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Best DACs under £1,000

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steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
p_m_brown said:
BTW, I thought your Avi's have a dac in them already?
Good point. The ADM's already have a perfectly good DAC built into them.

Why is the OP looking for a new DAC? Is it for the ADM's or is it for another system?
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
steve_1979 said:
BigH said:
Who said I was looking for a new one?
Ahhh I see. :)

It was just a (wrong) assumption based on the thread title.
Yes I can see why people got that idea but it came about as someone was looking for a new dac and I did some research and came across a few I did not know like John Kenny, just thought I would get other opinns on here and pull our knowledge together for others looking for advise, as this question comes up fairly often.
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
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0
BigH said:
Yes I can see why people got that idea but it came about as someone was looking for a new dac and I did some research and came across a few I did not know like John Kenny, just thought I would get other opinns on here and pull our knowledge together for others looking for advise, as this question comes up fairly often.
Well, also in the interests of general enlightenment here's a list of the DACs featured in the July WHF group test:

HRT microStreamer

Meridian Explorer

AudioQuest DragonFly

Pro-Ject DAC Box DS

Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Musical Fidelity M1 DAC

Rega DAC

Arcam FMJ D33

Audiolab M-DAC

Chord Chordette QuteHD

Naim DAC-V1

NAD M51

Musical Fidelity M6 DAC

Naim DAC

Burmester 113

Antelope Zodiac Gold/Voltikus

Audio Research DAC 8

dCS Debussy

Chord QBD76 HDSD

Matt
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
Wow a big group but as I suspected no Benchmark, Metrum Octave Mk2 and John Kenny though.

Anyone heard the Graham Slee DAC?
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
0
0
BigH said:
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.
What Hifi gave it 4 stars. Not bad at all. All other magazines were much more positive though.....
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
Cypher said:
BigH said:
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.
What Hifi gave it 4 stars. Not bad at all. All other magazines were much more positive though.....
4 stars means to me average, out of DACS 11 got 3 stars, 29 got 4 stars and 20 got 5 stars. They state:
Not the most subtle of performersCan sound a bit too hard and bright[/list]and this is for a £260 DAC.
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
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0
BigH said:
Cypher said:
BigH said:
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.
What Hifi gave it 4 stars. Not bad at all. All other magazines were much more positive though.....
4 stars means to me average, out of DACS 11 got 3 stars, 29 got 4 stars and 20 got 5 stars. They state:
Not the most subtle of performersCan sound a bit too hard and bright[/list]and this is for a £260 DAC.
What Hifi is really the only review that mention that. Please check out the other reviews on the net..........there are plenty and some are extremely positive.

My original post about this ; http://www.whathifi.com/forum/dacs/micromega-mydac-review
 

expat_mike

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2013
160
3
18,595
Regarding the MyDAC, the French edition of WHFSV said "not the most subtle of the lot, sounds a little harsh".

so not all the reviews are positive.
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
0
0
expat_mike said:
Regarding the MyDAC, the French edition of WHFSV said "not the most subtle of the lot, sounds a little harsh".

so not all the reviews are positive.
Oh......I didn't know that. Thanks for letting me know.

I now have the Beresford Caiman and I doubt the Mydac is a big upgrade.
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
0
0
expat_mike said:
Regarding the MyDAC, the French edition of WHFSV said "not the most subtle of the lot, sounds a little harsh".

so not all the reviews are positive.
But that's the same as What Hifi UK said. Isn't it the same review ?
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
Cypher said:
What Hifi is really the only review that mention that. Please check out the other reviews on the net..........there are plenty and some are extremely positive.[/list]
My original post about this ; http://www.whathifi.com/forum/dacs/micromega-mydac-review
The only other one I found was HiFiChoice and they said something like it won't suit everyone with its light and airy sound. I'm sure its a good DAC in that price range and if I was buying one for around £300 I would consider it along with a Beresford, Halide Design DAC HD,[/b] HRT and Cambridge.
 

altruistic.lemon

New member
Jul 25, 2011
64
0
0
expat_mike said:
Regarding the MyDAC, the French edition of WHFSV said "not the most subtle of the lot, sounds a little harsh".

so not all the reviews are positive.
Except it's the same review as the WHF one here.

The Absolute Sound seem to rate it: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/micromega-mydac-usb-dac/

As did these people http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2012/10/micromega-mydac-review/ - note that they regard it as sounding sweet.

HiFi choice also recommended it.

Not that the above matters. Sounds a step above others I've heard in subtlety and detail, so I'm happy.
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
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0
German magazine 'Audio' just reviewed the Mydac. Very, very positive review.

The Audiolab Qdac, Arcam Irdac and Musical Fidelity V-90 also have my attention.

Way too many options at the moment ;)
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
0
0
Cypher said:
German magazine 'Audio' just reviewed the Mydac. Very, very positive review.

The Audiolab Qdac, Arcam Irdac and Musical Fidelity V-90 also have my attention.

Way too many options at the moment ;)
I would look at the new John Kenny as well which is 525Euros.
 

MattSPL

New member
Jan 4, 2010
19
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0
Anybody mention the Matrix Quattro Dac?

I've had mine about 2 years and use it as a Dac and pre amp, direct into active monitors. It's basically a copy of the Benchmark Dac1 USB, with some of the HDR's bits including the ALPS volume pot, and uses high quality components throughout.
It only costs about £450 too :)
 

fr0g

New member
Jan 7, 2008
446
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0
The DAC chips cost pennies. They accurately convert digital signals to analogue. There is not such a big difference in them (not none). I say that with a fairly nice DAC (Harmony DA9) sitting in a cupboard. It is an extremely nice DAC, but ultimately the difference between that and my Beresford, or the DAC in my ADM9Ts or the DAC(s) in my £300 Yamaha receiver is minimal, and more than likely down to the analogue output. I could use that DAC in between my AV amp and my speakers in my living room for music, but in all honesty I would have to repeat play, rewind, try again, and again...just to "possibly" hear a difference.

These days I wouldn't spend more than 2 or 3 hundred on a DAC and I would expect a pre-amp and lots of inputs. £1000 is paying for air...imo. And if I needed a DAC for one device, about £50 will get you state-of-the-art.

The reviews are poetry, bad, misleading poetry at that...
 

GURU

Well-known member
Nov 7, 2008
3
0
11,510
Now I couldn't even begin to tell you which is the "best" DAC under £1,000, and in truth given it's subjective nature, and the plethora available I doubt anyone could ..."one man's meat is another man's poison", etc, etc, all I can contribute to the thread is that from my experience (although limited) a DAC's viability is very much dependant on it's planned and or specific usage within.your system.

After reading quite a few reviews and articles about DAC's I thought I would go out and listen for myself what the overall "buzz" was about, and more specifically, could/would a DAC "lift", "improve" or indeed "alter" the sound of my ageing Marantz CD17 KI? I auditioned two DAC's - Audiolab M, and the Musical Fedelity M1, and while I could hear slight nuances (the Audiolab to my ears was superior) in the dealers demo room , the overall sound did not alter or vary in any significant way during my extended home trial using my equipment, and indeed using my CD player, irrespective of how much I truly wanted to hear differences.

My aim and principle priorities lay with CD replay because that is the format that I listen to, but occasionally I do listen to music via my computer, so whilst in possession of the DAC's I connected my laptop (pretty basic) to them and yes, in this instance both DAC's definitely improved and raised the level of sound, (once again I thought the Audiolab was slightly superior), however given that I predominantly listen to CD's I couldn't justify paying £500 on a piece of equipment that in essence wasn't going to "improve" on what I already had (computer music aside).

Upon returning both DAC's to the dealer we discussed at length my experiences and ultimate decision not to purchase either - were my expectations too high? was I naive to think that a £500 DAC (as good as both were in this price range) could improve on what is basically a £2,500 player in today's money? my point is not to make a case for or against any particular DAC but simply to say (and probably nothing new), before you buy any DAC be clear in your mind what are your reasons for wanting it, if possible try and home demo it within your existing system, and be honest in your assessment of the product ...your budget might be £1,000 but you might find you need, or needed to spend £2,000+ to achieve your ultimate aim and better what you already have.

Here are a few more to add to those already mentioned:

Tentlabs b-DAC mkIII

Matrix X-Sabre

Audio Asus Xonar Essence One Muses

Violectric V800

Anedio D2
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
Just come across the ODAC which is a usb only dac, its only £100 and is meant to be similar to the Benchmark in sound quality. For computer sound I think thats what I would buy.
 

alializadeh

New member
Oct 9, 2011
54
0
0
wow, nice perspective, there is indeed no major differences in DAC's in the same price range, BUT, a big BUT here, i think there is however a big difference in sound quality in dac's of max400 euros and 1000 euros.

i'm considering buying a dac for my laptop/pc only: here are my choices.

hrt musicstreamer pro ( stablized output) wich i have to convert to rca 250 euros secondhand

hrt musicstreamer 2 180 new

beresford gatorized 250 euros secondhand

tentalabs dac ( wich is in promotion and is reduced to 500 euros from 1000 euros

what do you guys think? i want something relyable and good in quality
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
207
0
0
I want an Onkyo DAC-1000 (unfortunately I think they haven't released it outside Japan). And then I would sell my RZ-1 and buy a 2nd hand Luxman 507u to really monster my speakers.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
0
0
alializadeh said:
wow, nice perspective, there is indeed no major differences in DAC's in the same price range, BUT, a big BUT here, i think there is however a big difference in sound quality in dac's of max400 euros and 1000 euros.

i'm considering buying a dac for my laptop/pc only: here are my choices.

hrt musicstreamer pro ( stablized output) wich i have to convert to rca 250 euros secondhand

hrt musicstreamer 2 180 new

beresford gatorized 250 euros secondhand

tentalabs dac ( wich is in promotion and is reduced to 500 euros from 1000 euros

what do you guys think? i want something relyable and good in quality
How about the Epiphany E-DAC. only £99.
 

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