"...the RDD-1580 was flawless, both in features and in sound quality. It is by far the best DAC that I’ve heard in this price range, and probably would beat out most DACs double or triple its price."
Some types of digital audio has copped a lot of flack (not FLAC). But when you consider the full range of digital audio - from compressed mp3 to lossless formats - there's so much variety, with a huge range of possible advantages.
So, then, part of the secret to a good DAC relies on being able to not just play this full range, but also make the most of it. You want to be able to effortlessly enjoy your mp3s with the same device that can elicit the most from your uncompressed sources. And above all, you want it to sound good.
The Absolute Sound gave our RDD-1580 a complete workout. In the end, they believe it excelled for its price with whatever that was thrown at it. With any source, the RDD-1580 was able to deliver everything possible, with an exquisitely detailed performance thanks to its two complementary Wolfson WM8740 DAC chips.
It's important to note the results of one particular test - the soundstage. TAS reviewers recognised that this is one element where affordable DACs can sometimes fall short. "...it took the massive amount of sound from Solar Fields’ Movements and translated it into a beautiful soundscape that was far wider and deeper than that of my comparison DAC..."