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What DAC to use with Marants PM8006 and B&W 707 S2

upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
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Hi there,

I am fairly new at this, I have recently purchased a Marantz PM8006 and a pair of B&W 707 S2. I have testes both in separate occasions and really liked them. I know this is not the best, but the speakers are placed on my desk so they are roughly 20cm from the wall and I sit fairly close to them (one of the reasons I didn't go for the 706).

Bought them separate afterwards, connected them to my PC (24 bit, 192000 Hz)(RCA to 3.5mm jack), and no surprise, I am not getting the same sound quality.

Now, from what I've heard, I need a DAC as my computer does not have a decent enough sound card. I am listening to FLAC music, which does sound good, but not as good as it can (as I've heard them in store).

I have done a bit of research and I am trying to decide between a Rega Dac and a Cambridge DacMagic 100.

I am open to other suggestions. Budget is around £200 (would prefer to buy used to get more out of my cash).

Also looking for a Sub in the near future, looking at a BK 200, SVS or REL T5 or T7 (open to suggestions)

My question is, with something like a DM 100, will I notice a massive difference?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
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How about the iFi Audio ZEN DAC. The brand has been getting rave reviews across the board of late and is on a roll.
I did come across it, but I haven't paid much attention to it to be fair. How would it compare to the DM100, Dacmagic plus and Rega? I am trying to get the most out of my system
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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I did come across it, but I haven't paid much attention to it to be fair. How would it compare to the DM100, Dacmagic plus and Rega? I am trying to get the most out of my system
It's a bit like asking us what's the best haircut. We can only tell you what is best for us. Ultimately you need to audition these yourself. You have a very good shortlist there within budget.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I've tried several DACs at prices up to £600 (including the Dacmagic XS).
My advice to you would be not to get too hung up on prices, not least because audible differences can be subtle, to say the least.
The Zen DAC looks like a good suggestion, not that I've heard it myself.

Here's what I've recently bought. I wouldn't be surprised if, as soon as you see it, you instantly rule it out:
Now how would you feel if it looked more like this:
Massive respect to March Audio as, to their credit, they seem to be making no secret of the fact that their highly reviewed DAC1 is the Khadas Toneboard in a (very smart) case. The only difference being a lack of the coaxial digital input.

Putting my KTB in a metal case, involved drilling 6 holes, a plastic case would be even easier.
A case is optional though - could easily be hidden away as- is.
The board is powered by USB from your PC. It has a white LED power indicator, arrange it to shine through the case or do what I did and fit an external LED - otherwise no soldering is required.

I really don't think you'll do better for £100 or, for that matter, considerably more.
 

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
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Why didn't you buy an amp with a built in dac ?

Marantz PM7000N, PM7005 or something like a CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXA61 or a Denon PMA-800NE or PMA-1600NE
 
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abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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You do not need to use a HI-Fi DAC when using a computer as they are not optimally designed for it, you are better off going for a professional Computer Audio Interface such as a Focusrite or Motu etc. as you will get much better performance at less cost. (Always best to use the right tool for the job)

Go to a Professional Music Store (Or online store) to see and try them out, also if you wish for reviews (Never the best way to purchase) look for reviews on professional audio interfaces on pro music sites and forums.

Bill
 

upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
8
1
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Why didn't you but an amp with a built in dac ?

Marantz PM7000N, PM7005 or something like a CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXA61 or a Denon PMA-800NE or PMA-1600NE
I have found a good deal on the PM8006 hence going for that(£650 like new)
 

upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
8
1
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It's a bit like asking us what's the best haircut. We can only tell you what is best for us. Ultimately you need to audition these yourself. You have a very good shortlist there within budget.
I do know what you mean, but I thought I would give it a try to see if I can get some help. Thanks for replying
 

upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
8
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I've tried several DACs at prices up to £600 (including the Dacmagic XS).
My advice to you would be not to get too hung up on prices, not least because audible differences can be subtle, to say the least.
The Zen DAC looks like a good suggestion, not that I've heard it myself.

Here's what I've recently bought. I wouldn't be surprised if, as soon as you see it, you instantly rule it out:
Now how would you feel if it looked more like this:
Massive respect to March Audio as, to their credit, they seem to be making no secret of the fact that their highly reviewed DAC1 is the Khadas Toneboard in a (very smart) case. The only difference being a lack of the coaxial digital input.

Putting my KTB in a metal case, involved drilling 6 holes, a plastic case would be even easier.
A case is optional though - could easily be hidden away as- is.
The board is powered by USB from your PC. It has a white LED power indicator, arrange it to shine through the case or do what I did and fit an external LED - otherwise no soldering is required.

I really don't think you'll do better for £100 or, for that matter, considerably more.
I haven't heard of it before but I will definitely consider it. I do like how simple and compact it looks. Thanks for the suggestion
 
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upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
8
1
25
You do not need to use a HI-Fi DAC when using a computer as they are not optimally designed for it, you are better off going for a professional Computer Audio Interface such as a Focusrite or Motu etc. as you will get much better performance at less cost. (Always best to use the right tool for the job)

Go to a Professional Music Store (Or online store) to see and try them out, also if you wish for reviews (Never the best way to purchase) look for reviews on professional audio interfaces on pro music sites and forums.

Bill
To be fair, never heard of that before. I looked the Focusrite up and it seems a good piece of kit. How would this be better than say a CM DacMagic 100 for example?
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I haven't heard of it before but I will definitely consider it.
Please do.
I had never heard of it either and, needless to say, looks certainly wouldn't have sold it to me.
I'm a pessimist, always prepared to be disappointed by the the things I buy.
All I can say is this impressed me. Biggest improvement in sound I've had from a DAC change.
(still subtle improvements of course when compared to the sort of differences, say, speakers can bring).
Your take-home message from everybody's suggestions should be that you don't need to spend a lot - I've certainly found it best not to (fortunately the £600 one was on home loan!).

Edit PS: If you've got an old CD player with coax digital output, the Khadas coax in is likely to transform its sound for the better. I use both inputs, (when playing, USB overrides the coax in).
 
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Hawkmoon

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2020
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Used Chord Mojo. Or even an Audioquest Cobalt - highly regarded and MQA compatible as well. Pro-ject Dac Box S2 highly reviewed and also looks good.
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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To be fair, never heard of that before. I looked the Focusrite up and it seems a good piece of kit. How would this be better than say a CM DacMagic 100 for example?
It comes with a driver that is optimised for the audio interface to give maximum performance; in addition it comes with software to set things set-up up exactly as you want. (You will not see studios that make the music you listen too using Hi-Fi DACS; they always use the right tool for the job for maximum performance)

Bill
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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......You will not see studios that make the music you listen too using Hi-Fi DACS
....unless perhaps they wanted to double-check how their productions sound on non-pro, 'inferior' Hi-fi DACs eh Bill?
You know, in the same way that some use real-world speakers in addition to their super duper monitors - so they know what it's going to sound like for the average punter.
....and if much of the output they turn out these days is anything to go by, the phrase, "all the gear, no idea" might seem appropriate. 'Pro' to me, doesn't always equate to better (I know, because I was one :sneaky:).
 
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rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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I'll +1 the Project and the Topping. Audio interfaces are ok too, but you'll have a useless pre-amp stage in the circuit. For what it's worth, you should seriously consider some ministands or pucks from ISOacoustics for example - to put under the speakers. A great deal of improvement can be had with propper isolation and positioning of the speakers, at least the same as a DAC upgrade.
 

upmap

Active member
Aug 9, 2020
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Thank you all for the help, I narrowed it down to the Topping E30, Pro-Ject Dac Box USB and Pro-Ject Dac Box S2+. Is there a big difference between the two pro-jects? Again, it will be connected via USB to my computer and I will be playing FLAC songs, PC outputs 24bit, 192khz. Thanks!
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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....unless perhaps they wanted to double-check how their productions sound on non-pro, 'inferior' Hi-fi DACs eh Bill?
You know, in the same way that some use real-world speakers in addition to their super duper monitors - so they know what it's going to sound like for the average punter.
....and if much of the output they turn out these days is anything to go by, the phrase, "all the gear, no idea" might seem appropriate. 'Pro' to me, doesn't always equate to better (I know, because I was one :sneaky:).
I am not saying Hi-Fi DACs are inferior, as for what they are designed for there are some great ones out there, however using the right tool for the job will always give better results, thus an audio interface designed specifically to get the best performance with a computer will usually be the better option.

Bill
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
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There are dozens if not hundreds of Hi-Fi DACs designed for PC use. Anything with a USB input. Audio interfaces just give you versatility for recording and production. Something that 99% of end users don't want or need.
 
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