No? Then how about the Denafrips Terminator II. Is it a step up from the T+A DAC 8DSD?
Denafrips Terminator Plus vs T+A DAC 200
I currently own the T+A DAC 8 DSD and it's great! But I'd like to upgrade, move the T+A to my headphone rig and place either a T+A DAC 200 or Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC in my main rig. Anybody had a chance to compare these 2 DACs? I know the prices of the T+A and the T+ are close. Unfortunately, there are no used T+A DAC 200's to be found in the USA, but I can find a couple of T+ (used) for almost $2K less. If you've had a chance to hear both of these DAC's I'd appreciate knowing how they stack up to each other? I'm not interested in any other brands. I've narrowed my wish list to just these 2 DACs.
I have no experience with Denafrips Terminator series, but I can tell you the T+A 200 series are really good. And since you are familiar with the T+A house sound, you will know what to expect. I have the similar T+A HA 200 (headphone amp + DAC combo) and the T+A MP 200 (streamer / transport) on my headphones rig.
I understand this is not exactly what you asked, but I am chiming in nonetheless. I suspect the Terminator will sound different than the T+A given its completely different topology than the T+A DACs. Whether better or worse to your ears, I don’t know
I have not compared the two but have been reading reviews on the Terminator Plus. I would be curious to hear head-to-head reviews as well. I have a feeling they may be very close tonally, especially because the way Steve Huff compares the Terminator Plus to the Chord Dave is similar to the way the T+A DAC 200 compares against the Dave and Mscaler combined:
One thing my customers and I appreciate about the T+A DAC 200 is that it has a total of six DAC filters that can span a very laid, back organic sound, to a very naturally bit perfect sound to being very punchy and detail-oriented. It’s almost like having six DACs in one and enables the DAC to better adapt with the system synergy. It also means that anyone who compares the two together should comprehensively experiment with all the DAC filters for the most honest evaluation.
In full transparency, I am a T+A dealer. If you happen to be in the upper midwest, drop me a line and I can demo it for you. Happy to answer any questions on the unit.
Good point. And spot on! My T+A HA 200 has the same filters. And unlike similar filters with other DACs I have owned, each filter is audibly different than the others with the T+A. Very easy to hear the difference between the filters, and use what one prefers. The last two filters (out of the six) are NOS filters (no over sampling), which HQ Player users love.
I use HQPlayer with the DAC200. This also opens open your streaming options and setup. Quite a few streamer manufacturers allow you to use their product as a Network Audio Adaptor (NAA). This means you're pretty much using the streamer for it's (hopefully well designed) USB output. You can run HQPlayer on a computer in another room and it feeds the NAA with the music. I was looking at Lampizator, Denafrips, Bricasti, Rockna and a few others. I never got to try Denafrips or Lampizator so I'm unfortunately no help there, but I'm happy with the DAC200 for both the sound and the functionality/flexibility.
Thank you all for your input. I almost purchased a Terminator 2 last week. (Un)fortunately it sold just before my inquiry. But wouldn't you know the very next day a T+ went up for sale. I'm waiting for its delivery this week. I guess the deciding factor was Steve Guttenburg's review. He said "if you are a resolution 1st audiophile, you crave ultimate resolution from your digital music then T+ will make you very, very happy." That's me to a tee.
I had a feeling you would go for Denafrips. Which is totally fine. I get that. We all look for trying new things, different sound, different experiences. It is part of the journey. Which you should enjoy in full. And gain new experiences. Best of luck @mewsickbuff , I hope you enjoy the Teminator, and you come back here with your impressions once you get it. Congratulations on the new purchase!
@thyname you're quite intuitive. And thanks for the congrats. Once I've run the T+ through a few hoops I'll post what I find.
I've had a few listening sessions with the Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC. I bought it to see how it managed 1024 upsamplling with the Signalyst HQ player. It's marvelous. Speccy shows the temp of my Alienware computer's GPU and CPU stays in the green zone, no sweat handling the 1024 upsampling. Even though I asked about the T+A DAC 200 I don't have one for comparison. So for those who are familiar with the T+A DAC 8DSD, here are a few of the differences I heard.
Not that I didn't hear them before, but now the highest frequencies on some songs (within my hearing range; like those triangles or whatever they are) and the bass was more prominent and succinct. I've always heard the middle frequencies, but they were soft and at times I felt as if I was straining to hear things (like the chimes near the end of Adele's "Hello.)". Not with the T+. I can now distinctly hear all instruments in the mid frequencies plus all drum hits. Bass guitars and drums kits with their cymbals, are placed accurately on the soundstage. Sometimes to the left or right of the lead singer but no longer does it seem the center stage singer or instrumentalist is sitting in the drummer's or bassist's lap. Voices on good recordings remain mellow and sweet, but the T+ is less forgiving of poorer recordings. Example, I have Barbra Streisand's "Memories" CD. At 44k/1024 her voice is etched with some shoutiness, which quickly led to listener fatigue. When the same album was played at 44k/512 Barbra's voice and higher frequency instruments were a tad smoother. At 48k/256 even more pleasant. Being able to hear more, I can listen at lower levels; 12 to 15 is now 9 to 10. On one classical album I could hear depth and separation I hadn't before. I could more distinctly identify multiple horns and multiple strings in their own seated sections. The separation of choir voices and/or instruments was very good on both DACs. The T+ also did a better job of separating duets, trios and larger groups or instruments when recorded that way. Voices or instruments were to the left or right of center stage surrounded by air. On a few songs there were instruments that popped up far outside of my speakers and there was even one song were an instrument seemed to be playing to the right of my chair. As I listen to more of my library I'm sure I'll find more of these golden nuggets.
Even though it came with an HDMI I2S cable, the T+ is connected to my computer by a WyWires Platinum USB cable. My computer has no I2S connection. The T+A DAC 8DSD is an excellent DAC and now has its home in my headphone rig. But the T+ is definitely a few steps up.
@mikicasellas I can answer that, though I have owned both at different times. Before I was a dealer, I owned a PS Audio DirectStream DAC which I modified heavily with upgraded transformers, linear power supply, etc. I purchased a brand new Lampizator Baltic 3 and broke it in. One of the reasons I wanted it was because I have enjoyed some other DACs Lampi released, and the Baltic uses tubes similar to many Modwright and Primaluna units of the past which I’ve owned, so I had endless tubes to roll from.
Unfortunately, while the Lampizator Baltic 3 had incredible tone, I found that it lacked speed and definition in the frequency extremes, and this was true regardless of the tubes used. as a result of this. Imaging could be holographic, but a bit softer. The DAC 200 images much clearer. It is warmer and bolder than the PS Audio DirectStream, while having a much larger, holographic soundstage in an effortless way. I demoed a Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC at the same time and sold that as well, as it went by he opposite direction of the Lampi. The Mola Mola may be one of the fastest and detailed DACs I’ve ever heard, also with the lowest noise floor, but at the expense of soul and organic delivery. In my opinion, the DAC 200 does a great job of balancing all of the above.
Please take this as you want as I am a T+A dealer, but this is precisely one of the reasons I became a dealer.