I'm new to digital since buying a Squeezebox Touch a few months ago. The Touch is connected to an external USB hard drive that contains cd ripped Flac files. I'm looking to buy a DAC for around $1k from the SB Touch and connect it to my Sim I-7. I'm considering the Moon 100D and the Wyred4sound Dac1 based on some reviews and comments in various forums. I might consider increasing my budget to possibly the 300D and Dac2 if it would make a substantial difference.
I have the exact same question regarding a DAC for my Squeezebox Touch that I am using with my B&W 802DI speakers and my Cambridge 840W amplifier and 840E preamplifier. Have you also considered the Rega Dac which retails in the US for $995?
First thing you should do is get an upgraded power supply and then get Wayne at Bolder Cable to do a digital output mod on your Touch, then worry about which DAC to buy. The Wyred 4 Sound DACS are pretty good from what I have heard. I am using an Antelope audio Zodiac+ which I feel is even better but its more money ($2K used).
The most appealling thing about the SBT was the quality for the price. My search for the better began with using a Cambridge DAC magic-no significant improvement. Using a better power supply made sense (after consulting a friend who knows more about this stuff than me). I chose the Welborne power supply as it was less $ than the Bolder. The next step was more difficult as it ran against my grain to spend loads of $ on a device prized for the above stated reason. I wound up with the Burson HA-160 DAC as the price was proportional to the SBT and I'm very happy with the result. I do wish the DAC had more inputs though.
From your responses it appears the power supply is the way to start. I'll look into both the Welborne and the Bolder for prices. I know DACs sound different and I guess it depends on my taste in sound quality. I looking for a DAC that will have a tight bass response and smooth highs. I listen to variety of music from jazz, classical and rock. Most often rock recording aren't that great especially on CDs. I'm not sure if a DAC will help the sound quality on these recordings.
FWIW, I'm also looking for a DAC to pair with my Touch, and my top list includes W4S DAC2, Bryston BDA-1, and possibly Burson DA-160 (to be released soon). All three have discrete analog sections. A couple forum members tried the DAC2 and BDA1 in their systems and preferred the BDA1. A used BDA1 sells for about $1600, close to DAC2. Hopefully Burson's DAC is a good contender.
Also, have you checked Soundchekk's toolbox to improve on the Touch's sound? These are mostly software options you can set up yourself: will cost you nothing, and is likely to improve sound.
My suggestion, CIA Power supply and a Wyred4Sound DAC1. According to Rick at Wyred4Sound the sound of the DAC 1 is the sme as the DAC 2. The advantage of the 2 being high res files will sound better. I am very happy with the combo, and I appreciate the excellent support from Logitech. Having a remote in your hand that is a tuner and your entire cd collection is something we couldn't even dream of 30 years ago.
Mizuno: If I were to settle on S/PDIF output from the Touch I would probably choose the Bryston over the W4S DAC2 or DAC1. The big question in my mind is whether S/PDIF out is good out of the Touch.
You might have heard about John Swenson's software mods to make the Touch output through the USB port, which sounds as an intriguing option when connected to an asynch USB DAC, like the DAC2 or DAC1. W4S said the DAC1 can be sold with 24/192 capability, but after that upgrade and the very much recommended caps upgrade, the price of the DAC1 is almost the same as the DAC2...and it would be easier to resell a DAC2 than an improved DAC1, I think.
On another thread Steve Nugent from Empirical Audio mentioned people are reclocking the S/PDIF output of the Touch. Other than Cerrot's solution (great, I'm sure, but expensive), anybody reclocking? How?
I'm probably still biased as i still have the mindset that Spidf trumps USB as an interface. You are right that this is increasingly challenged.
p.s. I have a w4s dac1 with the dac2 supercaps to match the audio quality of the dac2. I didn't need the remote, and am using SPDIF or opticl inputs. Im currently using 24/96 USB from my PC but am thinking about adding logitech touch (and SPDIF) to import my files straight from my NAS. If i wanted to go to 24/192, I would probably change my dac. To be honest, i havent herd one file yet where i could not notice the difference between 24/96 or 24/192 when i tested it with some friends on their audio systems. Nor could they. I tend to believe that 24/96 will become the new standard.
Did you mean to say you have yet not heard differences between 24/96 and 24/192 files?
Maybe you could try John Swenson's software mods and decide for yourself between S/PDIF and USB from the Touch. The mods are resetable, just in case. I would be interested in your findings too. I'm also uncertain about S/PDIF vs asynch USB in the context of DACs and transports in this price range.
I had the Rega for a week in my system courtesy of my very local kind B&M store.
It sounded great, to my ears it made music. Really easy sound nothing objectionable and it was a step in the direction I wanted to go from using the Havana unit (which I also enjoyed and had for over a year).
I would have happily purchased the Rega though I waited for the DAC2 to come in to the store for comparison and wanted to at least try it out to see if I would prefer it.
We compared both the Rega and DAC2 (in store) with a few other interested shoppers and everyone agreed the DAC2 was better for their own reasons; for me it was that the DAC2 provided more detail and bass authority without getting edgy at all. Just what I wanted in my system.
So that was it for me and it was confirmed in my own system at home later in the day, and I have no regrets.
I don't think you can make a bad decision here, both are great units and both made a significant upgrade in my system.
Juggernaut850, was there a significant improvement in sound from the Rega Dac and the internal DAC in the Squeezebox Touch? Coming from no external DAC at all right now in my B&W 802DI system I am wondering if the $995 upgrade to the Rega DAC is significant enough to justify the cost.....
Spacemanrick: Yes, for sure it was a significant improvement. I am surprised at how much the DAC's changed the sound of my system. As for the value question, tough one. $1K is a lot and can go a long way towards other toys like amps / preamps so I can't really answer this one. (For me the DAC2 was worth it even though it meant my wife got a fancy purse to "even" things up)
Any chance you have a local store that would let you demo it before committing to buy?
Gotta keep the local guys around as much as possible....
I was surprised the Dacmagic made such a difference...I'm using the coax digital output on the SBT to the DAC and the xlr balanced outs from the DAC to my balanced Kavent preamp. A more coherent sound with tighter bass than the SBT alone, and simply a different tone all around. I upgraded the cables (xlr A'quest Diamondbacks and A'quest solid core coax). Also the Dacmagic provides 3 more blue lights! I'm sure it's a synergy thing, but I'm also running a digital coax to the DAC from an old Marantz CD changer, and that is improved also. I can now clearly hear the difference between a decent Pandora signal (pretty good) and a wifi iTunes lossless (amazingly good).
Smortega, I received the Welborne power supply for the SB Touch last night but didn't get a chance to use it. I assume there is a break-in period as with all electronics. What difference can I expect to hear using this power supply over the stock power wart and how long is the break-in period?
I'm also waiting the delivery of the W4S dac1. What kind of break-in period can I expect?
Ronrags, it all depends on what kind of gear you have, how revealing, etc. You should experience a tad more in dynamics and more of a 3d sound holographic soundstage. You really need a good dac to get the sound out of a touch. I reclock and upsample as well and the touch can really sing. Stick some 96k 24 bit music on a usb stick in the touch and put it through a good dac. Wow! I'm hearing differences from sacd that I like alot.
Ronrags, the Wellborne helped knock some of the digititis out of my setup, but it wasn't until I added the Burson that I was satisfied. SB internet radio was particularly improved by the modifications. The SBT is essentially my only source for my secondary system; I only use my CDP for CD's not yet added to my HD.
Well I'm back again looking for a DAC in the $1000 range. I tried the W4S DAC 1 and wasn't totally impressed. It was connected to the dac using a Black Cat coax cable. It was a bit dry and grainy in my system when compared to playing a cd thru the Oppo 95. I'm using an upgraded power supply with the SB and an external USB hard drive. My system also includes the Classe SSP-600 and CA-5100 driving the Focal 1027be.
I recently read an interesting review of the Burson DA-160 from 6moons. From what I read, the Burson is musical and analogue-like. I'm also considering the Rega DAC.
I am also after a DAC to pair with my Touch, but funds don't allow to make a move yet. However, I am very interested in the Metrum Octave. It's just under $1k. Has only a coax and an optical input (dealbreaker for some). It's a non-oversampling DAC, with a totally different topography compared to most DACs. Take a look at the 6moons review, and from the Metrum website you can also access a HiFi Critic review. Natural, organic sound is what most people report (reviews and users). I'm really interested in this one.
BTW, Steve at Empirical Audio is working on a new device designed to be placed between the Touch and a DAC, that allegedly handles jitter from the Touch and should be an improvement. That's another device that caught my interest.
Please keep us posted. As said, I'm after a DAC for the Touch too!
I love my K-Works Superberry DAC. It's a highly modified Beresford 7510, with two coax and two optical inputs. The retail for this is around your price point of $1K. The Superberry, in a local audio club shoot out, tied a $10K MSB DAC. I use it with my SBT and my stock Oppo BDP-93. Both sound great, but I have a much better digital cable on the Oppo, so it is not a fair contest.
Unfortunately, K-Works has no distribution, so you must buy direct, with no return option. Unless you can visit K-Works in Clifton, NJ, or locate a nearby owner willing to let you listen, an audition will be difficult. But this DAC is super-smooth, detailed, dynamic and about as undigital sounding as I've heard in this general price range.