1K dac


actually I don't need an usb input as I will feed this dac with the coaxial out of a squeezebox touch.

I wouldn't mind going on a used one, even if it's really old.
the only thing that matters is the sound quality.

my budget covers everything under 1K$

I saw the ack dac 2.0, It doesn't seem to be very popular nowadays, but I found a lot of thread around 2005/2006, what do YOU think?

thanks for reading
I've heard the Dac section on the 160D is good. If you can find one used for 1k it would be nice.
Hi Customoco, I just received my Squeezebox Touch this very afternoon and am looking forward to trying it out later with my HK990 integrated amp, which has an inbuilt DAC section.

Before getting this amp, I'd drawn up a shortlist of SPDIF DACs to do exactly what you're intending.

I'd throw these out there in your price range as they seemed well-engineered and good amount of positive feedback on the web:

Audio GD NFB-1 or NFB8 (dual Wolfson chips, discrete output)
Audiolab 8200CDQ (Sabre DAC, Preamp, CDP, async USB, class A output, extensive power regulation)
Bel Canto DAC 1.5 (I used to have a Bel Canto DAC 2 I liked)
Eastern Electric Minimax Plus (upgraded version of the unit lots of people have been raving about)

I'd probably have gone for the Audiolab as it seems a digital swiss-army knife, and was designed by John Westlake of Pink Triangle and Dominik Pleko, who is a super smart guy who once modded my soundcard many, many years ago :)
- they also designed the DAC sections of the Peachtree gear

Good luck with your search!
thanks to you all for your help.

does anyone know the dac(s) compare to a red wine audio isabellina?
I think that you should look into a Scott Nixon Tube DAC any other model that he offers. These are all non-oversampling DACs, just FYI
Having owned some pretty good digital equipment and DACs (Esoteric, Wadia, DCS stack, Levinson, EMM Labs), I have a few DACs in this price range and below that I can recommend:

Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista = about $850 I think
Kora Hermes = about $750 I think currently

These units may not have the "latest" chip-set, but they blow out the current "hot chipset dacs" in sound quality in my experience. They have much better power supplies and analog output stages.

I have listened to several of the "highly promoted" $1K - $2K DACs with the "latest and greatest" chipsets and have been unimpressed from an overall perspective (Obviously I have not heard them all). In fact, I would hazard to guess that with a lot of these "newest chipset" DACs you won't be able to tell a difference in a double blind test vs. just running your Logitech Duet or Touch direct!

But if you buy smart, you can easily bring in a few DACs and test for yourself. You should be able to turn them at no or vitually no cost to you.
I have a Burson 160D for sale. Like Rex44 said, if you can find one used it would be nice......
does anyone know how the dacs mentionned above would compare against the satch dac?

anyway thanks for those who helped me, it's great to be in a so much "open-minded" community.
now I think that I've seen most of the options.
so I just have to decide, and I will post my decision here to help those who are in the same situation.
(I will buy it in a month or two, probably)
anyway thanks for those who helped me, it's great to be in a so much "open-minded" community.

heh, heh, heh, heh! yeah, you have no idea how open-minded we really are .... ;-)
hey there
currently, my choice sits between the lite dac83 and the audiogd(s) nfb 8 and 7.
the problem is that: as I can't listen to them I'd like have a money back guarantee but it doesn't look like audio gd is doing such a thing and I can't find about lite audio as they sell through resellers...
Neko Audio D100 but I doubt you'll find one used. It's so good people can't let go of them.
yeah I tried to find one but failed...

I've found new things, though.

first, I've found the promitheus dac (tube) from promitheus audio, wich is just in my price range: 900$ shipping included.

second, the metrum acoustics octave dac, wich costs 1K$ don't know about shipping.

arggh! so many choices so little money...
I have a lite dac 83 I bought on blind faith from Hong Kong (I have and like some of their less ambitious DACs), and am very happy with it. I haven't compared it to a lot of multi-kilobuck DACs, but it at least keeps up with my Marantz SA-11s2 and Mcintosh MCD-201 players on redbook. I use mine with a Squeezebox Touch.
If you don't need hi-rez and USB capablity, you'd have a hard time beating the flat-out musicality of the Classe' DAC-1 which sells used for right around $1K.
How about the Marantz NA7004? It is a DAC, media player, and afew other things, and goes for about $800.
They use the same chip in their CD/SACD players which has digital ins so it can be used as a DAC.
I own it and the PSAudio Digital Link IIII. The PS Audio is a lot moire insightful but the Marantz sound impressive in a different way.
to nckjn: nothing to this day.

to Richardfinegold: great idea, but I'd like to have balanced outputs.
thanks anyway ;)
The Metrum Octave is superior to Ack Dac2 or Promitheus (not tube). I tried these also with an Audiophilleo2, but they are no match. Sound constricted and muddy in comparision.
I would strongly recommend the addition of a reclocking device, such as Audiophilleo (needs an USB input however). Maybe rather choose the Metrum Quatrum to stay under 1k.
hi sorry for the late reply, I just went through a busy period.

@B_mueller: have you tried the promitheus tubed?

as for now I have three choices: the minimax plus
the tubed promitheus and the octave.

as my current source is a computer an octave+ audiophilleo1 might be great
No, I do not know Promitheus tubed. With the same topology of the digital circuitry, I doubt it can match a Metrum. The state of the Promitheus company is not clear. People have been bitterly complaining about lack of response.
have you heard the minimax ? based on the reviews, I don't think that It will be that great for me.
The ess9018 Is said to be bright in the treble. as I mostly listen through headphones I wonder if that brightness could lead to harshness...
Check out the DACmini. Audio Advisor has a great return policy if you don't like it. I got mine directly from Centrance and its a keeper, for me.
There are a couple of great reviews on it over at PFO and 6moons.

Oh, and you'll come in $200 under your projected budget.
"have you heard the minimax ? based on the reviews, I don't think that It will be that great for me.
The ess9018 Is said to be bright in the treble. as I mostly listen through headphones I wonder if that brightness could lead to harshness..."

You would be sadly misled if you believe any of that. It simply is not true about the ess9018 and anyone that would say it has other issues with their system. I have heard 3 DAC/CD players using this chip and it is contrary to the above statement in all cases. NO harshness and NO brightness and if present my system would surely reveal it.
If you`re still looking,on 6 moons.com there`s a current review of the CEtrance DAC with comparisons to both the Burson and Metrum Octave DACs.
Haven't heard anyone mention the WaveLength Proton.

Does anyone have experience with that against the other recommendations here?

I am also looking for a DAC. Have most of my music as AIFF files on a Mac mini. My amp is a Shindo Apetite and current speakers are Sonus Faber Toy's, considering a move to the DeVore 3XLs very soon.

Thanks for your input.
Charles do you have a link to it? im interested on reading comparisons with the Burson.
Is the Wavelength Proton (995 USD) anywhere as good as any of the DAC's mentioned here so far? Thanks for any comments.
I haven't heard it, but It looks like a poor man's brick...
based on the reviews of the metrum(s), I don't think it can stack up against them.
Check recent hi-fi world magazine for Dac reviews.

#1 teddypardo teddydac
#2 centrance mini dac
#3 calyx Dac
#6 wyred4sound dac1
Srajan Ebaen thinks quite highly of the CEntrance DAC, higher resolution and detail retrival than the Burson DACs(but lacks the Burson`s density and body).

The Metrum lacks the feature set and flexibility of either but combines both very high resolution/clarity with superior tone saturation,scale and image density.
I finally pulled the trigger on the metrum octave with an audiophilleo1 spidf/usb converter, and I couldn't be happier;)

thanks guys.

Customcoco: Have you had a chance to compare the optical out to DAC vs Audiophilleo usb/spidf converter to dac?
Hi devilboy,

Sorry for the late reply,

Sadly no, but if you're interested I'm in the market for another usb:spidf converter as I find the audiophilleo/octave A bit too aggressive for my taste.

I recently sold my squeezebox system and I only use my computer now.

If you want me to compare the octave to another dac or the audiophilleo to another converter just drop me a line at :


Did you get to try your Squeezebox (was it a Touch?) with the Octave? I have a Touch and I'm looking at getting an Octave to go with it, so would be very interested in your experience.

Hi lewinskih,

The only reference I have to compare the touch's coaxial to is the audiophilleo.

The only thing I can say Is that it sounded more closed-in and less detailed.
But you have to consider the audiophilleo was extremely detailed, Too much for my taste.

sorry I cannot be of any help on that one..
I recieved shipment of the USB/Spdif converter from Mapleshade. I am unable to use it because I am awaiting arrival of a coax digital cable. It should be here next week. I will compare that setup to my current glass optical.
Have a look at the Black Lion Mr RED it looks nothing but by all accounts it is a excellent DAC speak to these guys they are very helpful.Good luck.
Thanks for your answer Patal and sorry for my belated reply...

I'm currently looking for an used parasound.. Probably a 1600 hd or an 1100hd.