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I wanna get rid of my Beresford, would you help me pick something???

Giuanniello

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Long story short,

got sc**wed by the (fake) claims about the Caiman SEG and it's Dorado brick (caps and a couple 7812-7815 like voltage regulators), I literally hate it, it could be the best sounding DAC in the solar system (which I know being exactly opposite) and I'd still want to get rid of it, hate the looks (the knob and the bright LEDs), hate the click at every bitrate change (which got no solution even after buying a 10 pounds eprom), I wanna get rid of it, that's it!

I would like a box fitting it all, PSU and DAC, the less whistles and bells (no headphone amp, no preamp, no knobs, no nothing, the less the better), I play lossless music through a MacMini at the moment, USB to the DAC and then to an Audio Research preamp which then feeds either a FirstWatt F4 clone or a push pull KT88 tubes to then power JBL L220, after some research on Italian forums (yep, that's where I am from) I got suggestion for a PS Audio Nuwave DSD, nice design, reliable company, good reviews from users, only one optical input which I can live with (I stream audio from TV to the DAC and, for the fun of it, also through my CD player which is soooooooo much more pleasant to listen nonetheless 30+ years old than the Caiman SEG), after reading the first page of the review here on ASR I got totally dismantled, even found a couple for sale here in Italy within the 750 euros range which even tho a little higher than my 600 euros budget I'd have stretched as of the good looks (eye candies...) and good reviews but, as usual, seemed too good to be true...

Keeping in account my budget, my needs (at least one optical input), the looks (no whistles and bells, no complications, no amps, no preamps...) and built in PSU (I want to avoid un needed bricks and cables), no need for the latest in tech as I am a casual listener and I don't pixel peep audio, what would you suggest to look forward to?

Grazie

Giovanni

p.s. anybody looking to punish itself by getting my upgraded firmware Caiman SEG on sale???
 

JeremyFife

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Hi,
You are literally spoilt for choice - I'd suggest you look in the Review Index for recommended DACs

You don't want bells, whistles or preamp functions. For high performance, you don't need your full budget. Aesthetics are important so you'll need to choose.
As a starter: Topping RD3, or SMSL DO300?

It's harder to find a DAC without a volume control, perhaps consider allowing this.

Dozens of other options
 
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Giuanniello

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Yep, unbalanced and no problem for a knob unless it's a thick and fat thing and, possibly, no displays, unobtrusive LEDs would do better.

The design of the PS Audio is pretty pleasant, I had also thought of a Denafrips Ares II which is about same price range but a suggestion with regards to resale value made me change my mind not to mention the complicated setup procedures, the simplest the better.

By the way I found a website of a guy who did upgrades to the Nuwave (usual caps replacement where they scream to miracle) and maybe 70% of the space is taken by the toroidal transformer :-|
 
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Giuanniello

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Thanks. I guess I misread this line.



You mean you spin a disc every once in a while.
YEs, sorry, sometimes I play a CD and switch the output off the preamp either directly from the player or through the DAC and I find the internal converter of the Sony to be more pleasant to listen and not by a fraction, not what as a photographer I'd call pixel peeping
 

Willem

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The Beresford DAC is by no means great but it is unlikely to seriously degrade the sound (few DACs do, even bad ones). However, looking at your electronics, I see an odd bunch of subjectively pushed gear. So, instead of selling just the DAC, why not ditch the completely unnecessary preamplifier as well, and replace both with a good DAC with volume control? My suggestion would be the DSpeaker Antimode X2 because it also offers dsp room equalization, which really makes a big sonic difference. I am afraid it uses an external power supply, but at least you would have gotten rid of the preamp.
 

Rednaxela

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So, instead of selling just the DAC, why not ditch the completely unnecessary preamplifier as well, and replace both with a good DAC with volume control?
You beat me to it.
 

Galliardist

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The Beresford DAC is by no means great but it is unlikely to seriously degrade the sound (few DACs do, even bad ones). However, looking at your electronics, I see an odd bunch of subjectively pushed gear. So, instead of selling just the DAC, why not ditch the completely unnecessary preamplifier as well, and replace both with a good DAC with volume control? My suggestion would be the DSpeaker Antimode X2 because it also offers dsp room equalization, which really makes a big sonic difference. I am afraid it uses an external power supply, but at least you would have gotten rid of the preamp.
Why stop with the preamp? Neither of the power amps are particularly good, either. Seeing someone who obviously prefers known brands, and with reasonably straightforward speakers, I'd be inclined towards recommending a good all in one here. Anything with USB in to work with the Mac would do, and there are a number of choices at different price points that would do the job.
 

Willem

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I agree that the power amp side of the system also deserves attention. The Yamaha AS801 would be a good integrated, but lacks the dsp room eq that I have increasingly come to think of as an indispensable feature. Add a class D power amp with auto on/off and one can put the power amp out of sight in a cupboard. Even more invisible would be a Sonos AMP.
 
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Giuanniello

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Power amp wise I got, in use, a FirstWatt F4 clone which is very highly regarded and an Aeron AP890 with a push pull of KT88, I been rumbling about getting a tube integrated amp but it would mean loose money (selling both the Aeron and the SP9 I would barely make enough to get an integrated) and still loose phono input (even tho I have a Vendetta Research phono preamp), I don't want to overturn my setup, I wanna get rid of the damn Beresford thing to begin with so first step in my bucket list is a DAC, then interconnect cables (need DAC to preamp to begin with) and AC cables, once this is out of the way I'll think about rationalising the remaining part of the system.
 

Willem

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1 Cables cost next to nothing. Expensive cables are a fraud.
2 Why not connect the Beresford to the power amp? A DAC with volume control is a modern preamp.
3 See here for a pretty horrific test of a First Watt F4, not to mention that it is seriously underpowered.
 
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Giuanniello

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The Caiman is connected to a line input on the AR SP9 and it has not enough voltage on the output to drive the power amp and, not to be offensive, can't compare a thing like the Beresford to a dedicated preamp like an Audio Research no matter how old the AR is
 

Willem

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OK, here is an alternative route. Most Apple gear has excellent inbuilt DACs, so why not use the MACmini's analogue output into your beloved preamp. I bet this is better than the Beresford. Although I doubt it will be easy to tell, this route will at least give you one box less and some euros from the sale of the Beresford. Next, if you are attached to the preamp, get yourself a decent class D power amp with a lot more power.
 
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Giuanniello

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Willem don't take it bad, some amps depend on the preamp to give music a signature, my solid state Class A power amp is a buffer and its sound signature depends on the source and I won't feed such an amp with the MacMini DAC's signal nor I would bypass the AR SP9 and, sorry again, if you compare FirstWatt by Nelson Pass or KT88 tubes to a class D amp we are talking apples and clams
 
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