage. Of the three, the Tri-Vista was the better, followed by the CAL Alpha, yet the AA DAC was pretty good, looking back.
Of the 3 the Audio Alchemy device may have the lowest current value.
The strange thing is, I never sold the CAL or the AA and have them stored away.
get a msb link dac 3 try to getit with the upsampling card and upgraded power supply ..i have used mine for cd playback for years its a great 24/96 dac
When I read "vintage DAC", I think Apogee AD/DA -- Duet 1, Rosetta, etc.
Benchmark DAC 1 is a great DAC for the money. It also doubles as a preamp and headphone amp.
Ha my DAC was built in 95 I guess that makes it vintage. Sounds great to me and not going anywhere. AN DAC-3 Signature if you can find one.
Museatex Bitstream is my fav DAC. About 25 years old. I purchased it few months ago and enjoying it very much.
A vintage DAC is not something you might want. It was in its infancy and had many problems in the early years.
Museatex Bidat or Bitstream dac. I will never get rid of either of them. The Bidat is in the main rig and have been using the Bitstream on the cans.
genez and infection: sure, modern DACs have impressive numbers on paper. However, the best SOUNDING dacs are all vintage. Here they are:
Forsell Air Reference, Melos MAX-1, Meitner Bidat, EAD DSP-9000, dcs Elgar plus, Levinson 30.6, Theta Gen.VIII, dcs Delius, Sonic Frontiers SFD-2, Metronome C20 Signature, Theta Gen.5, Nakamichi Dragon.
Some good modern DACs:
Nagra HD-DAC (if you’re not on welfare), NAD M51 (if you are)
I would highly recommend looking for Audio-gd DAC-19MK3.
About 10-12 years old now.
It uses the now unavailable
micro DF1704 digital filter and PM1704UK chip set. It sounds terrific. Very musical!
Agree on the Trivista 21 DAC. Wonderful sounding, built like a tank and the tubes last several lifetimes. I’ve had mine new since 2004 and it sound wonderful.
only problem with most vintage DACs is that they don’t play high Rez files, like MQA or DSD or 24/196. They play red book and that’s about it. Not an issue if you have a transport, and they will still play regular Tidal and Qobuz files, just not high Rez.