Are there any DACs that can go low?

I have a W4S DAC-2 (with Audiophilleo), I have also auditioned an Ayre QB-9, own a Cary Xciter, have owned a Peachtree Nova, and have an Oppo BDP-95. I try to use high definition files from a Mac Mini over Audionirvana.

None of these can approach the lows that my reference source can (a Clearaudio Performance SE turntable with Artist V2 ebony Cartridge and Ayre P-5xe stage). My reference is a Clearaudio Performance SE turntable with Artist V2 ebony Cartridge and Ayre P-5xe stage. The bass is so much richer and deeper with that as my reference and the midrange sounds fuller too. Highs never sound shrill either.

Are there any DACs out there that can approach a more neutral sound, at least as I see it?
I use an mhdt Constantine SS DAC. ALso a Linn Axis with DEnon DL103R cart.

Both run into an ARC sp16 tube pre-amp with tube phono section.

Amp is Bel Canto Class D running various speakers in various rooms.

Both sources have similar neutral sound to my ears overall. Bass is extended, dynamic and well defined. Achieving similar good sound from both phono and digital was a design goal for my rig up front. It took several years to get everything tuned in just right, but it all worked out in the end.
If one source in your system is giving you richer deeper bass than a another source, then it sounds like that involves differences in the impedance of each source.

This results in better synergy of one source over the other.
One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you have the same recording when you do a comparison. If one recording was a remaster and the other was not, that would explain a lot of the differences.
I never heard this one before. The linearity and bandwidth of a DAC should be easy to quantify by manufacturers as well as reviewers. As Foster 9 suggests, maybe it is an impedance mismatch, or something of that sort.
Quite frankly, sounds like you're describing the difference between a good vinyl rig and a good digital rig, particularly when you talk of the mids and highs. Are you saying that the digital setup does not go deeper, or does not SOUND as deep? A digital rig that is flat in the bass may have deep bass extension but not sound like it because it does not have a slight emphasis in the upper bass (much like some small monitor speakers might have a bump in the mid-bass to make you think you're hearing more bass than the speaker is actually producing). An easy way to test your digital system would be a test CD with bass tones, like the Stereophile ones. My guess is that Drubin is right, your vinyl rig may be adding a bit of fullness--not a bad thing, I might add.
I thought the Playback had a nice bass emphasis reminiscent of my Project RPM10.1 10cc evolution arm and a Sumiko Blackbird with 2g VTF played through my Bel Canto Phono3.
Dacs, Dacs Dacs.... They seem to come and go like the morning sun. Some do this and some do that, but the true goal of a dac is to TRY and (somehow) sound analog. The goofy little things seem to span a cost factor that is mind boggling. I truly cannot remember how many of the digital creatures that I have bought and sold. OK... What do I think are the best for my tastes ? Of course I haven't heard them all, nor come close to owning even a fraction of the lot, but for great analog sound at a fair price, I would recommend a few good ones.

The older PS Audio UltraLink Dacs.... Very musical, well built and easy to listen to. Nice robust bass lines and very open soundstage.

Aragon D2a2 ...... Build quality second to none, quick, punchy presentation and very musical.

Michael Yee Audio Dac-1 ..... Yee is the master of analog. His "head amps" are legendary. All of his "vinyl" expertise he wired into his wonderful dac. Built like a tank but with a smooth, truly musical sound that is intoxicating. No longer in business, if you can find one... jump hard on it.

And then..... OK, go ahead a laugh, roll on the floor and call me a dip-sh-t, but try out one of the Jolida Tube Dacs. Throw a couple of the new re-issue Mullards or new Tung-Sol (12ax7's) at it and listen to it light up your life. For under $500.00 it is a steal. Extremely well built and already upgraded right out of the box, the gorgeous little dac is a music making machine.

There is my little inexpensive dac line-up that I am the fondest of. I own the Jolida at the moment and use it mostly for my Apple TV unit to greatly improve on the radio station format. I still have my Michael Yee Dac and really don't use it as much as I should.

Hope this helps out a bit. Of course, there is a endless list of others, but these have given me the most pleasure of owning over the many years.

The Theta DAC's always had a very good bottom end to them. Great dynamics too, as you might expect. Probably somewhat due to the higher then normal signal output level (not a consumer product normal 2V, made for professional use).
I recently got a TEAC UD-501 to add to my collection. I also have orig Benchmark DAC(no USB), EE DAC Plus& Decco. I am able to switch between them with my VTL 5.5 Pre. Only have 125 hours of breakin and no Pangea PC(I use Synergistic) like Elizabeth(LOL....). This TEAC seems to go much deeper than the other 2.
For ref, I have run it both 44.1 & 352.8 upsampled with filter's set slow roll off & 2 if those settings make sense to you. EE seems to have cleaner highs & benchmark sounds almost "clinical" in comparison. B seems almost too clean???
I will have more hours on it this week since I have the TEAC running 24/7 from SB Touch via coax. It energizes the room with most recordings. I am surprised how fast technology moves on. There are very distinct signatures for each DAC I have. BTW, I also have two Decco's, but not in my main room. My wife can pick out the 3 DACS from living room no sight. I'm impressed with that when she doesn't care all that much.
Happy Listening,

Rootman(I do love you too E....)
PS Audio NuWave tilts up on the low end. It doesn't sound bloated. It just sounds full and rich and I enjoy it very much. For what it's worth.
I have also picked up a TEAC UD-501 and it does sound the business especially with DSD!
The Chord Qute HD has a very good bottom end - possibly the best I have ever heard.

I heard a direct comparison between it and a WFS and the bass was better - but if the Chord was an overall better DAC is a matter of personal opinion - some thought it was - others preferred the WFS.

As Doggie mentioned the Playback Designs has an excellent bottom end as well and, especially via DSD, but via PCM as well, is better that the Chord - but a LOT more expensive.

The frequency response of the DACs you have tried probably extends to 20Hz. The reason that you are not hearing the same bass as your vinyl system is likely related to two deficiencies:

1) Jitter is probably too high to deliver the focus required for good bass
2) Dynamic response in the analog circuits are limited by power supply/subsystem

Not all DACs have this problem and some DACs will have significantly improved bass dynamics by driving them with a low-jitter source.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
My learning over time tells me that for DACs (like all other audio components) it will be hit or miss in low end performance, which will be system dependent. Of course there will be exceptions.

The system dependency involves:

1.favorable impedance matching between sources, electronics, and speakers (without this you won't get the bass performance another guy gets from the same component)

2. jitter

I'm no EE and don't understand all the technical aspects, but an impedance match or mismatch is huge in all things audio and definitely affects bass power and depth.

Jitter is its own issue in the world of computer audio.

I wish there was more focus by everyone in audio on impedance matching to help audiophiles not waste money on quality gear that just won't work well together.

Reviewers, manufacturers, dealers, and audiophiles need to communicate more in these terms. Don't get me started!! You can do your due diligence, in research, which I have done. But it took time, money and self-education to face the realty about impedance matching of components. You must sometimes contact manufacturers because they often don't publish the input and output impedance specs you need to know before you buy. Those specs should always be published. Unfortunately, we don't get to hear a new addition to our system in our system before we buy, especially on the used market.

Sorry for my long rant!
FYI, jitter is not limited to computer audio. It is just as big a problem with CD and SACD players and devices like Apple TV and Sonos. It is a generic digital audio issue.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Simaudio 650d and 750d have an amazingly deep and granite-like bass. See Michael Fremer's review of the 650d in Stereophile.
From my research, jitter is never totally eliminated but can be significantly decreased.
In your dreams. Any manufacturer that claims this is lying. Not possible.

Even small increments in jitter reduction at very low levels can be heard in a resolving system. See these jitter plots:

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
So I was going to sell my Cary Audio Xciter DAC since

1. out of the box, the resolution (soundwise) on the Wyred4Sound DAC-2 that I got to replace it was slightly better

2. the Xciter's USB interface is its weak point, the W4S has asynchronous and is capable of 192

3. no remote (yes manufacturers, not all of us sit 2' from our gear).

In fact I HAD sold it, but the guy wanted $150 off AFTER the sale which I found weird, so I had him return it.

In the meantime I had added an Audiophilleo 2 to my W4S DAC-2. It did make the sound somewhat better on DAC-2. I had been pondering an Ayre QB-9 but had barely seen any difference between that (granted the original QB-9 version) and the W4S DAC-2 and the Audiophileo 2 in 3 weeks of testing.

Still that setup prompted me to this start thread. So many DACs to try

In the meantime I said to myself hmm if the Audiophilleo 2 has reputedly reduced jitter so much, what if I attach it to the Cary DAC, that has pretty good output stages right? Now my Cary SLP-03 was nowhere near as good as my Ayre K-5xeMP and like the SLP-03, the SLP-03 was an entry level Cary. I expected this to be disappointing. But, no whomp, there it is! Bass.

But no there it is base, a better soundstage It's all good.

I'll keep the W4S for TV and other lower fi sources and keep the Cary DAC on for computer sound.

Given how little the Cary Xciter is selling for these days, if you are interested in a USB DAC, this turned out to be a good way to go.

I guess the lesson is, check what's in your basement first, eh?
Uggg too early in the morning (and it's already 10! what gives?).

Plenty of typos in that one, but at least I'll correct one line that is particularly bad

and like the SLP-03, the Xciter was an entry level Cary
Interm... - The optimum way to use the W4S DAC2 is using I2S. The Off-Ramp 5 provides HDMI I2S output specifically for this. The reason that I2S sounds better I believe is that it bypasses the clocking that occurs with S/SDIF input to Sabre DAC.

Steve N.
Emporical Audio
Steve, that's interesting. Then again, I think that the output stages of the Cary may be better than on the DAC-2 and that makes a huge difference.
I have really good outputs to feed it with also. Not good enough. I2S beats it hands-down using a good cable like the HDMI-12. I have lots of customer feedback on this as well.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I agree with the suggestion that you pay attention to the output stage of your DACs. Best output stage I have heard on a DAC was from the analog maestros at Yamamoto, on their YDA-01 DAC
Lets not forget that an analog turntable can produce some subsonic info that a digital source of the same recording will not. Sometimes added subsonics can influence the bass perception heard by the listener.

Further, I believe a analog produced sound image will be different than a digital reproduction of the same source in part due to the reduced channel separation of a phono cartridge. The best channel separation in a cartridge will be many dB lower than a digital source. Notice I say different, not better or worse.
Dsd audio as well as any quality dac now can go toe to toe with Any turntables for or less money.
Dollar per dollar,digital has better s/n ratio, dynamic range, lower noise floor, and for sure lower Bass. But people have using turntables for so long
Including myself is because it sounds so natural.the tide now has turned.
I use DB power amp to rip cds to a External SS drive,then To J Rivers to a Auraliti Player 1500 Album library.Mytek makes a nice dac for !$1500 range to step it up to the Aurender Vega dac,for $4500 retail including the player and I Pad, it will smoke Any $15k turntable setup even more
iMO, and no crackly disks to clean. I just use my I Pad to pull up Wav files,
Hirez, or DSD downloads And just relax.the hardest part is ripping
Cds to the HD. When I read articles on turntables for $100K ,I Say for what
Just more work to do? Some people just want to re live the past,which
Is fine ,just not for me .
If you are after great bass and analog SQ (no harshness) from CD rips, this is the DAC:

No-risk either. 30-day money-back.
Any decent DAC can 'read' the signal which contains all the info necessary. The bass is there but it can be something as simple as impedance matching or it can be the quality of the power supply to the DAC.

I've had several CDPs and thought they were all quite fine until I got a SACD player (Marantz SA15S2b) with a well built (over built?) power supply and the bass I got out of my system floored me. And that was with Redbook. The DAC in it is no different than what's used in some of the stand alone DACs out there. It's all a matter of how it's implemented.

All the best,
Dacs are as sensitive to input changes as anything else in the chain. I have went through quite a few high and low end Dacs and feeding them correctly brings out the best rewards. My little Jolida FX Tube Dac is a top notch performer for my uses. I selected it specifically for my Apple TV unit to play the HD music channels. With stock cords it sounded mildly OK, but after replacing the power cord with a PS Audio AC-12 and using the new WireWorld Series 7 TosLink (to couple the Apple TV), the dac is stunning... Well at least to a point. I also replaced the original power cord for the Apple TV with a PS Audio C-7 type cord and also use a Harmonic Tech. HDMI, but there is still one bridge to cross. The jitter from the Apple does not make the unit unlistenable, but it does affect the entire signal... Top to bottom. Sibilance in the voice range is particularly annoying in that the singer (particularly female) sounds as though they are chewing on a corn snake when hitting the high notes. On the lower end, cellos can sound like an in-estrous Baboon scratching it's tootie on a bamboo tree. There is a cure for this somewhere in the form of a little box (there always seems to be a "little box", doesn't there ?). I have heard that it stops the itch for the baboon and also jerks the corn snake from Diana Krall's lovely lips. I don't know who makes it or what it is called, but there is one of those boxes out there somewhere. However, I'm sure that they are at least $10,000 and there is a waiting line because the baboons and corn snakes have them all bought up.