Musical Fidelity X-10D line-level preamplifier Sam Tellig June 1997
Now I think there's a DAC that makes sense—the British Musical Fidelity X-DAC for $499.95, available exclusively by mail order from Audio Advisor, Inc. The unit is built into the same cylindrical chassis as the X-10D tubed whatchamacallit (some people call it an analog output stage), but the X-DAC is tubeless. If you want tubes, combine the X-DAC and the X-10D...all this stuff in this month's column does work beautifully in concert. If you want to complicate your life digitally, there are plenty of ways to do it!
If you've already bought an X-10D analog output stage, you did not waste your money. The X-DAC and the X-10D are complementary products—one doesn't replace the other. Still, if I were prioritizing...: a) Rega Planet, b) X-DAC, c) Monarchy Audio DIP, and d) the tubed X-10D, particularly if you have no other tubes in your system.
The two Musical Fidelity units look very cute together side by side: two little piglets—or matching snouts, if you will. I love pigs, having been a pig farmer (or maybe even a pig) in a former life.
Banging the X-10D onto the X-DAC (using Antony Michaelson's expression) further smoothed out the sound; ripened it, if you will, with what Antony calls "the ineffable magic of tubes." The X-10D can add dynamics, resulting in a more open, effortless, and less congested sound than the X-DAC straight out.