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

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
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#1
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:

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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#2
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...
 

jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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#3
Don't forget the Nagra's. Nagra Seven and VI...Nagra has a few portable ones also
 

Bruce B

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Apr 26, 2010
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#4
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:

VPN

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Dec 28, 2013
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#5
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?
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#6
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.


DSD converters.jpg
 

VPN

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Dec 28, 2013
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#7
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.


View attachment 18316
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?
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#8
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
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,536
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Austin
#9
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/
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#11

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#12

dallasjustice

Member Sponsor
Apr 12, 2011
2,090
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0
Dallas, Texas
#13
There are, of course, many uses for A/D converters, such as: (i) Ripping your precious Vinyl, (ii) Ripping your precious analog tapes, and (iii) Professional recording. In most cases one would probably like to use the absolute best A/D converter, supposing the analog rig is top quality too.
Add DSP measurement test gear to that list. I have a Hilo. It's great. I hope to get some Merging gear soon. I will wait until after CES to decide what's next. The Merging gear is really cool partly because of the Ravenna ASIO ethernet. I can't wait to get rid of USB, FOREVER!
 
May 25, 2010
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SF Bay Area
#14
I like my Pacific Microsonics Model Two. Software is important too, I use Pyramix, Mykerinos Card and Izotope RX3 Advanced.

Larry
 
Dec 20, 2014
201
1
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#15
I have had the pleasure of hearing DAC's from:

DCS - Elgar and Pulsar - don't know the current range - very high res and clean sounding - impressive
Burmester - god knows which model - very luxurious, solid, and effortless
Chord - very neutral and solid

I also recently heard the CAD (Computer Audio Design) and was utterly blown away by it's finesse, flow, neutrality - it was like very good vinyl just cleaner - IMHO I never knew that digital could sound that good - it's one of those products that truly stand out and has me finding a way to buy one. It doesn't have that 'look at me' sound that defines a lot of modern audio.
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
164
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#17
Add DSP measurement test gear to that list. I have a Hilo. It's great. I hope to get some Merging gear soon. I will wait until after CES to decide what's next. The Merging gear is really cool partly because of the Ravenna ASIO ethernet. I can't wait to get rid of USB, FOREVER!
Mike, Are you sure you didn't study both Law and Engineering? Your system changes and work with DSP have been quite impressive!
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
164
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#18
Last edited:
Dec 20, 2014
201
1
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#19
I have had the pleasure of hearing DAC's from:

DCS - Elgar and Pulsar - don't know the current range - very high res and clean sounding - impressive
Burmester - god knows which model - very luxurious, solid, and effortless
Chord - very neutral and solid

I also recently heard the CAD (Computer Audio Design) and was utterly blown away by it's finesse, flow, neutrality - it was like very good vinyl just cleaner - IMHO I never knew that digital could sound that good - it's one of those products that truly stand out and has me finding a way to buy one. It doesn't have that 'look at me' sound that defines a lot of modern audio.
empty pot makes the biggest noise - doh;)
 

awsmone

Active Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,062
3
38
Canberra Australia
#20
My only experience is with the accuphase DG 48

I like it as it interacts at hi res with rest of system via hs link

It does room correction

But I use it for custom equalization of vinyl

It is surprisingly transparent in this mode

I do use it for room measurements but not room correction now with DEQX HDP 5 s x2

Sorry no experience of others but always wondered about the Grimm ad

Anyone else experience with the " CAD"
 

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