Best DAC under £500?

westerniser

New member
Apr 8, 2010
16
0
0
Visit site
Hello all!

I'm currently running in some Spendor A5 speakers, NVA AP70 amp with NVA LS1 cable.

I play mostly from Spotify Premium with some high quality iTunes files from my Macbook Air, either via Airport Express or via USB to an Arcam rDac. It's sounding good, but can't help wondering if I could take it a step further with the source, but still using digital.

I've been reading about the Rega DAC and they are supposed to be even better than the Arcam rDac, would you agree? What would the difference be? Are there any other DACs on the market to try?

What difference do the filters/settings on the Rega DAC do?

Thanks!
 
Hi westerniser

Yes i feel Rega's DAC is even better the the rDac. Fwiw, most of Rega DAC's which i've sold (including one yesterday) have been over the rDac. The Rega DAC is built like a small tank and has a sound which is (amongst its other qualities) rich, weighty, fast, dynamic, detailed with excellent rhythm and timing. Simply put the Rega DAC sounds very much like their record players. Although impressive the rDac lacks the weight, drive, coherence and sounds upfront in comparison to Rega's DAC.

I feel the weightier and potent presentation and overall quality of the Rega DAC will compliment your NVA and Spendor components just nicely :)

Btw, the filters on the Rega DAC are slightly altering its presentation from one option to the next. Ime i've found Filter 1 to give the most optimal overall balance.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

DIB

Well-known member
May 21, 2009
166
36
18,620
Visit site
Whilst browsing in Audio T this morning, the Rega system they had playing in the shop was a Rega Apollo/DAC/Brio R/RS5 combo.

Never really heard a Rega system before except at a show, but this was a mighty fine system that sounded superb. I'd heard that the Apollo is a great player in its own right, but the salesman reckoned the DAC took it to another level.

I'm going back in next week to have a demo of the new RP3 turntable (don't tell the wife!).

.
 

spockfish

New member
Jan 18, 2011
34
0
0
Visit site
I was searching for a DAC in that prize range. I can say I've heard a lot of them, including the rDac. Although it is fine, I believe the Rega DAC is in another range. It is a superb machine! Just feel it. It is heavy. Built like a thank. And it sounds amazing. Sooooo much fun!

Buy the Rega and you won't be disappointed!
 

westerniser

New member
Apr 8, 2010
16
0
0
Visit site
Thanks guys,

I have looked further into this and started to see other products popping up, although they are more expensive.

How does the Rega compare to, say, the Benchmark Dac1 or the Chord Dac 64? I seem to be able to pick these up for less than £1000.

Are there any others sub-1k that would be worth checking out?

Thanks
 

Shanka

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2011
123
0
18,590
Visit site
Hi,

Was just wondering how the Rega compares with the Music Fidelity M1 DAC, was looking originally at a small DAC and now considering a CA DAC Magic, I was advised the M1 would be a step up from this by the person selling the CA and the M1 is also a solidly built unit.

I am getting to the stage if I am going to invest in one of these I don't want to get immediate upgraditis so may be worth spending more than I was originally intending .I only currently use for Spotify from laptop output via usb.
 

El Hefe

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2008
260
17
18,895
Visit site
Shanka,

If your main connection will be USB, I feel you will be better off with rDAC or Rega as the M1 DAC does not come with an Asynchronous USB. I know rDAC had this but not sure or Rega. I used to own rDAC as well but sold it off because I dont really use the laptop for music.

Shanka said:
Hi, Was just wondering how the Rega compares with the Music Fidelity M1 DAC, was looking originally at a small DAC and now considering a CA DAC Magic, I was advised the M1 would be a step up from this by the person selling the CA and the M1 is also a solidly built unit. I am getting to the stage if I am going to invest in one of these I don't want to get immediate upgraditis so may be worth spending more than I was originally intending .I only currently use for Spotify from laptop output via usb.
 

altruistic.lemon

New member
Jul 25, 2011
64
0
0
Visit site
Haven't heard one, but always aspired to the Benchmark. Rated as the most neutral and detailed DAC you can get - have a look at the Stereophile reviews and tech tests.

P.S. If you find a new one under £500 give me a hoy, ta :)
 

westerniser

New member
Apr 8, 2010
16
0
0
Visit site
Another option is to look into a 2nd hand Naim Supernait, as it would be the price of the NVA + the Benchmark Dac 1, at around £1750.

Any thoughts there? Will the Supernait work well with the Spendor A5?
 

iemslie

New member
Jan 11, 2010
11
0
0
Visit site
I see that Musical Fidelity have upgraded versions of both the V and M1 DACs. Both will feature async USB.

I'm not certain what other enhancments they've made so if you don't need the USB then you might find some good deals once the new DAC enter the market.

More info on V DAC MkII is on the MF website, plus a pretty favourable review.

I'm going to hold out for the M1 upgrade which I've been told will arrive in November (thanks for the info Custom Cables).
 

Superaintit

New member
Feb 8, 2009
100
0
0
Visit site
Hi Westerniser,

Some dacs are better then others in their price range, but always take into account how they sound

with YOUR system. For example: the benchmark dac is a great resolving dac, but I would never buy it,

as it's much to clinical for my ears.

Try the rega on a home demo.
 

westerniser

New member
Apr 8, 2010
16
0
0
Visit site
Yes, ideally I would like to try both the Benchmark and Rega at home for a while. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Benchmark. Many seem to rate the Rega.

I think if I wanted to upgrade my sound, i would probably try to take a touch of warmth out of the Spendors, as when the volume goes up to a normal listening level, the bass is so impressive, but I don't think my neighbours are quite as impressed as I am!
 

Craig M.

New member
Mar 20, 2008
127
0
0
Visit site
i've heard the a5's briefly on the end of some exposure kit, they struck me as a little on the 'dark' side. the benchmark would probably balance that out a little. mine is noticeably leaner then a dacmagic and chord qbd76, both of which i had in the same system before my benchmark. i don't think the benchmark would suit a lean system, but it might be just what you're after. the pre in the benchmark is very good too, so you could consider going for a power amp instead of an integrated. i'm sure i've read somewhere that the chord dac64 is a little rolled off at the top end, if so, this might not suit your speakers.
 

westerniser

New member
Apr 8, 2010
16
0
0
Visit site
Makes sense re the benchmark, I have heard similar things.

Saying that, and it may daft, but I took the grilles off yesterday and it already made a difference, i.e. a little brighter!
 

indietronic

New member
May 21, 2008
47
0
0
Visit site
at this price range rega dac is the way to go. analogue-like holographic sound like the one found on rega turntables... i hate digital-sounding and extremely detailed sound, reason being that i want to concentrate to music :rockout: (pre -1975 mainly, nowadays it's japanese remasters or other remastered editions of good to excellent sound quality...) if i wanted something different (bye bye £500) i would NOT look at benchmark at this moment, but at wired for sound. sabre is the name behind the dac, different story. i am a wolfson guy, sorry :wave: .
 

indietronic

New member
May 21, 2008
47
0
0
Visit site
at this price range rega dac is the way to go. analogue-like holographic sound like the one found on rega turntables... i hate digital-sounding and extremely detailed sound, reason being that i want to concentrate to music :rockout: (pre -1975 mainly, nowadays it's japanese remasters or other remastered editions of good to excellent sound quality...) if i wanted something different (bye bye £500) i would NOT look at benchmark at this moment, but at wired for sound. sabre is the name behind the dac, different story. i am a wolfson guy, after all :wave: .