Which DAC ?

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record_spot

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May 30, 2015
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Just had a look. It uses a WM8741. Rather hope is got something else going for it internally. It's a good DAC, but the family dates back a good twenty years almost and the 8741's been used in a bunch of other DACs, including the Cambridge DACMagic 100. The 8740 before it in a huge range of products, including the AVI Lab Series CD player and the Cambridge 752BD.

Great DAC, but I'd be surprised if it isn't a sound you might already be familiar with.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Just had a look. It uses a WM8741. Rather hope is got something else going for it internally. It's a good DAC, but the family dates back a good twenty years almost and the 8741's been used in a bunch of other DACs, including the Cambridge DACMagic 100. The 8740 before it in a huge range of products, including the AVI Lab Series CD player and the Cambridge 752BD.

Great DAC, but I'd be surprised if it isn't a sound you might already be familiar with.
I believe the WM8741 was also used by Rega, Lumin and Linn. I know they were used in the original Linn Klimax streamer, and my Akurate model, before they moved to AKM for the Katalyst upgrade.

As ever, the implementation makes as much if not more difference than the actual chip.
 
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aversaurus

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Jan 11, 2016
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Mite have another look at the audiolab m DAC I was sort of put off it as it was suggested it sounded clinical but according to another post audiolab don't sound clinical it's a myth
 

painter24

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May 31, 2021
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I believe the WM8741 was also used by Rega, Lumin and Linn. I know they were used in the original Linn Klimax streamer, and my Akurate model, before they moved to AKM for the Katalyst upgrade.

As ever, the implementation makes as much if not more difference than the actual chip.


I agree; if you read the whole segment from NJC's site focused on the DAC, and everything they built up around the chip itself, you can see they haven't just thrown a chip in a box with some in's and outputs and said "hey, here's our DAC". There's a lot of deliberation over other component choices, and design around how it's all put together.

I was ok with my Bluesound Node feeding the NJC; I new the Node was probably the weakest link in my set up, so recently (this week) purchased the Innuos Zen Mini Mkiii w/LPS pre-loved.

In the back of my mind I did have a niggle that the NJC may be playing its A Game already, decoding the Node, and it may not get any better than what I was getting with that combo.
But no, the NJC has certainly not disgraced itself at all; it's met the upgrade head on, the pairing sounds excellent to me. I stand by my earlier remark re: the NJC DAC; it let's the music through without messing about - I'm hearing the Innuos/music, not the DAC itself.

Whatever NJC are doing with the WM8471 altogether, I don't have the technical knowledge to fully understand/comprehend it, but it's more than earning its keep. I was thinking of upgrading my DAC before I came to my senses, and looked at my Streamer instead.

Plus of course the source upgrade, through the NJC is bringing me more musical enjoyment from the investment in the Atoll and Triangles, showing me more of what those 2 pieces of gear can do. Definitely the right move for me, and a lot of that satisfaction is down to the NJC.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
152
70
18,670
I believe the WM8741 was also used by Rega, Lumin and Linn. I know they were used in the original Linn Klimax streamer, and my Akurate model, before they moved to AKM for the Katalyst upgrade.

As ever, the implementation makes as much if not more difference than the actual chip.
It's been used by loads - the 8740 alone's been in any number of players, DAP's and the rest over its' lifetime. The 8741 just continues that.

But, regardless of implementation, every time I've had a player with an 8740 in it (there's been a few over the years), they all have that certain rightness in their sound. Wolfson just nailed it with that one.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
152
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18,670
Mite have another look at the audiolab m DAC I was sort of put off it as it was suggested it sounded clinical but according to another post audiolab don't sound clinical it's a myth

Not a bad idea. I dislike wasting dealers' time these days so always buy and try at home. Worth a shot (and I think I saw one on Ebay recently for £599 - you'd need to check if there was a trial return period with that).
 

Gray

Well-known member
Mite have another look at the audiolab m DAC I was sort of put off it as it was suggested it sounded clinical but according to another post audiolab don't sound clinical it's a myth
For what it's worth, the post you refer to said that modern Audiolab doesn't sound clinical.
Whilst obviously not as old as early Audiolab, the M-DAC, it's hardly modern.
I think you'll find the poster's verdict is based more on his experience with the 6000A.

(It was many years ago that I (effectively) had the M-DAC on home loan.
I won't attempt to describe its sound - not least because personally, I don't regard the sound that some describe as 'clinical', to be as negative as they obviously do).

Ultimately though, I couldn't justify its (£600) price, so I didn't buy it.
 
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aversaurus

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Jan 11, 2016
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So now I'm back to square one.
I have sold my DAC and the two I've gone after have fallen flat .
So I need some advice which DAC to choose.I only buy used and my budget is round £500 or more for the right item .
What should I be looking at?
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
152
70
18,670
So now I'm back to square one.
I have sold my DAC and the two I've gone after have fallen flat .
So I need some advice which DAC to choose.I only buy used and my budget is round £500 or more for the right item .
What should I be looking at?
Don't take this the wrong way old son, but why don't you draft a shortlist of what you need, then go onto Ebay and do a BIN search on used DACs in the UK from, say, £100 up to £500? Then you'll get a list of what's out there and you can then do some reading up on user reviews, magazine reviews, etc, etc...

Also, Chord Chordette Qute for £395 and your M-DAC+ for £480 to get you started. And a whole pile of others!
 
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aversaurus

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Jan 11, 2016
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I think I was looking for this is what I have and this is why it's so good .
I had a list it got me nowhere.
I'm off the list now looking for inspiration.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
152
70
18,670
I think I was looking for this is what I have and this is why it's so good .
I had a list it got me nowhere.
I'm off the list now looking for inspiration.
Have a look on Ebay, apart from the two I mentioned, there's an Audio Note Zero, a Metrum, and a few others that come in under your budget. SMSL have an outlet on Amazon, so you can try risk free. Very worth looking at. Ca' canny with Topping. They have an issue with the coax on their DACs at the moment - Paul Rigby raised this a few months ago - so it's worth avoiding if you want hi-res from a coax connection on your DAC.
 

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