I am setting up a new system. I will be buying speakers, a DAC and maybe a few other things (e.g., a Network Audio Adapter ("NAA") if it isn’t built into the DAC). I have two amps: Yamaha P5000S power amp and Yamaha A-S801 integrated amp. I just bought those. I am seeking advice on what else to buy.
I envision I will use either HQPlayer or Roon, and I’m leaning toward trying HQPlayer first.
The HQPlayer page has this helpful hardware list that will be a starting point. In this post I mainly want to know what to buy. After I buy it I’ll probably have questions about getting everything set up.
Of those, the Teac NT-503 looks most interesting to me (so far). I like that it has XLR balanced outputs which I can connect directly to my Yamaha P5000S amp. It also has a built in NAA. I also like that I can buy the Teac on Amazon.com. (For personal reasons, I will be limiting my shopping to Amazon or BestBuy at the moment.)
I intend to control playback via an Android phone. I believe either Roon or HQPlayer has Android control options.
I want to be able to play all the music stored on my local Linux server while controlling playback from my phone. Support for either NFS or SSHFS would be ideal. (I could set up Samba and maybe even DNLA if absolutely required.) I intend to use a wired Gigabit Ethernet network for local streaming. (One problem I might face is that my wired network is completely separated from my WiFi network. The two don’t talk to each other, so I’m not sure how I’ll solve the Android control issue...)
In case it is relevant, I do own a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 and that’s what I’m using right now with the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amp.
Budget for DAC - about $1000 or so...
Music sources: CD’s, lossless music files stored on computer and MP3’s when that’s all I have available. I don’t have any SACD’s yet, but I plan on purchasing more high quality music once I have this system set up. I don’t use streaming services that much. My music will be stored on a local Linux server as stated above.
Music styles: acoustic, Indian classical (sitar, srangi, flute), alternative rock (Portugal. The Man, Sleeping with Sirens, etc.), older rock (e.g., Rush).
Personal Preferences: I am looking for non-fatiguing, warm, musical qualities. In another discussion topic here on this forum, @mtrot and I agreed about "smooth, sweet, soft, silky treble" and "shimmery, airy cymbals" as goals.
I have a separate thread asking for speaker recommendations.
@jl35 OK, thanks. It took me a little while to figure out that TAS = theabsolutesound.com. I'm fairly new to all this.
@james_w514 Thanks for that info. I do want something that is smooth sounding. It's nice to hear your experiences.
Since the Teac 503 is on signalyst's list of recommended hardware for HQPlayer, and since I wanted to try it anyway, your recommendation pushes me further toward giving the NT-503 a try. BestBuy has it.
It's coming down to a choice between the NT-503 and the Oppo UDP-205 (which I assume is the same DAC as the Sonica.)
I am quite pleased with the iFi iOne nano as my DAC. It has Bluetooth connectivity, and it uses a Burr-Brown ("These sets iFi Audio continues on chipsets from Burr-Brown, or more precisely the DSD1793, whereby the manufacturer proudly points out that this is about the last chip, which was developed before the merger with Texas Instruments."--https://www.hifitest.de/test/da-wandler/ifi-nano_idsd_le_14127-seite2) as the iDSD nano LE without the headphone amplifier stage.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the Monarchy Audio NM24 DAC Preamplifier?
I think the price is now up to about $1590. But the review I read states, "You’ll have to look in the neighborhood of $5000 to exceed its
I was originally budgeting $1000. I can increase that, but I am still trying to keep my budget down to $2000 or less. The NM24 at $1590 fits my budget well. Some of the others, like the exaSound, are too pricey for me right now.
And maybe the NM24 is just as good as these other more expensive options, if this review is accurate. Thoughts?
NM24 teaches us three important lessons regarding digital-to-analog
converter design. First, that there’s still plenty of audio magic left
in Burr Brown’s 24-bit/96kHz PCM1704 chip, the world’s most
sophisticated R2R DAC chip which Texas Instruments came close to
discontinuing in 2012. Second, a tube buffer is sonically superior to an
op-amp buffer, as can easily be ascertained by auditioning both
built-in buffers: an AD811 video op-amp and a 6922 triode-based stage.
Third, it is much easier (i.e., less costly) to design a good-sounding
DAC using an R2R chip than it is with the currently ubiquitous
delta-sigma type. There are only two digital inputs (TosLink and
coaxial), so you’ll need a good external asynchronous USB link for
computer audio. As compensation, you can use the line-level preamp
outputs as a headphone amplifier via a suitable adapter cable. The sound
is exceedingly analog-like, as the NM24 avoids the halo of brightness
that permeates the harmonic textures of so many delta-sigma based DACs.
You’ll have to look in the neighborhood of $5k to exceed its
performance. Sold factory-direct.
For me, the higher value proposition, is to buy mid-level electronics and spend more money on headphones / speakers... which allows me far greater enjoyment of my music library.
I take this approach after years of chasing the ghost of better equipment in the two channel world before realizing that it was a never-ending pursuit that detracted from the enjoyment of listening to great music.
That makes a lot of sense to me. At this stage of my learning curve in this hobby, I will aim to buy mid-level electronics and then spend what I save there on the best speakers I can afford. Hence, my desire to keep the DAC cost under $2000 and maybe even under $1000.
One DAC I haven’t seen mentioned in this thread is the Onkyo P-3000R. It’s sold as a preamp, but it functions as a DAC and it works with Linux with no special drivers -- it’s purely plug ’n play. It has separate Burr-Brown DACs for each channel.
I saw it mentioned on Audiogon here from 10-03-2013 in a discussion on the Parasound P5 (which was recommended to me by a local dealer).
The comment by @audiozen was:
I recently heard a Preamp from Onkyo that smokes the Parasound Pre’s, the Onkyo P-3000R which retails for $1695.00 and can be purchased at a lower price. The Onkyo is superior to the Musical Fidelity and Pass Preamps that I have owned in the past. The Onkyo weighs just under 25 pounds and is sexy as hell with its satin black finish. It comes with a MM phono stage, has a built in Burr-Brown DAC with USB or XLR input. Has bass and treble controls and a headphone jack. I heard the piece just over a week ago and my jaw dropped from the sound quality. Very pure, ultra clean clarity with a dimensional holographic space typically found in very high priced Preamps. Very smooth with a pleasant warm character.
Despite being at the cutting edge of the burgeoning home theater market, Onkyo has never forgotten its roots in pure hi-fi audio. With the P-3000R, we present a streamlined two-channel pre-amplifier that packs a treasure trove of stunning audio technology. The P-3000R handles both analog and digital sources, with connectivity options including AES/EBU digital connectors and a USB device for PC audio. Separate 192 kHz/32-bit TI Burr-Brown DACs for each channel ensure accurate digital-to-analog conversion. Meanwhile, to minimize interference and maintain signal quality, the P-3000R employs noise-reducing DIDRC technology, a vibration-resistant chassis design, and independent amplifier circuitry. Thanks to the P-3000R’s bi-amping capability, you also have greater flexibility in how you set up your system. As always, the job of all this advanced hardware is to bring you closer to your music and let you feel the unique resonance of each individual instrument.
Is this still a better choice than the Parasound P5? And is it as good or better than any of the under $2000 DAC’s we discussed in this thread so far such as the NM24? (I’m still trying to stay under $2000.)
@david_ten I agree with most of that, but I would still like to hear some informed opinions about the Onkyo P-3000R. The only post I have seen about it is that one from 2013. That's about 4.5 years ago.
It would be nice to hear the current opinions of those who are familiar with that preamp / DAC.
The ultimate answer is to try stuff for oneself, but the list of things to try needs to be filtered through discussions like this one.
I know this is an older thread but I was researching the TEAC UD-503 and saw this. I own this unit and the Sonica plus others. The TEAC unit is fantastic and doesn’t get enough attention. It has a different character than the ESS Sabre DAC Chips. It’s an AKM Veritas 4490 plus their proprietary FPGA IC chip tuned for their sound, dual mono, dual toroidal power supplies, balanced headphone and XLR plus SE RCA outputs plus much more. It is so musical and the music just flows rhythmically. I like the volume control and the remote. Anyone in the market for a DAC short of $2K should have a listen.
@tgrisham Thanks for that feedback. That's interesting info about the TEAC UD-503. I may purchase one. However, what I ended up buying for now is the Onkyo P-3000R. I really like it. How do you think these two compare?