Closest DAC to Vinyl Sound?

I love my vinyl, but sometimes it's a pain to keep flipping sides. I also have a lot of digital music (WAV, FLAC and MP3) that doesn't sound half bad through my Soundblaster X FI Titanium Fatality. But I'm wondering, is there a better way to enjoy digital? How would an external DAC stack up? Can anyone recommend a DAC that has that analog sound, or is it wishful thinking? Associated equipment includes Sound Valves VTP 101, Aragon 2004 and Large Advent Speakers. I also have an Adcom GCD 750 cd player that can accept a coax input.
Your question is an oxymoron, digital is digital, analogue is analogue. Even the so called tube cd players can't get an analogue sound, IMHO. Have the Sound valves unit you mention, a great sound and value. Maybe a some point some producers will take their original analogue tapes and do a super high resolution transfer to the blue ray spec. I am waiting for Miles/Blue which is in the works. Until then your money will chasing the impossible DAC.
It's a sort of cliche of audio reviews to praise a DAC by comparing it's sound to vinyl playback, and the Neko D100 has gotten several reviews like that. I've had one at home for more than a week, and can say it's a very fine DAC, smooth and relaxed. Apart from a lack of inputs, I highly recommend it. But a comparison to vinyl is not very helpful, IMO.
The Neko Audio D100 is absolutely effortless in its presentation. The best digital I've heard for under $2k, and outclassed the Cambridge 840C which was a few hundreds pricier.
Gfcf424892, have you heard either of the Wyred for Sound DACs?
I have not Daverz. I hope to hear one soon as I have read lots of good things about them. Until I do, the Neko remains my favorite.
Your question is an oxymoron, digital is digital, analogue is analogue.


You gotta love this site!

Oxymoron, you know, two things that are mutually contradictory. Famous examples : jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, sex worker.

There are external DACs that sound sort of hi-fi, drawing attention to their wonderful sound, and there are others that stand aside and let the music play. I like the second kind and you can get them at different price points.

The cheapest I've found goes for 50 bucks on eBay, a Chinese-made unit branded Muse with four TDA1543 chips wired in parallel. Up the scale a bit might be the Valab TDA1543 DAC at $200, but I haven't heard it yet. Another one I like a lot, for more money, is the Apogee Mini-DAC. In fact any Apogee converter I've heard has sounded great to me.

One key to getting good sound with an external DAC is the length of the digital interconnect. In every system I've tested, a 1.5m cable sounded better than a shorter one.
My point was that the question Hayraz raised was not an oxymoron. Poor grammar, regardless of the venue isÂ…well, still poor grammar.

Thanks anyway Tobias, I know you meant well...!
Once I got the Mhdt Havana hooked up to my Cary 308, I lost my preference for vinyl over cd sound. The vinyl rig is a Rega P25 , Soundsmith'ed Clearaudio Wood MM playing through a MAC C220. My vinyl is mostly Jazz, cds' are classical and other.
Depends what your definition is of analog sound. Most people I know think analog is bloom sounding sort of like the tube dacs in Kora Hermes and Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista. If you are saying that you want an easeful sound then that would be one way to look at it. Some of my favorite DACs are the Museatex Bitstream stock and modified form, the Lampinzator DAC and the one I had built for me which uses a stacking chip set and transformers. Adding the transformers really improved the sound by removing AC noise and keep a few caps out of the signal path. This produced fantastic tone and let the music just flow out. While all this worked for me, the most improvement I hears was using direct heated tubes in a custom built preamp. That has been the single biggest upgrade I have heard.

Happy Listening.
Which DHT tube is in your preamp? And does it utilize coupling caps or an interstage transformer, just curious.
The new Tranquility Signature DAC does a pretty darn good job of delivering a sound with a lot of vinyl-like characteristics, IMO - extremely smooth, lush, detailed, nice dynamics and presence. Doesn't necessarily deliver the sheer weight, momentum and huge soundstage you're going to get with a high-end vinyl rig, but I haven't heard another DAC that would do a better job at a price that isn't stratospheric. There's a review out now in something called "Digital Audio Review" that compares it to the new WFS DAC 2 and it comes out very favorably, especially in terms of sounding more analogue.

I agree. The new Lampizator level 3 DAC with the penodes in triode config are supposed to be a killer.

I will let you know when I get to hear on and can compare to the level 2 equivalent I currently have.
Depending on what you mean by Vinyl.

If it's "warm, thick and laid-back"
"fast, extended, present, and liquid".

I had a good listen with the Tranquility and compared it to Weiss 202 and Bel Canto DAC 2.5. It's very good and the analog-like quality people posted here and in other forums were apparent.

Still waiting for Lukasz to send me the level2,5. Can't wait!
Sirotseta - great review on the Tranquility, and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know it can punch with the Weiss 202! Your description of "decent vinyl" playback mirrors my own opinions - for me, the unique thing about vinyl has nothing to do with warm or laid-back, it's more about delivering torrents of detail and sound space with each passing instant, all in an extremely vivid and non-fatiguing fashion. I think the Tranquility offers a good taste of this, although you're obviously not going to get quite that sense of raw power and effortless momentum that you get with a really good vinyl rig. But in my experience, not even higher-end names like DCS can quite do that, either.
I have the six-TDA1543-chip VALAB--for $200 it's a steal. Solder in better output caps if you feel like experimenting. I back away from any claims about it approaching vinyl in sound signature. It just makes good music and I like listening to it.
Soldersplatter, I hear you. I gave a four-chip TDA1543 DAC to my son after using it on my computer system for a while. I was very impressed. Fifty bucks gets music, fun-to-listen-to stuff, the same kind of fun I used to have with a tube-amplified Sears Viking LP changer when I was a kid. Fun, not a sound signature. Great stuff.
Many of the older DACs have a warmer sound . If thats what you want .

The new L3 in the new chassis is supposed to be outworldly!
Lukasz himself is impressed, I can tell you.
Would love to hear more about those Lampizator DACs, especially the DHT model. Post those reviews!
The Hegel DAC has a very full, warm sound that allows hours of listening without fatigue. I use it with a very nice tube preamp, BAT, and have been very pleased with the experience.
So, you want a DAC that sounds like a piece of plastic with grooves cut into it which created a terrible noise, so the RIAA (like Dolby) was applied in an attempt to reduce the noise, but really created its own set of distortions. And now you are dragging a needle thru this which spreads out the grooves that never return to their original shape causing wear everytime the record is played and slowly degrading the sound. This is what you want?
the problem with your question , is the fact that there is no "vinyl" sound, as a consequence of the variety of arms, cartridges and tables.
I think that the OP WAS looking for something that didn't produce a fatiguing or overly analytical sound.

In any case, the question being almost two years old, I wonder what the OP settled on.

The TeddyDAC or an Audio Note DAC would be choices generally thought to have the qualities you are looking for. What did you decide on?
A Playback Designs DAC via DSD IMHO bests any vinyl I have ever heard. In fact I know a person that recorded the output of a reconditioned tape machine playing master tapes and played it back via DSD through a VERY transparent system. If his life depended on picking the difference he would be sweating profusely - he doesn't believe he could do it - its that close.

If you like an analogue type sound DSD via a top of the line DAC such as the PD is the way to go IMHO.

07-05-13: Rrog
So, you want a DAC that sounds like a piece of plastic with grooves cut into it which created a terrible noise, so the RIAA (like Dolby) was applied in an attempt to reduce the noise, but really created its own set of distortions. And now you are dragging a needle thru this which spreads out the grooves that never return to their original shape causing wear everytime the record is played and slowly degrading the sound. This is what you want?
You can describe the mechanical process in the most derogatory way possible by which the LP reproduces sound, but that in no way describes how well this playback process works. From a results perspective, one could just as legitimately say, you mean you want a playback system that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel a little sad when it's time to turn the system off rather than one that causes you to emit a sigh of relief when you're done listening.
There are none. You will have to listen to lots of DACs till you find one that appeals to you. I listened to lots of them till I found the dCS Debussy. IMHO it has very good sound stage and depth that I had not heard with other DACs. It still does not sound like analog just excellent digital and that for me was hard to find.
Hevac1 is right, there `re some excellent sounding DACs available,take your time and you`ll find what you want.
Analog playback is no different in that some are superb and others can sound rather poor.There`re analog systems that sound very etched and make your ears plead for mercy(holds true for some digital front ends as well).Avoid the stereotypes and just listen and judge.
Check out the Yamamoto DACs. Great analog output stage.
The Yamamoto DAC is redbook only and has just a single RCA input.The analog stage and power supply is where the money went.I`ve had mine for 3 1/2 years,the sound is superb!This DAC is as organic and good as their renownded SET amplifiers.