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fast eddie
2009-08-08, 13:05
I am thinking of upgrading the CA DACMagic I am using with my SB3.

Any suggestions - not stupid expensive ones but up to maybe 750 max?

Quite happy to buy 2nd hand if I can get more for my money.

Thanks in advance,

Graham

dsdreamer
2009-08-08, 15:49
I don't know what it is you dislike about the DACMagic, but some candidates that you could consider are:

Musical Fidelity - V-DAC - a down-grade in terms of retail price, but not entirely out of the question in terms of absolute performance.

PS Audio Digital Link III DAC, sold in the US for $700 these days, used to be quite a bit more expensive. Supposed to be very easy on the ears, overcomes digital etch while remaining quite detailed.

Benchmark DAC1, if you don't care for USB or remote control, the basic version of this DAC is really pretty good, although very detailed and too analytic for some tastes. About US$1100, and not usually discounted at retail.

Lavry Engineering Black DA10 has a strong following and is supposed to be more musical than the Benchmark. Like the Benchmark, it US sourced pro-audio DAC aimed at studio monitoring. It goes for about $1150 in the US.


I am a happy user of the Benchmark DAC1, which I suspect is the most forward and analytical of the DACs I've mentioned here. Some have expressed that listening fatigue can be an issue with the Benchmark, depending on the rest of your system, room acoustics and personal taste. I understand that the PS Audio Digital Link III DAC is rather at the other end the spectrum, and is reputed to offer sweetness and warmth, instead of the straight-up, tell-it-how-I-see-it of the Benchmark.

Sorry that these answers may be less useful depending on what you can obtain in the UK.

dBerriff
2009-08-09, 05:00
Why not try upgrading the power supply first? Russ Andrews do one and a Google search should show up alternatives and forum discussions.

amcluesent
2009-08-09, 05:27
>Any suggestions<

Transporter? The SB3 will be a limit no matter what you fit it with.

dsdreamer
2009-08-09, 09:21
>Any suggestions<

Transporter? The SB3 will be a limit no matter what you fit it with.

He would need to find one the used market to meet his price target.

Also, I would think the only limitation of using an external DAC to improve the SB3 comes down to timing jitter (lower quality clock, and no way to get the said clock directly to the DAC).

The SB3 is rated to have intrinsic jitter of less than 50ps r.m.s., which is very good. So, if your external DAC measures well for jitter sidebands per the Miller Jitter Analyzer, and you have a competent piece of 75 Ohm coax, I don't see that you'd have any real weakness to speak of. Or am I oversimplifying things?

earwaxer
2009-08-09, 09:36
It has been my experience that it is important to focus on what is "wrong" with the sound you have and go from there.

If the audio is "uninvolved" it could be do to thinness or lack of tonal depth - sometimes referred to as timber. What I noticed when I went to a t-amp is that I got tonal depth - the notes seemed to be more "fleshed out" rather than an emphasis on the leading edge.

Some highly upsampled and oversampled dacs that are not done right seem thin in sound. Thats why some prefer the NOS (non oversampled) type of DAC. Thinness is probably also an issue of an inadequate power supply on the DAC.

Tubes add timber and depth (color) - many like that! - The Modwright transporter adds both tubes and a beefy power supply, along with other tweeks. Big bucks though! - almost $4K before you are done!

I have the unmodded Transporter - I really like it, but I have it mated to a t-amp and I have euphonic caps in my maggies to add some of that tube like sound. I am quite sure the Modwright would sound better! - Just cant spring for the upgrade right now.

If I were looking for a DAC upgrade and had the cash I would go for the Modwright and not look back. It is WAY more flexable that any other DAC out there and I highly doubt you could beat the sound for less than $5K.

check it out!

Khuli
2009-08-10, 01:40
Why not try upgrading the power supply first? Russ Andrews do one and a Google search should show up alternatives and forum discussions.

It's certainly cheaper than a DAC - although you would be going against Sean Adam's assertion that any sound improvement was purely imaginery!

Phil Leigh
2009-08-10, 11:07
It's certainly cheaper than a DAC - although you would be going against Sean Adam's assertion that any sound improvement was purely imaginery!

It's not just Sean' assertion. Nobody has yet managed to measure any difference in the s/pdif output with a different PSU of ANY kind...

earwaxer
2009-08-10, 13:30
Wow! - we could string out a infinite thread on that one! -

I was involved in heated discussions on a "computer audio" site over the claimed sound differences over various "high end" USB cables. I believe that there was and is a difference in USB cables. My point was that there shouldnt be, and it must be due to the leakyness and noisyness of the USB protocal at fault. Either electrical noise is being picked up and/or the transmission is not bit perfect.

As far as I know, there is no such issue over ethernet cable no matter the length. There is no market for a $500 "high end" ethernet cable, but you can easily spend several grand on a USB cable!

SuperQ
2009-08-10, 14:59
I was involved in heated discussions on a "computer audio" site over the claimed sound differences over various "high end" USB cables.

Yea, the computer audiophile site. That thread made me drop it from my list of trusted sites.

Of course there is no difference between USB cables besides the RF leaking/shielding you're talking about. Several people (including myself) brought up the actual USB protocol specifications to prove it. The "audiophiles" on the site dismissed what we said and I just decided it was better to ignore them.