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Upsamplers, DACs, jitter, shakes and analogue withdrawals, this is it.

Are there any tube DACs or CDPs that are the digital equivalent of a Koetsu rosewood in their sound signature?

Seeking a lucullan midrange that seduces you with its rich three dimensional presentation of vocalists; a deep, wide soundstage with velvety, rich, silent dark space between instruments that present themselves with golden tonality. Opulent but not lush as in the pejorative sense of the word that most audiophiles throw at tube equipment that is thick, heavy, bloated, sluggish and distorted like a very badly executed SET would be. No, I mean in the archaic definition as in luxurious, the finest and richest; if I am conveying my intent correctly.

To illustrate further, picture the scene; a German designed Teutonic performance of a Wagnerian opera; cold, hard, sterile, brittle, forceful, and unyielding. Have that in mind, good, now go 180 degrees in the opposite direction, picture a French cafe in the early summer evening, a small Jazz band is playing, a table just outside, a bottle of Bordeaux nearby, luxuriating in the warmth of the night air as the music is drifting around you with a delicate caress, a golden glow illuminates the scene. Simply relaxing in the opulence of the moment, that is the sonic signature.

As a thought experiment; if one were to take the classic California Audio Labs Tempest IISE put in a refined transport mechanism like the old Esoteric P2; a modern chip set oh, say eight differential pairs of Burr Brown 1794s and then straight to a vacuum tube output stage using NOS 6SN7s. Plus, a separate power supply chassis like the Tempest had with its 17 supplies, isolated and fully regulated, with an all vacuum tube voltage regulation stage to supply the tube output and use modern Teflon film caps and wire throughout with copper resistors, silver connectors, etc. Maybe that would get close?

Is there anything even remotely similar to that in the market past or present? Some might suggest the last CAL Alpha 24/96 dac and mod it but that only used a Cirrus/Crystal chip with mosfet drivers and a single 12AX7 as a cathode follower added on almost as an afterthought. There was the MF NuVista CDP but the nuvista tubes just don't have the same sonic signature as older tube types; being a little too sterile and “solid state-ish” at least for my tastes.

So, if anyone has any product suggestions please do but there is probably nothing out there like that anyway. Oh well, thank you in advance.

And, yes I was being completely serious here.

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Topic - Are there any tube DACs or CDPs that are the digital equivalent of a Koetsu rosewood in their sound signature? - cfb 09:43:01 07/10/11 (27)


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