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  1. #1
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    Standalone DACs under $10k?

    I've had my PS Audio DS Junior for a few years now, and it's starting to make me consider upgrading. Functionally, it has days where it just sort of gets confused and needs the FPGA rebooted more than once. And the front display seems to have its own agenda as to when/what it feels like showing. From a sonic standpoint, I think I'm getting tired of the degree of built-in distortion at lower frequencies that comes from the transformer in the output stage. It can feel a bit "tube like" on good days but other times it's just flabby. Listening to the same tracks via the Sabre 9038Pro in my Oppo 205 disc spinner is audibly different, and I'm going to argue that it's different in a good way, at least from the standpoint of accuracy.

    So what's everybody using that's still on the market new? I'm looking for a standalone pure DAC, so I do not need streaming or preamp functionality built in. If it's there, fine, but I'm not looking to pay extra to gain those features. Frankly, I haven't done any serious research yet, so I have not made my own list of candidates. I just got to the point of "fed up" tonight, and figured I start by polling this crew as to what's good!
    Jeff

    Main System
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100H; Disc Player: Oppo UDP-205; DAC: PS Audio Directstream Jr; Preamp: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2; Power Amp: ATI AT542NC; Speakers: Focal Sopra No. 3; Cables: Wireworld, Kimber, Cullin; Power: Ansuz Mainz8 X-TC, PS Audio Dectet, Furutech outlets

    Basement Media Room
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100SC; Disc Player: Panasonic DB-UP9000; Surround Pre/Pro: Monoprice Monolith HTP-1; Power Amps: Apollon NC1200SL (custom 3-channel w/Sparkos SS2590 op amps), Apollon AS3600 6-channel; Speakers: Focal Kanta No. 3, Kanta Center, 300 ICW8 (x6); Subwoofer: Rythmik F18SE (x2); Cables: Wireworld, BlueJeans; Power: Torus RM20, Furman Elite 20PFi; Room Correction: Dirac Live w/ Bass Control; Video: Sony 77" A9G OLED

  2. #2
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Aqua Hi-Fi
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Nuprime CDT-8, Auralic Aries G1, Aqua La Voce S3, Supratek Chardonnay, PS Audio BHK 250, Verity Otello, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC's & PC's, Triode Wire Lab SC, PC's & USB , PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Teac NT505, Kinki Studio EX-M1+, Nola KO, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Wireworld SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

    Greenville, SC- Marantz HD-CD1, Auralic Aries G1, PSA Directstream Sr., Don Sachs Model 2, Van Alstine Vision SET 400, Reynaud Abscisse Jubilee/Harbeth C7-ES3, (2) RSL Speedwoofers, iFi Audio Power Station, Audio Envy IC's and SC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Furutech NCF Clear Line.

  3. #3
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    Standalone DACs under $10k?

    MSB Discrete
    Meitner MA3
    Aqua LaScala v3


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, Classe’ Audio, Degritter Record Cleaning Machines, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kharma Loudspeakers and Electronics, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  4. #4

    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Any of the Lampizator DACs are wonderful.

  5. #5

    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    dCS Bartók


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Brinkmann Taurus DD TT + 12.1 arm + Lyra Etna Lambda SL MC + HRS M3X2/ Cardas Clear Beyond phono/ Stillpoints LPI/ Soulution 520 preamp with phono/ Synology NAS with Roon + HD Plex linear PSU + Shunyata HD/ AQ Vodka RJ45 + Aqvox Network Switch SE + AQ Diamond RJ45 into DAC/ Brinkmann Nyquist MK II/ Soulution 511/ Cardas Clear Beyond ICs/ Semi-active Lansche Audio 4.2 LS/ Inakustik Reference LS 4004 AIR/ 2x Audioquest Thunder HD for LS/ Audioquest Niagara 5000/ Shunyata AlphaHC (x2)+Alpha+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Tidal/ Linn Klimax DS3/ Shunyata Power cable/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Tidal/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ Sbooster LPSU/ Audeze LCD-2 Classic + WyWires Red/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ Shunyata Venom.

  6. #6

    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Denafrips Terminator seems to be well thought of, not heard one but might be worth a look.

  7. #7
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    The PS Audio is HiFi junk, for the reasons you have discovered. Ayon Audio Stealth is a HiFi bargain at its price point. I've owned the PS Audio Junior and senior DAC's, and the Ayon Stealth. No comparison, the Ayon walks all over the other two.
    Speakers: Magico M3, Q3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.4
    and YG Acoustics Rack 1.1 amp stands (pair)

    On Order: Extra isolators for the amp stands

  8. #8
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Bryston BDA3 is a steal.

    The new Meitner DAC looks very interesting. Haven't heard it though.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Preamp: EMM Labs PRE
    HT Processor: Bryston SP3
    Amps: Bryston 28b3s, Bryston 4b3, Bryston 9bsst2
    Digital: EMM NS1, EMM DA2
    Speakers: Kef Reference 5, Kef Reference 4c, Kef Ci200RR-THX (surround/back)
    Subs: Two JL Audio F212v2
    Power: PS Audio PS10, Bryston BIT15
    Wires: Wireworld Silver Eclipse XLR & SC, Ethernet - WW Platinum USB
    Other: Stillpoint Ultra SS, ISO-Acoustics ISO Pucks
    Video: Oppo 203, LG 65inch OLED
    -Kyle

  9. #9
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    An interesting group of options to start looking at, including a couple I'm not at all familiar with.

    I see that several of them are tube based, or at least have tubes in the signal path. Aside from "go listen and decide for yourself if you like it", what's the benefit/feature that this introduces into what should theoretically be a digital signal path? It's not "historically correct", and for me it's not even nostalgic since I've never been a tubes guy. Doesn't mean I can't start, but it just feels odd to me to intentionally put a known distortion source into what should otherwise be a bit-perfect digital device.

    Looking at it from the other direction, I also see there are almost no delta-sigma DACs mentioned. Those have proven to measure very well on a bench, and my own ears seem to think that the one in my Oppo isn't bad at all sonically for being part of a movie player. Any particular reason that technology doesn't appear here? I wonder if it's because the base chips are fairly inexpensive, and even audio folks have struggled to find a way to charge higher prices for them? In the $2-4k range there are a number that get good discussion, including units from Matrix Audio and Okto Research, but nothing much above that price point.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not opposed to a strong performing bargain! Just trying to educate myself a little. And of course living out here in the audio wasteland of central Kansas, any kind of in-person audition is likely either a "buy and hope for returns" situation or a lengthy road trip that would break my quarantine a little more aggressively than I want to.
    Jeff

    Main System
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100H; Disc Player: Oppo UDP-205; DAC: PS Audio Directstream Jr; Preamp: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2; Power Amp: ATI AT542NC; Speakers: Focal Sopra No. 3; Cables: Wireworld, Kimber, Cullin; Power: Ansuz Mainz8 X-TC, PS Audio Dectet, Furutech outlets

    Basement Media Room
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100SC; Disc Player: Panasonic DB-UP9000; Surround Pre/Pro: Monoprice Monolith HTP-1; Power Amps: Apollon NC1200SL (custom 3-channel w/Sparkos SS2590 op amps), Apollon AS3600 6-channel; Speakers: Focal Kanta No. 3, Kanta Center, 300 ICW8 (x6); Subwoofer: Rythmik F18SE (x2); Cables: Wireworld, BlueJeans; Power: Torus RM20, Furman Elite 20PFi; Room Correction: Dirac Live w/ Bass Control; Video: Sony 77" A9G OLED

  10. #10
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Mojo Audio - outstanding - he occasionally gets the Mystique V3 in trade for the Evo
    Studio/Study:
    HTPC or Mojo Audio Deja Vu Universal Music Server > or Oppo BDP-105D > Mojo Audio Mystique Evo Dac > Raven Audio Osprey Integrated Tube Amp > Harbeth P3ESR

    Main Listening Rig:
    Steiger Dynamics Maven Pure HTPC or McIntosh MVP-901 Universal Player > T+A PDP3000HV Transport/DAC > T+A PA3100HV Integrated Amp > JM Reynaud Orfeo Jubilee

    Home Theater:
    Xfinity Cable Box or McIntosh MVP901 Media Player > McIntosh C2300 Preamp > McIntosh MC302 Amp or VAC Sigma 160iSE Integrated Amp > Harbeth M30.1

  11. #11
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    I started a thread essentially identical to this one a few months ago; I can’t remember if there were other worthwhile suggestions, but you might want to check there

    DAC's $5k - $11k
    Rob
    __________________________

    Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod
    Pass Labs INT60
    Daedalus Audio Apollo 11’s
    REL S3
    Daedalus/Wywires cables
    Torus IS5

  12. #12
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phishphan View Post
    Bryston BDA3 is a steal.
    I'll second the Bryston BDA-3. Plus I'm using it with my Oppo UDP-205 so that I can still play back and decode my SACD collection (via HDMI cable). For me, it was a marked upgrade in sound over the Oppo's built in Sabre chipset and reasonably priced at roughly $4k.
    Electronics: Pass Labs XP-22, Pass Labs X250.8
    Digital: OPPO UDP-205, Auralic Aries G1, Bryston BDA-3
    Analog: U-turn Orbit Custom w/ Ortofon 2M Blue, iFi iPhono3
    Speakers: Janszen Carmelita, SVS SB13-Ultra
    Other: David Laboga Custom Audio/Shunyata/Audioquest cabling, Panamax power conditioner

  13. #13

    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Weiss DAC502 (DAC501 is the same but in a half size chassis).

    Review and measurements (excellent btw) here - Weiss Engineering DAC502 D/A processor | Stereophile.com

    Have compared it with the Chord DAVE & Bricasti M1 in one system and Aqua Formula xHD in another.

  14. #14
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty View Post
    Mojo Audio - outstanding - he occasionally gets the Mystique V3 in trade for the Evo
    I love my Mojo Audio. Best DAC I ever owned. I almost upgraded to his EVO last week. I'm just so happy with the Mystique V3 I could not pull the trigger. Don't forget about the server. Its way more important than people want to believe. The server is where the quiet, calm, clean background comes from. The DAC is more the pace, rhythm and timing. The OMG it sound real. Having both makes digital special.
    Mojo is 30 day money back guarantee. But you wont send it back.
    First Sound Mark3SI preamp. Audion Black Shadow 845 SET Monoblocks. Mojo Audio Deja Vu Server. Mojo Audio Mystic 3 DAC. Linear Solution Ethernet Switch. Gigafoil with LPS. STST Motus II TT with Vertere SG1 arm, Hana ML Cartridge, Allnic H1201 phono pre. Pure Audio Project Trio 15 Horn speakers with Mundord Supreme oil caps. Power via 10 awg OFC cord from panel to custom distribution strip feeding front end. Steel pipe with dedicated10 AWG branch circuits split bolted to power cords per each amp. Inakustik speaker and interconnect cables, Genesis Interconnect.

  15. #15
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    For high-performance DACs under 5k I'll mention my own Ideon Ayazi Mk-2 and the Benchmark DAC-3, IMO excellent contenders.
    In my small system, either of these DACs empirically sounded close to my hi-end MSB.
    Digital: Musichi player on optimized server; DAC: Ideon Audio Ayazi II, 2x Ideon 3R Master Time signal reclocking; Analogue: TT: Simon Yorke - Pluto 6 // Pro ject Xtension 12'΄; Preactive: Borbely Reference; Prepassive: Steven & Billington; Amplifier: Symphonic Line -- Kraft 250 class A; Speakers: Devore / vintage Etude; Cabling: homegrown, Bearlabs, Nordost Valhalla; Isolation: Neuance shelves, Nordost pulsars Rack: suspended devices

  16. #16
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Just give it 6 months or a year and another dac(s) will be coming out. Its a never-ending cycle of what's best, best under and best over

    How about Lampizator Golden Atlantic with additional DSD512 module, the T+A Dac8 DSD if you mostly plan to upsample all to DSD512, Bricasti M1, the Acqua Formula Dac, Berkeley Ref for PCM (used market), Meitner MA-1 just so many others, Denafrips Terminator, Schiit Yggdrasil, Holo May, Total Dac D1 MK2, etc..
    PassXa-30.5, W4S STP, Kef 201/2, KEF 140, Vapor Breeze, Lumin, Bryston CD, BHA-1, HD650, HD800s, Dan Clark 1.1, OPPO 203, 105.

  17. #17
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    black ice audio dacs are superb , huge popularity on forums in UK [ previous jolida] as they sound way above their price point especially when they are modded [ like mine ]


    Black Ice Audio | Underwood HiFi
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs ice power amps . rotel cd , modright modded jolida dac tannoy eaton legacy 2]bel canto pre 3vbs ,arcam a85 , black ice modded dac
    modded dac , marantz sa8005, reference fidelity impulse Ta`us horns

  18. #18
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    MSB Discrete
    Meitner MA3
    Aqua LaScala v3


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    No T+A Mike?

    T+A worth considering and saving a bit of money, especially if you are a fan of how much better DSD can be.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  19. #19
    Audioshark
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    No T+A Mike?

    T+A worth considering and saving a bit of money, especially if you are a fan of how much better DSD can be.
    I was thinking right around the $10k mark.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, Classe’ Audio, Degritter Record Cleaning Machines, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kharma Loudspeakers and Electronics, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  20. #20
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I was thinking right around the $10k mark.
    I pretty much knew that, was just busting on ya.

    However I would put the T+A as competitive against most anything in the up to $10K range, maybe even higher. If you are talking about DSD and especially if you are going to use HQ Player then you got to go considerably higher in my view .
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  21. #21
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    In my personal case, I'm running from my Aurender (or disc spinner, etc) directly to the DAC. No PC in the loop to upsample to DSD512, nor do I have plans to add one.
    Jeff

    Main System
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100H; Disc Player: Oppo UDP-205; DAC: PS Audio Directstream Jr; Preamp: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2; Power Amp: ATI AT542NC; Speakers: Focal Sopra No. 3; Cables: Wireworld, Kimber, Cullin; Power: Ansuz Mainz8 X-TC, PS Audio Dectet, Furutech outlets

    Basement Media Room
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100SC; Disc Player: Panasonic DB-UP9000; Surround Pre/Pro: Monoprice Monolith HTP-1; Power Amps: Apollon NC1200SL (custom 3-channel w/Sparkos SS2590 op amps), Apollon AS3600 6-channel; Speakers: Focal Kanta No. 3, Kanta Center, 300 ICW8 (x6); Subwoofer: Rythmik F18SE (x2); Cables: Wireworld, BlueJeans; Power: Torus RM20, Furman Elite 20PFi; Room Correction: Dirac Live w/ Bass Control; Video: Sony 77" A9G OLED

  22. #22
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2FlyingYorkies View Post
    In my personal case, I'm running from my Aurender (or disc spinner, etc) directly to the DAC. No PC in the loop to upsample to DSD512, nor do I have plans to add one.
    Each person has to use what is best for them. Of course DSD can be enjoyed without up-sampling, and of course a PC is not always required tp perform up-sampling). I have over 400 DSD albums and their sound quality is amazing. But as I said, to each their own . I hope you find the perfect DAC for your use. There have been some very good ones mentioned in this thread (including T+A).
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  23. #23
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    ...T+A worth considering and saving a bit of money, especially if you are a fan of how much better DSD can be.
    Why do you say this??
    Rob
    __________________________

    Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod
    Pass Labs INT60
    Daedalus Audio Apollo 11’s
    REL S3
    Daedalus/Wywires cables
    Torus IS5

  24. #24
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    Of course DSD can be enjoyed without up-sampling, and of course a PC is not always required tp perform up-sampling).
    Sure, I have some DSD albums too, and the PS Audio converts everything to DSD before doin the D/A conversion, regardless of original format. But how would a system like mine go from a Tidal streaming PCM/FLAC format to DSD512 without a PC in the mix? Genuinely curious, as I thought a high horsepower computer was needed for such things. I looked at the T+A back when I got the PS, and the extra hardware to extract max performance was a factor at the time.
    Jeff

    Main System
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100H; Disc Player: Oppo UDP-205; DAC: PS Audio Directstream Jr; Preamp: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2; Power Amp: ATI AT542NC; Speakers: Focal Sopra No. 3; Cables: Wireworld, Kimber, Cullin; Power: Ansuz Mainz8 X-TC, PS Audio Dectet, Furutech outlets

    Basement Media Room
    Streamer/Server: Aurender N100SC; Disc Player: Panasonic DB-UP9000; Surround Pre/Pro: Monoprice Monolith HTP-1; Power Amps: Apollon NC1200SL (custom 3-channel w/Sparkos SS2590 op amps), Apollon AS3600 6-channel; Speakers: Focal Kanta No. 3, Kanta Center, 300 ICW8 (x6); Subwoofer: Rythmik F18SE (x2); Cables: Wireworld, BlueJeans; Power: Torus RM20, Furman Elite 20PFi; Room Correction: Dirac Live w/ Bass Control; Video: Sony 77" A9G OLED

  25. #25
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    Why do you say this??
    T+A is known as a DSD specialist to many. They have completely different circuits and signal paths for PCM and DSD files. They developed their own DSD circuits and in every review I have read for any T+A DAC they mention how their DSD process is top notch, among the best!

    I was resistant and felt DSD was not a big deal. Norman, believe it or not, was the one who finally convinced me to try DSD (thanks Norman). After I did there was no turning back; in my view DSD sounds much better. A friend of mine is one of the first musicians to start recording in DSD. In his view DSD is the most analog sounding of the digital formats. I agree.

    This was all long before I discovered HQ Player. HQ Player is not simply an up-sampling logarithm, although it does this better than any system out there. It is one of the finest sounding playback engines in my view and works very well in conjunction with Roon. Roon is my control environment and meta data provider and then it hands it off to HQ Player as the playback engine.

    Anyway, probably more info than you were asking for...
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  26. #26
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2FlyingYorkies View Post
    Sure, I have some DSD albums too, and the PS Audio converts everything to DSD before doin the D/A conversion, regardless of original format. But how would a system like mine go from a Tidal streaming PCM/FLAC format to DSD512 without a PC in the mix? Genuinely curious, as I thought a high horsepower computer was needed for such things. I looked at the T+A back when I got the PS, and the extra hardware to extract max performance was a factor at the time.
    It depends on your system of course, but Roon does up-sampling, and there are Linux systems that can now also (although I have no knowledge of this). Not sure on Aurender, but they might be able to do up-sampling as well now... not sure.

    I am familiar with PS Audio and was considering one of those prior when I choose T+A. I actually had a nice long talk with Ted Smith at a show once about how PS Audio internally up-samples everything and then down samples it to DSD128 to be converted to analog. By the way, the highest level level file that PS Audio convert is DSD128. This is strange to me since it internally up-samples to many times higher then that and then down-samples the file for final playback to DSD128. So unless you change your DAC any up-sampling you do should be capped at DSD128 because the PS Audio does not accept anything higher (unless they recently changed this).

    The only system that truly requires a high horsepower computer is HQ Player. Roon is much more friendly with mid-powered gear.

    Anyway, can't give you any exact recommendations because I do not use products like the Aurender; instead I use a custom built dedicated PC as my server. But I would tell you that there may possible be ways to accomplish this with your system and I would encourage you to search because it is certainly worth the effort.

    I also always look for the highest DSD sample I can find when purchasing DSD albums (up to DSD512). I figure the better in the better out and I do believe that a lower level DSD files up-sampled do sound better then a PCM file up-sampled, but all of the above sound better in DSD with my system. Every file I listen to on my system is sent to the DAC in DSD512.

    The portable player does not up-sample but it can play up to DSD256!
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

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  27. #27
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    T+A is known as a DSD specialist to many. They have completely different circuits and signal paths for PCM and DSD files. They developed their own DSD circuits and in every review I have read for any T+A DAC they mention how their DSD process is top notch, among the best!

    I was resistant and felt DSD was not a big deal. Norman, believe it or not, was the one who finally convinced me to try DSD (thanks Norman). After I did there was no turning back; in my view DSD sounds much better. A friend of mine is one of the first musicians to start recording in DSD. In his view DSD is the most analog sounding of the digital formats. I agree.

    This was all long before I discovered HQ Player. HQ Player is not simply an up-sampling logarithm, although it does this better than any system out there. It is one of the finest sounding playback engines in my view and works very well in conjunction with Roon. Roon is my control environment and meta data provider and then it hands it off to HQ Player as the playback engine.

    Anyway, probably more info than you were asking for...
    No, actually less, you didn’t really answer my question. DSD is great, but I still don’t understand what that has to do with T & A.
    Rob
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Your question was "Why do you say this??". I pretty much answered the question in the first line. T+A is considered a DSD specialist or experts if you will. They have a dedicated signal path for DSD files that is separate from the signal path and processors used for PCM files, and the DSD files are converted using their proprietary DSD 1-bit dedicated processors. They are considered one of the highest level DACs for DSD files. If you don't understand that then I am afraid I cannot explain my statement any further.

    By the way it is T+A, not T&A. An extremely highly rated German manufacture of some of the finest audio components in the world since 1978.

    For PCM files eight 32-bit converters from Burr-Brown in a double symmetrical circuit are used. This circuit provides perfect compensation for non-linearities, and the residual background noise – which is excellent in any case with the 32-bit converters.

    For DSD T+A's True One Bit DSD Converter is utilized. T+A is one of the only manufactures who separates PCM and DSD files which are then processed using completely separate signal paths, actual different sections within the T+A circuitry. In other words separate dedicated DACs are used for PCM and DSD, design specifically for each type of data.

    "For the purpose of handling DSD data which can be supplied via the PC-USB input we have developed a unique, dedicated converter: the T+A True One Bit DSD Converter. This is of fully analogue construction and constitutes a genuine one-bit converter, since – unlike other manufacturers – we did not want to use the DSD mode of a PCM converter. This development ensures that DSD data are processed in a genuine one-bit stream process, uncoloured and without detrimental additional conversion, as in our PDP 3000 HV High-End DSD / PCM player. Fifteen long years ago we developed a means of galvanically separating the converter from the analogue section for use in our high-end players:"
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Whatever. Sounds like an infomercial to me.
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    Whatever. Sounds like an infomercial to me.
    As you wish. You asked, I answered. I tried to answer in a shorter more basic form without going into the "infomercial" type language and you said I did not answer your question, therefore.....

    T+A's reputation speaks for itself. Not saying it is the only great DAC in this range and certainly not saying it is for everyone. Other good choices have been listed here. For me, as a person who appreciates DSD, and later as a user of HQ Player, and on a reasonable budget, it is the ideal DAC.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    "T+A's reputation speaks for itself."

    That's where we differ, I guess. dcs, MSB, Chord, Esoteric, Lampizator, Aqua, TotalDAC, etc. have pretty well established good reputations for sound quality. T + A gets praise, certainly, but not compared to those or some others. Just what I have noticed after a few decades of hanging around...
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    i have a t+a dac8 dsd and would enthusiastically recommend the OP include it in his search / investigation. at an msrp of ~$4k, its price / performance ratio is quite high and i feel one would have to venture decently north of $10k to materially better it.

    build quality, fit-and-finish, materials, etc. are off the charts -- best manufactured piece of any type gear i own.

    t+a technical service / assistance is second-to-none

    the DSD converter in the t+a is exceedingly good and i up-sample everything to dsd512 with roon and then send to the dac8 dsd via USB. that being said, i used the PCM converter for the first year i owned the DAC and have no complaints at all about it.

    in my mind at least, the reputation of t+a is beyond reproach - YMMV
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b air tight atm-300r > viking acoustics berlin r mk2
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Exactly. T+A's reputation is indeed excellent. This does not mean the others mentioned in this thread are not equally respected. Of course they are, however to gain the same level of performance you are looking at 2 to 3 times the price, at least.

    In Europe, and especially in Germany T+A is considered at the top of the pinnacle. Fairly recently there have finally been reviews in major publications such as The Absolute Sound and Stereophile and every single one have been rave reviews, some exceedingly so. So yes, T+A's reputation does indeed speak for itself.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Problem with this question, as are all these type questions, is the only reference any responder has is the equipment they have put in their rack. A retail store has a bias towards equipment they carry. Its really shooting in the dark.

    Makes me wonder how many DAC say T+A, Shiit, Esoteric, MSB, etc actually own and compare what they are producing to the competition. You know, what are they making a baseline too.
    First Sound Mark3SI preamp. Audion Black Shadow 845 SET Monoblocks. Mojo Audio Deja Vu Server. Mojo Audio Mystic 3 DAC. Linear Solution Ethernet Switch. Gigafoil with LPS. STST Motus II TT with Vertere SG1 arm, Hana ML Cartridge, Allnic H1201 phono pre. Pure Audio Project Trio 15 Horn speakers with Mundord Supreme oil caps. Power via 10 awg OFC cord from panel to custom distribution strip feeding front end. Steel pipe with dedicated10 AWG branch circuits split bolted to power cords per each amp. Inakustik speaker and interconnect cables, Genesis Interconnect.

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    I have not owned an Esoteric (although I did own one from the company that owns them, Teac) or MSB. I have however owned 14 different DACs before I finally heard the T+A. At that point the rest was history as they say.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  36. #36

    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    I am in the market for a new DAC as well so I am watching this thread. T&A is on the list along with many others which have been listed here. Among the 14 DACs that you have owned, were any of them 2-3x the price of the DAC 8? I know price is not everything but quality does tend to trend with price.

    Has anyone listened to the Ayon DACs and would be willing to share their experience? They are also on my list.

    Thanks

    Sent from my LM-G710 using Tapatalk

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGemState View Post
    I am in the market for a new DAC as well so I am watching this thread. T&A is on the list along with many others which have been listen here. Among the 14 DACs that you have owned, were any of them 2-3x the price of the DAC 8? I know price is not everything but quality does tend to trend with price.
    No they were not. There were a few in the same range however.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  38. #38

    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    No they were not. There were a few in the same range however.
    Thank you.

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    the t+a dac8 was released about 5 years ago and is still a fine piece for dsd.
    for pcm it doesnt sound better than a good new 1k dac.
    today, for 4k you get a aqua la voce s3, a complete different animal over the dac8.

    that said, todays 1k dacs do sound terrific.

  40. #40
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    It looks like a fine piece. It all comes down to what you want the most out of your digital. I always liked the sound of Burr-Brown chips (Teac, Denon, and McIntosh that I had used them), however for PCM I would tend to think the Aqua La Voce would be a better machine, being a pure R2R ladder - FPGA-based DAC. Although I do believe that you would have to go much higher than a $1k DAC to best the T+A in PCM (8 separate DAC chips, precession construction, top grade parts, etc.) .

    However for DSD the Aqua La Voce only goes up to DSD128 because it uses DSD over PCM (DoP) and not Native DSD. So as I said it comes down to what is most important. If you most care about PCM or if you want better DSD. T+A's True One Bit DSD Converter is one of the best available and they do not use DoP for any level of DSD; therefore T+A is using Native DSD (through their proprietary DSD processor) for DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512, and their higher models DSD1024. I also like that PCM and DSD do not muck each other up in that they use completely separate data paths internally!
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    very fair points randy, it all depends on your application.

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by u-sound View Post
    very fair points randy, it all depends on your application.
    Exactly and the Aqua La Voce looks like a very nice piece if PCM is your main use.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

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  43. #43
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    It is a very nice piece.
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Nuprime CDT-8, Auralic Aries G1, Aqua La Voce S3, Supratek Chardonnay, PS Audio BHK 250, Verity Otello, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC's & PC's, Triode Wire Lab SC, PC's & USB , PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    I don't hear Ben with Mojo Audio talk so much about chips, processors and software. He seems to focus on the power supply. If you read TAS about the Wadax, its all about the PS. Same with MSB. The power supply. Even Xymox modding modems and routers, its the power supply. Then there is the case, isolation and dampening, quality of chokes. More pieces related to power and structural integrity and noise reduction.
    Just some food for thought.

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingrex View Post
    I don't hear Ben with Mojo Audio talk so much about chips, processors and software. He seems to focus on the power supply. If you read TAS about the Wadax, its all about the PS. Same with MSB. The power supply. Even Xymox modding modems and routers, its the power supply. Then there is the case, isolation and dampening, quality of chokes. More pieces related to power and structural integrity and noise reduction.
    Just some food for thought.
    I am not a technical expert from the company nor a professional reviewer. T+A does talk about all of those things and more and I assume that Aqua La Voce does also. Also, all of the other companies do actually discuss the processes and processors also, in addition to power supplies and casing, etc., as does most every top notch company.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    my recent experience with standalone DAC's is limited to the Schitt Yggdrasil 2 (not at all what I am after, although perhaps good at its price, returned via the company's excellent return policy) and the Aqua La Scala MkII (demo courtesy of Mike), the next step up the line from the La Voce and very nice sounding, but after burn-in completely indistinguishable from my current source. Like the T+A, the Schitt is often "promoted" by users and reviewers as competitive with other DACs well above its price range; let's just say I did not find that to be even close to true, and I'm sure that contributes to my skepticism (which admittedly may be totally unwarranted) about T+A, although I would still expect it to be a significant step up from the Yggy. I strongly suspect that I will end up with the MSB Discrete or dcs Bartok once I have had a chance to listen to them; yes both are "a bit" above $10k.
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    And both a highly rated machines with great reputations. A friend has the dCS and likes it (not love it). But he is a vinyl guy all the way and digital is not a big part of his normal music listening. He has mainly MBL with a very nice Basis table, going through an ARC Ref 10 phono stage. Way above my level.

    I would not kick either to the curb .... they are two names I would love to have an opportunity to try one day (especially the MSB).
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingrex View Post
    I don't hear Ben with Mojo Audio talk so much about chips, processors and software. He seems to focus on the power supply. If you read TAS about the Wadax, its all about the PS. Same with MSB. The power supply. Even Xymox modding modems and routers, its the power supply. Then there is the case, isolation and dampening, quality of chokes. More pieces related to power and structural integrity and noise reduction.
    Just some food for thought.
    +1

    exactly ...the implementation / execution matters. the same conversion chip/circuitry implemented differently will certainly not have the same SQ characteristics.

    analogously, i would expect a 300B tube to sound different in a shindo amp than in a bottlehead DIY kit.

    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b air tight atm-300r > viking acoustics berlin r mk2
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Information on a DACs construction and features is useful to determine if a given unit can do what one wants in terms of connections, compatible formats, possible upgrades, etc. It's unlikely to be useful in determining whether or not the sound of the entire unit is what a user wants or likes; only listening can determine that.
    Rob
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    Re: Standalone DACs under $10k?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    Information on a DACs construction and features is useful to determine if a given unit can do what one wants in terms of connections, compatible formats, possible upgrades, etc. It's unlikely to be useful in determining whether or not the sound of the entire unit is what a user wants or likes; only listening can determine that.
    I don't disagree, however being able to listen to a variety of DACs is not at all possible for many/most people. I have listened to many, but through the expense and headaches of using a variety of units, many times having to sell them afterwards.
    Neil degrasse Tyson - "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong."

    Hattor "The Big", Tube Active Stage | T+A DAC 8 DSD | McIntosh MC754, MC7100 v2 | Falcon Northwest PC Server | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Hexmat Yellowbird | Technics SL1500C | Audio Technica VM740ML | MOON by SimAudio NEO 430HA, NEO 310LP, 110LP v2 | Magnepan .7's | Rythmik L12 (2) | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Astell & Kern SE200 | Abyss Diana Phi | AudioQuest Niagara 1000

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

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AudioShark - The Best High End Audio Discussion forum.

AudioShark forum is a leading forum site for High End Audio Discussion, Stereo System Discussion, Home Theater System Discussion, Best Home Stereo System Discussion, Home Theater Installation Discussion etc.

The AudioShark forum was created for sharing the passion of high-end Audio. We have Audiophiles from all over the world participating and sharing their knowledge. From novice to experts, you will find a friendly environment for discussing about High End Audio, Stereo System, Home Theater System, Home Stereo System, Home Theater Installation, Amplifiers, Speakers, Subwoofers, Integrated System, Acoustic treatments & Digital Room Corrections and many more.

At AudioShark, we also have incorporated an exciting Marketplace where members can peruse terrific buys on used gear, as well as meet dealers and discuss the purchase of new gear.

We are as crazy about this hobby as you are! So come on in and join us! Audioshark.org the Friendliest Audio Forum!

Industry Participation Disclosure : The owner and administrator of Audioshark is the owner of Suncoast Audio LLC in Sarasota Florida. Suncoast Audio has a full brick and mortar presence in Sarasota with several great show rooms with many world class brands. More information can be found at http://www.suncoastaudio.com

Audioshark is a community of like minded individuals. Audioshark welcomes participation from all manufacturers and owners of all brands and products. It is our belief that online forums provide a community of like minded audiophiles and music lovers to encourage the growth of this wonderful hobby.

Sincerely,
The Audioshark.org Team

Standalone DACs under k?

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