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i ended up grabbing an Adcom GDA-700. the price was dirt cheap, it has the outputs i wanted, and it has all the old tech and sound i’m familiar with. no regrets.  

Got the Brooklyn Bridge this afternoon.  Still have a ton to figure out, but just listening to HiRes via Qobuz on old Emotiva power monitors I would say it is a hell of a DAC.  Shilling will begin soo

dac1541 is going to be the giant killer. r2r,sign/magnitude, fully balanced, and dsd for a price that is less than half of a yggy  

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the Mytek Brooklyn plus I had did 24/192 and dsd without issue via usb 

 

also their MQA implementation is wacky, if you have it enabled it fucks with the sound of non-mqa tracks so you need to enable it to play mqa then disable it to play normal shit. 

 

I did get used to the rotary dial and push button menu to change settings after a couple of days. Great sounding device and I thought the phono pre was very good for an included extra and you'd have to spend $1k to better it.

Edited by jp11801
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On a Mac you should be able to do 24/192 (USB 2.0 Class 2). On Windows you can only do 24/96 (USB 2.0 Class 1) with the default driver. I agree with John about MQA, most of the time I have it disabled. I can do DSD 64 but I have nothing higher to test.

Edited by morphsci
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I have no problem with playing HiRes via USB, just trying to stream DSD from the NAS I get a weird message.  I am sure it is just a setting I have wrong.  

image.png.9c01a3797954007e4a671a7e3ec66ed6.png

Very good information on the MQA.  Never bother with Tidal these days so I will definitely turn that off.

Edited by VPI
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Jeff I used a self built Roon NUC that ran a modified version of Linux. I’m not very technical and was able to build out a fabless Roon nucleus knock off. It did take about 2 hours and a little patience. 

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I saw you reference that previously.  I have it running on the desktop now, streaming music from the NAS, as Roon was not stable running on the actual NAS.  Building something that is less likely to fight with Windows may be a good idea.  Roon sees 3-4 versions of the Mytek as potential devices (Mytek Wasapi/Asio, Brookly (sp) Bridge and one other).  Each version has different capabilities when it comes to HiRes, just need to pick the right one.

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Just be careful if you're looking to use Roon Rock as the OS, it's apparently not "certified" on some of the newer NUC's.  While it may be just testing is needed, some conspiracy-oriented folks think it may not install/run at all, and Roon is limiting it because they are selling their Nucleus servers and don't want to undercut them.

I have it on a core i5 NUC 7th gen and it's running just lovely.

KB article: https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_Optimized_Core_Kit

 

Edited by skullguise
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2 hours ago, VPI said:

I saw you reference that previously.  I have it running on the desktop now, streaming music from the NAS, as Roon was not stable running on the actual NAS.  Building something that is less likely to fight with Windows may be a good idea.  Roon sees 3-4 versions of the Mytek as potential devices (Mytek Wasapi/Asio, Brookly (sp) Bridge and one other).  Each version has different capabilities when it comes to HiRes, just need to pick the right one.

I did not realize you were running Roon on a NAS. I tried that earlier and that was what gave me my initial shitty opinion of Roon. I now run Roon Server on a dedicated Mac mini. Even though it does not have the dedicated, unbloated Roon OS, it has run perfectly for me. It is a fairly capable Mac

1785102131_Image6-19-20at12_04PM.png.2de55494accfdf9b35e9873245650889.png

and it is usually the only thing running on there, I really don't even run the "remote" app on there. If I am going to have a computer appliance that costs more than a couple of hundred dollars I would prefer it to be more than a single-use device. So until this starts having problems I am pretty happy.

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I have Roon on the workstation now, the music is on the NAS.  Works fine.  Turns out you have to pick the right Mytek to get either DSD or MQA to play from Roon.  Listening to Young Americans in 24/192 MQA at the moment on the bass monster Spirit Torinos.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like it a lot.  For the size and (relatively low) price, it performs quite admirably.

My current reference is a custom all-in-one unit using the Purifi amp modules (this is a new company started by the gent who created the Hypex and NCore designs).  The manufacturer of this custom unit - Mivera Audio - puts his own input buffers in front of the Purifi modules, and then adds a DAC and a lightning dock.  It uses an iPhone as a streamer/Roon endpoint, and has some of the best sound I've heard; the transparency is eerie at times.

The Brooklyn amp gets me a pretty high % of that sound, actually excavating deeper in the bass.  Compared to the Mivera, the transparency is a bit less, resulting in a slightly larger/bit more diffuse sound - the Mivera is just SO precise in image and instrument placement.  But this is a pretty close second place to that.  I also need to do some comparisons to a heavily-modded EVS dual-mono ICE-Edge amp, which is also right up there based on memory.

Tonally, no complaints, it seems very well-balanced.  The deep bass is not overdone, so it doesn't take over.  And the highs seem very extended and smooth without any glare (caveat: my age is getting up there, and my hearing above ~16kHz has been degrading over time).

So overall a very nice amp, really love the small form factor and how much is there for the size and price.

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Well the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital may just be the bargain DAC of the day. I certainly think it may be the least expensive DAC that uses two ESS9038Q2M Sabre DACs.

188632503_mMz1Hb6QgmrOkNB5vYe5Q.thumb.jpg.418b8506cd5d6a82add8b2f5c9b6b153.jpg

This gives you a good idea how small it is. That is a 7inch touchscreen.

Edited by morphsci
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Both the Topping D50s and the SMSL SU-8 are selling for $249.  which is about $150 cheaper than I found the Pro-Ject box on Audio Advisor ($399). 

If you want a Balanced DAC Schiit seems to have their's together and have come out with their Modius model at $199 that is using the AKM 4493. ASR put it in the middle of their top Tier of DAC measurements so it may be one of the best bang for the buck units around.

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12 hours ago, MrSlim said:

Both the Topping D50s and the SMSL SU-8 are selling for $249.  which is about $150 cheaper than I found the Pro-Ject box on Audio Advisor ($399). 

If you want a Balanced DAC Schiit seems to have their's together and have come out with their Modius model at $199 that is using the AKM 4493. ASR put it in the middle of their top Tier of DAC measurements so it may be one of the best bang for the buck units around.

The first two look interesting and they both use ESS Sabre chips so I know I like that sound (if properly utilized). The Schiit does not do DSD (as far as I can tell) which makes it non comparable since I am looking at affordable DACs that do native DSD.

Here is the Mytek on the iFi rack

NM0RDbecS9W6qn40kZ6kWQ.thumb.jpg.1103c787b3f644afba8659cbe1eda668.jpg

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So I decided to explore the Topping and SMSL offerings. First of all they are not exactly comparable to the Project as neither has a built-in headphone output. To get that you need their separate matching Headphone unit. For the Topping that will set you back $170 (Total $420) and for the SMSL that will cost $190 (Total $440). I actually decided to try the two matching SMSL units as the DAC (SU-8) has balanced outputs and the headphone amp (SH-8) has balanced inputs and a 4-pin balanced headphone output, which to me is worth more than the additional $20. So here they are:

462160999_doD8oPkuR9j5TWAkx3RYg.thumb.jpg.311e4c608c8de6c5f506ae0e57d96934.jpg 

Initial impressions are very good. At least as good as the Project, plus I can slip my GSX in when it returns from the manufacturer (Ahem ...). I'll probably stop here for a while since I now have a Dinny level of DACs and I need to decide on what I want to compare next. 

 

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with the new amp incoming i’m officially looking for a balanced DAC option...

but these brooklyns and lumas and such are overkill. given my old familiarity i think it’s better if i stay in my lane. anyone have a Parasound 1600, Adcom GDA 700, or some other vintage R2R piece with balanced outs sitting around collecting dust? if so, hit me up. 

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I know this will be very un-HC of me, but balanced DAC's have generally been more trouble than they are worth for me, especially when used with a balanced amp.  It really comes down to what headphones you are driving and how much voltage swing you need, how much gain your amp has, and what sort of attenuator you're working with. If you get a hot source, with a high gain amp (I know the GSX has a switch), and sensitive cans you may just drive yourself crazy (pun intended).  So careful what you wish/ask for and best of luck in your search. 

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I agree. Lately there have been many relatively affordable options for multibit. Denafrips or Soekris for R2R or maybe Schiit Bifrost 2. All of them are very solid.

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11 hours ago, n_maher said:

I know this will be very un-HC of me, but balanced DAC's have generally been more trouble than they are worth for me, especially when used with a balanced amp.  It really comes down to what headphones you are driving and how much voltage swing you need, how much gain your amp has, and what sort of attenuator you're working with. If you get a hot source, with a high gain amp (I know the GSX has a switch), and sensitive cans you may just drive yourself crazy (pun intended).  So careful what you wish/ask for and best of luck in your search. 

Nate is correct and I have experienced problems when using a source with a hot output. However, for me the balanced option has always been my choice because it well, gives you more options. If you have an amp/headphone combination that is being overdriven you can always switch to SE outputs because if a unit has balanced outputs/inputs then it will have SE but not necessarily the reverse. I also agree that modern R2R options may be the way to go as the vintage stuff does have that whole age thing going on which can make them more of a pain to maintain.The Denafrips that Sherwood linked to looks like a good option for 750 USD and change.

Edited by morphsci
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thanks for the advice, gents. the Bifrost 2 is my fall back option given it has everything i’d need plus the unique Unison USB (which would be interesting to compare against USB Gen 5). i would agree, Nate, that i’m not entirely convinced on balanced out as i’m not sure it will actually net sonic benefit? the path will be GS-X > Clear so not much power needed here.

i’m searching for vintage because these modern options appear less overbuilt as the 90’s, have chips i’m not familiar with (yes i know this is not always the major sound factor), and don’t seem quite as good value. it does seem that getting vintage R2R for screaming deals is a thing of the past but i still think something can be found for at least a few hundred less than the newer ones. 

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As Parasound was mentioned, and I was once a proponent owning five vintage models at the same time, thought I should mention I’ve recently gone back, not to 1600 or 2000, thus not balanced, but the single-ended, unmodified 1100. For whatever it’s worth overall it was kinda disappointing compared to modern options. Tone was still great, but separation and placement was not. 

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Ric - what newer options are you comparing against? Also still using an unmodified 1100 in the speaker rig. i can’t say i have issues with imaging or instrument location (this is with Pioneer M22 + Lowther DX65). soundstage could be a bit wider. 

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