Help please, some guidence on which dac to keep

I have 2 dacs and i have to get rid of one they both owe me the same. But which one?

1/ Sonic Frontiers SFD1-MkII with HDCD That has the UltraAnalog AES21 input and D20400A da module. It has a very good midrange and treble the bass though is a little plumpy and ill-defined but not boomy, probally because of the 6dj8 tube output stage, coupling caps are 3.3uf to the outside world 350ohms output impeadance @ 1k and up to [email protected] This is running into my passive pre which has an input of 8k. So you can see the problem of the bass. But i can up the coupling caps to 15uf same Solens as the 3.3uf, and even change out the 6DJ8 for a much gruntier 6H30 which also has lower plate impeadace and more current drive.

2/ Musical Fidelity A3/24 CS8420/PCM1738E Discrete single ended transistor output stage. This is very powerfull and tight, the mids treble are smooth and sweet though not as transparent as the Sonic Frontiers the bass is stunning. below is the cuircuit of the M/F.

Can you guys give me some direction, maybe which has the better convertor chip AES-21/D20400A or the CS8420/PCM1738E.

I love the sound of both for different reasons, the S/F has the mods which can be done, but do you think it will fix the bass problem.
Cheers George


2003-12-07 11:57 am
Hi georgehifi,

6H30 with better coupling capacitors sound like good idea. Solens are very clinical and fast, so you should try as well AuriCaps or even WIMA MKP10 or MKP4 (10's - more soft, 4's more accurate).

I am modifying A3 CD Player at the moment (with the same chipset and very similar analog stage) - doing full monty. The original parts are quite shocking in fact - Disk Smith capacitors & disc-ceramics at A$2500 - what a rip-off. However, the layout is good and the chipset okay! There's potential!!! (The analog filtering caps are shocking as well). There are some other things that need attention, mainly around oscillators...

So, it comes down to your taste - I think you are probably Musical Fidelity kind of person. Keep it and improve it.