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DAC's for monitoring purposes

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DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby beingmf3 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:45 pm

I've been hybrid (DAW > console) for the last 10 years, and recently discovered that I get stellar results with the same depth (and more colours of course) with Nebula ITB.
So the next logical approach would be a new DAC - as ruler flat and true to the source as possible. Budget is NOT unlimited :)
At the moment I am listening through Steinberg MR816, which I consider pretty good, also compared to various other converters, but I feel there must be something more "forward" on the market. Sub-1200$ if possible.

Benchmark is too coloured, Mytek too sharp, RME I hate, Apogee is a joke (maybe apart from the Mini, which I have never hard first-hand?).

So I narrowed it down to a Lavry DA10 or DA11, an Audient iD22, a used RTW Districon 1235 or one of those much-talked-about boards based on the TI PCM1798.
Just discovered the Marian SERAPH AD2 with its dedicated 32bit DA, I have no idea about that company though.

There's of course endless options on the HiFi sector, which I don't really trust, I don't know why :). That said, there's 2 devices I found interesting. 1 is another board based on the Wolfson WM8740, 2 is the AMC US24192 with a discrete analog audio path.

Does anyone have experience with one or more of these DAC's? Any input heavily appreciated!!! Happy easter!
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby david1103 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:43 pm

I have a Benchmark DAC1 I really like. You found it coloured? There is a new version out that is meant to be even better than the original version I have.

A close friend has the Lavry DA10 which he loves. It sounded good to me in his room.

People seem to like Prism, this is the least expensive which is an entire sound card too:

http://www.prismsound.com/music_recordi ... a_home.php

I think once you pay over about £500/$750 they are all a similar quality with tiny differences in sound.

There is so much bullshit in the 'audiofool' market it's hilarious! If I were you I would go to a dealer with a good listening room and get an a/b test on the new Benchmark DAC1/2 and the Lavry DA10/11.
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby Tim Petherick » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:14 pm

beingmf3 wrote:I've been hybrid (DAW > console) for the last 10 years, and recently discovered that I get stellar results with the same depth (and more colours of course) with Nebula ITB.
So the next logical approach would be a new DAC - as ruler flat and true to the source as possible. Budget is NOT unlimited :)
At the moment I am listening through Steinberg MR816, which I consider pretty good, also compared to various other converters, but I feel there must be something more "forward" on the market. Sub-1200$ if possible.

Benchmark is too coloured, Mytek too sharp, RME I hate, Apogee is a joke (maybe apart from the Mini, which I have never hard first-hand?).

So I narrowed it down to a Lavry DA10 or DA11, an Audient iD22, a used RTW Districon 1235 or one of those much-talked-about boards based on the TI PCM1798.
Just discovered the Marian SERAPH AD2 with its dedicated 32bit DA, I have no idea about that company though.

There's of course endless options on the HiFi sector, which I don't really trust, I don't know why :). That said, there's 2 devices I found interesting. 1 is another board based on the Wolfson WM8740, 2 is the AMC US24192 with a discrete analog audio path.

Does anyone have experience with one or more of these DAC's? Any input heavily appreciated!!! Happy easter!


Another thing to look at is what different converters do at specific sample rates. On loop back tests most of the converters I've tried seemed to sound best at 48khz, a couple cheap ones sounded better at 88.2. Loop backs were performed by missing the master bus on daw.
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby beingmf3 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:41 am

david1103 wrote:I have a Benchmark DAC1 I really like. You found it coloured? There is a new version out that is meant to be even better than the original version I have.

A close friend has the Lavry DA10 which he loves. It sounded good to me in his room.

People seem to like Prism, this is the least expensive which is an entire sound card too:

http://www.prismsound.com/music_recordi ... a_home.php

I think once you pay over about £500/$750 they are all a similar quality with tiny differences in sound.

There is so much bullshit in the 'audiofool' market it's hilarious! If I were you I would go to a dealer with a good listening room and get an a/b test on the new Benchmark DAC1/2 and the Lavry DA10/11.

Well, yes, a friend of mine has the (old) Benchmark in his vinyl mastering studio, it feeds the analog chain and the cutting lathe. It's really good for that purpose but I've found the low-mid/bass area too indistinct. Paired with my 10" Tannoys that combo would lead to 500Hz no man's land :D
I don't think the differences are tiny. Some DAC's present a whole different perception of depth, and the influence on a mix is not negligible, for me at least :)
But yes, I'll have a look at the Benchmark 2 and the Prism - thanks a lot!

Tim Petherick wrote:Another thing to look at is what different converters do at specific sample rates. On loop back tests most of the converters I've tried seemed to sound best at 48khz, a couple cheap ones sounded better at 88.2. Loop backs were performed by missing the master bus on daw.

So true! I almost forgot that fact. I work in 48 most of the time as well, that's pretty safe then it seems :) Any remarkable gear that you had tested and would recommend?
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby mightymosaic » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:45 am

http://www.antelopeaudio.com/en/product ... -and-clock

Antelope is doing some pretty amazing things these days at an amazing price point.
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby beingmf3 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:16 am

mightymosaic wrote:http://www.antelopeaudio.com/en/products/pure2-mastering-ad-da-converter-and-clock

Antelope is doing some pretty amazing things these days at an amazing price point.

Some 800€ too amazing for me at the moment :lol:
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby mightymosaic » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:23 am

beingmf3 wrote:
mightymosaic wrote:http://www.antelopeaudio.com/en/products/pure2-mastering-ad-da-converter-and-clock

Antelope is doing some pretty amazing things these days at an amazing price point.

Some 800€ too amazing for me at the moment :lol:


hahah yea its not the cheapest but considering its holding its own against 6000$ converters is something special if you can afford it.
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby beingmf3 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:09 am

mightymosaic wrote:hahah yea its not the cheapest but considering its holding its own against 6000$ converters is something special if you can afford it.

even if you can't!
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby tumburu » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:49 am

Love my DA10. Mastered a ton of tracks with it + Acustica stuff. No needing to upgrade here after 5 years of use. If you can have the 11 it also has USB, so no other interface is needed.
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Re: DAC's for monitoring purposes

Postby beingmf3 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:57 pm

I think I'll try the following: I'll order the Marian 32-bit card and see if I like it. If not I'll return it and get a Lavry DA10 instead. I read good things about it everywhere.

(and in the end maybe I'll stick with my Steiny DA, who knows :))

EDIT @tumburu: I would need another interface though, for reamping, synths, spring reverb, L*****n SPDIF etc., so USB is rather unnecessary over here
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