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help me to choose a budget dac for mastering
Old 3rd June 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

help me to choose a budget dac for mastering

Hi to all
I will receive the new speakers soon (hedd type 20) so i'm thinking to buy also a better dac, now i'm using apogee duet2, thinking about:

- Mytek Digital Liberty DAC
- Dangerous Music Source
- RME ADI-2 DAC

what do you think?
Old 3rd June 2019
  #2
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Sjiens's Avatar
only experience with the RME...to me sounds like a clean/accurate conversion and RME has a reputation for reliable/good quality gear.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #3
Deleted 691ca21
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Save a bit longer for a non budget DAC, would be my advice.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 691ca21 View Post
Save a bit longer for a non budget DAC, would be my advice.
oh, ok thanx

so there are no huge differences between those dac and my duet? just little improvement?

while there surely will be with stuff like solaris or prism or lynx right?

consider that I do itb mastering only, so i'm talking just about dac
Old 3rd June 2019
  #5
Deleted 691ca21
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The Monitor DAC is arguably more important than the Transfer DAC, as EVERYTHING you hear is coming through it. If I was starting out and only doing ITB mastering with no analogue loop, I'd probably be looking at some kind of monitor controller/DAC box of high quality, maybe Grace Design or something similar, there are a lot of choices now.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #6
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tengu's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rameron View Post
oh, ok thanx

so there are no huge differences between those dac and my duet? just little improvement?
There will be a significant improvement, particularly if you have a decent room.

Why not try the Dangerous Monitor Source. I've heard good things about it.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #7
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philip's Avatar
 

A quick look at the specs and I can't see how any of those will be an upgrade from the apogee.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #8
Gear Nut
I’ve upgraded from the duet 2 to the dangerous source. It’s a big difference! Not for consumers , but for us music geeks it is. Love this little device
Old 3rd June 2019
  #9
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philip's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikola_Tesla View Post
I’ve upgraded from the duet 2 to the dangerous source. It’s a big difference! Not for consumers , but for us music geeks it is. Love this little device
well, in terms of distortion you downgraded < x10. The specs for the source wouldn't be impressive even 20 years ago. https://dangerousmusic.com/product/source/
Old 3rd June 2019
  #10
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Slug1's Avatar
What monitors are you using? And I assume you've treated the room to some degree especially bass traps? I agree that especially in an ITB only system, one could go high for DAC. In 2019 I would go Cranesong Solaris. Just keep the Duet until you can get the Cranesong. Second choice would be Lynx Hilo because it would give you mastering quality DACS, and would serve as a great central station to expand in future years if you ever wanted to go outboard or if you wanted to audition or incorporate other converters in your set up.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
What monitors are you using? And I assume you've treated the room to some degree especially bass traps? I agree that especially in an ITB only system, one could go high for DAC. In 2019 I would go Cranesong Solaris. Just keep the Duet until you can get the Cranesong. Second choice would be Lynx Hilo because it would give you mastering quality DACS, and would serve as a great central station to expand in future years if you ever wanted to go outboard or if you wanted to audition or incorporate other converters in your set up.

i have treated room (not ****ty but not very very good, will be treat more soon)

I bought hedd type 20, I will probably get this week (coming from adam a8x)

thanx
Old 3rd June 2019
  #12
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by philip View Post
well, in terms of distortion you downgraded < x10. The specs for the source wouldn't be impressive even 20 years ago. https://dangerousmusic.com/product/source/
You must be joking here...
Old 3rd June 2019
  #13
Deleted b738100
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by rameron View Post
Hi to all
I will receive the new speakers soon (hedd type 20) so i'm thinking to buy also a better dac, now i'm using apogee duet2, thinking about:

- Mytek Digital Liberty DAC
- Dangerous Music Source
- RME ADI-2 DAC

what do you think?
They all use different dac chips which sound different and so is the feature set.
It´s a very subjective decision.

- Mytek Digital Liberty DAC- ESS 9018 K2M
- Dangerous Music Source- Burr Brown PCM1789PW
- RME ADI-2 DAC - AKM 4490

Any of these should be appropriate for getting the best out of the speakers you´ve chosen.
Soundwise, I personally prefer the Adi-2 -it also has the best drivers- but the Source is a fully featured monitor controller with nice handling and still sounds very good.

PS. I´ve just seen that the Type 20 have unbalanced inputs as well.
In that case, the Pro-Ject S2 Jim Williams recommended would be a great sounding and incredibly cheap alternative:
Project dac s2

Sounds better than the Liberty, imho and has the upgraded converter chips, the mobile version of those used in the Manhattan (ESS 9038).
Old 3rd June 2019
  #14
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lynngraber's Avatar
i have a hard time hearing a difference between my Avocet and my Grace m905. The Grace is an excellent DAC and headphone amp. Well built, about $500.
Old 4th June 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynngraber View Post
i have a hard time hearing a difference between my Avocet and my Grace m905. The Grace is an excellent DAC and headphone amp. Well built, about $500.
500? what? who?
Old 4th June 2019
  #16
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lynngraber's Avatar
Grace Designs m905.
Old 4th June 2019
  #17
Deleted b738100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynngraber View Post
Grace Designs m905.
I guess you´re talking about the M900 which also uses the AKM 4490 and is quite good for the price.
There has been a Massdrop version as well.
The M905 is way over 500$
Old 4th June 2019
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynngraber View Post
Grace Designs m905.

this is around 3.5k : /

and m900 is for headphones right?



anyway, thanx
Old 4th June 2019
  #19
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philip's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikola_Tesla View Post
You must be joking here...
No,why?
Old 4th June 2019
  #20
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philip's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gorka View Post

Any of these should be appropriate for getting the best out of the speakers you´ve chosen.
Sure, but why downgrade in the first place? The Apogee seems to smoke em all in terms of specs. Have I missed something?
Old 4th June 2019
  #21
Deleted b738100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philip View Post
Sure, but why downgrade in the first place? The Apogee seems to smoke em all in terms of specs. Have I missed something?
I don´t know which sabre dac they use in the duet 2 but I guess it´s the 9018 as well.
I didn´t say anything bad about the Duet II but which specs make you think it sounds ten times better than the Source, apart from a side-by-side comparison ?

Personally, I only know the duet 1 which is no match anyway.
Old 4th June 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorka View Post
I don´t know which sabre dac they use in the duet 2 but I guess it´s the 9018 as well.
I didn´t say anything bad about the Duet II but which specs make you think it sounds ten times better than the Source, apart from a side-by-side comparison ?

Personally, I only know the duet 1 which is no match anyway.
Of course not. All I said was that the source have more than 10 times the distortion. Reading the specs.
I haven't heard any of these DAs. Imo you can't just listen to a dac to verify the quality anyway, you have to test and compare. But after testing mastering equipment for 20 years, I'll say reading specs goes a long way.

Edit: btw, a proper mastering preamp should have a thd of -130 dB or less (excluding the dac). Not around -100 as the source
Old 4th June 2019
  #24
Schiit Audio sells a AKM4490 based DAC for under $200. The AudioQuest Dragonfly 2 is ESS9018 based for $199.
The ESS 9038 based S2 beats them here. A friend picked up a used one for $200.
Old 5th June 2019
  #25
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lynngraber's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorka View Post
I guess you´re talking about the M900 which also uses the AKM 4490 and is quite good for the price.
There has been a Massdrop version as well.
The M905 is way over 500$
My bad. Yes, the m900.
Old 5th June 2019
  #26
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lynngraber's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rameron View Post
this is around 3.5k : /

and m900 is for headphones right?



anyway, thanx
i meant the m900, it does have a killer headphone amp, but it also has stereo outputs to connect monitors. They are unbalanced, but honestly that doesn't matter. Its a really great converter.
Old 5th June 2019
  #27
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjiens View Post
only experience with the RME...to me sounds like a clean/accurate conversion and RME has a reputation for reliable/good quality gear.
mytek & dangerous are IMHO not "budget".
i would go with mytek for the monitoring, because mytek is generally on the "transparent & stright" side, dangerous a bit more on the "vibe" side.
Old 5th June 2019
  #28
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
mytek & dangerous are IMHO not "budget".
i would go with mytek for the monitoring, because mytek is generally on the "transparent & stright" side, dangerous a bit more on the "vibe" side.
yeah i used word "budget" because i'm not yet in the 2-4k range of dacs

so, do you think or better do you know i'll have a serious improvement from duet2?
Old 5th June 2019
  #29
I was about to suggest the Dangerous Music source. It's no budget soundwise but aim at rather "small" usually itb setup. Plenty of handy features aswell and it's nice looking
Old 5th June 2019
  #30
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynngraber View Post
i meant the m900, it does have a killer headphone amp, but it also has stereo outputs to connect monitors. They are unbalanced, but honestly that doesn't matter. Its a really great converter.
very interesting considering the price, thanx
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