In Reply to: Audio Note 1.1 vs. MSB Link III Full Nelson posted by Kenny on January 18, 2001 at 11:28:10:
I suppose it depends on your system, in mine the Audio Note DAC 1.1x was far superior to the MSB, especially no contest on recordings with natural acoustic, but also on a lot of good studio recordings.
Is there any difference in design between the 1.1x kit model from the AN DAC 1.1? Thanks.
The official differences are as follows,
DAC1.1x, that is the finished product differs from the DAC Kit 1.1 as follows,
1.) Better digital interface transformer, a spun mumetal toroidal cored unit
2.) It uses the Crystal 8414 to allow use of 96kHz sources
3.) The interfaces (resistor-coil network) are adjusted individually, giving better behaviour and channel balance
4.) The analogue output stage uses 6DJ8's instead of the ECC82/12AU7 used in the Kit 1.1
There is another DAC One.1x which comes in the Zero style extruded chassis, it differs from the DAC Kit 1.1 as follows,
1.) Better digital input transformer, as above.
2.) The output stage is a 6111WA sub miniature double triode
I hope this clarifies the differences.
Is it possible to upgrade the old AN DAC 1 to any new AN DACs, i.e. 1.1x, 2.1x & etc? Will it be more cost effective to buy the new DAC instead of going for modification by my agent? To be honest, I trust the workmanship by factory more...
I heard that DAC One.1x does not sound as good as 1.1x and cannot be upgraded due to limited space, and I have been recommended to go for 1.1x by my agent. Any suggestion?
The old DAC1 can be upgraded easily to a DAC1.1x, as part of our commitment to maintaining the performance and value of existing customers' products.
Upgrading to a DAC2.1x or higher level is more tricky, because it involves a different analog interface transformer and filter. Swings and round abouts I suppose, because there comes a point where it is cheaper to build a new unit than to completely strip an old one and rebuild it.
An upgraded unit should be exactly the same as a new unit, that is the whole idea behind the upgrade program, now whether you trust the local agent technically is another matter, but if you don't then I would like to know why, because it is important to me that our customers gets the best service possible.
You have been advised correctly, the DAC One.1x does not sound as good as the DAC1.1x, despite the fact that the 6111WA sounds better than the 6DJ8 in my opinion, the toroidal transformer and less complex power supply, plus the less sophisticated filters in the DAC One.1x disadvantages it somewhat.
It is simple really, as you said yourself, the box is smaller, so there is less room for upgrades.
More money, yes, but also different, see my response to Tom's posting.
please tell us your personal favorites for your DAC's.
Can you expect a grat difference using a good standard CD-Player like Arcam, NAD, Rotel, Marantz or so compared to a CEC?
I think you use the AN-V as digital interconnect?
I tend to prefer the stand alone transports like the CEC (I use the TL-0/II myself), apart from the Audio Note transports we sell ourselves, I like the TEAC (I think these are called Esoteric in the USA), the Pioneer with the inverted clamp and I have to say the SCD-1 and 777 from Sony are also not bad, although they are pricey to use as just Redbook CD transports.
Integrated players like Arcam, Marantz etc. make good transports, but I have always felt that in many cases the digital output is treated as an "afterthought" and they rarely match the performance of a dedicated stand alone transport as a result.
We use all our silver interconnect cables as digital interconnects, the AN-V, AN-Vx and the AN-Vz.
Dear Peter, how would you rate the performance after installing the official upgrade as seen on the AN North America site compared to the standard KIT 1.1 and the finished products?
from the site:
The new power supply upgrade will be released December 15, 2000. We apologize for the delay, but understand that we in some ways are at the mercy of our suppliers. Often if they receive a large order they will push back our delivery dates accordingly.
The power supply upgrade will consist of a new power transformer which will allow the use of tube rectification using a 6X4 / 6202 in full wave center tap configuration. The filament supply is also improved and will be regulated to accommodate different tube types utilizing B9A basing up to 900mA filament current. An option for 6.3 or 12.6 volt filaments will be provided. A separate winding is also being added for the unregulated digital supplies. Both the filament supply and the digital supply will use Schotkey rectifiers with Panasonic HFQ type capacitors in the digital supply and a Panasonic TS type capacitor in the filament supply. The high voltage supply, besides the 6X4 rectifier will use three 35uF/500V polypropylene filter capacitors and a 15H/30mA choke (Hammond 155J) in a pi filter configuration. In addition, two 0B2 gas regulator tubes (105V each) are included for a 210V regulated output. In order to use the regulated output, the 100Uf/400V cap is removed from the analogue output PCB.
As an option, the regulated output is not used and the appropriate dropping resistor installed to give the required output voltage. The 100uF/400V capacitor on the analogue output PCB is retained and/or upgraded. Pricing for the upgrade kit will be announced as as possible.
Many of you have asked for analogue PCB upgrades.
The first and most obvious upgrade is to replace the Beyschlag metal film types with Audio Note Tantalums. In the near future we will offer the these resistors as a upgrade kit so we can pass the savings on to you.
The next upgrade would be to transformer couple the voltage amplifier thereby obviating the need for coupling capacitors. This would also address the output impedance issue, being 600 Ohms unbalanced or balanced.
We will undertake this in early 2001 so PLEASE no calls about this!
Well, what can I say? It was Mike's and my feeling that the choke coupled valve rectified output stage was the most natural upgrade, especially considering how relatively easy it is for customers to upgrade the resistors or the power supply and signal capacitors, we felt that providing the parts for an improved analogue power supply would be the best way forward.
The next one is to transformer couple the output, ala the DAC5, it is already possible to do this by buying two of our 5:1 pre-amplifier transformers, the R36 C-core versions really make a major difference.
The design of the 1.1 kit was always meant to be an introduction to the sound of the 1xoversampling topology in a basic form, with the emphasis put on the digital circuit and its quality, thus creating a good platform for upgarding the power supplies and analogue section endlessly!
In my opinion the 1.1 kit upgraded with a choke-valve rectified power supply surpassses the performance of the finished DAC1.1x by a comfortable margin.
Thanks, I had been told there was no difference. Except for the 6DJ8, can these items be purchased and used with the kit model?
Thanks, off course they can, the best digital interface is called TRANS-278 and is a silver wired version of the one used in the DAC1.1x.
The matching interface from the DAC1.1x with resistor and coil is a little more tricky, because they are adjusted to the exact output of each chip, channel by channel, but even in the standard configuration (i.e. the one we start with before the adjustment), it should still be better than the one in the DAC Kit.
If you look at our web site under audio transformers you will find TRANS-410, this is the I/V transformer used in the standard DAC3.1x and TRANS-420 is the silver wired version used in the DAC4.1x, TRANS-494 and TRANS-496 are the new interface transformers everybody have been talking about, they will be available sometime in February.
Hope this helps.
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