DAC specifically for Redbook CD's

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Bigboi33, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

    Messages:
    1,346
    Very useful thread. Thanks to all. I was in the same boat as OP, using CDPs, primarily with the TDA1541 DAC. I was happier than OP however, because I liked the sound of my players. I wasn't looking for a DAC, didn't think it mattered.

    I saw an Adcom GDA-700 DAC at my local Goodwill, for the staggering price of $7. Perfect condition. The improvement was dramatic, far more than I expected. It took another quantum leap when I made a proper 75ohm cable. Far better than even a high-end IC, this is one case where a wire alone makes the proverbial "night and day" difference. My digital music is now sheer pleasure.

    $200 is common for this DAC (the earlier 600 is even less, and just as good, lacking only a feature or two you don't need). I think it's the "kind of sound" you'll like, judging from how you describe your preferences.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. SoNic67

    SoNic67 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    920
    Oh, I hate lucky people like you!
    Sure, I love my Parasound with PCM63K, but still... $7 for GDA-700?
     
  3. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

    Messages:
    1,346
    I know and I'm really really sorry. The worst thing is, it keeps happening! I can't make it stop! Even when I boycott thrift shops, I find stuff on the street! A couple of days ago I listed my current system on another thread, something about high-end on a budget — but I won't give you the link. You'd hate me so much you'll hunt me down and kill me!

    Or maybe you'd rather come over and hear some music...
     
  4. xero-D-hero

    xero-D-hero Super Member

    Messages:
    1,992
    The Adcom GDA-xxx are very comparable to the Parasound D/AC-xxxx I mentioned earlier.
    I was gonna mention those Adcoms in addition to the Parasound's but I guess I was in a hurry and forgot to do so.

    Point is there are some great deals out there for used high end/high SQ redbook DAC's.
    And if one is into modding these,even more can be gotten outta those units as well.

    FWIW

    Bret P.
     
  5. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Active Member

    Messages:
    234
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    I don't think it can be done for less $500.

    My recomendation is way over your budget but I have to recommend it, the Ayre Codex. IMO, Ayre's custom implented minimum phase apodizing filter does a spectacular job on red book. It's also a headphone amp and preamp but the dac is the best part. To sound it's best you want to run it balanced out if you can.
     
  6. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

    Messages:
    1,346
    True. If your priority is Redbook, a good DAC (Adcom, Parasound, et al) from that period is ideal. CD was reaching its pinnacle, before the newer formats took over. After that, CD was an afterthought: "Also plays CDs... barely."

    I'm a digi-gnoramus: the only DAC I know is my Adcom, so don't be swayed by me.

    But here is a real recommendation: I Hate Adcom! I had their preamp, preamp-tuner, a 100W stereo and 2 x 300W monos. I found "the house sound" harsh, even painful, and got rid of them fast. I also had their "system turn-on" box and hated that too.

    But I love the Adcom DAC.
     
    red 111 likes this.
  7. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Tubes do have different frequency response, so they are also EQ the signal albeit to change the EQ you need to pick a different set of tubes instead of moving the sliders but the results can be more rewarding as tubes also introduce subtle distortion and make sound more euphoric. Tube rolling is fun, or can be anyway.
     
  8. restorer-john

    restorer-john Super Member

    Messages:
    4,228
    Location:
    Australia
    Tubes are not 'just low pass filters'- they are mostly used after the LPF as buffers in DACs incorporating valves (tubes if you like)

    Jut because you don't 'get why people say they get fatigue with digital' isn't a reason to go down the badly beaten path of Single Bit vs Multibit architecture once again - it's utterly irrelevant in this case.

    The OP will chime in, but I think the 'glare' of digital in the mid/upper is what may cause the fatigue he is experiencing. It is likely perfect reproduction, but not a comfortable sound in the long term for him and his ears. I honestly think a tube buffer stage or a pleasantly distorting, tube, class A amp might just do the trick.
     
  9. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,183
    Location:
    Iowa
    Have listened with iPurifier in system for about a week now. It's a keeper. My digital system now beats the turntable, which hasn't been the case for some time now. Some credit to the new GD Dac, and some to the iPurifier. More analog sounding to me, which is to say it's just more like the real thing (live music) So for OP, might want to consider the IPurifier, it's right at your budget!
     
    SoNic67 likes this.
  10. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    While it's operation is quite different from its SPDIF cousin my recently acquired USB iPurifier also noticeably improved SQ, the highs are now less brittle and more smooth and overall the presentation is much more enjoable, I know this doesn't add much to the original topic but I just want to give iFi a credit.
     
  11. EyeGee

    EyeGee Big Ears

    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Northern California
    I find my tube buffer DAC does exactly that. Can we say the valve "rounds off" the sheer exactness of all those 1's and 0's?
     
  12. restorer-john

    restorer-john Super Member

    Messages:
    4,228
    Location:
    Australia
    maybe cascade a iFi SPDIF buffer and a valve/tube buffer stage?
     
  13. Hauxon

    Hauxon New Member

    Messages:
    14
    I find the NAD M51 sounds smooth and effortless compared to most dacs and cd-players I've heard. Night and day difference compared to the Chromecast Audio (not considered bad for the price)
     
  14. Lordcloud

    Lordcloud New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    I recommend a nos DAC. Especially the tubed variety.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  15. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Super Member

    Messages:
    4,868
    Location:
    A rocks throw from JBLM !!!!
    Wolfson WM8742.....

    Onkyo C 7030
     
  16. Lordcloud

    Lordcloud New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Rega digital also sounds smooth and non fatiguing, but very dimensional and musical.
     
  17. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    So I got my hands on a Metrum Acoustics Musette NOS DAC, to say I'm blown away would be an understatement. If you can find a used one for $600-700 go for it, you won't regret.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    enginedr likes this.
  18. bobins08

    bobins08 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,788
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    So what about this onkyo? I've been thinking of buying it. I'm not a big CD fan but I have a few hundred Red Book CDs that is like to play on occasion.

    I did not know that some DACs are better for streaming and some are better for Red Book but I think j just read that here????

    I would also like to play files from my laptop or IPhone so I guess I need a USB input. The onkyo doesn't do that, leading me back to looking at a DAC.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  19. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Super Member

    Messages:
    4,868
    Location:
    A rocks throw from JBLM !!!!
    All I can say is that I did not expect CD's to ever sound this good and for only $165 including warranty and shipping. But, it does take better than a month to break this bad boy in because when I first got it I wondered what the rave was all about.....it sounded dead and hollow. I'm so glad I did not send it back like so many other impatient people did. Best thing is this player is great for the CD's you find at thrift stores. Why go through the expense of a SACD player and the expensive discs when you don't have to and the soundstage is that good as long as you have it hooked up to some TOTL equipment. But be warned, if you get this player it will give your turntable some serious competition. The player will also play ripped discs with ease, just check out the instructions for which format.
     
  20. sev1

    sev1 New Member

    Messages:
    30

Share This Page