Atlantic vs Big7 Sound

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mresseguie

Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« on: 14 Aug 2017, 10:33 pm »
I recently got to listen to an Atlantic DAC in a multi DAC shootout in which I finally understood the Lampi magic.

Can someone (the more the better) explain how the Atlantic sound differs from the Big7?

I know. It's best to listen to the two in the same system. Start me off with an explanation.

Regards,

Michael

Berto

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #1 on: 15 Aug 2017, 01:27 am »
Hi Michael

Tough question and i've owned both DACs over the last 2yrs. Aural memory, diff speaks, tube rolling, you get the point :slap:

The Atlantic output tube is the 4P1L. It's a very linear/musical directly heated *pentode* tube that is not expensive like the triodes used in the Big 7. It comes solids state recti or tube recti. The tube recti allows you to roll tubes and change the sound.

The Big 7 is a directly heated *triode* tube. Unlike the Atlantic you can roll different triodes such as Px4, 242, 300b, 45, 101ds. It only come tube rectified which you can roll as well.

I've owned both DACs. I would be happy with either if I didn't hear the other. You have to find the right triode output tube in the B7 that best fits your taste/system. The good one are not cheap. The Atlantic output tubes are inexpensive no fuss, and the linearity will mesh with a wider range of systems.  With all that being said I still can't answer your good question :duh: but i'd prefer a B7 bc  I have a better emotional connection with triode tubes.

Best,
Rob




mresseguie

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #2 on: 15 Aug 2017, 01:41 am »
Hi, Rob.

Wow. That does seem to be tough.

Hm. Well, I have little experience with triode tubes, so I don't know which would tickle my fancy, and it might get quite expensive to roll various tubes. The 'no fuss' of the Atlantic sounds mighty attractive to me. I know I think the Atlantic that I heard a month ago sounded wonderful.

Here's a list of equipment that would be paired to the DAC:

D Sachs Model 2 6SN7 pre
D Sachs KT88 Kootenay120
Daedalus Audio Apollos
Mac Mini source.

Any more thoughts?

Thanks.

Michael

Berto

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #3 on: 15 Aug 2017, 02:00 am »
Michael,

There is no wrong choice here IMHO. If you loved the sound of the Atlantic, no fuss tube rolling, you've made the decision alot easier.

I just realized I have feedback from a DAC shootout that was done in a treated room a few months ago at Suncoast Audio.

The system consisted of Ayre pre/amp, Aurender and Vandersteen Quatros.

 Key results:
 - Used my Dana USB cable on all DACs

 - Tunes varied from Annie Lennox - Into the West, Brad Mehldau - Waltz for J.B., Stevie Ray Vaughn - Tin Pan Alley, Symphony #2 in E Minor Op. 27 - Budapest Festival Orchestra, Moondance - Van Morrison

 - So here is how they sorted - first the eliminations:

 - Ayre Qx-5 - was immediately eliminated as too bright for both of us. Sound was good and soundstage was clear but the hair raised on the back of our necks during the Annie Lennox crescendo ( note after the shootout, Mike mentioned he likes the QX5 with another USB

 - Berkeley Ref 2 - this was my initial favorite but my wife felt it was mushy in the soundstage background. We did listen again after the shootout and enjoyed it more and the sound was excellent just not the top one

 - Dave Chord - this one had amazing depth to the sound stage, excellent separation and clarity BUT it was also too bright. Mike tried another USB cable but alas, was still a bit too shrill for our tastes
 
- You guessed it - when we took off the masks - left standing were the B7 and Atlantic Lampizators - The music was warmer and more organic. For us, it sounded more analog and natural.
 
...And the winner is: after 6 1/2 hours with Mike and swapping tubes in the B7 and the Atlantic rectifier, the B7 clearly was the winner. The clincher was the Symphony #2 which was mesmerizing - truly one of the most emotional connections ever with the music. My wife is thrilled with the sound (and will live with the aesthetics) and swears there must be some type of gypsy magic sprinkled onto the B7.

mresseguie

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #4 on: 15 Aug 2017, 02:15 am »
 :lol:

I almost felt I was there for a second. Cool. Thanks

My hotel wifi is really flaky tonight. I typed a new pm on my iPad, but can't send it(!). I do have some questions for you.

Michael

sfox7076

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Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #5 on: 15 Aug 2017, 11:36 am »
No offense to the posters, but I am sure the 4P1L is wired as a triode in the Atlantic.  It's easy to do and is popular to do in preamps.  I, personally, think the 4P1L is a steal of a tube.  I prefer the 01A.  It allegedly works in the Big 7, but I have never heard someone who has made that tube last in one.  That said, I have an 01A preamp that uses Coleman boards.  It has been running the same tubes for a year now.  So they are reliable tubes.  I just don't think the filament circuit in the big 7 works for that tube.

Berto

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #6 on: 15 Aug 2017, 03:25 pm »
No offense to the posters, but I am sure the 4P1L is wired as a triode in the Atlantic.  It's easy to do and is popular to do in preamps.  I, personally, think the 4P1L is a steal of a tube.  I prefer the 01A.  It allegedly works in the Big 7, but I have never heard someone who has made that tube last in one.  That said, I have an 01A preamp that uses Coleman boards.  It has been running the same tubes for a year now.  So they are reliable tubes.  I just don't think the filament circuit in the big 7 works for that tube.

No offense taken, it is indeed a pentode tube that is wired as a triode. It's definitely an over achiever esp for the price of admission.

Shredder

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Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #7 on: 15 Aug 2017, 03:31 pm »
I haven't heard the B7. I do, however, own an Atlantic-DSD only, balanced, tube rectified. Couldn't be happier and can't imagine what would  sound better. Natural, thick and rich, very linear, perfect tone.

findog3103

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #8 on: 15 Aug 2017, 04:05 pm »
I agree with Shredder. I am sure the Big 7 is amazing but I own a Atlantic plus and couldn't be happier with the sound.

wisnon

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Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #9 on: 15 Aug 2017, 06:14 pm »
well, just when you think you have sailed every ocean and crossed every bridge...we hear that the Pacific is coming. Atlantic is pentode running in triode mode...Pacific is something called active triode loading. Very intrigued.

grand unveling in Sarasota FL in mid October. I am planning to make it!

mresseguie

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #10 on: 15 Aug 2017, 06:22 pm »
Hello, Wisnon.

If only the unveiling were a couple weeks earlier, I could swing down from Atlanta for the show. However, I anticipate returning to Oregon by October 1st.

One cannot help but wonder if the Pacific DAC's existence might cause price drops on the other models?


Gopher

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #11 on: 15 Aug 2017, 06:26 pm »
Not likely.  The Pacific will be a statement piece priced above the Golden Gate.

bmoura

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Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #12 on: 17 Aug 2017, 07:01 am »
Not likely.  The Pacific will be a statement piece priced above the Golden Gate.

Beyond the Golden Gate? 
Hmm, I'll have to watch for The Pacific at the next audio show.  :)


mresseguie

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #13 on: 17 Aug 2017, 05:36 pm »
Not likely.  The Pacific will be a statement piece priced above the Golden Gate.

Perhaps, then, there will be a mad rush to sell or trade in lesser models in order to upgrade to the Pacific.... :D This one person can imagine and hope for such a possibility.  8)


Gopher

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #14 on: 17 Aug 2017, 07:45 pm »
Actually, I don't anticipate the market getting flooded with pre-owned units.  We will announce an extremely generous promotional trade in program for the Pacific a bit closer to it's launch.

We've spent a lot of time brainstorming how best to take care of out existing customers and make everyone happy.

genjamon

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #15 on: 17 Aug 2017, 07:58 pm »
I own a B7 with the R2R PCM board upgrades, but not the superclocks.  And a friend has the SS Atlantic and brought it over once about a year ago.  Here was the system configuration during that comparison:

microRendu > Uptone hard USB adapter > Big7 w/VC > Tortuga passive VC, Hattor passive VC > Line Magnetic 518 amp > Daedalus DA-RMa V2 speakers

This was only a few months after my moving to a new house with a VERY different listening room than before, though.  And I hadn't dialed in the system fully yet, especially regarding tube synergies.  My highest quality tubes for the Lampi are the Takatsuki 300B's, but I've played with Psvane WE101D's, and KR/Lampi Aniversary 45's too.  And a few rectifier options too.  The Line Magnetic amp has Psvane WE845's, 1957 metal base 5AR4 recti, and vintage EI 12ax7's, new production Gold Lion KT88's.

Ok, we were all very curious about this comparison with Atlantic.  Basically, they were very very close.  The linearity of the Atlantic was most excellent - very balanced all the way around - warm, but also dynamic.  Really nice DAC.  The Big 7 with the Tak 300B's was sounding too dense/lush to the point of being a bit tubby in comparison.  I swapped in the Psvane WE101D's, and got a very similar linear sound signature compared with the Atlantic, and we all liked this config.  HOWEVER (WARNING) I screwed up and had the 101D's playing in the wrong setting - the one for 300B's!  So it was being way overheated.  I only realized this a day later.  And when I put it back to correct setting - sound became much thinner and not a good synergy anymore. 

But, during the audition, I think we were able to find some tracks where the Big7 pulled ahead, but it took careful listening and the right quality recordings. 

That said, I have since been able to dial the system in a LOT more substantially, and the 300B's are no longer tubby.  Main contributions are really stepping up refinement through power supply improvements in the digital supply chain.  But also adding active tube preamp into the system rather than the passive options from before.  I now have a Don Sachs pre with all the latest upgrades as well, Michael. 

With these refinements and perceived SQ improvements over the past year, I'd really like to do the comparison again.  It's possible they'd hang together again, but it's also possible that the more refined source would allow the Big7 to pull substantially ahead.  I hope to try it again someday.

 

Tomy2Tone

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #16 on: 17 Aug 2017, 08:31 pm »
Hey Michael, I'm the "friend" genjamon is referring to who brought over the Atlantic. My memory of the comparison may be a little different. I came away thinking if I had the money I would go for the Big 7. Physically side by side you see why they call the Big 7 big. It's is substantially more robust in its design and to my ears is more refined and just does everything right. Haven't heard a Golden Gate but I'm sure it takes the 7 to newer heights.

All that said though just a few days after returning from the comparison I remember thinking the Atlantic in my system sounds pretty damn good and I forgot all about the Big 7 and its prowess. Hard to go wrong with either.


genjamon

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #17 on: 17 Aug 2017, 08:38 pm »
Funny stuff, Tom.  I just remember being really impressed with the sound quality for the price - compared with the Big7 price tag.  Seemed to get pretty close to me, and for much less $$.  Well, you know what they say about the grass is greener...

Tomy2Tone

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #18 on: 17 Aug 2017, 08:47 pm »
Funny stuff, Tom.  I just remember being really impressed with the sound quality for the price - compared with the Big7 price tag.

True, when you consider the stock Atlantic is half the price of a Big 7 it does make it impressive. But if money wasn't an issue I would go for the Big 7.

As far as having another comparison between the two, I'm about to send Fred a message about upgrading my Atlantic to tube recti and superclocks. Time bring my A game down to Tucson!  :green:

genjamon

Re: Atlantic vs Big7 Sound
« Reply #19 on: 17 Aug 2017, 08:54 pm »
Sweeeet!!  But I still need to upgrade mine to superclocks too  :duh: :oops: