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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:31 am
Posts: 90
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
My foray into digital music from PC arrived in the form of a Halide DAC HD. I bought it over the web from Moon Audio, and received a black Friday discount of 20%. Not bad. Shipping took 2 weeks. No additional cables or power supplies needed. The DAC runs from USB power.

This is a very sturdy piece of kit, unpacking it with a very beefy USB cable portion to the black box, and then the DAC unit, and then the stereo RCA cables. Serious Stuff. Installation is painless, although it must use a USB2.0 port as my USB 3.0 combi port did not like this (HP Pavillion laptop). Music server is JRIVER MC 18, Direct Audio mode. (now if I could get GIZMO running as a remote from my Android phone, it would really be a perfect setup).

First notes: If you plug new kit into an input you haven't been using in your Amp, let it burn in a bit. I'm using a Roksan K2 integrated. I compared a selection of FLAC files taken from my own CDs, comparing to the CD played in my Rega Apollo. Simply by flipping the source, I can easily A/B the devices when starting the same track on both simultaneously.

My first objective and thesis of this test: The Laptop should serve via the DAC a redbook CD file at the same quality level as the CD on the Rega Apollo. This is totally satisfied. It is not exactly the same, different, but so subtle. I actually made a mistake and played uncompressed MP3 files on the laptop a bit, and they were very close also, just a bit rolled off on the highs. Bass, was very good and warm on both devices.

I will follow up with pics and more tests. As I am testing CD Player:DAC, I am not terribly interested in higher resolution formats but assume it will just be more of the same good results. Other notes, running streaming radio through the DAC is very, very good also. My end goal is to move all CDs to a NAS storage solution and drop a dedicated notebook to serve.

Equipment:
Roksan Kandy K2 Integrated
Rega Apollo CD Player
Audio Refinement Complete Tuner
Totem Staaf speakers, Totem speaker cables.
Atlas interconnects.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 5:46 am
Posts: 209
Location: Newmarket, ON, CA
Congrates Spunout!!!

You are just a bit ahead of me in the journey, although on a slightly different road.
I just put together a Mac Mini (higher road) for a dedicated music server vs your HP Pavillion PC (lower road) :wink:

I have just ripped about 6 CDs to see how things will work and with no DAC yet, I am only using the audio out from the Mini's headphone jack.

The Halide DAC HD is on my short list for DACs, along with the Burson and the John Kenny JKDAC32.

How did you decide on the Halide?

Earlier this week I spoke with Drew at Moon Audio and he suggested I look at the KingRex UD384, not surprising as they are the distributor for KingRex.
Maybe because I mentioned I will be playing some hi res material?

Looking froward to hear more updates!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:49 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:31 am
Posts: 90
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
The Halide goes as high 24bit/96khz if you are worried about any more resolution than that, you'll have to look elsewhere. But most might ask themselves 'what for?'. Like I noted in my test, if I can at least match CD quality, I am happy...for starters.

My decision points were a clean installation, no power supply, and no cables. Account for this in your costs of the project! Look at the Stereophile tests on this piece, if they like it, it probably is acceptable for me :wink:

I am not going to compare multiple $2K DACs simply to find something wrong with this $500 DAC (cables included!).

Moon Audio was very seamless to deal with. Look for a Facebook discount code on occasion for specials.


Last edited by Spunout on Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:09 am
Posts: 305
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
Congrats on the new device. I'm contemplating going in a similar direction, with a similar goal - to at least equal, if not surpass, the quality of playback from my CD player with a PC-based system w/o spending a crazy amount of $$, if that's indeed possible. The number of DACs in the sub $1000 range continues to grow, making the choice increasingly difficult in some ways. The new myDAC has been getting good reviews....as has the Halide DAC that you have.

I'll be interested in your impressions as you carry out furhter a/b tests. Keep us posted.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:20 pm
Posts: 173
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Had this DAC and loved it. $495 including premium cables at both ends. USB only but it does that extremely well. Keep us posted.

_________________
Dan


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:31 am
Posts: 90
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
This is it. No big box, but when you think of it, its all good.

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:23 am
Posts: 80
Location: Uxbridge, ON, CA
Hi spunout,

I'm curious why you're using Direct Mode from J River? I think in general, that would be the least desirable choice. Have you tried any other audio output modes? I don't know if the Halide has it's own ASIO driver (I'm guessing no, or you would be using it). Failing that as first choice, I would suggest WASAPI-event style, Kernel Streaming or WASAPI mode, in that order. All of these bypass the Windows Kmixer, which is a good thing. Direct Mode would be the last choice if nothing else would work.

Good luck,

Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:31 am
Posts: 90
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
Using WASAPI -Event Style right now. This is 'direct' in that the volume and any DSP programs are bypassed. I will try flipping through the other modes to see if anything improves. Edit: I meant 'direct connection' where the eq icon is blue in MC17.

-- 15 Dec 2012 03:16 --

Okay. I realize now that ripping CDs to a hard drive merely takes what crappy format the CD has on it and replicates it for more similar crappy playback.

I wanted to see what a good file would sound like. So I DL'd 'Madness' by Muse in 24/96 FLAC. I have listened to this song often on CBC2, I do not have any other sources for this. Playing this HD FLAC provided a brilliant, airy presence with the deepest, grounded and tight bass I have ever heard from my system. Wow. :shock:

nice.


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