Is an external DAC a worthwhile upgrade?

Chewie

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Is an external DAC a worthwhile upgrade for my existing CD player a Musical Fidelity A3.2 :Not Sure:eek:r should I instead start saving my pennies for a totally new integrated unit.

There are, as you are aware, more thana few external DAC’s out there but what sort of money? and more importantly which sort of DAC should I be looking for to achieve an audible improvement over my existing unit?

I have noticed there a few on eBay at the moment, which motivated me to ask the question.

Thanks in advance for any kind soul who offers some advice.
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Papa Lazarou

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  1. No
Definitely worth a look Chewie. Frank's Monarchy Audio is a belter IMO. It will seriously upgrade the performance of your CDP.

 

Chewie

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Papa Lazarou wrote:

Definitely worth a look Chewie. Frank's Monarchy Audio is a belter IMO. It will seriously upgrade the performance of your CDP.
Thanks Papa
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Frank's was one of theDAC's I had noticed but I am not familiar with the Monarchy DAC so I don't know if it would be an upgrade or not without having heard one :Not Sure:

 
E

Effem

Guest
Chewie wrote:

Papa Lazarou wrote:
Definitely worth a look Chewie. Frank's Monarchy Audio is a belter IMO. It will seriously upgrade the performance of your CDP.
Thanks Papa
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Frank's was one of theDAC's I had noticed but I am not familiar with the Monarchy DAC so I don't know if it would be an upgrade or not without having heard one :Not Sure:
It's a seriously good DAC Chewie. Trust me.

Your MF 3.2will sing it's heart out through it
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A

Alex A

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I upgraded my A3.2 with a Chord DAC 64 back in February. Absolutely immense improvement (whether that says more about the CD player being bad or the DAC being brilliant i dont know!)

You're welcome to come and have a listen to the A3.2 with and without DAC in my system anytime. I even had non believers (who think i'm a lunatic) saying privately 'have you heard Alex's DAC?! how the fk does it do that?!' after they have demo'd it.

The A3.2 is as good a transport as more or less any integrated CD player.

 

Papa Lazarou

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  1. No
The DAC64 is quite pricey. A S/H one is likely to be £900 - £1k. The PS Audio DACs are superb value S/H. I used one on a Meridian 507 with superb results. I'd still consider Frank's Monarchy M-22 though - its also had the piggyback DAC chip upgrade.

 
M

Mr Coherent

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Personally Chewie, I would wait for a couple of months, as they will be some quite decent digital reply gear available by then as people up grade due to new releases.

You will be able to find a £4k single box spinner for around the £1750 mark.

Adding a dac can work well with some equipment for sure, even adding in a SRC/Reclocker ups the ante too.Though remeber another mains lead/digital cable to add into the equazion and it starts to build up.

If you can wait, my advice stick with a quality one boxer (or have you M/F tweeked another option)

IMO I've have only heard 3 transport dac combinations that are actually an improvement on a quality single box unit, and all of those cost 5 figures.

Just me 2p worth. Mr.C

 

icehockeyboy

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  1. No
Big coincidence this question, cos i asked it of a magazine reviewer type person (no names mentioned) who gave his honest opinion by replying

" im not that familiar with MF kit, but i believ they shot themselves in the foot as the dac in the 3.2 is on par with an outboard one"

Obviously i was asking his thoughts on an MF branded dac,so other brands may give bigger differences.....Hope this helps if you were thinking of going down the MF road..............

 

Davewhityetagain

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Jul 24, 2005
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Agree with Mr C very few outboard DACs worth going for, one hopes when building cd players they would get it right so need to spend more on another DAC

 

JamPal

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Jul 19, 2005
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  1. No
There is no inherent advantage in having a seperate DAC. So i don't know what the fuck the chap IHB was talking to meant.:Not Sure:

However, as a cost effective upgrade to the MF DAC in your 3.2 the Monarchy is a forking awesome peice of kit IMHO.
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Depends on your budget. If you can afford what I think MR C was hinting at, at around £1750.00 you could be in for a real treat.

 

Chewie

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Thanks for the input Lads
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even though I am more baffled now than when I started :Not Sure::lmao:

 

Chewie

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Biscuit wrote:

did you ever get to listen to some Bryston amps Chewie?
Yes I did Biscuit :)last weekend in fact. I was totally blown away by the Bryston’s
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:cool:in fact, with the Bryston pre power the PMC GB1’s sounded more like their big brother the FB1’s :shock:when comparing them with the MF amplification. With the Bryston's the bass from the GB1’s delves a lot deeper, it’s tighter and has considerably more detail than I could ever hope for compared to my MF A3.2.

I also auditioned some of the larger MF gear, some Meridian and a couple of others.

I should have my amplifier upgrade sorted by the end of the week
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Chewie

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hifiwigwam wrote:

Depends on your budget. If you can afford what I think MR C was hinting at, at around £1750.00 you could be in for a real treat.
Well you cant just leave me dangling in the dark like that James
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:wall:pray tell, what do you think Mr C is referring to :Not Sure:I am a man trying to make a decision :Not Sure::lmao:

 

Craig

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I've only heard good things about the Monarchy DAC, but for the 1k you have with selling the MF and cost of the Monarchy, that's a fair chunk of s/h CDP you can buy

I used to have the MF DACv3 and all the gubbins that go with it. nice, and all that, but neither that nor the previous NOS DAC convinced me that transport + DAC had any particualr benefit over one box.

You're also gonna run into the 'which transport' conundrum, and do you stick with the MF as transport or not. Hours of fun
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I suggest you have a chat with Frank about the Monarchy and maybe try that as a 'dip in the water' . it's not a Chord 64 so it's not gonna break the bank.....and you're unlikely to lose anything on it either shoudl you not take to its fancy.

 

PAG

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adding a dac to my meridian 206 was a massive improvement, in all areas, certainly not subtle.

adding the monarchy DIP gave another leap in performance and took away all the grain on the top end, and the gain was like adding another higher quality dac.I think the meridian must have been a high jitter transport, but the dip sorted that.

I tried a few dacs before settling with the Dax , inc musical fidelity A3, tag and nos dac (Really shut in and bland to my ears). The dax was better in every area.

if you have an older (but good) transport, adding a better quality dac does reap rewards in my opinion.

I won`t be upgrading for a long while yet
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E

Effem

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The Monarchy DAC was number 11 I think in the procession of them that I had. It included MF, Orelle, Dac-in-the-Box, Chord 64, Wadia 12, PS Audio, Audiolab, Flying Cow, White Noiseand acouple of others I got so excited aboutI have forgotten what the heck they were. The closest any of them got was the PS Audio and that was ousted only really because it was in black finish. The one I have now is only a micron away in performancefrom the MA.

 

gsrai

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Chewie wrote:

Is an external DAC a worthwhile upgrade for my existing CD player a Musical Fidelity A3.2 :Not Sure:eek:r should I instead start saving my pennies for a totally new integrated unit.
Mate

I went through the same thought process with my Xray cd player and an XDAC V3 - conclusion - dont waste your money on this MF DAC.

Bearing in mind my CD player is some 6 years old like yours I was hoping the XDAC V3 would be a chalk and cheese improvement - it wasn't ((subtle at best I would say and even then I was straining!).

Try some other brand DAC if I were you as the "best DAC in the world ever to infinity" - didn't help my CD player that much
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