Hello PS Audio Tribe,
I am currently streaming from an iPhone 6 into a Marantz CD6006 CD Player via USB. The CD6006 has a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC. Where does this put me on the DAC food chain?
What freestanding DAC would be a noticeable upgrade while providing the most bang for my buck? Budget: $300-$600. The DAC doesn’t have to be iPhone compatible. Windows laptop is fine. Kind of zeroing in on Schiit but open to other suggestions.
Hey Paul, What does the rest of your system look like? Amps, speakers, etc…
Here’s my rig:
Preamp: McIntosh C27
Amp: McIntosh MC2200
Speakers: Elac UB5’s
and within the next two months…one Rel T5i Sub
Nice, some cool vintage Mac gear! The REL will do well with the UB5s. They have decent bass on their own which will help integrating the new sub.
I wish we had something to offer in this budget range. Something like the Sprout has way more features than you currently need. I think something like the Schiit Bifrost would do well and would a bit upgrade plugging in your computer as opposed to using your phone through the Marantz.
I got a used PS Audio NuWave DAC in your price range and it works wonderfully in my headphone only system–a very good sounding DAC for that kind of money. Built ruggedly so should give years of service.
Thank you. I will look into the BiFrost.
I never noticed the NuWave. I thought the cheapest PSAudio DAC was around $1500. Thanks.
Ah you said USED. Got it.
There’s a very good chance that used unit would be the best sound for the money.
Just out of curiosity, James, would you say that NuWave DAC is higher quality or lower quality than the one in the SGCD?
Good question. The DAC itself is nearly identical. I believe they’re both using the same 9010 chip. One of the big reasons for putting the same 9010 chip in the GDAC was we already knew how to work with it and make it sound great.
Well, either way, I’m happy as a clam with the SGCD, though for now the only action its DAC gets is the I2S input from my CD transport that’s set to upsample everything to 128 DSD. And for the record, that sounds fantastic. But my SACD player only reads the SACD layer if it’s using its analog outputs, so I can’t use the Stellar for that. And the Node 2i is using its own DAC so it can do the final unfolding of MQA files, but when I drop Tidal I’ll probably switch over to its digital outs and let the Stellar do that bit of lifting, too.