As to this point in my young audiophile career my dac has been an Oppo 203 running analog into an Anthem Mrx 720. I'm to thrilled the way it sounds for music! 4k movies is a different story.
The anthem is on the way out as I move to a two channel system. I have Ps audio M700 monoblocks and Ascend Acoustics towers with ribbons. I was about to purchase the Metrum Adagio and Ambre. As I don't or won't have a preamp the Adagio seems like a great choice because of the volume control. A preamp is definitely a possibility. And then I read about the Mhdt Labs Orchid dac and I started to waver lol. So I'm looking for a little help or guidance in these choices and other suggestions as well. Look forward to hearing what you cats have to say!!
It doesn’t have a volume control so you’d have to add a preamp as you mention, but the Schiit Yggdrasil or Gungnir are worth looking at. I have the Yggdrasil and a Freya Pre and a pair of M700 monoblocks. A friend of mine has the Gungnir and he enjoys that, too.
I think you should first decide if you want a separate preamp in your system or not. Part of this can be done by looking at measurements, but the other part is personal preference and system dependent voodoo that you won’t know until you try. If it’s me, I choose a separate preamp, but at the very least and if you’re not sure I’d arrange to demo an Adagio (thru Hifi Heaven) and demo one or two good stereo preamps at the same time. I suspect you’ll know almost immediately which one you prefer, and my bet is it won’t be close. If it turns out you prefer a separate preamp then return the Adagio and get a Pavane. But you’ll never know if you don’t try. Best of luck whichever way you go. BTW, I think it's a good bet you'll really like the Adagio or Pavane. My only thing is I hear the Jade/Onyx get awfully close for much less $$$. It never ends. Ugh.
Thanks everyone for your responses ideas and suggestions! Cool to have have a place like this where people will take the time to help follow music lovers! I'm still undecided but still leaning towards the Adagio. But the preamp scenario sounds good to me too lol. I guess I just need to make a choice and go from there.
I was considering the Hmdt, Audio Mirror and Border Patrol. The Border Patrol got punted first because of the single connection or high price to add a second one that was just switchable. The Hmdt looked interesting until I saw a review on the Pink Fish that at first raved about it then the user got obsessed about changing the chip and then later sold it off. Being overseas as well turned me off. The Audio Mirror DAC is based on the same chip Audio Note has stuck to for a long time and for a good reason. So the only question out there waa how good is Vlads implementation of this chip. With a 10 day return policy and being based on the US the decision became obvious. I'm just waiting for reports on the upgraded capacitors and comparisons. Very satisfied and buying lots more CDs because of it. Good luck!
There is another major manufacturer, with one of the largest and most capable graduate-level engineering internal staffs in the high end audio world to put very high, if not on top of the list. This 41-year-old, nuclear physicist-run German company is Theory plus Application. They are more casually known as T plus A (T+A). While T+A manufacturers a full line of audio equipment and offers DAC's at several different price levels, they have had a high end version called the MV 3100 HV for a while now. It uses a unique in-house developed, 4-DAC sigma-delta system for PCM up to 32 bit/384, and a separate true 1-bit native processor handling DSD only, up to DSD 512 (8X). Dual power cables, supplies and internal processing chambers completely separate digital from analog processing and a high precision in-house developed SACD transport are included. T+A just now released a new flagship DAC, the SD 3100 HV and a combination DAC/Preamp called the SDV 3100 HV. Both of these surpass previous designs and set new standards converting PCM at up to 32/764 and native DSD up to 1024. Both the SD and SDV offer an unsurpassed value proposition, priced in the USA at $35k and $37.5k respectively. Both are available now from Lone Star Audio in Lakeway, Texas.
I have I have an Audio Note 3.1 Balanced and enjoy it immensely. Never found anything close to the musicality from others. Although pricey, it's my dac for life, probably. For lower priced units I did enjoy my MHDT Pagoda quite a bit until it died.
Schiit Modi Multibit DAC. $199 a piece I believe. it is a 16bit R2R DAC. Good enough for casual listening (red book, tidal streaming). You Oppo203 has a delta-sigma DAC which is very good for DSD. So a 16bit R2R will be a good combination with your Oppo for all listening and watching experience.
Hi Guys i am using a Mojo Audio Mystique V2 plus Dac .It is an R2R Ladder Dac with Jays Transport and Black Cat Silverstar digital cable.Sounds like a top notch Analog front end. Will be looking into the Denafrips Terminator and Black Cat Digit 75 in the near future.
I was fortunate enough to audition both a Schiit Yggdrasil and a Holoaudio Spring Level 3 DAC in my home system. Although different sonically, I was very impressed by both. However, I ended up with a Denafrips Pontus and have not regretted this purchase. A super DAC, especially considering the price ($1800 US). Here's a link to a posting/review of some of my more specific thoughts: