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Old 20-10-2010, 12:37   #1
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DAC needed to improve my Stereo Sound

Hi all,

I have all my CDs ripped (WAV files) to a media pc sat under the telly. I'm using Windows Media Center to control my collection and have an HDMI cable connecting it to Denon AVR2809, so the stereo feed is being converted by my Amps DAC. I reckon I can improve upon the sound quality, so I am considering getting a separate DAC that I can feed either a CoAx or an optical feed into.

Does anyone have any recommendations for what I should consider. My budget isn't huge, so nothing over £200 I would say, though if there is something just slightly more, but would be an amazing jump in quality I may be interested.
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Old 20-10-2010, 13:09   #2
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At £200 I would look at the Cambridge DAC Magic. It's a little more than your budget but not much at £230. It has digital and coax inputs.

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Old 20-10-2010, 13:28   #3
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Last edited by sideshowbob; 20-10-2010 at 13:31.
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Old 20-10-2010, 13:35   #4
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I think the latest DACMagic also has USB - so you could use that rather than optical or coax (the DACMagic is seen as a new soundcard)

I have a Music Fidelity v-Dac that I use connected to a Blu Ray player to improve the audio output for playing CDs - this too has USB/Coax/Optical, though without the front switches of the DACMagic. It was quite a bit cheaper - I paid £138 - but it is now more like £160. So still cheaper, but not so much.

The other one I was considering is the Beresford Caiman. This has a headphone amp too. I think they are the 3 that are the usual contenders for a cheap-ish DAC.

I still need to do some fiddling to work out how much of an improvement the V-Dac is over the DAC in the Sony Blu-Ray player. I bought them all together (I could see the price had already gone up at a few retailers), so have not tried it without. They hold their their value pretty well, so once the speakers are run in I will do some with/without testing to work out whether the extra cost is worth it.

One thing I did find was that I had to replace the PSU - it made a really loud buzz.

Last edited by Art Vanderlay; 20-10-2010 at 13:36.
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Old 20-10-2010, 14:26   #5
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Looks like the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic is the way to go then.... I'll have to see what price I can get for one.
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Old 20-10-2010, 16:04   #6
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Silver DacMagic is £179.95 just now:


Edit: vip offer seems to have finished, now £199.95

Last edited by horse; 21-10-2010 at 14:58.
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