Looking for a DAC recommendation for Maggie 1.6's

jkabsnd -- Sun, 04/08/2012 - 00:45

New to this forum but have been lurking a little while.  I have read some excellent posts which were informative and useful. In other portions of this site I have appreciated Jonathan Valin's comments and Chris Marten's comments, especially since they are both fond of maggies.
What I haven't seen much of is possibly a list of recommended dacs for Maggie 1.6's. Any suggestions?
Some background on my system:  SBT SPDIF digital output driving different dacs into an old yamaha RX 595 receiver and that driving the maggie 1.6's. 
I know I need to upgrade the receiver amp. I am looking for suggestions there as well (maybe this should be in the system building section?). Jonathan Valin seemed to think that on the more affordable side I could go with parasound A21's or the Odyssey Khartago's or Stratos as the amp.  Chris Martens mentioned the A23 amps as a low cost alternative as well.  Would be interested in other suggestions that are not class D.
As far as dacs that I have tried and am still too picky about. First, I realize that my receiver might have been obscuring or changing the flavor of those dacs to some extent but in my partial defense I do tend to keep the volume to reduce dynamic headroom strain on its 80W/ch (into 8 ohm) amp. But, in any case, here are the dacs I have tried: SBT  (too small a soundstage, too unrefined, and too thin sounding  but then at the cost and for everything else it does I can't really complain); PS audio DL III ( great midrange, but somewhat boomy and soft bass, and adaptive USB that was, well honestly, not that great sounding); MF M1A (the newer one--honestly I just didn't like the sound of it at all--somehow to bright on the top end, too much air and in certain bands too  sweet); Schiit bifrost (the best low cost budget dac under $500 I found but it lacked soundstage width and depth and the vocals sounded thin--then again at $350 for what it does correctly --pretty darn good --but I guess I want more and am willing to pay it I suppose); peachtree idac ( the best I have auditioned so far -- very good soundstage, good detail retrieval, good imaging, but tends to be sibilant sounding or maybe its just showing how sibilant my receiver is?)
The DACs I am considering to audition in the near future: Anedio D2, Audiolab M-DAC (if I can find one),  W4S DAC2 (but I don't dig their 15% restock fee which would be >$200 just to try for a month), EE Minimax DAC Plus (really difficult to audition one--well more like not very likely at all), higher level Schiit DACs (but who knows how long that can be till they ship?).
Any comments or suggestions or feedback on dac choices? I really wonder what DAC is going to work best with maggies in general.  Would I be better off with a NOS DAC like the Schiit? Or a more tubey sounding one like the Minimax: Or a more accurate one like the Anedio D2?
I realize this is personal taste but I note that you really have to live with these devices for a while to see all the good and bad things with each. I am trying to get any additional experiences from other users as well as advice. Sorry for such a long post but looking forward to responses. Hopefully, this is also interesting enough to others to get the TAS authors to comment like JV or CM or ?

earwaxxxer -- Mon, 06/04/2012 - 20:56

I'm a bit late on this one but here goes...I SO relate to your system given that I have the MMG's with the Transporter as front end. I assume SBT is 'squeezebox touch'. Here is my suggestion before you try any more DAC's. Upsample your redbook to 24/96 with Sox using Foobar. Change the 'phase' to 'minimum' (apodizing) in the SRC settings. Also in the bitrate screen select 'dither always'. I feel that is a good start to make your redbooks sound as good as it can through the squeezebox. Then you can tweak the DAC stuff. I'm thinking about the same EXACT DAC's as an upgrade. Another option is to add some tubes in the preamp. As far as amps, I cant say enough about the Emotiva stuff!
Cheers - Eric

Maggie MMG's (modded), Squeezbox Transporter, Emotiva XPA-2, HSU Research sub, Sub amp - Crown, MSB Link DAC lll, Bottlehead Quickie preamp (modded), JPS Labs Digital powercord, MIT Z-cord, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 interconnect and speaker wire

jjosephsOWA -- Thu, 06/14/2012 - 16:28

I am late on this one as well so he it goes. You did not mention what your budget was or the maximum you wanted to spend, so I thought it would be OK to mention another DAC, designed and manufactured in Germany, that retails for $1100. The company is Lindemann and their USB-DAC that offers 24/192 performance, uses the Wolfson DAC chip WM8742, utilizes the XMOS chipset and supports MAC and Window based systems (32 & 64 bit OS), and all three inputs support 24/192 (Optical, USB 2.0 and Coaxial-RCA). You can read more about it online including Positive Feedback's review in Issue 59 (January/February). Good luck with your search.

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