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gaugustine
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Alternate DAC choices - need rated

First, I want to congratulate Stereophile for offering more reviews of affordable choices in HiFi gear; this is a welcome re-awakening!

I started out looking to replace my old CD player, and find myself hoping for a music server, e.g., Olive, although price considerations may force me to go the music player, DAC, HDD route.

Most of your reviews on media players/servers talk about hooking them up to the Benchmark DAC 1, which retails for $950, a not inconsiderable price on its own.

I recently queried HeadRoom about whether their Micro DAC would provide a significant improvement to Slim Devices SQUEEZEBOX. Josh Heins, a Sales Associate with HeadRoom Corporation replied [excerpt]:
*************
Thank you for your inquiry.

The Micro DAC will definitely improve the quality of the Squeezebox. The Micro DAC is a much higher quality DAC than the one in the Squeezebox. We've actually demoed the Squeezebox quite extensively and find our products very compatible, turning your computer into a high end audio source.

Please reply if any further questions.
*************
It would be REALLY great if Stereophile could do a comparison of DACs costing less than $2000 and rate their sound & usefulness when used with music players/servers in a music listening environment (not computer system).

Cheers!

CECE
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

Checkout the AVA Ultra DAC hybrid DAC www.avahifi.com

Elk
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

I'm certain the Headroom DAC would improve upon the Squeezebox, as would almost any DAC. The SB is a great little device but is built in DAC is modest.

There are many excellent DACs in the $1,000.00 area and some very good ones for less than this. I don't know of a single comparison review like you suggest however - just lots of reviews that compare two and sometimes three DACs at a time. All will work well with a music server; I think they are equally "useful" in this context unless you have something specific in mind that I am not thinking of.

Happy Hunting!

CECE
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated
gaugustine
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

You caught me - I'm actually looking for relative merits of DACs costing less than the Benchmark DAC that would bring the same or better musical performance to music servers/players such as Squeezebox. You mention several under $1000 that have been compared. Can you provide links to those comparisons?
Thanks!

Elk
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

I'm sorry, I don't know specifically of comparisons of under $1,000 DACs. My point was only that there quite a few reviews with comparisons of DACs. I suggest doing some Googling. DACs are pretty popular as a topic.

showflash
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

You are going to have to do some research for the price range you are looking at. You may pay less than list if you shop around. D/A Processors under or near $1,000 from 2007 Stereophile Buyers Guide:

47 Labratory, 4715 Shigaraki DAC: $1,480 list
[url=http://www.sakurasystems.com/]http://www.sakurasystems.com/[/url]
[url=http://www.sakurasystems.com/reviews/reviews13.html]http://www.sakurasys...
[url=http://www.sakurasystems.com/reviews/review12.html]http://www.sakurasyst...

[url=http://www.stereophile.com/digitalsourcereviews/800]http://www.stereophi...
[url=http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue2/shigaraki.htm]http://www.positiv...

Apogee, Mini-DAC: $995
[url=http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/minidac.php]http://www.apogeedigit...
[url=http://www.apogeedigital.com/support/documents.php?show=minidac]http://w...

[url=http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue19/apogeedac.htm]http://www.positi...

Benchmark, DAC1: $975
[url=http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/]http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/[/url]

[url=http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_10_4/benchmark-dac-one-11-2003-par...
[url=http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue26/benchmark_dac1.htm]http://www.p...

Camelot Technology, Arthur v3.0 Mk2: $895
[url=http://www.camelottechnology.com/main.html]http://www.camelottechnology....
[url=http://www.camelottechnology.com/electronics/arthurv3mk2.html]http://www...

[url=http://www.soundstage.com/greg11.htm]http://www.soundstage.com/greg11.ht...

PC CARDs
Digital Audio Labs, CDX-A2
Digital Audio Labs, CDX-A4
Digital Audio Labs, CDX-D8

Headroom Corporation, Micro DAC: $299
[url=http://www.headphone.com/products/headphone-amps/the-micro-line/headroom...

[url=http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/headroom_micro_amp_dac.htm]http://www...

Monarchy Audio, M18C: $399
Monarchy Audio, M34: $499
Monarchy Audio, M24: $1,499
[url=http://www.monarchyaudio.com/M24new/M24BFSreview%20.pdf]http://www.monar...

[url=http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue25/monarchy_m24.htm]http://www.pos...

PS Audio, Digital Link III: $995
[url=http://www.psaudio.com/products/digital_link_iii.asp]http://www.psaudio....

Stello, DA100
[url=http://www.hifi500.com/product/da100_manual.pdf]http://www.hifi500.com/p...
[url=http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/stello_da100.htm]http://www.soundstag...

Stereophile
[url=http://stereophile.com/searchresults/index.html?stype=X&terms=DAC&x=0&y=...

Epinoins
[url=http://www.epinions.com/Input_Adapters--reviews--analog_to_digital_conve...

Google
[url=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=DAC+"digital+audio+converter"+comparison&btnG=Search]http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=DAC+"digital+audio+converter"+comparison&btnG=Search[/url]

Elk
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

All excellent suggestions.

Also consider the Mytek Stereo96.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

RME-Hammerfall has a new 2 channel ACD/DAC for about $600? and if you are also into getting digital into a computer this duplex box might be a very nice piece. It also has a headphone output. JA did like the Hammerfall computer card from a few years back.
RME ADI-2

Elk
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

Excellent idea, Jim.

Looks like a fun critter to play with.

Editor
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated


Quote:
Also consider the Mytek Stereo96.

I have received review samples of the Musical Fidelity XDAC v5, the Benchmark DAC1 usb, and the Bel Canto DAC 3. Erick Lichte, Cantus music director and producer, has been raving to me about the latter, so I thought I should check it out. Watch for some ink spilled on these products in a summer issue.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Elk
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Re: Alternate DAC choices - need rated

Very cool, John!

I am very curious as to how the Benchmark USB behaves jitterwise.

The Bel Canto is indeed very nice in my opinion (a friend is with Bel Canto so I get to play with their goodies), as is the new PS Audio.

The ~$1,000.00 price point has a lot of wonderful DACs, although higher than our thread starter would like to spend.

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