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Need a tube dac

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Hey guys I am in need of a tube based DAC. So far I have been working with another member (Spriggs) on making me a tube amp, but I also need a tube DAC as well. So far I have been eyeing the jolida....a lot, but to be honest I have not auditioned enough tube dacs to really have a good idea of what is good and what is bad. Spriggs tells me there are better tube dacs, but to be honest, google is not helping me find any good tube dacs for less than 3K.

My budget would be about 550 and quite frankly I would like to keep it down to 450 if at all possible. I won't be buying for a while, but unlike computer stuff, audio doesn't change too much over time. smile.gif

Any ideas?
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post #2 of 48
I don't think you're going to find one at $450.
And if you did, I wager to say that the premium for valves would be s significant part of the price, to the determent of overall SQ.

Maybe a DIY kit/plan???? But I'm not aware of any and wouldn't know where to look.

If you're open to used/demo there are two ways:
Find one that you're interested in at about $1,500 (if one exists, and assuming 1/3 for used/demo), find the US distributor and from him find all the places where it's sold. Contact all the sellers (they all have contact links on their webpages) an ask about used/demo units. They're also a good source for private sellers wanting to upgrade.

Have you tried USAudio Mart? It's high end audio for sale/wanted. Post a wanted.
I just picked up a pair of mint Amphion Argon2 speakers (list about $2K) for $600.

I think AudioKarma also has a for sale/wanted section.

Just out of curiosity, why a tube DAC?
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post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

I don't think you're going to find one at $450.
And if you did, I wager to say that the premium for valves would be s significant part of the price, to the determent of overall SQ.

Maybe a DIY kit/plan???? But I'm not aware of any and wouldn't know where to look.

If you're open to used/demo there are two ways:
Find one that you're interested in at about $1,500 (if one exists, and assuming 1/3 for used/demo), find the US distributor and from him find all the places where it's sold. Contact all the sellers (they all have contact links on their webpages) an ask about used/demo units. They're also a good source for private sellers wanting to upgrade.

Have you tried USAudio Mart? It's high end audio for sale/wanted. Post a wanted.
I just picked up a pair of mint Amphion Argon2 speakers (list about $2K) for $600.

I think AudioKarma also has a for sale/wanted section.

Just out of curiosity, why a tube DAC?

First off, thank you for the quick reply.

To answer your last question first, they sound better than SS. I went to a head-fi meet about 4ish months ago, and I was able to listen to all sort of amps and dacs. One guy brought in the Schiit Lyr and the bitfrost, and it honestly did not sound that great of an improvement over the asus essence stx. Even though the amp used tubes, there was very little difference.

Other than the Sr-007s and the blue hawaii, and of course the stax lambdas, nothing else really sounded like a worth while investment over the stx. Sure things sounded a bit better, but the cost of that little bit was 1K and above.

Then came in the tube amp and dac. They were the only thing that brought warmth and musical qualities to the Q701s that the STX could not. In short, if I wanted solid state, I would probably either rebuy the stx sound card, or I would get the schiit magni. Since I would rather not, I am hopping to get my hands on something with a bit more warmth to it.

(Also, my musical preference is really warm, dark, full, and forward. I do not like cheerful and bright sounding things)

I would be fine with a DIY kit as well. I was sort of hoping that Spriggs would teach me how to design my own, but I think I have already drove him up the wall with this amp and my stupid questions. lachen.gif

I will check out the rest of your suggestions. I am completely fine with used equipment. Spriggs again actually works in a pretty cool audio store that introduced me to the jolida to begin with. They have pretty good things and certainly some great dacs. The problem is they all cost about as much as a car and some even cost as much as a house. Soooooo yeah. I think I will be buying a home before I buy a dac upsidedwnsmiley.gif

Next stop, USaudiomart.com thumb.gif
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post #4 of 48

Not sure how you feel about Grant Fidelity, but they have the DAC-11 for about 350 dollars. I haven't had the pleasure of testing it myself but it is an option at your price point.

 

Hope this helps in the start of your search/research.


Edited by youra6 - 2/17/13 at 3:53pm
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post #5 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by youra6 View Post

Not sure how you feel about Grand Fidelity, but they have the DAC-11 for about 350 dollars. I haven't had the pleasure of testing it myself but it is an option at your price point.

Hope this helps in the start of your search/research.

hey thanks. If that works, then that gives me more money to put toward my final headphone amp biggrin.gif

I will ask around thumb.gif
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post #6 of 48
there are a couple

Scott Nixon's Tube DAC 2.2
Grant Fidelity Tube DAC11
Music Hall 25.3
Eastern Electric MiniMAX - the MiniMAX is probably out of your budget but I hear nothing but good things about it. it's got a neat feature you can change the output to solid state or tube.
    
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post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

there are a couple

Scott Nixon's Tube DAC 2.2
Grant Fidelity Tube DAC11
Music Hall 25.3
Eastern Electric MiniMAX - the MiniMAX is probably out of your budget but I hear nothing but good things about it. it's got a neat feature you can change the output to solid state or tube.

Thanks for the reply, you haven't heard any of them have you?
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post #8 of 48
unfortunately not. a computer store in my area of all places carries the Jolida FX Tube DAC

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1135_1145&item_id=054349

like I said I heard really good good things about the MiniMAX. it was on my short list before I bought the Mytek Stereo 192 DSD.
    
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post #9 of 48
forgot about the Musical Paradise MP-D1. shame on me being Canadian and all

http://www.musicalparadise.ca/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=61&product_id=56
    
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post #10 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

unfortunately not. a computer store in my area of all places carries the Jolida FX Tube DAC

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1135_1145&item_id=054349

like I said I heard really good good things about the MiniMAX. it was on my short list before I bought the Mytek Stereo 192 DSD.

Wow, that is a good price for the jolida. I am seeing close to 500 bucks here.

My greatest concern about the dacs that I have been seeing so far is that they all have some type of amplification. That is great for some, but I do not need such a thing. I am concerned that in the end I will be paying for something I don't need rather than better parts for the dac itself.

Hopefully that makes sense.

However, if the dac sounds good one way or the other, I would love to know (reviews are not good sources considering some of them do not come from experienced audiophiles).
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Samsung SyncMaster T240HD Coolermaster XT Green switches XFX 1000w Corsair 800D 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Naga Epic 2014 edition Razer Vespula Stax Lambda Nova Classic Custom DIY DAC 
AudioAudioOther
300b PP monoblocks Snell J3 NZXT Hue 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz 8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz EVGA X99 SR?  AMD 390x 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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Yin&Yang
(19 items)
 
Soon
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4820K Gigabyte X79 UP4 GTX 660 (waiting for new AMD cards) Samsung green  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Adata SP900  Seagate 2TB hard drive (the power of 1 edition)  Custom WC Loop Linux (various versions) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster T240HD Coolermaster XT Green switches XFX 1000w Corsair 800D 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Naga Epic 2014 edition Razer Vespula Stax Lambda Nova Classic Custom DIY DAC 
AudioAudioOther
300b PP monoblocks Snell J3 NZXT Hue 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz 8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz EVGA X99 SR?  AMD 390x 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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