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  1. #26
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    Did you ever get the Firestone? I'm thinking about a second DAC to run off a USB connection.
    Is this directed to me? if so yes indeed, as it says in my signature. I'm pleased with it, although I haven't an ear for high end audio yet (haven't had the opportunity to extensively audition multiple high end systems-although i've heard a few), but it's far far above anything i've ever owned. It uses Burr-Brown DACs, not sure exactly which ones but get back to me if you want to know.

  2. #27
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    as it says in my signature.
    ah...details, details.

    Just curious if you were happy with it. Do you know what kind of bit rates it accepts? The whole NIN release got me thinking about my future system (there's always one in the future). I'm upgrading my old laptop/music server to USB 2.0, with a CardBus adaptor so I can copy to and from my external music archive faster, USB1.1 is showing it's age. That got me thinking about high res audio potential. USB1.1 wont support above 16bit, 44.1kHz. A USB DAC would simplify my system.

  3. #28
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I've got it here:
    PMC2702 (Burr Brown I believe), 16-bit 44.1Khz/48Khz sampling rates
    DC amp coupling capacitor less
    Independent regulators for analogue & digital circuits
    10hz-25Khz; -1dB at 600 ohms loading. low noise -99dB(A)
    LPF OP amplifier exchangeable (default is OPA2604)
    External power supply 110-220v.

    That's pretty much it. As far as bit rates go, it says 16 bit. It handles all the file types I throw at it. I'm not too sure what NIN is.
    So far i'm happy with it

  4. #29
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Thanks, AA. I've been doing a little more reading to avoid doing things I should be doing. It looks like most USB DACs have a chip that handles the USB in put and then hands the signal off to the DAC chip. The first chip seems to ubiquitously be limited to 48kHz maximum. So a lot of DACs that have both USB and Coax/Optical inputs can handle higher sampling rates like 96kHz form the Coax/Optical inputs, but they won't receive it from a USB input.

    (The NIN files were High res audio files in 24bit/96kHz)

  5. #30
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff

    (The NIN files were High res audio files in 24bit/96kHz)
    ah I see. Might not cut it then. Good luck and tell us what you come up with

  6. #31
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    My dealer reccomended the beresford dac to me..it retails around 200. From what I hear it is truly amazing, he himself uses the dac on a sony 300 disc player and says it compares with cdps over 1000. Best thing is that he does not carry the unit so

  7. #32
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    I know he wasn t reccomending it for his own profit. Has anyone heard of the beresford dac? It gets great press, from what I hear the dac look cheap, comes with no frills, but is packed with all the goodies. IMO id rather have the money go into the performance rather than the cosmetics.

  8. #33
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    I snooped around some forums and checked the 'manufacturer's' site for the Beresford TC-7510.

    While I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with the DAC (it's probably decent for the price) I'm a bit concerned that the manufactures site offers no tech details. Details that most other DAC sellers are happy to supply.

    Also, across many forums, the threads have a whiff of spam marketing about them. They all start off with a new poster putting up a glowing review. I'm concerned that the good press may be mostly stealth marketing.

    A representative thread here http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=887965

    In post #19, there's evidence presented that the Beresford is simply a 'rebranded' Taiwanese DAC. There's a TC-7510 offered by Technolink.

    Again, nothing wrong with a Taiwanese DAC. The Firestone Fubar is Taiwanese, e.g. and gets excellent comments.
    I'm just suspicious at the degree of perceived honesty from Beresford.

    Most reviews of the DAC are still positive.

  9. #34
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    I also found another entrant into the Budget USB DAC category.

    The Musiland LILO on 'sale' for $99


    The downside (for me) is that this DAC needs drivers installed on the PC and are not available for the Mac OS, that I can tell.

    Other than that, looks like a contender.

  10. #35
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    The lilo doesn't have proper phono outputs though..

  11. #36
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    More like a sound card

    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    I also found another entrant into the Budget USB DAC category.

    The Musiland LILO on 'sale' for $99


    The downside (for me) is that this DAC needs drivers installed on the PC and are not available for the Mac OS, that I can tell.

    Other than that, looks like a contender.
    Given DSP capability and need for drivers, the LILO is really an external sound card, i.e. more than just a DAC. In that regard it's like my M-Audio Audiophile USB.

    Having its own drivers isn't entirely a bad thing in that proprietary drivers can be designed to by-pass dubious O/S "audio stack" components, e.g. WinXP's notorious KMixer. So in case of my M-Audio, I specify the ASIO driver in my player, (Foobar2000).

  12. #37
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Iíve had a Musiland MD10 for about a week now. Itís a slick little device. It has all the inputs including USB, and has several setup options that are pretty easy to figure out. It even has a clear manual IN ENGLISH (surprise!). As mentioned earlier in this thread I have another Chinese DAC, the Zhaolu D2.5. Iíve been impressed with the apparently build quality and appearance of both. The Zhaulo was supposed to be put into my home system, but never made it out of my office where it was shipped to. The MD10 was installed and functional in minutes (your mileage may vary). An odd thing about the MD10 is that it doesnít have a line out RCA. Volume adjustment is straight forward. But, I find it difficult to figure out what sounds best if I canít get the volumes normalized.

    After a week of use, Iím happy with it. Youíre free to take my impressions with a grain of salt, but I think the MD-10 gives a slight smooth sound that I prefer. Iíve never been happy having my receiver doing the digital decoding as it always sounded a bit brittle and edgy. There seems to be a slight de-emphasis of the highs and/or rounder lows on the MD10. But not an unpleasing one. And this is relative to my previous arrangement so as far as Iíve corrected a problem Iím happy. Iím mostly thinking this is the sound Iím after, something neutral.

    I listened to Al Di Meola et al: Friday Night in San Francisco (Digital remaster) as the first go via USB and it sounded great. Dynamic and crisp. Currently, Iím listening to Wynton Marselis: From the Plantation to the Penitentiary. Vocals, Brass, Piano all good and natural sounding.

    My summation is that this is a good purchase and another solid contender in the sub-$400 DAC category. I purchased from Pacific Valve and Electric (http://www.pacificvalve.us/SolidStateDacs.html). The musiland is also offered by www.ifiaudio for about the same (I got the Zhaulo from iFi and had good experiences with both). Musiland and Diyeden are the same company I believe and if one only wanted a USB DAC (no coax or optical) the Diyeden SVDAC05 is, from what I gather, essentially the same and $100 less. The blue screen is a little bright but I keep my DAC in a cabinet under my gear...


    My motivating factor for this purchase was primarily to give my setup some flexibility and stability to the info chain and to allow me to add another stereo to my Ďnetworkí. My old laptop canít always deliver on the wireless network. I recently upgraded it from USB1.1 to USB2.0 with a Cardbus adaptor. Iím cooking with bitstreams now.

    My previous path was
    HD>USB1.1>Laptop iTunes>Airport Express Base station>Mini-optical>Receiver

    Now itís
    HD>USB2.0>Laptop iTunes>USB2.0>Musiland DAC>RCA analog>Receiver

    Iím now free to move the AE Base station to another location in the house and run a second stereo off iTunes from any wireless laptop. Next projectÖ

  13. #38
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Given DSP capability and need for drivers, the LILO is really an external sound card, i.e. more than just a DAC. In that regard it's like my M-Audio Audiophile USB.

    Having its own drivers isn't entirely a bad thing in that proprietary drivers can be designed to by-pass dubious O/S "audio stack" components, e.g. WinXP's notorious KMixer. So in case of my M-Audio, I specify the ASIO driver in my player, (Foobar2000).
    Yeah, I wasn't bashing drivers per say. It's just unfortunate that those niche products that require drivers seldom make drivers for the Mac OS platform. The downside is that being the all Mac guy that I am, I can't use the LILO.

  14. #39
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    You can get a new MSB Link III DAC for less than $300 including shipping. It is a good unit and as mentioned it is upgradeable to an even better sounding unit as your budget allows.

    http://www.sound4sale.com/products/homeProducts.php

  15. #40
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Unlike a CD player the DAC has no moving parts, one can reasonably expect a 15 year life or more. Think cost per year, think used.

    With a good DAC the cost of a transport becomes more or less irrelevant, even $99 CD players show a zero bit error rate and good DACs have a jitter removal topology. I think jitter removal is very important many of the cheaper DACs skip this step forcing you to buy better and more expensive players/transports.

    The Levinson No36 DAC was the box that forced people to re-consider the ability of CDs to deliver good sound. A used No36 runs $1,000. Yes this is well outside the budget, but the product was considered a tour de force at the time. My No.36 sounded so good that I ended up buying a 360S for far more money.

    Anyway I am a firm believer in an outboard DAC, I've convinced a few people to do this, none have regretted the cost.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
    Olive Musica/transport and server
    Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
    Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
    Cardas Golden Presence IC
    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  16. #41
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Here is something new....to me at least.

    Nuforce Icon at $249 looks very attractive with headphone inputs and speaker outputs (12 watts). I

    http://www.nuforce-icon.com/Product-Icon.htm
    No info on what DAC chip is used for this unit.
    Any thoughts?

    J

  17. #42
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    Cheap DACs

    Actually, there's a lot of choice among sub $400 DACs: some are excellent. The Cambridge Audio DAC Magic is about on that mark and is getting great reviews. It has coax, optical and USB input, as well as RCA and balanced outputs.

    There's the tiny little DAC in a box or the even smaller Devilsound DAC in a USB cable.

    It's hard to find reviews of these low end DACs, but I've personally used the Super Pro 24 bit DAC which I thought was great value. My favourite and still in use bargain DAC is definitely the USB KingRex UD-01 which at first just seems to be A. N. Other little box DAC, until you replace the stock off-board switch mode power supply with a proper 12V regulated power supply like KingRex' PSU. This combo sounds better to me than anything I've heard under $800, never mind $400.

    You might also look at the well regarded Keces DACs on eBay: there appear to be lots of happy customers according to their feedback.

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