After so many DAC reviews, if there is one thing I learn, is that the actual DAC chips tell very little to the particular sonic signature that a DAC unit have.
- The PICO, the Ibasso D10, and the Gamma2 DACs both use the same family WM8740 and 8741 DAC chips, yet they share nothing in common when it comes to sound signature, nor sound quality. The Gamma2 DAC, if I can say, is closer in signature to the DR. DAC2 DX which uses TI’s PCM1798 chip. And, the D10, I would not even place it in the same league as the PICO though they use the same DAC chip.
- The Styleaudio UD-1 (PCM2704), the Audinst HUD-MX1 (WM8740 chip), and the Dr. DAC2 DX (PCM1798) all use very different DAC chips, yet their sound signature can be considered to share the same “house sound”. And if you was to blind test them, you would be surprised to know that they all come from different manufacturers and use different DAC chips, because the sound are very similar in signature.
- The Dr. DAC2 DX (PCM1798) and the Dr. DAC Prime (PCM1796) comes from the same manufacturer (Audiotrak Germany and Audiotrak Korea), use almost the same DAC Chip, yet the sound is quite different in signature and technicalities.
I think those are enough examples, and the bottom line is, as a DIY expert told me, design, implementation, and parts choice often matters more than the actual DAC chip being used.
I’m going to complete writing about the Dr. DAC2 DX next week, and start writing on the superb Matrix Mini-I balanced DAC Next week.
Have a great weekend!