Nagra HD DAC X

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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You can‘t really judge a DAC based solely on redbook CDs. It’s like putting 87 Octane in a supercar and measuring lap times.
Connect the Taiko Extreme to a DAC and then decide how it compares to other DACs!
If you only have redbook files or cds surely the redbook performance is all that matters?
 
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Zeotrope

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If you only have redbook files or cds surely the redbook performance is all that matters?
Not really - a DAC at this level, if not all DACs, will sound better with higher bitrate files.
 

thedudeabides

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Jan 16, 2011
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Not really - a DAC at this level, if not all DACs, will sound better with higher bitrate files.
Your position is true but does not matter. Moot point if owner does not need or want.
 

JanneW

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Zeotrope

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That is not a review! It is just advertising
Right. The best, and only real, review is the Brazilian one. He rated the HD DAC X as the world's best (from what he's tested), ahead of the MSB for example.

I will get mine soon. Curious to hear the differences vs the Tube DAC.
 

JanneW

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Right. The best, and only real, review is the Brazilian one. He rated the HD DAC X as the world's best (from what he's tested), ahead of the MSB for example.

I will get mine soon. Curious to hear the differences vs the Tube DAC.
Do you know how the conversation is done? DoP or Ladder…? Also, is it MQA compatible?
 

Zeotrope

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Everything about it is here:

Comparisons to other DACs are on the same website.

You don't need MQA at this level, not sure about compatibility.
It converts everything to DSD.
 

JanneW

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Everything about it is here:

Comparisons to other DACs are on the same website.

You don't need MQA at this level, not sure about compatibility.
It converts everything to DSD.
What I meant was, how does the DAC convert DSD music files? There are only two ways to do this, either with DSD over PCM (DoP) or by using a resistor ladder. Do you know which one of these methods Nagra uses? (I agree about your comment on MQA BTW)
 

Zeotrope

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I’m curious too. All I have seen is that it’s using a custom 1-bit FPGA chip that was developed with Andreas Koch. Every input is converted to DSD256.
 

JanneW

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I’m curious too. All I have seen is that it’s using a custom 1-bit FPGA chip that was developed with Andreas Koch. Every input is converted to DSD256.
Well that is exactly what PS Audio is doning: https://www.psaudio.com/products/directstream-dac/
and at a much lower price…. Have you listen to the Nagra DAC and compared it to e.g. the dCS Vivaldi DAC? I am thinking about replacing my DAC.
 

Zeotrope

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Well that is exactly what PS Audio is doning: https://www.psaudio.com/products/directstream-dac/
and at a much lower price…. Have you listen to the Nagra DAC and compared it to e.g. the dCS Vivaldi DAC? I am thinking about replacing my DAC.
Ha - yes! I had a PS Audio DSD DAC - there is no comparison. The Nagra Tube DAC is just so much more analog sounding it's not even close. I know the price is not close either... but don't for a moment think they are similar sounding.

I have not heard a dCS Vivaldi.
 

Zeotrope

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JanneW

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Ha - yes! I had a PS Audio DSD DAC - there is no comparison. The Nagra Tube DAC is just so much more analog sounding it's not even close. I know the price is not close either... but don't for a moment think they are similar sounding.

I have not heard a dCS Vivaldi.
Off course, the Nagra is much better sounding. I was just commenting the signal processing. I owned the Nagra HD DAC for two years and it did sound amazingly good. Very analog. The Rossini is not at all as good sounding as than the Vivaldi.
 

Zeotrope

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Here's this tester's Top 5:

TOP 5 – Fontes digitais

  • Nagra HD DAC X – 111 pontos (Estado da Arte) – German Audio – Ed.264
  • MSB Select DAC – 106 pontos (Estado da Arte) – German Audio – Ed.252
  • Nagra Tube DAC – 105 pontos (Estado da Arte) – German Audio – Ed.262
  • dCS Rossini – 100 pontos (Estado da Arte) – Ferrari Technologies – Ed.250
  • dCS Scarlatti – 100 pontos (Estado da Arte) – Ferrari Technologies – Ed.183
 

Zeotrope

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dCS Vivaldi - the complete system is the DAC ($35K), Upsampler ($22K), and Master Clock ($15K), is that right? Plus Transport ($42K) if you want to play CD/SACD?

The HD DAC X retails for $65K, so in the ballpark of the Vivaldi. A direct comparison would be interesting!

For me personally, I like how Nagra solves problems and builds their components, I love the Tube DAC sound, and the company has outstanding customer service. I also love the aesthetics, so I have no interest in dCS. I also have no room for 3 boxes...

I use a Taiko Extreme, so I have no need for the streaming/transport side of the equation, since the Extreme has no equal today.
 

JanneW

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Feb 22, 2020
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dCS Vivaldi - the complete system is the DAC ($35K), Upsampler ($22K), and Master Clock ($15K), is that right? Plus Transport ($42K) if you want to play CD/SACD?

The HD DAC X retails for $65K, so in the ballpark of the Vivaldi. A direct comparison would be interesting!

For me personally, I like how Nagra solves problems and builds their components, I love the Tube DAC sound, and the company has outstanding customer service. I also love the aesthetics, so I have no interest in dCS. I also have no room for 3 boxes...

I use a Taiko Extreme, so I have no need for the streaming/transport side of the equation, since the Extreme has no equal today.
There is no need for an Upsampler if you use the Taiko. I sold mine as it did not improve the sound when playing from the Taiko. So you need only the Vivaldi DAC and Master Clock.
 
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jvvita

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Jul 3, 2019
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dCS Vivaldi - the complete system is the DAC ($35K), Upsampler ($22K), and Master Clock ($15K), is that right? Plus Transport ($42K) if you want to play CD/SACD?

The HD DAC X retails for $65K, so in the ballpark of the Vivaldi. A direct comparison would be interesting!

For me personally, I like how Nagra solves problems and builds their components, I love the Tube DAC sound, and the company has outstanding customer service. I also love the aesthetics, so I have no interest in dCS. I also have no room for 3 boxes...

I use a Taiko Extreme, so I have no need for the streaming/transport side of the equation, since the Extreme has no equal today.
I traded my full Vivaldi 2.0 stack for this Nagra. And I know of at least two more people that did the same.

Completely different character in sound. Vivaldi much more analytical. Nagra much more life like. The instruments and voices sound more correct. It is not a matter of timbre, but rather of the feeling you are actually listening to that acoustic guitar in your room. For electric instruments, the difference gets less accentuated.

Add this to the cheer complexity of the dCS setup (cables, filters settings etc) and to me there is a clear winner.

Currently, the setup is an all-Nagra HD playing through Sonja 2.3, in a dedicated and accoustically treated room.
 
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Zeotrope

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Nice! My HD DAC X is coming soon. I’ve very impressed and certainly satisfied with the Tube DAC, so I’m eager to hear how much better it can sound.
A few seconds of violin on the Tube DAC convinced me that digital has finally come to surpass vinyl.
 

Biketony

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Nov 6, 2019
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Nice! My HD DAC X is coming soon. I’ve very impressed and certainly satisfied with the Tube DAC, so I’m eager to hear how much better it can sound.
A few seconds of violin on the Tube DAC convinced me that digital has finally come to surpass vinyl.
Did you receive the HD DAC X ?
I have the Nagra Tube DAC And thinking about starting to look at HD X
 

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