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Old 09-24-2008   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: PA
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Default Re: DA Converters

Thanks for the replies and additional info. Unfortunately, as much as I would love to be able to afford a Theta DAC my lowly systems engineer position doesn't pay well enough to make that a reality so I am forced to make sacrifices on my audio choices.

During one of my many internet searches over the last several days I came across a very interesting DAC that I will probably end up going with. It's a Stage IV modified PS Audio DACIII offered by a company named Cullin Circuits found here:

Cullen has been involved with PS Audio since the beginning and has been granted the ability to produce his own version of the DACIII. All the specs on paper appear very impressive and the price is right up my alley. Thru email I inquired about the possibility of adding an additional SPDIF input in place of one of the other inputs I would never use anyway (USB) and was told it would be no problem. Supposedly this modification would not affect sound quality in any way.

I read a decent review on this modified unit found here:

Has anyone here experienced or heard anything about this unit or company before?

Thanks again for your time
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Old 09-24-2008   #8
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: US
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Default Re: DA Converters

The one from Audio Research has a full compliment inputs that you can choose from on the front panel. While not as high priced as the Esoteric, it is about $3500.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-25-2008   #9
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: White House, TN
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Smile Re: DA Converters

Well you might consider another alternative.

I used to have the Dac1 DA Converter which is incredible.
I paid almost $1000 for it and had the same issue you have.
I got an Outlaw 990 Home theater pre-amp for my surround sound and found out that the Outlaw had the up-conversion just like the Dac1 and also had a DA chip in it that was the exact same chip as in the Dac1 except a model one step down. The only real diff. in the two was that the Dac1 had a slightly higher signal to noise ratio, (only about 5 db).
After doing a listening test and comparing the 990 pre to the Dac1 I decided you couldn't tell the difference at all; And I'm extremely critical when it comes to my music.
I do side work tracking vocals in Pro-Tools for a studio here in Nashville so I'm used to hearing some extremely good audio.
I think you'd be pleasantly surprised at the sound quality of the Outlaw 990 and your problem will be solved.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the Outlaw 990 has XLR balanced outputs!
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Old 09-25-2008   #10
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: White House, TN
Posts: 5
Smile Re: DA Converters

Here's a link to the Benchmark Dac manual:

Here's the link to the Outlaw 990 specs.

The Outlaw 990 use an Analog Devices AD1852 24 bit 192khz chip.

Very, very good.
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Old 09-25-2008   #11
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Québec, Canada
Posts: 17
Default Re: DA Converters

Maybe you already have checked the Chord DAC 64.
Take a look at it as it might be what you're looking for.
It a british product from Chord which supplies the BBC
Price wise it's in the range of 4K$ to 6K$, you might find one used that match what you are ready to pay for.

It's an amazing piece of gear that really improve the listening experience of a CD collection.
I have it since 2004 and this component would be one of the last to disapear from my set-up.

Last edited by Mcintosh Man; 09-25-2008 at 07:39 PM..
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Old 09-29-2008   #12
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: White Plains, New York
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Default Re: DA Converters

Based on the info I have, The Benchmark is a great unit period. Price or other wise. And Bel Canto, makes a very good DAC as well. Its gonna come down (like usual) to your wallet, and then if you will be able to hear or demo any of these units we are all suggesting. Which, can be a challenge.

Certainly, you need a dealer who can be quite flexible and allow you time to listen and choose.
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