When I finally get around to routing music from my G5 Mac I will definitely use the NOS DAC I am using now for two channel. On my system it has kicked ass on all OS DACs, including a modright SACD DAC, that it was put up against.
That was my old NOS DAC. I have upgraded since.
I wouldn't worry about oversampling or not.
I'd chose the DAC based on accounts of how it actually sounds and how the sound will mesh with the rest of your system, not make oversampling or no a determining factor. Each DAC will sound different and some better than others like most things on any particular system.
Check other threads here on A'gon for some useful information about different DACs and how they sound compared to others.
There are DACs.
There are two subcategory of DACs. Digital filtered, or not.
Under the digital filtered category there are hundreds of DACs to try, and each will sound different than each other to varying degrees.
The DACs that do not have a digital filter chip are few in number. They sound significantly different from all OS DACs.
Try to find some non-oversampling DAC to try against any OS DACs you may lay hands on.
I agree on that. I have a $200 Valab non-oversampling dac and so far no other dac has been able to even come close to it. I called Kevin at Valab because he now has a new oversampling dac. He said it was for the people that want their music 'forward and aggressive' and that I probably would not like the new one, but he would send me one to try out if I wanted.
I have heard the obvious improvement in the holographic soundstage with the Valab NOS dac that no other dac has come close to even being close to.
I also own a Weiss DAC2 and a Musical Fidelity TriVista 21 and so far I have to say that I have never become fatigued listening to the Valab.
I am hoping the Weiss will end up outperforming the Valab very soon as it is a new purchase for me.
I will keep you posted.
I have a VALAB modified with TeraDak DC-30W outboard power supply, Mundorf silver/oil output caps and it makes it more dynamic and expansive.
On the other hand, I've tried a Valab dac, and although I find it easy to listen to, I find the overall sound to lack the elements that bring "life" to the music. I can't really pinpoint what I hear, but it's kind of "mechanical" sounding, as if certain elements of music are missing. Imagine seeing the difference between a robot walking down the street, and a human walking down the street, and you'll see that the robot is missing the fine movements required to fully replicate the human's "lifelike" flow. Well, apply this type of comparison to listening to reproduced music, and that's the difference I hear when comparing my Valab to either of my 24/96 players. For me, the Valab lacks "life", and sounds more "mechanical", and my OS players have a much better sense of realistic tone, depth and believability.
To put is simpler, with the Valab, although it did sound smooth and easy to listen to, my brain was always aware I was listening to something "reproduced", and never could "suck myself" into the music, if you know what I mean.
Am I making sense?
I think I know what you mean. But I have had the exact opposite experience here with my Valab. I feel that the music is surrounding me and that I am in the middle of it.
Mike Kay, from Audio Archon, is on his way here to help me set up the Weiss Dac2. I am really hoping that he can make it sound a lot better than my Valab.
I wonder if anyone will come out with a 96 or 192k non oversampling dac for get the best of both worlds when 96 or 192k music becomes the standard.
Time will tell, but for now I am just enjoying the music.
Search archives- Reference Dacs an overall perspective for the sound you may most like or be interested in.
Matt - "forward and aggressive" is an issue of system matching. Your Dali speakers would not like SS amp with bright DAC. My older Paradigm speakers were a little forward with class D amp and Benchmark DAC but new Hyperion 938 speakers sound laid back and relaxed (but not warm) delivering even more detail.
There is an important difference between oversampling and upsampling DACs. Upsampling DACs do asynchronous resampling suppressing jitter (noise in time domain) in the process. I like sound of my upsampling Benchmark DAC1 and get additional benefit of working equally well with any transport (even cheapest DVD player or Airport Express)or digital cable. Benchmark is very revealing and neutral sounding - not for people who look for warm sound.
Matt - post your experience with WEISS DAC2. I'm interested since it might be improvement to my Benchmark.
I sold the Weiss because it sounded very flat and dull compared to the nos Valab in my system. There was no excitement in the sound at all and the holographic experience that I got from the 200 dollar Valab was almost totally absent in the $3000 Weiss.
I asked the person who bought the Weiss what he thought about it and his 2 word response was 'it sucks'.
I have not heard anything better in my system than the Valab. I am getting ready to build an Audio Note Dac 3.1 kit in my search for the best sounding dac that I can afford for my system.
So far, I have put the Valab up against the Weiss, a Bryston BD1, a Musical Fidelity TriVista 21.... it has sounded obviously much better than any one of these in my system to me and my close audiophile friends. I am getting excited about comparing the Audio Note to it next.
Matt - I'm sorry to hear it didn't work for you. No excitement I can understand, as some DACs like Benchmark sound less exciting (or too clean), but poor soundstaging is disturbing (for expensive DAC). Benchmark brings tons of low level details and according to review decent soundstaging but Audionote imaging is a little deeper. I'm working on taming my room acoustics that, as you might remember, is far from being perfect. I bought twelve 2'x4'x2" sound absorbing panels and plan to buy 6 more. I was in a demo room where all walls were made of this material and even sound of voice was incredibly pure and directional.
So far Hyperion speakers were the greatest improvement to my system and brought musicality and warmth to neutral (unforgiving) Benchmark + Rowland 102. I've noticed that new generation of DACs use FPGA (programmable logic) ICs to execute filter algorithm. Non-apodizing filter in new Merdidian CDP, with different step response, suggests possible improvements in filtering (ovesampling or upsampling schemes). The main purpose of executing filters in FPGAs is speed. FPGA can do everything required in one cycle (clock tick) that uP would have to do in many machine cycles.
Mattzack2, if you do build that 3.1 Audio Note , be sure to not install the diodes the kit provides for the digital supply board. Schottky makes much better diodes, that will open your highs, and dynamics as you never would have believed. I truly believe that cheap diode upgrade will lift your player's capability significantly higher than the Signature transformer upgrade. You will simply love the sound.
Good to hear from you Vince.
Thanks Muralman.... any advice on the AN Dacs is greatly appreciated. I wonder if you know if the other upgrades are worth it.
You are certainly welcome. You have a fun project ahead of you.
Those diodes, fast as they are, opened the highs fully. Since these are kits, their build depend on the skill factor of the builder. I sent it to my amp builder, and he cleaned things up, shortening wires, but did nothing else new but change out those four diodes.