Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 34

Thread: DAC Reviews

  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421

    DAC Reviews

    On Saturday, I will be doing a DAC comparison at a friends house, comparing the New Exogal Comet DAC with a Bryston BDP-1, Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 DSDse, Hugo Chord and just for kicks an IFI DAC.

    Exogal is a new company started by 3 ex-Wadia guys. Here is a link to their DAC-

    Home

    I will be getting the Comet today, on loan from the Company which is based here in the Twin Cities. I will put it through the paces in my system for a few days before the shoot out. It should be fun. I will post my review over the weekend.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  2. #2
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    4,380
    Sounds like a bunch of fun.

    Slightly off topic.....What is the consensus on the Fubar USB DAC? I was given one and recently started streaming my FLAC files from Laptop thru DAC into system and the sound is really good.

  3. #3
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    2,705
    One thing I like about the Fubar DAC is that it's also an ADC.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts
    Marantz CD63SE, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    DAC's: MSB Link, Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY, Accuphase T101 tuner, Teac V-7010
    Emotiva UMC-200 processor, 2 Adcom GFA-545, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2 bridged Crown XLS-402, Behringer CX2310, DBX223sx, Behringer DSP1124P,2 12" Transmission Line Subs (PASS DIY El-Pipe-O), Magnepan 1.7 (fronts), Acoustat Model 1 ESL's/SPW-1 Woofer (rears)

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    I have been listening to the Comet for at least 3 hours now and I have a better impression of it.

    When I first listened to the Comet I was not initially wowed like I was when my friend brought over his W4S DAC-2 DSDse and Chord Hugo a few weeks ago. I thought this sounds very good but I was not hit with the immediate feeling that this was a piece of Kit that I needed to have. But after listening for a good while I found myself smiling for no reason and really enjoying the music, more so than I had in a long time. I had to sit and think about why and then I started thinking about what was missing from the sound. There was no glare, digital edge or fatigue and no sibilants. The back ground was completely black. I found the sound was very easy to listen too leaning on the relaxed side as I began to think about what was right with it. It is very liquid, holographic and 3D with fantastic transparency. The sound stage is wide and very tall. Bass is tight, well controlled and pleasing although it could use a just a little more weight with my Maggies. Cymbals sounded perfect and not too forward or pushed back. Vocals and horns are to die for, very natural and smooth. Drums had good kick to them. There was good spacing between instruments. Overall the sound is very analog and neutral with maybe a hint of warmth. The dynamics are good but not on the level of the W4S DAC-2 DSDse which has great slam, and there is good musicality but not to the level of the Hugo Chord which I really like but seems to sugar coat a little like the old CJ tube gear. I think that is why I was not initially wowed by the Comet, but the more I listened, the more it won me over as I realized that the sound is excellent and it just sounds right. It is a very analog sounding DAC and I just might buy this DAC after I hear a few more at Axpona. I really would like to hear a Marantz Na 11s1 and a lower level Lampizator as my budget is around $3K new or used.

    More to come on Sunday after the DAC shoot out.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  5. #5
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1
    I was given one and recently started streaming my FLAC files from Laptop thru DAC into system and the sound is really good.??
    Our excellent online learnalanguage - learn english training programs lead you to learnalanguage - learn italian success in the We also offer latest and E-spanyol with 100% success Internet polyglot

  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127
    Quote Originally Posted by sochnedo View Post
    I was given one and recently started streaming my FLAC files from Laptop thru DAC into system and the sound is really good.??
    Welcome to AR Forums. Glad you're enjoying your DAC.

    It isn't surprising that the sound is better thru the DAC vs. direct from the computer: computer DACs, (e.g. Realtek), are typically not very good.

  7. #7
    Charm Thai™
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    859
    Neato. That should be a really good shoot-out and anxious to hear the outcome. Never heard of Exogal before so they are new to me.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Here is the review-

    I am going to upgrade my DAC some time in the next few months and I have some friends that have a Hugo Chord, Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 DSDse with the Femto Clock upgrade and a Bryston BDA-1 DAC. We decided to to a DAC shoot out and compare them. Then one of my friends sent me a link to a new company called Exogal based here in the Twin Cities. They have a new outstanding DAC called the Comet which sells for $2,500 and $3,000 with a beefier external power supply. So I emailed them and asked if they would be interested in including the Comet in the shoot out. Jeff the CEO was game and dropped the unit off at my house about a week before the shoot out. I had a few days to play with it and was very impressed with the sound. It clearly bested my aging AVA Ultra DAC a hybrid tube design. I will go more into how it sounded in my system after the shoot out results.

    This past Saturday night 2 friends and I went over to another AC members house for the shoot out. For kick's one guys brought over his $500 IFI DAC and $299 IFI tube buffer to see how it would stack up against the other 4 dacs.

    Equipment used-

    Magnepan 3.7 speakers
    Dual AVA HiFi 600R amps used in a mono block configuration at 600wpc @ 4ohms
    AVA FET CF tube Preamp
    Computer based music using JRiver software
    Emperical Audio OR5 off ramp USB converter which allowed us to immediately switch back and forth between 2 DAC's at a time.

    Because we could only switch between 2 DAC's at a time we compared each DAC to each other, picking out the one we thought sounded the best and then compared the 2 winners. Here are the results-

    The IFI was clearly out classed by the other DAC's in detail, resolution, dynamics and listenability. It sounded flat in comparison but we all expected that going into this. It was not bad sounding by any means but it was totally out if its league.

    The Wyred 4 Sound came in 4th. It hits hard with good dynamics and bass but it was too bright and had a little grain. It sounded great with acoustic guitar with great attack, detail and resolution, but on rock music it was irritating and almost harsh. This was a surprise because I have heard it in my system and my friend's who owns both the Hugo and W4S and it did not sound that way. In fact it was one of the DAC's that I was considering buying up until this test.

    The next 2 DAC's were a tough decision for me. I would call it a tie between the Comet and the Bryston, although the person that owns the Bryston liked it the best. The Comet has this unique 3D or holographic sound with a huge sound stage that is wide, deep and tall. It has great air and transparency, the best out of all the DAC's. It was actually uncanny in a good way on how clear and holographic it sounded. It reminded me of hearing a pair of higher end Martin Logan ESL's a few years back which I found to have tremendous transparency and a 3D sound. In addition we all agreed that it had a very nice midrange bloom. Bass was tight, fast and controlled but not as deep as the Bryston or W4S. Resolution was very good, better than the Hugo and not as good as the Bryston or W4S. Drums had very good kick and snap. Vocals and horns were smooth and very natural. We listened to Anne Bisson's Blue Mind CD using a Cambridge Audio 840 as a transport at the beginning of the test and her voice had good texture. All 4 of us however felt that the sound leaned a just bit to the bright side of neutral mainly on rock and roll. It sounded excellent when listening to Billy Mclaughlin's guitar on his Finger Dance album. 2 of us felt that it would be a great DAC for Jazz, Acoustic and Classical music.

    The Bryston on the other hand did every thing well. It had a nice neutral tone, very good resolution, probably the best dynamics and bass out of all the dac's. It had a thicker or heavier sound compared to the other dac's. Because of this it did not appear to have the amount of air and transparency of the Comet. It sounded great with all types of music. It has good pace and rhythm and was about equal with the W4S in this area. The Comet was a little slower and the Hugo the slowest.

    The Hugo Chord was the DAC that 3 of us preferred and ranked number one. It also does every thing well but it has a lush, liquid midrange and a more romantic sound. It sounds good with all types of music with out any fatigue. It was the most musical, smoothest sounding out of all the DAC's. It had good dynamic. It did not have the crisp detail of the W4S or the transparency and holographic sound and resolution of the Comet , nor the dynamics or bass of the Bryston but it sounded damn good. Some people may not like the sound because it can sugar coat the sound a little. Certainly if you are the type of person that likes a dead neutral and more clinical sound or razor sharp detail then it is not the DAC for you.

    In the end, we all agreed that the Comet, Hugo Chord and the Bryston were excellent DAC's and each had it strengths and weaknesses. Clearly system matching is important. I had the Comet in my system for several days and it was very neutral sounding. However, I use a Pass Labs x250 amp, a BAT VK51se tube preamp and Magnepan 1.6 speakers. Personally, I could be happy with any of these DAC's. The Comet's holographic sound and sound stage is outstanding, the best that I have heard.

    I will post a dedicated review of the Comet, its features, build quality and how it sounds in my system tomorrow. In addition I will have the Comet for a couple more weeks and I will try it with more traditional cone speakers (PSB and Monitor Audio) and post my findings.

    If any one has any questions about the DAC's and the Comet in particular, please send me a PM.

    Here is a link to Exogal and the Comet-

    Products


    Addendum-

    I was just informed that the USB off ramp that we used does not play well with the W4S causes it to sound bright. It may have had the same affect on the Comet. I am going to do another shoot out in my system using a CD player as a transport some time in the next 2 weeks.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  9. #9
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,176
    I was going to say, don't rule out the W4 based on how it sounds in someone else's system, especially if it sounds good in yours. It's all about system synergy, because a friend don't have it doesn't make the W4 less capable. I like the description of the Comet, I'd like to hear one. I would probably like the Bryston as well, as long as it could both be neutral and have PR&T.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Today I spent about 2 hours listening to the Comet in my main system but I replaced my Magnepan 1.6's with a pair of Monitor Audio S1 speakers as well as a pair of PSB B6's. For those not familiar with either of these speakers, the MA's sold for about $750pr and they are a small bookshelf with a 6.5" woofer. They have a neutral, clean, detailed and slightly forward sound with good air and transparency. The PSB's are large bookshelfs with a 6.5" woofer. They sold for about $525pr and they have a warmer more forgiving sound. They have very good bass for a BS speaker but they are not as detailed as the MA's.

    The Comet made both of these speakers really sing beautiful music. The Comet seems to be a much better match with both of these speakers. There was not a hint of brightness as with my Magnepans. The sound stage continued to be wide, tall and deep. The sound was very holographic and 3D. Piano's sounded very natural with excellent decay. The attack on Piano and Acoustic Guitar was both crisp and smooth at the same time and sounded very life like. Vocals and horns were very smooth with not hint of harshness. Cymbal crashes were crisp and clean. Bass was good, fast, taught, crisp and controlled. There was a nice, pleasing mid bass bloom but the bottom end could use a little more oomph. Turning up the cross over on my sub fixed the issue.

    Music used-

    Pink Floyd- The Wall
    Melody Gardot- Worrisome Heart
    Pat Metheny- What's It All About
    George Winston- Autumn
    Chesky's- The Worlds Greatest Audiophile Recordings
    Eva Cassidy- Simply Eva
    Fleetwood Mac- Rumors
    A Blu-Spec Classic Selection sampler CD of Classical music
    Quilles and Cloud- Seminole Star (from Blue Coast)
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,481
    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Today I spent about 2 hours listening to the Comet in my main system but I replaced my Magnepan 1.6's with a pair of Monitor Audio S1 speakers as well as a pair of PSB B6's. For those not familiar with either of these speakers, the MA's sold for about $750pr and they are a small bookshelf with a 6.5" woofer. They have a neutral, clean, detailed and slightly forward sound with good air and transparency. The PSB's are large bookshelfs with a 6.5" woofer. They sold for about $525pr and they have a warmer more forgiving sound. They have very good bass for a BS speaker but they are not as detailed as the MA's.

    The Comet made both of these speakers really sing beautiful music. The Comet seems to be a much better match with both of these speakers. There was not a hint of brightness as with my Magnepans. The sound stage continued to be wide, tall and deep. The sound was very holographic and 3D. Piano's sounded very natural with excellent decay. The attack on Piano and Acoustic Guitar was both crisp and smooth at the same time and sounded very life like. Vocals and horns were very smooth with not hint of harshness. Cymbal crashes were crisp and clean. Bass was good, fast, taught, crisp and controlled. There was a nice, pleasing mid bass bloom but the bottom end could use a little more oomph. Turning up the cross over on my sub fixed the issue.

    Music used-

    Pink Floyd- The Wall
    Melody Gardot- Worrisome Heart
    Pat Metheny- What's It All About
    George Winston- Autumn
    Chesky's- The Worlds Greatest Audiophile Recordings
    Eva Cassidy- Simply Eva
    Fleetwood Mac- Rumors
    A Blu-Spec Classic Selection sampler CD of Classical music
    Quilles and Cloud- Seminole Star (from Blue Coast)
    There is a review on this DAC in this months SoundStage Ultra from what I read over on Audio Aficionado.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Yamaha RX-A830 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    There is a review on this DAC in this months SoundStage Ultra from what I read over on Audio Aficionado.
    I agree with that review except that bass could be more powerful compared to the other DAC's that I compared it too. The greatest virtue's of this DAC is the sound stage and clarity. It's sound stage is huge, 3D and holographic.

    I still have the Comet on loan and on Saturday the 11th I am having a few people over to hear it in my system.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    Hi Ravin!

    I just read your review about the iFI sounding flat and out classed! That's a first I've ever heard about that DAC! It's usually the iFi getting great reviews and hanging with the big boys and even beating some of them. Did you guys run Double DSD? You said he had the $500 DAc. They have the IFI DAC and the IFi micro DSD DAC. They look just a like but the Micro does DSD all the way up to Quad DSD. And he ran it with the tube buffer?

    Sounds like he didn't have the power supply. I run mine with the IFi USB Power supply. I don't need a tube buffer. There is nothing flat about it, so I'm wondering if he had the batteries fully charged seeing no PSU.
    Peabody can tell you, there is nothing flat about it...as well as those over at Computeraudiophile as well as head-fi and audiokarma. It's a very dynamic DAC, there is nothing in its nature that would have it flat. Sounds like something a miss was going on.

    over on computeraudiophile, there was a shootout with the IFI Micro DSD DAC and the Hugo and the IFI Was the winner. Over on Head fi there was another shootout with both DACs and the Hugo was the winner. Each shootout had different surrounding gear, but the guy at head fi did note for the price of the IFI and PSU at $700 and the Hugo at $2500 that makes the IFI the winner because in his mind the Hugo want all that much better.

    Another interesting note....in my experience, when running a CDP as a transport into a DAC, you get the least benifit of what the DAC is capable of. The DAC then is at the mercy of fixed information on the disc.

    To really get the best out of a DAC one needs to run it with software, and very good cabling. I use Wireworld Starlight 7 USB cables from the music computer into the PSU and from the PSU to the DAC is another Starlight 7. Both those together total $300 and from the DAC to the preamp I run a meter of WireWorld Silver Eclipse 7 RCA's, $700 and the DAC has vibration control added as well, so no internal vibrations...it brings out all the goodies of what the IFI has to offer. All my files are DSD 128 and those that aren't Double DSD are converted on the fly. I'm not hearing any flatness what's so ever, the complete opposite is what's going on over here!

    Yes I've read all the negative Information on doing that and how PCM sounds better, I don't believe it one bit! The proof is always in the hearing...and From what I'm hearing as well as others, DSD is superior than what I'm hearing with PCM....DSD has none of the digital edge associated with PCM and sounds more like analog to my ears...has more resolution, is tonally accurate , has more spacing between the notes, has great dynamic and is 3d. It as if you can see front to back more so with DSD...DSD is closer to vinyl than PCM can ever be. Myself and others who run DSD are beginning to wonder if this is some kind of marketing trick for those companies who have PCM DAC they are trying to get rid of. But to a lot of us....it makes no sence to purchase a PCM only DAC when DSD, on the fly or native, sounds so much better...unless a person can't hear it.
    Last edited by frenchmon; 04-05-2015 at 03:11 PM.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Frenchmon, we ran the DAC's mostly off of software. The IFI Micro sounded good for the price but it had no body or dimension to the music compared to all the other dac's. Even the guy who owned it immediately was dismayed and surprised as how bad it did against all the other DAC's. I can tell you the Hugo had the lush, deep rich and dynamic sound. It was probably the least resolving between the Bryston, Comet and Wyred but much better than the IFI. People are kidding themselves if they think that the IFI sounds as good as a $2500 DAC. All 4 of us heard the same thing. My friends system is very resolving and the Magnepan 3.7's will tell you if something does not sound good. The IFI sounded much better with the tube buffer. I am not putting the IFI down as it sounds good for its price point and maybe competes with DAC's costing 2 times as much but compared to the other DAC's it was lacking resolution, detail, depth, musicality and dynamic's ( I am not saying it did not have these things but compared to the other DAC's thats the way it sounded).

    We did run some DSD. DSD defintely sounds better and I agree with everything you say about DSD. We ran 1x and 2x DSD. Not all DSD recordings sound better than PCM versions though. And upconverted DSD does not sound as good as music that is native DSD.

    Hey Frenchie, are you going to Axpona? Bryan will be there and I am going with 3-4 friends.
    Last edited by blackraven; 04-05-2015 at 09:57 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  15. #15
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    Well Ravin, I think something was wrong...as I have the iFI as well as the PSU and its a great DAC.... and I've have heard some very impressive DAC's including the W4sound DAC as well as the Hugo. If the IfI Micro was as you describe, aint no way I would have it, thats for sure! You and I simply disagree on the Micro iFI Micro.

    There is nothing flat about the Ifi at all. Doesn't lack detail...very dynamic DAC and is considered a giant killer. I think people are kidding themselves if they cant hear and are writing the iFI DAC off simply because of its price as you said.

    Here are a few quotes from over at computeraudio file.

    Computer Audiophile - CA - Where HiFi and High Tech Converge

    08-23-2014, 02:20 AM
    Thread: iFi micro iDSD
    by wisnon


    Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. The most reliable method. I own a Chord Qute EX and a Lampi. Lampi is one of the best PCM around and is king of DSD. I actually like Chord design, so...
    by wisnon Replies

    Why dont you quote what Elberoth and I said. I head the Hugo against 4 more expensive Dacs and it was the worst of the lot. For the price it is good, but its no giant killer and the DSD sucked. DSD...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereolab42 View Post
    I have one of these coming Monday, along with an iUSB Power. My new philosophy with DACs is to buy often and buy more cheaply, given the blistering pace at which technology is advancing.
    Yeah, so wow, this is incredible. Better than my old $2200 DAC, both through the headphone and RCA outs. Unless you need balanced outs it's just silly to pay more than this for a DAC. Plus it's smaller than I thought and is a superb portable choice as well. (The iFi mini with balanced outs will be released in October, unfortunately at the $1500 price point. But that's still much less than any similarly featured competitors.)

    It was fun getting HQPlayer to stream upsampled DSD512, I have a fast computer and even so I had to work to find a choice of filter that wouldn't peg the CPU. Had no problems playing DSD64/128/256 music tracks I downloaded using native ASIO through JRiver.
    What was the $2,200 DAC that the Micro topped?
    I'm on the verge of ordering one of these myself. I noticed that in earlier comment you mentioned that you didn't like the (sound of the) Hugo at all. I'm just wondering, price aside and form factor aside, what you prefer about this one to the Hugo?
    I have not had much time to play around with HQPlayer upconverts. So far I only did the minimum necessary to prove to myself that DSD512 actually works.

    I prefer anything to the musty and swampy sound of the Hugo, including my cell phone. Personal preference is personal...

    The $2200 DAC is the Grace m920. It's an excellent DAC, but more than a bit "polite". The Micro is more impactful and spacious, while not sacrificing detail or precision. We're comfortably beyond the point technologically where one has to spend beyond three digits for endgame DAC performance; you're basically paying more for features only.
    The Micro is $500 (less tha quarter the price)...
    The Micro is $500 (less tha quarter the price) and to my ear beats the Hugo handily with DSD.
    Heres your problem, Ravin contained in this quote...you cant hide the fact that you think price of a component equals performance:

    In the following quote by you, you where referencing the Hugo at $2500 and the IfI Micro at $500. But I believe the Hugo is over priced because its put out by Chord. Its certainly not worth all that compared to what myself and others are hearing from the iFI Micro as well as the Hugo.

    People are kidding themselves if they think that the IFI sounds as good as a $2500 DAC.
    From Wenson at Computeraudiophile.:
    The Micro is $500 (less tha quarter the price) and to my ear beats the Hugo handily with DSD.
    This is a fatal flaw in many an audiophiles way of thinking. Pricing of a thing is not alway whats important,or its not always a sure sign of superior gear. No we shouldnt want the cheapest stuff out there, but we certainly want quality! And we want performance.

    I've been into audio from the 70's. And I know lots of cats seem to think stuff has to be made in the USA, has to be big, and has to cost an arm and a leg to be worthy of being upper end in high-end gear. Those are the ones who don't know jack!...those are the ones who are kidding themselves....they are the real audio snobs in this hobby. If these types of guys could actually hear, and could actually get synergy from their gear...know how to match audio components and certain cables and speaker cables and power cords to their gear and know how to tweak it out to get the best sound out of it, then they would know all to well, that certain gear at a smaller price can slay the big boy audio gear that looks good on the outside, have a huge price tag and the big name, but has poor performance. Most of these guys you look at their gear list and you can tell they don't know what the heck they're doing and have no clue how to build a system with all the mix matched components in their system. Some of them have no idea, they think component will sound good in any system they stick it in simply because it has a big name and cost $$$$$. Well that aint the case all the time.....proper system matching is most imortant to get synergy which is what it takes to build a system as well as a good music room as well.

    As far as DSD...where can you buy DSD 128 or higher? I dont know any place, I've down loaded DSD 64 and I've upsampled DSD 128 and higher and it flat out kills PCM and DSD 64 which is basically what you get in a SACD! I've never heard any PCM or DXD sound better than DSD 128 or better. I run all music DSD 128 or higher. The only down side is one needs lots of hdd space and a fair amount of RAM and a great processor....Remember....DSD is 1 bit and, has a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz

    My next move is a NAS. I've thrown out my CDP as they can never sound as good as a great DAC/Music computer. DSD 128 is a close to vinyl as you can get. I think we forget the music goes into the DAC as 1's and 0's and come out analog. So I run a DAC for computer audio, and a Turntable in a dedicated 2 channel room....thats all a man will ever need. I will be upgrading my phono amp, and after that, I will devote time to painting and upgrading the room and im set!

    I was going to Exponia, but changed my mind. I do IT work so im in front of a computer for most of the day..and when I'm home, im listening to music mostly....so I've gained like 50 pounds and am over weight. I decided to take the money I was going to use for the Exponia and by myself a $1500 treadmill. I need to take off the pounds. If Peabody can do it, so can I! I may go next year. Would have been fun meeting you!
    Last edited by frenchmon; 04-06-2015 at 03:41 AM.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  16. #16
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Frenchmon, I am not saying that the IFI was bad sounding. It sounded very good but it was not in the same league as the others. The guy that owns the IFI loves it but was disappointed when he heard it next to the others. If we just played the IFI, we all would have said that it sounded great, but when we did an A-B comparison it was no contest.

    When I heard the Hugo and W4S (please note that the W4S was the upgraded version with the Femto clock upgrade) in my system compared to my modified AVA DAC, my jaw dropped at how much better the other 2 sounded. Now my AVA DAC sounds great (the guy that owns the Hugo even likes my DAC) but compared to the Hugo and W4S it sounded like crap. It's all relative.

    Next Saturday we are all getting together at my house and will be having another shoot out with all the DAC's except the bryston. Another DAC will be in the mix as well as my AVA DAC.

    As far as the Hugo is concerned, if a person does not like a sugar coated sound-warm, romantic, lush, deep and liquid midrange then the Hugo is not for them. The Hugo will not give you the razor sharp crispness of say a W4S and other Sabre based DAC's, it is more smooth and liquid, very analog sounding with good detail and resolution. The Hugo does sound very good on DSD, better than PCM. The guy that owns the Hugo and W4S told me he read where a person said that he thought that DSD does not sound good with the Hugo. I have read reviews, pro and user where they state DSD is good with the Hugo. In our tests DSD sounded much better than PCM on most DSD recordings. We all hear things differently.
    Last edited by blackraven; 04-06-2015 at 10:41 AM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  17. #17
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    Ravin...you and I aren't going to agree on this. I don't know about you, but I've been in this hobby long enough and have a trained ear. What you say about a side by side....I don't need that for audio components...its great to have a shoot out but to say its not in the same class...well yeah as far a cost, but not sonics. A side by side is pretty much needed for cables but not components....at least as far as im concerned if a guy has a trained ear. If a system is dynamic or flat, I don't need a side by side for that. Here's a perfectly good example. This weekend I listened to a very expensive dac...the Bracasti dac. Upon first listen, I thought they where playing DSD. It was sounding great! But as we continued to listen, I could tell it was high rez PCM...I even leaned over to Peabody and told him I can tell because it didn't have the resolution like my DAC. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to hear that $9K dac DO DSD 128.

    Now I've heard the Hugo but haven't heard the Hugo and iFI side by side...don't need to, I know the iFI and Hugo are very close in the right system. But friends whom ears I trust and have owned both have heard them in a shootout...some prefer the IFI while others prefer the Hugo...this is all DSD seeing the Hugo doesn't wow any one with high DSD, its stronger points are hi REZ PCM ...while the iFI is much better with DSD files.... I'know one person over at Computeraudiophile who owns the Lampzator DSD DAC....and the iFI, but before the iFI he owned the Hugo. He sold the Hugo in favor of the iFI. That tells me a lot.

    But that's ok.....we just have to disagree on this one. I hope you find the right DAC for your system.

    If you get a chance...check this DAC out. Even doing hi rez PCM it sounds like analog.Bricasti Design......
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Frenchmon, I am not going to try and convince you that the IFI did not sound as good as the other DAC's. But I am curious as to why you think 4 guys, all who have high end systems and have been in audio for years (and 1 of them builds speakers, DAC's and amps) found that the IFI did not sound as good as the other DAC's. The guy who owns the IFI was surprised that it did not belong on the same playing field as the others. None of us called the IFI bad but it just did not have the depth, dynamics and musicality of the other DAC's plain and simple. And nothing was wrong with the set up. We were able to immediately switch between DAC's with the flip of a switch. Again, if we had been reviewing the IFI by itself we all would have said it sounded good. All the DAC's sounded completely different and you could clearly pick out which DAC was which. Maybe on less a less resolving system things would have been different.

    But I guess we agree to disagree. All is cool!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,481
    I have the Bryston Dac that was used in the shootout and I'm fine that it did not win the shootout. I've heard the PS Audio Directstream recently and it did sound better than my DAC also, but it was also on a different system. Frenchy, you have to realize that you like the IFI played in your setup and it could very well sound different on the system that Raven used in the shootout. For me the telling factor is that the owner of the IFI felt it was outclassed by the other 4 DACs. I've heard other components in my system that have sounded better, but I got what I could afford and I've upgraded when I could. When I had Paradigm speakers in my system, I read a lot of reviews, professional and otherwise that talked about their shortcomings and weaknesses and it gave me food for thought and something to work towards.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Yamaha RX-A830 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  20. #20
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Frenchmon, I am not going to try and convince you that the IFI did not sound as good as the other DAC's.
    And thats fine Ravin..I'm not asking you to.



    But I am curious as to why you think 4 guys, all who have high end systems and have been in audio for years (and 1 of them builds speakers, DAC's and amps) found that the IFI did not sound as good as the other DAC's.
    But Ravin....thats fine. I've also shown you others who have high-end gear as well and they all have a different experience than you and your guys. No biggie. All systems are different. Perhaps the iFI Micro wasnt a good match with the gear you used, maybe cabling wasd wrong...there are many factors in audio. One of my Buddies up in Detroit has a iFI Micro and this guy was a buyer for a large audio firm and traveled over seas a lot to purchase gear for a audio shop in the USA. He too thinks the iFI is great and has lots of synergy in his system. One of the guys who owns the Lampizator also owns the iFI and says its great! But thats ok...you have your experience and I have mine.

    The guy who owns the IFI was surprised that it did not belong on the same playing field as the others. None of us called the IFI bad but it just did not have the depth, dynamics and musicality of the other DAC's plain and simple.
    Thats cool. But I have goo gobbs of depth, dynamics and musicality over here at my place....and thats all that matters.

    And nothing was wrong with the set up. We were able to immediately switch between DAC's with the flip of a switch. Again, if we had been reviewing the IFI by itself we all would have said it sounded good. All the DAC's sounded completely different and you could clearly pick out which DAC was which. Maybe on less a less resolving system things would have been different.

    But I guess we agree to disagree. All is cool!
    Well I have German gear, Ravin. Speakers are German and made in Germany...and amps/preamps are designed in Germany and built at the Shung Ya Plant but still German. Dont know if you have heard any German gear, but the voicing is very clear, very transparent and very accurate. I have very transparent cable and speaker wire as well. All in a dedicated 2 channel room. I can hear it all perfectly...and I have an ear...I can hear. I've heard many a high end DACs and there is noting flat about the Micro. Its a great DAC and a giant killer. I'm no spring chicken.....I've been around audio from the 70's.....I know audio. If the iFI was junk I wouldn't have it.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  21. #21
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Frenchmon, I was not calling the IFI junk. It sounds very good for a DAC in its price range and I don't doubt that it competes above it's price point. And I am very familiar with Vincent Audio and Canton Speakers. Both are excellent.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  22. #22
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I have the Bryston Dac that was used in the shootout and I'm fine that it did not win the shootout. I've heard the PS Audio Directstream recently and it did sound better than my DAC also, but it was also on a different system. Frenchy, you have to realize that you like the IFI played in your setup and it could very well sound different on the system that Raven used in the shootout. For me the telling factor is that the owner of the IFI felt it was outclassed by the other 4 DACs. I've heard other components in my system that have sounded better, but I got what I could afford and I've upgraded when I could. When I had Paradigm speakers in my system, I read a lot of reviews, professional and otherwise that talked about their shortcomings and weaknesses and it gave me food for thought and something to work towards.
    Hi Jack! Oh...if you've read all the posting I've stated a few times about synergy. But I cant see the iFi being flat. As far as teh owner of the DAC is concerned....I noticed he didnt have the PSU. So the DAC could have been low on the charge with the batteries.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  23. #23
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Frenchmon, I was not calling the IFI junk. It sounds very good for a DAC in its price range and I don't doubt that it competes above it's price point. And I am very familiar with Vincent Audio and Canton Speakers. Both are excellent.

    Ravin....I know you didn't say that. but you did say it sounded like crap and it was flat. I can say the iFI is a warm DAC.....so I cant see why one would want the Tube buffer with it unless he has extremely bright gear. My tube amp and preamp with the Micro gave me a classic warm tubed sound. I couldnt take it. So I decided to find better cables...as the cables that come with it are junk. I was able to fond some outstanding USB cables and RCA's All my cables are Silver over copper. Shoot, the total cost of the cables for the iFI is about $1000, more than the IFI Micro and PSU witch retails for $700. Ravin my system is clicking over here.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  24. #24
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Frenchmon, we only tried the IFI tube buffer because the guy brought it a long. The IFI was flat compared to the other DAC's but listening to it alone it sounded good and we all liked it. But when when we AB'd it, the others were much better. It is all relative. My AVA DAC pales in comparison to the Comet, W4S and Hugo. It was a $1600 or $1700 DAC with an additional $400 of upgrades over the years. It still sounds good to my ears, but compared to the others I mention, it sounded like crap except for the nice wide and transparent sound stage that it has.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  25. #25
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
    Posts
    3,271
    That's cool, Ravin. Others who had the iFI in several shootouts with much costlier DACs disagree with you. And the way DAC technology is moving and changing on a weekly basis, I would never spend that much on a DAC until it settles down. And once it does , I'd probably go for the AMR DAC , they're the parent company of IFI.....but To each his own.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •