Higher End DACs

I am looking for a DAC (potentially streamer&DAC) to be paired in a mcintosh system (c1100/611). Its my first foray into digital streaming and I have no need for a CD player.

I see a lot of love for Esoteric, however, most seems to be around their transports? Are they not as renowned for pure digital streaming and/or standalone DACs? I see DCS (for instance) often referenced for standalone DACs - how does Esoteric compare?
Dmance, sorry no. Toslink is the least preferable way to get a digital signal into a dac, this doesn't validate your testing.

Toslink has limited bandwidth and doesn't provide for asyncronous data transfer which enables the dac to control clocking other rather than the transport. 

Asyncronous data transfer also sounds the best hence most high end dacs employ this technique. 

Also Toslink means you are taking your data from its native electrical form on the motherboard, converting to optical and then reconverting it back to an electrical signal.

Also Toslink does not allow for much higher sampling rates or DSD.

Lastly Baestis music servers range from a few thousand to very expensive units, in our tests a $16k Baetis got bettered by a $4k Innous server which sounded dramatically better. 

The less expensive Baetis servers may sound better than your two other units but if you were using Toslink from a Baetis you didn't hear the Baetis which sounds way better through its custom AES/EBU board which you didn't use, optical from a Baetis is going directly from the native motherboard which would not sound any better than a rasperby Pi or Nuc.

If you would like to prove your claims please come down to our shop where we have multiple servers and dacs on display.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

I don’t doubt your experience of differences in sound quality - perhaps your DACs are intolerant of jitter. Yes,Toslink is synchronous and maxed at 192/24 but apart from that its the same as any other digital transport...from the motherboard, from a custom board, etc. If there was any digital error in the stream you would be hearing dropouts, pops and clicks. So, apart from their innate bandwidth and protocol differences, toslink, coax, USB, AES all gets the bitstream to the DAC with 100% fidelity ...at least to Chord DACs.
My comments regarding RF noise and Toslink was in the context of this thread (High End DACs) as a means to get data from source to my chord DAC without any conducted RF noise, which i am convinced is the big elephant in the room.
I was just at CanJan, I should have taken the extra day to come see you. I have other NYC trips planned soon, ive messaged you.

When I read the stories over here it proves that people are all living under a rock. It proves that trial&error has created audio blindness. In the US there are still many people who still use and prefer a CD-player over any network player.

Almost all audio shows prove that many systems reveal a very limited level of emotion. This has 100% nothing to do with any kind of silly personal taste. Because it is all based on 100% facts. The facts show that they lack different aspects of sound. This is why they all are only able to create a low level of emotion during playback.

With many DACS and network players, we all hear the same limitations and lack of emotion. And again it is all based on facts. Every time a new client brings in a DAC, CD-player or network player, it is insane how much is missing of each recording we play.

Each individual audio product owns aspects of sound (DNA) and most miss different aspects of sound. This also counts for sources and DACS. With our modified Lumin network players it is very easy to outperform them. Based on the fact that we can reveal all aspects of sound. And second all individual aspects of sound we can also play at a higher level and quality.

In 2013 I had contact with a person who creates DACS and sources for manufacturers. He was the first who explained to me that the USB protocol never should have been chosen. Because he said; you will lose diversity (layering) in sound. And all our tests proved this as well.

But even now in 2020, it is still the same story how much you loose in diversity (layering) in sound even with most DACS. It is a sad thing to see how poorly audio is being carried out.

We work a lot together with a company who is the biggest audio technical service center in the Benelux (the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg). They do the technical support of Pass labs, Mark Levenson, Lumin, McIntosh, Krell, Marantz and many more)

The owner and me we talk to each other frequently on the phone. He also is concerned about the quality in parts manufacturers use inside their products. Due to the decreasing audio market manufacturers use cheaper parts almost every single year.

This is one of the reasons why we started to modify. And it proves how easy you can bring products to a superior level. But we go a lot further than that alone. We also imply parts who reduces electro-smog and high-frequent noise. This also makes a huge improvement. Besides this, we also want to create new (higher) levels in audio.

Now we can easily all people experience how much more information we can reveal on every single recording. Audio is all about shootout and sound and stage. And in this part, we rule and outperform.


@djones51i hate to be one to argue with the great, all-knowing BO but....

there are no winners here, anymore!