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View Full Version : Are you a fan of the Dac Magic?



daveyboy
04-06-2009, 18:06
Got me wondering, because these have been highly praised, so for those that are, have you heard the beresford to? what I have read is that the dac magic gives more bass, is a bigger sound all round but lacks some of the refinement of the beresford, what do you think?

leo
04-06-2009, 19:42
Heard one not too long ago, wasn't really my cup of tea but its not bad for the price I guess, features, balanced out, USB in etc

To me it sounded electronic , not really harsh or nasty, just fake, my AYA spanked it imo
Never heard a 7520 so can't comment how it compares

Labarum
05-06-2009, 13:08
I would love to see a proper comparison of the two Beresford DACs with the DacMagic and the V-Dac.

These are the most genrally available budget DACs in UK.

I would then like to see them up against the similar priced offerings aimed more explicity at the computer and music industries.

For my part, I have only really heard my Beresford 7510 and my son's Denon AV Amp - and there is not a lot to choose between them.

Production electronics is now so good that "high end" keeps chasing and ever distant goal and an ever shrinking market.

Spur07
07-06-2009, 16:30
If you google search there is a kind of mini-review from someone who tested the DM against the 7520. From what I can remember the 7520 came out on top in most instances until the DM was used with the balanced outputs.

I've read comments from / spoken to people who have traded their 7510 for the DM who claim the sound was sweeter with a less prominent top end.

webby
09-06-2009, 13:19
There's one on ebay now for 140, ends in 7hrs.

I'm tempted.

StanleyB
09-06-2009, 19:36
There's one on ebay now for 140, ends in 7hrs.

I'm tempted.
Go for it.

Sheldon N
14-06-2009, 04:13
I've got both (one for an upstairs sytem, one for a downstairs system) and I just did a comparison today so I thought I'd share the results.

The Beresford 7520 has been modded with the Tirna Electronics version of the THS4032 op-amp on the line-out stage. The DacMagic is stock. Test system is a Mac Mini playing Apple Lossless files via iTunes, Belkin Gold USB cable to the DAC, Kimber Silver Streak interconnect from the DAC to a Rotel RA-9858X 100W x 2 integrated amp, Kimber 8TC speaker cable, to a pair of Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitors (stellar speakers!).

For the comparison I set them up both simultaneously running out of the Mac Mini via identical USB cables (Belkin Gold) and interconnect (Kimber Silver Streak) into the Rotel. I was able to toggle back and forth on the same song just by changing the output selection on the Mac Mini and the Rotel at the same time. Music used for the comparison was Eva Cassidy, Holly Cole, Keb Mo, Radiohead, Loreena McKennitt, Alison Krauss, etc.

Both are very good, slightly different flavors though. The Beresford sounds more detailed, a little crisper on the top end, fuller on the low end with more bass impact, and the soundstaging sounds a little wider and more airy. The Dacmagic is perhaps a little more smooth through the midrange, and features the midrange a little more in the mix than the Beresford. The Dacmagic soundstage is a little less wide, but imaging is perhaps a little more focused. The Beresford seems to have the top half of the midrange a little more crisp and detailed than the DacMagic, while the Dacmagic is still detailed but perhaps smoother and balanced in the lower half of the midrange and in the vocals.

I can't say that I prefer one over the other. I think the Beresford is better for stuff that has a good bass groove to it (ie. Keb Mo's - Come on in my Kitchen) or for things with a lot of airy top end detail, but the DacMagic maybe has an edge for solo vocals due to the balance/smoothness in the midrange. If your preference tends toward the detailed hi-fi sound you might like the Beresford more, but if your thing is all female vocalists then the Dacmagic might be your choice - I could live with either. The Beresford is going back upstairs in my desktop computer system (Virtue Audio One Integrated Amp, Usher S-520 speakers) however that's primarily because the Beresford has a great headphone output for late night listening on my Grado phones.

The Beresford is certainly a good value - a fair bit cheaper than the DacMagic!

Hope this comparison is of use to someone, feel free to link to it on other threads. At some point I might do is redo the comparison but drop in the LM4562NA op-amps instead of the 4032's to see how that affects the midrange.

Spur07
14-06-2009, 10:31
Thanks Sheldon

Nice review - very useful indeed. I've been wondering about the DM for a number of months now. As you say, more expensive than the 7520 but I notice Audiocom do various modded upgrades of the DM. Think I might just wait for the Niam Dac to arrive.

Labarum
14-06-2009, 10:49
Among the similarly priced DACs to the Beresford this should be considered

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/24192-USB-20-beer-budget-EMU-0404-mini-review

http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=15185

http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/product/15385-e-mu-0404-usb.html

It is a slightly different product in that it has to be connected to a PC to manage all its functions, but it will work as a stand alone DAC. It has balanced and unbalanced outputs, a volume control and a phone amp that will drive more demanding headphones.

It has quite a following in the other place, as witnessed by the length of the linked thread.

I have not heard the EMU box, and have only heard the Dacmagic in unfavourable shop conditions, so I am not is a position to make any comparison with my 7510, which I love.

StanleyB
14-06-2009, 11:40
Think I might just wait for the Niam Dac to arrive.
There was a thread on PFM about the Naim DAC. It was said to be not as good sounding as the CD5x. At the same token, the TC-7510 is considered to be on par with the CD5x by many Naim owners.

StanleyB
14-06-2009, 11:43
the Dacmagic is still detailed but perhaps smoother and balanced in the lower half of the midrange and in the vocals.
The MLC5/MLC6 mod solves that issue on the TC-7520, especially when combined with the LM4562.

Spur07
14-06-2009, 12:42
There was a thread on PFM about the Naim DAC. It was said to be not as good sounding as the CD5x. At the same token, the TC-7510 is considered to be on par with the CD5x by many Naim owners.

Stan, I haven't seen the thread on PFM - the only word I've heard about a Naim Dac on the Naim forum was a prototype tentatively unveiled at some hi-fi show. From what I've read many people predict they may be releasing 3 models at different price points. I agree that if it turns out to be only as good as a CD5x then there really is no point in it at all - the Mac/7510 option considerably outperformed my entry level Naim CDP. I can't see Naim aiming that low tbh.

StanleyB
14-06-2009, 13:26
From what I've read many people predict they may be releasing 3 models at different price points. I agree that if it turns out to be only as good as a CD5x then there really is no point in it at all - the Mac/7510 option considerably outperformed my entry level Naim CDP. I can't see Naim aiming that low tbh.
It will be interesting to see what happens. I am not resting on my laurels...

Stan

Spur07
14-06-2009, 13:44
If they go down the multi-model route I reckon they'll pitch in at 1000, so it probably wouldn't be in direct competition to your good self. (However at that price it would have to considerably outperform any budget dac.)

They'll always be a market for budget dacs when they continue to slay big budget CDPs

StanleyB
14-06-2009, 14:42
I don't know how others do it, but I separate cost from performance. The TC-7520 could easily have been graced with a 499.99 price tag.

Labarum
14-06-2009, 14:46
Does that mean you are going to re-case and sell at that price, Stan?

Should I be quick and buy one before you do?

:)

trailer
14-06-2009, 15:26
There was a thread on PFM about the Naim DAC. It was said to be not as good sounding as the CD5x. At the same token, the TC-7510 is considered to be on par with the CD5x by many Naim owners.



I've got a FlatCapped CD5x and the Wolfsoned 7520 is certainly a different class. In fact the CD5x very rarely gets a play these days and I'm seriously considering P/Xing it with the 202 for a 282.
I preferred the 7510 to the Naim too mind you.

Spur07
14-06-2009, 16:16
The standacs seem to thrive within Naim systems. I get plenty of good stuff from my 7510 + 72/hicap/250.

I've often thought about exchanging the 7510 for the 7520. Stan, what are the figures?

Spur07
14-06-2009, 16:56
trailer, I expect the 282 is quite an upgrade in comparison to the 202 - I'd P/X the 5x if I were you. I sold my Naim CDP last year to go digital.

Labarum
14-06-2009, 19:14
And how does this product measure up?

Some folk rate it highly. 130?

http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=17511

USB input only.

Gazjam
14-06-2009, 20:00
Looks cool.

Specs are good.

Labarum
14-06-2009, 20:05
Looks cool.

Specs are good.

See this, Gaz:




Tracker Pre vs 0404 USB

Have you ever compared that Tracker Pre to the 0404? Looks like the Tracker
Pre can do everything the 0404 can, just some different chipsets....

Purely used as a playback device (=DAC) for a PC (or Mac), the Tracker Pre
and the 0404 USB are almost on par. The differences between the DAC chips are
small (SNR of those in the 0404 is around 5 dB better), and the clock circuit
of the Tracker Pre has even lower jitter than the already excellent < 200 ps
of the 0404 USB that Juergen reported: it's < 100 ps! That, sort of, makes up
for the inferior SNR...

Furthermore, the Tracker Pre draws quite bit less power than the 0404 USB, so
it does not require a separate DC adapter and can be USB-powered -- which is
neat when you're out and about with a notebook computer to record nature
sounds like croaking toads... LOL

But, of course, you could also be doing some audiophile listening with said
notebook computer, the Tracker Pre and some quality headphones on a long
intercontinental flight... :)) Just make sure the airline is not "Oceanic" --
otherwise you might get "LOST" ;-)

On the other hand, the 0404 USB has a bunch of features the Tracker Pre
doesn't have.

For example, the Tracker Pre does not have any digitial I/O, no optical or
coaxial S/PDIF. That's why you can't use it as a DAC for an external
component like a CD or DVD player with S/PDIF out. IOW: you can't use the
Tracker Pre as a stand-alone DAC. It always has to be hooked up to a computer
to be used as a DAC.

The total absence of digital I/O is also the reason why I have no way of
testing / measuring at what sample rate the Tracker Pre is actually running.
As I mentioned before, with the 0404 USB, one can always grab its S/PDIF
output with another device (or possibly even do a local loopback of S/PDIF
out to S/PDIF in) and determine the sample rate that way, or test for bit
accuracy. That's not possible, at all, with the Tracker Pre.

It also does not have that convenient post-DAC "analog master volume knob"
that the 0404 has. It does have a knobbie for adjusting the headphone volume
(and a very nice headphone preamp to go with it!), though...

Oh, and the Tracker Pre has no MIDI ports, but that's probably not really an
issue for the audiophile crowd...

That about covers the differences between the two units...



Link: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/24192-USB-20-beer-budget-EMU-0404-mini-review#comment-20825

becseattle
15-06-2009, 21:27
I don't know how others do it, but I separate cost from performance. The TC-7520 could easily have been graced with a 499.99 price tag.

I find it hard to believe that in today's economy, that someone in business is choosing to sell a product way below market value on the basis of sheer altruism. If you are trading volume for margin, sure.

Please explain

StanleyB
16-06-2009, 00:11
I find it hard to believe that in today's economy, that someone in business is choosing to sell a product way below market value on the basis of sheer altruism. If you are trading volume for margin, sure.

Please explain
Market value is mainly based on what the seller can get away with. Of course you find it hard to believe, because your first instinct is to get rich quick if the customers are prepared to pay through the nose.

Stan

Marco
16-06-2009, 07:32
Stan,

As a successful businessman myself for many years, I think that your current business model for the product you're selling is spot-on, and it is therefore no surprise that you're doing so well despite the current economic climate.

Anyone with a marketable product can make a fast buck to satisfy a demand - in the short term. But once you've milked the cash cow dry, that's the end of milk supply.

No, remaining successful as a company in the long term, and surviving through the current economic climate, requires a different approach. Trading steadily on small profit margins per item, but multiplying that through volume sales, is the key to continued success.

I prefer to play the long game in my business, and I suspect you do too in yours :cool:

Keep up the good work, mate!

Marco.

The Grand Wazoo
16-06-2009, 07:49
Stan,

As a successful businessman myself for many years, I think that your current business model for the product you're selling is spot-on, and it is therefore no surprise that you're doing so well despite the current economic climate.

Anyone with a marketable product can make a fast buck to satisfy a demand - in the short term. But once you've milked the cash cow dry, that's the end of milk supply.

No, remaining successful as a company in the long term, and surviving through the current economic climate, requires a different approach. Trading steadily on small profit margins per item, but multiplying that through volume sales, is the key to continued success.

I prefer to play the long game in my business, and I suspect you do too in yours :cool:

Keep up the good work, mate!

Marco.

I'd say that the current economic climate is a positive advantage for anyone with Stan's business model & the sales he's making now will make a solid foundation for him when things pick up.

StanleyB
16-06-2009, 08:10
You're spot on Marco. With many more ideas for new products in my head it is important not to alienate my core business customers with 'when I got some more money to spend' type of prices.

My approach is slowly paying dividends. One of my competitors has a DAC on sale in the UK for around 40 more than mine. However, that same DAC is as much as 200 more expensive in some other foreign markets. The upshot of it has been that I have increased my sales and even ended up establishing distribution networks in other corners of the globe. That network is growing.

My steady and affordable price has also been helpful with sales to parts of the world where the average local monthly salary is a mere fraction of our own weekly salary. What was once a product that many in far flung corners of the earth drooled upon over the internet due to its traditional high price, has now become a tangible acquisition.

Given that sort of outcome, it would be commercial suicide to suddenly raise my prices out of reach of the audiophiles who can least afford expensive gear.

Stan

Marco
16-06-2009, 08:50
Sounds like a well-thought out and successful business plan to me, so stick to it and ignore the dissenters :)

Marco.

myles
16-06-2009, 19:49
Sounds like a well-thought out and successful business plan to me, so stick to it and ignore the dissenters :)

Marco.
It is well thought out, and has a long life ahead of it. Not creating upgrades every six months, allowing past customers access to modifications and upgrades, and just the friendly customer service will, and indeed already be paying dividends. I see a lot of the dissenters you mention, Marco, and can't understand it. Stan is giving a great service, and at an affordable price for me, which is pennies for others. Long may it last.

becseattle
22-06-2009, 15:53
Stan,

As a successful businessman myself for many years, I think that your current business model for the product you're selling is spot-on, and it is therefore no surprise that you're doing so well despite the current economic climate.

Anyone with a marketable product can make a fast buck to satisfy a demand - in the short term. But once you've milked the cash cow dry, that's the end of milk supply.

No, remaining successful as a company in the long term, and surviving through the current economic climate, requires a different approach. Trading steadily on small profit margins per item, but multiplying that through volume sales, is the key to continued success.

I prefer to play the long game in my business, and I suspect you do too in yours :cool:

Keep up the good work, mate!

Marco.

My point wasn't that the Beresford should have it's price raised, just that it is already at its correct pricepoint, and I don't think it fair to say it oculd be sold for 1000 bucks if he wanted to.

There are many good DACs at this price, and that's about what they are worth,

Marco
22-06-2009, 16:07
My point wasn't that the Beresford should have it's price raised, just that it is already at its correct pricepoint, and I don't think it fair to say it oculd be sold for 1000 bucks if he wanted to.


May I ask what this 'pearl of wisdom' above is based on? Have you compared the Beresford to one of these other DACs you mention, and if so, which one(s), and what were the results?

Btw, what is your first name and basic location? We politely ask that all new members supply these details by popping into the welcome area and saying hello - thanks!

Also, what is your system? :)

Marco.

becseattle
23-06-2009, 01:01
May I ask what this 'pearl of wisdom' above is based on? Have you compared the Beresford to one of these other DACs you mention, and if so, which one(s), and what were the results?

Btw, what is your first name and basic location? We politely ask that all new members supply these details by popping into the welcome area and saying hello - thanks!

Also, what is your system? :)

Marco.

Sure, my name is Bruce and I live in Seattle. I have listened to many DACs, and own 6 at present (all bought second hand and not worth the bother of selling, I lend them out as needed or trade them). I have never heard any DAC that bests the decent cheapies enough to be worth the cash, and I think that things like Benchmarks and Lavry's are a bit overpriced at $800 (I have listened to them a lot, at home and elsewhere). I have discussed my DAC listening at length on PFM over the years.

I never commented on the Beresford's quality, since I have never heard it, just that I think this is the right price point for most DACs that aren't burdened with a designer label. If the Beresford is exceptional, than it's a good buy. I was simply commenting instead on the market forces that drive DAC pricing, and why someone would charge much less for a DAC than they thought it was worth. No offense intended.

Systems are simple and a bit pedestrian: Naim CD5/hicap, Squeezebox, YBA Passion Integre, Audio Physic Virgo in the living room, and Macbook/SB, Primaluna Dialogue and Klipsch Forte IIs (on loan) in the basement. Have not made up my mind on the basement system yet.

Marco
23-06-2009, 08:11
Hi Bruce,

Thanks for that. Sorry for being a little abrupt, but we occasionally get manufacturers/retailers of some of these DACs you mention joining in disguise to have a pop at the Beresford (and Stan) for commercial reasons (essentially trolls), and I thought you might have been one of them :sorry:

Could you do me a favour and add "Bruce" to your signature and "Seattle USA" to the location details on your profile, so that it appears under all your posts?

Oh, and if you could post pictures of your system in our gallery then that would be great.

Cheers! :)

Marco.

link
18-07-2009, 00:24
I've got both (one for an upstairs sytem, one for a downstairs system) and I just did a comparison today so I thought I'd share the results.

The Beresford 7520 has been modded with the Tirna Electronics version of the THS4032 op-amp on the line-out stage. The DacMagic is stock. Test system is a Mac Mini playing Apple Lossless files via iTunes, Belkin Gold USB cable to the DAC, Kimber Silver Streak interconnect from the DAC to a Rotel RA-9858X 100W x 2 integrated amp, Kimber 8TC speaker cable, to a pair of Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitors (stellar speakers!).

For the comparison I set them up both simultaneously running out of the Mac Mini via identical USB cables (Belkin Gold) and interconnect (Kimber Silver Streak) into the Rotel. I was able to toggle back and forth on the same song just by changing the output selection on the Mac Mini and the Rotel at the same time. Music used for the comparison was Eva Cassidy, Holly Cole, Keb Mo, Radiohead, Loreena McKennitt, Alison Krauss, etc.

Both are very good, slightly different flavors though. The Beresford sounds more detailed, a little crisper on the top end, fuller on the low end with more bass impact, and the soundstaging sounds a little wider and more airy. The Dacmagic is perhaps a little more smooth through the midrange, and features the midrange a little more in the mix than the Beresford. The Dacmagic soundstage is a little less wide, but imaging is perhaps a little more focused. The Beresford seems to have the top half of the midrange a little more crisp and detailed than the DacMagic, while the Dacmagic is still detailed but perhaps smoother and balanced in the lower half of the midrange and in the vocals.

I can't say that I prefer one over the other. I think the Beresford is better for stuff that has a good bass groove to it (ie. Keb Mo's - Come on in my Kitchen) or for things with a lot of airy top end detail, but the DacMagic maybe has an edge for solo vocals due to the balance/smoothness in the midrange. If your preference tends toward the detailed hi-fi sound you might like the Beresford more, but if your thing is all female vocalists then the Dacmagic might be your choice - I could live with either. The Beresford is going back upstairs in my desktop computer system (Virtue Audio One Integrated Amp, Usher S-520 speakers) however that's primarily because the Beresford has a great headphone output for late night listening on my Grado phones.

The Beresford is certainly a good value - a fair bit cheaper than the DacMagic!

Hope this comparison is of use to someone, feel free to link to it on other threads. At some point I might do is redo the comparison but drop in the LM4562NA op-amps instead of the 4032's to see how that affects the midrange.

have you tried to compare dacmagic to beresford with the 4562NA yet?

thanks.

daveyboy
21-07-2009, 11:23
Thanks to those who have compared the dacmagic to the beresford. I was just curious as to whether I was missing out or not, but it seems I am not which is always good. I think as things stand currently for me I will keep hold of the Beresford TC 7510 because 180.00 plus for a new dac the follow up Beresford and the replacement op amps is too much for me right now.

This hi fi lark is expensive business!

StanleyB
21-07-2009, 12:06
Thanks to those who have compared the dacmagic to the beresford. I was just curious as to whether I was missing out or not, but it seems I am not which is always good. I think as things stand currently for me I will keep hold of the Beresford TC 7510 because 180.00 plus for a new dac the follow up Beresford and the replacement op amps is too much for me right now.

Do the extra wires mod on the TC-7510. See my website for details. Later on you can do the LM4562MA or THS4032CD mod. Then replace the PSU with the forthcoming Caiman PSU and you'll be grinning for weeks.
If you want, just get a LM4562MA at some stage and when the Caiman PSU s available and you decide to buy one, I'll stick the 4562 in your DAC for you FOC if you send it back and cover the return postage.

Stan

Stratmangler
21-07-2009, 12:45
[QUOTE=Sensimilia;55079]Do the extra wires mod on the TC-7510. See my website for details./QUOTE]

Hi Stan

I must have been asleep when this was posted. What does this mod do ?

Chris:doh:

StanleyB
21-07-2009, 13:15
[QUOTE=Sensimilia;55079]Do the extra wires mod on the TC-7510. See my website for details./QUOTE]

I must have been asleep when this was posted. What does this mod do ?

What if I tell you that it grows hairs on your chest and all the ladies in the neighbourhood are going to speak highly of your new found fertility:eyebrows:?

Stratmangler
21-07-2009, 14:31
What if I tell you that it grows hairs on your chest and all the ladies in the neighbourhood are going to speak highly of your new found fertility:eyebrows:?

Icing on the cake, even taking Mod21 parts 1 & 2 (already done some time ago) into consideration ?

More chest hairs is something I do not need - I'm hairy enough as it is !:eyebrows:

Chris:)

daveyboy
22-07-2009, 17:54
I appreciate the offer Stan but not still not sure about the merits of a new PSU. I don't want to give the wrong impression either, I am thrilled with the Beresford I do have but then as time passes, I start wondering about how much better it can sound.

Codifus
26-07-2009, 19:12
Daveyboy,

I can tell you 1st hand that the PSU makes a substantial difference. I was one of the early purchasers of the TC-7520 and I got the "not quite ready for primetime" PSU. I wasn't too happy with the 7520. Once the new PSU became available, I worked with Stan to get a discounted (I gather for being one of the early 7520 adopters) and the difference was night and day. The original PSU was introducing something to the system, I don't know quite how do describe it, noise perhaps?:confused: The upgraded PSU really let the 7520 shine like I never thought possible.

And get this: the upgraded PSU is actually less powerfull the the "not ready" PSU.

Go figure.