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A new dac

216.228.191.161

Posted on December 18, 2020 at 08:48:22
Mike K
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Posts: 13038
Location: 97701
Joined: September 23, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
May 7, 2000
I am considering the purchase of a new dac. I seek more resolution than
I currently get (from my Bryston BCD1 or PSAudio GCD). The following units have come up on my radar:

Benchmark DAC3 L or B model, whichever is cheaper
Border Patrol SEi
Schiit Yggdrasl, Gungnir (multibit), and BiFrost
Mytek Brooklyn DAC+

I realize some of these units have more of less features than others, but
all of them have what I need, except the Border Patrol which has no balanced outputs but I could live with that if the sound is right. I
have read everything I can find on all these units.

I do not want a unit made offshore as support and repair could be a serious problem, esp. with Chinese units (I realize the Mytek is made in
Poland). This requirement precludes Chord units, which apparently are highly regarded. All units have a trial period and are returnable.

So I solicit your opinions and tales of your experiences with any of these
units, and thank you in advance for your time.

Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

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RE: A new dac, posted on December 18, 2020 at 10:16:29
Gary
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Posts: 1000
Location: New York, NY
Joined: April 21, 2000
Of these I'm only familiar with the Border Patrol DAC SEi. Mine started life as a BP DAC SE and was later upgraded by Gary Dews of Border Patrol. He's a great guy to deal with, by the way. He's very responsive and helpful.

If you're expecting to play files with higher resolution than 24/96 you'd want to look elsewhere. However, within that limit I think it's an excellent DAC. The presentation is warm and natural-sounding. It doesn't sound to me like, as one reviewer put it, like "everything is covered in fur". It's more that it's a different sound than perhaps the iFi gear it replaced.

Last night I listened for hours exclusively to Qobuz. I played jazz and rock. Where appropriate the music still had grit and bite without causing fatigue. I've had this thing for several years now. I've no intention of replacing it any time soon.

 

RE: A new dac, posted on December 18, 2020 at 11:40:23
PAR
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Location: South London, UK
Joined: June 4, 2019
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June 4, 2019
" I seek more resolution".

I think it would be easier to narrow down the number of potential DACs if you would kindly give us some idea of what you mean by that.

Do you mean that you are happy with what you have insofar as its data processing capabilities are concerned but feel that you are missing out on what it provides otherwise in terms of detail, accuracy of instrumental timbre etc?

Alternatively are you looking for a DAC that can handle hi-res data formats? If so what do you wish to process e.g. DXD, DSD256 or will other formats suffice?

Your profile here does not tell us where you are from. Equipment prices vary from country to country so my view from the UK as to your budget may not coincide with yours. Your guidance on this would also assist.

"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams

 

The Chord Qutest should be on your list, posted on December 18, 2020 at 13:44:15
creativepart
Audiophile

Posts: 1761
Location: Spring Branch, Texas
Joined: March 1, 2004
I know you said you couldn't include Chord because they are assembled in Asia... but they are very actively represented by their distributor, The Sound Organization in Dallas, TX. These DACs are not likely to be an item that needs any service or support anyway.

The Qutest is too good to not be on any list for a new DAC in this price range.

At a higher budget the Chord Hugo TT2 would be even better, but $3000 higher in price.

 

RE: A new dac, posted on December 18, 2020 at 17:40:13
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 22994
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
I have a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge, which is basically the same as the Mytek DAC+ with some additional features such as streaming and playback from a plugin USB drive. I really like playback from a plugin USB drive, but it's limited to PCM up through 24/192. For DBX and DSD you need to connect a computer streamer using JRiver or equivalent. Using JRiver, the DAC+ will play DBX and DSD up through DSD256. The Mytek is definitely a very nice DAC and it sounds as good as any DAC I've ever heard. I use mine as a preamp because it has one analog input and the analog input can be configured as a line-level input or a phono input for either MM or MC cartridges. I use mine as a line-level input because I found a digital player that will play all digital formats up through DSD256 from its internal plugin memory card. Unfortunately, you probably won't like it because it's made in China.

Shortly after buying my Brooklyn Bridge I discovered the Chinese FiiO products and I really like FiiO digital players. I'm currently using their Flagship FiiO M15, which costs $1300. It has dual top-of-the-line AK4499EQ DAC chipsets and it has both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs. The thing I like best is that it can play all digital formats from a plug-in micro SD memory card. It will address up to 2-terabytes of memory, but the largest capacity micro SD memory card I could find was only 1-terabyte. Therefore, I bought several of them. This brings the price up to the value of the Mytek. However, it sounds just as good to me and it's a lot more convenient with its 1-megapixel touch screen to display its digital memory. If you can figure out how to tolerate a product made in China, the FiiO M15 would be my choice for playing high-resolution digital music files. If I had discovered FiiO first, I might never have bought the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. On the other hand, I really like the Brooklyn Bridge, too.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: The Chord Qutest should be on your list, posted on December 19, 2020 at 09:39:20
Posts: 1399
Location: South Central Coast, California
Joined: October 12, 2003
This article mentions that Chord is made in England.Maybe the OP meant excluding non-US products...or the article is incorrect?
"All of Chord Electronics products are made in-house in Kent, England"

 

RME & Denafrips Pontus., posted on December 21, 2020 at 07:50:47
oldmkvi
Audiophile

Posts: 9351
Joined: April 12, 2002
Both compete with Mytek at less, even half price.
Myteks have very high output voltage.
On my Mac Integrated, I could hardly turn mine up at all before it was too loud and aggresive.
The lightest movement of the volume control made a big increase.
Then you have to use the Jumpers, or even Volume Trim to tame it.
I wouldn't get another.
My Mac D150 is outstanding at DSD 128, but it is bit pricey.
The RME and Pontus have great, rave reviews.

 

RE: A new dac, posted on December 22, 2020 at 05:43:22
fstein
Audiophile

Posts: 2247
Location: fstein
Joined: May 18, 2006
Have 2 Topping DACs. Buy from APOS audio and stop worrying about support.

 

+1 - Me Too ! ......................nt, posted on December 22, 2020 at 05:59:21
Cut-Throat
Audiophile

Posts: 14939
Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
Joined: September 2, 2000
nt






 

Same here. Exellent products. Excellent support...., posted on December 22, 2020 at 10:21:59
AbeCollins
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Posts: 37218
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
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February 2, 2002
The Topping units are so reasonably priced for the quality and quality sound that by the time you need "support" it's probably time to buy a newer technology DAC anyway.

But if you DO need support even sooner, Apos [located in Oakland, CA] will fully support what they sell.

I bought my Topping D90 and E30 from Apos with excellent follow up service including shipment status updates via email.

Topping E30 DAC up top, Topping D90 below:

But they ARE made in China if that matters a lot to you.



 

RE: RME & Denafrips Pontus., posted on December 22, 2020 at 10:49:47
AbeCollins
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Posts: 37218
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002

My Mytek was very transparent but a bit lean sounding, lacking body or robustness especially in the mids, no warmth to speak of, and not very "musical". I've read reviews alluding that Benchmark DACs have a similar "pro" sound. They both cater to the pro audio market.

I prefer a little bit of midrange body, warmth and sweetness in my setups.


 

Where did you get ..., posted on December 22, 2020 at 12:00:21
Mike K
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Posts: 13038
Location: 97701
Joined: September 23, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
May 7, 2000
that plastic/plexiglass things that the smaller dac sits on? I could
use something like that if it's the right size.
Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

You can have some custom made at a reasonable Price ......, posted on December 22, 2020 at 12:27:52
Cut-Throat
Audiophile

Posts: 14939
Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
Joined: September 2, 2000
For a very reasonable price.... here

http://www.jmkdisplays.com/risers.html

Here was my order Specs and Quote a couple years ago. The guy was fast, fair and Very good.
***********************************************************************************
"Description I would like a Riser in Clear Acrylic material 3/8 Inches Thick. 10 Inches in Width, 6 inches in Depth and 3 inches high.

Hello:

We can quote the above 2 risers to your dimensions for $31.00/Each + S/H of $16.90.

All edges are polished.
******************************************************************************










 

Thank you very much!! *, posted on December 22, 2020 at 14:28:27
Mike K
Audiophile

Posts: 13038
Location: 97701
Joined: September 23, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
May 7, 2000

Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

RE: A new dac, posted on January 5, 2021 at 03:14:43
mikem
Audiophile

Posts: 159
Joined: September 23, 1999
Schiit Yggdrasil! Can't say enough good things about this DAC. It's a giant killer..
Check out Robert Harley's review on TAS regarding the Yggdrasil...

 

RE: A new dac, posted on January 5, 2021 at 07:51:37
Audio Fan
Audiophile

Posts: 573
Location: Ontario
Joined: April 6, 2000
I had a Benchmark DAC3 L in-house for a couple of weeks. I returned it because it sounded only very marginally better than my existing Audiolab 8200CD DAC/pre. I then upgraded to an exaSound e32, which was a clear upgrade to the others. The e32 is made in Canada.

 

RE: A new dac, posted on January 7, 2021 at 17:05:23
Jimbocky
Audiophile

Posts: 28
Location: High Rockies
Joined: September 15, 2015



I love my Schiit Gungnir Multibit. It's been a while since I hear the Yggdrasl and that was thru headphones.

I think Schiit does a great job dealing with USB which is the way I drive it. Very natural and open. No harshness at all yet not rolled off.

 

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