DAC-AH - upgrade to Audio Mirror?

I'm using a DAC-AH with a Squeezebox (Placette pre, TAD-60 & Gallo 3s). It has a smooth, non-grainy sound but it seems congested and rhythmically blunt. I was wondering if the Audio Mirror DAC would be much of an upgrade, considering (if I'm not mistaken) that they share the same circuit board. (I have a Cary 306/200 but I don't expect the Audio Mirror to better the internal DAC -but one never knows)

Maybe, or maybe not. Personally I wouldn't fall for it though. Call me crazy but I think "Audio Mirror" is simply a "mirror" image of other products as their name implies (as to they have the last laugh, LOL).

However, to at least guarantee an upgrade, I'd get it modded. I think RAM (reference audio mods dot com ??)is doing mods for a reasonable price.

I have an Audio Mirror D1 DAC that I felt in stock form was fantastic and have since had it modified by TRL with exceptional results. You can read my review on it in the review section as I was able to do a A/B comparison between the modded and an extra stock version I had.
Have had a DAC-AH and a Audio Mirror D-1. Almost the same. The Audio Mirror, using a different output cap, merely sounded warmer. If warmth is what you need, it is good.

Thanks for your comments. More warmth is not what I'm looking for. I was hoping for more airness and less bluntness/congestion. The DAC-AH is a very nice sounding pre for its price. It does alot of what I was hoping it would do (reduce grain, tame brightness and thinness of Squeezebox).


How did you determine conclusively that it is your DAC-AH that is at fault (for the bluntness & lack of rhythm)?
I guess I don't know conclusively. In fact, I've thought that it could be the pc/squeezebox combination. I just know that the Cary cdp doesn't have the same sonic qualities in my system. I was thinking that by replacing the DAC I could come closer to finding out the culprit. This is my first foray into pc audio and with some of the claims people make about it, I was perhaps expecting too much. I'm not sure it's worth upgrading too far, since probably in the short run I'll primarily use the squeezebox for mp3 music and stick with the cdp for redbook recordings.

Thanks to all.
you didn't give any other info re. the squeezebox other than you are using it to play MP3 files. I'm *assuming* that the bluntness & lack of rhythm is when you play MP3 files from the Squeezebox.
Well, you are aware that MP3 is a lossy file compression format, correct? when you compress your music files to MP3 you are going to lose a lot of info. Does the MP3 format give you an bit rate option? If so, did you select the highest bit rate allowed?
If not, then I have a feeling that you have a system that is able to inform you that the MP3 format has lost much/some info in your music files.
The Cary plays redbook CDs that are in .wav format, a lossless format.
If the Squeezebox allows some other lossless format, you can try that.
Hold - what you're describing in "bluntness/congestion" in my experience is due to a lack of a good power supply. Could be in either or all of your components. A good power supply gives better depth, space, layering, dimension, seperation, see-through holographic imaging. An inadequate power supply will tend to roll everything up into "one" and diminish the spatial image while inducing congestion, especially with complex passages. Stock cheapo power cords and AC/DC adapters are common to do this in my experience.

From your set up, your PC's power supply in a non-issue since you use a squeezebox and the audio signal is essentially out of the PC's noisy environment and fed to the squeezebox. Now you only need to worry about the signal from the point of the squeezebox on forward. Is your squeezebox modded? or Stock? If not think about getting it modded. Enjoythemusic has an article about a cheap upgrade to the power supply as well as a list of modders. Next, your DAC - what kind of power cord are you using? Also think about getting the power supply modded. And so on for the rest of your system.

I didn't make myself very clear. I've been using the Squeezebox to play music I've copied from cd to hard drive. I import them into iTunes as AIFF with error protection. I did this for a number of reasons (cdp gone for a while, interested to hear the quality of hard drive-based system).

What I meant to say in the previous post was that once I get my cdp back, I imagine that I'll mostly use the Squeezebox/harddrive/DAC-AH as a way to play my compressed files (mp3, AAC, etc.). I'll probably always have some AIFF files on hard drive but unless something changes (and I'll admit that it's always a possibility) I probably will continue to use cdp to play redbook music.

As for the sound of the Squeezebox with its internal DAC I found it grainy, thin, slightly brittle and edgy, with a general sense of weakness and distance. (I haven't gone back to listening to it without the DAC-AH, but will eventually.)

I've really been shifting things around in my system so haven't always been able to isolate the symptoms. In the past 3 months I've introduced the squeezebox, DAC-AH, speakers, tube amp, and a temporary cdp to replace the Cary while it's been out of the house. I'm still looking at cables and pre but knkow I need to let my impressions form around what I've got now before I proceed to the next round of purchasing.