What is the benefit of very expensive DACs?

rossb

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2017
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Yes, great post, thanks for sharing!
May I ask which devices you have upstream to your DAC?

Matt
I use a Bricasti M5 streamer, connected via AES to the DAC. I was also using an Etheregen and AfterDark clock, but the ER stopped working so I stopped using it (and the clock) and can't say I've noticed much difference.

Yes, That was why I suggested he look into the relationship :) Was being polite. But, as I understand it, the Playback has the better version of that kit and for way cheaper
I am aware of the Playback DAC and the connection with Nagra. Whether one sounds better is probably speculation, but if you know of anyone who has directly compared the two, please post a link. I am certainly happy with the Nagra DAC so don't feel compelled to try the Playback.
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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I use a Bricasti M5 streamer, connected via AES to the DAC. I was also using an Etheregen and AfterDark clock, but the ER stopped working so I stopped using it (and the clock) and can't say I've noticed much difference.

I am just curious if you tried different streamers as well (as different DACs) and if yes what the outcome was (sorry for OT).
Thanks

Matt
 

rossb

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2017
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98
I have used a number of different streamers over the years - Lumin U1 Mini, Ultrarendu, Optical Rendu, SOTM stack. Differences were minor - stability and software issues were more critical. I think the Bricasti M5 is probably the best of them, but all were good.
 
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rossb

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May 24, 2017
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No further upgrades planned, although the rest of my system is a bit more modest.
 

Alrainbow

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Dec 12, 2013
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The obvius point of an expensive dac is pride of ownership lol but if the system sounds good then you get both good sound and hey look what I got
 
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L3RD

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May 1, 2022
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The conventional wisdom is they sound better (no big surprises here). The question is how much better and at what price difference, and how fast is price performance improving.

I was slightly disheartened to read the Stereophile review of the new $3500 Marantz NA11-S1 network streamer / DAC, and the reviewer commenting he was hard pressed to hear ANY difference between it and the $43,000 MSB stack. While this observation should delight the general audiophile population, it inevitably has the small population of uber expensive DAC owners (of which I am one) second guessing the wisdom of their investment.
The reviewers pander to advertisers, and lower dollar gear outsells high dollar gear. If I say that a $10 DAC sounds better than a $100 DAC I please more readers, hence I broaden circulation, and make more money. It's a game. That said, lower end gear learns from the high end, and it is getting better all the time. If you don't suffer listening fatigue just enjoy! Some are thrilled with Vandersteen 2's, I wish I was one of them!
 

L3RD

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I really appreciate Atkinson's candor here. Putting components of such a price difference on basically equal footing is rarely seen in reviews and I don't think that's because it's so rarely the case with certain types of components and cables etc
Patting the low dollar buyers on the back is good for circulation. If they only praise high dollar gear, and spank the low dollar gear subscriptions drop off. I don't put much stock in reviews because of that. I just use my ears, or try to find listeners on the net that seem to look for similar qualities in playback to mine.
 

flashman

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2014
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I moved recently from a Lumin T2 to a Lumin X1. The SQ difference is not slight and I’m pleased with the purchase. I can’t imagine spending more on a streamer/DAC. I can imagine there are some who would gasp at the money spent and others who would scoff at the price compared with other Uber-expensive gear. I did a lot of research before making both purchases and the Lumin proposition, including the rare X1 fiber connection and outstanding after-market Lumin support, sold me.
 
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AMR / iFi audio

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Aug 21, 2019
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I moved recently from a Lumin T2 to a Lumin X1. The SQ difference is not slight and I’m pleased with the purchase. I can’t imagine spending more on a streamer/DAC. I can imagine there are some who would gasp at the money spent and others who would scoff at the price compared with other Uber-expensive gear. I did a lot of research before making both purchases and the Lumin proposition, including the rare X1 fiber connection and outstanding after-market Lumin support, sold me.
In my mind, excellent customer service is part of the investment in an expensive product (not only audio). Kudos to Lumin for providing that.
 
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