choose a DAC to complete my system

acoustic zen silver reference ii XLR interconnect
Cardas Clear speaker cable
wireworld platinum usb cable
Focal Electra 1038 be II
Pass labs X350.5
Pass labs Xp10 pre
Oppo BDP-105
PC computer

i'm not happy about the sound i'm getting
i'm not sure why.
maybe it's better to replace the PRE ?
maybe to get Apple computer to replace the PC?

for DAC i though about one of those:
Luxman DA-06 (Japan model cost $3000 but i don't know if it will work in the US? Japan using 100V
Meitner Audio MA-1 , found 6 month old.

or other models?

what are you using as a DAC now for the PC?? if you are just running it direct from the PC soundcard to your preamp almost ANYTHING would sound better.

also if your PC is a secondary source (meaning the Oppo is your main choice) I would spend no where NEAR $3k on a DAC ... the AudioQuest Dragonfly or something in that price range would probably suffice

as for your pre, I do not see that as a "weak link" in your system
You should describe what you don't like about your current system sound. It would also be useful to describe your room and speaker/listener placement. How is your PC connected to the rest of your system?

Best Kept secret BMC "pure dac" you owe me for this tip
believe me dont let the $1690 price tag fool you!
I have heard the same about the BMC Pure DAC on another forum. Any reviews in the work? Except for one user review from Asia, I could not find much information on this DAC.
i'm using the Oppo BDP-105 with USB cable.
from oppo website:
"USB Asynchronous DAC – By bypassing the low fidelity, poor quality DAC of traditional computer soundcards, the BDP-105 turns any computer into a high performing multi-media source by converting digital audio to analog through the ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC. If your computer can play it, the BDP-105 can convert it to analog."
i add a pic of the system:
the DAC is not your problem. Your cables have good reputation

If you are using a generic off the shelf, un-optimized PC then your sound will be incredibly mediocre for digital playback

1) if computer savvy do the reading on computer audiophile site on how to build an optimized media server and follow through
2) if not your cup of tea buy an already built media server a la CAPS models

this will insure that you have mitigated to a high degree the multitasking contention and electrical noisiness of a commercial PC that holds you back from the better than CD/DVD performance you can get from a media PC via asynch USB to your Oppo player
Like others have said, we need to know what you don't like about your system. If you just want to try something, put a decent copper cable in between your amp and preamp. Its just a guess, but you may like what you hear.
Do you play CDs through the Oppo? How does that sound compared to using the PC?
do you mean to replace the acoustic zen silver reference ii XLR interconnect with other cable?

it's hard for me to describe (bad English)

almost no Bass , no soundstage
sound not full, not extended at the ends, not warm

i listened at CES to Focal Diablo and 1038 like i have
and i love it so much.
Three things: 1) don't use the Oppo for a DAC, 2) eliminate, don't replace the active preamp. Active preamps like this are the bain of audio. If you are not willing to spend at least $10K on a really good tube pre, forget it. 3) make certain that your digital source has extremely low jitter. The computer alone will not do this. If you want the very best result, use an outboard USB converter with its own power supply, like the Off-Ramp 5.

There are a couple of ways to deal with the preamp:

1) use a DAC with a strong output driver (not an op-amp) and feed it to a passive transformer linestage, such as the Music First (I just happen to have a silver-wound one for sale). Output impedance of the DAC of <50 ohms is required. Avoid resistive passive stages as they create impedance problems downstream

2) select a DAC with a superior volume control technology, that beats all active and passive preamps like this one: This one adds no components to the signal path, does not change the resistance or gain in the signal path and actually increases the S/N ratio and reduces the distortion as the volume is lowered. No other volume technology does this.

Do not use 100% software controlled volume.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
After you fix the jitter, the preamp and the DAC, then you should focus on the source.

There are three paths, all driving USB out to the USB converter:

1) PC using optimized hardware (SSD, memory, power supply). Playback using Jriver (and maybe Jplay). Rip CD's with dbpoweramp

2) Oct 2009 Mac mini with optimized hardware (SSD, memory, power supply). Playback using Amarra. Rip CD's using XLD. The Mini can be bought on ebay for less than $400.

3) Server such as the Antipodes, which will drive USB out. This one is particularly good because it sounds as good with FLAC as with wav files. We used one of these with great results at the last RMAF.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"10-24-13: Pelo911
do you mean to replace the acoustic zen silver reference ii XLR interconnect with other cable?

it's hard for me to describe (bad English)

almost no Bass , no soundstage
sound not full, not extended at the ends, not warm

i listened at CES to Focal Diablo and 1038 like i have
and i love it so much."

The reason that I mentioned trying a different cable is that every time I put a silver cable between an amp and preamp, I don't like it. I've also come across a few people that have AZ cables and said the same thing. I just thought it wouldn't hurt to try a copper cable between your amp and preamp.

Given your last post, its probably not cables that are the cause of the problem. I agree with Audioengr in that it would probably be best to look at the source first. I know you are using the Oppo as a DAC. Do you have the same problem when you use your PC as a source and when you play disk's through the Oppo directly? Or does one sound OK and the other bad?
Thanks for the added info.

Looking at your photo it appears that you are not giving your speaker any room to breathe. With a few exceptions, most speaker sound best when symmetrically placed out into the room and away from any large objects. Your speaker placement looks as if it violates all three of these objectives. At a minimum you need to move your speakers away from the TV and further away from the back wall.

There are any number of articles and threads on speaker placement. I strongly suggest you research and read them.

Until you properly place your loudspeakers, any further expenditures on equipment are ill advised.
Huge +1 for Onhwy61. Your photos indicate possible major problems with speaker setup and room placement. There seems to be a large difference in the space behind your left vs.right speaker, with the right in front of a large void under a staircase? Differential reflection and node cancellation from this could in itself be enough to explain your absence of bass and also soundstage. Other improvements would result from : moving cluster of gear away from current location between your speakers, or moving your speakers further out into the room.

Please consider investing in a great setup reference, such as Jim Smith's
classic "Get Better Sound" ( and follow its tenets. You will be amazed at the difference. You already have some excellent gear, and no costly upgrades will make nearly as much difference as a proper setup.
i listen to Sting live in Berlin BlueRay from the OPPO

sound great !!!
i guess my problem is when i play music from the computer.

on the CES show
the plug the Focal 1038 to Devialet D-Premier and Crystal Cable and play music from ipad (not sure how)
it was much much better then the sound i'm getting.
"The reason that I mentioned trying a different cable is that every time I put a silver cable between an amp and preamp, I don't like it."

That is because you are buying the wrong cables. The silver metallurgy and care in assembly is critical. Most silver cables have broken crystal lattice, so they sound harsh. I used to manufacture and sell silver cables.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
OnHwy61 is absolutely spot-on, your speaker placement is your real problem. That and the multitude of hard, reflecting surfaces in your room. You should not spend another dime on gear until you get your speakers/room tamed...

i'm moving to a new house soon
then i will place everything like i want to (and need to)

today i got a very good offer for Scala Utopia
i can sell my 1038.

do you think it's a good upgrade?
my AMP and pre are good match to the Scala?
Pelo911, looks like you're getting similar advice on your other threads as well regarding adverse effects of your room setup. I know it's hard to resist, but it may be better (and less costly) to wait until moving into your new place and getting a better layout before actually deciding on gear changes. In the meantime, I'm sure folks here can continue to offer some good options to consider.
Devialet D-Premier

this tiny and light device can replace a big and heavy AMP like my Pass Lab + Pre + DAC ?
with no compromise?