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The State of DACSES


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  • 3 months later...
3 hours ago, RudeWolf said:

I liked Denfrips Ares and Terminator. Soekris dac1541 at your price range might work as well.

I believe the Soekris dac1541 is discontinued now and has been replaced by the dac2541.  

 

3 hours ago, sbelyo said:

I'm looking to buy a R2R DAC that's commercially produced.  I've been looking at the Denafrips Pontus and want to stay in that price range.  Are there any others worth looking at?

I have the Denafrips Venus II and it's an amazing dac.

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going off the deep end.... for USB strictly I am quite torn right now between Yggy Analog 2 with Unison or Denafrips Pontus II. Leaning Yggy. Just feels like Schiit has tried to solve USB the most. 

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I had listened to the Yggy about three years ago at can jam nyc and didn't like the sound compared to my BIII at the time.  I've since built a BIII Pro 9028 and an all Salas power supply.  This was a huge improvement to the original BIII.  Has the Yggy gone through improvements since then?

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Yggy absolutely must be used from the BAL connection, the SE is "just there" as a crutch. Supposedly the analog board upgrade made the sound less warm and more precise.

My experience with a 9018 Buffalo is that it needed a ton of tweaking to sound right. The FIFO board basically was what made it listenable.

Edited by RudeWolf
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6 hours ago, RudeWolf said:

Yggy absolutely must be used from the BAL connection, the SE is "just there" as a crutch. Supposedly the analog board upgrade made the sound less warm and more precise.

My experience with a 9018 Buffalo is that it needed a ton of tweaking to sound right. The FIFO board basically was what made it listenable.

Definitely agree on the need tweaking part.  I'm getting ready to build my third one with a separate PSU for the AVCC along with DimDim's isolator board and TFT display

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  • 2 months later...

Anyone heard the Chord Qutest (or I guess the Hugo 2 as DAC) and comment on SQ? Model name aside, I've been a bit fixated on it and need a smallish DAC and well, I'm a simple guy. Heard the Hugo 1 pandemics ago, but not with any associated gear I have. Reviews seem to contradict themselves, though seems engaging and a lot of detail. Would probably pair with the Peak/Volcano. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the last three hours I've found out Eastern Electric is out of business, Resonessence Labs is out of business, Lavry hasn't brought a new dac to market since the DA11, and Macs stopped including toslink outs. When does the madness end? ;)

Edited by blessingx
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1 hour ago, ktm said:

Given the large number of DAC and headphone  companies out there,

a lot more are going to go under. All covid did was speed up the process.

 

Completely agree. Over on diyaudio, Søren Kristensen (Soekris) said that lead time for the Spartan FPGA he uses in his DACs is up to 53 weeks. Every small business that relies on semiconductors is going to be struggling right now, which just adds to price pressure from the market being flooded by an explosion of inexpensive mass-manufactured gear.

Edited by Beefy
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/25/2021 at 1:44 AM, blessingx said:

Anyone heard the Chord Qutest (or I guess the Hugo 2 as DAC) and comment on SQ? Model name aside, I've been a bit fixated on it and need a smallish DAC and well, I'm a simple guy. Heard the Hugo 1 pandemics ago, but not with any associated gear I have. Reviews seem to contradict themselves, though seems engaging and a lot of detail. Would probably pair with the Peak/Volcano. 

I had the hugo 2 for almost 2 years paired to an audeze LCD-4z and later with the Stax sr-007 mk2 that replaced them. Very very detailed DAC but I found it just a tad “cold” and clinical. 
 

i found the hugo TT2 (and even the mojo) to sound a little bit warmer and more musical. 
 

but we are really talking about slight differences (to me anyway). 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Compared two DACes today, the trusty old Lavry DA11 (via USB from my laptop running from battery, cheap power cables and interconnect) against a Lumin X1 network player. Level matched (that took a while and very annoying if you have to change the volume for a different track), connected to a switch -> SRM-T1S CCS + ECC99 -> SR-009 / SR-Lambda (also speakers, time was unfortunately very limited)

Never compared sources like this before, heard the systems indirectly, and my preconceptions turned out to be either false (like soundstaging), or way less than expected.
The DA11 had more, slightly looser bass. The midrange seemed slightly more laid-back, giving the impression of very slightly less clarity (some described it as "slightly old-school"). Having that 'bass boost on' felt more synergistic (I also find the internal crossfeed being useful sometimes), although the Lumin had a slightly firmer, tighter presentation.
In the grand scheme of things, I struggled to find big faults with either, it felt I could just enjoy music without fatigue (well, maybe not true for the SR-009 after a while), and I was quite shocked when I found out the difference in price. And maybe the DA11 can improve with a decent PSU as well.

Next time I might just try again to see if I notice some more stuff, congestion, etc. and I might test my amp directly against the CCS ECC99 modded version, that should be super easy (though it needs a few hours of warming up...)

DA11+T1S+NB Lambda for under 2000$ all-in (maybe with the CCS mod squeezed in) seems quite unbeatable value to be honest, if focusing on the music itself is the most important thing rather than all those technicalities where it might be lacking. Chief among which is precious little bass texture to speak of, piano lacking in weight also, less speed, etc. The imaging or that final 10-20% detail and extension at the extremes, slight congestion really doesn't bother me, the sound is already very clear, open, quite balanced and extended with stunning seductive mids, that's more than enough for me.

On the other hand, if I owned a pair of SR-009s, I would probably try a "heavy-handed" approach, like a Smyth Realiser or a custom EQ besides an amp upgrade, as I felt that a warmer source didn't really change much about the overall character.

outro: back at base to finish off Schubert's Symphonies.
Even with the stock amp with looser (but yet even warmer) bass, the sound is still wonderful, I only remember the HE90s having that sense of undisturbed connection with the mids (and with more dynamics to boot, I can't care with the technical flaws).
Switching to the SR-Omega, phenomenal resolution and imaging, bass cleans up massively, a very nuanced presentation, totally relaxing, flows beautifully.
However, it's almost as if all that extra information makes the midrange a bit distant, veiled and disconnected at times. I mean, it's not half bad, maybe it is just showing the Lavry as a "boring" source or whatever, but...as weird as it may sound, it looks to me that all these Omegas, need some work one way or another to reach up to that level of musicality that an SR-Lambda can deliver by default, always, no questions asked.

Edited by padam
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I am absolutely blow away by the Matrix Mini pro 3. For $1000 or under you get a streamer (Roon, airplay), decent DAC and HPA. 

I currently have the Sonnet Morpheus and when I subbed in the Matrix, yes there was a different presentation IE the Matrix maybe having greater perceived detail and the Sonnet being more layered. It sounds like the Sonnet is deeper back to front and the Matrix is wider side to side. 

All in all if you blind compared them I am not sure you’d say one smoked the other. 

Used there are going for $750 or below if you get a chance try one. I would suggest using the LAN or I2S with the matrix x-spdif as the preferred way to feed it a signal.

Anyone else out there try these? I’ve used the HE1000se, Grado old school sr125, HP1000 and some JH IEMs and in all cases the sound is pretty pretty good. 

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Yeah, we're spoiled for choice. You almost have to consider your entire music library, playback software scheme and transport mechanism before you even start thinking about which DACs sound good. Digital music these days can easily be more work than cultivating a record collection.

I got overwhelmed by all these new possibilities and didn't want to pay ongoing fees for something like Roon, so I said "fuck it", and am pretty much just going with USB transport from a PC. If I can fire up foobar, Spotify or Amazon Music directly from a computer, I'm a happy camper.

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On 8/15/2021 at 9:26 AM, Beefy said:

going with USB transport from a PC. If I can fire up foobar, Spotify or Amazon Music directly from a computer

Doing anything else with digital media is nervosa. Streamers? Roon? Pi2AES? FFS.

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I actually find Roon both simplifying and more satisfying. Cannot see myself going back. I will actually buy a lifetime membership when this years subscription runs out. If i wait too much longer it won’t be worth it ;) 

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