Review: Blue Circle BC509 DA converter

Category: Digital

First allow me to answer some of the mandatory questions:

1) I listen to all types of music; ripped at least 1300 CD's.
2) The most important aspect of sound to me is musicality and engagement; I am looking to retain the emotional experience. I don't, however, want coloured sound and I am still interested in the truth.
3) The worst thing a system can do is sound untrue and not engage me.
4) I have had the Blue Circle DAC for about a year and it has replaced my Audio Research CD2.
5) I loved the AR CD2; this DAC outperforms it in every single way. The sound is more detailed and more transparent - yet also more engaging.

Ok, enough with the questions - now to my quick review:

I have recently ventured into computer audio because I was just so tired of looking for CDs and cluttering up my living room. I actually quite enjoyed the sound of my Audio Research CD2 and was just looking for a DAC to duplicate its performance. All my music is now stored on an external hard drive and is ripped to Apple Lossless. (Aside: OMG that took a long time to rip 1300 CDs!) My playback computer is a Macbook Air (64 GB SSD)and I use the latest version of Itunes both for ripping and playback.

I have had good experiences with Blue Circle products so I decided to give the BC507 a whirl. This DAC takes some time to burn in - at least a couple of weeks so you have to be patient with the burn in process.

After the burn-in is complete, one get results that are nothing short of amazing - perhaps even baffling. I love listening to all my music and the amount of detail now is simply incredible. I didn't know that my CD2 was showing its age until I started to listen through this DAC. The background is so incredibly quiet; the music is simply etched on pure black. All of my music whether it be classical, jazz, blues, electronika or rock simply sounds "right" now. I know that there are more expensive and perhaps better DACs out there; in fact Blue Circle itself offers far more expensive pieces. But truth be told I really can't imagine anything sounding better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sound. Simply put, it is right.

To test my theory, I have recently visited a couple of audio stores and have listened to both the Audio Research CD8 and the Wadia 381. They are both fantastic to be sure but I honestly don't feel that I am missing anything. I have no interest in "upgrading" and I am not convinced that any changes to my source playback would be an upgrade. If money were no object, I would still use this unit. This little DAC is that damned good.

In short, I strongly recommend this DAC. I am sure that there are other great DACs out there, but again I don't know how they could or if they would be better. I am elated that I moved to computer audio and my only regrets is that I didn't make this move sooner. If you are getting a DAC, I would give this Blue Circle product an audition.

Associated gear
Parasound JC1 (Monoblock Amps)
Talon Raven C (Loudspeakers)
Bel Canto Pre2 (Preamp)
Shunyata Hydra 8 (Power Conditioner)
Blue Circle MR1200 (power Conditioner)

Similar products
Audio Research CD2