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  1. #1
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Cayin USB i-DAC?

    I recently heard the sublime Chord 64DAC processing a McIntosh Music Server into a Mac rig with them bad boy new Danes and the sound was spectacular, so much so as to, for the first time, hip me to the idea of HDD music as a serious contender. Only problem, at several thousand used the Chord is pretty salty, plus I wanted to experiment with introduce a layer of tubage to my rather analytic system.

    The prce alone on th Cayin is attractive as is the volume controlled pre-amp section---drive the amp straight anyone? Anyway, just wunderin' if any of y'all have heard the i-DAC and if there are any impressions.



    http://www.audiojunkies.com/blog/110...-headphone-amp

  2. #2
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    no idea about the cayin...

    but I hear alot of good things about the PS audio DAC...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  3. #3
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey 'sticks,

    I thought I could find you a better DAC than Cayin with USB connection and volume control, but I couldnt....

    I'm not familair with DAC chips used in Cayin, but you might want to make sure it has quality parts.
    6DJ8/6922 are great tubes, and you shouldnt have any problem finding replacements.

    JRA

  4. #4
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Check out Monarchy

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    I recently heard the sublime Chord 64DAC processing a McIntosh Music Server into a Mac rig with them bad boy new Danes and the sound was spectacular, so much so as to, for the first time, hip me to the idea of HDD music as a serious contender. Only problem, at several thousand used the Chord is pretty salty, plus I wanted to experiment with introduce a layer of tubage to my rather analytic system.

    The prce alone on th Cayin is attractive as is the volume controlled pre-amp section---drive the amp straight anyone? Anyway, just wunderin' if any of y'all have heard the i-DAC and if there are any impressions.
    ...
    Hi, B/S,

    I would check out the Monarchy Audio NM24 tube DAC / line stage. List price is $1600, but they can frequently be had direct from Monarchy for about $1100. Note that it doesn't have a USB connection.
    ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cayin USB i-DAC?-monarchy_nm24_dac.jpg  

  5. #5
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Hhhmmmnn, looks good. Even at $1600 it's still less than a third of the Chord. The 64 was pretty damn amazing but that's in conjunction with $50k worth of associated equipment so it's kinda hard to sound bad I suppose.

    Hey, is that Audio Note unit that foks are talking about tubed? Just wonderin'.

  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Hhhmmmnn, looks good. Even at $1600 it's still less than a third of the Chord. The 64 was pretty damn amazing but that's in conjunction with $50k worth of associated equipment so it's kinda hard to sound bad I suppose.

    Hey, is that Audio Note unit that foks are talking about tubed? Just wonderin'.
    The Audio Note DACs are tubed. I'm not sure if any ANs have a volume control: I don't think so.

    By the way Audio Asylum denizen, morricab, a.k.a. Brad Morrical of Positive Feedback, and buddy of Florian, said at one point that the Monarchy NM24 was the best DAC he'd ever heard. I haven't heard the NM24 but I certainly love my Monarchy SM -70 Pro amps.

  7. #7
    Ajani
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    If you're looking for USB and volume control... you could also consider the Benchmark DAC1 Pre... Only probs are that it's not tubed and I'm not sure whether it has a remote...

    It retails for $1575...

    * Personally, I'd probably just look for a good DAC (regardless of whether it has USB or Volume control) and use something like the Squeezebox duet to pull the music from my computer and control the volume.

  8. #8
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    I have the option of in-home auditioning the Benchmark so I'll be aware of it's capabilities soon. That said, I did want to experiment with tubes and the USB thang isn't a deal breaker. The Monarchy is at least on the radar---those are some pretty strong words of recommendation though I still need to hear what it can do in my room, on my gears.

    Thanks for the input fellas. This is one area of audio in which my knowledge is sorely lacking.

  9. #9
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Sticks,

    I've heard Benchmark DAC and found it to be exceptional, but I heard it with a tube amp... Warmth of tube with precision of a DAC was defintely something I could live with.

    You'll defintely find out for yourself, but you may find your overall system to be more analytical than ever. But remember, you can always get a tube amp later on audio path.

    PEACE OUT

  10. #10
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    But remember, you can always get a tube amp later on audio path.
    Whattup my friend,

    I could dp that but it would be multiple tube amps. 'Member, I'm still running multi-channel.

  11. #11
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Whattup my friend,

    I could dp that but it would be multiple tube amps. 'Member, I'm still running multi-channel.
    That one is a typo. I meant to say Tube preamp.
    But you are still running Multi-Ch, and Conrad Johnson MET1 is probably out of your budget.

    Anyhow, have fun with your new toys once you get them.

    JRA

  12. #12
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Whattup my friend,

    I could dp that but it would be multiple tube amps. 'Member, I'm still running multi-channel.
    Well Jaybo, you're not the only one susceptable to typos. Of course what I meant was that I could "do that" not perform a pornographic and potentially painful act on a series of tube amps.

  13. #13
    nightflier
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    Here are some other tubed DACs you could look at:

    - Kora Hermes II (no USB & no volume)
    - Malvalve DAC3 and DAC4 (no USB)
    - Accustic Arts Tube DAC II (no USB)
    - Audio Horizons TD 3.0n tube DAC (no USB)
    - Wavelength Audio also has several models

    I haven't heard any of them, but you might be able to find them used in your price range.

  14. #14
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Who knew that there were that many "hi-end" options? Thanks 'flier, I'll see what I can dig up, especially on the AA and Audio Horizons. I think Jay may be right in his assertion that some of the others might make my rig even more analytical.

  15. #15
    nightflier
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    Bobsticks,

    Any update on your auditioning of the Benchmark and possibly others? I've been vacillating for a while between the Cambridge 840c and the Benchmark DAC1 with "some transport." Of course sound is important, but I'm finding myself also starting to care about features. The 840c can be used as a DAC and CDP, but it does not have volume control. The Benchmark has the added headphone amp, but would require a separate transport and more cables. I also don't like that it is not very heavy (makes plugging cables in & out a pain) and it's not a full-sized unit (I know it's petty, but I really would prefer all my components to have heft and be the same width). Which leaves me with more questions:

    - Everybody raves about the DAC, but how good is the headphone amp on the Benchmark?
    - How does the 840c sound as a stand-alone DAC?
    - How sensitive are they to cable differences (I read that the Benchmark was picky)?

  16. #16
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    ey 'flier,

    No progress to report here despite my guru having a brand new, black DAC1 PRE with USB outs awaitin'. I've devoted this summer to conquering the game of golf in which, sadly, my acumen and skill is considerably less than things audio.

    Gotta say though, that when the leaves turn I'll prolly be more inclined to look at that Monarchy Audio piece that Feanor shared with us.


    ---sticks

  17. #17
    nightflier
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    Golf? What did George Carlin say about that sport...

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    ey 'flier,

    No progress to report here despite my guru having a brand new, black DAC1 PRE with USB outs awaitin'. I've devoted this summer to conquering the game of golf in which, sadly, my acumen and skill is considerably less than things audio.

    Gotta say though, that when the leaves turn I'll prolly be more inclined to look at that Monarchy Audio piece that Feanor shared with us.

    ---sticks
    Yes, I forgot about the Monarchy DAC. It sure is a tweaker's smorgasbord. After I settle in with my new tube pre, I'll have to add it to my list. It seems to be pretty common on Audiogon, so getting one in-house to audition shouldn't be too hard. Of course, that begs the question, why are they on A-gon so much?

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