Dac Shootout! Cary Dac100t vs Dac100 vs NAD M51

bobsauto49bobsauto49 Posts: 975
edited May 2014 in Going Digital
I've been fortunate enough to have a HiFi shop to let me listen to a few Dac's before I purchase them. And I'd like to post my non-biased review on the 3.

1st up; Cary Dac100t
Great Dac! Very refined, liquid sound! This is a tube dac, with 2)6922 output tubes. The music flows effortlessly, with a great soundstage. There's a magic with this dac. It just sounds so lifelike. Clear defining highs, with liquid smooth mids, and seamless, crisp Bass! The music easily surpasses my Rega Cd player in overall sound quality. This was the 1st Dac I tried, and figured I couldn't get much better than this. It just portrays the music the way I think it should sound! It has all the detail, but doesn't scream in your face, when turning up the db's! Just pure tubey goodness all around, without getting lazy at the bottom! The one thing I could complain about was the brightness of the lights on the front of the dac! They were so bright, that I had to put a piece of cardboard in front to enjoy the music! THAT BRIGHT! This Dac was listed @ $3000. So I wanted to try a couple others out, but I loved the sound! I ran this with balanced outputs, and a Kimber USB cable, of my computer using ITunes. And next,,,,,,,

NAD M51;
Read lots of reviews on this dac, and they were very positive. $2000, Decided to give it a whirl. Was a little disappointed in this dac. The mids were good, and the highs good also, not great, but good. The bottom end was where I got stuck in the mud! A little boomy, muddy sounding. I honestly disliked the lows enough so, I didn't give this a listen for more than 3 hours. This was a demo unit/lots of hours on it. The overall presentation was average to my ears. As a matter of fact, I would say I may prefer my old DacMagic+ over this dac, @ 1400 less! Just didn't blow my skirt up!

Cary Dac100
The solid state version of Cary's new Dac lineup. This is listed @ $2500, and I was really curious to hear the difference between the 2! This is a nice Dac, and if I hadn't already heard it's tube sibling, I probly would have kept it! Refined all the way through, High's, mids, lows. A little more punch, or maybe a more forward presentation than the tubed version. Just a honest sound, no coloration. A great Dac for someone looking for nuetral sound! Dynamic, fast, and true.

But I knew I was gonna pick the Dac100t the 1st time I heard it!(as well as my wife knew also! She said it was the most expensive, so I was gonna get it:-)
1 problem, how the hell am I gonna work around those halogen lights on the front! 4 blue lights! So bright, its distracting! No BS!
Well after a few weeks gone by, my buddy at Sound World called with some good news! Cary was listening to their customers, and fixed the extremely bright lights! Yahtzee! Neesless to say, I've been enjoying my new Dac100t for a couple weeks now! Sublime sound! If ur interested in a mid/highfi Dac, Give the Cary a try:smile: I don't think u'll be disappointed!
"Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"
Post edited by bobsauto49 on

Comments

  • hochpt21hochpt21 Posts: 5,119
    edited October 2013
    Nice description of the dacs. Glad you found the you want.
    __________________________________________________
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    __________________________________________________
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ W1070; Elite Screens 120"
    __________________________________________________
    Man Cave
    Turntable - 1) Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold; 2) Sony PS LX410/Grado Green
    Phono Stage - PS Audio GCPH, Parks Audio Budgie; CD - Marantz DV4001
    Preamp - Dared SL2000a, Luminous Audio Axiom II; Amplifier - Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers - SDA 2A (x-overs etc...); Epos Epic 2; Polk Audio Monitor 70 (my first)
    __________________________________________________
  • zane77zane77 Posts: 1,711
    edited October 2013
    Thanks for the great review, giving me something to think about.
    Home Theater
    Onkyo PR-SC5508 Sharp LC-70LE847U
    Emotiva XPA-5 Emotiva XPA-2 Emotiva UPA-2
    Front RTi-A9 Wide RTi-A7 Center CSi-A6 Surround FXi-A6 Rear RTi-A3 Sub 2x PSW505
    Sony BDP-S790 Dishnetwork Hopper/Joey Logitech Harmony One Apple TV
    Two Channel
    Oppo 105D BAT VK-500 w/BatPack SDA SRS 2.3 Dreadnought Squeezebox Touch Apple TV
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,903
    edited October 2013
    Nice review, been meaning to get an ear on the lower priced exciter dac in the Cary line-up. Hard not to like the Cary sound.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • GlennDogGlennDog Posts: 1,889
    edited October 2013
    Nice write-up! I also enjoy the Cary sound quality
    Power Rogue M180 monos & Adcom GFA 5802
    PS Audio PerfectWave Power Plant 10
    Rears Salk SuperCharged Surrounds
    DAC North Star Design Supremo
    Source PSA PWT & Oppo 205
    Pre/Pro Integra DHC 40.1
    LCD Samsung LN46B750
    Mains Salk HT2-TL
    Pre Cary SLP-98 F1
    Center Salk HT2C
    Wires MIT S3.3
    PSA PC AC-12
  • vcwatkinsvcwatkins Posts: 1,861
    edited October 2013
    Great review. Thanks!
    Den: Rega RP6 * AT33PTGII * Budgie SUT * Jolida jd9 * Roon (Sonic Transporter) * PS Audio DirectStream Jr. * Joule-Electra LA-100 mkIII * Sunfire Signature II * PSAudio Power Plant 3 * MIT S3 * Polk SRS 1.2
    Office: Roon * Sonore UltraRendu (LPS-1, WW Plat7, Iso Regen, Lush) * ProJect Pre Box S2 * Pass ACA * PSA Dectet * DH Labs Q10 * Brines Folded ML-TQWT RS 40-1354
    Beach: Music Hall MMF5.1se * Speed Box II * DL103r * Lounge Copla/LCRIII * W4S Sonos * Schiit Yggdrasil * Belles 20a Pre * First Watt F5 Clone * PSA Dectet * MIT S3 * Polk SRS 2.3tl
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,296
    edited October 2013
    Dac's are fun to shoot out. Nice write up and thanks for the read.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited October 2013
    I sure hope you're not running music directly out of iTunes. Tell me you're running something on top of iTunes...
  • bobsauto49bobsauto49 Posts: 975
    edited October 2013
    I sure hope you're not running music directly out of iTunes. Tell me you're running something on top of iTunes...
    I am! And I sincerely wish u could be here to listen to it!!!
    Had a fancy boy Lawyer listening to my setup, and he listens only to a hi-res website with a monthly fee! He asked me close to a dozen times if this was a burned cd, or iTunes bought, and couldn't believe my answer! But it's all in the pudding!!!
    "Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"
  • drumminmandrumminman Posts: 3,366
    edited November 2013
    Nice review - makes me want to go listen to one. Cary is located about 45 minutes from me in Apex, NC.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills/jantzen inductors, Gimpod's boards, Lg Solen SDA inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips, interior of cabinets sealed with Loctite Power Grab, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,903
    edited December 2013
    Gonna drudge this up because I want to ask Bob if his HI-FI shop has a Cary Xciter dac for demo. People seem to love the lower priced **** child of those big boys too. The 100t....man, I'd love it but out of my price range.

    Bob, try and get one and do a mini-review, seems we both like the same sound and I'd accept your opinions on it easily.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • bobsauto49bobsauto49 Posts: 975
    edited December 2013
    Id love to Tony, but they do not have any. U need to take a ride up nort, and give this 100t a listen! Im servin Bone-in Ribeye's and Beer! Maybee bring ur dac up here, and we could do a swap for a month???? Im game.
    "Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    edited December 2013
    You've put together a really nice system, Bob.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • bobsauto49bobsauto49 Posts: 975
    edited December 2013
    Thanx Steve! It was fun,but expensive. Been thinkin about trying some new speakers out. my dream is to get a pair of the Tannoy's new Royal Kingdom. Found a demo pair for less than half MSRP. lotta coin for speakers though! I keep researchin diiferent stuff, cause its fun!
    "Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,903
    edited December 2013
    bobsauto49 wrote: »
    Id love to Tony, but they do not have any. U need to take a ride up nort, and give this 100t a listen! Im servin Bone-in Ribeye's and Beer! Maybee bring ur dac up here, and we could do a swap for a month???? Im game.

    Haha...bone in Ribeye bro....my absolute favorite. We even have the same taste in meat. LOL

    Would love to get an ear on that 100T, but I don't have a separate dac anymore, hence the hunt. I like a more analog sounding dac and Cary....Burson seem to fit that bill.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • bobsauto49bobsauto49 Posts: 975
    edited December 2013
    tonyb wrote: »
    Haha...bone in Ribeye bro....my absolute favorite. We even have the same taste in meat. LOL
    Nothing beats a Bone in Ribeye!
    "Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    edited December 2013
    I hear ya Bob, probably this coming year will be a Benchmark DAC2-D upgrade, then in 2015 I may hunt down a pair of Harbeth Super HL5's. I'll run my Parasound amp until it dies, then upgrade it as well.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,903
    edited December 2013
    Man, looking at Bob's list of gear and stuff that has graced his home, one has to ask a very important question.

    How much do you charge for frickin' auto repairs up there pal ? LOL
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 13,169
    edited December 2013
    bobsauto49 wrote: »
    Nothing beats a Bone in Ribeye!

    Well yes AND no.....but if your cooking and I'm sitting there listening to your gear and drinking your beer...then you are absolutely 100% correct:lol: MY best friend ever:smile:
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 13,169
    edited December 2013
    tonyb wrote: »

    How much do you charge for frickin' auto repairs up there pal ? LOL

    It's not some much the auto repairs its the oil changes and muffler bearing that are bread and butter...:mrgreen:
  • ChristoChristo Posts: 30
    edited May 2014
    Thanks for the review. Nice to have my impressions of the M51 confirmed.
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