What makes a good dac or transport?

2

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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,221
    I hear ya Bob, we all have that problem to some degree. Given your wife's hearing problems and the fact that the WAF needs to be high on the priority list, Sonos would be the way to go for you. Not a wife on the planet who doesn't love the thing. Plus you can use the analog outs on the Sonos until you have a dac to insert into the mix or just use the dac you already have in a receiver or anything else with a digital input.

    Most wives are....electronically challenged, to put it in a PC way. The Sonos will make them happy to use it, seriously. After you start using one, there are ways to make it better as time goes on and your wallet allows.

    You can use a USB plug and go directly into most any dac, if your computer is in the same room or your running a laptop....to answer your question.

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  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    So, can I expect better audio quality from a Sonos as compared the the Cambridge BT100 into a DAC?
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,967
    good question, and furthermore, are you planning to use the CBT100 into a non Cambridge DAC? I was just looking at these, myself, and couldn't help but notice the "any supported Cambridge product" qualifier?
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  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    The Cambridge Dacmagic is high on my list for a dac purchase, not sure if the BT100 will work on others.
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    tonyb wrote: »
    Sonos would be the way to go for you.

    Got model number/name or vendor for me?, it seems most of what I find are wireless speaker set ups.

    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,967
    DSkip wrote: »
    With that said, it took me a while to finally find a DAC that sounded better than just using the Pioneer as a CDP. Under $400, you can find some nice ones though, especially on the used market. Solid DAC's were hard to come by in that price range when I was shopping, but now you can get a fairly nice one for about $200 used.
    Skip - which DACs do you recommend scouting for around this pricepoint?

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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,221
    edited December 2014
    muncybob wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    Sonos would be the way to go for you.

    Got model number/name or vendor for me?, it seems most of what I find are wireless speaker set ups.

    ZP90 hunt them up used or go to the Sonos website.

    I think the Cambridge BT100 only streams MP3.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,967
    edited December 2014
    I ran throught a LOT of DAC's in my setup: Internal DAC on Sunfire TGP-II, Meridian Explorer (DAC & Headphone amp), Audio GD NFB-5 (Headphone amp/dac and pre), and the FIRST TIME I play a DacMagic which my buddy brought over to play with, I decided THAT was the DAC for me.

    I bought one and have been using it ever since. For me its one of the better DAC's under 500 you can find. Now I have the older just DacMagic, not the Plus or the 100 and I love it. I've seen them go from between 150 - 350, so if you can be patient I am sure you can snag one. Couple sites to checkout would be here, AudioGon, USAudioMart, eBay and Head-fi.org.

    I paired mine with a BlackCat Veloce Coaxial cable and basically have the same setup Phil ( @pearsall001‌) had and I could'nt be happier. For now its the DAC that blows back my sack......

    I'd give it a go as you can use the USB input (for your computer) the coaxial OR optical input (for a CD player with coaxial or some other transport) and be good. You can even play with the different inputs to see if you prefer one over the other.

    Also as its got multiple inputs you can connect a LOT of diff devices to it to see how it sounds.
    great info - I do like to hear some others' experiences with gear. history and comparison helps weed through all the options a bit.

    lol to blows back the sack. that never gets old!
    muncybob wrote: »
    Anybody have any experience with the Parasound Zdac? I ask since I have a Parasound amp for my 2 channel rig. One can be had for $299 new.
    good question Bob, I've been curious about this myself. seems like a decent little unit. there was just one on Audiogon the other day for $235. I'm not really sure what the differences are between v1 and v2
    muncybob wrote: »
    Yet another question...to stream from my PC wireless network I need something between the PC and the DAC, but it's not something as simple as a USB dongle like on our TV?
    Bob, yeah, unless you're going to connect the PC directly to the DAC, you'll need some way to get the music to the DAC. I thought this was what you were meaning by transport. So, yeah, Squeezebox, Sonos, etc. - these devices connect to your Wifi, and can pickup the library on your computer, and pass it to your DAC. Or, you could just use a laptop where all your gear is. stick it on top where you'd normally have a turntable :) and go USB direct to the DAC. Some of these wifi streaming devices even offer direct USB connectivity, so you could even load up an external hard drive with all your music, and connect it directly to the wifi streamer/player if you wanted to, instead of using wireless to your computer, but may defeat the purpose. or it may offer other benefits I'm not aware of. These devices also stream other services you may be interested in checking out, like Pandora, or Spotify, and internet radio.

    I was just talking to another guy last week and I think he was, at one point, using his tv to do it. if you have a smart tv that supports network media streaming, and aren't already using the optical out on it, you could pass that to the DAC if it supports optical in. just another idea.

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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,221
    Bad idea using a TV for any music in any form. Noise gents....TV's have the cheapest parts, noisiest parts for audio. I wouldn't even entertain the thought.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,052
    I'm going to be writing up a follow up to my recent streaming experiences because I finally got something I'm happy with at a price I really like. Spent the better part of the last two weeks fighting through it.
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    Well, I'm about to pull the trigger on the DacMagic. Found one from an authorized dealer for under $250, open box item with 1 yr warranty. No vertical stand though. I want to make the right choice here between this dac and using the old Pioneer as a transport or ditching the Pioneer and getting a better cd/sacd player. The Pioneer does sacd and I believe I will get the full signal if the sacd played is only 2 channel but will I get all the music encoded on a 5.1 disc?
    Man, the more I think about this stuff the more questions I have....sorry!
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,221
    No, you won't be able to do 5.1 with that dac. 2 channel....no problem.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    DSkip wrote: »
    I'm going to be writing up a follow up to my recent streaming experiences because I finally got something I'm happy with at a price I really like. Spent the better part of the last two weeks fighting through it.

    Looking forward to this as that will be my next step....well, after getting some better cables for the dac.

    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    tonyb wrote: »
    muncybob wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    Sonos would be the way to go for you.

    Got model number/name or vendor for me?, it seems most of what I find are wireless speaker set ups.

    ZP90 hunt them up used or go to the Sonos website.

    I think the Cambridge BT100 only streams MP3.

    So to control this looks like I need a smartphone(don't have), trips to the computer in another room or a laptop...which I also do not have(on my lap of course)?

    If so, for me it looks like a squeezebox touch would be a better idea?

    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,052
    edited December 2014
    Do you have a tablet?

    And Bob, like Tony said, SACD might be stuck going through your Pioneer. As I said earlier though, I'd rather have a great redbook player (a computer is awesome) than a mediocre SACD player. In this case, you could still have both by using the Pioneer as a transport. Just hook up digital to the DAC to your pre, then a second analog output bypassing the DAC and going directly to the pre.
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    DSkip wrote: »
    by using the Pioneer as a transport. Just hook up digital to the DAC to your pre, then a second analog output bypassing the DAC and going directly to the pre.

    Yep, that's the plan for now...just waiting for that west coast store to open up so I can palce the order.

    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,967
    edited December 2014
    tonyb wrote: »
    I think the Cambridge BT100 only streams MP3.
    I think, after reading a kb article from Cambridge, that the BT100 can be used to pass any audio from the Bluetooth source device. In the kb article, Cambridge is addressing the question of whether V1 Stream Magic 6 owners will get the new Spotify functionality coming with the firmware update for V2 SM6's. They say no, and then recommend the BT100 to owners of the first gen Stream Magic 6 as a method of providing Spotify, since the first gen Stream Magic is not getting any updates to be able to Spotify directly. This, to me, indicates that the BT100 can take any BT audio from the source device, since Spotify will only be running as an app on the source. here's a link to the kb article - http://bit.ly/1zykLq0
    If planning to use the BT100 with a Cambridge product, I'd probably follow up with them directly with your plans to confirm functionality.

    I think this works like any other Bluetooth receiver, only Cambridge says theirs won't be lacking the fidelity of other BT receivers, and according to the product info, it may be proprietary only to "supported Cambridge devices".
    muncybob wrote: »
    So to control this looks like I need a smartphone(don't have), trips to the computer in another room or a laptop...which I also do not have(on my lap of course)?

    If so, for me it looks like a squeezebox touch would be a better idea?
    Even with the Squeezebox Touch, you're probably still going to want a tablet or a smartphone to control it. you can do it manually, but it's easier with a tablet or smartphone and using an app like the free Logitech one or any number of third party apps available. some of them are better than the Logitech one.

    You can do it with a laptop and the web app that you can use with the Logitech Media Server, but it seems a little clunky, imho

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  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,052
    BT Audio is not going to give you high fidelity sound. I don't believe them when they say theirs is special because BT itself has its limitations.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,967
    edited December 2014
    I don't necessarily believe it either. I use a Bluetooth receiver for stuff, but it's not in a system/environment where the fidelity matters tremendously. It does sound pretty good to me, but I have noticed minor differences in volume and slight quality changes depending on the device used - an old iPhone works better than a newer Android tablet in my case. I've also used BT in other environments with the same source and it sounds horribly empty and tinny.

    Theirs may be meant to be used in conjunction with their Stream Magic 6 product with its upsampling?
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,221
    You can buy any cheap tablet for 100 bucks and use it as a controller. Provided you have wi-fi. You do have a router, right ?
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    yep, got wi-fi here. Placed the order for the DacMagic yesterday, he says pristine condition-1yr warranty-but no vertical stand...$250 delivered. I thought that was a decent deal, not sure if I'll miss the stand.

    So next question(putting streaming on the back burner for now), which digital in do I use and what budget cable(s) are suggested?
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,768
    muncybob wrote: »
    yep, got wi-fi here. Placed the order for the DacMagic yesterday, he says pristine condition-1yr warranty-but no vertical stand...$250 delivered. I thought that was a decent deal, not sure if I'll miss the stand.

    So next question(putting streaming on the back burner for now), which digital in do I use and what budget cable(s) are suggested?

    It's a decent price, the stand won't be missed.

    What input... Try em all and see what you like.


    Cables... Bluejeans, Signal Cable, DouglasConection, Audioquest...


    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,221
    Use the digital coax connection, or USB. The Blackcat veloce digital coax cable is pretty darn good at around 140 bucks new and 80 bucks used.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,052
    DSkip wrote: »
    I'm going to be writing up a follow up to my recent streaming experiences because I finally got something I'm happy with at a price I really like. Spent the better part of the last two weeks fighting through it.

    I'm expecting to have time to sit down and type this out tonight.
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,120
    Tony, perhaps that will be a cable upgrade for us, for now I settled on Blue Jeans...got both coax and optical and some interconnects needed for the amp and pre. Looks like it all should arrive this coming week just in time for the new year.

    I am sooo looking forward to this as last night we played some Eagles tunes from the studio releases box set and Desperado never sounded so good. Will be interesting to see what the new cables and dac bring to the table.
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,376
    I'm gonna give you my opinion on what makes a DAC or Transport good.
    it really comes down to only one thing and one thing alone and thats realism. I find so many things in our industry to claim to be great and bench test prove to be this and that , I say screw all that and fully trust your ears.
    When you sit down to listen to a piece of music , does it capture you? Does it move you in ways only that piece of music can? When this happens fully you know your listening to a great system. When one makes you forget your Demoing a DAC or Transport and allows you get get involved emotionally. When your sitting there studying all the details and trying to figure out IF this is the one or not , it's not.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,376
    Just so you also know that Burr Brown is the Industry standard. Wolfson makes very nice sounding DAC"s that I feel Reveal Burr Brown on many levels and a lot of high end company like to build around their ability to replace the truth.
    Sabre you could say is the newer kid on the block and I find them to be very hit or miss depending on who is driving the back end and how they are in ones system.

    but in the end most of these chipsets do their jobs properly , most of the time what really makes one better then the others is the support crew around them. I don't believe any of them are designed to miss anything but can when not properly supported as said.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,150
    edited December 2014
    ESS Sabre is more than the new kid. They brought an innovative, outside the old box thinking to their DAC chips. The ESS DAC chips have an astonishingly low THD+N specification, large dynamic range and they preserve an audio performance at any attenuation level with audio fidelity and transparency.

    Properly configured they will play SPDIF better than the Burr Brown as they do not rely entirely on the embedded clock. Pipe I2S (clock and data separate) into a BB and the sound will improve quite a bit over SPDIF. The ESS Sabre sounds just a little better with I2S over SPDIF.

    Yes, I'm an ESS fan but I've had plenty of BB DAC's to judge fairly.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,052
    Rich, have you had a chance to hear the Chord Hugo, Auralic Vega, or any other DAC's at that level in your rig?
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,150
    edited December 2014
    DSkip wrote: »
    Rich, have you had a chance to hear the Chord Hugo, Auralic Vega, or any other DAC's at that level in your rig?

    Skip, an Auralic Vega on my speakers with Van Alstine pre and amp at Salk HQ. Van Alstine gear is very good. It ain't flashy, but great SQ and reasonably priced.

    I'd own a Vega if I hadn't built a dual mono ESS Sabre. Just some of the differences, I have discrete balanced output versus op amps. (My Single Ended and headphone out are op amp). Instead of four DAC's per channel in differential mode, I have all 8 DAC's in each chip devoted to each channel. Dual mono allows me the absolute highest dynamic range the chip allows, better channel separation and detail.

    Twisted Pear has optimized power to their Buffalo III DAC board with three onboard linear regulators for powering the various sections of the ES9018 DAC chip. I have shunting power supplies for each DAC board and for each channel (5v and 15v+ 15v-). Just for those who might not know, shunting is where you crank a PS up about 50 to 100mA higher than the device needs. Lots of heat but the component experiences no waiting for voltage and current when needed.

    I have multiple inputs; I2S, DSD, SPDIF and USB to fill my needs. My Denon can export I2S (CD) and raw DSD (SACD) to my DAC. I have remote control and access to all DAC chip settings to optimize each input.

    This is prior to USB input and using one single I/V output board versus two. Two linear supplies power input boards and Arduino UNO controller/LCD display.

    pesante_13.jpg

    This is the code for the controller printed single sided. A smart guy wrote it and shared it; I just modified it as needed. A USB input at side of chassis allows for any programming changes.

    remote.jpg
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

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