What is the best DAC ever made?


Just looking for some imput on high quality DAC's...I have owned a number over some time and have loved and lost them...Currently I am using the Classe DAC-1 to great pleasure...Just thought I would ask others what they thought!
Burwin Bobcat?
Bearotti, I don't believe their is one "BEST" DAC ever made, however if you want alot of information regarding reference DACS I would recommend you go to a thread I started entitled, Reference DACS: An overall perspective, that you would find very interesting regarding this topic.
I'm sure it is far from the best, but I'm using a new Audio Aero Prima SE DAC with the upgraded caps and cryoed tubes ($5.7K) via a Siltech Golden Ridge G5 digital cable from my Sony SCD-1 and it is pure magic. Nicer than the Capitole MKII I used for redbook before it. The preamp section is also good. I run the sacd of the Sony through it.
I don't know the best DAC ever made, but I use a Threshold DAC-2 with a Theta Jade transport and Illuminati Orchid AES/EBU cable.
I like the DAC-2 better then my ex Theta DSPro Basic 3a.
I believe that a German company builds a $60k DAC - if there were any correltation between cost and I'd quality I'd hope that one was the best, although we all know how that often is not the case.
Good sugestion Teajay...I just might try that!

read this as I did than go listen this is fact
the accustic arts 32/384 is the worlds first accumulator.
Accustic arts exclusive.
And the worlds best OPA627 DIFETĀ®, from Burr Brown.
Thisis 10x more expensive and accurate than it's nearest competitor. This dac ,with their transport is clearly the best even at 2x the price .We have seen and compared ,with any solid state dac . In valves it is more subsective .
This is more musical than the Zanden at much less money.
for My musical tastes, it does some things better also.
i run my ALOIA 11.01 cdp through a SCOTT NIXON DAC($600 with power supply).....not too shabby...brent
Museatex Bidat (modded).
Dodson 218. With a ref Audio Mods modded CEC TL-iX, I have heard nothing better.

the new Accustic Arts-NEW 66/1036 dac coming out this summer .
I found this out in Vegas .This will be tightly guarded and patented.From what I hear this one will smoke the competition
Nglazer...I agree with you regarding the Dodson DA-218 (although a disclaimer that I am a Dodson dealer). But trying it with a Weiss Jason transport was simply amazing (I run my DA-218 with an Oracle transport, which does an excellent job, but the Weiss did things I didn't think were possible)...
I originally was using the Wadia 32 and later DAC's with a PS Audio Lambda II transport. I switched to the Mark Levinson 36S (then to 360) with a great improvement. Now I have an Accuphase DC-61 as the DAC and an Aloia CDP 11.01 as transport. I was looking merely for equipment that would decode 44.1, since I have about 10,000 CD's. If you want to decode SACD or DVD audio, there are plently of all-in-one players out there. Because of this muddle, it is possible to pick up very high end DAC's that only do red book for pennies on the dollar. Genesis Digital Lens and Whest Audio DAP 10 are also in the chain.
How about the KSL-DAC by Audio Note Japan (Kondo)? I've seen it, but I don't know anyone who has actually heard it or own it. Beautiful piece but way out of my price range.
Siver Eagle Audio Signature DAC. The DAC is built with Black Gate Non-polar capacitors and two 6X5 rectifier tubes, 4x6J5 output tubes with special C-core output transformers and a new model DAC chip. The sound is unbelievable musical and detailed.
A Turntable... no need for Digital Conversion!
When? Now or next week? What are the chances there will be agreement? Why do you care?
Meridian 861v4
Kondo KSL DAC!
The best??????????

I have had a few DAC's including Krell, Meridian, Theta, Timbre, Audio Research, Benchmark, and now a not so well known factory modded Audio Horizon 3.0. Without a doubt the Audio Horizon is the "best" I have had to date. It is a tube based DAC, the first for me. They offer a 30 day in home trial that I took them up on and needless to say it did not get returned. Well worth an audition.......Bob
I heard the much beloved continuum tt whit the grand exquisite speakers against kalista refrence transport and kondo kls dac kombo by kharma speaker company in the refrence systeem of kharma.I own my self the cec tlox transport and kls dac combo and was thinking about going analog too but when i heard the kalista/klsdac kombo against 100k tt i understood that i was not missing much!Ksl Dac is fenomenal that good.
FORSELL AIR REFERENCE is not bad at all a bit on the dark side but THE JADIS JS1 is in an another league organic,lush sounding and holographic (3D) with full details retrival and a lot of AIRRRRRRR!
Hi Ertugrul. I have an opportunity to purchase a pre-loved Kondo KSL DAC at a competitive price from a known and trusted source. My transport is the 47 Labs Flatfish with Kondo silver interconnects. My present DAC is the 47 Labs Progression. The digital system sounds very good indeed, but does match my analogue front end for depth and "weight" (Sound Engineering TT, DaVinci tonearm, Dynavector XV-1S cartridge, Dynavector PH 200 step up, Kondo M-77 full preamp). I suspect the Kondo KSL DAC is in another league from the Progress and would narrow the difference from my analogue front end. I can tell you like the Kondo DAC. Is it really that good? Thanks for your thoughts.
Buy the Kondo; you are right. I do think, however, that the gap will between vinyl and digital will never be bridged, narrowed perhaps.

I listen to digital nearly every weekday night, and everytime I play vinyl it is to my utter amazement at how much better it is. Better, but less convenient, especially if you love the new 45 rpm versions of old lps.
"Is it really that good?"
Well finieto the Kondo Ksl Dac is really that good!I think whit a state of art tt arm cartridge phonostage combination which is matched very good and fine tuned whit a lot of knowhow and also a 400 gr lp which is pressed very well can sound magical but this is something which you will not find anytime unless you are someone who is only buying vinyl which is recorded and pressed very good like patricia barber...
On the other hand whit a high quality transport your ksl dac will sound magical on 9 of the 10 cds your listening too!If you can get a ksl dac for a reasonable price i woudt say go for it!
I have owned Wadia, Mark Levinson, Accuphase top of the line DAC,s but the absolute best combination is the EMM Labs DAC 6e Signature Edition with the SE CDSD transport. Nothing else comes close, especially after about 200 hours of break in. the use of upsampling to 5.2 mHz and the master-slave clocking via AT&T cables assures jitter free and analogue-like sound.
The pink triangle de capo
Are you looking for a pretty case or a musical DAC?
The answer to your question is, no one can tell you
because every unit sounds different to each person
and so manys audiophiles shop with there eyes and not
with their ears!!!!!
Plus it is coming next year.
The APL DAC is coming soon. Reasonably priced, too.
I'll second the Meridian 861. :)
Well, Ertugrul and Tbg, I am proceeding with the purchase of the pre-loved Kondo KSL DAC. I'll let you know what I think when it arrives in a couple of weeks.
Well said Erturul.

FWIW I have yet to hear an analog front end that convincingly betters the Zanden 2000/Signature combo. I am an analog guy and have had many fine tt/arm/cart combos (best was a Micro seiki sx 8000 with Air Tangent and Zyx Universe, But when comoared head to head the digital wins about 80% of the time overall.
I would love to hear the KSL dac vs the Zanden Signature!
I don't know if it "smokes" the competition, but I bought the Accustic Arts Transport/DAC combo mentioned above - it is indeed a wonderful "unit". Of course I have not compared with Esoteric/DCS/EMM etc (but Teajay did - he bought the AA), but only to my ARC CD3 MKII and Audio Logic DAC. The AA as a combo unit is better, but I still think the Audio Logic 24MXL is one of the great units comparable to anything out there. At the used prices of $2000 or so, I think it is a great deal.
And finieto do you already have your Kondo Ksl dac?
Did you use the airtangent with the standard air pump? How did you find the bass with the zyx? I heard the At on the Lagrange with the emt cartridge and it lacked weight and extension in the bass compared though the AT was sublime apart from that. Have you compared with the kuzma airline at all?
can someone explain to me the purpose of asking for the best dac, preamp, amp, speaker, cable, cd player ever made ?

it seems that such a question has no definitive answer and any answer is just an opinion. in fact, there is no best component of any type, so why ask the question.

this question appears so often, and each time i wonder why the question is asked. perhaps someone can enlighten me.

It is the eternal quest to seek the best. Don't rain on our parade. Certainly there will be little consensus. If we realized how little, this forum would not exist.
>>can someone explain to me the purpose of asking for the best dac, preamp, amp, speaker, cable, cd player ever made<<

It brings the morons out of their spider holes.
For my 2 cents worth I'll say the Wadia 9. Best sound I've ever heard when paired with the 7 transport.
See the Accustic Arts thread for another perspective.
Just discovered this thread....

Thanks Ertugrul for your comments re: Metronome Kalista transport w/kls DAC on similar level as $100k continuum tt. Reviewers and owners have made similar comments that the Kalista is more like a super high-end tt setup than digital. I recently heard similar results ina system featuring Magico Reference loudspeakers.

As a bonus, the Kalista is stunningly beautiful, too.

As Linn demonstrated many years ago, the source component is the most important component in a system.
Tmhaudio fails to disclose he is the distributor for Metronome.

Well, I am not a distributor but proud owner of the Metronome Kalista/C2A signature DAC combo (for few months now) and upon extended listening in my own system it rivals my two well reserched and set up analog set-ups. The Kalista/c2a combo simply is the best digital (or non-digital) sound I have heard. I have not heard all the top level DACs but have heard enough to claim this combo to be the best "I" have heard.
The one I really like is the Audionote DAC-5 signature. It sounds extremely smooth and relaxed, but not sluggish and dead. The way it handles woodwinds and string instruments, in particular, is thrilling. I've heard it coupled to both Audionote transports and to 47 Labs Pitracer.

The bad news is that the last time I looked, it was something like $30k.

There is no best dac ever made.

I have an Accustic Arts Dac MK4 which I'm really enjoying connected with a Oracle 2000 transport, compared this dac with a Zanden and prefered the "AA" in my system but really could have lived with either.
Well I guess it suffices to say that there is no way to really judge a DAC as the best ever made...I guess it really has a lot to do with system synergy than with the actual piece. Thanks for all of your responses!!!
Apogee Rosetta 200, anyone?
Well, over two years have passed since this thread's last post. Any new ideas, recommendations in the intervening years. I'm still using my Accustic Arts DAC MKIV - not sure it has been superceeded yet, but....
I've been listening to an Audio Note 4.1X Balanced (with an Esoteric P0s or Forsell Air Bearing transport) for awhile, now. Ascending the AN food chain would certainly be interesting...listening to a Zanden with accompanying transport would also be enjoyable.