Best DSD DAC under $400

CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
edited January 23 in 2 Channel Audio
I had really good luck with "Best Tube Pre Amp under $500" I ended up with @JayCee Sonic Frontiers Anthem Pre 2L with Mundorf Supreme caps. I absolutely love the Anthem.

So, my next endeavor is a new DSD DAC (For SACDs) . Right now I run CD, HDCDs, SACD and DVD-Audio discs through my Marantz UD7007 I picked up from @geppy1 .

Now, I'm looking for a DAC that will Direct Stream DSD through Optic. I have a really nice, older, AQ optilink 5 I would like to put to use.

Nothing wrong with the Marantz, but I just can't help but think, a stand alone DSD DAC will sound better. Not sure where I got that Idea (Thanks Polk Audio Forum ;) ).

I've been reading about different chip sets. But it appears that the implementation of any chip is more important than the chip itself???????

Any Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I did reach out to Schiit. They said none of their DACs will decode DSD.

Thanks guy! And I believe one Gal here.
«1

Comments

  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 14,373
    edited January 23
    Wouldn’t a CD player that plays SACDs be a better choice than a DAC that accepts SACD input? What will you use to provide input to the DAC? Does anyone even make a DSD DAC, let alone for $400?

    I would suggest a used Sony XA5400ES SACD player. I have one and love it, even though I rarely play it anymore.
    Lumin X1 file player
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 4,297
    Amplifiers: Norma IPA 140, MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: L.K.S MH-DA004, Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI,
    Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkIII
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II
    Speaker Cables: Organic Audio Organic Reference 2
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Argento Organic Reference 2, Argento Organic 2, Gabriel Gold Reckoning
    Power Cables by: Argento Organic Reference, Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    edited January 23
    The DAC in my Marantz is from 2014. Its a Texas Instrument PXM-1795 DAC, IIRC. I thought maybe something newer with a possibly better clock would yield a favorable sonic result.

    That Sony is still a $1,000 plus player. Well out side my $400 budget.
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    edited January 23
    And having a stand alone dac with USB will give me some great options for dsd streaming. I have many songs on a thumb drive in DSD format. MQA would be nice but not one of my requirements.
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    marvda1 wrote: »

    Ooh, I did see that one on a list. Even new its affordable. Thanks!

    Would you all suspect it would out perform the Marantz UD7007 internal dac?
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 3,186
    edited January 23
    Not sure about what you are trying to achieve but when comparing a Denon DVD 2900 I bought here playing SACD's to streaming via my Cambridge Audio 851n I am hard pressed to say the Denon built in 2004 is better, but it is. Not sure age is a bad thing as many recordings were made and digitized on vintage (digital) equipment. Just a thought...
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    edited January 23
    I have a Denon DVD-2910 that I was using for SACD and DVD-Audio. The Marantz is clearly better. But it is 10+ years newer also.

    Streaming is my least issue. I download from various sites for DSD and FLAC. I then transfer them to a thumb drive. Other than that, I use the actual discs. I thought maybe a stand alone DAC might be better than the dac in my 7 year old Marantz.

    Or am I mistaken?
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 9,507
    "Better" is subjective. There's no hard and fast rule that a newer standalone DAC will sound "better" than the DAC inside the Marantz.
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    ****. I just looked and realized my Marantz has no optical out..... aaarraag
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    edited January 23
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Yeah typically anything that plays SACDs will not output the DSD stream digitally.

    Ok. Starting to make sense. Maybe I'll just stick with the Marantz then. :/


    Maybe I'll spend the $400 on some quality speaker cables. I would need 30 ft cables.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 9,507
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 27,368
    edited January 23
    Clipdat wrote: »
    "Better" is subjective. There's no hard and fast rule that a newer standalone DAC will sound "better" than the DAC inside the Marantz.

    or, conversely :# "better" is objective. Now you're in ASR territory. :)
    Note that I am not making a judgement, either way. Just stating the (obvious) dichotomy -- 'cause the Elephant in the room (I'd opine) is "does measuring better make for better sound, or the converse [measuring worse makes better sound], or are the qualitative & quantitative uncorrelated?"

    Oh - plus - I have long believed (and I still do) that the analog [EDIT] interface on the output side of the DAC is at least as important to the end result (i.e., what one hears) as the number crunching of the DAC (chip/chipset) itself.

    That's as close to profundity as I am gonna get on only a single cup of coffee. ;)


  • Rick88Rick88 Posts: 13,772
    edited January 23
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Yeah typically anything that plays SACDs will not output the DSD stream digitally.

    Ed Zachary. DSD from SACD discs is ONLY available via analog outs or HDMI on a universal disc player to an AVR that is capable. Also, some universal players convert SACD/DSD to PCM before outputting from the analog outs. My Cambridge Audio 752BD does this, though it still sounds very good.

    DSD capable DACs are for accepting DSD from USB via streaming/downloading, not SACD discs.
    Post edited by Rick88 on
    "Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~ Ronald Reagan

    “I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.” ~ Johnny Cash




  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 27,368
    edited January 23
    Rick88 wrote: »
    ... Also, some universal players convert SACD/DSD to PCM before outputting from the analog outs...

    Most of 'em (at least the popularly priced ones) do this -- don't they?
    DSD to PCM before D to A conversion. Pretty brute force (IMO, and my O isn't particularly informed, in full disclosure).

    :|


    Pretty sure that the two cheapies here do that. :/

    This freebie pile Samsung, e.g.

    48976262107_fc1a755fcc_b.jpgDSC_7312 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
  • Rick88Rick88 Posts: 13,772
    edited January 23
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    Rick88 wrote: »
    Clipdat wrote: »
    ... Also, some universal players convert SACD/DSD to PCM before outputting from the analog outs...

    Most of 'em (at least the popularly priced ones) do this -- don't they?
    DSD to PCM before D to A conversion. Pretty brute force (IMO, and my O isn't particularly informed, in full disclosure).

    :|

    Indeed. Anyone looking to buy a universal disc player really should do research on any unit they're considerding before purchasing it, especially if they plan on using the analog outs. My Cambridge was originally a $1200 unit and I got mine for $799 when they were discontinued. I was aware of the unit converting DSD to PCM via analog outs when I bought it, but didn't care at the time because I was using it with a Yamaha AVR that was DSD capable via HDMI.

    I have since gotten out of the HT/AVR phase (likely for good). It still sounds very good though, and the 752BD makes DVD and Blu-Ray discs look better than any other player I've ever owned. At some point I'll be looking for another dedicated SACD player though.
    "Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~ Ronald Reagan

    “I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.” ~ Johnny Cash




  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    Thanks to everyone for the input. I had the wrong idea of what I could and couldn't do with a dac.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 18,281
    edited January 23
    The one thing about older Denon uni-players was the Denon-link. Pre HDMI release to carry a digital SACD/DVD-A the Denon link was an asset. The only problem for most was this was only available from one Denon player to Denon receiver.

    Denon link was the only approved digital connection for SACD/DVD-A for a long time.
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    Looks like ill just stick with the analog outs from the ud7007 to the Anthem for sacd.
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    So other than regular CDs what is the benefit of using a stand alone dac?
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 3,186
    If you rip your own music off LP' s to a hard drive.
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    audioluvr wrote: »
    If you rip your own music off LP' s to a hard drive.

    That is definitely not my cup of vodka. (Tea)
  • sgmsmgsgmsmg Posts: 470
    It is a different price point but my Bryston BDA-3 will accept the DSD signal from my Oppo (via HDMI) and it plays it as a DSD signal. Works great for my limited collection of SACDs.
    2 Channel
    Pre:Bryston BP173
    Amp:Bryston 14B3
    Speakers: Golden Ear Triton Reference
    Source: Oppo UDP-205, Bryston BDA-3, Bryston BDP-3, Bryston BCD-3, Apple TV, Amazon Fire
    Cables: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 7 Speaker, Wireworld Gold Eclipse 7 XLR, AQ Diamond USB/HDMI
    Power: PS Audio P10 Regenerator, AC12, AC10 and AC5 Cables
    Display: Sony XBR65Z9F

    Home Theater
    Pre: Marantz 8805
    Amps: Parasound JC5, A21+, A51, A51
    Speakers: Polk LSiM 707 (FL/FR), Polk LSiM706 (Center), LSiM 703 (SL/SR), Polk 900-LS (Atmos)
    Subwoofers: SVS SB13 x 4
    Source: Oppo UDP-205, Apple TV, Amazon Fire
    Cables: AQ Rocket 88, AQ Niagara, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7
    Power: PS Audio P5 Regenerator, Furman IT Reference 15i, Pangea AC14SE and AC9SE Cables
    Display: Sony XBR85Z9G
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 14,373
    CH46E wrote: »
    So other than regular CDs what is the benefit of using a stand alone dac?

    The benefit is you can upgrade it as a better DAC becomes available. The drawback is you need an interconnect cable between the CD player and the DAC, and a power cable for the DAC. Plan for around $4K for those two cables.

    Lumin X1 file player
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    Ok thanks guys.


    I run my Marantz ud7007 to my Anthem pre2l. The Anthem has only analog inputs. But my Yamaha Aventage HTR has all the inputs including digital DSD.

    I feel so torn right now! 🤔😏😑
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,668
    Your putting too much importance on DSD.

    Quality gear will trump formats any day....in my book anyway.
    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 1420
    lsi 9's
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 2,840
    edited January 24
    I just got this DROP email offer. I don't know anything about the product but it looks nice on paper.
    https://drop.com/buy/smsl-su-9-dac#overview
    SMSL SU-9 DAC - $460
    Staying on the cutting edge of digital-to-audio conversion, SMSL has unveiled the new SU-9: an instrument-grade DAC optimized for convenience and crystal-clear decoding. Powered by the flagship ES9038PRO SABRE DAC, the SU-9 can decode 32-bit, 768-kilohertz PCM and native DSD512 with an impressive 132-decibel dynamic range. It’s also capable of next-gen MQA decoding to unpack the precise details of original studio recordings as the artists intended. Plus, its noise floor is remarkably low, yielding a total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD + N) rating of just 0.00009 percent. For optimal convenience, the SU-9 can connect via Bluetooth 5.0 with support for 24-bit transmission of lossless codecs like aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC, and more. It’s also remote-controllable and stackable with SMSL’s SH-9 amp. Finally, to help you dial in your sound, the SU-9 features 11 digital filters and four sound-color settings.

    SPECS
    SMSL
    DAC chip: ES9038PRO
    MQA decoding
    Sampling: 32-bit / 768 kHz and DSD512
    Inputs: USB, optical, coaxial, Bluetooth
    Outputs: RCA, XLR
    Bluetooth version: 5.0
    Bluetooth codecs supported: LDAC, APTX/ HD, SBC, AAC, 24-bit / 192kHz
    Display: 1.9 in (4.8 cm) LCD display
    THD+N: 0.00009%
    DNR: 130 dB (XLR), 123 dB (RCA)
    SNR: 130 dB
    Output impedance: 207 ohms (XLR), 142 ohms (RCA)
    Sound color settings: Rich1, Rich2, Rich3, Tube1, Tube2, Tube3, Crystal1, Crystal2, Crystal3
    Brightness control: 6 levels
    DSD filters: 47 kHz cutoff, 50 kHz cutoff, 60 kHz cutoff, 70 kHz cutoff
    PCM filters: Fast linear, slow linear, fast minimum, slow minimum, fast hybrid, apodizing, brickwall
    Power consumption: 5 W
    Power consumption (standby mode): < 0.5 W
    Dimensions: 7.5 x 6 x 1.5 in (18.8 x 15.4 x 4 cm)
    Weight: Weight: 1.7 lbs (790 g)
    INCLUDED
    Remote
    USB cable

    Estimated ship date is Mar 3, 2021 PT.

    zs5KpCMpTFa8NIbSRXl5_1.jpg?auto=format&fm=jpg&fit=crop&w=540&bg=f0f0f0&dpr=1&q=70
    c7uWNfd7RIysf0glcPDq_3.jpg?auto=format&fm=jpg&fit=crop&w=540&bg=f0f0f0&dpr=1&q=70
    FAMILY ROOM
    HDTV - Sharp AQUOS LC-70LE600U 70" | AVR/Streamer - Onkyo TX-NR3008 | Amp - Parasound HCA-1203A
    Blu-Ray/Media/Gaming - Sony PS3-320GB / Microsoft Xbox One | Broadcast - Xfinity X1 Platform
    Front Spkrs - Coming...DIY Statement II | Center Spkrs - Coming...DIY Statement II | Rear Spkrs - Artison Portrait LRS
    Sub - DIY Stereo Integrity HT 15 | Sub Amp - Dayton Audio SA1000
    Wire - Audioquest Type 4, BJC Belden 5000 | HDMI - BJC Belden | Power Cables - Pangea | Surge - Monster
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 3,077
    tonyb wrote: »
    Your putting too much importance on DSD.

    Quality gear will trump formats any day....in my book anyway.

    I think you might be right Tony.


    My Marantz has XLR outputs. Would I gain anything at all going with XLR to rca cables? No XLR input on my pre.
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 3,186
    No You don't have the advantage of balanced and shielding.
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
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