Jump to content

Recommended Posts

In the current lockdown,  I like many others have struggled to maintain my enthusiasm for my system. 

More than happy with the analog side after a few tweaks , but my Chord Qutest while a very nice DAC - just can't help feeling I'm missing something! (Besides golf and fishing!) ?

 

So after a brief investigation and talking with someone in the audio industry - it seems there are certainly better DACs out there than the Qutest. 

 

So I would appreciate input from more knowledgeable/ enlightened people on a good update path and brands / models to consider. 

Know @MattyW likes R2R and Phillips chips plus a few Holo fans out there. 

Valves in the DAC stage are certainly welcome. 

 

Budget is yet to be decided but most likely sub 5k.

Anyway please let me know your thoughts. 

 

 

Edited by evil c
  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 359
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Ok probably about time I updated in case people haven't read my evil springs System thread.    After a lot of thought and looking at features, recommendations and looks, oh and tubes!, (yes

Sorry been too busy basking in the heavenly flow, of music washing over me! ? The Lumin U1 Mini streamer really does belong in a very high class of these devices.   I honestly had reser

i have found listening to my digital system this is the best update ,the more you add the better it sounds,relatively inexpensive also.  

I have been listening to this one for a while now and it is really nice indeed. Very smooth and linear but not at the expense of detail. Good value as well.

 

https://line-magnetic.com.au/portfolio-item/lm-32dac/

 

Have a chat to our mutual good  friend @Grizzly

 

 

Edited by rantan
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had a  Qutest in my system briefly.

Of the dacs that I have heard in my system, if you are willing to buy second hand, I would suggest considering any of the following which I found more "engaging": 

 

Schiit Yggdrasil (perhaps not as clean as Qutest, but more detailed and better imaging)

Holo Audio Spring (cleaner and punchier with a bit more bass)

PS Audio Directstream or Junior (noise floor is higher, but otherwise an excellent allrounder that sounds very fluid, without losing detail. Perhaps warmer than the others

 

(All subjective impressions, as my ears don't measure)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites


Ive haven't heard it but his one has its fans.

 

personally, I'm not convinced it's worth spending a bucket of dosh on a dac. So often it comes down to minor flavours rather than big quality differences.  I don't think you get anything like the same variation changing a dac as, say,  changing a cart, a TT mat, or an amp.  

Why not pick up a used Gieseler Gross or Fein dac, they come up every now and then in the classifieds. Similar RRP to a Qutest but much better bang-for-the-buck and it will give you another reference point. I found it to be more natural sounding and less etchy.

I listen to my system for at least 3-4 hours a day and haven't lost any enthusiasm for it. Toys are nice but refreshing your music is the key.

What are you feeding it with these days?

Edited by buddyev
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

@buddyev lots of fans of the Denafrips Ares II. Apparently very smooth, detailed and plenty of "analogue" wetness in the sound. And less than 1/2 the price of the Denafrips Terminator.

 

However agree that Gross and Fein from Geiseler would be worthy mid-priced 2nd hand contenders.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, evil c said:

In the current lockdown,  I like many others have struggled to maintain my enthusiasm for my system. 

More than happy with the analog side after a few tweaks , but my Chord Qutest while a very nice DAC - just can't help feeling I'm missing something! (Besides golf and fishing!) ?

 

So after a brief investigation and talking with someone in the audio industry - it seems there are certainly better DACs out there than the Qutest. 

 

So I would appreciate input from more knowledgeable/ enlightened people on a good update path and brands / models to consider. 

Know @MattyW likes R2R and Phillips chips plus a few Holo fans out there. 

Valves in the DAC stage are certainly welcome. 

 

Budget is yet to be decided but most likely sub 5k.

Anyway please let me know your thoughts. 

 

 

My top vote would be something from Abbas Audio.  I believe his PCM56-K and 63 offerings are meant to be excellent also :)

 

If performance per dollar is the top consideration though there's a particular TDA1540D DAC out of China is unbeatable ;)

Edited by MattyW
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, MattyW said:

If performance per dollar is the top consideration though there's a particular TDA1540D DAC out of China is unbeatable

Which TDA1540D DAC please @MattyW? Very interested....

Link to post
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, Jeddie said:

How about  one of Clays?

https://www.gieseler.com.au/

 

I'm pretty sure Clay allows a free home demo on his Dacs.  

 

 

 

Appreciate your suggestion. 

Always happy to support Aussie products and well acquainted with him! ?

1 hour ago, rantan said:

I have been listening to this one for a while now and it is really nice indeed. Very smooth and linear but not at the expense of detail. Good value as well.

 

https://line-magnetic.com.au/portfolio-item/lm-32dac/

 

Have a chat to our mutual good  friend @Grizzly

 

 

Cheers for the suggestion. 

40 minutes ago, buddyev said:

Ive haven't heard it but his one has its fans.

 

personally, I'm not convinced it's worth spending a bucket of dosh on a dac. So often it comes down to minor flavours rather than big quality differences.  I don't think you get anything like the same variation changing a dac as, say,  changing a cart, a TT mat, or an amp.  

Why not pick up a used Gieseler Gross or Fein dac, they come up every now and then in the classifieds. Similar RRP to a Qutest but much better bang-for-the-buck and it will give you another reference point. I found it to be more natural sounding and less etchy.

I listen to my system for at least 3-4 hours a day and haven't lost any enthusiasm for it. Toys are nice but refreshing your music is the key.

What are you feeding it with these days?

Hi Russ,

Nice to hear from you. 

Well that is the million dollar question,  whether an upmarket DAC  will lift my digital collection to a level where I say "stuff it I'll just give the vinyl a rest"! ?

 

I'm a realist and pragmatist at heart, when I'm not being swept up by the latest whim! 

I just want to lessen the insurmountable gulf so I get more use from both. ?

 

But lot of DACs at 10k plus leave me questioning the value of occasional digital listening, would want to be pretty sizable for that level of investment !

Certainly have been extending my range of music, but it's an itch I feel I need to scratch.

Always good to try before buying in an ideal world, so I'll see what comes up and try and narrow it down.

 

Still have the Meridian 506 and 508.24 CD players plus a Bluesound node 2i streamer. 

Whether they're up to the task, with a kick@rse DAC is another matter! 

Edited by evil c
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Clive, I reckon if you're contemplating a high end $10k dac you really should rethink the whole digital chain. I'm pretty sure that bluesound would be a bottleneck. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites


@Ittaku, why don't you tell Clive the make and model of your DAC?  :)

 

@evil c the issue will be ... can you afford the purchase?  (Of course, if you sold your vinyl gear ... it might just about cover it!  :lol:

 

Andy

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, andyr said:

@Ittaku, why don't you tell Clive the make and model of your DAC?  :)

Um, best I don't Andy, as my DAC costs $70K (though I'd highly recommend it as the best DAC available anywhere.)

Edited by Ittaku
  • Like 2
  • Love 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, evil c said:

In the current lockdown,  I like many others have struggled to maintain my enthusiasm for my system. 

More than happy with the analog side after a few tweaks , but my Chord Qutest while a very nice DAC - just can't help feeling I'm missing something! (Besides golf and fishing!) ?

 

So after a brief investigation and talking with someone in the audio industry - it seems there are certainly better DACs out there than the Qutest. 

 

So I would appreciate input from more knowledgeable/ enlightened people on a good update path and brands / models to consider. 

Know @MattyW likes R2R and Phillips chips plus a few Holo fans out there. 

Valves in the DAC stage are certainly welcome. 

 

Budget is yet to be decided but most likely sub 5k.

Anyway please let me know your thoughts. 

 

 

Well, I have done exactly that, WFH was getting a bit of a drudge and I wanted to spruce it up, so I went for a new DAC with streaming capability in the form of an Auralic Vega G2.1. Maybe not cheap, not made in Oz, but I have to say it has completely reinvigorated my music listening. Doesn't fit in your sub 5k range, but I started off looking at more modest DACs and just seemed to go upwards from there, quite funny really, but I am glad I did. The ease of streaming stuff is an added bonus and I'm not playing anywhere near as much vinyl as I used to. Currently using it as a pre into my ME850.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, buddyev said:

Ive haven't heard it but his one has its fans.

 

personally, I'm not convinced it's worth spending a bucket of dosh on a dac. So often it comes down to minor flavours rather than big quality differences.  I don't think you get anything like the same variation changing a dac as, say,  changing a cart, a TT mat, or an amp.  

Why not pick up a used Gieseler Gross or Fein dac, they come up every now and then in the classifieds. Similar RRP to a Qutest but much better bang-for-the-buck and it will give you another reference point. I found it to be more natural sounding and less etchy.

I listen to my system for at least 3-4 hours a day and haven't lost any enthusiasm for it. Toys are nice but refreshing your music is the key.

What are you feeding it with these days?

My expertly curated music stream   ( "I listen to my system for at least 3-4 hours a day and haven't lost any enthusiasm for it. Toys are nice but refreshing your music is the key." )

keeps me informed with new music every day. It's called FM radio, largely a diet of PBS with a side helping of RRR.

Band's bandcamp pages have plenty of FLAC to buy, support your artists!

regards Ian

ps: buddyev, Oz jazz purchases of late:

Mike Nock, Julien Wilson: This World

https://lionsharecords.com/album/this-world

higher res if you want it

https://lionsharecords.com/album/this-world-hd-24bit-96khz

JK Group: The Young Ones

https://joshkelly.bandcamp.com/album/the-young-ones

regards Ian

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend this DAC over a few of the others you mentioned.

 

https://www.musicalparadise.ca/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=61&product_id=97

 

Myself and a few other forum members have this and we are loving and enjoying it.   Tube rolling gives you that missing feeling that you're not getting with solid state DACs.   One tube can change the sound just like that...  

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

New one from Denafrips, the Pontus.

 

So many choices, so many flavors, It's a DAC jungle out there :fear:

 

 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, muon* said:

 

New one from Denafrips, the Pontus.

 

So many choices, so many flavors, It's a DAC jungle out there :fear:

 

 

Having heard the little Denafrips Ares I'd say any of those is a pretty safe choice as well. 

 

I still prefer a well implemented Phillips TDA though. ;)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, MattyW said:

Having heard the little Denafrips Ares I'd say any of those is a pretty safe choice as well. 

 

I still prefer a well implemented Phillips TDA though. ;)

Yeah, I couldn't advise someone as my listening is limited where different DAC's go, but I'm a fan of the two original Philips chips too.

 

I only know the Denafrips by reputation.

 

 

All the best in the hunt, Clive.

Edited by muon*
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Ian McP said:

My expertly curated music stream   ( "I listen to my system for at least 3-4 hours a day and haven't lost any enthusiasm for it. Toys are nice but refreshing your music is the key." )

keeps me informed with new music every day. It's called FM radio, largely a diet of PBS with a side helping of RRR.

Band's bandcamp pages have plenty of FLAC to buy, support your artists!

regards Ian

ps: buddyev, Oz jazz purchases of late:

Mike Nock, Julien Wilson: This World

https://lionsharecords.com/album/this-world

higher res if you want it

https://lionsharecords.com/album/this-world-hd-24bit-96khz

JK Group: The Young Ones

https://joshkelly.bandcamp.com/album/the-young-ones

regards Ian

Thanks @Ian McP, downloading as we speak. Can't remember the last time I saw Mike Nock live, but it yonks ago.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about replacing your Bluesound Node with something like the Auralic Altair G1? Same basic functionality and you can also use the internal dac for your CDP via a bunch of digital ins. I don’t own one but based on the press they are getting, I’d bloody well like to :) 

 

Roon ready or I use their lightning DS app with an Aries mini and I really rate it. Plus it’s in the budget and you can even sell the node to help fund

 

Recently reviewed by a very prestigious publication

https://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/auralic-altair-g1-streaming-dac-preamplifier-review

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, buddyev said:

Clive, I reckon if you're contemplating a high end $10k dac you really should rethink the whole digital chain. I'm pretty sure that bluesound would be a bottleneck. 

I said at that level it left me cold , hence why I'm more in the sub $5k bracket.

It could however be a $10k DAC selling for my price level 2nd hand! :)

 

47 minutes ago, petng said:

If you only playing Redbook I would suggest a AN dac. Timeless musicality. There is a 2.1x in the classifieds.

Have a tendency to stream a lot from Tidal, Radio Paradise,  and a smattering of high res.

Hardly used my CDP in the last 6 months.

49 minutes ago, andyr said:

@Ittaku, why don't you tell Clive the make and model of your DAC?  :)

 

@evil c the issue will be ... can you afford the purchase?  (Of course, if you sold your vinyl gear ... it might just about cover it!  :lol:

 

Andy

 

Vinyl stays till I did Andy! ?

I can sell the Qutest to add to my modest bugetet.

51 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Um, best I don't Andy, as my DAC costs $70K.

Nah that's fine,  oh well a loan is out I spose! ?

 

51 minutes ago, Marc said:

Just a cheapie MSB (it's in your sig!) :)

Huh??? ?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MattyW said:

My top vote would be something from Abbas Audio.  I believe his PCM56-K and 63 offerings are meant to be excellent also :)

 

If performance per dollar is the top consideration though there's a particular TDA1540D DAC out of China is unbeatable ;)

Why am I not surprised???

Pity it's from so far away!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I mainly stream via Roon and Tidal. AN dacs sound supreme. No fatigue at all, unlike some high tech dacs I have heard.  
 

I have a 3.1/4.1 kit dac

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tntman said:

I recommend this DAC over a few of the others you mentioned.

 

https://www.musicalparadise.ca/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=61&product_id=97

 

Myself and a few other forum members have this and we are loving and enjoying it.   Tube rolling gives you that missing feeling that you're not getting with solid state DACs.   One tube can change the sound just like that...  

 

 

 

looks intriguing and very good value for money , all the choices of updates etc. are a tad bewildering to me.

Which do you recommend?

 

 

 

1 hour ago, muon* said:

 

New one from Denafrips, the Pontus.

 

So many choices, so many flavors, It's a DAC jungle out there :fear:

 

 

I did mean to mention I was interested in R2R DAC's, they seem to rate highly with many.

 

Appreciate the recommendations guys, gives me something to work with - if there are any others that you think would be suitable, please let me know.

(Also few more streamers to update from the Bluesound.)

 

So anyone with a Denafrips willing to loan? :)

Bit hard at the moment I know!

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, evil c said:

Why am I not surprised???

Pity it's from so far away!

I kind of wish you were a fellow Brisbanite. Then you could hear for yourself  :)

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, MattyW said:

I kind of wish you were a fellow Brisbanite. Then you could hear for yourself  :)

I kinda wish I was one too, even temporarily to wallow in the warmth and freedom!!! ?

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, evil c said:

 

looks intriguing and very good value for money , all the choices of updates etc. are a tad bewildering to me.

Which do you recommend?

 

I'd go with this config with that DAC, though more research needed into the output tubes....  Not R2R though. That said,  I've already voted with my wallet

 

Screenshot_20200819-202538_Chrome.thumb.jpg.bfc8303168fb7d6bfbe8ebffaa974a43.jpg

Edited by MattyW
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, evil c said:

In the current lockdown,  I like many others have struggled to maintain my enthusiasm for my system. 

More than happy with the analog side after a few tweaks , but my Chord Qutest while a very nice DAC - just can't help feeling I'm missing something!

I suspect that the DAC is only a symptom of your lack of enthusiasm for the whole digital music chain.  The streamer plays a significant role as well. Instead of chasing upgrades for individual components, cables etc,  maybe you should consider simplifying the music chain by getting a much better streamer DAC eg. Auralic Altair G1, Lumin T2?   

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Currently an Accuphase DC37 DAC advertised in the classifieds.

 

Above your suggested price range, but maybe within reach?

 

I have one and love the sound.

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Snoopy8 said:

I suspect that the DAC is only a symptom of your lack of enthusiasm for the whole digital music chain.  The streamer plays a significant role as well. Instead of chasing upgrades for individual components, cables etc,  maybe you should consider simplifying the music chain by getting a much better streamer DAC eg. Auralic Altair G1, Lumin T2?   

I did allude to that fact that my streamer might need to be upgraded so quite prepared to look at options!

 

I fear my original stated budget will be exceeded by matching a streamer and DAC of compatible  quality! ?

 

Auralic seems to pop up regularly as a recommended streamer. 

I know Point Source has a Lumin and loves it!

 Thanks for your insight. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very easy to simply add a Raspberry Pi to convert any DAC into a streaming capable DAC.... My advice is to focus on the one and only feature that really matters in a DAC: Sound quality  ;)

 

The TeraDak streamer with digital outputs is excellent with a linear power supply in its own compartment to stop it interfering with the Electronics. Not cheap at around $500 or so though I've found performance to be excellent. 

 

I didn't have much luck with the included Volumio image and changed to RoPieeeXL.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/184270901293

Edited by MattyW
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, evil c said:

I did allude to that fact that my streamer might need to be upgraded so quite prepared to look at options!

 

I fear my original stated budget will be exceeded by matching a streamer and DAC of compatible  quality! ?

 

Auralic seems to pop up regularly as a recommended streamer. 

I know Point Source has a Lumin and loves it!

 Thanks for your insight. 

If you want to keep to under $5K, then suggest Auralic Altair G1, detailed review in AS

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/review-auralic-altair-g1-digital-audio-streamer-r897/

The Lumin D2 fits under budget as well.

 

Good luck with your hunt...

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, evil c said:

I did allude to that fact that my streamer might need to be upgraded so quite prepared to look at options!

 

I fear my original stated budget will be exceeded by matching a streamer and DAC of compatible  quality! ?

 

Auralic seems to pop up regularly as a recommended streamer. 

I know Point Source has a Lumin and loves it!

 Thanks for your insight. 

 

Why not fix up the streamer first - you might find it gets the best out of the qutest. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...