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What would you buy


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Ok about to go and buy a Dac, after the last thread have a few ideas but still a little stumped. I've liked the Rega Dac, seems to be musical but I have only heard it with a convertor, without it it wasn't nearly as good. Then a few have mention the Metrum Octave and  EE Minimax Plus. The EE has full 24/192 in the USB. With the Metrum I guess you still need to get a convertor as it doesn't have USB.

 

I also would like to get integra mode in audivana plus if possible

 

If you were going to spend the money what would you go for

 

I like just about all music except heavy rock and metal. 

 

And would I expect this to sound better with ripped AIFF or HD Flac than say a second hand good CD Player and just playing my CD's into my Woo Audio WA6 and AKG 701's

 

Thanks.

Edited by keitha
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As mention before, you are quite welcome to have a listen to the EE mini max dac plus.

It has a M2Tech USB capable of 24/192, I chose this dac on the fact that the valve and opamps can be rolled over. ATM I have LME 49720/10, this place it very close to the sound signature, but only at a reduction in clarity of low end which the M51 leaves it behind.

I needed something that would override the ancient mechanical volume pot and when I was looking around the M51 fitted the bill in this move and I haven't used the EE mini max plus since.

I didn't go for the Metrum, for a few reasons and I'm sure it is a great product, at the time the Metrum was not around when I was considering the EE mini max plus, and the most important thing to consider is that you do not know D/A converter he has employed, this doesn't matter for some but for me, I need to know! If something goes wrong with those chips you are not going to know what is compatible. With the EE mini max plus there is no secrets, it employs a Sabre9018, top of the range chip from ESS.

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Unless you go for one of the **VERY BEST** at the beginning (think MSB or dCS) then it is highly likely that adding a de-jitter process and then a battery power option is going to increase the sound quality. How much this sort of improvement is worth is up to you. Buy the DAC that sounds good to you now, whether by itself or with the add-ons, and worry about upgrading later. Of course if upgrading later is already a possibility then making a decision now that means you don't have to sell what you have (and usually lose some money) would make sense.

 

Since I added the Audiophilleo and a battery station, the CD player has been gathering dust although the digital out does go through my outboard DAC.

 

Greg

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So why most use USB, why not optical out?
Optical is Toshlink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK

It was developed to a max of 20/48khz, this has now changed but the send and receiver for Toshlink must be compatible to support 24/192, most aren't, it is also easier to send through USB especially 2.0 as this supports up to 24/192. AP2 will support this and feeds it to the s/pdif of any dac after reclocking. If you're like me it's pretty much useless as most of my material is CD, unless you look at the Offramp products which are over the $3.8k.

If you are going in this direction, I would recommend the Audio gd, they have a USB up to 32/192, this front USB capability will basically equal the AP2 and there probably have no need for the Offramp due to cost.

Edited by pchan
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Guest fordgtlover

I bought the EE Minimax Plus and liked it out of the box. But, having read around the net about the number of people doing op-amp and tube rolling I went the same way. Having tried a few different op-amps and a swag of different tubes, I found a combo that I'm really happy with. I have no idea whether in this configuration it is better or worse than any other DAC, but I like the sound and I love the idea that I could roll op-amps and tubes... horses for courses

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I'm waiting for a EE plus to arrive myself.

I've tried the following recently

Metrum Octave - lifeless, flat and un involving, just couldn't get it to sound right

Northstar Essentio - real nice Dac but quite laid back

Jolida Glass FX - For the money absolutely fantastic, in fact incredible, the in room presence this gives is fantastic, it's also a very full on sound too

Hope this helps

Lee

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Guest fordgtlover

Off topic a bit - but in the EE plus I found that the LME49990 opamps sounded better that the stock NE5532, and after rolling a range of tubes I settled on the Raytheon round getter triple mica black plate 5841a, which offered the nicest (to my ears) balance between solid and clean bass, nice rich clear mids, and clean and extended highs - just right with the LME49990.

 

I also tried, in no particular order:

CBS Hytron 5814a

SEL Lorenz ECC82

Sylvania 6189

Sylvania 5814a

Brimar 13D5

RCA Cleartop 12AU7

RCA 5814a

Mullard CV4003

Mullard ECC82

RFT ECC82

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Off topic a bit - but in the EE plus I found that the LME49990 opamps sounded better that the stock NE5532, and after rolling a range of tubes I settled on the Raytheon round getter triple mica black plate 5841a, which offered the nicest (to my ears) balance between solid and clean bass, nice rich clear mids, and clean and extended highs - just right with the LME49990.

 

I also tried, in no particular order:

CBS Hytron 5814a

SEL Lorenz ECC82

Sylvania 6189

Sylvania 5814a

Brimar 13D5

RCA Cleartop 12AU7

RCA 5814a

Mullard CV4003

Mullard ECC82

RFT ECC82

@Fordgtlover,

 

the LME49990 is a little sensitive to PSU implementations and can run hot if its not been decoupled properly, also it needs to have o/put implementations done correctly according to the data sheet.

By any chance have you monitored the heat dissipation, a good simple way is to make sure the chip is luke warm during idle with the tip of your finger.  Im only pointing this out because of my experience with this chip.  Although I have not used it on the EE mini max plus, but the LME 49720/10 as they come in a DIP version, an alternative to the SOIC.

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Guest fordgtlover
@Fordgtlover,

 

the LME49990 is a little sensitive to PSU implementations and can run hot if its not been decoupled properly, also it needs to have o/put implementations done correctly according to the data sheet.

By any chance have you monitored the heat dissipation, a good simple way is to make sure the chip is luke warm during idle with the tip of your finger.  Im only pointing this out because of my experience with this chip.  Although I have not used it on the EE mini max plus, but the LME 49720/10 as they come in a DIP version, an alternative to the SOIC.

 

When I first installed mine I checked the DAC output for signs of oscillation. I also checked the temperature of the opamps. They run warm but not hot.

 

Any latent concerns that I had were laid to rest after the designer announced in late 2011 that the LME49990 was an acceptable drop in replacement. The distributer in the US now offers installation of various opamps, including the LME49990, as a pre-delivery mod.

 

Hi Bill,

I just checked the NS data sheet. The LME49990 can replace the NE5534. Since it is a single opamp, if you want to replace the NE5532 you will need some kind of adapter to hold two of the LME49990s. It is an surface mount package I have yet got the chance to actually try it.

Hope the above helps.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Alex

 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=99311.180

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