I've received this DAC last week, and kept it on constant burn-in for the past five days. I did some side-by-side comparison with the following DACs:
1. Beresford Caiman (Gatorized)
2. Cambridge Audio DacMagic
3. Easter Electric MiniMax
4. Naim DAC
Of the four, only Naim DAC did not stay with me; I was only able to listen to it for a few hours while the friend who brought it was staying with me. This means that I was not able to re-listen and check my initial impressions and observations related to that DAC vis-a-vis the Bushmaster.
I must say that, to me, the Bushmaster outperformed all four DACs listed above. It just sounded as if it's in a completely different league. What's interesting, shocking even, is that I was able to pre-order this DAC for a price that's way less than the price of a decent pair of interconnects, or even a single entry-level power cable! Talk about the giant killer. The other DACs were on the loaner (except for my Caiman), and have all been properly burned-in.
Beresford Bushmaster DAC offers previously unheard continuity in the way it converts digital signal into the analog output. Of course, it goes without saying that it expects/hopes to be fed healthy, noise-free digital signal. Failing to do that, the resulting sound will end up being flat and lifeless. This was confirmed by switching from feeding the DAC from the Logitech Squeezebox Touch to feeding it through Sony PlayStation 3 Slim. The difference in the sound quality between these two digital transports were palpable, and unforgivable.
A word of warning: in my case, it took around 48 hours of burn-in time before this DAC could start sounding good. During the first few days, it sounded very nice, warm and authoritative, however with a bit too much rolled off highs. It took about two full days for the DAC to open up and deliver the punch and the bite it is now capable of. Please keep this in mind when evaluating this product.
Comparing it to the other DACs enlisted above, I found in those other DACs all kinds of deficiencies that I wouldn't be able to detect otherwise. In other words, without a benchmark that the Bushmaster now establishes, many of the not-so-desirable traits of DACs such as Caiman, DacMagic, even Naim, would've remain unnoticed. For example, I've now discovered that many DACs tend to actually gloss over some of the finer details in music reproduction, leaving it to the listener's brain to connect the dots and fill in the blanks. Not so with the Bushmaster, who is always making sure to dutifully spell all the details out, not leaving anything to the listener's imagination.
Furthermore, I wasn't able to detect any syntactical sugar coating from the Bushmaster. Naim DAC, on the other hand, tended to editorialize a bit, and to smear over certain musical details in favor of painting a prettier-than-life picture. Some people may prefer this sugar coating, but I most certainly don't.
Similar thing seemed to have been going on with the MiniMax DAC, especially with its tube pre-processing, where a bit of an artificial warmth and a denser-than-expected sound was emanating. At the other end of the spectrum, I found Beresford Caiman to be on a very lean side, quite two-dimensional and harsh sounding. DacMagic appeared to be somewhere in the happy middle, but it was also quite anemic sounding, and of the four in the list, I'd be the least upset if I were to lose that one.
In conclusion, I highly recommend you try the Beresford Bushmaster DAC. It's extremely affordable, it is supported by one of the best customer services I've experienced, and it's brain dead easy to return it for a refund in case it doesn't work out for you.
Edits: 06/18/12This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors:
Topic - Beresford Bushmaster DAC -- a giant killer? - magiccarpetride 13:18:10 06/18/12 (14)
- RE: Beresford Bushmaster DAC -- a giant killer? - yss 08:52:51 11/19/12 (0)
- Needs a good transport? - dvb 06:56:31 06/20/12 (0)
- Is this a multi-channel DAC? - rlw 14:41:22 06/19/12 (2)
- RE: Is this a multi-channel DAC? - gadio4533 14:45:00 06/21/12 (1)
- Have you heard a *good* multi-channel system? - rlw 13:00:01 07/02/12 (0)
- RE: Beresford Bushmaster DAC -- a giant killer? - bacobits 06:41:57 06/19/12 (6)
- RE: Beresford Bushmaster DAC -- a giant killer? - magiccarpetride 07:44:43 06/19/12 (0)
- Made in England, $235.00 - dvb 06:49:58 06/19/12 (4)
- RE: Beresford Bushmaster DAC -- a giant killer? - dvb 21:42:54 06/18/12 (0)
- RE: Beresford Bushmaster DAC -- a giant killer? - michaelhigh 14:01:47 06/18/12 (0)