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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    May 2007
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    Vancouver
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    24

    What outboard DAC do you use with Squeezebox?

    I'm currently feeding my Linn Unidisk SC a steady stream of flac files via toslink, and it works fine. The performance is - to my ears - on par with playing the original disks in the Unidisk. As an aside, a second squeezebox feeds an analog signal to an older Rotel/B&W set-up in the kitchen/dining room, and that works fine too.

    Seeing all the recent reviews of DAC's with asymmetric (apodizing) filters - like Ayre and Meridian - and hearing the new Linn DS units makes me think there's still potential room for improvement.

    So, as a poll, what kind of outboard DAC do you use with your squeezeboxes?

    Secondly, has anyone switched from 'my' setup to something else, and had an increase in performance? If so, what did you try?

    Thanks,
    JBC

  2. #2
    Senior Member sleepysurf's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    Tampa, FL
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    305
    Currently using a Benchmark DAC into my Modwright pre. I'm quite happy with it, but would love to demo the Berkeley Audio DAC or Weiss DAC2/Minerva just for kicks.
    Main system: Touch > Bel Canto DAC 3.5VB > Conrad-Johnson CT-5 preamp and Premier 350 amp > ML Expression 13A's. Audience AU24e cables. Secondary systems elsewhere in home: 1- Boom, 2- SB3's, and 2- SB Radio's. Member of the Suncoast Audiophile Society

  3. #3
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    Northern NJ, USA
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    2,675
    I have a Transporter, 2 Squeezebox Classics and one Squeezebox Receiver.

    The Transporter uses the internal DAC

    One Squeezebox Classic uses the internal DAC of my Marantz home theater receiver and sounds great.

    The other Squeezebox Classic and the Squeezebox Receiver use the internal DACs in my two Headroom Desktop amps. One of these Headroom Desktop amps has Headrom's "Max" DAC in it and the other has the plain vanilla Desktop DAC in it. Both setups sound very nice.

    I'm looking forward to picking up a Touch once they are finally released since all of my external DACs (the Marantz and both Headroom units) will work with a 24bit/96kHz digital input.
    Living Rm: Transporter-SimAudio pre/power amps-Vandersteen 3A Sign. & sub
    Home Theater: Touch-Marantz HTR-Energy Veritas 2.1 & Linn sub
    Computer Rm: Touch-Headroom Desktop w/DAC-Aragon amp-Energy Veritas 2.1 & Energy sub
    Bedroom: Touch-HR Desktop w/DAC-Audio Refinement amp-Energy Veritas 2.0
    Guest Rm: Duet-Sony soundbar
    Garage: SB3-JVC compact system
    Controls: iPeng; SB Controller; Moose & Muso
    Server: LMS 7.9 on dedicated windows 10 computer w/2 Drobos
    Last.fm

  4. #4
    Senior Member Themis's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Location
    Montpellier, France
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    920
    Northstar192, Caiman or the Denon's 3808 internal dac. Depending on my mood.
    Caiman most of the time these days.

    All good (or recent) dacs sound quite similar, to be honest.
    SBT - North Star dac 192 - Croft 25Pre and Series 7 power - Sonus Faber Grand Piano Domus

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    May 2007
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    Vancouver
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    24
    Thanks for the replies.

    So far, the two 'DAC's' that I've heard that I've been impressed with are the Linn DS units (not cheap!) and the Ayre C5Xe-MP. Maybe there isn't a cheaper way to get equivalent sound.

    Thanks,
    JBC

  6. #6
    Senior Member Themis's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Location
    Montpellier, France
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    920
    Quote Originally Posted by jbc View Post
    Maybe there isn't a cheaper way to get equivalent sound.
    Plenty imho. I advice you not to spend more than 300$ on a recent, new dac.
    Also, don't buy a second-hand dac that was made before year 2000, except if you know what you're doing.
    SBT - North Star dac 192 - Croft 25Pre and Series 7 power - Sonus Faber Grand Piano Domus

  7. #7
    Senior Member iPhone's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Location
    Atlanta
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    3,295

    To DAC or not to DAC, that is the question

    When using my Transporter, I use the internal DAC and the XLR Balanced outs.

    Most of my Squeezeboxes use their internal DACs.

    I feed an SB3 Toslink digital link to an Adcom GFR-700HD and it sound fairly good.

    I feed a Dodson DA-217 MK2-D Digital Processor from either an SB3 or my Transporter Coax S/PDIF. This is a killer combination and sounds terrific (bit of over kill in my opinion and would not do it if I didn't already own the Dodson DA-217 MK2-D Digital Processor). The Dodson is the DAC that I used with my Esoteric CD Transport which I no longer need and have sold.

    My only recommendation would be to use the Coax S/PDIF instead of the Toslink if you are looking for audio improvement.
    iPhone
    Media Room:
    ModWright Platinum Signature Transporter, VTL TL-6.5 Signature Pre-Amp, Ayre MX-R Mono's, VeraStarr 6.4SE 6-channel Amp, Vandersteen Speakers: Quatro Wood Mains, VCC-5 Reference Center, four VSM-1 Signatures, Video: Runco RS 900 CineWide AutoScope 2.35:1, Vandersteen V2W Subwoofer

    Living Room:
    Transporter, ADCOM GTP-870HD, Cinepro 3K6SE III Gold, Vandersteen Model 3A Signature, Two 2Wq subs, VCC-2, Two VSM-1

    Office: Touch with Vandersteen VSM-1s
    Kitchen: Touch in-wall mount w/ Thiel Powerpoint 1.2s
    Bedroom: Squeezebox BOOM
    Bathroom: Squeezebox Radio
    Around the House: SliMP3, SB1, SB2, SB3
    Ford Thunderbird: SB Touch, USB drive
    Ford Expedition: SB Touch, USB drive

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4
    I have the Weiss Minerva. A Media Smart server feeds 176k FLAC and WAV files to a Transporter via hardware, then from the Transporter to the Minerva over AES/EBU. The Minerva output is balanced analog. Best sound I have ever had.
    I can also use my OPPO as a transport sending digital to the Minerva.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ashmore's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kent, UK
    Posts
    115
    Another Caiman owner here and very pleased with it:

    Arcam A85, SB3, Beresford Caiman DAC, Van Damme LCOFC cable, PMC FB1+

    Simon

  10. #10
    I don't as I feed straight into active speakers with in-built dacs, but I do have a friend who's just bought a Caiman and he's over the moon with it.
    LP12, Rega Saturn, Mac/Edirol UA25 linked to Naim/Avondale amps & Shahinian Compasses & a SB Duet feeding a pair of AVI ADM9.1's.

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