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Onyx DAC25: A quick review.

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  • Onyx DAC25: A quick review.

    A little background, I was originally set up to be a beta tester for the CS 10.2 and because of a lot of work that we had to have done on our house this summer, finances became tight and I had to back out of the program. I was really bummed about it beacause "A" I didn't get a toy that I was so looking forward to and "B" I felt bad that I had gone back on commitment to Craig and co. Soon after that, fortune smiled upon me, I got a email from Hugh who wanted to have some design work done for Angel City Audio. Since he is the main Onix/Melody guy we agreed that for my work I would be able to aquire a DAC 25.:rock:
    I recieved the dac about 2 weeks ago and I immediately installed it in my system and have had it running non stop. The dac itself is a very attractive piece visually, it feels solid and it's also bigger than I expected. The selection of inputs and outputs is very complete; coax, optical and USB for the inputs and both balanced and unbalanced for the outputs. It also has headphone output with a separate volume control for private listening. The selectable up sampling rates are also very handy.
    Now for the sound. The first thing I noticed is that the balanced outputs are louder than the unbalanced ones. My Bryston pre-amp has both XLR and RCA inputs so it was pretty easy to switch between inputs and after adjusting for the volume I feel that the balanced outs of the dac sounded a little clearer to me. Overall I feel that this dac has taken my system up a level. I am noticing ambience and details in my favorite music that I was missing without it. From Holly Cole to Van Halen, Zoot Simms to Junior Brown the music just sounds a little more alive. On Peter Frampton's Fingerprints CD all the basslines sound tighter and every nuance of the guitar playing, particularly the acoustic guitars, just stand out more. The piano playing on George Winston's Linus and Lucy CD is just beautiful and notes are just so clear and the decay on the sounds are more noticable. The different sampling rates had slight effects on some tunes and imperceptiblle effects on others so I just think you need to experiment with that to see what works best for a given disc.
    I've had only limited experience with dacs before now. Years ago I owned a unit from Enlightened Audio Designs and more recently I had the Perpetual Tech dac. The DAC25 easily makes the most noticeable difference in my
    system. While I haven't experimented much with the usb input and the headphone jack and volume control I can confirm that my laptop and headphone sound pretty good through the DAC 25 but I really haven't done much critical listening on those yet.
    I am utterly and completely pleased with the Onix dac. Is it the best dac in the world, probably not but for the money it sounds fantastic and it's flexibility and build quality are excellent and I have no plans to remove it anytime soon. I suspect that to get a noticeable improvement in sound over the DAC 25 you'd have to spend a more noticeable amount of money.
    I also just want to say thanks again to Hugh for the opportunity to acquire this great piece of equipment.


  • #2
    Fatcat -

    Nice mini-review!

    HT Gear (AVS Link)
    Rk: MA WR-37-32
    Pwr: 20A, Surge-X SEQ, M1500-UPS
    Proj: JVC RS20, 128" 2.4:1 CaradaBW, ISCOIIIL, CineSlide, RadianceXE
    Cbl: DirectTV C31/700 Genie receiver
    Rec: 5308CI + XPA-3
    BR: Oppo BDP-103
    Gm: 360 Pro
    LR/C: RS1KSig/RSC200Sig
    S/R: RSS300/RS250MkII
    Sub: SVS PB12-Ultra/2
    Off: HRT MS DAC, USP-1, UPA-2, ERC-1, Ultra10, WAF-1 Ninja+No-Rez
    Off2: Gizmo, WAF-1
    TCA: 3x Gizmo 1.0or,5x v1.0M; 5xWAF-1


    • #3

      The pleasure is all mine.

      Your work is absolutely marvelous and you deserve the best we can offer. :)

      Enjoy your new toy.
      MELODY US Distributor

      A man is only as good as his words.


      • #4
        Thank You sir!"thumbsup:

        In case anyone was wondering here is a list of equipment in my 2 channel rig:
        Sony XA7ES CD player
        ONKYO DV-SP1000 Universal player
        Bryston BP-25 preamp
        2 x Carver TFM-55x power amps
        Marchand XM 16 Electronic crossover
        Marchand Bassis equalizer
        BESL Series 2 MTM monitors
        2 x Dayton 15" RS-HF subwoofers, each in 5cu. ft. enclosures run in stereo.