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Which DAC you would choose? naim,benchmark or cyrus

 

Bronze Member
Username: Jeffbucks

Post Number: 30
Registered: Oct-06
Hi,
I'm intending to purchase a good DAC for my hall system which is a CARY 11a processor & Cinema 5 amp +sonos streaming device, my choices so far have been:

1. Benchmark dac1-pre
2. Naim DAC
3. Cyrus dac-x+

and use the balance outputs of DACs. Since maybe later I want to upgrade my system I intend to get a good one. what do you think about mentioned dacs? Do you suggest sth else or have you experienced these three?

Please let me know your experiences.

Best Regards
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3254
Registered: Feb-07
What made you narrow it down to those 3 choices? What was your criteria?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jeffbucks

Post Number: 32
Registered: Oct-06
actually I had just read good reviews about theses three and most available ones but if you prefer anything else please let me have your idea.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3255
Registered: Feb-07
What kind of inputs do you need on the DAC?

I'd take a look at the Bryston DAC. Also, I know Nuck has recently bought the Grant Fidelity DAC, you may want to ask him about that.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Superc468

Post Number: 12
Registered: May-09
The naim usa website has the new NAIM DAC listed at 3500$ US. 1500$ better than the Bryston DAC? $3000 better than the DAC magic from Cambridge audio - any thoughts........anyone compared the CA offering with Bryston? It might be silly to do - but is the extra cashola worth it?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13947
Registered: Dec-04
The CA840 stole everybody elses dance card with its connectivity and quality.
Everybody has caught up, and the Bryston has garnered nothing but roses since its release.
The Naim might be great, and I hope so, but I have not read much, let alone heard it.

If it is Naim, then there must be an outboard power supply available, several levels of power cords, various feet and assorted other ways to die the death of a thousand cuts.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13948
Registered: Dec-04
The Grant tube DAC is a fun toy, nothing more.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3277
Registered: Feb-07
That's kinda what I figured. I had the GF tube buffer. Same deal.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2226
Registered: May-06
Will you bring the Grant Tube DAC with you when you come down?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13949
Registered: Dec-04
yep.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3564
Registered: May-05
"The naim usa website has the new NAIM DAC listed at 3500$ US. 1500$ better than the Bryston DAC? $3000 better than the DAC magic from Cambridge audio - any thoughts........anyone compared the CA offering with Bryston? It might be silly to do - but is the extra cashola worth it?"

Worth the money is a personal thing. To some an extra $1500 isn't a big deal. To me, its never going to happen. It all depends on your wallet.

I haven't heard the DacMagic. I've heard nothing but good things about it. I have heard the BDA-1, and everything that I've read about it has been true. Its a great product.

$2k ain't cheap by any means. $1600 better than the DacMagic that I haven't heard? Most likely not. If all I had was $400 or whatever the DacMagic costs, I'd be all about tracking one down.

Is the BDA-1 literally twice as good as the Benchmark DAC1? I don't think so. But I'd much rather the BDA-1 and wouldn't mind paying the difference. Now the only part is coming up with it.

Absolute sound quality can't really be quantified. Other things can. The BDA-1 is more versatile - it has more inputs, more connectivity options, and upsampling options. That doesn't mean the DAC1 is a slouch by any means.

More features mean more money. I don't know about Benchmark's customer service, but Bryston's is world class. That ain't free nor cheap, and nor should it be. Bryston will fix just about anything they've ever built, and for a pretty respectable price. Nick K bought an approx 20 year old Bryston amp second hand. He sent it to the factory and they updated it to better than original spec for about 3 or 4 hundred dollars. I can send my 10 year old integrated amp back and have it updated to the current model for $125. How many companies can say the same thing? Can Cambridge fix a 15 year old amp? Probably not. Bryston's amps are covered for 20 years, and its transferrable.

By all accounts, not just mine, the BDA-1 is an appreciable bit better than the DAC-1. $1k better? Depends on your wallet.

I haven't heard the Naim DAC. Its got some technology that neither of the others have. Like the Bryston and Benchmark, its built by people who make an honest wage for honest work, not a factory in a 3rd world country who doesn't care about people nor the environment. That ain't cheap either.

When you look at the whole picture, it makes far more sense why things are priced the way they are. Sound quality has very little to do with it. A BMW M3 isn't 8 times faster than a Hyundai Excel. Tell you what though, I'd take an M3 over 10 Excels.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13950
Registered: Dec-04
I hate parking my 10 Excel's at the airport...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Superc468

Post Number: 13
Registered: May-09
Well said Stu...and an M3 just might be 8 times faster than an excel.....
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 2827
Registered: Jun-07
Well said Stu. Bryston are world class IMO. When I took the lid off my 3B and it was crispy new looking inside and it sounded much better for 330 dollars. Plus they re-did my 15 year old pre amp as well like new for an extra 175. Both prices are shipping included, and new original boxes. Their service was amazing.

I have a DAC Magic in my system right now. By all means for the money it is amazing. I would say on par with my Rega Apollo, giving that you have a good source feeding it. I have heard the Bryston DAC and it by all means trumps the the DAC Magic by a good margin. My dealer sells both. Is it worth the extra money? For me it is. In time I will own a Bryston DAC and settle for a long time with it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3325
Registered: Feb-07
In time I'll probably own the Bryston DAC too Nick. I still gotta get around to sending in my 30 year old 3B for a bit of Bryston TLC.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 2832
Registered: Jun-07
lol right on David.

Send it in!! I was thinking I would get mine back all nice and redone with the same sort of sonics. Nope!! I was wrong! The sound was clearly better. By a good margin. Its not that expensive either. My total bill was about 175 more because of the Pre Amp too. A re-haul should cost you around 350.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 87
Registered: Oct-07
I've had the PS Audio Dac III w/ Cullen 3 mods for a bit over a year now. I'm still very happy with the way it combines with the Bryston and B&W's. I had considered Benchmark, but had no chance to listen and was concerned it would be too clinical for me w/ the Bryston. I had an Apollo prior to Dac III for about a year, with a little overlap in time. The Apollo was a bit too thin for me w/ the Bryston stuff, but had better snap (alone) than the Dac III (w/ Apollo or Denon DVD as source).

I have avoided looking at anything else (trying not to spend any$), but the Bryston Dac is very appealing. Bryson gear and company are incredible. Very helpful in all correspondence. I can't even get PS Audio to acknowledge my warranty registration. I hope I don't need it.
 

New member
Username: Kaspermerlin

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jul-10
hi guys, i am thinking about getting a dac for my computer flac library
but i don't want to spend a ton of money. any ideas? what about the V-DAC. the little black box. would that work well, or do i need to look for something else?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3925
Registered: May-05
Berny,

There's a lot that goes into selecting the right DAC. If you start a new thread and give us some info as to price, inputs, rest of the system, I'm sure we can help you out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4154
Registered: Feb-07
I'm hearing lots of good things about the Wyred 4 Sound (I know, silly name) DACs. Not just from reviewers, but from real people.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3926
Registered: May-05
I've got my eye on the Arcam rDAC. Gotta get to my dealer soon.

Dave, interested in an Apollo?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4155
Registered: Feb-07
Dammit Stu, I told myself I was done buying stuff.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4156
Registered: Feb-07
How much do the Arcam DACs go for?
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1010
Registered: Jul-07
All of the Wyred for Sound gear is getting very good press......Dac's, amps, and preamps. Seems like quality stuff. And like you David, I'm hearing it from sources other than professional reviewers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4159
Registered: Feb-07
I was kicking around the idea of picking up a Wyred power amp but I'm still a little hesitant about the whole Class D thing. I'm reading a lot of stuff in various forums from people who own Wyred stuff and really dig it.

But, I bought a new tube amp instead.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3927
Registered: May-05
The Arcam rDAC retails for $479. There's a wireless version coming out soon. Not sure about price or how that'll work. The rDAC reportedly is at least on par with the Arcam CD37, which is a very good CDP to my ears. It also uses dCS's USB something or other. It uses Wolfson DAC chips, which is what my Apollo and a few other digital sources that I like use. Not that that's everything, but it accounts for something.

I heard the Wyred DAC is a bit dark sounding. That's not exactly what I'm looking for.

I getting tired of waiting for a Rega DAC. I heard about 5 different release dates, but nothing has been reported at all by the press. Nothing has been shown at a show. Kinda makes me think a Rega DAC is a long way off.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 742
Registered: Dec-06
I wouldn't mind trying a DAC with my 650BD. If it at least matches my Apollo for sound quality then I might consider selling the Rega and making a bit of money on the whole deal. But I'll be enjoying the Apollo for at least a couple of years I think.

The only pain with using an external DAC would be when I want to play SACD and DVD-A. If I'm not mistaken most DACs will not accommodate this kind of signal. So I would have to unplug the DAC and plug interconnects into the line outs every time I want to play high res material, and change up the interconnects at the amp end too. Not fun.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3928
Registered: May-05
I'm pretty sure most DACs will play those formats, Dan. If I'm not mistaken, those are the majority of the high res files people have.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15280
Registered: Dec-04
Dan, in my testing, the Oppo BD83SE bested the Apollo.
Just so's ya think about that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4164
Registered: Feb-07
Didn't M.R. have favourable results with the Oppo as well?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13020
Registered: Feb-05
Just for balance I don't think that the Oppo sounds as good as the Apollo...more detail and all of that but also more hifi sounding to my ears.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 744
Registered: Dec-06
The 650BD is similar to the Oppo, right? Although probably less so compared the SE version. But I dunno, I find my Apollo to be better than the 650BD. Much better. Smoother and with much more clarity. Keep in mind I'm running the upgraded 35th Anniversary edition. When I put the Apollo in to my system with the Quad 12L2 and the Audiolab 8000S, the difference was huge. I feel the same qualities are preserved when I'm using my Exposure 2010s2, which I've got hooked up now. It has less body than my 8000S (which I don't like) but very low level detail and microdynamics are better. So I think I'm sticking with the 2010s2, because these things are a direct part of the music. I can hopefully add greater body with different speakers and still keep the other stuff I like.

Anyways, I went off on a bit of a tangent there...

I think I should note that this is one system, and that maybe the 650BD will sound better in other systems. And with another set of ears listening. But frankly, a specialized player like the Apollo should beat a mid priced universal at least most of the time. Maybe I should've got the SE version of the Oppo, but the 650BD matches my Cambridge tuner, and it gets use only as a DVD/BR/SACD/DVD-A player, so I'm okay with it for now. In a few months, well, who knows!
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 745
Registered: Dec-06
Actually, after a bit of reading, I've discovered the 650BD is based off of the BDP-80, not the BDP-83, let alone the 83se. Costs a fair bit more than the 80 too.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15287
Registered: Dec-04
I hate when that happens, Dan.

When I ran the 83SE to a Mac, the result was even more dynamic than the Apollo.
I got more piano Attack from Diana Krall as well as more speed from Neil Peart's drums.
It's a winner.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 746
Registered: Dec-06
Interesting. Maybe one day I'll make a change, but given what I use the player for it's not a priority. I just got a 23" hi def monitor from Dell for only $180, so I'll be using that to play the occasional movie. If the picture quality is excellent (I'm sure it'll be stunning compared to what I'm used to) then I'll stick. Hi res audio sounds much better on the 650BD than does redbook, and redbook is glorious on the Apollo. For now I'm covered.

The Arcam rDAC looks interesting though...I might ask my dealer for an in-home trial later this year. $499 in Canada, at least that's what Bay Bloor has it at.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1465
Registered: Oct-07
Nuck, The 83se went to your stereo thru RCA or a DAC? If DAC, which one? I've lost track of who ended up with the Bryston!

Do you think the '83 or the SE version would be better to a DAC or not much difference?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15292
Registered: Dec-04
Leo, using the 83SE's stacked DAC's are the big selling point for the unit.
As a transport or BDplayer, the SE is no different than the regular 83.

I have the Bryston BDA-1, so does Nick.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1467
Registered: Oct-07
Got it. So the regular '83 would probably be the way to go for those using an external DAC.......?
Good news. Might allow selling my CA and the OPPO upsampler and exchanging for an '83 and a DAC? Than I'd have a single disk player for everything, upgrade to BR and still have the flexibility of an external DAC. Might fly if I can do it for minimal $$$.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 749
Registered: Dec-06
Nuck, is it safe to day if you had an Apollo and 650BD you sell those and buy the 83SE? And pocket some cash on the whole deal as well perhaps?

What do you think is better...a 650BD through a DAC like the Arcam rDAC, or an 83SE alone? It sounds like the ESS DACs in the 83SE are pretty special.

I love the Apollo though...definitely not ready to get rid of it yet. What makes it tougher is that it's the 35th Anniversary edition...not a lot of those floating around. I love the top loading mechanism and it just looks and feels like a real high end piece.

There's always something better on the horizon. You could be in a perpetual state of upgrading. I could probably switch the 650BD for the BDP-83 for very little expenditure, and theoretically at least have better video playback. I guess the SE would only be necessary if I'd want to use it for audio as well, and that'll depend if I'm willing to part with the Apollo. What leo is considering is a possibility as well, the standard version + DAC. Having the extra flexibility of changing a DAC is attractive.

This hobby is nuts!

By the way, this is from SolutionsAV, the Cdn distributor:

PLEASE NOTE: The only improvement in the BDP-83SE over the regular BDP-83 is the ANALOG audio. As such, the BDP-83 Special Edition is for those who primarily use the analog audio output to connect to either a dedicated stereo or a multi-channel surround system. If you primarily use the HDMI output to connect to an A/V receiver or directly to a TV/projector, or primarily use the optical/coaxial digital audio output, the standard BDP-83 is recommended, as you will realize no gains from the Special Edition version of the BDP-83.
http://www.solutionsav.ca/oppo.html
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 750
Registered: Dec-06
Here's another question for ya Nuck...when using my 650BD to play an audio disc, I have to hit play before I can choose a track. For example, if I want track 9 on a CD, I have to hit play and then 9. So invariably song 1 will play for a couple of seconds before it allows me to change the track. This is a pain! Is it the same with the Oppo? IMO you should simply be able to insert the disc, choose the track, and then hit play.

SolutionsAV has a 15 day no hassle return policy on the Oppo players. I might buy the SE version, compare to the Apollo, and if I prefer it I'll keep it. If not I'll downgrade to the standard BDP-83. Something to maybe try out this coming winter.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15300
Registered: Dec-04
I had no problems selecting tracks, Dan, in any sequence.
The guy at Solutions is Andrew, he is opening a storefront right aboot now as well.
Good guy, if a little slow answering emails.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 751
Registered: Dec-06
It might just be a setting on the 650BD. I'll have to take a closer look.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15303
Registered: Dec-04
There may be an autoplay that you can disable?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jeffbucks

Post Number: 35
Registered: Oct-06
back to 1st post does anyone have any experience with Cyrus DACX+ & CDXT se?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3980
Registered: May-05
Haven't heard the Cyrus DAC, sorry.
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