Hitting the bench this week is the DAC1 from March Audio. At it’s core is the latest ES9038 DAC and leading Khadas technology an It’s priced at an introductory price of $350, featuring USB C Exclusive input and a pair of RCA Line Level Outs!
I have received this unit on loan direct from the Manufacturer for the purpose of creating an honest and un-biased review.
I’ll be doing mostly preliminary listening through the weekend but thus far I have to say I’m quite impressed! It’s got a nice black background and a nice smooth clean tone, my current back end system for it consists of a Shanling M2S feeding Digitally into the Unit with a USB Disruptor in-between the Source and DAC.
On the front end I’ve a pair of JBL 305P MKii speakers on ProJax Feet atop generic Metal stands.
That said, I’ll update the thread as I start comparisons and hopefully once I have a full review ready for it we can get an “Offical” thread up and running! For now though I’m enjoying some Led Zeppelin IV! I prefer listening to a 24bit Vinyl Rip of IV from a friends whose lineage I trust.
An right off the bat the first comparison I’ve done is between it and my JDS Labs EL Dac, my EL Dac is fed Coax via the very same Shanling M2S fed into a Singxer F1. Since I run my EL Dac exclusively on Coax with my F1 I did feel the use of the simmilary Priced USB Disruptor into the DAC1 was fair give that the benefits of each to their respective systems are similar. An I of course listened with the very same speaker system and did do Level Matching with Pink Noise in Mono
That said even with a short listen through Led Zeppelin IV it was pretty apparent that the DAC 1 brings a slight smoothness to the sound that really plays nicely with my 305P MKii. In contrast to the EL Dac which sounds slightly “harsh” out of the very same speakers. Yet having lived with the EL Dac and my 305P MKii I can say any harshness in this system is a trait of the speakers them selves.
Non the less as you all know Led Zeppelin IV isn’t the best album to do critical reviews with but I enjoy it and find my self familiar enough with it to make some very basic or rudimentary judgments on performance. Still again, I will report my findings as I come across them and answer what ever questions you guys have! Plus if you’ve got some input or want to know how it pairs with any of the Amps or Headphones in my collection please feel free to ask! Even better if your also enjoying a DAC 1 in your own system do chime in with your thoughts of it!