Are you looking for the best DAC (d/a converter) in the price range from 1500 euro to 2500 euro? That’s great! Because we’ve put ten beauties side by side. And we tested it live on camera for you. You were able to follow this stream on 15 February 2020. But if you missed it: here it is. Now we will work out the details for you.
Multi-tests are always interesting. And for several reasons. First of all, it gives a good insight into a certain product segment. It is interesting to compare directly, because that way differences are better revealed. And that does not necessarily have to be a case of good or bad, but also differences in interpretation, focus, target group, etcetera.
Secondly, it’s incredibly educational. Because this direct comparison teaches us very well what the differences between various dacs are. Are they big? How does it deviate? What about price differences? You get the point.
In order to be completely transparent, we turned on the live stream. This way you can see how we worked and you can even listen in. After all, we’ve put the microphone in front of the speaker. In the next stream we try to do it completely in stereo. That’d be great.
We did the test with three authors: Yung Lie, Geoffrey Vanhouwaert and your editor: Jaap Veenstra.
Many readers are familiar with the test system:
- Pass Labs XP12 preamplifier
- Bryston 4B SST3 power amplifier
- Focal Sopra No1 speakers
- Audioquest Oak speaker cable
- Audioquest NRG1000 power cabling
- Isotek Titan EVO3 filter for the Bryston
- Kemp PowerStrip 8plus connector block for the rest
- Metrum Acoustics Ambre Roon endpoint as source
Streaming goes through our media network, which also includes an optical decoupling. We’re streaming from the NAS and from Tidal. All dacs – except the Chord – are coaxially connected to keep things the same. We connected the Chord via an Audioquest Vodka optical cable. This is a very high quality optical interlink.
- Steven Wilson – Pariah – Live Royal Albert Hall (FLAC, 24bit / 96 kHz)
- Anette Askvik – Liberty (Tidal, FLAC)
- Jacques Loussier Trio – Little Fugue in G minor (Flac, CD)
- Bob Dylan – Man in the Long Black Coat (Tidal, FLAC)
Let’s start with the first five!