Hands's Non-Oversampling DAC Comparison Master List

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Hands, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. jwr159

    jwr159 Rando

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    Received the Morpheus and Hermes combo a few hours ago. Quickly hooked up only the Morpheus to the TV optical out using a crappy cable. I am liking what I am hearing.

    Real quick, similar tone as the Audial. But more of everything - more depth, more sound staging, more detail. Definitely a nice step up. This weekend I will properly set things up with proper cables, etc.

    Again, thanks to Hands and earnmyturns for the advice and feedback.
     
  2. jwr159

    jwr159 Rando

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    Checking in. I have used the Morpheus for about 1 month now. I would share my experiences with the DAC now that I have been using it for a while.

    When I first received the DAC, it was a noticeable notch or two up from the Audial. While I always enjoyed the Audial, the Morpheous was better in pretty much every measure, except one. With good recordings, the Morpheous was more detailed, three dimensional, better imaging, more clarity. Several veils seemed removed, just a clearer picture into the music. The Morpheous is just better than the Audial. My one issue with the Morpheus is that with poor recording, you clearly noticed.

    The more I listened, the more I began to realize that something was not entirely right with my system. I was using an integrated chip amp from Audial (the Model A). At times (not always), the music had a rough edge to it. I had a hunch that the Morpheus and the Audial amp were not a great match. Some of the synergies of using the Audial Model DAC and the Audial amp was lost.

    My sense was my system needed a change. I decided to introduce tubes into the system and purchased a used SET 45 amp. Here is my set up... I am taking advantage of both the RCA and XLR outputs on the Morpheus.

    Morpheus RCAs --> 45 SET amp --> NO cross-over --> field coil drivers in an open baffle.
    Morpheous XLR - -> Dayton sub amp --> pair of TBI Emperor subs.

    My system now sounds exceptional - kind of mind-blowing actually. The realism is startling. Listening now has made me think that the Morpheous really has no faults. Nothing seems to be lacking. From top to bottom, the Morpheous just seems to excel. I will continue to listen and at some point, I may find something to criticize. But right now I really can't find anything to dislike.

    So based on my experience, I think the Morpheus is outstanding, but like any component, is somewhat system dependent. If you find issues with the Morpheous, I would be willing to bet the limitation has something to do with something else in your system.

    To me, the Morpheous represents an outstanding value. The cost is mid-priced. I am willing to bet it sounds better than all the moderately priced "DACs of the month" that are constantly coming out, make a splash and then are replaced with the next DAC to hit the market. Are there better DACs out there? I am sure there are. But if you like the NOS sound, and are not willing to spend a small fortune, then I believe the Morpheus will be hard to beat. Overall, I think the Morpheous is a great value.
     
  3. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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  4. jwr159

    jwr159 Rando

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    Dumb question - how do you "link" a post in one thread into another? Would just copying and pasting into the Morpheus thread be acceptable?
     
  5. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    idk how to link but copy/pasting there is actually better as it is the place for the Morpheus impressions.
     
  6. A Child of the Jago

    A Child of the Jago Facebook Friend

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    Wondering if anyone has heard Audial's new Model S4 and if they have any impressions they can share - particularly how it compares to the original Model S and perhaps against the newer Metrum DACs or other NOS DACs.

    Would also be great to hear from guys who have NOS DACs that they're enjoying or don't enjoy that aren't on @Hands original list.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  7. jwr159

    jwr159 Rando

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    I used the Audial Model S for many years before replacing with the Sonnet Morpheus. I have never heard the Audial S4. I am guessing the S4 is an incremental improvement over the Model S. The Sonnet, however, is a significant step up over the Model. But the Sonnet is about 50% more expensive.
     
  8. Ruprit

    Ruprit Rando

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    Audial is currently taking orders for the Aya 5. It's a diy focused NOS DAC that comes with the option of a completed unit for about $1150.

    Here's a short quote about the design "In its topology, the AYA 5 comes closest to the S DACs. Its USB and S/PDIF stages are similar to those of S5, and its I/V stage is similar to the one used in The Model."

    For someone like me, who's not quite ready, or able, to move into the price bracket that modern NOS DACs command, this could be a great option.

    I've placed my order for one and look forward to its delivery, hopefully before the end of this year.
     
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  9. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    edit: damn it, you got me. I ordered an aya 5. Looking forward to hearing a nice NOS dac. My last one was the starting point systems battery dac.. great midrange but didn't like frequency extremes.. and I did use jriver for software oversampling
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
  10. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    I wonder why the choice of the TDA1541A. Its very interesting and look forward to your thoughts, when it arrives.
     
  11. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    I still have an Aya II and will never sell it, will use it until the day it gives its last breath ;)
     
  12. Ruprit

    Ruprit Rando

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    Nice!

    If you scroll down to the comments section of the Aya 5 page they're posting progress updates. A prototype has been made with some preliminary measurements using non-matched components. Some listening impressions have also been given.

    It's funny you mention that. I've been reading Audial's blog posts from their designer, Pedja. He has a post announcing the Model S as the last DAC he will make using the TDA1541A. That was in 2011, lol. I get the impression he will keep developing DACs using said ship until stock has dried up. He has mentioned making DACs using other chips here and there but the TDA1541A still wins out.
     
  13. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Yeah I'm positive he'll keep using the TDA1541 until it's no longer possible :D
     
  14. magicscreen

    magicscreen Rando

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    I have bought an L1387 4xTDA1387 true-multibit, non-oversampling, no-filtering $30 DAC for experiment.
    I have never heard this type before.
    Surprisingly, I like its sound much better than my delta-sigma DAC/CD/DVD.
     
  15. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Tried those, very muddy IMO :p
     
  16. magicscreen

    magicscreen Rando

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    It seems that heavily depends on the following headphone amplifier.
    My be this "one resistor" I/V converter output is sensitive to it.
    What luck I did not sell my Atom.
     
  17. Tekker

    Tekker Acquaintance

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    What is a smooth, full sounding NOS DAC/amp with a 3.5mm headphone jack output?
     
  18. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Solid all-in-ones are far and in between, let alone ones that come w/ good NOS DACs. Only soekris comes to mind really.
     
  19. Tekker

    Tekker Acquaintance

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    And is there a smooth sounding NOS DAC around $100 that I can pair with my Chord Mojo as the amp?
     
  20. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    you're not in the right price bracket for NOS at $100... Generally, NOS is going to be more expensive than other options. You probably need to add a zero and even then you're on the very low end of NOS
     

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