Curious, which DACs have you used?
13 responses Add your response
Tried a Behringer DAC I borrowed from a coworker, and more expensive one he bought (about $100) which I don't recall the brand, and the DAC in the Blue Circle Thingee which is the USB to SPDIF convertor I mentioned. That's apparently some garden variety chip.
I wasn't expecting any of these to sound like my CD player, but I expected something tolerable, and cheap, for streaming. I sort of expected that advances in electronics would have eclipsed my CD player even at cheaper prices.
I've also considered that maybe I am just used to the flaws in my Linn system and a different sound is jarring. All this streaming music sounds fine on the $200 computer speakers.
So if I can't get away with a cheap solution, it had better be good, or the CD's stay in the dining room! :) thanks,
I replaced a 10,000.00 dollar Ayre CD player with a 600.00 dollar MHDT paradisea USB DAC, so yeah I'd say it can be done.
Assuming you are playing back lossless files. I don't know streaming music may be low quality and lower quality MP3s sound really bad to me, even on my ipod or in my car. I'd never go back to CDs one at a time uhhgg.
I've had a Musiland MD-10 that sounds about like you're describing (poor).
Then I went to a Benchmark DAC1 USB (Incredibly detailed and much better, although bright).
Then a Bel Canto DAC3 (similiar to the DAC1 as far as being incredibly resolving, still a bit bright)
Then an Empirical Audio Turbo-3 paired with an MHDT Havana NOS tube DAC (much smoother and much more musical).
Now I'm trying a Redwine Audio Isabellina.
So yes, it can be done. Just buy better gear since you get what you pay for (up to a point anyways).
For this to work, you'll have to spend some $ on a decent DAC, whether it be a USB or Firewire version, although I doubt you have a F/W connection on your Dell. Are you running Windows as well? Or, just OSX? If running windows, you can try Mediamonkey as well as other free players, which might give you better sound than Itunes, although the user interfaces will be lacking.
I also recommend taking a look @ the MHDT DAC's. I see there's at least 1 for sale on the Gon presently.
Also, Wavelength Audio just released a <1K DAC, the Proton, which has rec'd some praise.
if you look into the MHDT DACs, you also might want to look into a USB converter of at least some sort. The MHDT DACs sound great, but they sound much better with a clean digital signal that is reclocked by a capable USB converter.
Examples are -
Bel Canto's 24/96 USB converter (usually go used for $300-400)
Empirical Audio's Turbo-2 or Turbo-3 (they can go anywhere from $400 - $800 used)
Sonicweld's new converter. This one just came out recently, not sure of the reviews on it and it's as pricey as empirical audio's stuff.
Full disclosure - I may end up listing my Turbo-3 and MHDT Havana in the upcoming weeks if I stick with the Isabellina. So please don't take my suggestions as a sales pitch.
Linn DS: I like this idea, but I've read the interfaces aren't good compared to, say the Transporter, and I believe it. With millions of tracks available through the box, I have to say the interface becomes more important than with a CD player.
Does anyone know if you can control a Linn DS from a IPhone/IPod touch like, for example, the Sonus box? I saw this at a friends house and was very impressed with the utility. I was very not impressed with the sound quality, although the owner was very satisfied.