Does anyone have a suggestion for a good audiophile DAC/preamp? I am >80% sold on the MyTek Brooklyn Bridge, but just wondering if there are any others, equally good but without MQA at a lower price? (I have nothing for or against MQA, just that I subscribe to Qobuz and not Tidal.) I have a nagging suspicion that I’m paying a chunk for the MQA capability of the Brooklyn Bridge, which I would never use.
I am located in the USA.
Thanks for any suggestions.
(back to Crocs on my asymmetrical isolation feet!)
That’s a pretty open-ended question. Given the price of the BB, I doubt if a very high percentage is the MQA license, and it’s apparently a pretty good DAC.
But what budget do you have?
Perhaps more importantly, what branch of epistemology do you subscribe to, rational or empirical? (Assuming it’s not skeptical, or you wouldn’t be asking.)
You may wish to review this discussion from last year. If nothing else, there are some nice cat pictures in it.
I have a Brooklyn+ DAC in one of my systems, and I can confirm that it’s a pretty decent DAC. I also agree with Bill_Janssen that the cost of the MQA license will not particularly inflated the price of the DAC.
Bear in mind that the Brooklyn Bridge is a streamer/DAC combination with an integral pre-amp, so you wouldn’t need any other kit. Most other DACs would require you to purchase a separate streamer (not to mention possibly a separate pre-amp) - something of the order of the Sonore or STM streaming products in order to obtain a matching sound quality.
As a matter of interest, what do you currently use to stream Qobuz?
Thanks. My budget is in the US$3,000 range, right where the Brooklyn Bridge sits.
As for epistemology, I’d say this: I can’t hear any difference between Ethernet cables, and I don’t think vinyl sounds good. On the other hand, I really do appreciate well designed, engineered, and manufactured equipment. I’ve seen the interior of the Bridge and it looks to have been designed and built by people who knew their subject matter and took pride in their work. (I have a science and engineering background.)
Does that mean it sounds “better”? I don’t know for sure, but I think the fact that I’d feel better about owning such a component would make me enjoy the experience more, and I’m fine with that.
I think I’ll just proceed with getting the Bridge, given the consensus that the MQA capability probably doesn’t add much incremental cost. I may like well engineered product, but I also want to feel that I’m getting value from what I pay (value can be “fun” in my definition, doesn’t have to be monetary value).
Thanks for replying. I use a Mac mini as an endpoint in my theater, which feeds an Anthem AVM 60 pre-pro over HDMI. I like the combo, especially the room correction built into the Anthem, but I would like a dedicated 2-channel system.
I’ll admit that one of the factors that went into my decision to buy a lifetime Roon subscription was that I thought the software architecture was very well thought out. My point is, I’m attracted to things that are built by people who share my design philosophies.
Brooklyn seems a great unit, I was originally tempted by it. But in the end went for the cheaper RME ADI-2 which has huge functionality and does absolutely everything I need, as well as getting frequent firmware updates for new functionality and improvements. I really can’t fault it… Here’s one thread, there are others in this forum…
I own a Soekris dac1541. I’ve gone through quite a few DACs, this one has stayed. This review is why I got it originally, and my own impressions since then agree. I currently use it a just a DAC/pre feeding into a headphone amp, but it’s headphone out is capable, although not up to the best you can get in headphone amps. Besides general sound quality and flexibility (multiple filters, crossfeed, digital volume control) I also like that it performs equally well with any of its digital inputs (USB, coax, AES), unlike some other DACs that I otherwise like.
Do you need the preamp part? I have yet to hear a better sounding DAC than the Chord Qutest and I’ve owned the Brooklyn+, the Benchmark DAC, etc. Even on audiosciencereview the Chord Qutest has one of the highest scores ever for a DAC of any price. The mytek stuff doesn’t come close.
If you need the preamp then IMO the Chord Hugo TT is wildly overpriced for what it is. I’d consider a separate preamp. With a $3000 budget the Qutest and a separate preamp will be super tough to beat.
The Chord Qutest might be very good, but I have never heard it.
I do own a Chord Hugo, and although very good indeed in some respects I prefer my Brooklyn+ overall. For the past 6 months or so the Brooklyn+ has remained in my 2nd system and the Chord Hugo has been unused.
The Qutest may be better than the Hugo - it is in effect the Chord Hugo 2 in a larger case and without the headphone amp. However, a number of people on forums I frequent have stated that they prefer the original Hugo over the Hugo 2. I would recommend listening to both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chord Qutest (with separate pre-amp) before coming to any conclusion.
I have just realised that I should qualify my post above slightly. I use my Brooklyn+ with a separate linear power supply (SBooster) which adds a little to the cost, and my comparisons between the Hugo and the Brooklyn+ were carried out using the Brooklyn+ combined with the SBooster linear power supply.
Thank you for replying. Yes, I do need the preamp part, or at least the volume control. I would connect it via XLR to power amps and semi-active speakers (active subs, passive everything else), so the volume control is necessary.
I’d also like Roon Ready-ness, so I don’t need a separate endpoint.
Since I bought my Exogal Comet 2 years ago, I completely forgot the constant urge to upgrade. It’s a remarkably musical DAC/Preamp especially when used with their own Ion “power DAC”.
Good luck with your quest!