Beatlebum, I also have sa8260 and been concidering buying external DAC, you can help me to decide - please let me know - do you hear an improvement in soud when you connect 8260 to the TubeDAC?
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I'll wait to offer my recommendation (or not) until after the Tubedac is broken-in. So far with the Tubedac hooked up to my SA 8260 I hear a slight narrowing of the soundstage but a much fuller-richer-sweeter sound. I put in an German Valvo branded 6DJ8 tube so I'm pretty sure alot of the richness is due to the tube. The dac has also seemed to smooth out the sound, much to my liking I might add. I'm looking forward to comparing the SN-SA8260 setup to my Cary 308T cdp. BTW, the Nakamichi cd player 4 sounds pretty good with this dac as well.
I'll keep you posted.
Out of curiousity, you might want to try the Cary as a transport. I used my CD-308 breifly as a transport and it bested my other options at that time (Theta Miles, Sony DVD-S7700, Sony DVP-S900ES). However, I was using the Cary to output a 24/96 signal using the built-in upsampler. I think you will have to stick with non-upsampling with the SN DAC.
Give it a try!
I believe the coax digital cable should be longer than your 0.5 meter. At least that's what I remember reading, and the many I have purchased used, from other Audiogon members, are approximately 1 meter.
As far as the old time CDP's go, I have a stable of old JVC XL-Z1050TN CDP's which are well built, indestructible, and work well as transports. I have found with older transports (and maybe, with any transport) the use of a Monarchy or Genesis de-jitter box between the transport, and the DAC really upgrades the digital listening experience.
I run a vintage Anodyne tubed DAC which is representative of the past pioneering work of Scott Nixon, and he had a magic touch, even way back then.