Recommend a dac that contributes to system for tight bass

I am not a bass fiend just would like a dac that has pleasing tight moderately deep bass.  I have pass labs monoblocks so amp not an issue....don't really want tube dac....

I know room and acoustics and system synergy play crucial role but have found some dacs excel at transparency like chord and other sound a bit flat like oppo....marantz is slightly warm exc prat but bass is bit light....

Thanks in advance.....

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for those that are wondering why good dacs sound different, here is my post from last september -- points c) and d) are significant in determining the sound character of a dac

jjss49 2,132 posts

09-01-2020 10:44pm

as to what matters in a dac, let’s make this simple, even though it isn’t...

a) the digital (bitstream) input signal needs to be received and timed correctly for d-to-a conversion, so clock circuit and jitter reduction is key, this is done by electrical isolation, reclocking as needed

b) then the actual d to a conversion / filtering needs to happen with low distortion both in freq response and in timing (phase response) - this is done by the internal dac chip/circuit or discrete ladder network, depending on design

c) then the analog output (post conversion) needs to be prepared for output to the receiving device... this is done by internal amplifiers, or transformers, or some other method... very rarely is the output ported straight out of the dac chip (there can be impedance mismatches with preamps/amps/whatever device is to receive the signal to amplify to drive speakers/headphones you listen to)

d) all the above needs to fed clean and strong power so they do what they do without added noise, so internal power supply design and quality (and power supply isolation of the analog from the digital sections) is key

so when knowledgeable people correctly say, "it isn’t just the dac chip (akm, burrbrown, ess sabre, wolfson...) or the ladder chip (philips tda, etc etc) or fpga (custom circuit) that makes a difference, it is the IMPLEMENTATION of it", that means ALL THE ABOVE designed and working in concert to produce good analog sound, as a holistic system

’what goes into a dac to make it good’ class 101 now in recess

hope this helps


you make an opening post, with a title... asking for TIGHT BASS ("tight moderately deep bass" were your words), unqualified for other parts of the frequency spectrum

i read what you posted, and i am responding to your query, as stated

the chord dacs have a bright fast open treble, they have a grainless but slightly lean midrange - but they have tight fast strong and very deep bass... they are exemplary in that regard, notwithstanding their overall tonal balance

if what you actually want is a slower more mellow overall sound, with somewhat fattened midrange and an accentuated midbass that makes the treble and midrange sound recessed in comparison, then that is an entirely different sound character altogether -- and you should specify that as your target tonal palette

metrum, sonnet, ayre are your non tube options in that case

i can try to answer your questions in good faith, as asked, but i cannot read your mind

last point, i actually listen to all the dacs in my system, i may read some reviews but my findings are first hand

good luck and hope you find what you seek

Thanks @jjss49 – that was helpful.
jss49 I appreciate your insight....

there is overlap between lower midrange and bass and perhaps my dissatisfaction with the chord is more in the area of the lower midrange but to my ears the chord is lean.

so perhaps my quest is for a fuller lower midrange dac....

in any event I never had any issues with the treble of the qutest nor did I think it bright.....

I have a very neutral preamp which is passive townshend allegri reference but no issues with full midrange on my vinyl setup and I am using solid state phono section .......

I previously had a pass labs preamp and found the chord similarly too lean for my taste......

I even tried the chord in my bedroom with a set amp and still found it less appealing than my current bedroom dac which is the marantz 30N.  The marantz has a better midrange than the chord qutest or hugo 2 but still not as warm and full as I would playback designs mps5 has that better balance so my quest after all said and done is for a slighly richer and warmer but not not too much dac......alas I cannot afford a second mps5

The MHDT Stockholm v2 is great, clear, crisp and very enjoyable, especially with a NOS tube