Journey of my DAC 10

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Tan Raymond

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  • Retired and coming back to music after 30 years
Journey of my DAC 10
« on: 9 Aug 2017, 11:19 am »
Hi All,
It's been a tough 50 hour wait on my dac10. The feeling is a little mixed now, but let me give a little background story.
I started with MF dac2 combo of spdif/dac/power supply and am quite happy until I tried the on board dac of my Marantz SA8005. I like the latter a lot as the musia had more details and also a lot more warmth. When I first introduce the dac10 into the system, I was totally disappointed as it is bright to a point I get irritated. Wrote in someones thread, and was told to wait for some time, needs burning in.
Well, after 50 hours, I'm getting used to it or it has improved. Details are still there, but it did not irritate me now. So I pulled the trigger on the ST10. Will be getting it in a month or so. In the mean time, I bought a set of desktops and hook it up to the system and the "brightness and irritating harshness" is back. I am running the dac10 through an accuphase A30 power amp which is suppose to be a little on the warm side. If the brightness is back with the new speakers, what is going to happen when the ST10 comes in????? It's known to be neutral, which will make it worst compared to my accuphase. Should I cancel the st10???
Needs some assurances that the st10 will not be too bright compared to the accuphase. Thanks.

mresseguie

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #1 on: 9 Aug 2017, 02:28 pm »
Hello, Tan.

I have two observations from your post. The first is that you've burned your DAC-10 in for a mere 50 hours. I believe most folks will recommend a minimum of 100 hours of burn in for a DAC to open up. I just auditioned a DAC recently that needed over two hundred hours to open up.

My second observation is this:

You stated, "...I bought a set of desktops and hook it up to the system and the brightness and irritating harshness is back." Based solely on your supplied information, it seems to me the problem is the new pair of speakers. Before you added the new pair of speakers, the music sounded okay. Have you tried using those same speakers in another system, or with another DAC to hear how they sound? Did you listen to the desktop speakers before you bought them?

What is the sensitivity of the new speakers? How many ohms?

Regards,

Michael

Dadbeh

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #2 on: 9 Aug 2017, 02:38 pm »
Considering that accuphase is such a great sounding amp, what is the motivation behind adding st10?

Wind Chaser

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #3 on: 9 Aug 2017, 04:03 pm »
It's been a tough 50 hour wait on my dac10. The feeling is a little mixed now... When I first introduce the dac10 into the system, I was totally disappointed as it is bright to a point I get irritated. ... was told to wait for some time, needs burning in ... Well, after 50 hours, I'm getting used to it or it has improved ... new speakers...

Michael is right, 50 hours isn't nearly enough time, play it around the clock 24/7 for at least 4 more days before judging it.

When the ST-10 arrives, do the same thing; let it run 24/7 for at least 6 days (150 hours) before you judge it. New gear takes time to break in. Not until it is fully broken in will it perform at its optimum.

To make matters worse you also mentioned "new speakers." When I brought home the Spatial M3TS, out of the box they sounded like crap. 3 days later they still sounded like crap. After 50 hours I didn't see any real improvement and began to think it's hopeless. Only after playing them real hard for 95 hours did they start to show some signs of promise. Prior to that I was sorely tempted to take them back. When it comes to buying brand new gear you need to be patient. Give it at least 150 hours of play time.

jonbee

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #4 on: 9 Aug 2017, 07:38 pm »
I use DAC10Hs in both my main systems (both high end, $15-30K systems). I use ST10 in one, an N-Core NC400 in the other. I've owned a couple dozen quality DACS over the years, and the 10H is as dead neutral as any I've owned. If anything, I found them slightly laid back on top, particularly with the ST10.
Give 'em time, and look elsewhere for the brightness.
The ST-10 is similarly very neutral, close to sonically invisible. The pairing should be very sweet.

Tan Raymond

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 26
  • Retired and coming back to music after 30 years
Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #5 on: 10 Aug 2017, 01:30 am »
Hi All,
The accuphase is fine driving my lsim705, but after I changed to harbeth 5plus, I have problems at spl above 85db. Thought I would get a bigger accuphase but chance upon Nuprime. Now, the 10 combo will ultimately be brought home to drive my harbeth. I'm working away from home so need to break in the new units in my work place. Brought all the gears except the speakers to work place, but due to human traffic, cannot bring the harbeth. Was using polk rti a1, before the new dali zensor 1 came. Had auditioned them and prefer it to the polks. However the highs at my place is just too much for my ears, to the point of irritating me. Just worried the st10 would be to much of a good thing. I have only about 10 hours or less to run in the systems at work, even less if it's at home. Really a pain to get new gears. Maybe the sta9 may do a better job???

JackD

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Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #6 on: 10 Aug 2017, 02:56 am »
Stick with the 10 combo if ultimately pairing it in a different environment with Harbeth.  What you hear in an office has no bearing on what you will hear at home.

mresseguie

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #7 on: 10 Aug 2017, 04:41 am »
Hi All,
The accuphase is fine driving my lsim705, but after I changed to harbeth 5plus, I have problems at spl above 85db. Thought I would get a bigger accuphase but chance upon Nuprime. Now, the 10 combo will ultimately be brought home to drive my harbeth. I'm working away from home so need to break in the new units in my work place. Brought all the gears except the speakers to work place, but due to human traffic, cannot bring the harbeth. Was using polk rti a1, before the new dali zensor 1 came. Had auditioned them and prefer it to the polks. However the highs at my place is just too much for my ears, to the point of irritating me. Just worried the st10 would be to much of a good thing. I have only about 10 hours or less to run in the systems at work, even less if it's at home. Really a pain to get new gears. Maybe the sta9 may do a better job???

 :scratch:

Genez

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #8 on: 10 Aug 2017, 05:49 am »
When I first introduce the dac10 into the system, I was totally disappointed as it is bright to a point I get irritated. Wrote in someones thread, and was told to wait for some time, needs burning in.
Well, after 50 hours, I'm getting used to it or it has improved.


I just had the exact same problem with mine. You may want to try this to speed up the burning in. Play some music that you can play non stop.   Turn off the amp when you are not listening, and keep playing through the DAC10.  It will burn in even though you hear no music. I went to sleep burning in the DAC10 the other night that way.

Here is a suggestion that can help speed up getting to excellent sound.  One big thing I did that made the brightness go away much quicker was switching to an audiophile fuse.  Day and night difference!  Glass fuses take forever to burn in.. Probably longer than the DAC would take with a better fuse in it.   

 Though the DAC10 will still need to be burned in, in my opinion, glass fuses in audiophile gear make burn in more painful than need be.  And, will take much longer. Its that pesky fuse that can hurt the sound.   You can spend a lot more for a super fuse, but this one brand of fuse is a very good match for my NuPrime equipment. 


Schurter AUDIOPHILE FUSE 5X20mm Audio Grade GOLD PLATED.  Get T 2.5A.  Only - US $6.00      Some audiophile fuses go for over 100.00!   

This one sits real well with the Nuprime sound. Transparent and naturally warm when the music is warm. 

 I also have more expensive fuses..  and, they sound good.  But, this Schurter is an excellent choice for the DAC (IMHO).
Make sure to try the fuse in both directions.  Even the glass fuse will be effected by the direction it sits in the fuse holder, but glass is really not worthy of such an excellent DAC/preamp. I am now joking to myself, wondering where NuPrime hid the tubes! 

The entire component has to burn in.  That includes the power cord. I use an Pangea audiophile one that was burned in already,  but even then, the DAC10 out of the box was a disappointment at first.   If you get the new fuse I believe you will find the burning in time much easier to bear and the DAC10 (IMHO) will sound better just the same.


Here is a clip from a fuse review which also covers the Schurter fuse:   http://singaporehifi.blogspot.com/2014/01/aftermarket-fuses-synergistic-research.html

Schurter actually lists their SMD-SPT fuse line as an audio product ! Thankfully, it comes with a non-audiophile price tag.
Depending on how hard you look, you should be able to find it for less than US$ 2.00.

In my humble opinion, the SMD-SPT handily outperforms the Bussman Ceramic Fuse for negligible price difference.

There is good amount of detail, and nothing seems unduly emphasized. Soundstaging is a bit distant.

If your system is perfectly dialed in, this could be the icing on the cake. This fuse is an absolute no-brainer !


   

Makes a beautiful difference right away!

Wind Chaser

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #9 on: 10 Aug 2017, 07:53 am »
Genez,

Interesting post. I know from experience that cables in general can make a pretty significant difference ...but I've never been a power cord / fuse fan. Over the years I've owned 3 different aftermarket (audiophile) cords, ranging in price from $100 to $1000. And while they did affect the sound to one degree or another in various systems of both tube and SS, I would call the difference they made just that - different, but not a real improvement.  :|

OTOH power conditioning has proven itself to make a very definite and positive difference in my systems. Having said that, I have no experience with high end audiophile fuses, but I am open to trying them because...

a) they are cheap (at least the ones mentioned above) and
b) with a DAC-9 and STA-9 on the way, I'll try anything to mitigate the break in blues.

The only question is what are the required values for the DAC-9 and STA-9? Given that one is a power amp and the other a DAC, I'll bet they have two different values.
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2017, 01:47 pm by Wind Chaser »

in1unison

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #10 on: 10 Aug 2017, 08:41 am »
@Tan

...or you can try bi-amping your Harbeths. Use ST-10 for LF and Accuphase for MF/HF. I had wonderfull experience with pairing Yamaha A-S1100 (similar sound signature as Accuphase) and ST-10. Also, if you can, try to avoid complex "Litz wire" type speaker cables.

As always, experiment, trust your ears first and enjoy the music!

Tan Raymond

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 26
  • Retired and coming back to music after 30 years
Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #11 on: 10 Aug 2017, 10:40 am »
Hi All,
Interesting pointers raised here. Will allow the dac to "run" without the amp. Fuse, not tried but may try. Bi-amp, no, unless I invest in another gear - some external cross over. There is no benefits in bi-amping. Tried and could not hear any difference. Cables, am using reasonable quality interconnects, speaker, usb, optical and digital coaxial cables. I apportioned at least 15% budget on cables. Not including room treatment at home. Thanks for all the feedback. Will come back if I get any improvements. Hope i'm still sane then.

Genez

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #12 on: 10 Aug 2017, 04:04 pm »
Genez,
OTOH power conditioning has proven itself to make a very definite and positive difference in my systems. Having said that, I have no experience with high end audiophile fuses, but I am open to trying them because...

a) they are cheap (at least the ones mentioned above) and
b) with a DAC-9 and STA-9 on the way, I'll try anything to mitigate the break in blues.

The only question is what are the required values for the DAC-9 and STA-9? Given that one is a power amp and the other a DAC, I'll bet they have two different values.

I had the same kind of question not long ago... Here is a link for the answer.    http://www.nuprimeaudio.com/index.php/guides/faq.html#faq_45


 :dunno:  which one?

Genez

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #13 on: 10 Aug 2017, 04:14 pm »
@Tan

...or you can try bi-amping your Harbeths. Use ST-10 for LF and Accuphase for MF/HF. I had wonderfull experience with pairing Yamaha A-S1100 (similar sound signature as Accuphase) and ST-10. Also, if you can, try to avoid complex "Litz wire" type speaker cables.

As always, experiment, trust your ears first and enjoy the music!

If the Harberths are not phase coherent speakers?  Most speakers are not...  Its kind of foolish to do that.  Most two/three way speakers wire their tweeters and mid/woofers in opposing phase.  They are designed to sound sweet, but accuracy of a realistic imaging and impact can never be properly achieved.  If you did not make such an elaborate suggestion, I would have kept my peace.   

The ST10 (when broken in - and using a good fuse) sounds almost like an excellent tube amp!  I once had a McIntosh MC275.  The ST10 is different... and in some ways better sounding. Quicker and more dynamic..  But, it all depends on what the taste of the listener may so happen to be.

The real problem is finding a speaker with first order crossover, or its equivalent.

.

Genez

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #14 on: 11 Aug 2017, 01:33 am »
Need some assurances that the st10 will not be too bright compared to the accuphase. Thanks.

I auditioned a ST10 loaner from a dealership a while back.   It was a demo unit and burned in when I got it.  Sounded real sweet and detailed.  I even did a review of it at that time.  You can read it here:  http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=134516.0

A few weeks ago I decided to get one of my own.  The ST10 new/out of the box was a let down.  But,  after just leaving it on over night did wonders for the sound.  It needs to be burned in.

It should not be too bright in comparison to the Acuphase.  But, it should give you greater detail.   You will be able to hear little things that a warm sounding amp tends to smear over.

What kind of desktop speakers did you get?   


in1unison

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #15 on: 11 Aug 2017, 07:44 am »
@Genez

Benefits (and pitfalls) of bi-amping are widely known concepts better discusses elsewhere.

If speaker manufacturer encourages their users to bi-amp, it is not foolish to experiment with it and test ones ears for any possible sound benefit.

Tan Raymond

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 26
  • Retired and coming back to music after 30 years
Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #16 on: 11 Aug 2017, 11:41 am »
Hi All,
I'm using the desktop speakers as a means of burning in the dac10. I have only 2 to 3 hours of music time at home, thus need to bring to office to give it more running time. My 5plus, is at home and awaiting my 10 combo. Got my son a ida8/sp one combo and it sounded good out of the box (according to his feedback). Guess I'm expecting too much. Will wait for the st10 to atrive then another painful couple of weeks of torture before audio bliss, I hope. Thanks for all the encouragements and feedback.

Dadbeh

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #17 on: 11 Aug 2017, 12:07 pm »
Hi All,
I'm using the desktop speakers as a means of burning in the dac10. I have only 2 to 3 hours of music time at home, thus need to bring to office to give it more running time. My 5plus, is at home and awaiting my 10 combo. Got my son a ida8/sp one combo and it sounded good out of the box (according to his feedback). Guess I'm expecting too much. Will wait for the st10 to atrive then another painful couple of weeks of torture before audio bliss, I hope. Thanks for all the encouragements and feedback.

lol leave to play all day while u r not there. no one is foprcing you to sit down and listen to what you dont want to listen.

Genez

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #18 on: 11 Aug 2017, 06:21 pm »
@Genez

Benefits (and pitfalls) of bi-amping are widely known concepts better discusses elsewhere.

If speaker manufacturer encourages their users to bi-amp, it is not foolish to experiment with it and test ones ears for any possible sound benefit.

It depends on what you are biamping. Panels with a sub?   I have a pair of speakers (mid woofer and tweeters) that I purchased for about 300 on clearance. Everyone was doing it at that time.   They are biampable. Needed?   Not even close. And, these have first order crossovers.

Marketing causes many things to become the latest need, which were hoped to be answers.  Because people need answers but no one knows what they really are. Creating answers that are not the answer = marketing. Not saying biamping does not have its benefits.  But, its not going to benefit unless the speakers are phase coherent to begin with.  Many speakers with crossovers have the two drivers wired in opposite phase.   Why biamp that?  It does not solve a real problem, and may only eliminate some distortion that does not make music sound real as long as the design remains the same otherwise. 

Genez

Re: Journey of my DAC 10
« Reply #19 on: 11 Aug 2017, 06:25 pm »
Hi All,
I'm using the desktop speakers as a means of burning in the dac10. I have only 2 to 3 hours of music time at home, thus need to bring to office to give it more running time.

You do not need to do that.   Just run the DAC10 plugged into an amp that is turned off.   The DAC sees a load and will play as if it were being used in a system.  You can burn in the DAC10 in silence that way.  Just make sure its receiving an audio signal. 

Learned that trick from a manufacturer years ago.  The one thing you can not do that with is the amp.  The amp needs to be playing speakers to burn in.   I was told there are dummy loads you can place on an amp to have a silent burn in,  but I am not sure how that works.

If the weather here were more predictable at present I would leave my DAC10 burning in silently all the time until I get the needed hours.

One big leap forward in making the sound good sooner (while not yet burned in fully) was using the Schurter audiophile fuse.  Cost me $6.00 plus shipping. I flipped the fuse direction a few times to see which sounds best, and now am very happy with what I am hearing while burning in. I may end up with Schurter fuses in both my DAC10 and ST10. With my speakers it makes for a very good marriage.