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Old 20th September 2012, 12:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrows View Post
Well $500 for a Buffalo DAC is not really very representative of the cost:

Buff-III module................................$379
Legato III module.............................$ 90
Placid HDBP.....................................$ 90
Placid HD........................................$ 60
Transformer....................................$ 25
Transformer....................................$ 23

Chassis..........................................$ 200 for something half decent. Much more for something nice.

Miscellaneous jacks, hookup wire, hardware
.................................................. ...$150

OOPS, we still do not have any controls, or any way to interface the DAC with a computer, so, lets say a good USB interface plus power supply
.................................................. ..$350
And I guess an Arduino set up to control it all and a power supply for that
.................................................. ..$300

So now we have a Buffalo DAC for USB at: $1667.00

But we have not allowed anything for our 50 or so hours of labor we used to put it all together, and we have not allowed any $ for shipping expenses. What is your time worth?

BTW, I have a really good Buffalo build, with Salas regs, many upgraded ($) parts, an onboard SOtM async USB receiver modded with CCHD Series clocks all in a custom chassis. I'd say it probably cost me $3K in parts alone, and indeed, it sounds very good. I also have quite a bit of experience listening to the PWD. I cannot say my DAC "smokes" the PWD, both DACs are very good, and differences may be just a matter of sonic preference rather than one really being superior. But the bottom line for me is that the PWD offers a good value for a made in USA commercial product.

Sorry for the OT nCore folks, I have heard my DAC with nCores briefly, and the combo sounded nice.
Wow, I didn't realize that there were so many required extras for the Buffalo. Some of your estimates are a bit high perhaps. The assembly time is a red herring: some of us just like to build our own while others only build if it saves money. I can see how a PWD and nCore would make a great non-analog combo.
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Old 20th September 2012, 12:21 AM   #12
bavmike is offline bavmike  Canada
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Originally Posted by barrows View Post
Hmm, like I said, my feeling is the PWD offers good value. And yes, I have heard the mk II. I used to work at PS Audio, and I live in Boulder, and still visit the listening room at PS occasionally.
BTW, the Buffalo drives the nCores directly very well, with either the IVYIII or the Legato output stages. And the Buffalo volume control is superb, no preamp needed (I sold my Ayre). Either way I would say you cannot go wrong, both are excellent DACs to my ears.
Excellent. I would like to build some active speakers using the future Hypex DSP boards for xovers, and Ncore amps. Since the DSP will take place in the digital domain, I will require a different channel of D/A conversion before each driver. In that application I think the buffalo's would be the best choice. Unless Bruno comes up with something better then the Buffalo first.
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Old 20th September 2012, 12:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by bavmike View Post
If anyone would care to know, the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC MKII is stunning when used in combination with the ncores. No preamp required. It put's out more then enough gain to drive the amps directly to their full capability, and has a built in volume control. Anybody want to buy a Eastern Audio Minimax plus with Burson and Dexa upgraded opamps?
I'm using a NAD M51 which also drives the Ncores well - similar functionality with a squeezebox added.
I must admit though having heard the PS Audio it's a nice piece of kit and imagine a perfect pairing with Ncores.
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Old 20th September 2012, 12:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by bavmike View Post
So the Buffalo loaded up with all the goodies, with labor (unless your time is valueless) is pretty much the same price. But you are still missing the ethernet link and being able to directly access your media library via network storage with no computer, squeezebox or anything else required, and conveniently control with a user friendly interface via iPhone, Ipad or Android. As well as a top quality 24\192 Asynchronous USB interface, XLR, Coaxial and optical inputs, as well as balanced XLR outputs along with RCA. Volume and balance controls, along as enough gain to drive the ncores to level that will blow most speakers out there. So I won't need a preamp anymore, saved thousands there. Don't forget the 5 filtering options to tweak the sound of lower quality recordings. Oh ya the touch screen, thick aluminum chassis and remote control are also nice too. Now if you ever decide to upgrade your buffalo, think your gonna fetch the same resale value on the used market as a PWD? I think my mind is made up unless anyone can talk me out of it. BTW did you compare your Buffalo with the MKII edition? It's vastly superior to the original.
The PWD with network bridge is $4800. I wonder if the Bryston or Benchmark might offer comparable performance for much less. Anyway, enough off-topic DAC/preamp/streamer talk.
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Old 20th September 2012, 12:56 AM   #15
bavmike is offline bavmike  Canada
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I think most people on here with Ncores, have the need for a digital source of some type. Since the Ncores are so revealing, digital sources that might have sounded good with other amps, may not fare so well with the Ncore. So I think that if anybody has some useful information about a digital source, in any price range, that they have personally had positive or negative results with while pairing with the Ncores, would be a great benefit to the Ncore listening community. The Ncores are very high end amplifiers. And with out a equally high end source, their true potential is never revealed. I believe in matching all the components in the audio chain with components of similar quality. The end result is only as good as the weakest link.

Last edited by bavmike; 20th September 2012 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 20th September 2012, 01:28 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by mike_mcf View Post
The PWD with network bridge is $4800. I wonder if the Bryston or Benchmark might offer comparable performance for much less. Anyway, enough off-topic DAC/preamp/streamer talk.
The Benchmark sounds like crap compared to the PWD. The PWD is a really good DAC, with very sophisticated power supplies (including discrete super regulators for critical stages), and a very, very good discrete FET-Bipolar output stage running on high voltage rails, built with quality parts.
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Old 20th September 2012, 01:33 AM   #17
bavmike is offline bavmike  Canada
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Originally Posted by barrows View Post
The Benchmark sounds like crap compared to the PWD. The PWD is a really good DAC, with very sophisticated power supplies (including discrete super regulators for critical stages), and a very, very good discrete FET-Bipolar output stage running on high voltage rails, built with quality parts.
And quality parts cost money. PS Audio priced it very reasonably for what it offers. If you can't afford quality, save up or settle for a lessor solution. Maybe better yet, buy the UCD 400's and put the money saved into a better DAC. You will probably end up with a better overall result. Cheaping out on a dac to feed the ncores, is like putting z rated tires on a 1965 Volkswagen minibus

Last edited by bavmike; 20th September 2012 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 20th September 2012, 01:53 PM   #18
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The Benchmark sounds like crap compared to the PWD.
Wow, have you heard both in the same system?
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Old 20th September 2012, 01:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by bavmike View Post
If you can't afford quality, save up or settle for a lessor solution. Maybe better yet, buy the UCD 400's and put the money saved into a better DAC. You will probably end up with a better overall result. Cheaping out on a dac to feed the ncores, is like putting z rated tires on a 1965 Volkswagen minibus
Good point, unless you are doing the amp now and have plans to upgrade the front end next, then you should probably go nCore. I can't recall the pricing on nCore vs. UCD400 -- was nCore that much more?
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Old 20th September 2012, 04:29 PM   #20
bavmike is offline bavmike  Canada
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Good point, unless you are doing the amp now and have plans to upgrade the front end next, then you should probably go nCore. I can't recall the pricing on nCore vs. UCD400 -- was nCore that much more?
About half the price to build. But still an amazing amp. The latest version has some Ncore technology incorporated into it as well. Paul at PS audio is working on a perfectwave amp using the module. Only thing is he's changing the input stage into his own design. He claim's it's the best sound he's heard. So for people on a budget, I don't think you can go wrong.
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