DAC to the Future

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TheMarlin
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by TheMarlin »

My office setup is a pair of Adam Audio T5V monitors, and a Topping D70-Vqelvet connected to my gaming PC, and Tidal.
I can air Airplay to the DAC from my phone for other sources.
Sounds great.
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Fretless (Mon Jan 01, 2024 12:25 pm) • slinger (Mon Jan 01, 2024 2:25 pm)
Modded Belles A150 MK2, P90SA, & NVA SSP cables, and LS5.
Leak Stereo 20 & First Audio Classic Copper V2
Modded Lenco GL75 with Saturn arm, heavy custom plinth. Nagaoka MP500.
Nottingham Audio Hyperspace + heavy kit, + Origin Live Conqueror + Koetsu Black
Tom Evans Micro Grove MK2 MC phono
Bluesound Node2i (x2) both with latest power upgrades.
Topping D90MQA and Topping D90SE
Audiolab 6000 CDT transport.
All NVA cables

TheMarlin
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by TheMarlin »

I’m all in on Topping DACs at the moment.

I have two D90 DACS, and the E70 Velvet (D70 was a typo).

I would like to compare the D90 to something else. I feel the D90 is very detailed, but somehow light and airy. Other DACS I’ve had in the past have felt meatier in the middle
Modded Belles A150 MK2, P90SA, & NVA SSP cables, and LS5.
Leak Stereo 20 & First Audio Classic Copper V2
Modded Lenco GL75 with Saturn arm, heavy custom plinth. Nagaoka MP500.
Nottingham Audio Hyperspace + heavy kit, + Origin Live Conqueror + Koetsu Black
Tom Evans Micro Grove MK2 MC phono
Bluesound Node2i (x2) both with latest power upgrades.
Topping D90MQA and Topping D90SE
Audiolab 6000 CDT transport.
All NVA cables

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Fretless
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by Fretless »

Still at Death's door - but it hasn't opened yet. So to distract myself here's some thoughts on the SMSL M300se.

Image

In a desktop setting, feeding a headphone amp and speakers in nearfield mode, this DAC is a delight! A lovely refined sound with no glare or nasties. Somehow I am reminded of the elegant character of the MF M1DAC, but now with more definition.

The litttle M300se is a very detailed and revealing unit - and I mean that in a good way - it's one of those that digs further into the mix with a delicacy and airiness that just lets you hear more of what is going on. Currently I have 'Wind & Wuthering' from Genesis running on headphones. I don't know how many times I've heard this but it's a record I grew up with. The diminutive SMSL is revealing detail and spaces in the recording that have never been audible to me before. Those familiar with this hoary old classic will know that the sound can be very dense and impenetrable in places but the M300se cuts through that and does it with grace.

I have tried the M300se's own headphone output and it gives a solid, clear sound - although I had the feeling that it was struggling to drive my 300 Ohm German Maestro GMP450. Plugging them back into the dedicated THX amp got them shining again. The fact that the M300se has fully balanced XLR output and preamp mode means that you can couple it directly with a power amp and I suspect the results could be suprising.

The other line-out 3.5mm jack running tiny Douk mono amps and Mission 760's is also capable of both power and refinement with deep bass, rounded middles and detailed highs. Overall a nice, wide soundstage with pinpoint imaging and a thoroughly rewarding sound.

And all that for the pocket-money price of €100.

Maybe somebody up there likes me. :angelic-green:
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TheMarlin (Thu Jan 04, 2024 11:25 pm) • Grumpytim (Fri Jan 05, 2024 8:44 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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slinger
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by slinger »

I still have a lot of love for SMSL. I've had several of their el-cheapo DACs, and they all punched above their weight. I also still run an SMSL Q5 Pro DAC/Amp for my PC sound with an old pair of Celestion DL4 s2 speakers and a cute little 6" Eltax sub to bolster the bottom end, both for gaming and for the odd bit of music. I was lucky, and cottoned on to it before most people had even heard of it, purely by luck, and before the prices started going up and up and up. At the time it was an incredible budget bit of kit. Shenzen Audio still sell them I believe, but they're in the three-figure bracket now, which, to be honest, they're probably still worth, but there's much newer stuff out there commanding people's interest. ...eh, Fret? :lol:
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Fretless (Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:44 pm) • TheMarlin (Thu Jan 04, 2024 11:25 pm) • Grumpytim (Fri Jan 05, 2024 8:44 am)
Amps - NVA P50, AP30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

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George Hincapie
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by George Hincapie »

Fretless wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:13 pm Still at Death's door - but it hasn't opened yet. So to distract myself here's some thoughts on the SMSL M300se.

Image

In a desktop setting, feeding a headphone amp and speakers in nearfield mode, this DAC is a delight! A lovely refined sound with no glare or nasties. Somehow I am reminded of the elegant character of the MF M1DAC, but now with more definition.

The litttle M300se is a very detailed and revealing unit - and I mean that in a good way - it's one of those that digs further into the mix with a delicacy and airiness that just lets you hear more of what is going on. Currently I have 'Wind & Wuthering' from Genesis running on headphones. I don't know how many times I've heard this but it's a record I grew up with. The diminutive SMSL is revealing detail and spaces in the recording that have never been audible to me before. Those familiar with this hoary old classic will know that the sound can be very dense and impenetrable in places but the M300se cuts through that and does it with grace.

I have tried the M300se's own headphone output and it gives a solid, clear sound - although I had the feeling that it was struggling to drive my 300 Ohm German Maestro GMP450. Plugging them back into the dedicated THX amp got them shining again. The fact that the M300se has fully balanced XLR output and preamp mode means that you can couple it directly with a power amp and I suspect the results could be suprising.

The other line-out 3.5mm jack running tiny Douk mono amps and Mission 760's is also capable of both power and refinement with deep bass, rounded middles and detailed highs. Overall a nice, wide soundstage with pinpoint imaging and a thoroughly rewarding sound.

And all that for the pocket-money price of €100.

Maybe somebody up there likes me. :angelic-green:
Someone down here likes you too mate. Happy New Year.
These users thanked the author George Hincapie for the post (total 2):
slinger (Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:47 am) • Fretless (Sun Jan 07, 2024 8:05 am)
Headphone Amplification
Linear Tube Audio MZ3

Headphones
HifiMan Sundara • HiFiMan Arya Stealth Edition • ZMF Vérité Closed Ltd (Stabilised) • ZMF Atrium Open Ltd (Hawaiian Koa) • ZMF Aeolus Ltd (Mexican Bocote)

Digital
Audial S5 • Pi2AES 2.0

Cables
Forza Audio Works • Blue Jeans • DH Labs • Periapt

Power
Farad • Tomanek

Sources
Roon • Tidal • Qobuz

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Fretless
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by Fretless »

And to you GH, stay healthy and happy.

:dance: :guiness;
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George Hincapie (Thu Jan 11, 2024 2:55 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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CN211276
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Re: DAC to the Future

Unread post by CN211276 »

After six years of good service my Qutest had a problem. It has now been fixed by Chord and is as good as new.

When a system suddenly stops working the issue is identifying the component responsible. In this case I got it wrong, adding to they timescale. I suspected the Mscaler and when I removed it, plugging the streamer directly into the Qutest, music played. I phoned Audio T who said they would test it before returning to Chord for repair. I waited in the shop during the testing which went on for a while. The only seating was in front of a Naim system playing Radio Paradise. It was not a pleasant experience so I went for a walk. On my return they said they could not find a fault with the Mscaler but needed further time to carry out more tests. Days later they phoned me back to say the Mscaler was working perfectly and pointed the finger at the Qutest which I brought in when collecting the Mscaler. Days later they phoned to say that the problem was with the dual BNC input of the Qutest. This explains why I was able to play music through the USB input. The Qutest was sent to Chord for repair. It was with them for a few weeks coinciding with my month stay in Kenya. Before departing I was informed that the cost would be at the lower end of the estimate. It came to £75 comprising labour and postage with no new parts. I am speculating as to what caused the problem suspecting that something nasty could have been picked up through the Sky dish. Audio T think this might have been the cause. Earlier in the day the system had played music. It was only when I switched to the optical TV input on the Mscaler that nothing came out of the speakers, whatever the input on the Mscaler. I have now removed the optical cable and the system will play music only.

When J was without the Qutest, before the holiday I substituted it with the Mojo 2 from the second system. I was surprised by how well it compared to the Qutest minus Mscaler. There was hardly any difference, only a slight harshness which could have been rectified had I spent time fiddling with the multiple filter settings. I could not be bothered as I would not be home much longer and it was optimised for the second system. The Mojo 2 is a third of the price of the Qutest and has multiple features including two head phone outputs and battery operation. It shows how much affordable DAC technology has come on in recent years. The huge scoring point with the Qutest is the dual BNC input enabling maximum upsampling with the Mscaler. It totally transforms the Qutest. Am really enjoying the upscaled main system again after a long break. A double win as the rains started in Kenya just after I left. :grin:







,
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Fretless (Mon Mar 25, 2024 10:23 am)
Main System
NVA BMU, P90SA/A80s (latest spec), Cube 1s, TIS, TISC(LS7)
Sonore OpticalRendu, Chord Mscaler & Qutest, Sbooster PSs
Network Acoustics Eno, ifi iPurifier3, AQ JB FMJ, Cisco 2940 & 2960
DH Labs ethernet, BNC & USB cables, Lindy cat 6 US ethernet cable

Second System
NVA P20/ A20, Cubettes, LS3, SSP, SC
Sonore MicroRendu, Chord Mojo 2 MCRU PSs, AQ Carbon USB cable & JB FMJ

Headphones
Grado SR325e/Chord Mojo, Beyerdynamic Avetho/AQ DF Colbat

RIP Doc

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