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New Rega DAC

 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3949
Registered: May-05
It's the calm before the storm for me. Pre-Season starts the middle of next week, so I'm home trying to enjoy what's left of my summer. I had a lot of time on my hands today, so I decided to do a bit of research on the upcoming Rega DAC. I'm pretty sure a lot of people here would be interested in one, so I decided to post what I've found. This is stuf gathered mainly from forums, so take it all as you will...

I e-mailed the Sound Organisation about it today and got a response in about 10 minutes. They say It should be available in the next few months. No price or specs as of yet.

Unofficial stuff I've found:
UK forum guys (including some who may be dealers) say its due August or September, and 500 GBP (about $1k US?)
Rega has a prototype and has informed dealers it'll be ready soon. One guy said any day now.
Half width chassis.
Was intended to be between the Apollo and Saturn, but it'll sound better than the Saturn.

Someone posted what looks like a Rega press release:

Expect great things from the REGA DAC
A great deal of work has gone into total elimination of noise from the PC power supply. Identified as a major problem during development, removal of this noise ensures the REGA DAC achieves the highest performance audio from lossless files. The Rega DAC is a 24-bit 32 to 192K digital to analogue converter incorporating an enhanced version of the Saturn digital to analogue converter circuit using a pair of Wolfson WM8742 DAC IC's with 5 user selectable digital filters. With two isolated Co-axial, and two Toslink SPDIF 24bit 192K inputs and an isolated 32/44.1/48K 16bit USB input for use with personal a computer. The USB input incorporates a PLL based clock for low jitter signal recovery. There is an isolated Co-axial and Toslink digital output, which mirrors any of the selected inputs. The digital output data has passed through the receiver PLL and thus has been re-clocked and cleaned-up. The input stage comprises of a Wolfson WM8805 digital receiver with a high stability low jitter reference clock driving the receiver PLL, we have used the same oscillator as used in the Isis CD players. The receiver, PLL and oscillator have their own dedicated power supplies. The DAC stage comprises of pair of parallel-connected Wolfson WM8742 DAC's, which are driven via a buffer stage, which ensures the integrity of the data being fed to the DAC IC's -- this is a similar arrangement to that used in the Isis.


Sounds very interesting. That write up doesn't sound like a hoax. Maybe they released something to a few dealers and the guy posted it?

I think its worth waiting for. Pique anyone else's interest?

Any word from Frank Abela?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3151
Registered: Jun-07
lol No word on Frank, but I am going to buy one of those Rega DAC's for a test drive Stu. Good post by the way, it looks like they didnt use a USB that could do High Res(who cares) but at least uses the DAC's clocking. Cool.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3952
Registered: May-05
The whole high res thing is over rated IMO. How many high res albums do you have? I highly doubt high res will be the standard any time soon. Not only that, but do we need the loudness war going high res? Can you imagine what Death Magnetic would sound like?

The other inputs seem to do high res, so that's good enough for me. Even though my Apple TV doesn't do high res.

When high red becomes the norm, I'll gladly move on from my Apple TV.
 

New member
Username: Cto007

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-10
If these specs are true, I'm assuming the workaround for the 16 bit limit on the USB input would be to use a hiface or other usb to spdif adapter if your computer only has USB output.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1017
Registered: Jul-07
I agree that HD formats aren't widely available yet, but I can't see buying less than the current technology....given how fast it can evolve. There are several larger organizations (including Apple) considering higher res format availability (at a higher price of course) so things can change pretty quickly. As always, just a matter or priorities. For me, it's a deal breaker, but I can see why it wouldn't be a big deal for others.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3155
Registered: Jun-07
The Rega does do High Res via every other connection. Not even the Bryston does High Res via USB. Most don't. Overall it looks like Rega has covered all the main features. If it sounds near as good as the Saturn for a price tag of 1000 dollars, it will sell a ton.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15333
Registered: Dec-04
If it sells for less than 2500$, I will fall over.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3959
Registered: May-05
I emailed the guy at Whetstone Audio, who had a mention of it on his website. Unofficially, he's been lead to believe September as a release date, with a $995 target price.

A few guys on the Pink Fish forum said it was supposed to sound better than the Apollo but not as good as the Saturn. During development it turned out better than the Saturn.

I was told they were working on one and it would be released around the same times as the Naim DAC. That was released last year. But if the UK guys are saying Rega has announced it to their dealers (in the UK I'm assuming) and has a prototype, I guess it's pretty close to being released.

Factor that with what looks like a leaked Rega write up/product description, and I'm gonna guess it'll be out sooner than later.

My Arcam rDAC plans are shelved.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 759
Registered: Dec-06
Very interesting. So do you guys think it'll convert SACD and DVD-A signals properly? I'm sure I've read somewhere that despite the fact that a DAC is rated to 24/192 they don't always make use of that capability.

Okay, I found one blurb about this in CNET's review of the DACMagic.

Our only issue with the DacMagic is that while it will support files of a higher quality than CD (96kHz sample rate in theory), there is no conceivable way to get them into the device. Here, you're looking at free digital downloads from the likes of Nine Inch Nails or DVD-Audio and SACD. However, the DacMagic will only accept up to 48kHz connections via USB, and copy protection limits the output of HD disk formats to HDMI only -- which this device doesn't have. All this extra resolution is therefore lost. While the unit upsamples to 24bit 192kHz by default, it would be great if didn't touch the signal at all.

Another question I've got is how crucial do you guys think the transport is? If this DAC sounds better than a Saturn, is that just with any transport? I've read conflicting opinions on this...some say that it's been shown most of the performance is in the DAC and all you need is a decent transport, while others argue the transport is more important than that.

Nevertheless, $995 is a nice price point. For me when anything crosses $1,500 it's getting expensive. Of course, $995 ain't exactly pocket money.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 760
Registered: Dec-06
A bit more reading...I think my 650BD will convert DSD signals to PCM at 88.2kHz. Many players were not able to do this a few years ago, but I think it's more common now. DVD-A afaik is converted to PCM too. As long as the conversion to PCM happens then it should work with an external DAC. I think.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3165
Registered: Jun-07
I think the DAC has to have the DVD-A and surround sound codecs build in for pass through of such signals. Even at higher res. I have not had a DAC yet that passed such formats. The Bryston will pass DD and DVD-A through as PCM but thats it. DTS, and other formats it will not. The DACMagic wont pass any of them. Just two channel.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 761
Registered: Dec-06
From a bit of reading some forum discussion I think it works as described below. And I'm ignoring multi-channel here...

For SACD the codecs have to be built in to the DAC or you need your transport to decode them and pass the signal along as PCM. If the codecs are built in then the DAC needs an HDMI output because the DSD signal can only be carried over HDMI. How many DACs have this feature? Few if any. If the the transport converts to PCM then the DAC will be able to accept the signal but it will have been changed and I think is sent (at least from the Oppo and CA players) at 24bit/88.2khz. So I think it is compromised but still better than redbook.

With DVD-A the signal is passed along as PCM anyway, so an external DAC will work. I think it's passed at 24/96 for multi-channel, but with 2.0 sound it can be done at full res (24/192).
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3960
Registered: May-05
Would a toslink or coax from a computer output those rates? I guess the way to go would be something like the M-Audio sound card or optical out from a Mac. DVD and SACD players have 2 channel digital outputs.

High res sounds great and all, but where do you get it, and how do you play it.

It's kinda like the Continuum Transfuctioner. Everyone describes it, yet "has anyone actually said what it looks like?"
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 763
Registered: Dec-06
I have no idea how it works on a PC or Mac...just a matter of having the right sound card and software perhaps?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3174
Registered: Jun-07
I have set my software to decode in PCM and the DACMagic would still pooh.lol.

If you do not have the software I believe HDMI or Multi-channel RCA outputs are the only connections that can pass PCM audio. Coax/Optical will not do so without a software like Total Media Theater 3 Platinum.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3970
Registered: May-05
A dealer on Pink Fish Media said the DAC is now due out in October.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15359
Registered: Dec-04
Just in time for Xmas....
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3971
Registered: May-05
I was thinking just in time for a New Year's Eve bash at the new apartment.
 

New member
Username: Cto007

Post Number: 2
Registered: Aug-10
Looks like a pic went live here:

http://www.audio-t.co.uk/?section=news&page=NEW-Rega
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3182
Registered: Jun-07
NICE!! I just pooped a little.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3982
Registered: May-05
The Sound Organisation (Rega's US distributor) confirmed he got the same info from Rega that's posted on the Audio-T website. The expect it in October. Which probably means January till anyone here hears one.

I say that out loud hoping that I'll be proven wrong, in a good way.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 781
Registered: Dec-06
In addition to the Rega it appears there is a new DAC from Simaudio that slots right between the Arcam rDAC and the Rega DAC - the 100D. $700 is a pretty good price point I think.

You can read the write up at UHF (scroll down a little), and then the official blurb:

http://uhfmag.com/Newsletter.html

http://www.simaudio.com/moon100D.htm
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4014
Registered: May-05
I hadn't seen that before, Dan. Thanks! It looks very interesting. My only concern is the wall wart power supply. They had to cut a few cornets to cut the price in half, and it makes perfect sense that they'd eliminate the balanced inputs and number of inputs.

I'll definitely have to track one down before I buy anything. Simaudio makes some great stuff.

One of the dealers on the Pink Fish forum says a Rega rep with the DAC is supposed to be in his shop on Oct 3rd. Hopefully the production model will follow shortly.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3210
Registered: Jun-07
http://www.rega.co.uk/html/dac_info.htm

http://community.whathifi.com/forums/t/483738.aspx
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4023
Registered: May-05
That Rega info is pretty old, Nick. That was for either the Apollo or the Saturn.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3212
Registered: Jun-07
oh.lol.

On a plus side, the new rega dac is looking pretty sexy. I would expect it would sound as good.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15402
Registered: Jun-04
long time no see how you doing guys
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15426
Registered: Dec-04
What's up Sean?
Hows the subs working out?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 15416
Registered: Jun-04
hi. If your talking about the nht classic 4's i switched them out to the 525t's and am looking to sell the nht classic 4's cheap since i nicked up the cabinet The classic 4's just arent my cup of tea.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4060
Registered: May-05
A Rega sales rep on Pink Fish Media's forum said that Rega is updating their integrateds, and they should be out in a few months. They've dropped the prices on the Apollo, Saturn, Mira and Brio, but I don't think that happened here in North America. Maybe the trade in program on the CDPs?

They have a show at a UK dealer's shop on November 11, where they'll have the new DAC playing. Here's a blurb from Rega's website -

"Rega Open Day - Thursday 11th November 2010, 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm

We will be hosting a turntable workshop, where you can bring in your old Rega turntable (it does not matter how old it is!) and get it serviced by a Rega engineer and brought back to full health.
Labour is free of charge on the day itself, we only ask you pay for any parts that maybe required!
If you would like your turntable servicing we would ask you email us at events@lintone.co.uk prior to the event so we can book you into a slot in our diary. We would ask that you give us as much notice as possible as we anticipate a fair few turntables will come out of the woodwork!

There will also be a number of exciting new Rega products, including the new Rega DAC, on demonstration in the store, along with demonstrations of the stunning Rega Isis and Rega Osiris and other products from the Rega range.
There will be refreshments on offer on the day and there will be a prize draw for a pair of Cherry finish Rega RS1 loudspeakers - to enter the prize draw you must bring your invitation with you to the event.

Why not come along, bring some music, have a drink, meet the maker and listen to some great hi-fi (and maybe win a prize!)

All turntable servicing will commence at 2:00 pm on the day."


Sounds like a good time. Anyone want to take a trip to England?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4076
Registered: May-05
That hifi shop is also hosting a Naim day. Similar format, but Naim is bringing their Uniti series stuff. Why can't those guys do something like that here? I'm pretty sure I live next door to a major metropolitan area. NYC ain't exactly the boondocks, is it?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15537
Registered: Dec-04
Frank A.'s shop had Naim day a while back as well, so it seems they work in the home court only, Stu.
I recall Frank missed that day while he was recouperating.

Probably saved him a pile of money!
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4078
Registered: May-05
Tell Frank I say hi, Nuck.

It's proably a good thing they don't do this here because I'd probably spend more money than I have. But I'd still like to one of those and for the meet and greet and stuff like that. It would be interesting and entertaining.

Posted on Pink Fish:

"And after months of anticipation, I am very pleased to say that I have finally seen & heard the long awaited Rega DAC, in the flesh this very morning (accompanied by a certain Mr Darwin). And very impressed I was too.

Gave the nDAC a run for its money, whilst adding depth and detail to the performance of the already excellent Saturn CDP. And we threw more PC based formats towards it via USB than you can shake a stick at (inc. FLAC, WAV, AAC & HiRes 24/88.2) and they all sounded superb.

A cracker for 500 notes. Demonstrator on order today.

Tony @ Basically Sound"


The Rega rep said they're planning full production this month and the DAC should be here in the States before Christmas. No name for it officially, it'll probably be called the Rega DAC. I suggested keeping with the theme of planetary names and calling it the Rega Uranus. Only time will tell if that one happens.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15559
Registered: Dec-04
The 500 notes will eaquate to XXXUSD
By the time that this DAC is available in the GWN, it will be 1400 bucks, no doubt.

last used BDA-1 that I saw was 1600,so....
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4081
Registered: May-05
Price is scheduled to be $995 USD. I've been watching BDA-1s as a backup.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4417
Registered: Feb-07
That's pretty reasonable for a good quality DAC.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 809
Registered: Dec-06
I wonder how the Rega DAC will stack up to the Audiolab 8200DQ, which also functions as a preamp and uses an ESS Sabre DAC. There is quite a lot of buzz about the new Audiolab gear, supposedly a big step up over the poorly received 8000 series, and designed by John Westlake (who I gather also designed the DACMagic). I'm guessing pricing on the 8200DQ will be around $600 USD.

The 8200DQ (DAC preamp) or CDQ (transport, DAC, preamp) might make a nice system with the 8200MB (monoblock amps). Costs about $3K to put such a system together though, obviously not including speakers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4082
Registered: May-05
A lot of guys in the UK like the Audiolab stuff. I've never heard it, so no comment either way. Not sure if I've got a dealer around or not. May be worth looking in to.

Everyone's all about the ESS Sabre DACs. There's far more to a DAC than the chip. It seems like the ESS Sabre gives gear instant credability. The Peachtree stuff has it, and I'm not impressed. Doesn't mean it was the chip, just means there's more to it. I won't flock to or discount anything due to it.

Not that I think you're one of those who's blindly following anything with that chip. Please don't take it that way. But there seems like a ton of people (none here) are drinking the ESS Sabre kool-aide.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 811
Registered: Dec-06
I've not followed the ESS Sabre chip very closely. I gather it gained notoriety when it was used in Oppo's Blu Ray player to great effect. And supposedly it's the chip of choice in some very high end gear. I think part of the fascination with the new Audiolab gear isn't just the chip, but the fact that Westlake designed the whole thing. People have been waiting for his newest DAC for a long time, and it just so happened that he partnered with Audiolab to release it.

I'm happy with my Apollo for now, but it's reliability over the long run scares me a little. I may one day opt for a DAC to go with my Cambridge BD650, as long as the DAC can handle SACD and DVD-A. The Audiolab manual says the DAC accepts 24/176kHz signals. So maybe it does. Not sure about the Rega.

As it stands now, Rega and Audiolab are the two DACs I'd consider if I was buying today (though I'd also be sure to try a filterless, non-oversampling DAC too). I'm sure the Rega will be great. The Audiolab by all accounts probably is too, but I'm a little skeptical based on the last generation of gear they had and IAG ownership. For what it's worth, the 8200CD received a great review in WhatHiFi, and some online say it beats the Apollo for sound quality. As always, the only way to know is to try it out for oneself.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15562
Registered: Dec-04
When it beats the BDA-1 for less $$, then I will listen.
Looking forward to some reviews.


The Bryston is smash-bang on the money here,regardless of scaling.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15563
Registered: Dec-04
I had the bd83SE here for a while, and selling chips alone is not the key. Selling piggybacked chips, is.
The Sabre chips are doubled in hard state in the SE, nobody else has really done that and advertised it (that I have seen).
The power supply in the SE is a stiff 540va, which is just waaay overboard. This is a good thing.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 813
Registered: Dec-06
The 8200CD uses 256 1 bit DAC elements per channel, as someone on pinkfish put it. Whatever that means. WhatHiFi summarizes it as 256 DACs per channel, though I'm not sure that's an entirely accurate way of describing it.

http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Audiolab-8200CD/

I'm not really expecting it to beat Bryston or Rega. Those are much pricier. If it comes close that's saying something.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4088
Registered: May-05
I'm sure it sounds very good. If I can track one down, I'll put it on my list. Seems like a well thought out DAC. I think I have a dislike for the ESS Sabre chip solely due to everyone hyping it up so much. Whenever there's a thread asking for DAC recommendations, there's always several people recommending on with it, even though they didn't hear it. Not here, but look at places like Audiogon and AudioCircle.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 814
Registered: Dec-06
There's a place near my work that carries Audiolab. I may stop by to check it out, but I'm doubting how much I'll be able to tell unless I can do an in home trial. And I'm not really interested in doing that right now. I guess I could always bring my Apollo to the store and compare it against that. If you hear one though, Stu, I'd be interested in reading your impressions.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

2 hifonics 2607s, 2dcSounds12xls SPL\idmax12SQ

Post Number: 16013
Registered: Jun-04
you guys like your expensive toys.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13466
Registered: Feb-05
So do you.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 832
Registered: Dec-06
Hi-Fi Choice has now reviewed the 8200CD.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/cd-players-and-rec orders/audiolab-8200cd-906738/review
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4117
Registered: May-05
The Audiolab CDP/DAC looks very interesting. There's no USA distributor listed. Anyone know if they're available here and/or who to contact? Google didn't help.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 835
Registered: Dec-06
That sucks about the distribution, Stu. Audiolab was without a Canadian distributor for a few months earlier this year, but were picked up by Planet of Sound. Not sure if they might be able to help.

Supposedly there is also a DAC on the way for those who do not need a full-fledged CDP, though I'm not sure what the status of it is.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4122
Registered: May-05
Just got my 2011 Music Direct catalog in the mail today and noticed this -
http://signalpathint.com/index.php/iDAC/iDac.html

Looks very interesting. I heard some Peachtree stuff a few weeks ago, and it wasn't my cup of tea. I could so how others love it for the money though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1114
Registered: Jul-07
The DAC's are supposed to be the best part of the Peachtree gear. I bet that unit will sound pretty good. I wonder what the price will be.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4123
Registered: May-05
Should have mentioned that too - about $1k.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1116
Registered: Jul-07
Lots of competition at that price point.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1117
Registered: Jul-07
I'd also like to check-out this unit....

http://www.musicdirect.com/product/89069

Surprised to see it on Music Direct.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4124
Registered: May-05
There's a ton of competition at and below $1k. The 100D looks very promising. SimAudio makes great stuff. Expensive stuff, but I never thought their stuff was overpriced, when taking sound and build quality, and customer support/warranty into consideration. They're an excellent company.

I'm not really surprised Music Direct carries them. They carry a ton of high end gear like BAT and Esoteric. They got $10k+ carts and TTs, so I guess the SimAudio stuff is pretty cheap for them. I'm surprised they don't carry the $1700 Sim DAC.

I'm going to hear the Sim DACs eventually.

I'm pretty sure they can sell to an adress that has a local dealer. Same thing as Audio Advisor with Bryston.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4125
Registered: May-05
Meant to say they probably CAN'T sell where there is a local dealer.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1118
Registered: Jul-07
Simaudio is one brand I have access to locally, as my dealer carries it. They also have Rega, so I asked them about the Rega DAC and they had no ETA.....but the guy I deal with said he would be shocked if it sounded better than the 300D ($1600). He also said the 100D was very very good for the money. I just haven't listened to it. The problem I have at that shop is that they usually have either B&W or JMLabs/Focal speakers in their demo systems, and they just don't do anything for me.....so it's hard to listen through that to evaluate any component behind them. I might just take one home for the weekend. They're pretty good at letting me do that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4126
Registered: May-05
The Rega DAC is supposed to be better than the Saturn, which is a $2400 CDP, so I wouldn't be too shocked if it beats the 300D. Haven't heard the 300D, so I can't say how it compares to the Saturn. I can say the Saturn is an excellent CDP and well worth it's price. If the DAC really ends up beating the Saturn, well... not sure what to say!

The UK guys say 2-3 weeks on the Rega DAC. A Rega rep on Pink Fish Media said it should be here in North America before Christmas.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13501
Registered: Feb-05
Rega has the DAC pics in their images area. Looks like a s s in my opinion but if it sounds good. You know me I like Rega so....It would still be awhile. I'm still loving this Saturn.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4128
Registered: May-05
Just saw that as you were posting, Art...

Upload

Upload

Looks like they combined the chassis of the current gear - the dip in the middle of the front and top,with the face plate of the Isis/Osiris gear with the shiny face plate. Definitely not sold on the looks. Also, did they need to use a scratched/scuffed up one to take pictures of? My shrunken versions hide the sctarches, but the thumb prints on the back are clearly visable. I guess they couldn't wait to get new ones to take pics of and used the demo one they've been touring with.

More pics are available on their website under "Downloads" thengo to Image gallery. Can't link directly to it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4129
Registered: May-05
Hopefully the silver faceplate will look a bit better, and it'll look better in person. If not, I can definitely live with it as long as it sounds good.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 841
Registered: Dec-06
I bet it's one of those products that will look much better in person than it does in pictures. I agree the pictures don't make it look all that hot. But if it does sound better than a Saturn (!) I will very possibly trade my Apollo in for it. Not anytime soon though - like Art, for now I'm very happy with my Rega disc spinner.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3318
Registered: Jun-07
I am going to pick one up. I can definitely see a 1000 dollar DAC, if integrated properly beating the Saturn. The Saturn is one amazing cdp dont get me wrong. But this is 1000 dollars worth of DAC baby. mmMMmmmm. Heads up vs Bryston and MSB. I expect the Rega to be very good. Although the filter settings on the front panel scare me a bit. I hope the filter can be by-passed.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4132
Registered: May-05
I'm thinking maybe the filter settings have to do with how good the transport is? ie maybe USB sounds better with say filter 1, while optical benefits more from 2? Then again, it I think they came up with a proprietary asynch input which should minimize differences between transports.

Who knows. I'll play around with them during the in store and in home demo. Several people over at Pink Fish Media say it'll sound better than the Saturn. As far as I'mconcerned, it's all heresay until I hear it. I'm just looking for a DAC that sounds as good as my Apollo did. Bettering the Apollo would be great, but I'm not holding out for a DAC that beats the Saturn. I hope is sounds better than the Saturn, but I'm not quite sure it will. The Saturn's a great CDP. It'll be a small miracle for a $1000 DAC to beat a $2400 CDP from the same company. I guess I'm keeping my expectations in check.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13515
Registered: Feb-05
My guess is that it will sound better in some respects and not quite as together in others. The Saturn is an integrated system by one company and the DAC will be just one half of whatever music is playing through it. Much like an integrated amp has some advantages over separates while the separates offer some flexibility and advantages over the integrated. Once you separate the pieces out, you then start looking at more cables and their impact and so on and so forth.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4133
Registered: May-05
Good points Art.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3319
Registered: Jun-07
Very good points Art.

I guess thats the upside, and also the downside to DAC's. Is that the device feeding it, along with proper setup is needed to bring out the best in the DAC. And it then also depends on the system. Where as a CDP is a whole unit and is less a self contained music player.

I am pretty excited for the Rega DAC. I sold my Bryston unit and am rocking the MSB Full Nelson at the moment with the Naim. I have a little cash left over from the Bryston DAC ready for something like the Rega to come along.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13517
Registered: Feb-05
Sold the Bryston...crikey, what gives? Looking forward to hearing from folks once they get the Rega DAC.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4134
Registered: May-05
Why'd you sell the Bryston?

If you love your Nait, try to hear the Naim DAC. It's $3500 USD, and worth every penny of it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13520
Registered: Feb-05
Goddamnit we'll make a Brit outta ya!

BTW, I agree with Stu. Bust out the checkbook big fella, it's showtime...lol!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3320
Registered: Jun-07
Well the MSB in my system is 95 percent of the Performance of the Bryston. The Bryston I sold for 250 dollars more than I paid for it new and figured I could use that money to fix bigger issues with my system than the DAC. Such as speaker upgrade, room , new Equipment Stand and cabling. Once I get the system to the point I want it I will bring the Bryston DAC back in to put up against the MSB. I really dig the MSB though at any price point. Then I tried the NAIM based on Nuck's suggestion of my style of listening and I really enjoy the Naim sound. Even though its just the 5i, its freaky good and could imagine myself trying the XS down the road, but could live with the 5i for a good while.

Dont get my wrong, the Bryston DAC is the best DAC I have heard to date, but the MSB is freakishly close, at least in my setup and the money invested into the Bryston DAC I feel could go into other area's that would get my system closer to where I can really start enjoying the music again.

Stu - Mark my words, I will own that NAIM DAC bud.lol. It would probably be my last too.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3321
Registered: Jun-07
lol I am getting there Art. When do I stop brushing my teeth? LOL Just kidding!

I really love the NAIM sound Art. Mind you, I feel it was not a fair comparison to 20 year old Bryston equipment. New sst2 stuff would be fair. Even to the higher end NAIM stuff. The thing with the NAIM 5i is that as soon as I dropped it in, I got a sense of realism in the music. Like the band was lined up in front of me slamming away. I notice too when the music gets insanely complicated the NAIM just makes sense of everything. Making the music still sound right and not just all bashed together. Again, I never A/B'd it against my Bryston gear, I just loved the way the little integrated played music. I would love the hear the XS. But like I said, first I got to get weaker area's fixed. Room is first.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4135
Registered: May-05
Get the Get Better Sound book by Jim Smith. Its about $35 with shipping. Just got my copy about a week ago.

There'snothing revolutionary in there, as far as I've gotten anyway, but it's a lot of little stuff I've heard all in one place and some stuff I didn't know about. Its more of a philosophy of what you should be looking for in sound and why vs. strictly what to do. Explains room set up, speakers placement, treatments and tweaks pretty well.

A solid $35 or so investment IMO.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3322
Registered: Jun-07
Sweet. I will pick it up Stu. Chapters has it. This weekend I am completely re-vamping my room to a suggestion that Mr. Wodek made over a year ago.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13525
Registered: Feb-05
I have been the longest running Naimee here and can tell you without reservation that whether we are talking about older Naim gear which sounds a little rougher around the edges (which some folks prefer) or the newer pieces which sound smoother, Naim has always been about making sense of the music.

Good British pieces seem to be about that. That's why I love everything in my system at present.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3323
Registered: Jun-07
I also have a lot of pics to post soon. Will wait until room is switched. Pics of DAC's and new Naim.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4444
Registered: Feb-07
Mike helped me tame my room quite a bit too Nick.

Are you keeping the caterpillar bass trap?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3324
Registered: Jun-07
That is for sure Art. With NAIM I find you get that sense of things that the Brits do so well but also get the bottom end slam and smooth detail retrieval you normally find in the Canadian manufacturers. Its a different beast which I really enjoy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3325
Registered: Jun-07
LOL! David - The play mat and caterpillar is gone as Ava is now crawling like crazy. lol. It has been replaced with a play pen which is probably even worse acoustically. lol. But it will gone shortly to a play room.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13526
Registered: Feb-05
Do keep in mind Nick that many old school Naimees don't find the XS to be an upgrade and believe that the Nait 5i is even a bit too smooth. I've done a lot of reading on it and I would say that your approach to get everything else right before looking to upgrade it is right on.

Don't fall into the typical ecoustics trap of "more is better". I know your not listening to chamber music and small ensemble jazz like I do, but don't forget that I also like contemporary big band recordings, full orchestral pieces and alternative rock and twang...these genres require something special from your gear to bring you to that point of "suspension of disbelief", that feeling that you are part of the musical event.

When you are listening to classical chamber music and tapping your toes, you know that you are listening to good British kit or a meth head and since I ain't the latter...just sayin'!
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4136
Registered: May-05
I agree with Art. It always makes sense to maximize what you have before you start upgrading components. Why get something 'better' if you're not getting the most out of what you have? Never made sense to me.

Then again, a bit of a contradiction on my part. I'm looking into a new DAC and haven't spent enough time with getting the new room right.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3326
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks Art. Do you mean that a lot of Naim guys do not believe the XS is an upgrade from the 5i?

More is definitely not better. I am really digging the integrated amplifier of 50 watts per channel which punches way above its weight.

lol toe tapping indeed.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3327
Registered: Jun-07
Yeah Stu I hear u. My room needs a full re-haul before I do anything. Once the re-haul is complete and I do some tweaking then a new Audio Equipment stand is next.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13527
Registered: Feb-05
There is definitely a group that feel that the Nait 5i is the quintessential British integrated and that with the XS you are trading detail and other "round earth" qualities for the Nait's simple PRaT first approach...and there are a bunch that don't like the Supernait. I've listened to the XS and liked it but I have not listened to the 5i and XS one after the other. I like both amps, a lot!

What speakers are you running, sorry I forgot?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4137
Registered: May-05
I've heard the 5i and XS side by side. The XS is a good bit better. I don't think it 'sells out' on it's core Naimness to get more hifi stuff, but that's just me. Most would agree in an A/B demo, except the most hard core old school Naim guys IMO. They're probably the same guys who feel every Nait after the Nait 2 caters to the hifi crowd vs the Naim die-hards. The Nait 1 and 2 were great (as are all Nait's IMO), but Art's description is definitely true - the highs were a bit ragged and the lows were a bit uncontrolled. By today's standards of course. They're fun integrateds, but if they were the current models, I'm sure the same guys would criticize them.

Naim's got probably got old school die-hard fans that are vocal about things and resistant to change than any other brand that I know of. I've seen these guys pretty much trash everything Naim's made since the late 80's, like saying the 555 CDP isn't as good as the old Olive series CDPs, chrome bumper stuff is better than Olive, which is better than the current line, etc.

Everyone's got their opinions. I'd take a Nait XS over any other Nait any day of the week. Doesn't mean I wouldn't want any other Nait though. The SuperNait is a different animal due to the internal DAC, and doesn't factor into that statement.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4138
Registered: May-05
One thing I can't get past is how many Naim guys there are with so many damn boxes. It's not uncommon to see guys on the Naim forum system pics threads with 2 or 3 Fraim racks side by side full of about 10-12 Naim boxes. I can't figure out what half the boxes are most of the time - external XOs, power supplies for each component, a few amps per channel, etc. Regardless of what anyone says, you've got to lose something in the music after the signal has passed through 6 boxes or so.

My Naim dealer scratches his head about that too. He laughs and says he's got a few customers like that and it definitely helps his income, but I've seen him give one of them a hard time about it, all in fun of course.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13530
Registered: Feb-05
They are primarily external power supplies for their various components. One of the primary reasons that if I were to go Naim I would probably buy the 5i and be done with it. With the XS and beyond the external power supplies get recommended for everything. I also know my tendency to obsess, not a good mix! When I listened to the XS my first question was "is it connected to external power supply". It was not, which is how I wanted to hear it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3328
Registered: Jun-07
Good to know guys.

Art- Currently just the Monitor Audio Silver RS6, Naim 5i, Fed from a MSB Full Nelson Ultra Link III DAC being fed from my Media Center with a few hundrew uncompressed Albums in various FLAC and WAV.

After the Room change over, then its stand, then its speakers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4139
Registered: May-05
I haven't heard the XS with a PSU. It probably sounds better, but it goes against the primary reason for an integrated IMO - one box to keep things simple. Integrateds almost always have a higher VFM too. I think when adding PSUs, the VFM drops a bit.

OMF! WTF is it with all the 3 letter abbreviations I just used? LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3329
Registered: Jun-07
Oh I need a DIN to RCA cable too. lol

I counted 8 Stu.lol
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13535
Registered: Feb-05
Hey Nick I'll bet Totems, Spendors, PMCs or Harbeths would sound awesome with the 5i. It would depend on your listening preferences. From your posts here I'm thinking Totems or PMCs.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3330
Registered: Jun-07
I am thinking the same thing Art. I love PMC's and would love to hear some Spendors (read they are a great match with NAIM), Harbeths and Totem Staff's on the 5i. I am really hunting down some Totems right now as it seems to match my budget at the moment.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4143
Registered: May-05
I'm thinking Totem or PMC too. The Sttafs ate great, but don't discount the Arro either. Depending on the room, the Arro may be better and cheaper. I haven't heard the Sttafs with the 5i, but I've heard the Arro with it. An amazing combo IMO.

Hate to push my speaker brand on you, but Audio Physic should also work very well. A bit more 3D and textured sounding than the Arro and PMCs IMO.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3331
Registered: Jun-07
Audio Physic will be put on my short list as well Stu. I keep reading amazing things about them. They are a very rare speaker to find around here but I am sure I could find some. There is an issue of What Hi Fi I have somewhere where a speaker reviewer did a battle between a bunch of brands including PMC and Audio Physic and the Audio Physic won in the reviewers system. I believe he was using very high end Sim Audio stuff.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4450
Registered: Feb-07
You gonna re-order the Wyred DAC sometime Nick?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3334
Registered: Jun-07
If I can find a good enough deal on one David I will. I really want to try one out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4452
Registered: Feb-07
Don't really seem to be any good deals on them anywhere. They're too new to be showing up on the used market I guess. Did you originally order the DAC-1 or 2? I can't remember.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3335
Registered: Jun-07
Just the 1. I didnt need a pre amp and the dedicated USB.

Yeah they are hard to get in this neck of the woods period.lol Even new.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4465
Registered: Feb-07
Ordering one from the States would be costly. 999.00 ends up being more like 1400.00 once it gets here. No thanks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4164
Registered: May-05
Rega put the DAC on their webpage along with a PDF of the manual. Hopefully it'll be Stateside soon.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4473
Registered: Feb-07
Sweet. No so much liking the glossy finish on the faceplate, though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4177
Registered: May-05
You're definitely not the only one, David.

Sent an e-mail to the US distributor. They currently have a demo unit and expect shipment in a few weeks. He said it sounds superb (would they say anything different?). Price is $995.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4220
Registered: May-05
The DACs are on a plane from the UK. Talked to me dealer today and I'll have one of the first units for a home audition.

Hopefully it'll be soon. They've got to clear customs, go to the distributor and be inventoried, sent to the dealer, then I'll get one. Somehow someway, I'm getting one of the first ones.

Tone Audio has one that's being reviewed right now. The review is supposed to be out on 12/24, I believe. Tone Audio's always been a good read for me.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4536
Registered: Feb-07
Cool! What's the price on one of these?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4221
Registered: May-05
$995, David. Luckily, I'm only $100 short in cash. Last major purchase for me for a few years if it works out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4537
Registered: Feb-07
Nice job Stu. Feels good to save up to buy something, huh? Well, theoretically, I've heard it feels good. lol...

Of course it'll be at least 20% more expensive up here in Canada even though our dollar is at parity. Oh yeah, then 15% tax on top of that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3367
Registered: Jun-07
13 percent! lol. HST refund tomorrow. Boing!!

Stu, cant wait for you to get one.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 883
Registered: Dec-06
There is a Rega DAC thread on the What Hi Fi forum. From what I gather a couple of dealers have demo models. One (Frank Harvey) has yet to try the DAC, but will be comparing it to the rDAC and the Audiolab 8200CD, and perhaps the Naim and Bryston DACs too. The other dealer (Musicraft) has compared it to the DACMagic and rDAC and basically says the Rega wins walking away.

I haven't listened to the rDAC myself, but I was able to look at a demo model at Bay Bloor. Very nice looking unit, and it seems to be very well built. The thought of dropping $500 crossed my mind, but I resisted.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4251
Registered: May-05
From what I've read from a few users (not pro reviewers), the rDAC's coax and optical inputs are very average - not much better or worse than the DAC Magic and a few others. The USB input is where the rDAC shines. This is contrary to the review I recently read in HIFI+ (I think that's the mag) where they said every input sounded the same, and that it was better than anything in the price range.

I just read Tone Audio's Rega DAC review. Pretty interesting, but they didn't get into any comparisons. It was more of a 'it sounds great' review. They said it's the $1k DAC benchmark, and that is sounded very similar to the reviewer's Rega P9 turntable. That's pretty high praise IMO, but it didn't say how it sounded like it.

A few dealers on Pink Fish media have one too. They all really like it.

I got an e-mail the other day from the US distributor. The DACs are/were still stuck in Heathrow airport due to the weather. That was before the snowstorm we had here in the North East. Did England have a big snow storm recently?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4252
Registered: May-05
Here's a pic of a silver DAC that a dealer took. Looks a lot better than the other pics...

Upload

Link to full sized image (it looks better)...

http://www.decoaudio.com/wpimages/wp66ff1ad6_05.jpg
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 888
Registered: Dec-06
I wonder if they need to use such a big box. It's just a DAC, right? It should be the size of a CD player, less the transport (which accounts for most of the size of a CD player). The rDAC is so small it fits in the palm of your hand.

I would personally want to do what Naim or Bryston did, and that's use a standard size box, or what Arcam did, and make it nice and compact. But that is just me being picky. It sounds like just about everyone who has heard the Rega DAC was impressed.

Check out this report. You can pull up a big high res pic of the back of the unit.

http://hi-fi-avenue.blogspot.com/2010/12/rega-dac-sounds-better-through-its.html

And here's one with a big pic of the front:

http://hi-fi-avenue.blogspot.com/2010/12/rega-dac-launched.html

I have to say that I am intrigued. Might kick around the idea of trading in my Apollo 35 for a Rega DAC, and using my Blu-Ray player as a transport. It may yield better sound quality, and it's nice that the Rega can accept high res files. I guess that means SACD and DVD-A will work without issue??? Not in a rush though. I'll probably insist on doing an in-home trial before committing to a change.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4253
Registered: May-05
Appearently, Rega are re-vamping their line up. According to Paul Darwin of Rega, the Apollo and Brio's replacement will be half width, and the Saturn and Mira's replacement will look like the DAC, only full width.

I have no idea why I like the half width boxes' looks so much.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4254
Registered: May-05
Sorry...

The Apollo and Brio's replacement will use the same case as the DAC. Maybe this explains the size, as in a cost saving feature? Or maybe the DAC's box is full. I remember reading somewhere that it's quite heavy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4256
Registered: May-05
The Rega DAC's manual has the size and weight specs. I converted to inches and lbs, here they are...

8.5 in Wide
10.6 in Deep
3.1 in High
8.8 lbs

Basically the footprint is the size of a standard sheet of paper.

At almost 9 lbs, I think it's got to have a lot of stuff in the box. An internal torriodial power supply is probably the biggest reason why it's a lot bigger than the rDAC, DAC Magic, etc.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3375
Registered: Jun-07
Its actually fairly small compared to some.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4257
Registered: May-05
That's what she said.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3376
Registered: Jun-07
LOL! bam. Good one.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1973
Registered: Oct-07
No balanced outs? Too bad, Good to have that choice.
 

New member
Username: Cto007

Post Number: 3
Registered: Aug-10
The digital to analog adventure begins here for me in Dallas. The first shipment into the US cleared customs yesterday. My retailer got their delivery after lunch today.
Sharing the same city as US dist SoundOrg and being a customer of the fine folks at Audio Concepts may make me one of the first in the US to take one home from retail.it's warming up on the qspire shelf now. I'll report back later.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 891
Registered: Dec-06
Looking forward to it! I'm really considering this DAC given that I can probably trade in my Apollo 35 for about the same value as the price of the DAC. And I bet it'll be the best sounding $1,000 DAC on the planet. But then again, it is the special edition Apollo. Tough choice!

Chris, what other gear do you have in your system?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13738
Registered: Feb-05
I couldn't possibly care less about balanced outs but reading between the lines I found Jeff's (Tone Audio) review underwhelming. Jeff loves Rega and I was waiting to see if he gave his nearly unqualified support to this DAC, unless I misread, I didn't see it. I say keep waiting for THE ONE!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4575
Registered: Feb-07
Looking forward to your report Christopher. What was the retail price on it, if you don't mind me asking?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4258
Registered: May-05
A lot of people are complaining about features, or a lack thereof. Several people at Pink Fish Media are getting hung up on no high-res through the USB port and can't wrap their heads around getting something as cheap as the High Face (or whatever its called). I have no balanced inputs on my integrated amp, nor any high-res stuff on my computer (or anywhere else), so no complaints from me.

Glad to see they're finally in the States. Hopefully they'll make their way to NY soon!

Now to solve my newest debacle...
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4259
Registered: May-05
Oh yeah...

I agree with Art on the Tone Audio review being underwhelming. I think the guy really liked it, as he likened it to his Rega P9 and called it the $1k benchmark. I think maybe it was a rushed/poorly written review.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3377
Registered: Jun-07
Newest Debacle?

I will definitely hit my dealer up for a price on the rega DAC.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4261
Registered: May-05
Just started a thread on my newest debacle.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4267
Registered: May-05
Got a call from my dealer at 5:05 today. My DAC shipped from Dallas yesterday. With the holiday, we're guessing my dealer will have it Tuesday. I'll take it home for a full demo, and if it's as good as I'm hoping, they'll charge me once I give it the thumbs up.

As an FYI, Jeff Dorgay of Tone Audio said it's far better than the DAC Magic on a forum that escapes my memory. I Google searched new Rega DAC and a 10 page thread on a forum came up somewhere where he was discussing it. As luck would have it, I can't find it anymore.

Of the 10 pages, a solid 5 were a few guys complaining about the USB input. After one guy wouldn't shut up about it for a few pages, someone told him he can use the optical output from his Mac to get high-res. He quickly changed his tune.

Also according to that thread, Rega has sold out their first two runs of it for Europe. Not sure about North America's supply. Glad I'm getting one to demo.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1163
Registered: Jul-07
And, the wait begins.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3381
Registered: Jun-07
I didn't think Mac had anything on the market that would push hi res through optical. I am probably wrong on that.

Awesome news Stu. Can't wait for your opinion on it. I am not sure who was complaining about the USB doing high res....but I have not personally played with a DAC yet that does High Res through the USB. Anybody who buys a nice DAC like a Rega or Bryston and uses USB is out of their mind. LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4271
Registered: May-05
I'm pretty sure the Mac mini and a few others will pass up to 24/98 through optical. Maybe more. I don't have high-res files, but people say iTunes will play high-res. All the apple players like iPods and Apple TVs are limited to 16/48. People say they downsample higher res to that spec.

There are more and more USB DACs that'll do high-res through USB. I guess it depends on implementation and if the designer thinks high-res through USB sounds as good as it does through other digital inputs.

A really smart thing Rega did with their DAC IMO is somehow isolated the USB (and the coax) input from noise. They're only the second one to do this. A Rega guy said the only other one was a multi-thousand dollar DAC, and didn't name it. Maybe dCS?

High-res is all a moot point to me anyway. Factor in that I highly doubt I'd replace my entire collection with high-res if it all becomes available.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3383
Registered: Jun-07
Yeah, me either. I am getting pretty excited to try the Rega DAC as well. I am thinking my dealer will get me a very very good deal on a new one. I could sell the MSB for over double of what I payed for it. That is if the Rega sounds better in my system.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1168
Registered: Jul-07
The optical out on the mini supports up to 24/192.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4272
Registered: May-05
I haven't heard the MSB DAC, Nick. Nor have I heard the Rega DAC. But, even if they sounded equally good, I'd imagine the Rega would synergize very well with your Nait. I liked the Apollo/Nait 5i combo better than the non-italic CD5i/Nait 5i combo. Rega sources tame the Nait 5i just a little bit, but in a very good way IMO. Just some food for thought. I'm sure others would disagree.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3384
Registered: Jun-07
Good to know Stu. I have heard good things about Rega sources matched up with Naim amps. I like the Naim so much that I would probably change my whole system based on it. I know this isn't always the best way to build a system, but I just dont care.LOL! Thats how much I dig it.

Good to know Chris that the mini does the full 192. That is good news.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4273
Registered: May-05
Nothing wrong with building a system around what you think is the best part. People argue source first, speakers first, and so on. IMO, you should build around what you think the strong point is.

I'm not guarantying you'll like the Naim-Rega synergy, but I'd be very surprised if you didn't.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13754
Registered: Feb-05
Rega sources with Naim amps are fairly common and a good match. The other way around, not so much. Rega amps don't have what it takes to let the Naim source do it's thing. I'm hoping that the new half case Brio & Apollo (for lack of knowing what their actual names will be) will help solve that. It's time that Rega amps perform as well as their sources. The Pre/Power combos are very well regarded..step up with the integrateds, Rega!
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4274
Registered: May-05
I guess this is why the DAC uses a case that size...

Upload

Pic from Pink Fish Media. There's also a close-up of the board where it says "Best used with EL84 valves." Valves is British for tubes.

I guess the board came from the Isis Valve CDP?

And yes, Mrs. Pitt, Baby Pitt and I are enjoying a quiet night in on New Year's Eve.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13755
Registered: Feb-05
"Baby Pitt" lol!

Happy New Year to all!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Fatelvis

Post Number: 71
Registered: Feb-06
I got mine and am listening to it now.

Some have described it as "organic" (which I'd agree with) and "lean" (which I don't). Some say it blows away the Saturn. Approach such hyperbole with caution. While this will be replacing my Saturn, as I'm moving very quickly towards computer-based storage... I wouldn't recommend someone quickly reduce the Saturn to transport duty on sound quality alone. The Apollo? Sure! But I was never a fan of the Apollo.

What tricks does this have up its sleeve?

Loads of bottom end detail. Not extension. But detail and air. Which works great on many of my CDs, it feels as if the rhythm section is in the room... beyond "analog" it sounds "live". High praise.

Effortlessness. One of the things I disliked about the Apollo was stridency. It worked very hard to call attention to bits and pieces of music. See that! Did you hear that! This is far less heavy handed in presentation, perhaps because it doesn't need to. Everything is there, balanced, and on the right recording, expertly placed and staged. Again, that "live more than just analog" description seems appropriate here. In other words, the sound of the Saturn sometimes feels "on purpose". Not so much here. It just sounds like you might think it's supposed to.

Depth: I don't get the Tone Audio review that described this as lean. It's not. It's not "dry" either. It's quite velvety, way more than any Rega CDP I've ever heard (I have not heard the Isis). It's really a pleasure to sit in front of and enjoy music this way. I feel far more space in front of and *behind* the speakers now, and this is compared to the Saturn.

Vs the Saturn? There's been a lot of "better than the Saturn" talk. I don't know about that... what's better? It's different. One should demo both the Saturn and Dac to determine what works best in their system. The Saturn still does detail "better" in the upper frequencies... that's what the Saturn does so well and still does well. It's not trumped in that particular department by the DAC. But the Dac does "make up" for this with the loads of aforementioned midrange and lower register *presence*. Not exaggeration, but rather a feeling of "being there". Again, "live" is the best way I can describe this. It's not "more" bass, but it's spacious and enveloping in a way the Saturn seemed to never have much time for.

So listen for yourself. If you want an organic, "live" sounding presentation that creates a very impressive soundstage with depth and life, the Dac may be your thing. If you like more "hi-fi", the details, precision, and analytics presented in a relaxed "analog" manner the Saturn is still the king.

I don't mean to suggest they are on opposite poles. My descriptions are, obviously, calling attention to the differences I've noticed thus far after 2 nights of listening.

For me it's a keeper, as I'm moving on from the plastic disks and seemingly at a rapid pace. I'm very happy with the DAC.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13769
Registered: Feb-05
I found your write up more useful than the other fella over at PFM. Then again I own a Saturn and won't be getting rid of it anytime soon, even if I get a DAC someday. Thank you for contributing here where Stu has put in so much effort. Much appreciated.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Fatelvis

Post Number: 72
Registered: Feb-06
Art, if you own the Saturn I wouldn't drop $1k on this unless you have other natty digital sources requiring an upgrade, or you are delving into computer-based storage, or just have money to burn like the folks seem to over on the Hoffman forums. You'll get something different, and perhaps better, but perhaps not depending on your taste!

Both are excellent. Outstanding. World Class audiophile "bargains". Don't be too swayed by the "latest and greatest" hype. Isn't that always the case, the latest is always best, no bones about it, and in every possible way! Only until the next thing is out are the bones of the old dissected and analyzed.

In my listening to the DAC there have been a handful of moments, when playing back very familiar material, where I "miss" something that previously the Saturn would reveal. A little cowbell hit, a subtle drop of a hi-hat. They are there, but back to the background... perhaps to where they were always supposed to be anyway.

But now, unlike with the Saturn, the instruments are a bit farther apart and I'm transported out of the recording studio and into a live setting. And that's not something a digital source component has done for me before. Plus, I'm getting more insight in the lower registers.

Note, however, I have limited experience with much in the stratospheric price ranges. I've never heard an Isis, and my DAC prior to this was a DAC Magic (a fine thing for what it is and what it does, but outclassed entirely by the Rega)

And one more point, it does all of this without feeling "affected". Why I avoid Naim gear and why I was a bit dismayed with the release of the Apollo... Rega seemed to making a move towards "hi-fi/hi-end" and they are back on the original path set by the Planet and Jupiter. Maybe it's fair to say the DAC is the followup to the Jupiter that the Saturn never really was?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13772
Registered: Feb-05
Well stated. I would argue the last point and say that the DAC, maybe (as I have not heard it) is the followup to the Planet and Jupiter that Apollo never really was. The Saturn seems to be of the same ilk where the Apollo drives off the reservation by a bit, I'd say. Perhaps we are saying the same thing differently. Sounds like the DAC has much of the drive of a Naim source without some of the irritants (compromises), that would be a nice combo. Again it will be quite sometime before I'll care and they will likely be onto the next thing before I buy. Thank you again, for your contribution. Please hang around.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 894
Registered: Dec-06
Thanks for the great write up, FatElvis. It sounds as if you've got a lot of experience with Rega sources. Ever heard the 35th anniversary Apollo? I'm considering parting with mine and getting a Rega DAC. I'm really not sure where the 35th falls, closer to a Saturn, an Apollo, or right smack dab in between. It sounds wonderful in my system though, so I'm in no rush.

Seems as if the DAC is great though. From your description it sounds like it would be a step up from the Saturn. A little less hi fi and more a feeling like you are there - what most audiophiles probably want. And it kind of makes sense that it would at least be as good as the Saturn, when you consider Rega used the dual DACs in the Saturn but also borrowed some other design elements from the Isis. At $1,000 that would make it a great value. Of course, the Saturn is an all in one unit with a great transport and I'm sure Rega took all parts of it into account in order to ensure it sounded just right. You don't necessarily get that assurance when buying the DAC.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4282
Registered: May-05
Thanks FatElvis. For some reason, I thought someone else wrote what you wrote in Pink Fish. Your's has been the most realistic and informative 'review' of it. I hate it when people hype up stuff far beyond what it really is. I've started a thread here and at PFM, not out of hype, but out of curiosity. I can't exactly hype a product I haven't heard yet.

I get a real kick out of people saying it's the bridge between the Isis and Saturn, approaches the Isis, etc. I haven't heard the Isis, but only an idiot would compare the two IMO.

Thanks again!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3386
Registered: Jun-07
Great review FatElvis. I may have missed it, but what are you using as source to the DAC. Streamer type? File type? What sample rate are you using?

You guys are really getting me excited for this thing.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4579
Registered: Feb-07
Hey Nick, if you had your choice between trying out the Wyred DAC-1 and the Rega (they're both around the same price, I think), which one would you go with?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3388
Registered: Jun-07
Wow.....Good questions David. Not sure. With the NAIM integrated I would think Rega would be an instant match but perhaps not. I think eventually once I get past finishing the kitchen this month I will try both to be honest. Dont worry but I am still planning on trying the Wyred. LOL. If I get one in the next few months we should take a trip down to you place to try it out for a weekend.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4580
Registered: Feb-07
That would be awesome Nick. Hopefully the music room is done by then. Started working on the ceiling today.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3389
Registered: Jun-07
NICE!!! You are getting there. I need a dedicated room bad. Not gonna happen in this house though. Ah well.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13774
Registered: Feb-05
From the descriptions of it, the Rega has much of the more recent characteristic Naim sound. Sounds like a nice match.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Fatelvis

Post Number: 73
Registered: Feb-06
Art, you make a fair point: "DAC... is the followup to the Planet and Jupiter that Apollo never really was."

Indeed... the Saturn is "more Rega" than the Apollo. The Jupiter was the one Rega player that, before the DAC, attempted the "organic" "live" sound in the lower registers that I'm getting from the DAC. Jupiter packed a lot of oomph, but was sparse on definition, upon which the DAC "improves".

To say the DAC is "better" than the Saturn....then it would have to, at a minimum, accomplish everything the Saturn does, plus more. I feel they are different enough to each have their advantages depending on taste and system requirements.

On the question of my transport, I'm using the Saturn for now. Tomorrow I'm headed to the Apple Store to pick up a Mac Mini and that will become the new transport.

I've had much success experimenting with a Macbook Pro as digital transport, but I want something dedicated that can also act as a server for the rest of the house.

But I'm also looking at the Mac Mini Server, which looks like an interesting possibility. But I don't know if that would involve a more difficult setup for my intended, somewhat simple, objectives. Any thoughts... Mac Mini vs. Mini Server?
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1186
Registered: Jul-07
Did you get the unit yet Stu ?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4288
Registered: May-05
Funny you should ask, Chris. Just got a call 5 minutes ago from my dealer saying it's in. Hope I can somehow con the boss into covering for me so I can get there by 6. If not, I'll pick it up tomorrow. Gotta use my Jedi mindtricks so he thinks it was his idea. While I'm not batting 1.000 with it, I'm pretty close.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4289
Registered: May-05
Then again, maybe I'll set him up for a half day tomorrow. Gotta feel it out and see what goes on over the next hour. It's an art, not a science. If I get greedy and go for both, it'll most likely backfire on me.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1187
Registered: Jul-07
These are not the droids you are looking for......
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4586
Registered: Feb-07
If you leave your jacket and bag/briefcase at your desk, it looks like you're still there and just stepped away from your desk for a bit.

This is hypothetically speaking of course, not that I've ever done this.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4587
Registered: Feb-07
"These are not the droids you are looking for......"

hahaha
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4291
Registered: May-05
That could work if I had a cubicle and the dealer was 5 minutes away. The dealer is a 20 minute drive from the office. I'd go 100 mph, but that stretch of highway is an infamous speed trap.

It's nearly impossible to slip out without anyone knowing in my line of work. Can't duck out and go to chotchky's because I have a case of the Monday's! How do you spell that anyway?

I think it's a conspiracy against me getting it today.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3397
Registered: Jun-07
mmMMYEAAHHHH! Stu.., I'm gonna have to have you come in on Saturdayyy....mmYeahhh.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4292
Registered: May-05
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!

Went to my dealer's place before work. Listened to it through a Nait 5i, N-Sats, and NSub. Compared it to the Naim DAC, Arcam rDAC, and the Naim UnitiQute. We unsealed the box and listened straight away. It was the first my dealer had heard it too Pics, initial impressions, and comparison to follow later on tonight when Kathryn goes to sleep. Think I'll start a new thread.

Oh yeah, it looks a he'll of a lot better in person!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4589
Registered: Feb-07
Awesome Stu!!!

Can't wait to hear what you think!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3403
Registered: Jun-07
I know your time with it at your dealers was short Stu but how did it fair with the Nait 5i at your dealers?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4293
Registered: May-05
I'm pretty tired and am about to pass out, so I'll save the pics and most of what went down today for tomorrow.

The Nait 5i and DAC are an excellent combo IMO. Gotta give the DAC time to fully warm up and go through it's paces to really give a full review, but I'm pretty confident I know where the sound will go in the next few days.

Without giving really getting into it, the DAC and Naim stuff seem to be cut from the same cloth. They shared a lot of core attributes. Straight out of the box, it sounds far better than my Apollo did with the same amount of time on it.

Like a woman you've dreamed about dating for a long time, now that I've got it, I want to make sure I'm in love with the DAC rather than being in love with what I think the DAC is.

Hope that wasn't too much of a tease, Nick
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13785
Registered: Feb-05
Excellent, Stu. Looking forward to your impressions.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2007
Registered: Oct-07
This is going in the right direction. Good.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4590
Registered: Feb-07
I know this sounds like minor nit-picking, but is the faceplate as glossy in real life as it is in the pics?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3404
Registered: Jun-07
Teasing me Stu. Teasing me...lol

Did u get the silver or black Stu? You using the optical out? I know your probably going to touch on all of this in your review I am just h0rny to hear your thoughts.lol
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4294
Registered: May-05
All shall be revealed soon. I'm going to start writing it up now that I'm at work and can relax

May father used to say "I wish I was at work so I could relax." Now I know why!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4591
Registered: Feb-07
LOL. I come to work for peace and quiet too.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 917
Registered: Dec-06
http://www.decoaudio.com/deco_audio_rega_dac.html

Some nice pics here.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4616
Registered: Feb-07
Alot of stuff crammed in a little package. Nice big transformer too.

Hey Stu, have you tried the different filter settings yet? I remember the DACMagic had 3, and one sounded a lot better than the other ones.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4321
Registered: May-05
I haven't played around with them too much yet, David. I briefly tried the 5 different settings, and they're subtley different. I keep going back to filter 1, which is what Rega implies is the purest one anyway.

I should have some time on my hands tomorrow. If all goes as planned, I'll spend some more time with it.
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