What Makes DACs Sound Different? By David Snyder

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    • #12693
      Larry Deniston

      Check out this interesting read (attached pdf) by David with fascinating measured results that can help explain the sonic differences between DACs.

      (More amazing to me than the results is this is something that David did over a weekend, charts, graphs and analysis! I’m lucky to get my laundry done in a weekend 🙂 – Larry)

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    • #12898

      The adventure continues with more DACs on the way. On the bench next is the amazing Gustard X16. Not a well-known brand name, but Gustard has been upping their game over the last couple of years and, in the X16, have created a DAC for under $500 with objective performance that matches or exceeds just about any DAC available today. In our next session, I’d like to explain how running a 2nd playback system can facilitate discovery of amazing gear like this.

    • #12989

      I’m going to jump into this thread because I’m in the hunt for a USB DAC. I’ve read David’s “treatise” with interest and, somewhat embarrassingly, I have to confess I don’t understand much of it; it’s just too technical for me. Nevertheless, I was much interested in the S.M.S.L. Sanskrit reviewed because it had a price which made more sense for what I am looking for and other reviews were very good.

      I very much wish there were similar measurements to review on a couple of other DACs which caught my interest, for example, one reviewed by Hans Beekhuysen, The Allo Revolution. I tend to set some store by his reviews and other reviewers liked the DAC too. But of course he didn’t review another DAC of interest, the Schiit Modius. Im sure there might be others, but that’s as far as my research has taken me so far. They All sound/read of interest and I don’t know how to choose among them short of buying and trying which is a costly effort because it involves return postage and at least in the case of Schiit, a restocking fee. It’d be great to get some feedback on these and I’ll hope that someone has personal experience with them. Or can suggest others.

      I should clarify by mentioning what I’m looking for. My husband’s computer died and he bought a used Dell, adding only a 1tb SSD and the latest version of Windows 10 Pro. The relatively pricey Acer Xonar Essence II sound card from his old computer couldn’t be transferred so I want to upgrade from a sound card to an external DAC. The music would be powered by a Meridian 551 integrated amp and Spendor S3/5 mini-monitor speakers and that combination sounds very nice. My husband has neither interest nor ear for audio, but since his computer is Roon capable and in a room where I spend a good deal of time, I’d like the DAC to have better than entry level audio, with no digital edge. My husband has agreed to pay $200, but I’m willing to subsidize something better if it makes sense to do so. IOW, if something more expensive shows up on the radar that would be a real shame to pass on. I don’t want to pay more than $400, $500 at most.

    • #13045

      Janet – I’ve attempted to send you a message with some suggestions. Please let me know if you saw it. It would be on this site.

      • #13050

        Much looking forward to reading your message to me, but after searching everywhere on the website, I’m unable to find it. I wish there would be an option to exchange private messages.

    • #13053

      Hi Jan,

      That should be available by clicking on your screen name in the upper right corner and selecting Messages from the dropdown list. Hope this helps,
      Oliver Barrett

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