DAC Suggestions and Advice

theaceface

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Oct 20, 2016
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I am thinking of adding a DAC to my system to breathe new life into my CD player and use with digital files.

I was thinking of the Audiolab M-DAC+

Any other suggestions or input greatly appreciated at around the same price point.
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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You can get a Chord 2Qute for around the same money while stocks last - I know Nintronics have stock
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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I'd go for the mdac as it has better connections than chord qutest and does not need expensive add in power supply and isolation to sound good.
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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The Chors Qutest is double the price - the 2Qute is the same money.

You need a lot of system to get the benefit of the Qutest

The Qutest has optical spdif and Galvanically Isolated USB and supports all DSD its very well equipped
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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As much as I like Wharfedale 9.1s I think that you'll get a better improvement upgrading speakers not a DAC.

If you go with a DAC your speakers will be the limiting factor.

Edit
Just noticed your signature change to Neat Iota :)
 

paulkebab

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Dec 26, 2014
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without DSD facilities the MDAC would be the better option, very versatile and a fantastic sounding bit of kit for the money. The Chord looks just don't do a thing for me at any price regardless of function.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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I would go and hear some DACs first, I did not find they made a huge difference, I agree speakers will make more difference. The Audiolab and Chord have good rep. although a few people don't like the Chord sound. Around or under that price M2tec Young and Metrum Olive are two Dacs that get praised on other hifi forums. Info on DACs is very limited on this forum.

Also consider other ways of playing your cds.
 

theaceface

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Oct 20, 2016
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to assume then, that the only difference between the Audiolab M-DAC and the M-DAC+ is the he ability to deal with DSD?

Internals and other spec has not been changed or upgraded in any way?
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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theaceface said:
to assume then, that the only difference between the Audiolab M-DAC and the M-DAC+ is the he ability to deal with DSD?

Internals and other spec has not been changed or upgraded in any way?
No there are more changes than that, also it's larger, here is a review: https://www.whathifi.com/audiolab/m-dac-plus/review
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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I'm not sure you need to go as far as the M-dac to get a good one. The irdac 2 gets much love almost everywhere, only 4 stars here if that matters but I've heard it connected to studio monitors and it really sounded great.

2 coax, 2 optical, usb and aptx Bluetooth, variable and fixed output, it's worth a listen
 

paulkebab

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Dec 26, 2014
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somewhere of a head-to-head MDAC vs MDAC+ which concluded (in a nutshell) what I posted earlier. I had the iRDAC 2 and that is also a good DAC but it sounded too warm with the Vincent amp.
 

theaceface

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Oct 20, 2016
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I was inclined toward the Audiolab is because I already have my trusty 8000A

obviously, I'd prefer to spend less

As long as it has at least two optical inputs and USB, I'm good!
 

skippy

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Mar 11, 2012
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Just bought this brand new for the equivalent of 450 quid, brand new (but probably been sat in its box on a shelf for 4 years), USB, only 1 optical, but 2 HDMI inputs. I run a Chromecast into the HDMI and out into the TV, also hooked up an old blu ray player to give a class stereo TV set up.
Took a few days to warm up, but it made a major improvement thru my Genelec 8050's with Tidal.
I went to balanced cables and it's absolutely silent when the system is waiting to play, no hum, no hiss.
So my missus has her 80's video playlist and I have my music playing with the album art in "Hifi" mode.
Didn't hear much difference at first, but (as stated in another post) as the unit warmed up over a few days I feel it's a big upgrade.
Haven't tested the Chromecast vs the Chromecast audio thru optical yet, more than happy with the sound of the Chromecast.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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theaceface said:
I was inclined toward the Audiolab is because I already have my trusty 8000A

obviously, I'd prefer to spend less

As long as it has at least two optical inputs and USB, I'm good!
The MDAC is about £515 and the MDAC+ is around £699. The MDAC+ is probably a lot more future proof.
 

Rethep

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May 2, 2011
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I think you expect too much from the soundimprovement of a new DAC.

Other components could be considered as well. I can remember auditioning the Audiolab 800A, way back (early 90's). I found it rather dull sounding, too matter of fact. Maybe (also) some other speakers?

I would not search for a DAC.
 

theaceface

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Oct 20, 2016
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upgraded my speakers to the Neat Iota which I'm very happy with.

The reasons for wanting a DAC are not just to use with my CD player, but to use with digital files and when streaming audio.

As far as my CD player is concerned, it may well be over 30 years old but the transport itself is bomb proof.

As far as the 8000A sound, yes many say it is dull or boring, personally I think it reproduces music well, and again is built to last.

I had the amp serviced a few years ago and it sounded much better after a service anyway.

Let's face it, if everyone liked the same sound and components, everyone's system would be the same and many manufacturers wouldn't exist.
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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Just to mention the irdac 2 is currently on offer in superfi for 339, listed as out if stock but they'll supply one at this price if ordered.
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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theaceface said:
I am thinking of adding a DAC to my system to breathe new life into my CD player and use with digital files.

I was thinking of the Audiolab M-DAC+

Any other suggestions or input greatly appreciated at around the same price point.
Buy one of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_nkw=digital+audio+converter&_frs=1

and one of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2016-NEW-30VA-DC9V-HiFi-Linear-power-supply-Regulated-PSU-for-DAC-headphone-amp/111544608244?hash=item19f893a5f4:g:wgYAAOSw2XFUiC3o

and use this combination as a benchmark to compare against any other DACs you fancy.

Spend the rest of your budget on something like this for you and the Mrs:

https://www.thomascook.com/packages/H0218673/?connectorCode=1&contentId=5a9d28b6be6d43b452cb5ca130cdb9f8ad5e5d195dbe0937&startDate=2018-04-26&endDate=2018-04-26&depAirport=LGW&duration=7&boardType=1&brand=TCU1&room=TWIN02,2&seasonCode=W17&freeChildFlag=No&context=thomascook.com&selectedDate=2018-04-26&geoPath=Turkey,%20Dalaman,%20Marmaris&roomPackageId=TCHHOL_A@6851864&tab=%2Fsearch&productId=H0218673&bsrp=resortCode%3Dany%26goingTo%3DAll%2520Destinations%26depAirport%3D0%26sbDepAirport%3D0%26origin%3DAny%2520Airport%26flexible%3Dfalse%26when%3Dany%26duration%3D7%26occupation%3D2%26sort%3Dbest_savings_desc%26keepFilters%3Dtrue%26start%3D0%26end%3D9%26priceRangeSlider%3D7%26priceRangeSlider%3D8%26sponsorshipService%3D3%26durationFacet%3D7%26widening%3Dtrue%26context%3Dthomascook.com%26connectorCode%3D1%26routingInfo%3Dsolr%26language%3Den%26langLong%3Den-EN%26isFlexible%3Dfalse#H0218673
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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lindsayt said:
theaceface said:
I am thinking of adding a DAC to my system to breathe new life into my CD player and use with digital files.

I was thinking of the Audiolab M-DAC+

Any other suggestions or input greatly appreciated at around the same price point.
Buy one of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_nkw=digital+audio+converter&_frs=1

and one of these:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2016-NEW-30VA-DC9V-HiFi-Linear-power-supply-Regulated-PSU-for-DAC-headphone-amp/111544608244?hash=item19f893a5f4:g:wgYAAOSw2XFUiC3o

and use this combination as a benchmark to compare against any other DACs you fancy.

Spend the rest of your budget on something like this for you and the Mrs:

https://www.thomascook.com/packages/H0218673/?connectorCode=1&contentId=5a9d28b6be6d43b452cb5ca130cdb9f8ad5e5d195dbe0937&startDate=2018-04-26&endDate=2018-04-26&depAirport=LGW&duration=7&boardType=1&brand=TCU1&room=TWIN02,2&seasonCode=W17&freeChildFlag=No&context=thomascook.com&selectedDate=2018-04-26&geoPath=Turkey,%20Dalaman,%20Marmaris&roomPackageId=TCHHOL_A@6851864&tab=%2Fsearch&productId=H0218673&bsrp=resortCode%3Dany%26goingTo%3DAll%2520Destinations%26depAirport%3D0%26sbDepAirport%3D0%26origin%3DAny%2520Airport%26flexible%3Dfalse%26when%3Dany%26duration%3D7%26occupation%3D2%26sort%3Dbest_savings_desc%26keepFilters%3Dtrue%26start%3D0%26end%3D9%26priceRangeSlider%3D7%26priceRangeSlider%3D8%26sponsorshipService%3D3%26durationFacet%3D7%26widening%3Dtrue%26context%3Dthomascook.com%26connectorCode%3D1%26routingInfo%3Dsolr%26language%3Den%26langLong%3Den-EN%26isFlexible%3Dfalse#H0218673

 
This is very inexpensive, in fact the DAC supplies an optical cable, which often on their own cost more the the DACs asking price.

Is this DAC that good? What does the power supply add to this? Thanks
 

theaceface

New member
Oct 20, 2016
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your link for the DAC didn't work, nice power supply though.

i don't fancy a holiday, nice thought though

I have used a generic cheap DAC before, yes they do the job but I found the headphone amp to be somewhat lacking.

It's like having a certain amount to spend on a car and realising for the same money a new Ford Mondeo will cost, you could buy a used Mercedes S-Class, both cars do the same job, you pays your money, you takes your choice.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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I think £700 is better spent on speakers than a DAC, Neat Iotas are OK in certain circumstances (small rooms) but they are pretty budget speakers, Neat use cheap drivers.
 

theaceface

New member
Oct 20, 2016
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is precisely why I bought the Neat Iota speakers.

I needed small speakers that worked well when wall mounted.

I think you are missing my reasons for wanting a DAC in the first place, yes I am curious to see if it improves the sound of my CD player, but this is not the only reason for wanting a DAC.

As with all purchases i have set myself a maximum budget, it just so happens that the M-DAC+ is at the top of my budget and the reviews I have read are favourable.
 

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