Just for fun… an old audio geek friend of mine stopped by this past weekend and we did some A/B/C/D ing…
Results: We both could easily pick out which unit was playing… very easy to do.
- PS Audio JR - natural sounding with plenty of space and image
2 Accuphase DP-55v CD player with digital ins
3 - Benchmark DAC USB
4 - Audioquest Dragonfly Black (1.5) ($100)
PC via USB to Mutec 1.2 to various DACs to PrimaLuna HP integrated allowing for simple one-button switching of the same music source… Adioquest was attached to a 2nd USB port and required one-button switchin on integrated plus switching driver in Foobar.
I won;t go into it too much, but the differences were more than obvious to both of us and both could pick which was playing 100% of the time. I level balanced them with a 1khz tone measured with my old Realistic SPL meter… works fabulously. I will just note the surprises:
1 - The Accuphase is about a 20 year old CD player with digital ins… it is really suseptible to jitter but the Mutec really really mitigates much of this. Anywho… this unit is very close to the PS Audio so the myth that new must be better is not always true. The Accuphase lacked some of the detail and air of the PS Audio, but still is one of the most analog and musical DACs I ever heard (along with Ayre products of the time).
2 - Benchmark - just not musical… even when I purchased this thing I thought it sounded “dead”. I have no idea why it was rated so highly. If you listen to it with a technical ear, everything is there… but it just doesn;t get your toe tapping.
3 - Aduiquest Black - for $100, this thing is great. Not a great sounding DAC, but I use one at work attached to my Asus laptop and it makes even YouTube video music sound good. I think this thing is a must have for at-work music.
Accuphase info: http://www.accuphase.com/historys/dp-55v_e1.htm
"In the DP-55V, two delta sigma converters are operated in parallel, which results in a performance improvement by a factor of 1.4 (=√ 2). An important characteristic of the MDS principle is that the performance benefits are achieved regardless of signal frequency and signal level. "
Bruce in Philly