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Experimenting with DACMagic

 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4110
Registered: Feb-07
I'm still having the issue with the DACMagic dropping the signal, so I decided to play around with it a little bit. At first I thought it was the cable, so I swapped out the cable and it still happened. It never happened at Nuck's place, so I don't think it's the DACMagic itself. That leaves one culprit - the Jolida CDP.

That gave me an idea to flip back and forth between the DACMagic and the Jolida. I played several songs, all at the same volume and I actually preferred the sound of the Jolida without the DAC on all accounts. And it wasn't just me, my son, who's 8 year old ears are infinitely better than mine, agreed.

What we found was that the Jolida sounded smoother, just a little bit warmer, clearer and the DACMagic in comparison seemed to add just a little distortion into the mix. One the the DACMagic does do well is add a very wide soundstage. Interesting stuff.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Pickering, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1180
Registered: Jun-08
Very interesting results Dave. My impression of my GF DAC is that the Apollo does better without it. The GF does add some impressions of added detail but after a closer listen you realize it's actually just a little leaner and more analytical sounding but really not more detailed. I wonder if the DAC Magic is just exposing some flaws in the source media - breaking the bits up and not flowing them as well as the Jolida. Did you nail down what's the cause of the dropout - is it an handshake problem between the Jolida and the CA?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4114
Registered: Feb-07
That seems to be the issue George. There's only digital output on the Jolida, the coax out. So there's no real other way to troubleshoot it. The Jolida (since it had a new chip put in it a few months back) functions perfectly without the DAC.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15249
Registered: Dec-04
pretty much looks like the repaired cdp is the culprit...
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3123
Registered: Jun-07
Very interesting David. What does the Jolida CDP retail for right now? I wonder if the communication between the transport and DAC is pooh if it would harm the sound the DAC would produce. Not saying the Jolida wouldnt still beat up on it in the SQ department. Interesting stuff though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4116
Registered: Feb-07
Pretty sure the Jolida is dropping the signal.

Nick, they retail new for around 900. Alot of people suspect the JD100A is actually the German Lua Cantilena.

http://www.hifi.nl/gfx/lua_cantilena_12032003.jpg
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4130
Registered: Feb-07
So after more experimentation, it seems to actually be the DACMagic that's responsible for the signal loss. I've tried different inputs, different cables, and now, different sources. I was convinced before that the Jolida was the one dropping the ball, but I switched the source and used my laptop via USB, and the DAC was still dropping the signal. Talking it back to the dealer tomorrow for a replacement.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3130
Registered: Jun-07
Good call David. Knock on wood I havn't had any issues with mine yet.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1443
Registered: Oct-07
If the DacMagic is similiar, at least in this regard, to the 840c player, you may have enough Jitter coming out of the Jolida that the CA product simply won't sync. Loss of sync might Mute the output, for a dropout, or produce the awful noise my 840c player does.....

Do you have another source? Just for test. Don't worry as much about SQ as if it just plays at all. Give it at least.....45" to an hour.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4135
Registered: Feb-07
I did try with a laptop via USB and still got the dropouts.

Just picked up a new one today.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Pickering, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1181
Registered: Jun-08
Dave,

Is the new one working better?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4160
Registered: Feb-07
The new one has been sold and paid for. A 50 dollar experiment, lets say.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3140
Registered: Jun-07
Sold it David? I am selling mine as well. Just havnt had time to get it up on CAM. Going to pick up an Arcam one to try.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Pickering, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1182
Registered: Jun-08
Interesting with all the hype on the Cambridge DAC Magic that both of you are dropping them like flies. I haven't experienced any dropouts with the Grant Fidelity DAC but from what I've heard from those of you that have compared the two - it doesn't provide the level of refinement of the Cambridge but the plus may be that it doesn't experience data glitches.
Maybe it's just that heavy metal music that's too hard on them...LOL.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4176
Registered: Feb-07
Yeah, I sold it. I actually wanted to keep it, but after returning the defective to the dealer and getting a brand new one I figured I could get more for it if it was unopened. The dealer would only give me store credit, and I wanted the cash.

I just found I preferred the tube output stage on my Jolida CDP over the upsampling and DSPs of the DACMagic.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3141
Registered: Jun-07
Thats cool David.

George - The DacMagic is awesome for its price range. And I have had it for a few months now, but I also have a Bryston DAC which in my system hands it a clean beating. As it should. The Bryston is back in the system and the Cambridge will be looking for a new home.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3142
Registered: Jun-07
I might actually keep the DAC Magic a beat longer to compare it directly to the Arcam.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4181
Registered: Feb-07
Nick, in your quest for good DAC's I think you should take one for the team and try out the Wyred DAC. The more expensive one would be preferable.

Thanks buddy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3942
Registered: May-05
I think the only difference between the Wyred DACs is the DAC 2 has pre-amp capabilities and the DAC1 doesn't. Kinda like the Benchmark DAC 1 and DAC 1 Pre.

The Wyred DAC 2 may have higher res USB capabilities, but I'm not too sure.

I spoke with my favorite dealer yesterday, who carries Naim/Rega/Linn and Arcam. Their Arcam line is mainly for the Solo range.

They called Arcam for me for an ETA on the rDAC. It was supposed to be here already, but the date got pushed back. Arcam is also contemplating releasing it to dealers until after CEDIA. They think they want to premier it there and then have it ready for distribution immediately after.

CEDIA is at the end of September. I think around the 25th. I guess it'll be around in shops mid October.

I would have pre-ordered one, but my dealer wants to wait until they have a definite release date, and until I can hear it. I can bring in my whole system, or take it home and demo it. They've pre-ordered a few, but don't want to take my money until they're sure everything will work out. I guess they're my voice of reason. There's no other dealer I know that I can say that about.

Price is still $479 for the non-wireless version. Wireless may be $150-$200 more, but no one is sure.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4182
Registered: Feb-07
That's interesting Stu. I've been told that for the extra 500 the DAC 2 is much, much better. But that was from a dealer, lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1015
Registered: Jul-07
Wireless version sounds interesting. That's ultimately what I want, but most wireless transports/dacs mess with the resolution on the way through....ie, don't support all of the higher resolutions. Although HD formats are still pretty slim pickings, it's only a matter of time.....so I can't see purchasing a unit that doesn't fully support 192/24 at minimum.....and preferably is software upgradable to support whatever resolutions are out down the road.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3144
Registered: Jun-07
I will pick one up David. Good call.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4183
Registered: Feb-07
There's a dealer here in Canada who apaprently sells them for the same price as dealers in the States.

I had a lot of trouble getting him to return emails, though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3145
Registered: Jun-07
yeah? Who is it David?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4184
Registered: Feb-07
http://www.blacksandaudio.ca/
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3944
Registered: May-05
I have a thread going on Pink Fish Media about the illusive Rega DAC. Some reported Rega plans to release it around Aug/Sept for 500 GBP ($1k US?). A respected gentleman said Rega has a prototype and has informed dealers that it'll be available soon.

Anyone still in touch with Frank Abela? If so, could you ask him where he thinks they stand?

I heard he's on Facebook, but I would like to continue my Facebook non-existence.

If it gets released September 1st in the UK, anyone want to theorize when it would make it's way to North America?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4185
Registered: Feb-07
I talk to Frank every now and then on FB, I could ask for you Stu.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3945
Registered: May-05
I'd appreciate that Dave. He's a UK Rega dealer that I definitely trust. Not to say that the guys on Pink Fish are lying by any means.

While you're at it, can you convince him to come back? I'm sure I'm not the only one here who misses his sage advice. He's a great guy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4186
Registered: Feb-07
I've picked his brain many a time.

I agree - I've also tried to convince him to return the forum, but he's done.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15316
Registered: Dec-04
This outpost doesn't compare to what Frank does.
A fine chap.
I PM'd him the first time about 6 yrs ago to wish him a good vacation back to his native Malta.
What a gent!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4188
Registered: Feb-07
Back to the Wyred DAC's, here a comparison chart that sorta outlines the differences between the two:

http://www.itemaudio.co.uk/wyred4sound_dacs.html

Looks like you were right on the mark with you assessment of the differences between the two. The main items being 24/192 asynchronous USB on the DAC 2, and the ability to use it as a pre-amp. Is that worth another 500 bucks? I have no idea.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3950
Registered: May-05
I have no idea either. No idea on how much difference asynch USB makes. I wouldn't use it much, nor do I need a preamp, so I'd probably go with the DAC 1.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4189
Registered: Feb-07
Me too, unless Nick can give us a compelling reason to go with asynch USB.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3150
Registered: Jun-07
Conventional USB uses the PC's internal clock, depending a lot of the internal sound card of the PC. Kind of like a hand shake, these types of USB are used in cheaper DAC's and result in less than stellar performances via USB IMO.

Async USB uses the DAC's clocking (sort of like a self powered USB) internally. This is much better as the DAC's clocking system is and will be always much better than a PC's. (Remember in the Media Center forum explaining why internal PC DAC's usually are not worth my time.) PC clocking is horrible, resulting in much more jitter.

Also, conventional USB can not do High Res yet. Async can as its a self powered USB.

As a side note, PC clocking is getting much better. I got my eye on a Burr Brown chip that looks promising. Asus is now shipping PCI-EX audio cards with it onboard. Also, self clocking is now available in media based PC boards.
Even if USB was async I am still going to pick Optical over USB for now. It will be interesting when USB3 hits the market.

For me, I will stick with my Bryston Pre amp, and Optical to the MC.

That means DAC1 for me. Save the 500 dollars.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15324
Registered: Dec-04
How soon can we just network it all together?
Full information at all points, no limitations?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3158
Registered: Jun-07
HDMI 1.4 brings this technology Nuck. High res Audio/Video/Ultra fast media networking all in one connection. Its out in a few weeks.

Technically right now you can network it all together, just takes a network and a little know-how.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15330
Registered: Dec-04
I know how to buy stuff and supply beer, Nick.
But thats about all.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1489
Registered: Oct-07
And isn't that what it's really all about?

Close to a 'meaning of life' answer.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3163
Registered: Jun-07
lol indeed Leo.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3183
Registered: Jun-07
wow. one thing I have noticed with the DACMagic more so than any other component I have ever owned is that it sounds incredibly better when warmed up. Night and Day. Crazy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4224
Registered: Feb-07
What kind of warmup we talking here Nick?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15362
Registered: Dec-04
Every DAC that I have tried is always left on 24/7 here.
A cold DAC takes hours to be right.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4225
Registered: Feb-07
That makes sense, actually.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15364
Registered: Dec-04
It is a low consumption item, same as my preamp on standby, I have these and the MC/TV on a UPS and dedicated circuit and isolated ground.
Just on 24/7. But my lectric bill is low.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3184
Registered: Jun-07
Me too now. The DAC Magic never sounded as good until I left it on for a few days straight and then played with it again. Huge, instant difference.
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