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Cary Audio Design Superior Quality and Value

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  #1  
Old 10-17-2018, 10:27 AM
decooney decooney is offline
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Default which DAC and why?

What DAC are you happily running with your Cary Audio / AES / Inspire gear?

Considerations:
Looking to replace mine. Note: I already have a tube preamp. Possibly moving to something with dual DACs, maybe something that can run DSD. Not really looking for bluetooth or preamp functions. A Dedicated DAC is preferred. Maybe the new Pro-Ject Box? SCHIIT? Audio Alchemy? or used Benchmark? Wyred 4 Sound?

..maybe 32-bit, ESS dual DACs, not sure. Probably in the $1000 to $1500 max range would be nice. Any thoughts, ideas... or are you excited about a particular unit by chance, a good value DAC you jumped to recently, maybe? Thanks in advance for your replies. Majority of the time I'll likely use it for streaming more than laptop or CDs, but hopefully for some improvement with streaming on Spotify Hi-fi or Tidal for now.




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Last edited by decooney; 01-08-2019 at 09:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2018, 05:24 PM
FloridaBoy FloridaBoy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decooney View Post
What DAC are you happily running with your Cary Audio / AES / Inspire gear?

Considerations:
Looking to replace mine. Note: I already have a tube preamp. Possibly moving to something with dual DACs, maybe something that can run DSD. Not really looking for bluetooth or preamp functions. A Dedicated DAC is preferred. Maybe the new Pro-Ject Box? SCHIIT? Audio Alchemy? or used Benchmark? Wyred 4 Sound?

..maybe 32-bit, ESS dual DACs, not sure. Probably in the $1000 to $1500 max range would be nice. Any thoughts, ideas... or are you excited about a particular unit by chance, a good value DAC you jumped to recently, maybe? Thanks in advance for your replies. Majority of the time I'll likely use it for streaming more than laptop or CDs, but hopefully for some improvement with streaming on Spotify Hi-fi or Tidal for now.
.
The offerings from MHDT Labs are well regarded. I use a NOS Havana DAC. Very analog sounding IMHO. I've had it for 8-9 years and still like it. They use a 2C51/5670 tube and are capacitor coupled.

Last edited by FloridaBoy; 10-17-2018 at 05:37 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2018, 07:28 PM
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Right now I'm running a newly released iFi iDSD Pro, it's displaced my prior reference DAC the Auralic Vega. I thought the Vega was a world-beater even at it's full $3500 retail price. And now the iDSD Pro is handily besting it at a price of $1k less, $2500.

I think what I like about the iFi gear is that it generally sounds closer to vinyl than other DACs I've heard. Having a really nice tubed output stage using 2c51 tubes probably helps. I also really like being able to choose between NOS, and various oversampling options (there's several available). I find I tend to go for NOS with music and oversampling for movies.
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Old 10-17-2018, 09:39 PM
decooney decooney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
The offerings from MHDT Labs are well regarded. I use a NOS Havana DAC. Very analog sounding IMHO. I've had it for 8-9 years and still like it. They use a 2C51/5670 tube and are capacitor coupled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson View Post
Right now I'm running a newly released iFi iDSD Pro, it's displaced my prior reference DAC the Auralic Vega. I thought the Vega was a world-beater even at it's full $3500 retail price. And now the iDSD Pro is handily besting it at a price of $1k less, $2500.

I think what I like about the iFi gear is that it generally sounds closer to vinyl than other DACs I've heard. Having a really nice tubed output stage using 2c51 tubes probably helps. I also really like being able to choose between NOS, and various oversampling options (there's several available). I find I tend to go for NOS with music and oversampling for movies.
Nice. I have not tried a good tubed DAC yet. I have a lot of research to do I guess. The more I look, more there is, amazing. Good grief, a LOT more DACs out there than I imagined. Have not looked much the past five years.

Have either of you heard or demo'd a Benchmark DAC or compared to either of your MHDT or iFi DACs before?

Last edited by decooney; 10-17-2018 at 09:50 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2018, 10:22 PM
Leew Leew is offline
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Using the Oppo Sonica

https://www.oppodigital.com/sonica-dac/
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  #6  
Old 10-17-2018, 10:55 PM
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Leew... Welcome to AA!
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  #7  
Old 10-17-2018, 11:07 PM
decooney decooney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leew View Post
Leew,
Thanks. Did Oppo give any indication how much longer they will be open to support the unit or firmware upgrades? I was surprised to see the unit is still listed for sale after they announced they will be closing their doors after 14 years.
Selling off remaining stock -OR- still in manufacturing of the Sonica-DAC?
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2018, 05:25 AM
FloridaBoy FloridaBoy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decooney View Post
Nice. I have not tried a good tubed DAC yet. I have a lot of research to do I guess. The more I look, more there is, amazing. Good grief, a LOT more DACs out there than I imagined. Have not looked much the past five years.

Have either of you heard or demo'd a Benchmark DAC or compared to either of your MHDT or iFi DACs before?
I've not heard the iFi or Benchmark DAC. There are a lot of DAC offerings and, IMHO, digital is a slippery slope. *I* never warmed up to upsampling/oversampling digital devices. They just did not sound 'right' to me. What do you not like about you current DAC?
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:44 AM
decooney decooney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
I've not heard the iFi or Benchmark DAC. There are a lot of DAC offerings and, IMHO, digital is a slippery slope. *I* never warmed up to upsampling/oversampling digital devices. They just did not sound 'right' to me. What do you not like about you current DAC?
My existing DAC is a 2013 design, sounds pretty nice. I do like it, but the've come out with newer versions of the same DAC adding more noise with bluetooth and headphone amps included. The newer version is probably not for me. It's a mid grade DAC at best. I'm consolidating my systems for a while, and not having owned a really nice high-end dedicated DAC before, I'd simply like to try one. Not much to demo around my area in the way of DACs. Prefer not to do the whole buy/try/return thing. Hope to narrow it down a bit through referrals from folks here and elsewhere, Thanks!
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2018, 09:43 PM
Leew Leew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decooney View Post
Leew,
Thanks. Did Oppo give any indication how much longer they will be open to support the unit or firmware upgrades? I was surprised to see the unit is still listed for sale after they announced they will be closing their doors after 14 years.
Selling off remaining stock -OR- still in manufacturing of the Sonica-DAC?
I don't know, I bought the dac when they first came out.
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