What's a resonable price?
52 responses Add your response
Bel Canto DAC 2. I replaced a Theta Pro Basic IIIa with it and never looked back. It has received little press, for whatever reason. Though not HDCD, it upsamples 24/196 with the latest BB chips, & has no grain or brightness, is transparent, neutral, & I still can't figure out how it produces the deep, tight bass it does, being as small a unit, without huge the large transformers some DACs have.
If you don't care about the latest technology, but rather how it sounds, you might want to consider Aragon's D2A MkII DAC. Although it is quite old (early 90's), this DAC had an oversized power supply, uses an 18 bit chip, is built like a tank, and most importantly, it sounds great. In fact, it sounds better than the MSB Link III with all of its options and most other DACs out there.
They usually go for about $250-350 and pop up on a monthly basis.
Best of luck in your search.
I wouldnt monkey with a DAC...if u factor in interconnects, jitter issues, etc...I would simply go with an improved CD unit...however....that last %5 or less in sonic improvement will cost you 4 or 5 times what the NAD costs....but its your call...the NAD is not the end all...but it is very musical for the money...
Dmitrydr, I think you're missing the point. Newer digital chips are always improving and most likely better than the previous generation. That's exactly what the clock and opamp mod does. This does not change the original good design but it improves the flaws from the older technology. Unless you shell out tons of money for the latest and the greatest DAC, I don't think you're going to get much better performance when compared to clock and opamp mod. Well, if your player is really that bad to begin with, why did you buy it in the first place?
S23chang, I don't think it's that bad :) I just say that I'm doubt that opamps and crystal oscillator upgarde may significantly improve sound quality (if I'm wrong I'd appreciate some more detailed explanation) for budget level device, such as NAD. If you're talking about upgrade of digital filters and all the stuff around the internal DAC - I think it would be easier and cheaper to buy a new CDP. Or, an external DAC :)
Dmitrydr, You'll be surprise how much difference the opamps and the clock circuit ( not just the crystal oscillator) can do for you.
First of all, I leave the digital filter along. Like you said, if I have to change DAC then might as well buy a new player.
I was pretty skeptical about op-amps and clock mod as you since I didn't know much about digital source before until I tried this for myself.
On the analog stage, there are op-amps that amplifies the output signals from the DAC to the right level. Think of them as pre-preamps for the CD player.
Some designer decided to use tubes instead of op-amps to make it more analog sound.
In any case, choosing a different op-amp can give you a different sound. Better or worst is your judgement.
Most of stock op-amps used in the CD players are in $1 to $3 range each. You can always get a better spec op-amps (from $4 to $30 each) to replace the current one in your CD player. The two major op-amp makers are Analog Device and Burr Brown from Texas Instruments. There are at least 5 more manufactures out there but these two companies are the most popular ones. In general, with the better spec, better op-amp should improve the resolution and sonic characteristic. That's pretty much sums up for the op-amp.
As far as clock circuitry vs the crystal oscillator goes, there is only one word to describe it: Stability.
The clock circuitry is at least 100 times more stable than just the crystal itself. What oscillator does in the digital circuitry is to help stablize the timing in the circuitry. The accuracy will improve the noise, imaging and pace. The combination will make the CD sound more analog while keeping the sweetness of its original sound.
I'm not affiliate with Audiocomm superclock II or the LC Audio XO-3 clock but you can always read more about them from their website. Also, I'm not using their product.
Capacitor and resistor mods on power supply maybe will do something good but I felt that I'm happy with the sound already and I don't see the performance per dollar gain.
In my opinion, of course it will help somewhat but not as much improvement as the op-amp and clock mod.
If this is not what you're looking to improve from your current CD sound then I don't know what else to tell you except switch to a different "Hi-End" CD player.
Just my 2 cents thought on CD player
I was on the waiting list for a demo of the dAck! but think they forgot about me. So far, what is your experience with the DAC? My biggest reservation regarding a battery powered DAC is that I leave my system on 24/7. Do you think it as an inconveniece?
I am using the Nixon, and it also has a lot of the attributes that some people who own the dAck! has described on AudioAsylum and AudioCircle. So, I wonder how much of the dAck!'s magic is due to the lack of digital filters or the lack of AC added pollutants.
The dAck! certainly is prettier. I heard Dusty at CI Audio is making a variety of a nonOS DAC too.
I had almost given up listening to cds before I got the dAck!. I had the MSB linc dac and found it hard to listen to more than a few songs before listener fatigue set in, which had me going back to vinyl my primary source for serious listening.
Since I got the dAck! I find I can listen for hours without any fatigue what so ever.
The battery issue doesn't really bother me to much since I can always listen to a LP while the dAcks! batteries are charging. The manual says it takes 45 minutes to charge but I find they fully charge in about 20 minutes.
Judging from posts from AudioAsylum, the question remains what makes the AckDack sound as good as it is described. Is it the digital filterless design or the battery?
Either way, Chris Own has described all current production of his Ack! stuff are a departure from Nixon's boards. He also credits himself, post found in AudioCircle, for "properly" designing his new boards which presumes the Nixon DACs are not designed up to snuff.
However, does the difference in design of the board in the Ack! result in a different or better sound than the Nixon? That's the $400 question.
I compared the Nixon with the similar Ack! and immediately chose the Ack!. I have since compared it favorably to the EAD DSP 7000 III and with a very nice and smooth recent Van Alstine. The Ack! runs on batteries, always a major improvement, with the added advantage of no powercord to imrove upon. I've upgraded my Ack! significantly by replacing the 3.3 mF AuraCaps with Dynamicaps, a pair of 5 mF and a .01 bypass per channel. It really opened up and the bass improved big time. I use it with an EAD T1000 with a Mapleshade/Insound Zepher dig link. Extremely open yet smooth, dead silent with wonderfull dynamics; the best I've heard.