Various DAC Audition Impressions

bryans

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1) PK test was not valid
2) In our tests the dac we sell is better
3) come hear it at our showroom….

The earlier acusation of advertising bias followed by lots of dealers posting on a thread that should be user-based irked me a bit.
Your first post certainly echos my belief. I always find it amazing how someone listens to gear in their home/setup and people seem to take issue with it. Then the reply seems to be, come listen to my gear at my showroom and somehow you will be convinced my gear is better.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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Manufacturers are increasingly using WBF for advertising, finding and then communicating with potential clients. Sometimes it goes overboard and I think that has happened in this thread essentially killing the original intent. It’s a shame because I was enjoying reading about Patrick and Ron‘s efforts to compare these DACs.
 

Kingsrule

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Manufacturers are increasingly using WBF for advertising, finding and then communicating with potential clients. Sometimes it goes overboard and I think that has happened in this thread essentially killing the original intent. It’s a shame because I was enjoying reading about Patrick and Ron‘s efforts to compare these DACs.
Both manufactures and dealers, and for sure it goes overboard......
 

NealW

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Mar 6, 2018
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Have been reading avidly on this and other posts as I have been working on the digital side of my system having been mostly an analogue guy.

Firstly on the those who are dealers be happy your gear is being discussed. Stop trying to justify why yours wasn't chosen for whatever reason. As someone mentioned it is more likely to put off a customer than impress anyone. The differences between the various DACs under discussion on the whole appear very small and mostly fit in the this was "warmer" that had a "cooler" sound type differences which in the end are mostly just personal preferences. However those differences matter to people that's why some get passionate about it. Just remember some like burgundy some like bordeaux some like both.

For someone who is playing in the lower leagues what I get out from reading these (and other) posts (ignoring the dealer posturing) is the following list:

a) Clean power matters a great deal in digital
b) Downstream of the DAC matters
c) Software matters
d) Synergy between streamer/ server and DAC "may" matter
e) Digital cables matter
f) Clock sync matters (but boy is this a confusing topic so I tend to glaze over when it comes up in a post)

Anyway keep posting these and other comparisons its fun even for those who don't plan to drop $30k on some hifi gear.
 

MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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Anyway keep posting these and other comparisons its fun even for those who don't plan to drop $30k on some hifi gear.
...it's fun even for those who may well drop 30K on some new hifi gear!

I think it's understandable that dealers/manufacturers would chime in that their baby is beautiful. That's human nature, it seems to me.

But the churn re: lack of scientific rigor in the review itself seems a bit dopey to me. A couple of guys take a lot of effort to listen to some gear and generously write about their experience in an online forum, and that's making the audiophile planet wobble on its axis? Funny.

All your babies are beautiful...but beauty resides in the ear of the listener...
 
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Steve Williams

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...it's fun even for those who may well drop 30K on some new hifi gear!

I think it's understandable that dealers/manufacturers would chime in that their baby is beautiful. That's human nature, it seems to me.

But the churn re: lack of scientific rigor in the review itself seems a bit dopey to me. A couple of guys take a lot of effort to listen to some gear and generously write about their experience in an online forum, and that's making the audiophile planet wobble on its axis? Funny.

All your babies are beautiful...but beauty resides in the ear of the listener...
Follow my mantra. It never fails

”my ears, my wallet, my decision.“

it has never failed me
 

divertiti

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Jan 12, 2021
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This started off a great thread, I will echo the sentiments of the other members here:

Firstly, big thank you to @pk_LA for the time and effort to compare these popular high end DAC in his fantastic system and then sharing the findings with the community. It offers very valuable reference points for people who wondered about these products. Regardless of what this thread has become, please know that effort is appreciated.

Secondly, it is extremely disappointing and distasteful that dealers and reps of brands would jump on this genuine effort to share, resorting to criticizing the validity of someone's personal comparison and preference just to advance their own financial interest. It actually reflects very poorly on the brands they are seeking to elevate.
 

Charlie B.

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Nov 8, 2017
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Let me second the thanks to the original poster and to Ron. Their efford is more valuable as they give all necessary caveats and stay polite in their criticism.
I don´t mind dealers, distributors or designers giving their replies as long as they openly state their bias and interest. Some do that better than others... I can handle that (I think).
In a media world where no official or even customer review of a product can be trusted a forum like this here has a lot of marketing power: A peer group of educated, experienced enthusiasts can hype or even destroy a product or brand and the clever pros in the industry know that and act accordingly.
 
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Ron Resnick

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caesar

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Hi Ron,
Interesting perspective on the scale of differences: only 10-25 percent differences, and the rest is partisanship of ownership...These differences, and the scale itself, may be due to preferences, lack of system transparency or room issues that make the component truly shine and fully express their individual character, level of engagement with digital/ passion for digital, others, or a combination of these...

Obviously many others see the differences between these pieces very differently. My perception from the comments above is that the MSB fans are celebrating in the end zone, the "losers" are licking their wounds, while others whose favorite brands are not mentioned are somewhat disengaged.

To help calibrate your scale, what kind of differences do you perceive between speakers? SS amps? tube amps? analog rigs?
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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“Only” 10-25%? Apart from the fact that such numbers are arbitrary in a real high quality high end system a difference of 10-25% (for the better) is in my view very significant indeed casu quo very important or even huge. At a certain quality level it is getting more and more difficult to achieve real progress: a high quality / transparent audio system will let you hear all differences very clearly of course, but a difference as such is something completely different than real progress. I would be extremely happy if I could realize the coming year “only” 10% real progress in my current audio system.
 
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bryans

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My perception from the comments above is that the MSB fans are celebrating in the end zone, the "losers" are licking their wounds, while others whose favorite brands are not mentioned are somewhat disengaged.
I believe a lot of what you are saying is true, which I find just crazy. I personally love the idea that he was able to gather different DACs and listen to them in his setup and pick the one he likes.
 

Kingrex

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I would like to have seen my DAC manufacturer in there. I bet his new $16k unit would leave people surprised. And then they would spend more to get less because they can't get over the price equates to quality.
 
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Ron Resnick

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To help calibrate your scale, what kind of differences do you perceive between speakers? SS amps? tube amps? analog rigs?

I am afraid I do not see how diverting to a discussion of differences among samples of different kinds of components would help calibrate or communicate the scale for DACs.
 
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howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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I just read through this entire thread. Thank you to Patrick for the demo. Truly enlightening.

The only thing that puzzles me is I do not see any mention of any of these Dacs providing "Natural Sound" so they must all be discounted.

The search goes on.....
 
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gerihifi

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Steve Williams

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I wanted to thank Patrick for inviting myself , Ron and Gleeds to his house yesterday to get a listen to his fabulous room filled with bespoke gear . Patrick is a most gracious host. We spent the afternoon talking and listening to his system. Sadly the Digital Director has still not arrived but having said that the MSB select performs wonderfully in his room and will give him years of listening pleasure. We all chatted as to recommendations and thoughts. Patrick has beautiful enclosed wooden shelving at the front of his room which makes fitting racks and equipment super precise. I enjoyed listening as well to his Alexx V speakers which I personally felt need to be moved further into the room and to go to front porting rather than rear porting . In the Wilson setup the recommended ratio of the distance from tweeter to ear divided by the distance from tweeter to tweeter should be from 1.0 to 1.25. Patrick's set up I felt put the listening position a tad too far bacons the ratio in his set up was 1.32. That will be an easy fix on our next trip back.

Looking at Pat's Boulder gear was a sight to behold. The amp was about as big as they get and how they managed to get it fitted properly in his front shelves was miraculous. The power cord was the biggest I have ever seen . It is 240v. His preamp was eye candy. I have never seen a preamp built like his. It too was solid as a rock and had endless combinations.

It was a wonderful afternoon for the 4 of us and I look forward to our return visit. Thank you Patrick for your hospitality
 

pk_LA

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That is very kind of you Steve - thank you.

I very much appreciated the discussion and your guidance.

Thinking on it brings a smile...when I first asked you guys what you thought you replied, "The system has great bass and great potential!" Then, after some time and feeling more comfortable to speak your mind we got down to brass tax! Very helpful and appreciated.
 

KeithR

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I wanted to thank Patrick for inviting myself , Ron and Gleeds to his house yesterday to get a listen to his fabulous room filled with bespoke gear . Patrick is a most gracious host. We spent the afternoon talking and listening to his system. Sadly the Digital Director has still not arrived but having said that the MSB select performs wonderfully in his room and will give him years of listening pleasure. We all chatted as to recommendations and thoughts. Patrick has beautiful enclosed wooden shelving at the front of his room which makes fitting racks and equipment super precise. I enjoyed listening as well to his Alexx V speakers which I personally felt need to be moved further into the room and to go to front porting rather than rear porting . In the Wilson setup the recommended ratio of the distance from tweeter to ear divided by the distance from tweeter to tweeter should be from 1.0 to 1.25. Patrick's set up I felt put the listening position a tad too far bacons the ratio in his set up was 1.32. That will be an easy fix on our next trip back.

Looking at Pat's Boulder gear was a sight to behold. The amp was about as big as they get and how they managed to get it fitted properly in his front shelves was miraculous. The power cord was the biggest I have ever seen . It is 240v. His preamp was eye candy. I have never seen a preamp built like his. It too was solid as a rock and had endless combinations.

It was a wonderful afternoon for the 4 of us and I look forward to our return visit. Thank you Patrick for your hospitality
Didn’t Brian Berdan set them up? He’s excellent.
 

Gjo

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Aug 22, 2021
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I would like to have seen my DAC manufacturer in there. I bet his new $16k unit would leave people surprised. And then they would spend more to get less because they can't get over the price equates to quality.
A bit like tossing a Baby Ruth bar into the pool. LOL.

Who is the manufacturer of your DAC?
 
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