The DAC8 was the last model before Audio Research went with the new cabinet design that we now see on the DAC9. When the DAC8 replaced the DAC7, it did so with a $1,500 price jump but when the DAC9 replaced the DAC8, the price jumped by $4,500 over the $5,000 price tag of the DAC8! The DAC9 does come with state of the art technology that probably justify the big price jump but if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, the DAC8 is still a very good alternative. Like the DAC7 before it and the DAC9 that replaced it, it offers the same five digital inputs found in all three models – USB, coaxial, BNC, AES/EBU and Toslink. The two biggest difference the DAC9 and the DAC8 is the use of tubes (2x 6H30) and the ability to process DSD through its USB input. This may give the DAC9 a slight edge in terms of resolution over the DAC8 but it is really marginal. At a much lower price tag (at under $2,000 now), the DAC8 still offers tremendous sound quality that we could readily pick up over our other standalone $3-5,000 CD players (like our store use SONY SCD-1). The resolution was impressive and the soundstage had a more forward projection and imaging.
Cosmetically, this unit is in very good condition. Some scuff marks here and there but nothing major. Original box, copy of manual and a Logitech universal remote are included.