Is Rega DAC the obvious upgrade from DacMagic?

Peter Larsen

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Oct 16, 2008
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Hi,

I like my DacMagic very much, but I like my Naim Nait XS even more, and have always felt that it deserved better than my budget DacMagic (even though it does sound great). Naims own DAC is to expensive, and most other DAC reviews, I have read (in price ranges a little above the DM), has given me the impression, that a few euros extra spent would not give me that much of an upgrade in sound quality compared to my DacMagic.

But then came the Rega DAC. I haven't heard it yet, but reviews all over the internet has given me the impression, that finally a new DAC has arrived, with a price tag higher (but not to high) than the DacMagic, and with a sound quality that should make a difference.

Could the Rega DAC be the perfect succesor to my DacMagic? And would it fit my Naim Nait XS?
 

gingersmarty

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Aug 22, 2007
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Hi

I borrowed one from Audio t for the week. In use with some cyrus amplification and spendor speakers. It never went back

and have just sold my Dacmagic on E-bay.

For me it was no-brainer. Can you demo at home?
 

Peter Larsen

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Oct 16, 2008
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I hope so, would like to compare and listen in my own living room.

How would you say it compares to the DacMagic.

I'm looking for a smoother, more dynamic and preferably faster sound.
 
A

Anonymous

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Peter Larsen said:
I hope so, would like to compare and listen in my own living room.

How would you say it compares to the DacMagic.

I'm looking for a smoother, more dynamic and preferably faster sound.
My rega dac should arrive this friday, i will be back to post what i think of it compared to my beresford 7520 (which is quite similar to a dacmagic).
 

roger06

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Dec 23, 2007
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Peter Larsen said:
Could the Rega DAC be the perfect succesor to my DacMagic? And would it fit my Naim Nait XS?
Well I'd certainly agree your DacMagic can't be doing your XS justice. I'm not sure my £300 rDAC is good enough for my Nait5i.

I too will be very intersted in your verdict...
 

edplaysdrums42

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May 2, 2009
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I had the Rega and the Audiolab 8200CD both on home audition and i prefered my dacmagic to the Rega believe it or not! When i tried the Audiolab for me it was by far the favourite so i ordered one. The disc drive sounds even better! Horses for courses i suppose.

Good luck on your search.
 

Singslinger

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Jul 31, 2010
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At that price, I would also consider the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC.

It offers balanced outputs and the option of adding the new M1 transport.
 
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Anonymous

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I'd think you're looking at minor changes in presentation, not night and day stuff. DACs as a group have less impact on the sound than an amplifier, and those within the same price band probably aren't too dissimilar. Tried a number and decided to stay with what I already had.

Am hankering after the Abrahamsen, which sounds terrific but lacks the flexibility of the others.
 

Cold Roses

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Sep 23, 2009
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I'm sure that one of the WHF guys will respond shortly, but Clare mentioned in another thread that the Rega is reviewed in the issue out this week.
 

Cold Roses

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I don't think so. Based on Clare's comments in the other thread it's in the next issue (not the one currently shown on the website), which apparently gets posted out to subscribers tomorrow, Wednesday (4th). Not sure when the magazine hits newsagents' shelves, though must be shortly thereafter. I'm sure one of the WHF team can confirm for us.
 

gingersmarty

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Aug 22, 2007
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Hi Peter,

For me the Rega is less fatiguing than the Dacmagic, i still believe the Dacmagic is fantastic value, however

the Rega is more refined and as most others have stated sounds more fluid, while i now feel the Dacmagic

can come across as a little brash/harsh.

Again i suppose its horses for courses with many other factors contributing to the overall sound, a relaxed

listen in your own space would obviously help.

regards..
 

edplaysdrums42

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Peter Larsen said:
@edplaysdrums42

In what way is the DacMagic better than Rega DAC?
Sorry for the late reply. To be honest i could barely tell any difference, it certainly to my ears wasnt worth replacing. The Rega seemed slightly warmer sounding than the DM. The DM maybe sounded a touch more dynamic. I am by no means an expert on these things and any difference to me was so small i'm not even sure i could of told you which was which if i did a blind test. I prefered the Audiolab out of all three, the missus wanted a CD player so it was a no brainer.
 

Peter Larsen

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Oct 16, 2008
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Thanks.

Hopefully it will not be less dynamic than the DacMagic :-/

I hope the Rega DAC will have more control than the DacMagic, especially when things get complicated. Also I would like more control in the bottom. A more tight bottom in other words. And a less harsh top with compressed music whether we are talking Greg Fidelman kinda productions or lossy iTunes files.

The new Wolfson chips should smoothen things out, thats part of their design, compared to previous versions. No harsh sounds. I think that is a major contributor to Regas more analog sound, more than whatever components Rega put in the analoge stage.

Did you burn in the Rega Dac before listening, from what I have read across the web 48 hours should suffice.
 

Peter Larsen

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Oct 16, 2008
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Okay now, got the Rega DAC home for two days.

Listened to it extensively last night, comparing it to the DacMagic.

Here are my observations and conclusions so far:

1. The DacMagic is an extremely capable little DAC for the money. Awsome value! Great sound!

2. The Rega DAC is just so much better in every respect.

Here's why:

The first words that sprung to my mind was control and separation. The Rega DAC managed to separate instruments so precise that I could point out each instrument both in width and depth. The DacMagic comes nowhere near.

Then there is control. I felt the Rega DAC had so much more control, especially in the lower registers, than the DacMagic. Bass was tight, nuanced, agile and dynamic. Extremely welcome quality when listening to hard rock/metal.

Overall the sound was very homogenic, open (not bright) and dynamic. Some reviews use the word rythmic, and I agree on that as well.

Worth the money? Oh yeah. I have found my new DAC (would have liked the Naim DAC to go with my amp, but it is to expensive.)
 

pete321

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Aug 20, 2008
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Peter Larsen said:
Could the Rega DAC be the perfect succesor to my DacMagic?
I'm bias, but I think spending money on what you've already got would bring you more sound for your money. I suspect that you'd end up with a superior product if you spent half of what a Rega DAC would cost on upgrades to your DacMagic.

It's also interesting that Fidelity Audio will be selling their own DAC according to the site in the near future.
 

gingersmarty

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Aug 22, 2007
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Hi Peter,

Your expierence sounds similar to mine, it can be difficult to put into words a

how music sounds to different people, you seem to do as well as most, i

occassionaly find myself taking a double take at the speaker as the sound from

this dac i s very engaging.

There is also the benefit of a reasonable re-sale value of the Dacmagic, still a great product!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Peter Larsen said:
Okay now, got the Rega DAC home for two days.

Listened to it extensively last night, comparing it to the DacMagic.

Here are my observations and conclusions so far:

1. The DacMagic is an extremely capable little DAC for the money. Awsome value! Great sound!

2. The Rega DAC is just so much better in every respect.

Here's why:

The first words that sprung to my mind was control and separation. The Rega DAC managed to separate instruments so precise that I could point out each instrument both in width and depth. The DacMagic comes nowhere near.

Then there is control. I felt the Rega DAC had so much more control, especially in the lower registers, than the DacMagic. Bass was tight, nuanced, agile and dynamic. Extremely welcome quality when listening to hard rock/metal.

Overall the sound was very homogenic, open (not bright) and dynamic. Some reviews use the word rythmic, and I agree on that as well.

Worth the money? Oh yeah. I have found my new DAC (would have liked the Naim DAC to go with my amp, but it is to expensive.)
Interesting and great to hear


Im waiting for my rega dac to arrive to replace my beresford TC-7520. Should be here early next week. Really cant wait!
 

Peter Larsen

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Oct 16, 2008
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Okay, I now own Rega DAC. Very happy. Sound is awsome!

Only negative thing I have found so far is that when I skip tracks, the DAC seems to lose the lock, which on occasion result in missing a few milli seconds of tracks that start immediatly on 0:00. The missing lock thing is not consistent, but never ever occured with my DacMagic and the same transport.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Peter,

Nice topic!

Your review is exactly what I suspected as Rega applies higher standard parts in its project. Your setup does deserve a better source than DAC Magic for sure.

I had a chance to have a look to DAC Magic's built. Althought it uses a high quality Wolson DAC, other parts are not exactly for audiophile purposes. On other hand, it's a good DAC for modification. I was told it can mix among 3 times as much expensive DAC/players with a mod.

Your opinions are quite useful.
 

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