The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!

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mact3333

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #900 on: 16 Feb 2011, 05:54 am »
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« Last Edit: 16 Feb 2011, 04:20 pm by mact3333 »

doug s.

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #901 on: 16 Feb 2011, 08:58 am »
although I havent broken in my new off label 50wpc tube amp, I have a feeling it wont properly drive my Martin Logan CLS's...sounds thin and muffled...think a different amp is  in the cards also...should get the Tranquility tomorrow...you guys have any rec's for a amp that will drive the CLS's properly??...will prob buy used...most seem to like the Pass Labs and Plinius SS amps.
not sure the cls's can be properly driven.  years back, when i considered buying a pair, i queried m-l about 'em, and they told me that, even if actively crossed over to subs at 100hz, they would never go louder than 93db.  while they may sound magical at lower volumes and with smaller type music, (and they do), they won't do well w/a lot of music, or loud music.  pass & plinius sound like good choices, cuz of their ability to output current, but do not overlook electrocompaniet -fantastic s/s amps, imo, and amazing ability to drive difficult loads.  if you insist on tubes, consider finding a used mesa baron - good at driving most anything, and not too spendy, if you can find one.  also, consider active crossover and subs, to help the relieve cls'

ymmv,

doug s.

bhobba

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #902 on: 16 Feb 2011, 09:31 am »
you guys have any rec's for a amp that will drive the CLS's properly??...will prob buy used.

Yep - the NAKSA has an excellent affinity for electrostatics and can drive them with ease:
http://www.aksaonline.com/products/products_NAKSA70.html

I had one in my system for quite a while (sold it to upgrade to the 100W version) and it is an excellent amp - very good clarity, bass grip and an easy listening non fatiguing sound.   Don't worry that its a kit amp - your local electronics technician can easily build it for you.

Thanks
Bill

mact3333

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #903 on: 16 Feb 2011, 04:16 pm »
I will start a another thread about ML speakers since I dont want this thread to get too off topic...:).

bhobba

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #904 on: 24 Feb 2011, 03:38 am »
I just thought I would pass something reviews often don't worry too much about - what happens when something goes wrong.  Well my Tranquility SE is a bit on the blink - so what did Eric do.  He not only pays to have it shipped back but will be sending a new one.  You really can't ask for more than that.

Thanks
Bill

schw06

Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #905 on: 24 Feb 2011, 03:50 am »
I was just thinking about dropping a note of thanks to Eric. I had a repeating problem with my system that I thought was my dac and turned out to be unrelated. However, he worked through the issues requiring back and forth shipping. Eric's number 1 concern was making sure I had music playing as soon as possible. I have been so fortunate to deal with some fantastic manufacturers but Eric has to take the cake.
   Oh by the way, the Tranquility SE is a monster value and a total no brainer for anyone with a mac and $1895. Thank you Eric.
David

MichAgain

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #906 on: 25 Mar 2011, 05:11 pm »
Asynchronousity...?  The QB-9 vs. the SE

I had an interesting experience recently.  I had a chance to pick up a slightly used Ayre QB-9 DAC at a very fair price.  Having read many positive reviews on the Ayre and the "obvious" benefits of asynchronous technology, I bought the QB-9 so I could compare it head-to-head with my Tranquility SE.  After about 8 weeks of A/B comparison, the Tranquility SE emerged the clear winner.

We (my wife and I) would be hard pressed to single out any aspect of the QB-9's presentation that we preferred over the SE.  I don't know, perhaps the bass was a tiny bit more articulate?  But we preferred the SE in every respect.  Overall, we both felt that the SE had a far more organic nature.  I don't know how else to explain it.  My wife said the Ayre, while very good, very accurate, sounded like a "computer"; too clinical.  I could not disagree.

To be honest, I bought the QB-9 expecting that I would prefer it to the SE, which is why I held on to it for 2 months!  I actually wanted to prefer the QB-9.  I felt that the Ayre's ability to handle hi-rez files and the fact that it was an asynchronous DAC would surely make it the better choice.   But every time I placed the SE back in the rack it was an effort to listen critically.  I found that I'd tend to end the analysis and start enjoying the music. The SE exhibited more air in its presentation, better imaging, cleaner and clearer highs and that fabled Tranquility mid-range.  It is both liquid and detailed in nature.  Note that the SE took 100's of hours to get to this point.  I've never experienced a longer break-in or more profound metamorphosis in any piece of equipment I've owned.

When I finally decided it was time to part with the Ayre, I received the usual "why are you selling" inquiries from interested parties.  Whereby I would explain my impressions and experience with the Ayre vs. the Tranquility, HiFace, modded HiFace and a CA 840C I used to own.  It's interesting that the gentleman who bought my QB-9 could not fathom the idea that any DAC lacking asynchronous technology could possibly sound better than an asynchronous unit! 

But then again... that was me... roughly 2 months ago.

jrebman

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #907 on: 25 Mar 2011, 05:27 pm »
Glad you had the opportunity to hear this for yourself with both dacs concurrently.  I too at one time was convinced that async was a must for the best usb dac sound, but I had the original Tranquility and a Wavelength Cosecant at the same time and while the Cosecant is a wonderful dac, it just couldn't do what the Tranquility did for the music and my overall listening enjoyment.  I now have the SE and still have no real need or interest in a high-res dac.

Thanks for the post,

Jim

Bukada

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #908 on: 25 Mar 2011, 06:48 pm »
Michagain,  I agree entirely with your experience. The SE is in so many ways just remarkable and a complete pleasure to own and use. For me it is the most listenable component in my system. What's ironic is that I was most skeptical of the Tranquility and its raves from early adopters. You can see my review and apology for my skepticism here:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?rdgtl&1299203545&read&keyw&zztranquility

:) listening,

Ed


MichAgain

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #909 on: 25 Mar 2011, 07:21 pm »
Ed,  Thanks for the link to thread on AudiogoN.  When I bought the Ayre QB-9 it came with a Ridge Street Poiema USB cable.  So I also got the opportunity to compare the Ridge Street to the Tranquility Essential USB.  The Ridge Street is a wonderful cable that seemed to offer great extention vs. the Essential.  I'd love to try the Ridge Street Poiema P/C you mentioned.  Right now I'm using a LessLoss P/C on the SE and it would be fun to compare the two. 

Yup, the fun never ends! 

My best,

Curt 

dBe

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #910 on: 26 Mar 2011, 05:04 pm »
As usual, I have to add my $.02.

I've taken a lot of heat because I jumped on the Tranquility bandwagon early.  You have to put yourself in my place.  I am an analog junkie.  I came up in recording studios where there was nothing better than 2" MCI/Sony JH16 machines locked via SMPTE for 32 or 48 tracks, running at 30ips with no noise reduction.  Then we mixed down and mastered to 1/2" 30ips 2 track.  Only then did we hit the digital domain if necessary.  2 channel first generation masters are the best sound one can ever hear.

I chased digital for years since its' inception finally ending up with a Cary 306-200 as a player.  It sounded good, but with that distant sterility that digital usually has.  SACD was OK, but still not "there" for me.

Enter the original Tranquility.  It established a new digital paradigm for me.  It wasn't perfect, nothing ever is.  It lacked final authority in the extreme low frequencies, but made of for this by having tremendous pitch definition and texture.  The mids were (and still are) glorious.  The HF lacked ultimate extention, but I'm 63 and although I can still hear upto 15K very well I make no bones about my limitations up there.  The Tranquility had a way of presenting cymbals (I'm a recovering drummer... now a guitarist) as something more than a burst of white noise with very little decay.  The Tranquilities - both of them - have the seemingly unique ability to track trailing edges, what we recording engineers call the release or decay, better than any digital playback I had heard in my home.  It was on a par with the old Mitsubishi DASH recorders.  Harmonic series emerge intact, something that other DACs have just not done for me.

For years I was unaware of just how much good raw data was being captured and laid down on the tapes, HDD and finally the CD's that we were not stripping off in playback.  Now I know, especially with the SE and a good music player on my Mach2 Mini.  I am constantly amazed at the depth of the data being resolved.  The SE does everything the original Tranquility did plus a bunch more.  PRAT is what it is all about.  The LF now have the slam I wanted and the HF are even better than before.  Best of all the overall presentation is just more "in the pocket", if you know what I mean.

The dB Audio Labs guys nailed it for me.  The end result is a player that is amazingly musical - more "analog-like", if you will.  There are players out there that are more detailed, to be sure, but none under $50,000.00 that get the music, emotion and listenability thing as correct as the SE, IMNSHO.

Things will change, they always do.  I can tell you this: if digital playback never got better than the Tranquility Special Edition it wouldn't matter to me.  It (they) are all about the music and that is just fine by me.

All of this just to say:  I like it, I really really like it.

YMMV, but I don't care  :D

Dave

tasar

Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #911 on: 1 Apr 2011, 04:55 pm »
Well, since Dave puts it so well, I thought it high time to appease Eric and write something up. Though reared on planet "analog", I had many doubts as to what makes things "right". So many nuances from the master tape and lots of "yap" about "hi-rez". I had the good fortune to visit Robert at Ridge Street, and Larry at Ultra. Each provided systems without constraint, fully revealing the attributes of "A/B" auditioning. I'm a musician and will always remark that "live" is always "neutral" as in "flat" and enunciated as in vowels and consonants. So, too, should be our audio re-representation. To me it is either "remarkable" or "unremarkable". Component synergy subjectively comes in as many ways as there are listening "types". Given that, certain products provide a "musical" enhancement, to what might already be a "great" system. When instruments sound "correct", the brass, the reeds, strings and percussion, the music follows. I find the Tranquility with Signature cabling, fully capable of making a difference. That "difference" is "remarkable" ! Thanks Eric, for a job well done !

RnR

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #912 on: 28 May 2011, 09:06 pm »
The Tranquility had a way of presenting cymbals (I'm a recovering drummer... now a guitarist) as something more than a burst of white noise with very little decay.  The Tranquilities - both of them - have the seemingly unique ability to track trailing edges, what we recording engineers call the release or decay, better than any digital playback I had heard in my home.  It was on a par with the old Mitsubishi DASH recorders.  Harmonic series emerge intact, something that other DACs have just not done for me.
Having lived with a mediocre import DAC for an extended period of time, these words remind me of the Wally Heider-ized cymbals I grew up with in the '70's.  In these later days I've found myself frequently longing for those stand-out cymbal signatures that were once part of the rock era.  I can't say that I've yet heard the SE Tranquility, but I now feel a touch more confident that this is a product path to investigate as I search for a DAC platform that effectively deals with big-band and ensemble jazz reproduction tasks. 

Looks like the other 40+ other pages of this thread are worth reading...

(Well, I hope you didn't expect too much from me on my first post... hi guys!)

morganc

Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #913 on: 29 May 2011, 04:48 pm »
Having lived with a mediocre import DAC for an extended period of time, these words remind me of the Wally Heider-ized cymbals I grew up with in the '70's.  In these later days I've found myself frequently longing for those stand-out cymbal signatures that were once part of the rock era.  I can't say that I've yet heard the SE Tranquility, but I now feel a touch more confident that this is a product path to investigate as I search for a DAC platform that effectively deals with big-band and ensemble jazz reproduction tasks.

Looks like the other 40+ other pages of this thread are worth reading...

(Well, I hope you didn't expect too much from me on my first post... hi guys!)


Welcome.....and I too will agree with everyone else that my experience with Eric at dB Labs has been nothing short of exceptional.....he loves to help, is always offering ways to get the most from the DAC, and certainly stands behind his product.  And yes, it sounds great with jazz.....tonally accurate, huge soundstage and great imaging.

dBe

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #914 on: 29 May 2011, 05:33 pm »
Having lived with a mediocre import DAC for an extended period of time, these words remind me of the Wally Heider-ized cymbals I grew up with in the '70's.  In these later days I've found myself frequently longing for those stand-out cymbal signatures that were once part of the rock era.  I can't say that I've yet heard the SE Tranquility, but I now feel a touch more confident that this is a product path to investigate as I search for a DAC platform that effectively deals with big-band and ensemble jazz reproduction tasks. 

Looks like the other 40+ other pages of this thread are worth reading...

(Well, I hope you didn't expect too much from me on my first post... hi guys!)
Back in the day (Lord, how I regret using that term, but it fits) recording engineers spent their time putting the right mic in the right place suing minimal EQ and recording to analog machines.  Wally Heider was one of the best at capturing a drum kit - especially the air of cymbals.  The man knew how to place overheads.

That is why I like/own the Tranquility SE: it gets me close to those  days... I guess.  Emotion, that's it!   8)  I can easily get "detailed out"!

Dave

Dracule1

Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #915 on: 30 Jul 2011, 06:32 pm »
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=97076.0

I think Tranquility owners should try this out.  :thumb:


coverto

Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #916 on: 30 Jul 2011, 07:01 pm »
Dracule - interesting - are you using your Tranquility SE with the dB Audio Signature USB cable?

Dracule1

Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #917 on: 31 Jul 2011, 12:06 am »
No.  I am using Ridge Street Audio Enopias USB cable.  It is better than the dB Audio Labs USB cable, but it is 4 times more expensive. 

pinon

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #918 on: 24 Feb 2012, 02:20 am »
Folks,

I wanted to revive this thread a bit, but instead posted this:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=103843.new#new

It is about my very good experience with the NEW and AMAZING Tranquility output stage. What a sound! In my view, it made a really real sounding DAC a DAC that is "NO DAC". It just sounds so much like natural music, that I don't think gear, I just enjoy. 8)

mink70

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Re: The dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC - Wow!
« Reply #919 on: 28 Jul 2012, 03:39 pm »
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a NOS DAC, having been deeply dissatisfied with the hollow, edgy and substanceless sound of nearly all digital sources I've head, and have been considering the MHDT Havana, the Metrum Octave, Scott Nixon, etc. Currently have an inexpensive DACport LX from Centrance, which is great in all the hi-fi ways, but ultimately etched and not that musical. I listen to lots of rock and jazz LPs on tube amplification using vintage Tannoy speakers. I love tone, dynamics and presence, and that's what digital typically lacks. I wonder if the Tranquility might be the next step.