What is sounding better, the Parasound or the Rotel? Are you using a digital output from the CD player? Are you comparing the exact same masterings?
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I don't think you need a new DAC. The difference you are hearing is Spotify streams MP3's and you're playing redbook CD's on your Rotel. A better comparison would be use the digital output of the Rotel to the Parasound's DAC and see how that sounds compared to the Rotel. If you want CD quality streaming check out Tidal.
I have two recommendations, both of which I'd think would bring noticeable improvements over the DAC in your P5. They would be the Metrum Hex DAC and the Bel Canto DAC3 VB. Both of these DACs have been favorably compared to much more expensive competitors.
I had the Bel Canto in my system on extended demo (the separate power supply makes a huge improvement as I also had the non-VB version for direct comparison) and it sounded incredibly good to the point where I could not identify any weakness in its presentation and there was absolutely nothing I would've changed in what I was hearing. It just sounded natural and right. I'm sure you'd be impressed with its performance, but the only thing I don't know is how it compares to the NOS DACs out now. Which brings me to the Hex DAC.
Although I've not heard it, the stellar reviews of the NOS Hex attest to this DAC's performance level and capabilities. My semi-educated guess is that the Bel Canto would present a lighter and more crystal clear view into the recording while the Hex would probably deliver a tonally meatier and weightier presentation with perhaps just a bit less air and sparkle up top. Red wine versus white wine as it were. Pick one depending on your own personal tastes and I'd think you'd be a very, very happy camper. The Bel Canto is available here, and the Hex is on Ebay from an authorized dealer. Hope this helps, and best of luck in your search.
Thx for all the suggestions. I also read some good things about border patrol DACs so I think I have a good starting point for some research. For the ? above I’m finding the cd’s sound better than the DAC streaming. I will do some more in depth a/b listening between a cd and the streaming but I’m pretty sure there is a significant difference in sound quality. I will also try to hook up the rotel digitally thru the prarasound dac to see if there’s any difference.
You said you found cd's sound better than streaming, and that can be true. I use a Bluesound Node 2 streamer with the Ayre Codex dac. Connect the two with a Wireworld Super Nova 7 optical cable and then connect the Codex to my amp with balanced interconnects. This combo easily beats my Cambridge 851-C cd player. I value this cd player highly, but it is outperformed by my streaming set up. FWIW.
I’m getting close to pulling the trigger on a Bluesound Vault 2 and I have a Cambridge 851c as well. Question I have is did you ever run your Node through your 851 c and if so how did it sound? If you have not changed out both fuses on your 851c it does make a surprisingly improvement that sold me on the boutique fuses. I used the Synergestic Blacks... Blues are the newer ones out now.
You have a lot of great options for under $1500.
I agree with the Schiit, MyTek, Ayre, and the Bel Canto.
Personally, I have owned the Bel Canto DAC 2.5 for the last 5 years.
In fact, I bought it new for $2200 (a rarity for me), then had to sell it during hard times, then bought another unit when I got back on my feet.
They sell for under $1000 and this is a joke compared to the quality.
Highly resolving with a Burr-Brown DAC chip and Class D power supply. Dont knock the Class D, you cant even tell. Multiple ins/out, and can also has analog input for a pair of RCAs, then goes to the A to D converter, then the D to A converted, then to the amp. The signal to noise is still like 110 for the AD converter!
Bel Canto units sell cheaper on the used market b/c Bel Canto does not do a lot of advertising, they put $$ into R and D. And just some history, Bel Canto used to produced only tube equipment, then switched to Class D. The point is that they 'voice' hteir equipment to match that of a mild tube sound, but again great dynamics from top to bottom and wonderful midrange vocals. Think about it.
If you're talking about using the Node 2 thru the 851-C's dac, yes, I have tried it. Used the coax connection. I used an older not so expensive coax. The Node sounded better with it's own Dac. I also tried using my Ayre Codex Dac connected to the 851-C. Playing Cd's, it sounded better with the Codex vs. the 851's own Dac. I used the Wireworld Super Nova 7 optical cord for the connection. I have not tried the boutique fuses as I have never been a firm believer of their effectiveness, but I hear more and more good things about them so maybe I will give them a try in my Integrated amp and /or Cd player. Good choice if you go with the Vault 2. Bluesound has some really nice products for the money.