Adcom GDA-600 + Apple Airport Express = noticeable improvement [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-06-2006, 10:21 AM
Adcom GDA-600 + Apple Airport Express = noticeable improvement

This weekend I Picked up an Adcom GDA-600 DAC for $175. I was curios as to whether or not it could make a difference in my current set up, which consisted of an Apple Airport Express w/ Airtunes connected to a Sansui 9090db receiver connected to a pair of Bose 901 series II speakers. Prior to purchasing it I was skeptical that a DAC could make any noticeable difference. However, after reading about a dozen reviews (, curiosity got the better of me, and I had to try it out.

I connected the DAC to my Airport Express via a fiber optical cable. To my surprise, the difference was quite noticeable. It was subtle, but definitely noticeable. I went back and forth several times between the Adcom and the Airport's built in audio, and there was definitely an improvement.

The difference it makes is hard to describe, but the first thing I noticed was that all my music was boomier, maybe too boomy; I'm not sure. Selecting a different equalization curve on the 901 equalizer seemed to bring it back to what I thought was a more natural balance. The prior settings had been adjusted to optimize the Airport base station's build in DAC. Maybe it was weak on the lower frequencies, or maybe the Adcom is just boomy, it's hard to tell. After correcting for the added boominess, the second thing I noticed were the vocals, which were amazing before, but were even better with the Adcom, if that were possible. I played Leonard Cohen's 'Everybody Knows,' and his voice was so raspy the entire living room shook, and my wife had trouble breathing and had to be hospitalized. True story.

Other than that, the music seemed slightly smoother, and richer, and overall more pleasant, if that makes any sense. I still can't tell the difference between an ACC encoded track and the original in an AB test, but I can most definitely detect a difference between the built-in Airport DAC and the Adcom GDA 600, if that helps quantify how big the difference is.

06-06-2006, 10:26 AM
yep, the AE's digital output is very good but the analog is not so much. the DAC in the adcom is easily better than the AE's. I love the AE, super cool.