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how many DACs are out there?

pma560

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Very happy to have found this site :)

I'm in the same boat as pbi76: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/cambridge-dacmagic-replacement.26220,
looking to replace an original Cambridge Audio Dacmagic.

I listened to a few DACs/streamers, not many, and was impressed by the Naim ND5 XS2, but definitely not ready to spend 3000 on it :eek:

Instead of going to the one hifi-shop and be limited by the brands they carry
(for example, this place did not have Cambridge Audio, and the sales guy was dismissive about it),
I thought I'd compile a list of DACs out there, starting with a list of brands that make DACs: https://the.dac.guide/dac_brands

It turns out every man and his dog make and sell DACs :)

From reading here, I'm probably best off getting a newer Cambridge Audio DAC, or maybe
one of the better Chinese DACs (people here seem to like Topping?).

And please let me know if I missed a DAC brand (73 on the list and counting o_O)
 

SIY

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pma560

pma560

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What lack are you trying to address?

You have to work pretty hard to find a DAC that doesn't sound transparent, so figure out the features that you need and that will pare down the list.

Good point.

I bought it ~ 12 years ago, and figured there must have been improvements in that time.

I'd like to go by listening tests, but those take work (the last shop I went to let me bring my amp, speakers, cables, and DAC for a good comparison, which was nice, but a bit of a hassle of course).

*edit*: initial cost range was max 2000 (for a streamer + DAC), but it looks like I could lower that, from reading the info here
(so no point in spending 65k on a Nagra then :p)
 

SIY

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Good point.

I bought it ~ 12 years ago, and figured there must have been improvements in that time.
In sound? No. In features, size, stuff like that, perhaps.
 

Bob from Florida

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Good point.

I bought it ~ 12 years ago, and figured there must have been improvements in that time.

I'd like to go by listening tests, but those take work (the last shop I went to let me bring my amp, speakers, cables, and DAC for a good comparison, which was nice, but a bit of a hassle of course).

*edit*: initial cost range was max 2000 (for a streamer + DAC), but it looks like I could lower that, from reading the info here
(so no point in spending 65k on a Nagra then :p)
Raspberry Pi with Volumio for streamer <$200
Schiit Modius $200 and you are done unless you need features not included with these.
 
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pma560

pma560

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Bob from Florida

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Sal1950

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I'd like to go by listening tests, but those take work (the last shop I went to let me bring my amp, speakers, cables, and DAC for a good comparison, which was nice, but a bit of a hassle of course).
Be careful in the extreme when doing sighted listening tests.
If you fall in love with the looks of any particular component it will sound better.
If you hate it for the same, the opposite will be true.
Knowing their cost can effect your perception the same.
Bias is just human nature and can't be avoided no matter how good you believe your ears are.
 
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pma560

pma560

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I see I'm missing at least one: "Okto"

That said, I'm thinking it would be interesting to do a survey of the readers of this forum,
asking "what is your main DAC" ?

(guessing you have to be a moderator to run a survey)
 

Rja4000

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I'm thinking it would be interesting to do a survey of the readers of this forum,
asking "what is your main DAC" ?
You'd better allow multiple responses...

I can't even count the number of Audio DACs I have at home !

1 TV, 2 smartphones, 2 tablets, 3 Laptops, 1 old iPod, 5 "main" HiFi setups, 1 old CD player. (Nope. 2), 1 old DAT +1 portable. 1 measuring device, 1 headphones dedicated DAC, ...
Blackmagic switcher, DSLR and mirrorless camera, ...
Oh, I was about to forget my Bluetooth sound canceling headphones. And the headset for work zoom calls.

And then the rest...
(Wet finger estimation: 70 channels ? On top of the above.)

This won't stop.
 
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pma560

pma560

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You'd better allow multiple responses...

I can't even count the number of Audio DACs I have at home !

I'm thinking it'd be the main DAC == best DAC == the one that goes into your best amplifier.
 
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pma560

pma560

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Let's assume it is now a complete list (it will never be) . Then what?
Exactly, not sure yet :confused:

One idea is to then slowly start filling the database with info on actual DACs (only one in there now, my DacMagic :)

It could be an idea to also link to ASR reviews, for example.

Not sure how useful such a searchable database would be, other than being able to produce a scary looking price distribution graph :oops::)
 

Sal1950

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I still have my old Emotiva DC-1 DAC that Amir measured in Feb 2018, not a world class performer measurement wise but not too shabby either. It doe's contain an excellent headphone amp and that's what it's mainly used for today.
Otherwise my system runs the DAC's built into my Denon AVR-X4700H. Running this rig in it's preamp-out only mode it sounds fully transparent to me.
As SIY mentioned earlier, you have to work pretty hard to find a DAC that doesn't sound transparent
YMMV
 

SoundGuy

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Very happy to have found this site :)

I'm in the same boat as pbi76: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/cambridge-dacmagic-replacement.26220,
looking to replace an original Cambridge Audio Dacmagic.

I listened to a few DACs/streamers, not many, and was impressed by the Naim ND5 XS2, but definitely not ready to spend 3000 on it :eek:

Instead of going to the one hifi-shop and be limited by the brands they carry
(for example, this place did not have Cambridge Audio, and the sales guy was dismissive about it),
I thought I'd compile a list of DACs out there, starting with a list of brands that make DACs: https://the.dac.guide/dac_brands

It turns out every man and his dog make and sell DACs :)

From reading here, I'm probably best off getting a newer Cambridge Audio DAC, or maybe
one of the better Chinese DACs (people here seem to like Topping?).

And please let me know if I missed a DAC brand (73 on the list and counting o_O)

DACs do differ significantly but it won’t be material to you without the highest end front end - great speakers.
 

Sal1950

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DACs do differ significantly but it won’t be material to you without the highest end front end - great speakers.
Your evidence on the results from DBT of various DAC's when listened to under tightly bias controlled conditions please.
 
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