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Dac Attack

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Posted on December 10, 2022 at 08:16:01
omegaman
Audiophile

Posts: 158
Location: Delaware
Joined: January 25, 2007
Contributor
  Since:
August 12, 2012
I'm in a quandary over which DAC to add to my system. I have at present the Bryston BDA-1. I've looked at the following.

1. Bryston BDA-3 and 3.14
2. Denafrips Terminator
3. Musetek Audio MH-DA005
4. Holo Audio Spring 3

Some of these are lightly used and some brand new, but I didn't want that to influence anybody. If anybody has present or previous experience with any of these, let me know what you thought. Thanks, Jack

 

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RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 10, 2022 at 09:39:12
Mike K
Audiophile

Posts: 13710
Location: 97701
Joined: September 23, 1999
Look around for a PS Audio Direct Stream Junior (Jr). They are long
discontinued, but if you poke around the internet you can still find
some new ones (never registered) for $2500-$3000. You will not be
sorry.

Life is hard. It's harder when you're stupid.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 10, 2022 at 14:41:36
omegaman
Audiophile

Posts: 158
Location: Delaware
Joined: January 25, 2007
Contributor
  Since:
August 12, 2012
There is one on U.S. Audio Mart for $1600

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 10, 2022 at 14:42:50
Cut-Throat
Audiophile

Posts: 17272
Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
Joined: September 2, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
May 16, 2021
Ask the guy on U.S. Audiomart what he upgraded to, and then buy that one.



 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 10, 2022 at 15:22:42
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 43079
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002
If I'm not mistaken all of the PS Audio Direct Stream DACs (including Jr.) internally convert everything to DSD for a smooth sound. Whether you like that sound is a different matter.

The nice thing about the Direct Stream Jr is that it not only has a Volume control like its bigger brother but it INCLUDES the network bridge which is an extra cost option on its bigger brother.

In other words, you can stream directly to the single-box Direct Stream Jr. DAC and attach it to your amp w/o preamp since it has a Volume control. Nice for de-cluttering.

I wouldn't mind trying one someday but I'm pretty happy with my current setup.... which may change in about a week ;-)

I auditioned a new amp borrowed from a friend. I have one on order. As if the "DAC of the Month" wasn't enough. Here we go with "Amp of the Month".





 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 10, 2022 at 15:37:30
Mel
Audiophile

Posts: 2884
Location: New York City Area
Joined: February 21, 2001
I'm a known advocate of the Musetec as it has given me everything I could ask for in reproducing classical music with a you are there quality. Using a reasonably good streamer/bridge it generally outperforms my beloved analog system.

As long as you mention the Holo Spring, there is at Audiogon a very detailed review comparing the Musetec to the Holo May, costing almost double.

There's also a thread there on the Musetec with about 1500 posts.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 11, 2022 at 08:13:27
omegaman
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Posts: 158
Location: Delaware
Joined: January 25, 2007
Contributor
  Since:
August 12, 2012
It was a great idea, but he bought a Bryston BR-20 and uses the DAC included with the Preamp.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 11, 2022 at 10:26:41
cfraser
Audiophile

Posts: 3196
Location: Pickering, Ontario
Joined: April 30, 2000
I replaced BDA-1 and BDA-2 with Topping D90. Mainly because I have greatly reduced the number of digital sources I need a DAC for, and I pretty much only use USB DAC input these days so almost never switch sources, which the BDAs are all about. The Brystons are flexible to use and are solid and reliable, so they're not going anywhere (not worth much either, I think).

I found the D90 to be much better in the low end, and decent elsewhere. It's slightly intellectually difficult to replace solid gear with cheapies, and I've gone back and forth, but the cheapie DAC "wins" here. I'm sure you can do better, but this was my first trip into offshore DACs a few years ago and I was stepping lightly, so far so good.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 11, 2022 at 11:45:34
Cut-Throat
Audiophile

Posts: 17272
Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
Joined: September 2, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
May 16, 2021
The new amp must have been good enough to order one..... Toobs or SS. ?



 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 11, 2022 at 11:58:56
AbeCollins
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Posts: 43079
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002

SS. Found one lightly used. Will comment more once it's here and in my audio rack.



 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 12, 2022 at 11:47:55
PaulN
Audiophile

Posts: 1395
Joined: January 13, 2000
I replaced an NAD M51 with a Topping D90 (original AK4499 chip), used that for a year and then ordered a Holo May L2. Each was a step up. The Spring 3 gets to about 90% of what the May offers and is the best value for a bespoke DAC by far. And you can add the preamp card later if you want to.

However, I firmly believe that the Holo DACs should be optimized using HQPlayer and running it NOS. If you are not going to send it high-rate PCM or DSD there's no point. Go with a DAC that does its oversampling internally. All of those DACs are good, so it really comes down to your sonic priorities. For me, the May has been a revelation. I really can hear more and deeper into the soundstage than with any other DAC I have used and I am absolutely done. This is my last DAC, I listen to it all day every day and I LOVE it. Sometimes it is cheaper to lay the money out up front to get the premium product and just bypass the interlopers. Buy once, cry once, done. DAC-of-the-month club is a fools errand proven by all the constant churn these guys are endlessly going through. I'm too busy listening now to bother posting about my gear or questioning my choice; I got off the train. Finally, if you buy a Spring or Denafrips you can turn it back over for what you paid for it if it doesn't tickle you. The others, not so much. Good luck.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 13, 2022 at 05:57:50
morricab
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 8964
Location: switzerland
Joined: April 1, 2005
I have an APL DSD-AR DAC at home now that does this same internal conversion of everything to DSD. It too is very smooth and with some music it is very good (but not better than my R2R Ayon Skylla 2 DAC).

However, as one friend put it when he came over to hear it "Where's the dynamics!" and I only had to agree with him. The Ayon, which uses 4 x BB PCM1704 24bit DAC chips, has it all over the APL in terms of dynamics, both macro and micro and therefore also dynamic contrast.

Resolution and tonality are both good...but different and the Ayon is a space champ with better depth and 3d images.

So, in the end I would say the DSD experiment for me told me what I had heard from this before...smooth but not real.

Will sell on the APL and stick with the truly superb Ayon DAC.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on December 13, 2022 at 08:33:38
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 43079
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002

So the questions boil down to:

- Are R2R DACs generally a little less dynamic than other designs? Or...

- Is it DSD in general that is a little less dynamic than quality PCM?

Maybe both.

The two R2R DACs that I had were ever so slightly less 'alive' and dynamic than my other DACs.

Historically I have always felt that DSD was smooth but slightly too polite for my tastes.



 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on January 13, 2023 at 01:42:05
morricab
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 8964
Location: switzerland
Joined: April 1, 2005
I hear it the other way around... R2R DACs (at least those based on chips and not discrete...I have limited experience with discrete ones) sound more robust, more dynamic and more like i hear live than DACs that are using sigma/delta, FPGA and/or PCM-DSD conversion etc.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on January 13, 2023 at 13:35:51
tube524
Audiophile

Posts: 237
Joined: August 1, 2009



I auditioned the Atoll DAC300 Signature and it was something that I never heard before. Very clear, musical and engaging with beautiful tonality.

 

RE: Dac Attack, posted on January 14, 2023 at 12:18:56
MP62
Dealer

Posts: 65
Location: CA
Joined: November 15, 2020
If you wish to buy a new DAC that will make a big change in the music you hear - try the Bricasti M3.

 

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