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Griffon's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: Mar 3 2012 - 3:44pm
Beresford Caiman or Sound Streamer II or Audioengine D1


I'm trying to learn more about audio systems and make the best out of my very limited budget, so I would like to ask for your advice about which DAC I should buy. The DAC will be between an iMac and Audioengine A5 speakers.

1) I can get a second hand Beresford Caiman (modded, the owner says). I would need to connect by optical to get 96/24 sampling/bit rate.

2) Find an eBay seller who ships to Turkey and get a HRT Sound Streamer II (basic version). Every review of this DAC that I read was positive.

3) Wait for the local Audioengine dealer to import the D1. It also gets positive reviews, and Audiostream recommends it for a budget system.

Which one, do you think, would make most sense? Would the Sound Streamer II sound better compared to the Caiman connected via optical TOSLink? What about the D1? 96/24 is not a "must" but I would prefer to have it, it's 2012 after all.

Any and all opinions are welcome. I tried to keep the message short, hoping nobody gets bored in the middle of it. :)

winstoncho's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: Mar 12 2012 - 3:46pm
Similar setup

I can't speak on the other two DAC options but I have an iMac (27"/3.4) and the Audioengine A5+ with the D1 DAC in my home office.  For the price I'm happy.  It's not the most transparent system there seems to be a roll-off at the top end but there definitely is some bass presence (not super accurate) but it makes the iMac infinitely more tolerable. My system of comparison is in the other room and is a pair of Revel Studios driven by Mark Levinson amplification and Nordost Valhalla cabling all around (speaker, power, interconnects).  In my other office I have a pair of Dynaudios driven by a Rotel receiver that I still prefer over the Audioengine but the second office system is over $2k excluding the price of a Sony SACD player.  The Audioengine system is by far the weakest of the three setups in terms of transparency and dynamics but you're also talking about a very low cost computer system.  I think the A5+ is the weaker offering compared to the DAC.  The DAC actually sounds pretty good when I'm running my headphones (studio monitors from Sony) through it.  You just can't expect too much from a powered bookshelf speaker at the A5+ price level. 

Sorry for the ramble.  In a nutshell, I like the Audioengine system - just be realistic about what to expect from an entry level system like this.

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