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New DAC Suggestions

67.8.39.61

Posted on May 12, 2021 at 11:45:28
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5938
Location: Orlando, Fla
Joined: January 7, 2001
Hi All! I'm considering adding a new DAC to my system. I'm thinking of the $3.9K Denafrips Venus II R2R DAC, but do you have what you DAC suggestion that you believe would a better fit? If so please let me know what it is and why you believe it will work better for me.

My system consists of:

1) YBA Genesis CD4 CDP/Transport.
2) Musical Paradise MP-D2 Tube DAC.
3) Don Sachs Custom SP14 Preamp.
4) Mastersound Reference 845 SET Amp.
5) Reference 3A Taksim Speakers.
6) Wires: a) Digital - Atelier Rullit digital cable, b) ICs - Teo Audio GC Ultra ICs, and NBS Professional III ICs, and c) Power Cords - Sablon Gran Corona power cord, Snake River Cottonmouth Signature power cord, and Hi-Diamond 3.

Thanks in advance for your time...




Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

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    ...
Red Flag ................., posted on May 12, 2021 at 13:39:40
Cut-Throat
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This is a Red Flag for me: Here is the Denafrips Return Policy.


****************************************************************************
"Return / Refund Policy

We run an honest business, we strive to keep the cost low, therefore, effectively pass down the saving to you, our customer. We do not support return / refund of any product.

Thank you for your kind understanding."
*************************************************************************

There are a lot of Chinese Dacs that are Superb, and have a Full Refund (Less Return Shipping) Policy --- Via Apos in California.

Before dropping $4 Grand on a component, I would want to try it out in my System. If the Manufacturer/Seller does not trust their component enough to offer a trial period, why should you? Especially for a $4 Grand Component.




 

RE: Thanks!, posted on May 13, 2021 at 06:17:53
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5938
Location: Orlando, Fla
Joined: January 7, 2001
Thanks, Cut-Throat! I didn't realize that was their return policy, although I think I would have checked before buying. I just kept hearing a lot of good things about the Denafrips. Go figure.

Is there a DAC you'd recommend?


Thanks again...



Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: Thanks!, posted on May 13, 2021 at 07:27:23
Grinnell
Audiophile

Posts: 663
Location: Front Range
Joined: December 23, 2007
I use Ref 3A de capos with a 4 watt Decware amp. I use a MHDT Stockholm DAC and love the sound. For hi res the MHDT Pagoda may be a good choice

 

RE: Thanks!, posted on May 13, 2021 at 07:37:33
Ozzy
Audiophile

Posts: 7310
Joined: September 21, 1999
I agree with your suggestion. I have an MHDT Pagoda that was highly modified by the original owner. Since buying it I tried a Metrum Acoustics Pavane and the Pagoda sent it packing. I haven't thought about DAC shopping since.

Oz





Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill

 

RE: Thanks!, posted on May 13, 2021 at 08:04:29
Cut-Throat
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Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
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May 16, 2021
I bought a Topping D90 last year from APOS (around $700)... Best DAC I've had in my System. Sold out now due to Chip availability.
I bought it from APOS, which had extremely fast and free shipping and a great trial period. They carry a number of Brands.

I've heard good things about the Gustard X16 (around $425).... You can try it out and see what you think...




 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 13, 2021 at 09:03:52
triodesteve
Audiophile

Posts: 766
Location: Walla Walla Washington
Joined: September 4, 2001
I can only comment on what I have. I bought a Totaldac last year. Also r2r but uses more expensive resistors so it costs more than the denafrips. You can return it if you don't like it for a small fee. But you won't. For the first time since buying a cd player 30 some years ago, I wonder if I need a turntable.
And its always convertible to go up the line, again for a small fee..I like that.
Hope you enjoy whatever you end up with.

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 13, 2021 at 14:56:45
Gerry E.
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Posts: 2157
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
I recently sold my Marantz SA-11S3 CD/SACD player because there is now an inexpensive way to play SACDs thru an external DAC. Previously you could buy a Geer Fab D.BOB to do this ($800 - $1000) but now there's a Chinese made "black box" available on eBay for about $50 - $100 that will do the same and more.

The above was for background info, now to answer your question. I have been researching DACs in the $1500 - $3000 range, maybe even more. These include (listed in increasing price order) the Gustard X26 Pro ($1500), Denafrips Pontus II ($1700), Holo Audio Spring 3 ($2800) and Denafrips Venus II ($3000).

For the past week or so, I have been reading every review and discussion that I could find related to the DACs listed above. I was a little biased against the Gustard because I wanted a R2R based DAC. However, based on my listening preferences and the descriptions of the DACs, I just ordered a X26 Pro. FWIW, here's a fantastic review of it:

Gustard X26 Pro Review

When you read the reviews/discussions, along with all of the good stuff, there's always some attributes of the DAC under discussion that is not as good as DAC XYZ. IOWs, no DAC is perfect. But we don't need a perfect DAC, just one that is good enough. That thought is the overall message of a YouTube video reviewing the $4500 TOTL Holo Audio May DAC (see link below). This is a very long, over 50 minutes, video that is well worth watching. Even if you have to break it up into 10 minute segments or skip some parts. It's more hilarious by the minute (especially the last 20 minutes) and puts things into perspective.

I had already made up my mind on the X26 Pro before I watched the video. However, I felt good buying the least expensive of the DACs under consideration after viewing it. Also, with the pace of technology, do you really want to spend several to many thousands of dollars on a DAC?

Gerry

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 13, 2021 at 22:02:29
KanedaK
Audiophile

Posts: 1990
Location: Brussels
Joined: April 27, 2010
I own Gustard A18 and it's been great so far.
For a more high-end version, check out A22 with discrete output stage and dual AK4499 chip.
that being said, the sound signature of those two is of the extended / neutral type. No chocolate, no sepia tones, so if you like your DAC to give a little warmth, those aren't for you.

 

I have a Denafrips R2R and an AKM based delta-sigma DAC, posted on May 14, 2021 at 06:11:32
AbeCollins
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Posts: 38128
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R2R DACs appear to be one fashion statement that stands out for the moment possibly because they're "different" from many main stream DACs. But do they truly deliver the goods? Well, that depends on who you ask and YOUR particular system.

I have the entry Denafrips Ares II R2R and the Topping D90 AKM delta-sigma. These are within +/- $100 of each other. They both sound wonderful but a little different. The Denafrips is definitely smoother, rounder, less impactful. The Topping is more transparent, faster, extended, impactful, lively.

And no, the Denafips is nothing special.... just a little different as an R2R DAC and presently in vogue as are many R2R designs.

Choose a DAC not based on recommendations from others but how you think it will do in YOUR system.... then audition and return if it's not a great fit.

IMHO, the Denafrips might be too much of a good thing in an already smooth or lush system. In this case I would go for ultimate transparency and detail - because the downstream components are already at the smooth, warm, lush extreme.

On the other hand, a system that is inherently detailed and dynamic might be a nice fit for a smoother sounding DAC.

As an aside, I can't say that the differences in sound are entirely due to the R2R vs delta-sigma design. The analog section is also in play. For example, I own another delta-sigma DAC that comes closer to the Denafrips in sonics but maintains better transparency and dynamics.

Topping D90 + Denafrips Ares II



 

Gustard X26, posted on May 14, 2021 at 07:33:25
Mike K
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I read the review you linked. Mein Gott in Himmel! What a review! One
might get the idea this thing is perfect! But several things concern me:
(1) sending money to some offshore company (2) service (3) warranty (4)
trial period.

I will be very interested to read your comments once you have auditioned
the unit.
Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

RE: Gustard X26, posted on May 14, 2021 at 08:38:14
Gerry E.
Audiophile

Posts: 2157
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
"What a review! One might get the idea this thing is perfect!"

I agree, the review is almost a little too good. However, throughout the review and especially in the Conclusion section, he spells out why:

"It is not that often when you see a fully discrete output stage, a dual mono design from input to output, a custom master clock generator, some oversized toroidal transformers and best-in-class capacitors in a device that costs less than $2k."

There's a lot to like there and I'll add a pair of TOTL ESS9038 Pro DAC chips. Your concerns are legit but at the price I was willing to take the chance. They must be selling like hotcakes because they are out of stock and it won't be shipped until next week. Good or bad, I'll definitely provide an update once I get it.

Gerry

 

RE: Thanks!, posted on May 14, 2021 at 09:13:51
AbeCollins
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Interesting that you should mention the MHDT Pagoda DAC as it is non over-sampling, no digital filter, no op-amp, no feedback, etc.

For what it's worth, the Denfrips Ares II R2R DAC can also be run in non-oversampling, no-filter mode. However, I much prefer it in over-sampling with slow roll-off filter. NOS and no filter sounds a bit veiled and dynamically dead so I like being able to choose between NOS and OS.




 

RE: I have a Denafrips R2R and an AKM based delta-sigma DAC, posted on May 14, 2021 at 09:21:23
Mel
Audiophile

Posts: 2543
Location: New York City Area
Joined: February 21, 2001
Fine post. Glad you're distinguishing between SQ and trend following.

 

Gustard X26 Pro has to compete with Chord Qutest DAC, posted on May 14, 2021 at 10:09:01
Jon L
Audiophile

Posts: 5814
Joined: April 6, 2000
which is $1695. I love how the Qutest sounds, especially with (modified) Allo Shanti LPS, but I must say the build amount/quality is massively more impressive on the X26 Pro.

I've been slowly researching for a DAC for a second system that can compete with Qutest on SQ, so the Gustard is on the radar, but some red flags bother me. Even the Sound News review mentions:

"X26 PRO added some class-A warmth, a heavier and more impactful bass at the cost of being less grippy sounding to the Element X."

My preference is for a very clear, neutral sound with tons of microdynamics/detail, but we will see...

 

RE: I have a Denafrips R2R and an AKM based delta-sigma DAC, posted on May 14, 2021 at 11:27:58
Mick Wolfe
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Abe, very good and logical overview. Pick the DAC that fits your system and musical tastes. In my case, the original Denafrips Ares is the perfect fit. Very musical presentation that involves one in the music as opposed to the equipment.

 

RE: Gustard X26 Pro has to compete with Chord Qutest DAC, posted on May 14, 2021 at 14:41:14
Gerry E.
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Posts: 2157
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
Well, we have come full circle because it was your post on 3/20 that first made me aware of the X26 Pro. You even provided the link to the review by Sandu which was posted that very same day.

As for the "added class-A warmth" that you quoted from the review, that is something I prefer, especially coming from Marantz Reference Series CD/SACD players for the last 14 years. They are known to be on the warm side and I was worried that I would swing too far the other way with a ESS9038 based DAC. According to Sandu, that's not the case.

Sandu also addressed the Qutest vs X26 Pro in the comments section when someone asked him which of those two DACs he should buy:

"I had at my place a Chord TT2 with the MScaller for around 3 weeks, my Element X was on the same level while costing considerably less. Bottom line is that X26 PRO would destroy the Qutest in every possible scenario."

Of course that's his opinion based on his tastes.

Gerry

 

I'll probably get it, posted on May 15, 2021 at 10:54:16
Jon L
Audiophile

Posts: 5814
Joined: April 6, 2000
and hope these comments about warmth and stuff is overstated.

It so happens the Gustard is the same price as new WE300B tubes I've been thinking about, so some restraint is in order.

IME, Chord TT2 with MScaler is warmer than neutral as well, but with more resolution than Qutest. Allo Shanti LPS with modified shorter and doubled DC cable adds enough resolution, density, and weight to Qutest that my upgrade from Qutest/Shanti will not be to TT2.

It also bothers me how all of Chord gear seems so high priced for the amount of "stuff" you get. I'm sure Rob Watts would disagree... :)

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 16, 2021 at 02:09:15
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 13289
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
R2R is my preference for DACs as well.

This is the one I was planning to buy but elected to spend the money on a Turntable.

Nevertheless, it or the model up is my front runner.

Note: This DAC may be over your budget - but they make three less expensive DACs - I own their entry-level (0.1x) and it's been so good that I elected to upgrade the turntable instead.

The reviewer notes some of the other DACs he compared.

 

RE: I have a Denafrips R2R and an AKM based delta-sigma DAC, posted on May 16, 2021 at 02:38:48
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 13289
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
R2R has been around a long time so it's not really a trend. Audio Note in 1995 came out with their non-oversampling R2R DACs - then the competition heard them - then a whole bunch of companies jumped on the bandwagon trying to make cheap knock-offs most of them sounding like cheap knockoffs. Albeit, the cheap knockoffs also tended to sound better than the companies making standard unlistenable dreck (oversampling and upsampling).

You want to judge R2R technology perhaps it would help to audition the best ones instead of the Chinese knock-offs.

 

DACs are like phono cartridges, posted on May 16, 2021 at 08:15:07
Mike K
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they come in all shapes and sizes and prices and they all sound different.
You can get great ones for a little bit or a lot of money, and you can get
bad ones too. What you hear is dependent on your component chain, your
age, your room acoustics, the quality of electrical supply, the time of day, your mood, and what you are doing at the moment.
Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

RE: DACs are like phono cartridges, posted on May 16, 2021 at 09:08:10
Posts: 730
Location: illinois
Joined: November 19, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
November 28, 2005
Love it!
Well said.
"What you hear is dependent on"...
Bingo!
Regards,
/// Tim W. ///

 

I've heard a lot of fine Gear in my 50 years of Audio ..............., posted on May 16, 2021 at 09:14:32
Cut-Throat
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In the price range of Audio Note.... And Audio Note Gear has never been among them.




 

RE: DACs are like phono cartridges, posted on May 16, 2021 at 09:19:58
Mick Wolfe
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Couldn't agree more. Pick the shoe that fits and it may not be the priciest.

 

RE: DACs are like phono cartridges, posted on May 16, 2021 at 13:26:08
zacster
Audiophile

Posts: 1750
Location: NYC
Joined: November 22, 2003
and no review or comments in a forum are going to be of any help either since no two systems are the same and certainly no two pairs of ears are the same.

Start cheap and work your way up. You may be surprised at how satisfied you are with the lower priced options.

 

RE: Gustard X26 Pro has to compete with Chord Qutest DAC, posted on May 16, 2021 at 23:53:53
KanedaK
Audiophile

Posts: 1990
Location: Brussels
Joined: April 27, 2010
I think the X26 might be a tiny bit warmer than the Element X, according to the review, but that's relative and probably doesn't put it in the warm / thick sounding category. It is still very much a delta-sigma DAC, and is bound to be more detailed / precise / "cold" than the R2R competition...

 

RE: I have a Denafrips R2R and an AKM based delta-sigma DAC, posted on May 17, 2021 at 07:13:31
AbeCollins
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Lets say that R2R has seen a resurgence as a current niche trend.... like vinyl has made a niche come back because it's hip or cool.

I should note that recent cheap Chinese DACs sound pretty darn fantastic! But in the $1000 class, there was virtually no advantage that I could hear in going with R2R vs delta-sigma. In this case R2R was just another flavor, and in NOS mode I thought it was a bit veiled.



 

The Holo May is, posted on May 17, 2021 at 09:34:07
PaulN
Audiophile

Posts: 1368
Joined: January 13, 2000
without question the best DAC I have ever heard, worth every penny and the interminable wait and is the end for me. I am done. Nobody will ever regret buying one. It is that good. Best used with HQPlayer, Roon or another player that supports high rate upsampling/transcoding.

 

RE: I'll probably get it, posted on May 17, 2021 at 12:54:25
Gerry E.
Audiophile

Posts: 2157
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
"It so happens the Gustard is the same price as new WE300B tubes I've been thinking about, so some restraint is in order."

Restraint? That didn't stop me, I bought both. OTOH, I sold my TA-300Bs and Marantz SACD player so my costs were covered. BTW, since you prefer a specific kind of sound and wonder if the X26 Pro can provide it - don't forget you have options with the Gustard.

There are 3 PCM filter options, 4 DSD filter options and NOS On/Off. Past experience tells me that some of these options are subtle but I can't imagine that you couldn't fine tune it to get the sound you want. Unless the DAC isn't nearly as good as Sandu says it is.

"It also bothers me how all of Chord gear seems so high priced for the amount of "stuff" you get."

Yes, I also feel like the Chord DACs are too expensive but then again I feel that 90%(?) of audio equipment is. Especially once you go past the $2 - $4k range. Diminishing returns and all that rot.

Gerry

 

RE: The Holo May is, posted on May 17, 2021 at 13:07:35
Gerry E.
Audiophile

Posts: 2157
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
Hi Paul - I'm sure the May is a really great DAC. I think it was obvious that Zeos in the video was dissing it, especially at the end, to be funny. I had been waiting for the Spring 3 to become available, with its trickle down tech from the May, but don't have the patience that you apparently had.

I see that you got the May L2. What went into the decision to buy that instead of the KTE version? Just curious. Thanks.

Gerry

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 17, 2021 at 13:29:12
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5938
Location: Orlando, Fla
Joined: January 7, 2001
RGA the Audio Note DAC3.1x/II at $12K is out of my reach financially, but if I could just find something similar that cheaper...



Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: DACs are like phono cartridges, posted on May 17, 2021 at 13:36:59
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5938
Location: Orlando, Fla
Joined: January 7, 2001
Mike, I'm using a YBA Genesis CD4 as a transport a Musical Paradise MP-D2 tube DAC --{that I wish to replace}-- a Don Sachs Custom SP14 tube preamp and a Mastersound Reference 845 SET amp and a pair of Reference 3A Taksim speakers. Does that help with your choices of DAC? Oh yes, I mainly listen to Smooth Jazz and Progressive rock...



Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: DACs are like phono cartridges, posted on May 17, 2021 at 13:42:21
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5938
Location: Orlando, Fla
Joined: January 7, 2001
zacster, I've done just that! I'm presently using an $899 Musical Paradise MP-D2 MKI tube DAC --{that I wish to replace}-- but I'm lost with all the replacement choices...


Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 17, 2021 at 14:42:26
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 13289
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
Sure. Audio Note 2.1x $6,600.

I run their 0.1x Dac ~$1,800.

There is a 1.1x but don't know the price. Somewhere in the $3K Range.

 

RE: I have a Denafrips R2R and an AKM based delta-sigma DAC, posted on May 17, 2021 at 15:00:21
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 13289
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
As I said, i would audition stuff from people who actually do design work and know what they are doing than people who copy using cheap parts to sell a price point.

Maybe an Audio Note 0.1x at ~$1800 that is dedicated R2R tube transformer NOS that may well thump the Denafrips in either mode. The fact that it has modes is somewhat of a warning sign. I remember people arguing over the EE minmax and which mode sounded better - well they were both lousy IMO so the fact that the SS or the tube was better was more or less pointless to me.


Usually these switcher products have one mode that the owner winds up using and the other mode is wasted money. I have had amps with Triode and UL and I have a DAC, Line Magnetic 502CA which destroyed the minimax that has tube and solid state. Each with its own transformer no less. Still one selection is usually better (the Tube mode) and the other is usually poor to the point that it would never be used (the SS mode). They should have put all the money to the tube mode and make it sound better. But part of the expensive is stuff a SS mode and transformer into the box.

It ran around the same price as my Audio Note 0.1X which has one mode and an old TDA 1543 chip and it sounds miles better than the LM DAC with its 32/192 ESS Sabre blah blah blah.

The Audio Note 0.x selling for 21 consecutive years - the Line Magnetic 502CA dropped after what 4 years? Replaced by the same thing but has MQA nonsense.

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 17, 2021 at 17:26:22
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5938
Location: Orlando, Fla
Joined: January 7, 2001
Thanks, RGA! I appreciate your time and suggestions...



Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: I've heard a lot of fine Gear in my 50 years of Audio ..............., posted on May 17, 2021 at 19:10:52
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 13289
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
If people want to judge a technology then you need to judge it based on the best of that technology - for R2R ladder NOS DACs that is Audio Note.

No analog or digital filters.

If that doesn't cut it - then the cheap Chinese knockoffs with crappier parts quality sure a shit won't cut it.

This is the same with tube amps. The guy who spends $20k on his solid-state system goes and auditions a Chi-Fi tube amp of dubious quality parts selling for $599 then says "see tubes suck - they lack dynamics, they sound like mud, etc. Well, that wasn't exactly the tube amp to judge tube technology now, was it?

One problem with Audio Note is that they always show with their speakers. So if the speakers are loved so will the equipment but if the speakers are disliked then the rest of the chain is ignored.

So the trick is comparing items in outside systems. Comparing, as I have done, AN CD/DACs in several higher end systems using a variety of speakers allows one to hear the better examples of NOS such as the 3.1x and 4.1x.

My dealer back in Canada had a half dozen dedicated systems from a variety of brands - he put a dac 0.1X in all of them. Why? He said to "fix" them.

It was the same reason he had SET amps and SE tube amps connected to speakers that on paper didn't seem like a match. An OTO on Quad ESLs, a Wyatech Labs 211 on B&W 801 speakers an SE tube amp on Magnepans. They may not play too loud but they all sounded better with these at moderate volume than running amps from Meridian/Bryston/Levinson/YBA/Sima Audio/Classe/Anthem/McIntosh(SS)/Arcam/NAD/Ayre/Linn as some of the other SS brands in the store.

It didn't have to be Audio Note - in general, the best sounding amplifiers in the store all tended to be SET or Tube-based (AN/Wyatec/Cary/ASL/Jolida/Octave and a few others I can't recall).

Albeit the reason I became a fan of AN was that of all the tube brands the store carried the AN tube amps sounded much better and easily beat all the SS brands in the store. When the TT2 turntable beat the Linn LP 12 and the Oracle table and the AN one box CD player for $4,000 sounded far better than the store's Linn Sondek CD12 at $30,000 I became more of a believer. The natural sound of the NOS no filters approach had some serious merit.

Many other companies found merit in it to and that is why I see so many copies. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. I just think it would be nice if people auditioned the one that started it and has been doing it the longest and arguably does it the best. And while it is expensive - it also gets you more when you try to sell it.

I bought my Audio Note OTO Phono SE in 2003 for $1800 (Canadian). I can sell it in 2021 for $2200+ US). Sure doesn't seem too expensive to me. Chi-fi? People know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

 

So what's wrong with that MP dac?, posted on May 18, 2021 at 12:33:49
Mike K
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Seems like it would fit right in with the rest of your equipment. Have
you tried tube rolling?
Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 19, 2021 at 08:35:01
svisner
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Contributor
  Since:
March 30, 2002
You're getting some good suggestions and I imagine you'd enjoy many of them. As it happens, I settled on a Schitt Lyr 3 headphone amp with their multi-bit DAC as the front end of my main system. However, I also use a SMSL Sanskrit 10th DAC for several of my sound sources, and I like it very much. Good detail, extension, balance. You just might want to consider experiment with one or more of the modestly priced DACs that have been getting good reviews. Some think they are as good, if not better than high-priced DACs of just a few years back. Trying out the SMSL has been fun. I'm also using a Schitt Fulla as the DAC on my desktop system, which features mini-Maggies. I also use a Schitt Modi on that system, also with very nice results. Just a thought as a way to have a bit of fun.

 

RE: The Holo May is, posted on May 19, 2021 at 14:20:09
PaulN
Audiophile

Posts: 1368
Joined: January 13, 2000
No KTE because I don't believe in magic fuses and silver ac hookup wire. The DAC covers are merely aesthetic. It's a money-grab by the distribitor for neurotic people that believe fanciful marketing bullshit. The L2 has an advanced USB receiver and apparently also has premium measuring DAC boards over L1 done at the factory. It sure does sound good.

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on May 23, 2021 at 22:58:35
KanedaK
Audiophile

Posts: 1990
Location: Brussels
Joined: April 27, 2010
Have you received your X26 Pro yet? :)

 

PS Audio DirectStream DAC, posted on May 24, 2021 at 16:49:12
Jay Buridan
Audiophile

Posts: 8132
Location: Michigan
Joined: January 21, 2004
Is a good choice IMHO.

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. "
― W.C. Fields

 

Funny You Should Ask..., posted on May 24, 2021 at 17:59:23
Gerry E.
Audiophile

Posts: 2157
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
It was delivered this morning. Even though for most of the day, Fedex tracking showed it wasn't going to be delivered until tomorrow. Hmmm, maybe I'll get two of them? Nah, the tracking number on the shipping box matched the one I was tracking on the computer. Note that they were back-ordered but once it shipped it took about 5 days to get from China to New York.

I spent at least half the day trying to get the Chinese "black box" to pass DSD to the X26 Pro. I tried everything I could including a number of different hookup options but still couldn't get it to work. Then I started with all of the many different system and audio settings on the Sony digital player being used as a transport. Still, a no go.

Then I went through dozens and dozens of posts, on different websites, discussing the hook-up and use of the black box. Out of all those posts, only one mentioned that he couldn't get it to work until he hooked up an external power supply to the black box (in most situations, just the HDMI connection will be enough to power it). So I searched my box of power supplies for a 5v one and came close enough, 4.5v. My perseverance paid off - BINGO!

By this time it was late in the day but I did listen for a little while and the DAC X26 Pro sounded very promising. There are a number of reasons why the current setup is not optimized yet (ex. using a cheap garbage interconnect cable as the coax digital cable). Once I get everything optimized, hopefully in the next few days, I will report back.

Gerry

 

RE: PS Audio DirectStream DAC, posted on May 25, 2021 at 07:32:22
jedrider
Audiophile

Posts: 13549
Location: No. California
Joined: December 26, 2003
I was just thinking of their Junior DAC. Used, it could be competitive with any of the Chinese stuff and with good support and lots of music server options.

 

RE: Funny You Should Ask..., posted on May 26, 2021 at 00:52:45
KanedaK
Audiophile

Posts: 1990
Location: Brussels
Joined: April 27, 2010
I'm sure you'll be delighted.
I have switched preamps in my system and the new one lets me hear even more how incredible my modest Gustard A18 is. To get that kind of sound quality for 600$ is a steal, I can only imagine what they can do for three times that amount!

 

RE: New DAC Suggestions, posted on June 5, 2021 at 09:21:20
morricab
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 8644
Location: switzerland
Joined: April 1, 2005
I just got an Ayon Skylla 2 DAC from about 2012, which has 4 x BB PCM1704 chips and a full tube output stage (even has tube rectifiers).

Phenomenal sounding DAC.

 

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