Best DAC at 2-300 punds - V-DAC II?

admin_exported

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Hi

As the subject says - what would be the best sounding DAC, for streaming from my Mac Mini? I like warm and detailed sound :)

Does USB sound better than an optical output? The MF V-DAC II has both...

Thank you
 

gbhsi1

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Hi,

The v-dac II would be an excellent choice but I would suggest that you purchase the separate power supply to get the most of it. You could also try Firestone audio, they a have the fubar IV (i think) on special which would fit the bill nicely for you :)
 

paradiziac

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I went on a bit of a £300 DAC quest last year.

I've amassed the following DACs (!):

(original) MF V-DAC + V-PSU: (+) very good separation of instruments/soundstage, airy and detailed, (-) sound lacks a little body compared to any good (even old) CDP, music seems a bit "slow"(?!!) and occasionally has a touch of digital glare in the high frequencies.

Audio gd NFB-2: (+) good soundstage and very detailed, more body and more realistic tone, very smooth with no harshness, with upsampled 24/96 via the Macmini+V-Link it's close to hi-end CD players except for being (-) a touch "polite" (i.e. lacking in dynamics)

15 year old Sugden: just sounds alive, much better in every way. Hard to find a (-)...maybe soundstage with a jittery/noisy source? This DAC is hard to find and has no USB or hi-res capability--but anyway I'd suggest a good USB converter and stick to 16/44.

For fun, I've just listened to all 3 play Nirvana's About a Girl (it just happened to be playing) FLAC via Foobar KS/co-ax from PC soundcard.

V-DAC+PSU: thin and weedy, vocals are half OK but the hi-hats seem louder than the guitars--pretty unconvincing on this track

NFB-2: much better, at least the guitars sound like guitars i.e. dirty

Sugden: additionally, you feel the angst in Kurt Cobain's voice and the drums and bass have more of a kick.

And all this is through my second (or third?) very cheap and old system: Kenwood KA2030 SE amp, JPW Sonata speaks...

This is probably not helpful...so to try to summarize: if you're fussy about your source like me I doubt you'll find a good new DAC for £2-300, if you're not so fussy, any of them will be OK and sound similar.
 
A

Anonymous

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Thank you for replys

I'm also looking at the HRT Music Streamer II+

It's very simple, and need no power supply, drivers whatsoever. But I'm worried about the soundstage, from the little box.... :quest:

Also I'm looking at the chinse box - the Yulong D100 DAC - it's getting very good reviews I think, but I'm not that hooked on chinise hifi...

Any comments?
 

paradiziac

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Haven't heard the HRT, but I very much doubt it's any worse than anything else up to about £300 and it works well with a computer source.
 
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Anonymous

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Had the MF VDAC Mk II and HRT on home demo yesterday (well bought both from the same dealer and he'd given me 7 days to keep one or return them both etc...). This is to go with my office system listed in my sig

a): MF DAC - Very good indeed; well made and sounds superb; solid sound and a good overall improvement (more detailed and deeper bass; smoother midrange and the treble opened up quite a bit (a bit too much at times for me)

b): HRT - Superb sound; lovely little DAC. Soundstage is superb. Very punchy indeed with bags of bottom end opened up & with much more detailed mid and treble but hasnt gone harsh or too open etc...

Both were connected via USB (I thought that seeing as the HRT is USB only this would make for a more fair comparison)

For me the HRT wins but not by a long-shot; it's just that bit better suited to my taste in music (electronica mainly but with a lot of older music (everything from Nat King Cole to Jethro Tull to Pink Floyd etc...) & metal.

Both are very good DAC's but both do have a slightly different sound to them!
 

Cypher

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IMO the HRT music streamer II is better than the V-dac.

Don't be fooled because it's small...........the sound is amazing....... :rockout:
 
A

Anonymous

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I've bit the bullet and bought the CYP SPDIF/Optical DAC via eBay for £40 plus all necessary cables..

Going to have a good listen to this set-up when it lands (Tuesday hopefully) and then if it works then great; if it doesnt I'll connect it to my TV set-up downstairs then at least I wont lose out £££

The HRT has been the one for me since it landed yesterday but I'll be interested to see how the CYP holds out ;)
 
T

the record spot

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Likewise the Firestone Audio Spitfire II. £250 or sometimes cheaper on a deal. Nice size, good sound, three inputs, one each from coax, optical and USB. Had mine for about a year or so and rated it.

EDIT: No longer in use in my system thanks to the Onkyo, but previously it worked very well. Currently used as a DAC for my wife's Sony Blu-ray Sony however.
 
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Anonymous

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Cypher said:
IMO the HRT music streamer II is better than the V-dac.

Don't be fooled because it's small...........the sound is amazing....... :rockout:

Are we talking about the newest HRT Music Streameer II+, and the V-DAC II?
 

6th.replicant

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Hans Mouridsen said:
...what would be the best sounding DAC, for streaming from my Mac Mini? I like warm and detailed sound :)

In which case, it's also worth considering/demo'ing Arcam's rDAC, but bear in mind it needs 100+ hours run-in before it reveals its 'detail' and pace. (Don't ask me how or why.)

Also, the rDAC's aesthetics are similar-ish to the Mac Mini's.

macmini-100615-2.png


88_large-4.jpg
 
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Anonymous

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The HRT MSII+ seems to be in two version - and older edgy and a newer curved version.

Would there be any difference, besides of the design?

The older is on sale...
 

paradiziac

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I just thought to compare the built-in DAC of my Mac mini (cheapo 5m mini-jack>RCA lead) with the V-DAC (async USB via V-Link with optical connection--so DAC is isolated from computer).

Not much difference, if indeed any. The V-DAC might be slightly better. Or not. Or maybe the difference is in the cables...

£5 v £2-300 ... I wish I'd bought the Mac mini before the V-DAC ...
 
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Anonymous

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paradiziac said:
I just thought to compare the built-in DAC of my Mac mini (cheapo 5m mini-jack>RCA lead) with the V-DAC (async USB via V-Link with optical connection--so DAC is isolated from computer).

Not much difference, if indeed any. The V-DAC might be slightly better. Or not. Or maybe the difference is in the cables...

£5 v £2-300 ... I wish I'd bought the Mac mini before the V-DAC ...

Hi

I think it depens very much, on the rest of your system - amp and speakers.

What are you playing with?
 

paradiziac

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Hans Mouridsen said:
I think it depens very much, on the rest of your system - amp and speakers.

Sure, so the best way would be to listen in your system, maybe you already tried the built-in DAC of the Macmini? If not, the lead is very cheap or you might even have one.

Hans Mouridsen said:
What are you playing with?

I've got 3 sets of amps and speakers. The one I did this test on was a Creek 4330 and Mission 770.

But it's worth noting that on all my systems I can easily tell the difference between

1. PC/iPod built-in DAC

2. budget DAC

3. good quality DAC.

Very generally, I would put the Mac mini's DAC in category 2. rather than 1.
 
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Anonymous

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Hi

I've tried the onboard DAC in the Mini, and what a noisy expecience and lack of dymanic.

At the moment I have the Bladelius USB DAC conected to my Holfi amp, and so far it's a good mach - very analog and musical sounstage! It's claimed to have long running in time, so maybe in a day or two, I can tell more.

I'm comparing the usb dac with an Yamaha cd player, and the Bladelius is just far far ahead.

1df39186.jpg
 

CustomCable

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The V-DAC II takes on a different form when it's got the matching PSU II plugged into it too. Vast difference in sonic performance but it's also then even more money. :D
 

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