What CDP or DAC cured your itch to keep looking?

ABBAS Dac replaced a modded Audio Note 3.1X for about 1/4th the price. I am in the process of replacing some key caps with Black Gates as I find them. I could see myself living with this DAC for a while.

If I could find a super deal on a used DAC, I might look at a SW1X or TotalDac.
 

Dan ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Bear Without A Care
Site Supporter
After being suckered into a "top line" TEAC, and NAD, both developed problems. I settled on a Yamaha CD-S700 that was supposed to be all of that and a bag of chips. Well, it wasn't. It's USB port barely worked and it had other problems, like not being able to recognize known good discs. So, back it went...and a customer rep told me to try the lower priced (and newer designed) CD-S300, so that left me with about $300 left over. So far, it performs flawlessly and it's USB port works great!

100_0306.jpg
 

DC

Active Member
Site Supporter
As mentioned above, the Sony SCD-XA5400ES CD/SACD player with Dan Wright’s “ModWright Ultimate Truth” modifications did it for me.

Within the context of my system, and limitations of budget and ambition, it’s an end-game for me.

Sublime.
 
North Star. Now discontinued but still great gear from their last generation. There is one on USAM right now for a heckuva price.

Currently it’s the Norma DS1. I am on my second demo unit and once they settle in they are phenomenal. One client pitted it against his higher priced and popular digital stack and there was nothing that stack did that the Norma didn’t do better. When I picked up Norma I thought they were mainly an amp company but the DS-1 is actually becoming my favorite product and might be the unsung hero in their line. It has elevated any system I’ve used it in quite substantially.
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
Site Supporter
North Star. Now discontinued but still great gear from their last generation. There is one on USAM right now for a heckuva price.

Interesting unit, seems to get rave reviews. As I understand it the DAC will do DSD via USB but the transport does not play SACDs? Is that correct?
 
Correct! The current owner used it mostly as a dac and loved it. He is selling to roll that money into renovating some older pieces with serious sentimental value.
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
Site Supporter
I treated myself to a PS Audio DSD Directstream DAC with their Bridge II a few years back. Was totally happy with it as received, and each upgrade to the OS seemed a revelation of new detail and less noise. Never thought I would look at another DAC.

Then I happened upon an R2R DAC, a Holo Audio Spring DAC, the level 3 “Kitsune Tuned Edition” with a Singxer SU-1 connected via I2S.

I must say I am still smitten with this unit.

I should update the PS Audio DSD, as I am one or two levels back on the OS, and then listen to it again and compare to the Holo. But it seems like work, as compared to listening to some new music on the current setup.
 

DC

Active Member
Site Supporter
I treated myself to a PS Audio DSD Directstream DAC with their Bridge II a few years back. Was totally happy with it as received, and each upgrade to the OS seemed a revelation of new detail and less noise. Never thought I would look at another DAC.

Then I happened upon an R2R DAC, a Holo Audio Spring DAC, the level 3 “Kitsune Tuned Edition” with a Singxer SU-1 connected via I2S.

I must say I am still smitten with this unit.

I should update the PS Audio DSD, as I am one or two levels back on the OS, and then listen to it again and compare to the Holo. But it seems like work, as compared to listening to some new music on the current setup.

Your PS Audio DirectStream DAC was the best one I've ever had in my system. I've eyeballed a number of them when they've been listed, but can't pull the trigger. The Topping is "good enough" for the limited streaming I do.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
North Star Design. I've now had 3 of their 4 dacs and I've yet to hear any dac at anywhere close to the price, that sounds as analog.
 

Drugolf

Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Some nice gear identified in here for sure. Congrats all. I might need to step up my game.
I do like what I have....at least until I hear otherwise. DAC is the Ares II. A couple different CD players including the Audio Aero Capitole 32/192 (when it works) and a heavily modded Denon DCD-1520. When out shopping at the used record store I tend to get turned off by the crazy prices on vinyl and end up looking at and usually buying CD's these days.
 

Mortsnets

Junior Member
I first started getting reasonably good sound from CDs when when I got a Rega Planet. Next a Ah! Tjoeb '99 player with a tube, then a Don Allen modified Magnavox CDC-745, and last by not least a butt ugly grey plastic modified Sony Playstation 1 SCPH-1001!
 
I’m very happy with my setup, but all these cool DACs and CD players are enticing me.

I want to play with them all.
 
I owned the PS Audio Directstream DAC w/Bridge II several years ago and sold it try other DACs. I tried a dCS Debussy, Bricasti M3, and others but decided to go back to the Directstream DAC. In my mind it is the best sounding DAC under $10,000.00. And, I got the second Directstream DAC for a price I couldn’t pass up. Still a great DAC and with the latest (and last) Sunlight firmware upgrade it sounds fantastic. I use Roon running on a Nuclues server with an 8TB SSD drive to store my music. Great combo and I’m very happy with the Roon software and the sound from my Directstream DAC.
 
I've found (recently) (better late than never) that an upsampling CDT with I2S out for example can be a very good thing ;) Then you can also play a non-OS DAC with it for example. Nice...

I've been using an Oppo BDP-103 as a "handy" swiss army knife transport for years. Including a wireless USB dongle so can stream Pandora for example. And can play a variety of files off a USB thumb drive (is how I usually use it lately). But of course the analog out is ~ uselessly bad in relation to what I use lately for DDC/DAC work. But one can feed the spdif digital output to a DDC -> DAC and get good results then as well. And of course it can also play SACD, at least to high freq PCM digital out. Can also use an HDMI stripper unit and get high freq I2S off of that well (also good IME).

I second the comments on the sound of the Directstream DAC (with updated output transformers). I have one, and several of the Denafrips DACs as well. It also responds well to a DDC -> I2S feed IME.

T
 
Top shelve is my digital technology stack.

From right to left: abbas modified and 1920’s valve clocked marantz cd player with external power supply. Used as transport only.
Then auralic streamer and valve clocked and buffered usb-spdif converter. And finally abbas dac 3.2se which recently replaced a abbas dac 2.1se. The 2.1 was great but the 3.2 is truly awesome.

Have been listening almost exclusively to digital since the 3.2 arrived a few weeks ago. Quite out of character for me.

Dont think it gets much better than this. Does take up some shelve space though.

Jesper

E86EB14E-9EC3-4E38-894D-539727E3A68C.jpeg
 
Top