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a good cd transport will deliver a solid, noise free (electrical noise, not mechanical noise) bitstream to the dac through whichever connection method it provides ... so the notion of ’matching a dac to a transport’ is not super critical if both do their jobs in transmitting and receiving the digital bitstream for conversion - many many good dacs can work suitably well with a decent cd transport
that is why knowledgeable people are asking what are you trying to improve... the dac is the ’voice’ of the digital front end...
Agree w/ others. There's no matching question here. It's a question of the kind of sound you're looking for and the way you achieve that given the various factors in play in your room, system, etc.
That said, here's my experience: I have tubes -- tube preamp, amp. I don't want over-coloration but I want dimensionality and accuracy but not too aggressive or forward in the upper mid, treble.
I bought a CXC transport and tried it with: an Audioengine D1, a Peachtree DAC*IT, and an MHDT Orchid Dac. The Orchid was the best, and got even better when I rolled a Tesla tube into it. I did comparisons of these (relatively inexpensive DAC's) against the Orchid and the difference was significant. I have heard many good things about the Tubadour III, also. But that's really the limit of my experience. I would bet good money that if someone plunked down other good Dacs in my system and blindfolded me, I might not really know what to choose; but against the less expensive DAC's I owned, the step up (to the Orchid) was a real advance.
jim - people are asking you what type of sound are you looking for
all dacs recommend will work fine with your cambridge cdt
there is a leaner. brighter, more 'transparent', rather (good) solid state sounding school of dacs
then there is a more dimensional warmer, fuller more analog school of sound in dac voicing, more tubey if you will (even if they use tubes)
many good dacs in either school
A not-unrelated question is this:
Of the Dacs which meet your (a) price point, (b) possible sonic preferences, which are (c) available to try out in your present system? As many point out, it's very hard to make snap judgements about audio. It helps to live with something for a little while. If you had two Dacs which were both reasonable candidates, get them both into your home on trial and take some time listening to them. It's better than buying quickly, selling, buying again. Just a thought.
I’m looking for a warm, even sound. What do I mean by even? The Bifrost seems to have its focus 25% on the low end, 60% on the high end and 10% on everything else. I’ve had two other less expensive DAC’s that were only noticeable on the high end.
lets dive into this a bit
my experience with the schiit bifrost (multi bit version) was that it was very midrange/midbass centric... deep bass was rolled off, highs were somewhat laid back but in my system, lower treble had a sibilance which was bothersome to my ear - my streamer and coax digital cable were good ones, am confident it was not jitter creating the sibilance with the bifrost ... for example, i plugged in a schiit gungnir mb -- deep bass was stronger, midrange less forward, mid bass less bloated, treble was more airy but no sibilance - overall a more linear more spacious sound
as you describe the bifrost sound, i would ask if you have the cambridge cdt in hand and your description is of the bifrost being fed by it... or was it by another transport? what input? what cable? what cable length?
hate for you to spend more $ on a supposedly better dac and still have the high end be so prominent still... there may be something more fundamental with your digital front end
do you have another source in your hifi? like a turntable? does that also sound 'treble centric' as you describe the sound of the bifrost? also, was your bifrost the multi-bit or the plain-jane version?
I have an Oppo BDP93, 1/2m AQ, digital or an optical cable(don’t remember brand right now) to the Bifrost Multibit dac. AQ, 1m Colorado ic’s to an ARC SP9 MKll. AQ, 1m Colorado ic’s to my servo amps, to Acoustat Model X speakers. I don’t have the Cambridge yet. If it’s not going to make much of a difference, I might just switch the dac.
jim - check your digital cable... if it is a coax cable, you should replace it with one that is 1.5 m in length... shorter spdif electrical digital cables may be prone to ’reflections’ of the digital waveform, which can lead to jittery sound (harsh and gritty) - if it an optical cable, get a real glass cable (length not key if it is less than 2-3 meters - https://www.uniqueproductsonline.com/gltodiopca.html or http://www.lifatec.com/toslink2.html - getting the cabling right is good hygiene and will help any transport / dac combo you may upgrade to
i don’t know much about the oppo’s as transports, maybe others here can comment... i suspect it is at least OK
as for dacs, i would suggest mhdt (any model) with a we 2c51 upgraded tube, ayre codex (optical or usb input only), metrum amethyst or neko audio d100-2 -- all are very natural sounding, with warm tonality, excellent bass, treble is smooth, not at all prominent or aggressive
I use a Lifatec toslink cable between my DVD player and DAC. I think it is great and not overly costly.
Also have glass toslink made by a company call GLASS. It was recommended by someone on this site. I bought it off ebay. Even less costly. The cost made it easy to 'buy to try'.
That said I would use the coax output over toslink if possible, 1.5 meter (as jjss49 stated).
Had the Schiit Modi 2 (with a 4490 chip board upgrade, not the Multibit), and an Oppo BDP-103. Got rid of the Modi and changed out to a PS Audio Stellar DAC preamp, which improved the Oppo a bit (was still using its internal DAC, however), but then I got the CXC and then there was a noticeable difference in clarity and detail, which I wasn't really expecting. Got rid of the Stellar and got a Freya+ and a Topping D90 and later a Denafrips Ares II and enjoyed them both a whole lot more, but they were different. There's a lot of good DACs out there for under 1k and you'd be hard pressed to find a better transport under 1k, but it does come down to a matter of taste for the DAC after you get past the $100-$200 threshold. The CXC does not play anything but Redbook CD's so if you have SACD's you're out of luck.
speaking for myself only, i cannot hear a difference between the glass toslink (i have 2m wireworld and a 2m lifatec) and a 1.5 m Cullen or Empirical coax... when connecting between various streamers and DACs accepting both options
but i would say, if you are ordering a lifatec glass cable, know that it is relatively fragile (it is thin flexible lightweight minimally jacketed cable), you will need to be careful with it... i believe a good 1.5m rca cable would be more durable
Much has been discussed on this forum regarding coax vs. optical connection with the majority finding coax preferable. There are also discussions on the science regarding length of coax cable, with very short or 1.5 meter being optimal for most cables. Neither issue is likely true under all circumstances. I chose to go with the consensus on this one and have been happy. I run both so as to connect two sources to the same DAC having only one of each type input. The primary source gets the coax cable. And, as jjss49 indicated the coax is more durable. With glass optimal do not use tight bends in the cable.