Back to the DAC

Just a bit of an update. When I inquired about a DAC upgrade in a recent post, it was suggested that I look at upgrading my cables first. Since then, I have done so (see my virtual system for that). Not over the top stuff, but a definite improvement over the mostly stock, generic cables I originally had.

System is sounding pretty darn good, but like most of us, you always wonder what a more expensive DAC will offer in the way of sound quality improvements.

Many of the recommended, higher priced DACs seem to include streamers and/or offer pre-amp capabilities. I have a good streamer and pre-amp and really don’t want all those components in one box.

Have any of you experienced a DAC which offers the sound qualities of highly praised units like the Mola Mola Tambaqui, DCS Lina, T&A 200, Weiss DAC501, etc. which their only function is a DAC?

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OK, I just need a DAC. Not sure where the reference to a M21 came from, to many model numbers, I’m getting confused!

If you want a DAC with no other features I can think of a few.  At the lower end (sub $5k) there are more.  

SoulNote DACs are just DACs.  I believe they have a SE version at $7k (d-1), balanced at $9k (d-2) and reference at $35k (d-3 plus clock).  I found the d-2 indistinguishable from the DAC portion of the Lumin X1.  

Another brand is Aries Cerat but the Helene starts at $19k and they go up from there.

the Emm labs DA2 is DAC only but list is $30k.  Used units should up in the $15k range. 

you can bypass the volume control in many units (Meitner, playback designs, etc…) 

we have tested dozens of DACs and always look at the DAC stage without any other features.  I validate the line stage works but never use it.  Even in very high end devices like the Berkeley and Playback products.  Streamers are different.  They usually are better only my experience due to internal I2S connection. 

@verdantaudio thanks, but I have already purchased a Bricasti M1 and am currently upgrading it to a Series II. Figures crossed this is going to be "The DAC!"