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In Reply to: RE: Vecteur CD vs Gamut vs Hegel vs Audio Note. . . ? posted by tpcarter on August 08, 2017 at 12:13:41
AN kit dac 3.1 with standard IV and output transformers is not that great actually. If you have those and like Audio Note, that would be the thing to upgrade. Unfortunately the cost of upgrade will cost the same as a purchase of used high end DAC.
Having tried with and without the interstage transformers, I prefer the AN dacs with a passive I/V.
Interesting about the ANK 3.1 DAC. I don't know about the "standard IV and output transformers," but I would have agreed with you before I changed out all of the tubes. Mine was preassembled by Brian at ANK, and the initial sound was not inspiring. I replaced tubes with a combination of Brimar and Mullard/Amperex, and the sound was transformed. The DAC now is a great replacement for my old Audiomat Maestro (that fried itself, unfortunately!). Incidentally, my Audiomat Solfege amp also was transformed by putting in Tungsram 12ax7 and (2) Tungsram 12au7's, FWIW since everything is system dependent.
PS: The transformers in this one are supposedly upgraded, but I don't know if they're the ones you're familiar with. Cheers!
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