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DAC recommendations for Jplay


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#1 Marcin_gps

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:41 AM

Hi everyone,    I've been searching for a good USB/Firewire DAC (or DAC+USB-to-S/PDIF combo) for few years now. Ideally I would like to have one-box solution with support for all sample rates up to 192kHz over USB/FW. Headphone amp, balanced outs are not required. Right now I see few candidates. I would appreciate your feedback - if anyone had a chance to audition one of those with jplay - please share your comments (how does it sound, what bitstream size and minimum buffer size). Or recommend other units, that I'm not aware of :)   - Antelope Zodiac Gold + Voltikus - it has everything I'd ever want from a DAC. A bit pricey, but at least I know what I'm paying for.  - Lampizator DAC with USB (async, 32/384) - I had one in my system for a while, but without USB connection. I fed it with RME AES-32 card. The sound was terrific, the best I've heard.  - Anedio D1 - waiting for upgraded version with hi-rez support over USB. - Calyx 24/192 DAC - good USB implementation, ess sabre like anedio, nice looks - Hegel HD20 - nice jitter reduction, found an opinion that it bests Ayre QB9, relatively cheap  - Burson Audio 160D - 24/96 only, great headphone amp, which I don't need (STAX fanboy) - W4S DAC2 - this one uses m2tech drivers so low buffer is possible, but I've seen comments/reviews which indicated it's not that good - db Audio Labs Tranquility - it tempts me the most to try it although it doesn't support hi-rez, it's USB only and NOS - haven't heard one before!   Of course it would be great if I could listen to all of these DACs in my system, but it's impossible, so eventually I'd have to get one in blind. The good thing is that USB-capable converters are getting very popular and there will be a lot of new models soon, hopefully better :)   Cheers,  Marcin
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#2 kodric

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:13 PM

Hi,

 

I would reccomend you NOS DACs made by Audial (http://www.audialonline.com). I have the AYA II DAC with USB/SPDIF input. The USB input works in adaptive mode and supports max 48 kHz sampling frequency. S/PDIF supports max 96 kHz sampling frequency. This model however is probably not in regular offer any more, but there are others. Now, they are launching 192 kHz, asynchronuos USB mode, NOS DAC based on famous TDA1541A chip (the same chip is used in my AYA II). Real reference.....Mr.Rogic has a lot of knowledge in digital audio field. Try to contact him.

 

Bye, Borut.

#3 Marcin_gps

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:56 PM

Thanks Borut! I wasn't aware of Audial so far. Looks great...

#4 Marcin_gps

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 07:30 AM

Two more interesting DAC-s. Two totally different DACs.

 

1. Mytek Stereo 192-DSD - ESS Sabre, full set of inputs/outputs. This is their first converter targeted at computer audiophiles rather than pro market.

2. Musica Ibuki DAC - minimalistic design based on old 16-bit chip, BB 2704, passive elements and one double triode old tube. Unique, beautiful and suppose to sound amazing. I find it hard to believe by looking at the interior, but Wojciech Pacuła in his review was so impressed with it, that he decided to introduce a new kind of award - Red Fingerprint, a label for products, which can do something others cannot, regardless of their price. And note that Wojciech rarely raves about sth, especially at that low price. Full review in English here.

 

Marcin

#5 kyrill

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:58 AM

hi

 

There are tw o kinds of dacs

between 1) 500 and 1100 $ dacs and 2) 2000+$ dacs

 

the best sounding group per class varies largely in price while being equally good.  There is not ONE best sounding, but there is a small group of best sounding ( depending on taste and synergy in your particular system) in those two price classes. Within the "best sounding "group price varies bigly

 

In the the cheaper first group i would recommend, Marcin the JKDac. It is a minimalistic dac wit superb power supply and heavily modded HiFace USB/I2S connverter. I would have bought it but I need a SPDIF dac and John Kenny does not sell (yet) a spdif version it costs 500 € and is made in Ireland (*within the EU) See http://www.audiocirc...d.....sg968970  and http://www.tirnahifi........10564#p105

 

http://sites.google.........hiface-dac

 

I know Bhobba from forums and he is at least as critical as I am :) ( for what that is worth;)

 

My system is and active 3way system with digital filter and Room correction:

Windows 7 ultimate laptop+ Jplay--> JK MK2 USB Hiface-->DEQX HD version with 0.2 ps clock-->spdif out-->3x Burson Audio DAC*--> 400watt woofer servo amp, 2x Jadis (modded) DA-5 tube amps--> Open Baffle 3 way speakers treated with Ennemoser C37 lacquer

*waiting for delivery

#6 Marcin_gps

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:27 AM

Hi Kyrill,    Yes, I'm aware of this DAC, I also exchanged few emails with Bhobba.  Charging batteries is an overkill for me. Plus I don't like the looks of JKDAC.    Anyway, thanks for your recommendation :)   Marcin PS What do you need 3 DAC-s for? :D

#7 kyrill

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:34 PM

hi Marcin   The charging is no problem, as the off switch after playing, automatically trickle charges the batteries, so one night  charging is enough for a whole day playing, when you put the unit on "on" the charger is disconnected. So you wont notice any difference with a normal set up, unless you want it always on "on" which is not necessary with the low voltages of batteries. The LifePo4 battery is not an ordinary battery, it bested high end voltage regulators   I never thought about looks when you want the best you listen to in affordable price  range   I need 3 dacs as i bypass with the external dacs the 3 internal dacs of the DEQX ( see DEQX.com) The DEQX is an all digital SOTA preamp with build in digital (triamp) crossovers. For instance a slope of  99db/oct and linear and within phase and within 0.1 db 20-20khz freq. It does not matter anymore which drivers you have to make a x-over for. with a microphone calibrated ( part of the DEQX package) and software for the PC you have a triamp X-over in 40 minutes which no real X-over can even try to reach. The DEQX has an AD converter as well but I never use it. The effect compares of a perfect  wide band driver, with no xover . Perfect in the sense that the driver has no bumps in the freq range and is form 20-20khz. The effect is true magic, i never wanted go back

#8 Marcin_gps

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 01:08 PM

Yes, but you need to remember to switch off the DAC - I almost never do that. The description on Jkenny's website says it will run for >8 hours from fully charged batteries, so I'd have to charge it during the day - yes I spend a lot of time in front of PC...    Nice setup you have there :) I heard good opinions about Lyngdorf DPA-1 digital pre-amp, which I believe is similar to your DEQX.   Cheers,  Marcin

#9 kyrill

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:19 PM

hi Marcin then i would buy 2 dacs a very good cheap one like musicstreamer II for desktop listening  and a truly "highend dac" for the serious stereo installation :)

#10 Marcin_gps

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:41 PM

I have everything in one room, so I'd like one device. Probably will get Audial Model S USB - Pedja Rogic seems to be very experienced engineer and I trust his DAC is very good. Just look at the parts used in Model S and compare it to iphone-sized JKDAC... 

#11 kyrill

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:53 PM

yes I know him from some years ago and recommended his first retail dac in forums   yes he is fine engineer, but I canno afford 3 of his dacs

Edited by kyrill, 29 July 2011 - 06:16 PM.


#12 jkeny

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 08:59 PM

Marcin, pity you don't like the look of the JKDAC or the ergonomics (you need it permanently turned on!). The sonics might change your mind - interested in a free trial? I currently recommend your Jplay in my instructions that accompany my devices :)

#13 Marcin_gps

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:12 PM

Hi John,    Very happy to see you here :)  I didn't mean to say it's ugly, just that there are other DACs prettier available, but maybe not at this price though..   Your offer is very tempting! I'll send you PM tomorrow.   Regards,  Marcin   PS Looking forward to reading your impressions about jplay :)

#14 jkeny

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:05 PM

Marcin_gps said:

Hi John, 

 

Very happy to see you here :) 

Thanks!

I didn't mean to say it's ugly, just that there are other DACs prettier available, but maybe not at this price though..

No, I know you didn't say ugly but as you say you either pay for looks or sound - seldom do you get both except when you pay a lot of money

 

Your offer is very tempting! I'll send you PM tomorrow.

Talk to you then - our annual email conversation - we have email corresponded in 2009, 2010 & now 2011

 

Regards, 

Marcin

 

PS

Looking forward to reading your impressions about jplay :)

As I said in above, I already recommend it in my instructions posted out with my JKDAC & my JKSPDIF devices :) Also see here http://theartofsound........stcount=15

I will post more with the new version



#15 Marcin_gps

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 12:33 PM

Guys, 

 

I got a new DAC since yesterday - Musica Ibuki USB DAC. It's absolutely amazing, I fell in love with its sound from the first seconds. I have no idea, how they did it, because it uses old Burr-Brown PCM2704 chip, very 'primitive' implementation you may say and really crappy PSU (my mobile's charger looks more impressive), but the sound... I wouldn't believe it if I haven't heard it myself. The tonality is brilliant, fabulous mid-range, presence of musicians and effortless 'flow'. It's the best DAC I've heard regardless of price, period. I'll definitely buy sth for hi-rez in future, but for now my search for the DAC is over. Everything Wojciech Pacuła wrote in that review is true.

 

Marcin

#16 hugson

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:42 PM

Marcin_gps said:

Guys, 

I got a new DAC since yesterday - Musica Ibuki USB DAC.

What model did you get, and what sort of money are we talking??

#17 Marcin_gps

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:58 PM

You quoted the model name :D It's 700 EUR

Edited by Marcin_gps, 12 September 2011 - 05:58 PM.


#18 skyblue

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 06:16 PM

I heartily recommend my Ayre QB9. It is simply amazing. The detail, the musicality, the bass. I never regretted bying that for a second. :)

#19 Marcin_gps

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 09:23 AM

Yes, Ayre QB9 is very good, although to smooth and delicate for me :)

#20 skyblue

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 06:58 PM

Marcin_gps said:

Yes, Ayre QB9 is very good, although to smooth and delicate for me :)

 Right.. :)

 

I think system synergy is ever important. For instance, in my headfi gear, the QB9 sounds faboulous. Endless details, musicality. It rocks. Smooth, delicate? Sometimes. Raw and rough? Open your mouth and shut up baby! :)

 

In my stereo it is much more anonymous. The details and the warmth and the bass arent exactly there as I know they can be. That being said, I have tuned my headfi gear for almost 3 years now, while the stereo is has yet to receive serious attention. I am looking to move to a new house within the next 6 months, and THEN I will have a look at all the things that could be improved.

 

That being said, I believe there are better dacs out there. But they dont come cheap. :)
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