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I was going to get a dac until.....

 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14866
Registered: Jun-04
I started copying my cds with exact audio copy and it was saying there was less than 100% peak level in some songs. And once I saw that I was like I want the flexibility of having my music files on my computer but not at the expense of quality. So for me it looks like im going to keep using my $500 nad cd player instead of selling it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14867
Registered: Jun-04
I did 1 cd again as a test and used the option test and record and the results looked to be better 3 songs out of 12 had loss though.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 711
Registered: Dec-06
EAC should make a 100% accurate copy of each disc. The peak number is reporting the peak or maximum volume level expressed as a percentage, not the quality of the copy. If it's 90% then that means that the loudest part of the disc is 90% of the maximum volume possible. So it's simply reporting something about how the music was actually recorded in the first place. http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/en/index.php/support/faq/extraction-questions/

If EAC can't get it right it is not likely that a $500 CD player on the fly will be able to do any better, nor even one priced much higher. But, as far as I know, EAC usually does get it right and might only be limited on albums where it doesn't have enough uploaded copies to check against.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14873
Registered: Jun-04
ok thanks for the explanation....as far as a quality dac if you were buying one which would it be....im hoping to get a dac that out performs my 500 dollar nad cd player
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1330
Registered: Oct-07
How much $$?
Out doing a 500$ CD player should be easy.
The CA DacMagic is considered good for the money and there are fans here of the Bryston DAC. For a bit more coin! and at all price points in between.
Doesn't Wadia make an outrageously expensive DAC? In the 5 digit range?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3095
Registered: Jun-07
Dan L is right.

I am liking Leo's picks for DACS. I own both the Dac Magic and Bryston. Like them both. Bryston is superior but comes at a cost. At the same price as your NAD cdp, the DAC Magic should, in most cases, sound much better.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2398
Registered: May-06
HRT Media Streamer+ is worthy of consideration.

It is not just the DAC but contrary to many arguments the USB cable has a significant impact on SQ. Not only the quality of the cable but length of the USB itself matters. Then there are the RCAs which should be at least equal in terms of quality and performance to any other source in the system
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14877
Registered: Jun-04
I saw the dac magic is on sale for 429 as of now so that price would be my limit....although from what I read id love to have a music hall 25.2 but 595 is a bit steep
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14878
Registered: Jun-04
I saw the HRT Media Streamer+ can be had for 200 bucks how would that hold a candle to my other considerations though?
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2399
Registered: May-06
Nick or Nuck might be in a better position to offer their experiences. It really does not matter what one versus the other does in someone else's kit as the results you experience will be unique to you, your kit, your room, and your ears.

Buying from a retailer should allow you a 30 day return in most cases. Is there a dealer in your area that could allow for you to demo DACs and USB cables at home?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14879
Registered: Jun-04
I see the music hall 25.2 is tube based and I think i want to stay away from that because id assume theres more upkeep to it because of that but i like that it is characterized as a natural player something i think im looking for
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14880
Registered: Jun-04
there may be one dealer that carries dac's in my area ill check
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14881
Registered: Jun-04
not having much luck locating a carrier
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 965
Registered: Jul-07
Other options;

Wavelength Proton - $1000
Eastern Electric DAC (tube) - $750
Moon 300D DAC - - $1500
Blue Circle USB Thingy - $179

Don't brush off the Blue Circle DAC because of the price. I've heard it, and it is amazingly good for the price. Not much to look at, but it sounds good.

The other units are all excellent, but different. All have USB connection options.

As for tube DAC's, I guess if changing a tube every 4 or 5 years is considered high maintenance, then yeah they're more upkeep. I myself wouldn't consider that a material concern.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3096
Registered: Jun-07
Good options Chris and Mike.

The HRT Streamer Plus is a great unit, especially at its price point. HRT have three new models out now. There is the Plus, the new Plus 2, the PRO, and the HD. All of which come at a higher price point, but better quality. The Pro is on my short list to audition.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3886
Registered: May-05
I'm pretty sure the Blue Circle USB Thingy isn't a DAC. Its a USB to coax converter if I'm not mistaken.

Under or around $500 there's some good DACs out there -
Musical Fidelity V-DAC
Cambridge DACmagic
HRT options
Beresford

Then there's the used market at places like Audiogon.
I bought a used older Theta Cobalt DAC from a local dealer for about $200 or so. It hangs with my Rega Apollo in sound quality.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 14882
Registered: Jun-04
"I bought a used older Theta Cobalt DAC from a local dealer for about $200 or so. It hangs with my Rega Apollo in sound quality."

can you still get one for that? I wont be ready to buy until next month but i like the sounds of that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2400
Registered: May-06
Nick, I thought the Pro had higher gains suited for musical production as opposed to music playback.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3887
Registered: May-05
Sean -
PM me when you're ready to buy something. I'm looking to upgrade and was planning on selling it. If we're both ready at the same time, we can work something out. I'll talk to you more about how it sounds, etc. at that time. I started a thread about it somewhere here a while back.
It doesn't have a USB input. Not sure if that changes anything.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15012
Registered: Jun-04
how does it get hooked up then if it doesnt have usb hookup
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3888
Registered: May-05
It has a coax input and a toslink input. If your computer doesn't have these outputs, you can either get a converter like the Blue Circle USB Thingy, or get a streamer like the Squeezebox or Apple TV. I use an Apple TV because I don't want the computer connected to the stereo.

If you're going straight to the DAC from a computer, a USB DAC would probably be most convenient, unless you have another digital output.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15016
Registered: Jun-04
the only digital output I have is my optical output from my sound card
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15156
Registered: Dec-04
Thats a toslink connection, thats fine


I had the Music Hall 25.2 for about a week to try out on a pass around.
I found it...flat. It has no soul, and lacks range in the upper registers.

The Bryston is a smokin' unit, just buy one, if the $ is handy.

Nick may have closely tested more DAC's than anybody...maybe anywhere.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15017
Registered: Jun-04
I wish I had that kind of money to throw around...point taken on the 25.2
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15018
Registered: Jun-04
the Musical Fidelity - V-DAC is looking pretty good to me now esp at $299 and I want to be ready for the 192//24 experience
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3097
Registered: Jun-07
Mike - You very well could be right. I have not researched the pro too much. I see it has only balanced connections instead of RCA. Thats about as much as I know about it right now.lol

Sean - I would look into Stu's Theta DAC, Theta make some of the best all digital gear out there. Worth a shot. What kind of sound card are you using? For DAC's in your price range I would highly recommend using Optical, if the Optical out on your sound card is any good. Unless of course you go with a full USB get up. The HRT units have great USB integration, but thats all you get for connectivity. Simple, but effective. The Theta unit offers more to the table.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15019
Registered: Jun-04
thats the thing its stock from an hp thunderbird 802 pc

http://www.amazon.com/HP-Firebird-VoodooDNA-802-Desktop/dp/B001NPCT3C
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3099
Registered: Jun-07
Oh dear god....lol When that things dies, call me. hehe j/k Sean.

Looks like a basic Realtek Optical which should be fine. Still worth trying up against USB. Very impressive graphic engine for such a small unit however. Small Hard Drive, if the HP is a long term solution look into a large RAID controller with hot swappable powered drive bays, with about 8TB drive usage. MmmMMmm Thats a lot of music.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15020
Registered: Jun-04
I have the 500 gigs of storage thats in the pc plus 1.2 tb of external hitachi drives right now im converting my music to one of my 640 gig hitachi drives in wav form.....I have about 100 cd's in my collection
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3889
Registered: May-05
I'm not trying to push my Theta DAC on you, so please don't take it that way. This isn't salesmanship, its just honesty. I saying this stuff because I think it applies to every DAC...

The Theta won't do hi res music and doesn't upsample. It'll only do 44.1/16. People get too hung up on that IMO. How many SACDs/HDCDs/DVD-As do you own? There are hi res downloads available, but the selection is limited. Very little mainstream music is available as high res. When I get a new DAC, the hi res ability will be a niceity, not a requirement. Upsampling is a mixed bag to my ears. Sometimes it sounds great, sometimes it sounds worse.

It only has 2 inputs - coax and optical. How many inputs and what type should be dictated by what you'll connect. I'd like to connect my cable box, DVD player and/or XBox, and Apple TV to my next DAC. Not enough with the DAC. But that also depends on where the system ends up in the next apartment (I move at the end of the month).

Everyone gets hung up on which chip is used. The ESS Sabre is all the rage this month. People recommend DACs just based on that on a lot of forums. The same chip is used in ultra high end DACs/CD players and lower end gear like the Peachtree receivers. There's more to the DAC than the chip.

When Bryston developed their DAC and CD player, they stated that the chip wasn't nearly as improtant as they thought it would be. They tried a ton of them. They found power supply, output devices, and other stuff along those lines made a far bigger difference. Some companies boast the latest and greatest chip in a DAC that's very cheap in hopes of getting people to buy it for the chip alone. And it works!

Theta (along with a lot of others) doesn't build junk. The chip was a decent chip back when it was introduced - mid 90's - and would be considered seriously outdated in today's stuff. Its pretty odd how a DAC with a chip that was average a decade and a half ago can compete with my $1k Rega Apollo thats 3 years old. Theta built everything around that chip right. Rega did too, don't get me wrong. The Apollo is better to my ears. The Theta does several things better than the Apollo - its cleaner sounding, more detailed, and soundstages a bit better. Its very musical to my ears, in an honest way. But I still prefer the Apollo. It just boogies a bit better. Can't describe it better than that.

If I owned the Theta first, I wouldn't have bought the Apollo. It wouldn't have been worth the money to me. I rarely use the Apollo any more, if that's an indication of how close they are.

Bringing it all back around, don't buy a DAC because of a chip, sample rates, etc. Buy something that sounds good and has what's most important. If you need certain types of inputs and a certain number of each, that makes a difference. If you have hi res music, that makes a difference.

Again, not pushing anything on you. I haven't heard the Musical Fidelity DAC. Its gotten great reviews, but I've often read that the Cambridge DAC is better. I haven't heard the HRT units either. They seem very simple and straight forward. From several trusted people here, they're excellent for the money. If all you need it for is to connect the computer to the stereo, that should be high up on your list. If your computer has a USB output, it'll work.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15021
Registered: Jun-04
thanks stu.....how bad do you think my realtec optical card will hurt the quality compared to what you had hooked up
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1332
Registered: Oct-07
Based on many posts and professional reviews of USB output, I'd tend to stay away with the exception of Asynchronous USB. Reviews of USB devices are all over the place. Even for the same device.

Link to first 1000$ Asynchronous USB dac I came across:: USB places a pretty good overhead load on the host computer with this type of exception.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Wavelength-Audio-Proton-Asynchronous-U SB-DAC-Review

Some DACs even have balanced out. Does this matter to you?
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 966
Registered: Jul-07
"I'm pretty sure the Blue Circle USB Thingy isn't a DAC. Its a USB to coax converter if I'm not mistaken."

You're half right Stu. It's is a converter, but also has a dac with analog outs. It can be ordered in different configurations, depending on what you're trying to do with it.

http://www.bluecircle.com/index.php?menu_id=5002

And as I said, it sounds very good, but doesn't look like much. I haven't heard every inexpensive dac out there, but I would wager that it sounds as good or better than most sub $1000 dac's or cdp's. No money went into the looks (as you can tell), and the silicone the electrical components are sitting in act as a very effective isolation medium.

http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/blue_circle_usb_thingee.htm
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3100
Registered: Jun-07
Sean - Your optical out should be just fine.

Regards to Stu's post. I completely agree. The DAC magic for example is suppose to be " an automatic upsampling DAC" although there is no indication that it is in fact doing anything. Upsample IMO is more a marketing ploy than a quality jump in sound. When I set my optical out to force the Dac Magic into 192/24 it sounds far worse than when I set it to the basic 44.1/16. The indication light on the front changes when I feed the frequency to the DAC Magic.

Do not buy a DAC based on features like Sample Rates, or what chip it has. Buy on quality, sound and meeting the needs of connectivity. When you first take the Bryston DAC out of the box, its 18 pound weight and connectivity makes you take a step back. When you hear it, you may cry a little. Bring some tissues. lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3893
Registered: May-05
Sean,

Not sure how your card compares with my Apple TV. The Apple TV reportedly has high jitter. If you can find them, look up the jitter specs of your card and the Apple TV. They're the only spec that's important here. I think the jitter spec claims are important, but their significance is a bit overblown. Some say it's inaudible, some say it's everything. The truth is usually in the middle.

There are jitter reducing devices out there. I've been tempted to try the Monarchy DIP or Theta TLC. They can be found used for about $200 or so. They also convert optical to coax, which usually sounds better. When I was trying out the Theta, I compared my Apollo's coax and optical outs into the Theta's. The coax sounded better.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3101
Registered: Jun-07
I found the optical out on the Apollo to be lackluster. The coax was definitely better. I have found that Optical has been better in some occasions, depending how the player has integrated the connection, but in most cases Coax as a whole is better.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1333
Registered: Oct-07
RE: Apple Jitter.
I think the whole company may be a little jumpy.
If the Apple TV has 'high jitter', than the Airport Express is wacky high. Apple, while clearly tech savy, has few audiophiles in there employ.

I like optical because of the reduced possibility of inducing yet another grounding problem. though a 'lackluster' output would certainly be a factor.

There are also some who are completely ANTI upsampling making many claims of sonic damage.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 712
Registered: Dec-06
I'd be wary of buying anything that upsamples if I can't override it. First I'd want to do a long trial to be sure I'm okay with the sound. But that's just me, I don't have enough experience with the technology to know how comfortable I'd ultimately be with it. Is it so hard to make an override function? It seems most DACs don't have this, even a $1,500 Simaudio DAC. It should be like a source direct button...give the user some control over the signal.

But it all depends...if the DAC doesn't cost much and maybe I buy it used and can sell it for about what I paid, I'd certainly be open to trying it. Low risk.

I'm not saying it sounds better or worse...just in my limited experience I didn't like it. But as with most things in this hobby, it probably all depends on execution.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3102
Registered: Jun-07
I agree. Two things I do not like about the Cambridge DAC is no override for the upsample and no override for the three built in EQ settings. Luckily, its a very very good sounding DAC. The Bryston has no EQ, and a simple Upsample button on the front to shut it off and on. Personally, with every dac I have tried in my system, they have all performed best simply taking in and sending out 44.1 at 16bit. Even 44.1/ 24 bit usually doesn't sound as real. Could just be me though.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15025
Registered: Jun-04
thanks for all the input guys I was looking for first hand technical experience and you guys gave it....if you think of any more feel free to share
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3894
Registered: May-05
Leo -

According to an article written by PS Audio when they visited the Apple HQ in California, Apple has several execs who are serious audiophiles. They wondered why none of them made a push to get high quality audio to the masses. It's was in one of their news letters, the one about the Apple TV. I guess the market isn't big enough to sustain a profit for them.

The iPod can sound very good in the right system when getting the digital output from it. The Naim DAC, Wadia iTransport, and Peachtree gear accesses it. The Naim DAC is the only one I heard, and it sounds phenominal connected to an iPod.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3895
Registered: May-05
Nick -

I tried the Apollo's optical and coax inputs into the Theta. The coax sound appreciably better. I thought it was the Theta, because in the manual they state the coax input should be used because it sounds better. Maybe it was a combination of both.


While coax is usually better, it's not always the case. From a computer, I highly doubt that coax would be better. Unless there was something that isolated the noise and broke the ground. Computers ain't quiet. I think that's why Apple uses optical on the Apple TV and possibly even with the Airport Express.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1337
Registered: Oct-07
Apple is probably thinking about 95% of there customers. The rest are in 1 fringe or another.
If they made an AE with tighter clocking and more stable PS, then I'll bet the cost would be 2x and they'd not sell. Except to a few fringe users. Probably not me, though.

Lots of $$ at the upper end of Apple, too. Probably a few camera freaks, some audiophiles and a good mix of Real Expensive autos.
Other hobbies / avocations mixed in.

I heard the Wadia at the local emporium. Good stuff, but not at all a critical session. I don't even remember the amp or speakers used. No lossless files in my 'pod, either.

Nick:: by the EQ settings are you referring to the 3 filter settings?
Linear Phase, Minimum Phase and Steep?
And yes, the lack of switchable upsampling turns off some potential buyers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3103
Registered: Jun-07
Yes sorry Leo, Filter settings. I would think it would turn off some buyers not having a upsample button for sure. Good thing the CA is sounds great for the price range.

Stu- I can make a PC dead quiet. But I know what you mean by "noise" as internal digital noise is an issue. I agree that Optical is always better coming off a motherboard or sound card of a PC. Coax will almost always be better on a CDP/DVD player etc.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15026
Registered: Jun-04
slight change in plans....I was going to use the thunderbird 802 but I realized I was planning on using that for movies and home theater and send the optical cable into my denon 7.1 receiver so im going to need to buy an optical card for my other 2.0 dual core pc I can get a pci express x1 card any suggestions on a good one to go with the pc for later use with a dac
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15027
Registered: Jun-04
I started transfering my cds to my pc in wav form and im checking out a cd to buy in mp3 form first and man what a difference in sound quality at 128 bit campared to wav....yuck
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15160
Registered: Dec-04
ha! Ya think a million audioheads bashing mp3 were wrong?!?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15068
Registered: Jun-04
I listened to some 192kb ones and they sound fine at least at first listen but im still going wav
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1338
Registered: Oct-07
Sean,
Store / copy / backup everything in the format which will reconstruct the original file and take up the least space. That means FLAC or ALAC....Apple Lossless. IF WAV or whatever can reconstruct a bit-accurate copy of the original material, use that...
From there, I can make MP3-160 copies for my Ipod or even burn a CD for the car.
Whatever DishNetwork is streaming down the pipe is fine for most house non-critial duties. Sounds best using optical to a DA....which brings us back full circle!
'Ya still may want / need a DAC!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15081
Registered: Jun-04
oh i do still want a dac its just a mater of saving up the money now
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3105
Registered: Jun-07
Use WAV as it plays on every platform on any machine. FLAC is good too.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15164
Registered: Dec-04
WAV can be copied its native format and plays in Ford cars and stuff.
the Ford/Microshaft proposition.
It works.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1339
Registered: Oct-07
Ford AND Microshaft? Perfect

The wife's CD player in her Toyota says 'MP-3' so that's the way I'd go there.......My Honda's player agrees.

Either of the major lossless formats will save about 40% and not compromise the output.
I went with ALAC since it was 'free' with Itunes. Itunes works with the Ipod / phone's remote app. When I still had a PC, I was experimenting with FLAC and WinAmp as a player with support.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15168
Registered: Dec-04
Leo, since your assimilation, Windows 7 came out, and works a treat!
For the other 94% of the world.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3106
Registered: Jun-07
lol Problem is Apple lossless is that you are stuck using an Apple app, I -Tunes has to be the worse music app I have ever seen in my entire life. You can like Apple if you want, but there is no way anyone can argue that I-Tunes is good.

Actually thats not fully true, I have integrated an app that runs in the service registry of Win 7 MC that plays all I-Tunes files. Good thing is about Apple Lossless or the new Windows Lossless is that you do in fact save about 40 percent hard drive space. Big deal hard drive space is dirty cheap. 2TB drive for 109 dollars. Boom!
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3900
Registered: May-05
What's so bad about iTunes? I've never had any complaints.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3107
Registered: Jun-07
ugly, clunky, only works with one or two formats, poor GUI layout, not overly user friendly. Good luck for my Grandma using it.lol. I know people lots of people who use it and like it, and I tell them all " obviously you have no experience using anything else". Its horrible. Absolutely horrible. Its the Sony of amplifiers. but hey, there are lots of people who own Sony AVR's that are super happy with them. So go figure. I guess there is a market for everything.

Even phones that come out behind the curve that freeze,lose signal if you hold it "wrong" and are made by a company who come up a brilliant fix in a form of a .35 cent case. hehe I-Phone.

I am just kidding around. As long as you all are enjoying your music and are happy with how you do it, who cares what I think about I-Tunes. Cheers.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 969
Registered: Jul-07
Honestly Nick, if you are slamming Apple for whatever shortcomings you are perceiving, do you think there aren't 10x reasons why someone could slam Microsoft ? I think you're running down a path that's a bit slanted. Yes, nothings perfect. But if you're honestly railing on Apple for its' shortcomings, be prepared to turn that critical eye inward. There is no utopia. We all pick our poison, and live with it. Your bias is showing.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1341
Registered: Oct-07
Nuck, My 'assimilation'....what a crackup! Just got tired of screwing with something which was never quite right. Regedit? DLLs? Task Manager? it got nutty.

For everybody else::
Yep, prefer my Imac to any PC I ever used. If it were JUST music I might be persuaded to the PC side. But, considering I'm a photo enthusiast, Mac seemed the way to go. Color management is easier and better. Using GutenPrint drivers on my ultra Cheapo printer results in superb images and top-notch color match to my calibrated monitor. Besides, I was using either XP pro or Win2k pro, both of which were 'pinnicle' products in there time. I liked 'em both, but resented being 'obsoleted' and then after investing a fortune in stuff, was unable to use it because I couldn't even find a legacy SCSI card (forgot pincount) to go with my early film scanner which came with an ISA card, just as ISA was being phased out in favor of PCI which lasted until the next blast of planned obsolescense. Now what? no more AGP? That was supposed to be the interface that ended the war.
We're up to DDR3, at least? PCI Express will be going away in a couple weeks, I'm sure.


Is I tunes perfect? Not a chance, but I really like it for the ease with which I can do those things I need done. Copy a CD as ALAC. Convert the ALAC to MP3-160. Put 'em in separate playlists than get the tunes to the right device.......

My main objection to Microshaft is probably still valid. People, for whatever reason have a dislike of Gates that even him giving away Billions won't cure. As a result, the less expensive PCs have a running cost of ownership in the form of a bunch of different add on software to keep from getting tagged by some hormone case with an awful rash. If you don't need the latest / greatest speed machine, which is primarily GAME driven, you still need 100$ per year or more worth of stuff for which I've run out of names. Virus? Trojan? Malware? Adware? Spyware? Keystroke loggers?

Besides, my Mac came well enough equipped that I have added only a few programs.
Stellarium, a freeware astronomy program / planisphere. Best there is......
PhotoShop CS4 Extended. Expensive but worth it.
Cardgames.....can't remember whose
A Wargame.....First person shooter so I can kill (hostile brown shirted fellows with flashy armbands.)
WISHLIST: Quicken or Quickbooks.....
Didn't need any CD / DVD authoring stuff since my simple tasks are covered by the basic inclusions. May want better later, if I ever start copying or making DVDs.

And Nick, if you want to talk about phones, got 'ya covered. Every phone made that is on the simple side uses that same AWFUL bit of interface software. I have a nice LG10000 I'd love to dump for a PHONE. NOTE: I don't want an Iphone. or EVO or Bluckberry or anything that Gene Roddenberry or Dick Tracey would have used.

Enjoy whatever you use.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1342
Registered: Oct-07
Nuck,
I note that while you defended the 'new' Win7, with admittedly some justification, you didn't have anything to say about FORD.

Everyone of those I've owned has been.....marginal. Loved the twin cam v-6 in the wife's Taurus, but it leaked a quart of oil per 800 miles and Fords said is was 'within spec'. My Ranger w/4l 6 will haul a bunch but needed a fix within weeks of the LAST fix and don't even MENTION my F-150....blown headgasket and REAR MAIN seal leak and than the poor fix hammering the tailshaft of the tranny back on or just dropping it spewing yet MORE oil everywhere.
I offered to go teach them from the Ford Quality book which I have sitting over there on my library shelf...The Ford agency, where quality is job #1 didn't want to hear about quality improvement on the shop floor.
Best you don't mention Ford. I'm sure they're better now....(choke/gag/)
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 713
Registered: Dec-06
Actually, Ford's rebound has been remarkable. They are getting tons of positive press for their product design, execution, and reliability. Possibly the hottest car company going right now and it's well deserved. But clearly some opinions take time to change.

I'll be buying either Ford or GM next. Partly because I prefer supporting a U.S. company, but also because I've always preferred domestic (styling, low end power), and because my 13 year old Grand Prix (first year with the wide body design) just keeps on going without any major issues. We test drove it against the Camry and Accord and the Pontiac won easily. We could have paid the same and gotten a 4 cylinder less equipped Japanese car, or paid more and gotten a similarly equipped 6 cylinder, and it wouldn't have been any more reliable. Probably less. I'll admit the 1997 Taurus was a major disappointment, and our 2nd favorite car was actually the NIssan Altima, which at the time was considerably smaller than the Grand Prix.

I like the Ford Fusion, but holy crap, I don't know if I can resist that Buick Lacrosse. Yeah, it's a Buick, but it's stunning. But I'm shooting for 20 years with the Grand Prix, so there's no new car on the horizon yet. But, one tranny breakdown (it'll happen one day) and who knows...to be honest I'd probably repair the Pontiac, since you can't buy a new car for $2K.

As for computers, is it still the case that many pieces of software are not available on Mac? I assume it is, and that's the one reason right there I wouldn't ever consider Apple. If you've got a PC you never have to worry about wanting a program that's only available on Mac.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 970
Registered: Jul-07
Computers are like audio Dan, you have to know what you want, and what you expect it to do. And opinions are just that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3108
Registered: Jun-07
lol sorry I started a war.

Chris - I am just playing around. I have no shortcomings. Of course I am Bias! I have been a Computer Engineer for seven years in an industry where an Apple product is completely useless. I work with a team of Engineers that are even more bias than I am. Listen, I know the market that Apple has. I actually like Apple Laptops and Computers, and think their latest OS is quit good. I do not dislike Apple actually, but I do feel Apple do a few things very poorly, and one of them is I-Tunes. And we were talking about what format to rip music in right? Could I rip Microsoft? Oh dude, trust me, I have ripped them more than anybody in the last few years. Windows Vista was the WORSE OS of all time. A complete piece of garbage that appeared a 8 year old kid slapped together in COBAL. lol. Microsoft hasn't truly had a better OS than Apple or at least equal to, until Windows 7. I believe Win 7 was the savior for MicroShaft.

Leo - That EVO is looking pretty sweet! lol.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15173
Registered: Dec-04
Leo, I knew you would appreciate the 'assimilation' bit, hehe.

Hey, I love Windows7 because Nick does all the maintenance from his comm at home! Just let him sign in remote and do that voodoo that you do.
The system has not crashed once yet, despite my best efforts to destroy it.
Unplug...UNPLUG..the unit in the middle of multiple tasks.
The thing just reboots and carries on with the tasks without prompt and without any corrections. The rip is picked up and seamless in playback!

I was nearly in tears when I did that once. Online with Nick, he tells me that this being unit #000000000001, it is a finished mule, and he did that about 300 times, LOL!
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 971
Registered: Jul-07
No worries Nick. Just keeping you honest.....or tryin'. We all have our own experiences. Clearly ours have been different.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15177
Registered: Dec-04
A nice civil exchange.

Lights firecracker string...
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1345
Registered: Oct-07
That new 6cyl Mustang is sweet. Quicker than the old GT, better handling and lots going for it.
The rest of the Ford line? Who knows. I'm still leery about the whole thing.
I started w/Windows 3.1 so I 'member. I think the REAL lowpoint was Windows ME. That lasted what......25 minutes? My Norton Crashguard thing in my Win95 system CAUSED crashes. But Norton is a separate beef.
Win7 is the ONLY reason I'd even consider going back to a Windows machine. By the time they get to SP2, I may have one as a strictly game system.
Right now I'm rebuilding a given-to-me computer as a 'smoothwall' hardware firewall.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 716
Registered: Dec-06
Yeah, I just watched a Mustang review last night. Very tempting!

Norton is great now too! Installs in under 1 minute and is super fast and light. User reviews, which used to slam Norton, are now quite positive. I've never had a problem with Norton running on various systems over the last 15 years (and I upgraded just about every year to the new version), but I appreciate the 2010 version's significant improvements. They've been making it lighter and lighter over the last three years, but this version has hit a sweet spot.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3109
Registered: Jun-07
Norton is well hated in my line of work probably more than any other software.lol. Due to their lack of making a good software for the last 8 years. However, Dan is right in the fact that the latest version is turning its tide to a lighter better version. If I were to use a anti-virus it would be Trend Micro or the all so great Avast. I use none as I am with Leo on the man made firewall. The best protection of all. Even when running unix/linux in the household.

Oh geez you had to bring up ME. lol. ME was so bad I actually put it out of my mind. Yeah your right, it was even worse than Vista. Vista was at least attractive looking just ran like crap. ME ran even worse and looked like a free software your kid gets out of a box of Honey Nut Cheerios.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1353
Registered: Oct-07
Avast IS good stuff.
I recommend to all my non-geek friends that they get Kaspersky.
good, out of the box setup.
For the Geeks, I tell them NOD32.

It could be pretty close to a 3-way tie.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3903
Registered: May-05
Back to the audio...

I heard the Musical Fidelity V-DAC today, hooked up to the Arcam A28 and some Totems. In 2 words - very underwhelming. Better than a $299 CD player, but it has that Musical Fatality house sound, only a cheap version of it IMO.

Heard the CA DACmagic in the same system. A lot more lively sounding, but not much better in hifi ways.

I can honestly say my 15 year old Theta DAC is better in every way. Not that I heard mine and those side by side, but I don't need to. Newer ain't always better.

Granted, a lot has to do with systems, room set up, transport, and so on, but I'm pretty familiar with everything around the DACs used, including the room. Transports were USB out from a laptop running WAV/Apple Lossless, and the entry level Arcam CD player. The bare CDP trounced them both, no comparison.

I'm strongly considering pre-ordering the Arcam rDAC without the wireless option. It's supposedly almost on par with the high end Arcam CDP, and a good deal better than the entry level CDP. They reportedly had some help from dCS during development.

Ships from the distributor tomorrow, and retails for $479. I haven't seen any pics of it in black, which will suck if it's not available.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3904
Registered: May-05
The V-DAC is the lightest and flimsiest piece of audio gear I've ever picked up. MF claimed they spent the money on the inside of it rather than the casing, and it shows. Not convinced they spent a ton of money on it on the insides either though.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15083
Registered: Jun-04
thats the 3rd negative review ive read on the vdac
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15084
Registered: Jun-04
by the way I finished copying all 106 cd's to my hard drive saturday 51 plus gigs later....man did that take a long time to do
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1357
Registered: Oct-07
So that means the circuit board in the VDAC is mil-spec glass epoxy, right? Didn't think so.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3110
Registered: Jun-07
Hey Stu. Were u able to hear the V-DAC and DacMagic via Optical or just usb? The reason why I ask is that the USB on the DAC Magic is a bit thin and "digital" sounding. The Optical out is much much better. The only good USB setup coming into any DAC so far is the Bryston Dac.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3111
Registered: Jun-07
I dont know much about the V-Dac. does it even have Optical out?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3906
Registered: May-05
I heard them through USB and coax in, didn't use optical for either one. The V-DAC has one each of USB, optical, and coax.

In the end, the casing isn't a big deal. I think the V-DAC is probably meant to be hidden or out of sight. It's a bit big for that IMO. If it sounded great, I'd be able to overlook the case. It just sound very dull and bland to my ears. Didn't do a lot of things wrong per se, but I don't think it really excelled at anything either.

A lot of people love it. Everyone's ears are different. I guess you could do worse for $299, but I just don't get the rave reviews from mags and people on forums. Then again, it's not the first time I heard a piece that was raved about and didn't get why.

The DACmagic is a good deal better. I have no realistic criticisms for it for the price. I don't think it competes with the Apollo at all, but everyone's ears are different.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3112
Registered: Jun-07
Cool. In my current 2 channel setup I feel the DACMagic brought a bag of tricks to the party and did a few things better than the Apollo. But I think after using the DACMagic for quit sometime now there is a few things the Apollo did better. Apollo has better timing. The DacMagic, if setup on 44.1/16 from the Optical out on my MC, offered a more "full", warmer sound. Which based on my speakers and room acoustics I think suits my tastes better than the Apollo. To note, the DacMagic sounds worse if you force it anything but 44.1/16 I found. What also can make it sound much worse is having it on any other filter other than Linear. If anyone demoing the unit has the DAC set to any other freq, and filter then I would say the DACMagic is only performing at around 65 percent of what it is capable of. DAC Setup is key. That said, I still believe giving setup/tastes and room that half of people would prefer the Apollo. Its close IMO.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Pickering, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1176
Registered: Jun-08
FYI

The Grant Fidelity DAC-09 at first listen is close to the Apollo as well but with a little time in front of it you hear the differences. The Apollo has better timing - definitely more tow tapping. The GF just sounds slower on the uptake of the notes. The Apollo also has more depth to the sound. The tube output of GF is warmer than the Apollo but not as detailed, while the SS output is detailed (not more than the Apollo) but sounds a little brittle in comparison. The tube buffer does add a little in reverb, which is pleasant but I would say not accurate. For the price difference between the GF and the DAC Magic, I'd go with the Cambridge and the Cambridge has a better resale, for sure.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 974
Registered: Jul-07
I think it makes sense that the low end DAC's are going to do best at the native PCM settings (44/16). No number crunching to do, just don't screw it up on the way through. If you try to set them at a higher sampling rate or word length, I doubt many cheap DAC's have the horsepower to do the calculations properly on the fly. Some of the higher end DAC's have serious processing power, which I think makes a big difference.....amoung other things.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3115
Registered: Jun-07
So true Chris. I found this true with George's GF as well. George what r u running it on?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15189
Registered: Dec-04
Remember that 'most' lower cost DAC's upsample to 192 in a non-defeatable manner, including the DAC-09 tube unit.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 979
Registered: Jul-07
Which is why I don't think many of them sound good. I think that is why Gilbert's Blue Circle Thingy sounds good. Good basic design without messing with the sound. Plus, I like the name. "Thingy" is about as non-audiophile a term as you can get. Although, think how sad you'd be if your Thingy broke. "Sorry hon, my Thingy won't turn today."
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3116
Registered: Jun-07
lol. The Blue Circle thingy looks kind of neat. That whole company really is intriguing. Their whole design concept for all their products is to get the job done without any sort of bull. Even their amps look like hand made tin boxes with big red knobs on them. All business inside though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Pickering, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1178
Registered: Jun-08
Hi Nick,

The GF DAC is currently hooked up to my Onkyo 805 AVR along with the Apollo. The Apollo is hooked directly to the AVR via IC and then I'm using the both the co-ax and optical output of the Apollo to the GF. The GF is then hooked up to the AVR via IC's both using the GF tube output and SS output simultaneously to two different analogue inputs on the AVR. With this setup, I can flip between the GF tube, SS and Apollo inputs in a A/B/C comparison. I can also (with the added effort of getting of my seat to change the input selection on the GF) switch from co-axial to optical inputs on the GF. Finally I have an analogue output on the AVR hooked back to the GF via IC to the input so that I can flip between all the inputs on the GF when my headphones are hooked up. I'm doing my listening via my Sinclair Audio Brighton speakers.
Eventually when I get more organized and an area cornered off and "protected from the kids" in the basement, I'll setup my 2-ch with the GF acting as a preamp to my Bryston 3B-ST running my Epos ELS3's. Still need to get a decent phono pre-amp.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3117
Registered: Jun-07
That is awesome George. I would be really curious to see how the GF does with the 3B as a pre amp. Very cool stuff.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15194
Registered: Dec-04
Remember the instructions for using it as a preamp George!!!
If not, you can pop the speakers.

Nice setup Georgie.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4105
Registered: Feb-07
The GF DAC via USB was just brutal. Nuck and I tried it from George's Apollo via coax, and it sounded much better.

I agree with Nick the that DACMagic's Linear DSP is by far the best out of the three.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15111
Registered: Jun-04
What do you guys think of a Audio Mirror D1 is this company any good?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15112
Registered: Jun-04
or Xindak DAC-3 MKII
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15113
Registered: Jun-04
never mind the xindak doesnt come in 120 volt from what I see
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