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What a difference a DAC makes... and new point of diminishing returns

Posted on December 28, 2020 at 11:39:26
Bill Way

Posts: 1679
Location: Toms River NJ
Joined: May 28, 2012

I spend about 3-4 hours a day trading stocks, and, after an hour or so of WNYC, I have music streaming from WFMT, WBGO, or WXPN. My desktop system is a pair of ADS L300's powered by the Lepai class D cheapie, with a cheap Dayton sub. They're fed from a Mac Pro 6,2 (trash can). It seemed silly to put money into a DAC, particularly as Apple used to tout the sound quality of their Mac Pros. The sound was always frustrating: hazy, indistinct, no dynamics, sometimes gritty, and somewhat boomy with or without the sub.

I bought myself a Schiit Modi 3+. Breathtaking improvement. It all dials in now. Spooky-good imaging (the 300's are good as nearfields), lovely natural-sounding detail, easy to dial in the sub, and surprising dynamics. I even think the Lepai is pretty good now, at least for 100 Hz and up, which is where the 300's live. And a bonus: push the chair back from the table and crank the volume on the right material, and they present a *huge* sound. As my workspace is in the kitchen, it's great for doing dishes, or dancing, which we should all be doing at least once a day in these times of isolation.

I used to think the point of diminishing audio returns was the Henry Kloss table radio, in any of its versions. Now, sixty years later, it's time to change. The point of diminishing returns is streamed music through the Schiit DAC, Lepai amp (for which I paid $20), into ADS/Braun L300's with any cheapie sub. I'm under $500 all-in. The KLH model twenty-one cost $79.95 in 1965, which is $680 in today's dollars.

I think Henry would approve.


"They got a handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged." Alberta Hunter


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