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Best DACs under £1,000

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Having read many reviews and users comments it seems the best ones are:

Benchmark DAC1 £900?

John Kenny JKDAC32 £500?

Audiolab M-DAC £600

Halide Design DAC HD £ 379.

Are there any others? The John Kenny is getting good reviews and some say its as good as the Benchmark.
 

byakuya83

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Mar 14, 2011
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How do you measure the effectiveness of a DAC? The price varies wildly but they all do the same thing.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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BigH said:
Having read many reviews and users comments it seems the best ones are:

Benchmark DAC1 £900?

John Kenny JKDAC32 £500?

Audiolab M-DAC £600

Halide Design DAC HD £ 379.

Are there any others? The John Kenny is getting good reviews and some say its as good as the Benchmark.
Not tried these but have heard/read good things about:

Metrum Octave Mk2 £800

Musical Fidelity M1 DAC £499

Have you seen the DAC round-up review in the July WHF?

Matt
 

ngibbs

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Jun 12, 2010
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Metrum Acoustics Octave DAC? Can't remember how much it is exactly, but well under £1000. Now with a new mark 2 version.
 

BigH

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matt49 said:
Not tried these but have heard/read good things about:

Metrum Octave Mk2 £800

Musical Fidelity M1 DAC £499

Have you seen the DAC round-up review in the July WHF?

Matt
Did no know about Metrum Octave, thanks. In the JUly WHF in the shops yet?
 

BigH

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ngibbs said:
Metrum Acoustics Octave DAC? Can't remember how much it is exactly, but well under £1000. Now with a new mark 2 version.
Thanks, did you hear any others like the Benchmark?
 

matt49

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BigH said:
In the JUly WHF in the shops yet?
Yep. Can't remember exactly which DACs featured, but the MF M1 DAC and Audiolab MDAC were in there and both rated 5 stars, I think.

Matt
 

ngibbs

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I'm afraid I didn't, so I've no idea how they compare. Bought the Octave DAC blind, but I liked it so much I bought another one for my second system! A lot of hullabaloo was made when they first came out: magazine reviews proclaiming they should cost 10 times the price, etc., etc.. No idea if it's true but I like it! Suits computer-based audio best apparantly, and quite unforgiving with less that opitimal sources and compressed music files.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/metrum-octave-dac-without-filtering-recommended-by-hi-fi-choice

Doesn't make my Sonos sound much cop for instance (but then again neither did my DAC XP....). Both Mac with iTunes + Bit Perfect and Synology NAS direct sound great though. Depends on what you're going to want to use it for I guess.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Just read some reviews of the Octave DAC and they are all good.

Also I see there is a new John Kenny Ciúnas DAC for Euro 550 which is meant to be as good as the Octave but different, one persons views "When the Ciúnas and Octave differed was the Octave had something little sweeter with sax and female vocal, sort of in the same was a valve SE amp might have. The Ciúnas was better at the top end with a crisper more detailed sound. The two DACs were very close and I could happily live with either. I suppose the old cliché comes out, the Octave was a little more analogue but not by a lot."

Anyone heard the Jolida Glass FX DAC II which is £540?
 

Pete68

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Nov 15, 2012
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A blind test will show that most DACs at the mid price band will sound the same apart for one or two ( the Metrum Octave being one of them).... so I've read.
 

MakkaPakka

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May 25, 2013
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Are there any reviews where the DAC wasn't found to sound good? What's a £1000 one doing that a £500 one can't do?
 

pete321

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I compared the M-DAC to the Rega DAC, I preferred the Rega. I replaced that recently with a Teac UD-501 as I wanted DSD playback capability. The build and components used for the money (£699) make it great value. It's a very natural sounding DAC with good filter options. Teac aren't necesarily the first company you'd think of when buying a DAC, but I think the 501 is real winner.
 

richardw42

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I can't help feeling that DACs are the latest big con of the hi Fi world.

You've got the HRT one at under £200 (arguably still overpriced) and then you've got ones at many hundreds or thousands of pounds with off board PSUs. When the former makes do with USB power.

Lots of TVs, CDPs etc have competent DACs, but we're still being told to spend again.
 
A

Anonymous

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I recently bought a Behringer UCA-202 for the princely sum of £25, and it's very good
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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steve_1979 said:
byakuya83 said:
How do you measure the effectiveness of a DAC?
Here's a review of the Cambridge Audio DACmagic. Scroll down to the measurements section of the review for details on how the performance of a DAC is measured.

Clicky
Oh NO not Ken Rocksalt!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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The Metrum Octave is an unusual and excellent suggestion (provided the Mk2 is as good as the original)......I haven't heard one, but it would on my shortlist due to the reviews of this splendid NOS Dac (after a Linn Sneaky DS :shifty: )
 

p_m_brown

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Feb 1, 2013
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Well I had an interesting shoot out recently between the rather futuristic looking M2Tech Young dac and a Leema Elements dac.

They both sound superb but the Leema edged it on dragging out the most detail, most connectivity and the fact tht it is also a decent preamp with analogue volume control. Both available for under £1k and definately worth a try (at home, back to back imo).

BTW, I thought your Avi's have a dac in them already?
 

ID.

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Feb 22, 2010
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pete321 said:
Teac aren't necesarily the first company you'd think of when buying a DAC, but I think the 501 is real winner.
I have a lot of respect for TEAC products, especially as I can see techniques and technology from their high end range, Esoteric, filtering down to TEAC products (expertise with class D, DACs, etc.)

http://www.esoteric.jp/products/esoteric/dacon/indexe.html

Just for the heck of it I'd love to have a set up with

http://www.esoteric.jp/products/esoteric/g01/indexe.html

and a pair of monoaural DACs

http://www.esoteric.jp/products/esoteric/d01/indexe.html

So TEAC have access to some serious DAC know-how.
 

Cypher

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Jun 8, 2007
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Don't forget the Micromega Mydac. I've been reading a lot of reviews of this one and they all are extremely positive. I think I'm gonna check it out :grin:
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Cypher said:
Don't forget the Micromega Mydac. I've been reading a lot of reviews of this one and they all are extremely positive. I think I'm gonna check it out :grin:
The WHF review was not that good.

If you want something lively try the Jolida FX Glass DAC.
 

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