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In Reply to: RE: I'm about to pull the trigger on an Exasound E38 DAC - Comments, yay or nay? [nt] posted by Chris from Lafayette on May 07, 2017 at 19:58:14
For $2500 less you can buy an Oppo UDP-205 with two ES9038Pro DAC chips.
You can also get the $1600 LKS MH-DA004 DAC with two more expensive and higher performing ESS9038 DACs in parallel (equivalent to 32 9028 DAC channels in parallel). A single 9028 (as used in the Exasound) uses 4 DAC channels in parallel. Also the LKS has fully discrete output stages....not op amps. Sounds great too! Incredible value.
Can you output DSD to the LKS, as from an Oppo's audio HDMI output?
Are there any complications in doing that?
I see. I have a customer who got three modded Gustard DACs from me instead of an E38. The LKS is even better. The Exasound gives you one ESS 9028 DAC channel per channel. The LKS with its mono 9038 DACs is equivalent to 32 ESS 9028 DACs in parallel (32 times more DACs in parallel).....just another world more transparent.....then there is the discrete output stages, etc. in the LKS. You could get two LKS for the fronts and center/bass and then a cheaper Sonica DAC for surround channels for the same money as a 38.
The more expensive top of the line ESS 9038 chip is essentially four 9028 DACs in parallel. Every channel is four channels paralleled.....so four time the current output and one quarter the output impedance. Hence better signal to noise and higher dynamic range. The LKS is the only DAC in the world right now with two 9038 DACs in parallel....and it comes from China and made by people who listen and tweak. Simply amazing.
How would all the DAC's be connected? And wouldn't you need one-off software to get them all to work. . . uh. . . in concert?
Also, wouldn't the build quality of the Exasound (made in Canada) be possibly more reliable than the LKS (made in China)? How long has LKS been around and what are the reports about their products' long-term reliability?
I wouldn't rule out the Oppo at some point in the future for disc-based playback.
I use my Oppo BDP-105D for playing AIFF's. All the hi-res 24/96 recordings of vinyl I made with my Alesis Masterlink are AIF files. My Oppo plays virtually everything digital including AIF, WAV, DSD, SACD, etc. Most of my digital is stored on USB hard drives and flash drives that plug right into my Oppo's three USB Type A ports. It can also be used for computer streaming as an external DAC from its USB Type B port. Of course, I have no experience whatsoever with the Exasound E38 DAC so maybe the new Oppo won't meet your requirements, but I use my Oppo with computer files much more often than I play discs.
. . . in the sense that my RAID drives (where my music files are stored) are sharable with my wife's computer too. The drives are physically attached to a third computer in another room. Sure, I know I could make copies of the files to use with the Oppo, but I'm used to using the iTunes database functions with Audirvana+ for the actual playback, and I've spent a considerable amount of time getting the meta information more or less the way I like it with iTunes. As I say, I still have a fair amount of discs whose files I don't plan to transfer to the computer, and it's about time to replace my disc player too, so I don't rule out the Oppo in the future.
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