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  Stereopal.com - Toronto DAC Shootout Event  Date:  April 19, 2011






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  DAC Shootout  
  Dac 1: Weiss DAC 2
  Dac / CDP 2: McIntosh MCD1100
  Dac / CDP 3: Oppo BLD 95
  Dac 4: Lampizator Level 3 DAC
  Dac 5: Wavelength Cosecant


Comments from Louis:

One thing I've learned from this shootout was that you really cannot compare 6 components at one time and get a fair shake. In Chinese we have a phrase that said you cannot admire flowers from a galloping horse. That was what was expected of us who participated by playing two songs a piece blind and then try to sum up the shootout of 6 components.

We also did not have a consistent setup for each, like feeding the Lampizator from the Weiss's SPDIF out, balanced and single ended, driving the DAC from the computer and then from the transport. In the first evening I was able to sit relatively close at the sweet spot, while the second evening I was standing at the back over to one side, so I did not have a good chance to hear the 6 DAC's that were there.

I will sum up my experience of the shootout with the following general observations:
  • All the DAC's were good enough that I could live with all
  • The Lampizator did have that extra clarity and air that is appealing, though suffers a bit in the bass region. However, I would not buy it because of the lack of computer interface and looks like a DIY product
  • The Weiss, while did not stand out in the upper or lower region performance, is still a very natural sounding DAC with lots of connection flexibility
  • The MCD1100 is a solid performer but at $11,000 is over priced.
  • Byron's DIY DAC is a steal and amazing performer for the money, if you have the technical know-how to put one together, I will have to agree with the dig on the fit and finish
  • The OPPO is a run away steal at $1000. It is good enough that I am going to sell my Esoteric DV-50S and only keep the Esoteric UX-3 in my system. The fact that it plays any disc imaginable is a huge bonus. BTW although the OPPO does not have a digitl input, it will play off its USB inputs of all WAV and FLAC files. My friend has connected his hard drive to the OPPO and played high rez files from the USB input so it is a real DAC as well
  • The Wavelength Cosecant was a real surprise, great flow of music and tight bass. Rene's observation that there is a difference in sound quality with balanced and single ended output is valid. I verified this at home by connecting my Weiss to my Pass INT-150 via both balanced and single ended Purist cables and there definitely is a difference in favour of the single ended output, which has better clarity and better resolution over the balanced (not night and day but discernable)     
Next time really we need to compare no more than 3 components (preferably 2) at a time and have more variety of music, in both redbook and high rez materials. We also need to pay more attention to equalizing the variables. All in all still great fun, thanks Rick for hosting.


Comments from Marco:

 To me, the biggest surprise was how much better the Mcintosh DAC/CD player sounded when when playing "my little angel" when compared to the OPPO unit . The bass was much tighter and defined. Interesting enough, I couldn't tell the difference between the two units when playing the classical piece, I guess the bass was the difference.


Comments from Rick

Here’s my take:  The results from two nights of DAC/CDP shootout were mind boggling.

The Weiss unit which made to the top on Friday evening was on the bottom of almost everyone’s list on Tuesday.     To my own ears, the Weiss offered a balanced, conservatively neutral presentation.   It lacked a little bit top end ambiences.

The Lampizator which was at the bottom, made it to the second best spot on Tuesday, beaten by the Wavelength Consecant which was the unanimous winner by far.  

Consecant:  It was better in every respect: top end and bottom end extension, dynamic range, sound staging and clarity.  The lampizator was not far behind, but it lacked definition at the bottom end.     I suspect the Lampizator will allure those single ended, single driver system because within the limited frequency spectrum, the Lampizator will perform nicely within that region.    

The difference between the OPPO vs. the MCD1100 was greater than originally thought.     I also noted the lack of any type of digital input which means the unit cannot be used as a standalone dace.   For $ 950 bucks it is still a winner regardless.


Comments from Rene Stock:


The Weiss sounded better with single ended connection than balanced. The earlier poor results were with balanced connections into Rick's preamp. At the end we shortly tried single ended and the resutls were much more even between DACs. Note that both the single ended and balanced cable were Purist Audio so little change there.
The Wavelength sounded best on Redbook. On High-rez the downsampling to 24/96 seemed to be less ideal (there is a new 24/192 version of the Wavelength).
Surprisingly the tightest bass and best imaging came from a tube DAC with a tiny powersupply and output transformers (Wavelength DAC).
































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