Am bored today, typically don’t talk about higher end dacs on the forum (because most people wouldn’t care and not interested in this range of dacs lol) but I recently picked up a m21 platinum, and so far it’s pretty sweet, it’s mainly going to live in my bedroom setup. So far my chain has been the m21 > RS audio b-52 > lta zotl ultralinear > spatial audio x5. I guess it’s main party trick is that it has 3 separate dacs inside, a sigma delta analog devices chip, a ladder dac, and a true dsd dac. It can’t be nos, but you get 2 choices of filters (linear and minimum phase) and personally I prefer the linear because it sounds more organic to me on this dac. Also has a network streamer built in, but haven’t tried that yet, just been using usb for now
Regarding the differences between the internal dacs, so far I think I prefer the ladder dac because it seems like the most quick and resolving, more accurate timbre wise, and is a bit more dynamic and punchy, but it’s actually a smaller difference than I would have thought, the sigma delta actually somehow is more forward yet more smooth, almost like a more fun sound which is strange. Overall the dac tends to be very studio accurate with a hint of fun, it’s not the most impactful and it’s not the most forward, it’s really resolving and transparent sounding but it’s not fatiguing or overly emphasized, really would make a great studio dac (like their M1 studio dac lol). Spatially it’s very impressive but not stand out for the price category, but for how refined it sounds in other aspects I can forgive it lol. These are just first generalized basic thoughts so far, but it’s sounding pretty great. Sorry for the really simplistic writing and basic thoughts, it’s really damn hard to put into words what higher end dacs and amps can do, I simply don’t have the vocabulary to do so lol. Although I could most likely give some more detailed comparisons with other similar tier dacs since imo I could prob give actually useful info there. I’ll tack on more to this thread once I get more listening in
Thank you for your message have googled after part umm yes a nice little small car or a good deposit for a thick car, lol.
Seriously, where you are sitting at the source of something like this, does it make a difference if you are aiming for the $1000-1500$ range or is it a waste of money?
A Youtuber in Germany said yes up to 1000$, but higher it gets quite narrow.
I can confirm that when I coupled my Fostex Hp A3, Cambridge Audio dac with a headphone amplifier and now the Singxer is standing there, it was a world of difference in all areas.
Of course the comparison is not quite fair because under 1000$ you can almost say it is only built to fit and the other is a question of cost from the production and of course you want to sell “high end” audio for a ridiculous price.
Your fancy part is clearly built differently because the parts are carefully selected and partly tested for the requirements.
So the question is, does it really make audible differences again or is it really the minimum range?
Otherwise have fun with it.
Spending some more time with it, I noticed that while it might sound a bit on the cleaner side of things, tonality is really accurate to the recording, if you give it poor material it will sound really unnatural, but give it the right recording it can be super organic, so it’s pretty damn unforgiving lol. It’s really good at balancing it’s accuracy with impact and slam, initially I thought this was a bit light in impact and weight, but now I’m not feeling that today after listening it for awhile, it really tends to be recording dependent, and also I should say it doesn’t immediately impress, but after listening more with it, it’s really quite impressive the balance it strikes. This sounds more uncolored than most of the dacs at my desk for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing lol.
Digging deeper into the staging and spatial recreation of this dac, it’s accurate to the recording and does a good job, but nothing that really stands out to me at this price point. Typically I would be more critical here, but for how refined and composed the rest of the dac, I kinda am not minding it too much. Also to be clear it’s not bad, it’s just not standout. Typically with a higher end dac, I only care about 3 things: spatial recreation/accurate presentation, timbre, and dynamics, if it can do those correctly you have me sold lol. I think the pure resolution and no nonsense this dac can provide while having very accurate timbre and dynamics to me kinda make up for the shortcomings or unremarkable stage. I knew this would be a more studio oriented sound going in, but I think it ends up being better than that imo. More listening to go lol
This is actually a very good piece of commentary. I think that I can now begin to understand some of the gains I’m hearing having experienced more and more of the spacial recreation and dynamics. I’m not entirely sure what timbre sounds like other than you know it when you hear it. Are the words resonance and decay a good substitute for the word timbre?
What’s your definition of it?
More importantly, how much of this nuance do you get and where would you place the yardstick of diminishing return? (different for everyone I know). I ask because I KNOW that I’m never going to sink money or even hear what a $10k DAC can do, so what’s the impetus for someone with a fantastic $5k DAC to move to the next tier and the next tier after that?
IMO that’s where the most improvements are to be had, in the intangibles
That would be more speed and time domain things for me. Typically when I say timbre I could boil it down to does this cymbal sound like a cymbal, or does this horn sound like an actual horn, as in like the tone of the instrument and how close does it sound to real life if that makes sense. You can have gobs of detail and other technicalities, but if something doesn’t sound tonally accurate to life that’s kinda off putting to me lol
Uh it really depends, like if I take my living room setup, the difference from lets say a 5k dac like the holo may to a dac like the totaldac d1-direct (with the d1-drivers) is pretty damn massive, but like a holo spring 2 kte to a may kte isn’t actually as large of a jump in comparison. I guess it just really depends on your setup and needs. Also with higher end dacs like this, ofc never pay retail, most of the higher end dacs really come down in price so it’s more affordable than you would think
Honestly I should really have just made a general high end dac thread lol
@M0N would you say the MSB Technology Select II DAC is a tier above or is that just old tech?..and askew question on a speaker set up how would you rate a high end turntable setup compared to a high end digital one on spatial recreation/accurate presentation, timbre, and dynamics?..a bit off topic I know but interesting non the less?.
Although, I don’t own a summit-fi DAC, I would say I am using an end-game DAC for most. I would agree that the upgrade is quite noticeable, especially if you have gear that scales well with electronics. I think electronics play an important role in the chain and you certainly receive good dividends. Both of my amp and DAC upgrades transformed my speaker setup in which I wouldn’t even recognize the previous sound anymore.