I sold my Accustic Arts Drive 1 and DAC 1 Mk. 4, Stealth Varidig Sextet and extra Silent Source The Music Reference power cord and bought a Wadia 581se with the proceeds, then upgraded to a Wadia 781i.
Although what I had was really, really good, I personally think the my Wadia 781i is every bit as special as the reviewers tout it to be.
Many years ago I started with an entry level Theta DAC & TLC jitter control.
I've had higher level DACs (and digital cables) and tried all the way up to the Theta GenVA (very nice).
I'm on my 2nd Electrocompaniet EMC1-Up, this time with the spider clamp.
Merry-go-round ride over.
Gotta say, currently loving pecking this out on an iPad which simultaneously is controlling every scrap of music own, ripped lossless to a 2tb drive resting under a Mac mini. Convenient and lovely, yes, but kinda necessitates a decent DAC or you're pretty much lost. On convenience alone, haven't touched e CDP since I've set this new source up. And it sounds pretty darn ok to boot. Different strokes, I suppose... No right answer, that much is for sure.
It sounds to me that you haven't just found the right
DAC. I have MSB TECH and with their new ilink I have their DACII and what I hear the three and the new four totally blow it away
I am with Mezmo and Robertbrown on this one. I also do not think that your assessment of one DAC after another is really a fair one. FWIW, the transport makes a big difference in the amount of jitter getting to the DAC. Furthermore, the digital cabling and implementation are huge! To simply distill it as to DACs being a PITA is simply not true.
You didn't ask, but I will recommend that you try a Mac as a server (out of the box easier) and a good asynchronous connection. Even a M2Tech hiFace will improve many SPDIF connections, and it is cheap!
4est stated.... "I will recommend that you try a Mac as a server (out of the box easier) and a good asynchronous connection"
Need help understanding what you mean by "good asynchronous connection". Can you give some specific examples ?
Well, he gave one example: the M2Tech Hiface.
There are several common methods of transmitting the signal to the DAC. A good asynchronous connections allows the DAC to control the signal flow, not just "catch" what is sent by the transport mechanism. It will greatly reduce the net jitter. You might be amazed at the palpable difference it makes. Even legacy DACs are often invigorated with a device as simple as the hiFace. There is one listed here at the moment. Otherwise it is at Tweak Geek. About $150-$180.
Some other examples:
Firewire DACs: Metric Halo, Weiss DAC2 & DAC202- All three are excellent.
USB DAC: Wavelength products, Ayre, DCS- possibly HRT music streamers
USB>Spdif: M2tech hiFace (they have some new items coming out that should be hot too), A.R.T. Legato, Halide Design Bridge
If you still have a DAC around and a Mac computer I highly recommend trying the hiFace (works with windows too). For the money I think you might really be surprised. It helps even something like a Benchmark DAC1. Use a nice digital cable if you have one. Otherwise connect it right to the DAC and use a USB cable to it. There is a lot of info on the Computer Audio Forums.
That should have been to Nonoise!
if it was easy, everyone would be doing it...
Yes, auditioning equipement can be tedious and frustrating, trying to find the perfect symbiosis among numerous variables and relationships. And the more components you have (transport + DAC + cabling) the more complex the process becomes.
Most will settle, few will press-on to peak Everest (with the associated altitude sickness ;)
Yet the truly important thing: is to enjoy yourself
I made the move to a one box CD player several years ago. I currently own an Audio Research CD3 MKII and I am seriously considering getting out of vinyl.
I have only tried 5 or 6 DAC's , but have settled on a sub $1000 Rotel CDP which I think sounds wholly acceptable .
I am strongly disinclined to spend big $$$ on a DAC , which is the same as spending big $$$ on a computer , dead money . After a couple of glasses of single malt I can't notice the difference , and as I get older I want a simpler life .
I've had my TDAC for almost three months now and ther's no way in hell I would go out and spend buco legal tender on a cd player. Just my 0.02
No. I found nirvana with a dcs Purcell upsampler and and dcs Delius DAC, both firewire versions, being fed by an iMac computer (my server). I upsample 44.1 to DSD and I am deeply impressed by the sublime, smooth yet detailed, very clean, musically satisfying sound I am getting. I have been through numerous dacs and one-box CD players and this is the best sound that I have ever had......Not even close...
Not me. I'm moving away from a cd player in the near future. I'm moving towards going with a server based system with a killer dac and either a Squeezebox Touch or a Transporter. CD's seem so er, um.....20th century. It's a new day, the 21st century is now ten years old and I'm moving on with the new technology.
Not me too. My DV50 is now just around for DVD-A and SACD. I got a Ayre QB-9 and I'm very happy. All my songs are now just a click of a mouse away in any order I choose.
I haven't owned a CDP for a long time and won't again. Custom-built Mac (Hackintosh) with Metric Halo LIO-8. Ditched my Purcell/Delius for it, and it is a nice step up in transparency and naturalness. It isn't easy going the computer audio route as there is a misconception that just any computer will do - and it won't.
CDPs not getting an overabundance of love here. J
An MSB DAC IV Signature gives me endless gratified smile...
Using a laptop as a source, or a Wadia 170i,(soon I'' ll upgarde to iLink) or an old krell showcase as cd transport the feeling is the same. Very detailed, natural sound , huge soundstage...
What merry go round? Lot's of good cd players, lot's of good dacs out there. It's not rocket science to find a good one of either these days. It is way more about whether you want to play silver disks or put them all (along with internet radio, hi rez downloads, Rhapsody, Pandora, etc) through a decent dac. Both are good, both are legitimate vehicles for playing your music.
That said. I love the Audio Research lineup of cd players that they are currently making and would not hesitate to
slip one into just about any system with full confidence
that it would play beautiful music. Ditto the Naim line.
You have a DAC - it's in your CD player.
There is no difference between trying/using CD players and trying/using stand-alone DACs with some transport.
.... a stand alone DAC is just the evolution of audiophiles' tendency to have a separate component for every audiophile function of their system. It was inevitable. I remember having a receiver back in the 70's. Now I have seven separate components doing the functions of what a single receiver could do alone. Audiophiles tend to isolate and separate audio functions for greater flexibility and ease of upgrading components. It is the way of the future and it's here to stay.
Yes it is,the American way is to overkill,cheers,Bob
There are also definitely performance increases to doing so, potentially.
As I stated in a similar post: I'm STILL waiting for someone to prove to me the superiority of a CDP vs a computer/dac solution. Yes, Robertbrown, I too have heard a friend's ilink receiving audio from his MSB modified ipod. It was some of the best audio I've ever heard.
Chris_launder: You say the spending big $$$ on a dac is the same as spending big $$$ on a computer....dead money. Does that mean a great dac will be obsolete, or sound like crap after a few years??? You also say that as you get older, you want a simpler life. Huh? What is easier: Getting up to change cd's all the time, or literally having hundreds or thousands of albums at your fingertips using an itouch remote. You've go to be kidding me. You've ALL got to be kidding me.
Cd players must use on-the-fly jitter reduction ALL THE TIME. EVERY ALBUM, EVERY SONG. A computer does it once, during ripping. Then you're done. A hard drive is like a cd in that it's merely a medium to store ones and zeros.
Anyone who thinks cds are superior to a computer/dac either:
1) Doesn't have the time to rip hundreds of albums.
2) Has never heard a computer/dac setup.
3) Too scared of computers.
I'll take ones and zeros on a hard drive over a cd any day.
Right now, just after purchasing a Cary Xciter DAC and putting it into my system I did an A/B/C on the SAME song ripped the same way that was stored on my NAS and on my computer and then I dropped the disc into my PS3 and started them all at roughly the same time. Dexterity is necessary. ;-)
Anywho, after adjusting for volume difference between the outputs they were all pretty much the same though the fiber tended to be a touch clearer on the highs where the COAX was a touch more rounded. However, the fiber was coming from the PS3. The COAX was from an unmodified Sonos ZP-90. The computer usb vs. NAS (which is being operated through the Sonos and feeds through the COAX) offered no difference in sound at all. I listened for about fifteen minutes to make sure and there was no change. And thats through a standard crappy usb cable.
Being that the CD still sounded as good as it did coming over a rather poor format, being fiber, I figure either I need some serious modifications done elsewhere in the system or CDs are still simply the best format. Hmmmm....
To each his own. That's why there are multitudes of options.
I settle with Raysonic CDP 168.