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new DAC for my CXA81

officialsm

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Hi,
i'm an happy Cambridge Audio CXA81 owner. It has integrated Sabre ES9016K2M dac. I like his sound. I'm listening exclusively via streaming (with Raspberry 4 + Moode Audio connected to USB) and i would like to improve sound quality.
I'm thinking to buy an external dac and use it through balanced xlr connection. Do you think could sounds good? In this way can i enhance performance?
If YES could you suggest a balanced dac (i dont need other functions), better if will have MQA and bluettoth (but not indispendable). Less filters or options is a plus.

My idea is to buy a Topping D70S or Gustard A22. Or what have you to suggest to achieve my goal?

Thank you helping me.
 
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curiouspeter

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The Gustard X16 is cheaper than either. It has MQA full decoding too.

It has very few options. The menu fits on one screen with just a few lines.
 
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officialsm

officialsm

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OP
officialsm

officialsm

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The real question is: i will hear real sound improvement doing that?
 

terrys999

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Hi,
i'm an happy Cambridge Audio CXA81 owner. It has integrated Sabre ES9016K2M dac. I like his sound. I'm listening exclusively via streaming (with Raspberry 4 + Moode Audio connected to USB) and i would like to improve sound quality.
I'm thinking to buy an external dac and use it through balanced xlr connection. Do you think could sounds good? In this way can i enhance performance?
If YES could you suggest a balanced dac (i dont need other functions), better if will have MQA and bluettoth (but not indispendable). Less filters or options is a plus.

My idea is to buy a Topping D70S or Gustard A22. Or what have you to suggest to achieve my goal?

Thank you helping me.


I have the rme adi 2 dac fs with cxa80.
The adi blows away the cxa80 dac.

Now would the adi sound better than cxa81? I have no idea,
The cxa81 different chip than cxa80.

Try borrow a dac see what’s what.
Perhaps a topping?
 
OP
officialsm

officialsm

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Scenario could change if i will buy a good dac with per-amplofier and maybe in future will buy a power final amplifier.
 

voodooless

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The real question is: i will hear real sound improvement doing that?

Probably not. It seems to be a pretty well measuring device. Keep your money or spend it on something else. Speakers, room correction, room treatment..

I have the rme adi 2 dac fs with cxa80.
The adi blows away the cxa80 dac.

Did you do a proper level matched, double blind test?
 

terrys999

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Probably not. It seems to be a pretty well measuring device. Keep your money or spend it on something else. Speakers, room correction, room treatment..



Did you do a proper level matched, double blind test?


Yes both of the above.
Cxa seemed to to clinical, some solo artists seemed to have a lisp.
I also compared my m dac plus .
The plus was nearly on par with the adi.

Both mdac and adi had more definition smoother , just sounded right.
To my ears and my wife’s .
 

terrys999

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They were just blind tests,
The mrs would switch imports at random,
My bro also concluded that adi and mdac we’re superior to the cxa dac.

If it sounds better to my ears then that’s all I need to do.

There has been posts about do DACs sound the same, no they don’t.
I also have irdac 2 , now that to my ears is a poor dac Irdac usb is awful The midrange is very recessed.

If I compared adi to mdac plus then I would probably choose the mdac line out only.
The mdac plus has more ommph.... bass is better, adi is a little thin. Now for headphones then the adi 2 dac fs. no question.

Mdac plus headphones is poor. No better than pc.

If it sounds good then that’s all I need to know.
 
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officialsm

officialsm

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They were just blind tests,
The mrs would switch imports at random,
My bro also concluded that adi and mdac we’re superior to the cxa dac.

If it sounds better to my ears then that’s all I need to do.

There has been posts about do DACs sound the same, no they don’t.
I also have irdac 2 , now that to my ears is a poor dac Irdac usb is awful The midrange is very recessed.

If I compared adi to mdac plus then I would probably choose the mdac line out only.
The mdac plus has more ommph.... bass is better, adi is a little thin. Now for headphones then the adi 2 dac fs. no question.

Mdac plus headphones is poor. No better than pc.

If it sounds good then that’s all I need to know.

In which way do you connected mdac to cxa80?
 

charleski

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Hi,
i'm an happy Cambridge Audio CXA81 owner. It has integrated Sabre ES9016K2M dac. I like his sound. I'm listening exclusively via streaming (with Raspberry 4 + Moode Audio connected to USB) and i would like to improve sound quality.
I'm thinking to buy an external dac and use it through balanced xlr connection. Do you think could sounds good? In this way can i enhance performance?
I really don't think there's any point beating around the bush. The CXA81 is a decent amp with a reasonably well-implemented DAC. Upgrading to a different DAC will not produce an audible improvement in sound, though you can certainly find DACs that perform better on the test bench,

If you want to improve the sound quality then spend the money on speakers, or spend it on DSP to correct the speaker/room interface (or spend it on both). These will produce real and genuinely audible benefits. The amp and DAC you have already are just fine and replacing them will be a waste of money.
 

BDWoody

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They were just blind tests,
The mrs would switch imports at random,
My bro also concluded that adi and...

That's not really going to tell you much unfortunately.

Listening comparisons without careful level matching are doomed, and if your wife knew what she was switching you may have a 'Clever Hans' issue.

If it sounds better to my ears then that’s all I need to do.

If you want it to actually be meaningful, try tightening your controls.

There has been posts about do DACs sound the same, no they don’t.

Without level matching and other simple but important controls, you are right.
 

terrys999

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In which way do you connected mdac to cxa80?

mostly. Xlr.
Xlr is slightly louder but when I listened to all 3 DACs I use rca.
I agree that the cxa81 has a really good dac. Probably not worth spending money on another dac.

You need to listen in your own room. And then decide.
My personal prefs are
Mdac plus line out xlr
Adi 2 dac fs headphones excellent.
The irdac 2 sits in its box, do not like that Dac usb. line out. Now the headphones are not that far from adi.
Go figure.
 

voodooless

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I agree that the cxa81 has a really good dac. Probably not worth spending money on another dac.

The adi blows away the cxa80 dac.

Will you make up your mind already? :facepalm:;)

Adi 2 dac fs headphones excellent.

Headphones would be a very good reason to buy a DAC/headphone amp like the RME for sure. But otherwise, keep the money in the bank.
 

terrys999

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Will you make up your mind already? :facepalm:;)



Headphones would be a very good reason to buy a DAC/headphone amp like the RME for sure. But otherwise, keep the money in the bank.


I was talking about the cxa80 amp , the cxa81 is a diff end kettle of fish
 
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