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Please comment on this video....
Time stamp 7:50.
Do you agree not to spend $$$$$$ for a DAC?
"A DAC is a DAC". Clearly an ignorant statement.
In doing comparisons I have heard significant differences that I find about equivalent in DACs from $100 to $5000. Above that I have not spent enough time with things, but I imagine the returns diminish quickly. I do not doubt, however, that returns are still present.
I can enjoy my system with a $100 DAC. I might even be satisfied. But it becomes a different experience each time I move up a level. I think a DAC has as significant an effect on the system as your amplifier and should be brought to a similar level of performance that you look for there.
Great is Vivaldi DAC but it is expensive, about 36000 I think. And you need a compatible transport with clock inputs, very few CD players have that. The best cost money. Good at lower cost is much easier.
I have heard it at a dealer, the organic sound was beyond what I have ever heard. I can buy a nice car for $36000. But it wont sound very good even with the standard stereo it comes with. I suppose its priorities. Computer audio with network bridge. It cost over $40,000 with everything but the cables.
I think Esoteric makes a K07x with clock input about $6000 cheap?. Has plastic transport tray!
any DAC, especially the high-priced ones depreciate 50% + when you open the box. The sweet spot is $1000-1500. I am happy with my Grace 920 (Thanks to John Marks) because it doubles as my preamp and I got it from Massdrop in that price range new. Some people swear by the earliest multibit DACs. PS audio is always coming out with something new under $1K in the hopes that their higher priced technology will trickle down... and would make even more sense used.
In my second system, my Furutech ADC GT40 also doubles as a phono preamp and sounds good in THAT system. t can be picked up used for less than $350.
in your system?
I use the one in my old HK AVR520 (Toslink) for some signals - like streaming from Chromecast and I am very happy. I also use the AVR for digital in from my Oppo BDP103 and it serves me very well - though in my system I can bypass the AVR using the Oppo's DAC's and drive into a mixer that drives my stereo amps. I've level equalized the two inputs and performed blind testing - just once. Couldn't really account for any difference with an SACD or CD playing from the Oppo. Now my preference is often to use the receiver because I can use its surround emulators to optimize my playback experience - depending on the source production.
I also use a high quality ($$$) Audio interface to connect to my computer server. (Sound Devices USBPre2). I use this device for Test & Measurement as well.
As always - unless there is something inherently wrong with the DAC or Audio Interface most audiophile would be hard pressed to note "displeasure" with the sound reproduction coming from the unit. I all come down the confidence the listener has in their reproduction chain. For some users the analog out from their iPhone (or cheap tablet) is acceptable for their purposes - I fall into this category - My brain is an easy sell into imagining a real performance. I am always eager to get lost in the music.
Others, just knowing there is (or may be) something better out there is sufficient for them to doubt the imagined "reality" of sound reproduction. And this is the essential core of our hobby. I enjoy swapping gear and trying new stuff. Without listeners like this there would have never have been a push to high Res, and better sound performance.
"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat" - Confucius
I have recently upgraded some IC cables to the tune of $5,000.
So I have stuff and use stuff which can cost some actual money.
But so far I have found I am satisfied with my old DAC, and know it would take a LOT of money to do much better.
Money I would rather spend elsewhere.
My base is to listen to my Sony SC777ES. Which is a decent machine.
The Sony does sound a tiny bit better than the DAC. but not enough to matter to me.
I use the DAC with several eBay bought $40 to 80 CD changers.
Most changers really 'lack'(listenability), even just as transports.. but I found a brand and couple of year slot of some which are also decent. I own eight of them, most as spares.. LOL
Any way, my pennies are being saved for a $14,000 pair of speakers. not some pos DAC (Which I would realize is only a tiny bit better and no damn way worth the money paid..)
So IMO expensive DACs can be a sucker bet.
The main limitations of 16 bits just are there. Period. No amount of futzing can do much more than the basic stuff 'well implemented'.
So I KEEP my $250 (paid $250 used, originally $1,000)fifteen year old DAC and I am happy.
People are going to buy the thing and find out...... I've done that with inexpensive raves in the past.....
The only audio components that to me have a definite positive correlation between price and performance are phono cartridges..... But even there, a relatively inexpensive Denon 103R can really be satisfying.
I've heard inexpensive digital that I thought sounded nice, I've heard expensive digital that I thought sounded awful. (Won't name names.) Maybe the video reviewer hasn't experienced really good sounding digital audio. Such products aren't common, at any price. (And who knows how good the music/recordings the reviewer listened to. Most recent mainstream recordings are horrid relative to those 10 or 20 years ago.) So I cannot really blame him.
The 'reviewer' probably can't tell the difference between a tightly compressed grilled hamburger and a pan-seared ribeye steak. ;-)
It all depends on what you want and how far you are prepared to go to achieve it.
I have spent $$$$ on my DAC. I have had many cheaper DACs from many eras of digital audio here to compare it to. Overall I would judge that the best of those at half the price of mine achieve 90% of its audio performance but none have had its flexibilty. But even at half the price we are still talking of spending a considerable sum.
For myself I would rather spend the moolah, get 95-100% of what is the best available at that point in time and not have to worry about upgrades for a few years. And know that when I do want to upgrade I am either getting a retrofittable one, often free of charge, or I am going to be able to get a good trade in price (within the manufacturer's scheme, so no worrying ebay sales etc).
On the other hand many want to get the most performance that is available for the smallest outlay i.e. not an ultimate performance but a credible one. Then DACS like the ifi audio one make sense.
I guess it's like most of the audio hobby. You can get great sound for a reasonable cost. But if your aim is towards the best that there is then beyond a point each small improvement doubles the outlay.
He never hooked it up and listened to it. How does he know how it sounds. Not a credible review in any case.
I really don't share the author's opinion in that regard.
The cost of good is indeed quite inexpensive, but the cost of great hasn't really changed, IMHO.
I own an ifi nano iDSD DAC that I use with my computer for mastering my DSD recordings of vinyl LPs. It's a great little DAC for that purpose or for portable use. However, it doesn't sound nearly as good as my $1300 Oppo BDP-105D when I compared both in my main stereo system. My $1300 Oppo sounds much better and is much more versatile for my main audio/video system. The Oppo can function as an external DAC for music streaming but it also accepts USB hard drives and flash drives directly so you really don't need an additional digital streamer.
The ifi nano iDSD DAC is quite nice for $200, though! However, it sounds like $200 compared to a more expensive DAC.
My $199 Meridian explorer2 dac sounds very good but it does not come close to my $2400 Audio-gd Master 7.
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