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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:13 am 
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Location: ottawa, ON, CA
My only digital source is Tidal HiFi lossless through an older Dragonfly Black. Its time for an upgrade to one off: Rega DAC R, Hegel HD12 or NAD M51 as all three are around the $1000 mark used. Any advice which way to go? Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:31 am 
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M51. Far less brittle sounding.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:45 am 
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Location: Milton, ON, CA
OP,

Based on your budget for a used DAC I believe you should also consider a TEAC UD-503.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:11 am 
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+1 for TEAC 503 and Hegel 12.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:24 am 
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
It would help if you list your system, your musical preferences, and long-term goals/ambitions (system).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:24 pm
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Location: GTA, ON, CA
fyi Visions Electronics has the M51 on sale for $999 until tomorrow (according to their website). Not much time to make a decision, but a good deal on the DAC :-).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:21 am 
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The Hegel HD12 is more warm, and open...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:29 am 
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If I had to choose one to suit my personal tastes it would be the Hegel.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:15 pm 
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Another vote for the Hegel. Excellent DAC. Heard the M51 once and it was also very good.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:54 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
msommers wrote:
M51. Far less brittle sounding.


+1 on the NAD M51 - I own one.

I also owned the Rega DAC-R (and an Arcam irDAC).

The M51 was my favourite, followed by the Arcam (v1.0) and then the Rega .


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:23 pm 
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NAD hands down

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:45 am 
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Location: ottawa, ON, CA
Thanks to all for the advice and the great tip about new M51s at Vision Electronics


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:00 am 
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Location: Whitby, ON, CA
To my ears the Hegel is the best of the three. Open and detailed with a hint of warmth. Never harsh YMMV


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:24 am 
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Location: Montreal, QC, CA
I too was searching for a better DAC. I took the NAD M51 and the Arcam rDAC for a test drive. I've listened to them a lot with various music and I always preferred the Arcam. To make sure I'm not biased in any way, I brought in a few friends that also love to listen to good music. Both DACs were hooked up to the M3 and I was just switching inputs whenever I wanted to switch from one to another. JRiver allows to send the same bit-perfect stream to multiple DAC's at the same time, so this was easy. We all leaned towards the Arcam. At the price you can fine one used (~300$) there's no contest. I was expecting more from the M51 after al the raving reviews but it's no better than the Arcam. In fact I kept the Arcam. Sounds a bit better, no remote, just turn on the computer and the DAC will be on. Turn if of and it will be off. Very easy to live with. At this point I don't know what to look for. Maybe if you already have a decent DAC, look elsewhere for better sound. The biggest improvement in my experience was when changing speakers. I went from B&W 803 D2 to PSB T3. Then, after changing the amp and the DAC the improvements were tiny, if any. Looking at the price difference, I wouldn't pay more than 500 for a M51, though it's gorgeous looking thing. It's just not that good. You really need to listen to it in your room, on your system in order to have an informed opinion. I hope it helps.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 8:16 am 
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Location: Guelph, ON, CA
tspin wrote:
My only digital source is Tidal HiFi lossless through an older Dragonfly Black. Its time for an upgrade to one off: Rega DAC R, Hegel HD12 or NAD M51 as all three are around the $1000 mark used. Any advice which way to go? Thanks


In the world of DAC's, a 500 dollar DAC, is a 500 dollar DAC, is a 500 dollar DAC....

When you get to 1000 dollars, the differences start to show, but more in terms of whats just a better match for your system, not necessarily better.

In my experience, you have to get to the $3500 retail level before things start to show real measured/listened differences. Yes, there are " bargains " at every price point I suppose, yet cheap digital products sound like cheap digital sound...


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