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rkindel's picture
Last seen: 3 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: Feb 27 2023 - 4:26am
Time to update the digital side

I recently added a PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp to my vinyl chain. It made a profound improvement to my listening to records. It got me thinking that it might be time to attempt a similar change on the digital side. I currently enjoy a Benchmark DAC1 USB that I added 13 years ago. It works and fine and sounds pretty great. I can’t shake the feeling that I could do better with a newer design. Mine was manufactured in 2007 and, as we all know, improvements come relatively quickly in the digital world.
I am struggling with this decision. I decided early on that I would eliminate Chinese made DACs. The financial resources I feel comfortable committing to this is not unlimited. I want this purchase be a endgame kind of product. I don’t have any kind of investment in SADC but this could conceivably change. The goal is to bring my digital sources (CDs, streaming Qobuz) up to a comparable level I enjoy with records. Specifically, the goal is to reduce digital glare and improve soundstage.
I have been looking at the new PS Audio directstream MK II DAC just introduced. Word of mouth is very interesting. I like the idea of updating the firmware to keep it current. Having the ability to change sonic flavors appeals to me. This option is pricey, however, and exists as a option on the extreme outer reaches of my budget.
On the other hand, I could stay in the Benchmark family and opt for their DAC 3. I’m just struggling with convincing myself that the upside is worth the trouble. Benchmark themselves state that the sound is very similar to my DAC 1. They do list a number of improvements on their website but the basic sound remains similar. I do appreciate their goals of neutrality and transparency and this is very much traits I am looking to keep. Also, the price is right.
I just keep going back and forth with this decision. Maybe I should consider something like the Schiit Yggdrasil, or something like that. I’m sure there are other choices out there as well. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

SocProf's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 11 hours ago
Joined: Mar 7 2023 - 9:13pm
The recent Marantz SACD

The recent Marantz SACD players (10, Ruby, 30) use technology that is similar to that used by PS Audio in that they convert everything to DSD 256. I have a few SACDs but mostly use my Marantz SACD 30n as a DAC for playing downloads. (Dell laptop running Audirvana Origen). The 30 currently sells for $3000 US new, with refurbished models selling for $2000. I absolutely love the sound, especially for hi res.

geoffkait's picture
Last seen: 21 hours 19 min ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
The more things change the

The more things change the more they stay the same. With all the supposed changes, like automobile manufacturers, they have to claim something. There remain some serious problems for CD playback, all of which are related to the brief period of time, nanoseconds, the CD laser reads the data on the nanoscale spiral of pits and lands.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but I thought Reed Solomon error detection/correction codes and laser servo feedback system fixed all that.

Susceptibility to vibration, especially external vibration.
Susceptibility to deleterious effects of scattered laser light inside the CD transport.
Susceptibility to CD fluttering and wobbling while spinning.

liquidsun's picture
Last seen: 2 min 23 sec ago
Joined: Dec 20 2016 - 2:02pm
I would recommend the TEAC UD

I would recommend the TEAC UD-701N DAC/Stramer/Headpohne amp. Like PS audio and other DACs mentioned here in this thread it does not use off the shelf chips like ess/akm instead TEAC uses custom developed delta sigma DAC with their own FPGA. FYI Teac is the parent company of the ultra high end manufacturer Esoteric and truth to be told the Esoteric N05-XD uses completely the same DAC and preamp module of the TEAC UD-701N. Go and have a listen, you wont be disappointed

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