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Thread: What is currently the best analog to digital (A/D) converter?

  1. #1

    What is currently the best analog to digital (A/D) converter?

    There are, of course, many uses for A/D converters, such as: (i) Ripping your precious Vinyl, (ii) Ripping your precious analog tapes, (iii) Professional recording, and (iv) DSP measurement test gear. In most cases one would probably like to use the absolute best A/D converter, supposing the analog rig is top quality too.

    What do you think is currently the best sounding analog to digital converter?

    Some candidates (updated):
    - Merging Horus/Hapi
    - Grimm Audio AD1
    - MSB Platinum Studio (PCM)
    - Forssell MADA-2 (PCM)
    - Ayre QA 9 Pro
    - Prism ADA-8XR
    - Lavry AD122-96 MX or AD10
    - EMM Labs ADC8 MK IV
    - Prism Orpheus
    - Lynx Aurora 8
    - Lynx HILO
    - Metric Halo
    - Apogee Symphony
    - Antelope Audio Eclipse 384
    - Weiss ADC2

    Thanks in advance for your views regarding those that you have actually heard and compared.
    Last edited by VPN; 12-27-2014 at 03:51 PM.

  2. #2
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    Merging Horus/Hapi is currently the best I've heard, followed closely by the Grimm AD1

    Weiss ADC2 - alright.... nothing to write home about
    MSB Platinum Studio - best PCM I've heard
    Digital Audio Denmark AX32 - same as Merging Horus/Hapi
    Prism ADA-8XR - Great all around converter. Doesn't do anything bad
    Forssell MADA-2 - second best PCM converter I've heard
    Burl ADC - Have not heard
    AVID/Digidesign HD I/O - forget about it.
    Lynx HILO - great bang for the buck.
    Metric Halo - not bad...
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] jfrech's Avatar
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    Don't forget the Nagra's. Nagra Seven and VI...Nagra has a few portable ones also
    Speakers: Rockport Altair 2
    Pre & Amp: Nagra HD Pre & Amp
    Cables: Transparent Magnum Opus on sources, Opus Gen 5 Pre to amps & speaker
    Power Transparent Opus, Opus Source Power Cords & Opus Power Isolators
    Power Shunyata DPC-6 v2
    Digital dCS Vivaldi full stack w/ Transparent Reference XL Digital cables
    Phono: Grand Prix Monaco TT, Spiral Groove Centroid, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2, Nagra VPS/VFS/MPS
    Racks: Grand Prix Audio Silverstone F1

  4. #4
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrech View Post
    Don't forget the Nagra's. Nagra Seven and VI...Nagra has a few portable ones also
    Nagra does not make a dedicated A/D converter. It also includes the mic pre's, and hard drive. If you want to include the all-in-one devices, I'd suggest the following also.

    Korg MR2000s
    Korg MR2
    Tascam DA-3000
    Tascam DV-RA1000HD
    IZ Technology Radar 6
    Sound Devices
    Genex AD8 and GX9000/9024
    Last edited by Bruce B; 12-27-2014 at 02:15 PM.
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
    Merging Horus/Hapi is currently the best I've heard, followed closely by the Grimm AD1

    Weiss ADC2 - alright.... nothing to write home about
    MSB Platinum Studio - best PCM I've heard
    Digital Audio Denmark AX32 - same as Merging Horus/Hapi
    Prism ADA-8XR - Great all around converter. Doesn't do anything bad
    Forssell MADA-2 - second best PCM converter I've heard
    Burl ADC - Have not heard
    AVID/Digidesign HD I/O - forget about it.
    Lynx HILO - great bang for the buck.
    Metric Halo - not bad...
    Bruce,

    Thank you! You are certainly an expert.

    Have you, by any chance, heard the Ayre QA 9 Pro, EMM Labs ADC8 MK IV, or Lavry?
    Digital: Totaldac Twelve SE + server, Innuos Zenith SE running Roon+Tidal Amplification: CH Precision L1+X1, 2x Krell FPB 750mcx Speakers: Modded Dunlavy SC-VI w/ Duelund crossovers Cables: Kubala Elation (speaker), Totaldac USB, Echole Omnia 3ft XLR, Echole Omnia 7ft XLR,Power: Kubala Elation and Absolute Fidelity Power, SRA Scuttle mk.3 Rack, SRA VR 3.0 platforms, Four dedicated lines, PS P10

  6. #6
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    Quote Originally Posted by VPN View Post
    Bruce,

    Thank you! You are certainly an expert.

    Have you, by any chance, heard the Ayre QA 9 Pro, EMM Labs ADC8 MK IV, or Lavry?
    As you can see by the below pic, I have/had these converters in my system. The Lavry I had a few years back.

    The Ayre QA9 Pro is not really good. It worked poorly and when it did, I did not like the sound. I still have the EMM Labs converter and it was the converter I used (and the Wilson's chose) for all the Wilson Audiophile transfers. As for the Lavry, it was the best PCM converter I've used until I tried the MSB Platinum Studio. I feel the Horus/Hapi is the equal or better. I'd have to use them side by side to tell.


    Name:  DSD converters.jpg
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    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
    As you can see by the below pic, I have/had these converters in my system. The Lavry I had a few years back.

    The Ayre QA9 Pro is not really good. It worked poorly and when it did, I did not like the sound. I still have the EMM Labs converter and it was the converter I used (and the Wilson's chose) for all the Wilson Audiophile transfers. As for the Lavry, it was the best PCM converter I've used until I tried the MSB Platinum Studio. I feel the Horus/Hapi is the equal or better. I'd have to use them side by side to tell.


    Name:  DSD converters.jpg
Views: 4937
Size:  180.4 KB
    Mighty impressive stack!

    If you feel the MSB Platinum is the best PCM A/D (equalled by Horus/Hapi), I suppose you feel the Merging Horus/Hapi, followed closely by Grimm AD1, are the best for DSD?
    Digital: Totaldac Twelve SE + server, Innuos Zenith SE running Roon+Tidal Amplification: CH Precision L1+X1, 2x Krell FPB 750mcx Speakers: Modded Dunlavy SC-VI w/ Duelund crossovers Cables: Kubala Elation (speaker), Totaldac USB, Echole Omnia 3ft XLR, Echole Omnia 7ft XLR,Power: Kubala Elation and Absolute Fidelity Power, SRA Scuttle mk.3 Rack, SRA VR 3.0 platforms, Four dedicated lines, PS P10

  8. #8
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    Quote Originally Posted by VPN View Post
    Mighty impressive stack!

    If you feel the MSB Platinum is the best PCM A/D, I suppose you feel the Merging Horus/Hapi, followed closely by Grimm AD1, are the best for DSD?
    Correct.... You can read all about it HERE
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  9. #9
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] jfrech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
    Nagra does not make a dedicated A/D converter. It also includes the mic pre's, and hard drive. If you want to include the all-in-one devices, I'd suggest the following also.

    Korg MR2000s
    Korg MR2
    Tascam DA-3000
    Tascam DV-RA1000HD
    IZ Technology Radar 6
    Genex AD8 and GX9000/9024
    Bruce, are you sure here? The Nagra Seven can take a line input from your pre or phono stage...http://www.nagraaudio.com/nagra-seven/
    Speakers: Rockport Altair 2
    Pre & Amp: Nagra HD Pre & Amp
    Cables: Transparent Magnum Opus on sources, Opus Gen 5 Pre to amps & speaker
    Power Transparent Opus, Opus Source Power Cords & Opus Power Isolators
    Power Shunyata DPC-6 v2
    Digital dCS Vivaldi full stack w/ Transparent Reference XL Digital cables
    Phono: Grand Prix Monaco TT, Spiral Groove Centroid, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2, Nagra VPS/VFS/MPS
    Racks: Grand Prix Audio Silverstone F1

  10. #10
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! rockitman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrech View Post
    Bruce, are you sure here? The Nagra Seven can take a line input from your pre or phono stage...http://www.nagraaudio.com/nagra-seven/
    how much is that Nagra ?
    Christian

    System Gear

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