DAC Recommendations


I'm looking for a DAC to use with my Bolder modded Squeezebox, that I run into a Behringer DEQ, then straight to my amps. I will also connect my Oppo 970 to it for movies.

I've tried a couple of the current "favs" without much success.
-Lite DAC AH, it was okay, not great. But it won't decode 2 channel info from DVD's
-Mhdt Paradisea, great midrange, but rolled off extremes and no "punch"
-Benchmark DAC-1, too bright/harsh for me

I also tried a TacT 2.0 digital pre with room correction and absolutely loved the DAC section. It was airy & detailed without being harsh. It threw a huge soundstage and had great dynamics. The problem with it is, I need a PC to run the room correction software. I only own a Mac and it's a desktop in another part of the house. As much as I liked the sound, I'm not going to buy another computer/OS just to run the room correction software.

Any ideas on where I can get a sound similar to the TacT, in a DAC for around $1k?

Thanks
ecruz
Tact now makes a 2.2mini that doesn't require a computer to do room correction, you lose the ability to do analog inputs and some of the more advanced PC settings.

I haven't found any low end dacs that sounded that good other than my Tact 2.2x (modified powersupply) and my Theta Gen VIII (which is outstanding sounding being fed by my Bolder modified SB3)
How much woud a a used lapotop cost?$300 would solve your issues.Don't throw the baby out with bathwater.Your price point would make it dificult to get beter than what you found problems wih so just get a dedicated laptop.Plus you'll have possibility of Internet audio.A squeezebox and two $150 500 Gig HD's gives you music server ability to add lossless audio your record with second HD to back it up.For more than a used laptop a $600 Mac Mini add's ease and what many 'Philes are using for day to day play.Don't give up sound you like is my vote.Think of it this way you'll pay twice as much for a product that might not be as good as one you have found you like.
Cheers
Chazzbo
How old's your Mac? If you have one of the new ones with an Intel chip, you can run the TacT software on it. Or, as Chazzbo suggests, get a cheap used Windows laptop and away you go.
Benchmark DAC-1, too bright/harsh for me

I can't say the latest DAC1 USB is harsh or bright, even compared to a Wavelength Brick.

Otherwise a Lavry DA10 might do.
This is a tall order. I don't know how you can find anything better than the Benchmark DAC-1 for $1K.

Benchmark shouldn't be bright. If you feel it is, maybe something else is wrong in your system. Have you tried driving your amp directly from DAC-1 bypassing the preamp? That will give you a good idea of its sound. Also, have you tried feeding it a different digital source?
I don't currently own a pre, so I am driving the amps directly from the DAC.

Maybe "bright" wasn't the correct term. At louder levels and with more complex music, everything gets congested and a little hard to listen to. This definitely did not happen with the TacT in the system.
Maybe "bright" wasn't the correct term. At louder levels and with more complex music, everything gets congested and a little hard to listen to. This definitely did not happen with the TacT in the system.

I did not notice this with the latest DAC1 USB. The USB does have an upgraded output stage, which should help and make it worth another listen. If you like the Tact so much the decision should be easy - worst case get a Mac Mini with parallels or Bootcamp to run the room correction software. And then use the Mini as music server ;)
"Lite DAC AH, it was okay, not great. But it won't decode 2 channel info from DVD's "

Ecruz, not sure where this is happening, I have owned the unit and 2 friends have one as well.. All using DVD players as transports, they all play perfect 2 channel dolby from any dvd disc thrown at them, there must have been something strange about your DVD transport output to that dac in specific.

However purchasing a modified version of this Unit is by far better than the original Dac ah for a couple hundred more using far better op amps or none at all. Not defending this dac as I don't use it anymore but for that kinda money it is easily the best available, and yes the benchmark is a ear piercing nightmare in comparison. But in these changing digital times I would definitely look at buying something with USB for the comparable 500 to 1000 dollar price tags.
Where can you buy a 500gb hard drive for $150.00?
Where can you buy a 500gb hard drive for $150.00?

Almost anywhere. CompUSA, Best Buy, etc.
Lite DAC AH, it was okay, not great. But it won't decode 2 channel info from DVD's

I agree that is pretty strange. Are your sure the DVD player was set to output 16/44.1 on the digital out? Some DVD players switch to 24/96 output when playing two channel from DVDs. The other problem could be that the DVD still send an AC3 or Dolby multichannel signal out. My guess would be the DVD player setting, not the DAC. The Benchmark won't have any problems as it accepts 24/96 signals in any case.
"Where can you buy a 500gb hard drive for $150.00?"

Staples regularly has them for around $130. They run sales frequently..just keep a look out. I think tiger direct normally sales them cheap also.
Even the Lacie Porsche 500GB Drive can now be had for $120. Hard Drive prices have been dropping fast.
Wow...have I not been paying attention!!
I bought a lot of equipment from newegg.com. Great service. I like this one for $135 + shipping.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148235
If you can check out the Lavry DA10 which is about the same price as the Benchmark. I use it for my computer files and with my Oppo. I also use two feeds from the computer, one is coxial and the other is AES/EBU via XLR input using a Hagusb-XLR device.