At $1000< DAC I would recommend a used or new Bel Canto! sound great smooth from top to bottom, detail, should give it an audition.....Regards, Rute. P.S. Haven't try out the new version yet so can't tell you anything 'bout that.
Yo Ken, Read the review by Robert Deutsch in Stereophile (Dec 2000) of the Bel Canto DAC1. He likes the MSB Link Dac III better for about the same price. Robert raises a good point about the DAC being a means to an end...what do you want your system to be that it isn't now? Smoother or more dynamic? Personally I would skip the DAC because A/V pre-amp processors have them anyway. Upgrade the pre-amp or save your money for a new DVD-audio/SACD player. Blink twice and they will be a $1000 or less. I had the Bel Canto home for a weekend...it is a nice smooth DAC but it didn't sound better than my Rotel RCD-990 and it doesn't have balanced outputs.
I second what rute1 had to say. I am not sure and probably disagree with audiopath because we do not know your other equipment. Using your Sony as a transport along with an up-sampling DAC is the way to go. I have not heard the MSB however I own a Bel Canto Dac-1 which I had upgraded, very good, hard to beat for the price. Hope this helps.
Ken, I have a Bel Canto Dac-1 that is less than a year old I could sell you for $850. Let me know if you are interested.
The best DAC that I've heard period, regardless of age is the Threshold DAC/1E with the big outborad E-power supply. This unit is pretty incredible and has a 0 phase and a 180 phase. Just unbelievable, you have to hear one. It had retailed for about $3300 some years back but if you can find one, a going price is about $1000.
Bel Canto Dac 1, plus a replacement power cord (the stock one sucks and is the root of the "lack of dynamics" complaints), I use a Harmonic Tech Pro 11 ($125.00 used) and a good digital cable. The cable is the Mapleshade Double Helix digital IC ($120.00) on the RCA input from a CAL Icon II. One of the most "musically" satisfying combinations that I have heard to date. This includes Theta Miles, Resolution Audio 55 and MSB Link DAC III combos with the optional power supply. I have not listened to the Full Nelson mod on the Link DAC nor have I auditioned the DAC by Muse, but have heard that these units are special.
Oops: Didn't realize that the Muse DAC's started at $2500.00 retail.
All of you guys should listen to the Birdland Odeon Lite DAC. You might be suprised to find it will displace all of those mentioned above.
Try Assemblage DAC 2.7 with the parts upgrade. It does the job for me.
Musicshop I have the Birdland to I love it but I'm looking for a new digital cable give me a hand and have you tried it direct
Where can you find Birdland?
Perpetual Technologies P-3A is the best sub $1K DAC available.
EVS Millenium DAC II $880 www.tweakaudio.com, read what Ric has to say about the future of digital
First I must clear the air, I am a audio dealer and yes I am a dealer for Birdland. I must also say they are hard to get, Birdland is not the fastest company when it comes to production but they do make a fantastic product. I believe the only way to use the Birdland is direct into your amp. The sound is much better, just think, you are eliminating one pair of interconnects and your preamp, both of those things add or subtract from the music. About digital cables, I have had good luck with the D60 from DH Labs and the new cables from Acoustic Zen. Birdland recommends trying a toslink if your transport has that option. Birland tells me, the toslink connections of today are much better than in the past. I have not tried it yet but will.
Sorry, that's D75 from DH Labs, not D60. Too many numbers to keep up with.
Yup: D60 could be either Kimber or Illumination?
TheMusicShop: Things could be worse though. Think of if all gear had names like those in the Ikea catalog.
For more information regarding Bel Canto Dac-1 and Birdland read the AodiogoN Threads "Bel Canto Dac-1 Upgrade" and "Bel Canto or Birdland?"
I have a Bel Canto. It is a very smooth sounding dac with good frequency extension at both ends. I have found big improvements using the JPS Digital Power cord with filters on both ends to eliminate RFI and line hash. The s/n is improved, quieter background with greater resolution of inner detail. Dekay I also have the Harmonic Tech Pro 11 cord and in the digital application the JPS cord is much better and also cost more, 350.00 retail and discounted for about 300.00, well worth the cost. I am waiting for the EVS Millenium that an audio buddy has on order and is expected to receive next month. Suppose to be a "giant killer". It sure seems to be a good marketing strategy in high end audio. But it rarely happens at a price point. I do have high expectations for this unit though. So far as the P.T. unit, I had one for a few weeks but suspect something may have been wrong with the chip. I never did find out if this was so but it certainly isn't going to hurt to audition. It did have superb resolution and the dynamic capability was excellent. Tonally it was quite harsh and forward and never came around after 2 weeks audition. They have a 30 day in home trial which is what I would do with these units. Audition them all and then decide what works best. You'll only be out shipping costs and for maybe 100.00 it will probably be worth it. You'll never know any other way.
I just sent back the MSB Link DAC III (no upgrades)after 30 days, nothing but a high pass filter in my not very high-end system: Parasound cdp-1000 to Outlaw Audio receiver pre-outs to Sonographe SA-250, Meadowlark Kestrels.
Thanks for the cord "plug" Tubegroover. I have a couple others that I would like to audition as well which means The Cable Company. I would also like to try the Mapleshade PC, if I can come up with a nonconductive protective conduit to shield it with. I am leary of the thin sheathing on the PC for safety reasons. I will just purchase one for the DAC and put the HT cord back on the player/transport for now. Another thing that I read in a review is that the Bel Canto is not susceptible to vibration (just place it on a sheet of MDF). Well, not so in my set up. I don't have any cones (still on order) but placed it on Vibrapods/thin 3/4" piece of maple/DAC on stock feet and the detail increased with this sandwich Vs a MDF base. Go figure.