I do not think they are becoming extinct, but I do think that the playing field
is getting level. The differences between DACs has more to do with subtle
differences and "flavor" if you will. I see your point though. I am
more of separates fan and do not want one component to be responsible
for trying to do so many things right. The technology moves too fast for an
all in one solution, IMO. Every time a new model comes out the classifieds
fill up with last months "Sweetheart". Have you noticed the digital listings
On the other hand, giant-killer DACs like the Micromega MyDAC and tiny, portable ones like the Audioquest Dragonfly keep appearing.
I actually think it's just the opposite -- we are seeing a flood of new, highly capable DACs. This is driven by the demand for asynch USB connection and, it now appears, for DSD playback. That the Oppo offers some of these features just puts it in the running, but only if your HT and 2-channel gear are the same, or at least co-located.
I think there are more high quality entry level DACs than ever. Dragonfly, HRT Streamer, Schitt Modi, etc. I think over time a lot of people will buy these and not bother with a CD player, per se, especially on second systems, office systems, etc. Note the USB input on the Oppo is only available on the 105, not the 103.
I love the idea of USB inputs on players and on pre-amps (like the Classe SP-800) but also think the market for entry level DACs is very strong. Just depends on where you want to use the DAC.
I love that we have so many options these days.
Computer Audiophile is reviewing the new pocket-size Meridian Explorer DAC with asynchronous USB, audiophile-quality capacitors, 24-bit/384kHz, customization via firmware, detachable USB cable, etc., for $299!
I think I may have incorrectly expressed myself in the original question.I was thinking of the DAC's becoming irrelevant for those still wishing to plays CD's while wanting to use an DAC for other inputs.
Also, qualifying DACS such as the HRT Streamer as ''high quality''is of course highly subjective.
There is an increasing demand for ''micro-DACs'' of course.
I am targeting more the $600- $1,200 DAC brakets as possible victims of the accessible-from-the-cd or Blu-ray machine DACS.
Thanks for re-stating your question. Although very subjective, many would say that $600 to $1,200 DACs are not entry level. The quality of many of the sub $500 DACs is really very good these days.
My comment was clearly aimed at entry level DACs, per your subject line. The HRT Streamer II and II Plus are "high quality entry level DACs". If you have not heard them, I think you would be surprised at their quality for the price. There are several reviews that rate the II+ better than the DacMagic that you mention.
Don't sell these entry level products short. They really can be quite good for the money. Of course, they are not in the $600 to $1200 price range.
another question to ask is: "are entry level tube dacs hard to find " ?
One of the Best DAC for $$$$$ on market today TEAC UD 501 (DSD &
Just for $850
Actually, I did have an HRT Streamer in my system for a week on loan, to my ears anyways, it was nowhere near as musical or as resolving as the DacMagic Plus. But then again, I had this on some pretty high-resolving speakers.
I still think that $600 to $ 1,200 is ''entry level'', considering the ridiculous prices going on in the ''high end''. I guess it all depends, as usual.
Some reviewers talk about ''entry level'' $ 3,000 phonostages and tonearms....
DAC's are amazing even on low priced gear these days. Just my opinion, but I see no need to look at expensive dacs anymoe(thousands of dollars), and usb is a must IMO
Mrtennis - there are some entry level tube DACs available, for example from Grant Fidelity (Chinese), Jolida (American, made in China) and Music Hall. Grant Fidelity TubeDAC 11Jolida FX Tube DACMusic Hall DAC 25.3
I am sure there are more. Those are just the ones off the top of my head.
The D to A is still done by a SS chip (I think these all use Burr-Brown chips), but the output goes through a tube output state.
MHDT (Taiwan) makes some really nice entry level tube dacs that are highly regarded. I have had a Paradisea+ in my headphone system for about five years and I am still impressed even compared to the Metrum Octave in the main system. They are also very modifiable and respond well to tube/opamp rolling.
Entry level preamps could be in trouble too. Last weekend I heard an Oppo 105 connected directly to an amp, it was outstanding.
Knew I forgot someone. Thanks Hew. Also, Scott Nixon has a tube DAC.
The introduction of the new Audio Research CD9 cd player that includes a high-end dac with access to use other digital sources will probably start a trend for higher end dacs to be included on the majority of high end cd players and other digital sources.
The description of the CD9 can be found on The ARCDB page in the link below.http://www.arcdb.ws/REFCD9/REFCD9.html
"The introduction of the new Audio Research CD9 cd player that includes a high-end dac with access to use other digital sources will probably start a trend for higher end dacs to be included on the majority of high end cd players and other digital sources."
You mean like Wadia, Cary, Mark Levinson and Resolution Audio have been doing for over a decade? Nothing new here.....you could argue that Audio Research is late to the party, so late in fact that this Dac/Disc spinner at its price point is a questionable business move on their part.
It is a cool time to be interested in the hobby. I see so many on these forums yearning for the good old days.....these are the good old days! There are so many really nice choices in each category that people in all budget categories can build a really enjoyable system. Peace.
Ouch! Ghasley, I think I need to get out more. I had no idea that others were doing this. Thanks for the heads-up. Questionable indeed. Dac 8, Reference Dac & CD9 might canibalize each other.
Mitch, no worries and no ouch intended.
I remember looking 10 years ago at Wadia 861se and Cary 306-200 cd players thinking that they were future proof with all of those inputs. Of course neither had usb inputs, no one did.
The Wadia was pretty special....still sells for close to its original price on the used market, thats saying something for a digital source.
Again, the thing thats really cool to me is that $300 dac's available today would have cost thousands 10+ years ago.
Ghasley, no offense taken. I just had to chuckle at myself at how I have been so cloistered with Audio Research gear. I love their preamps and cd players and I had dared not look at any other mfg for years. I love their sound and I have not bothered to look elsewhere. I would probably have their amps too if I were into tube amps...but solid state amps are the only way to go for me.