SOTAPRAT DAC updates

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I.Greyhound Fan

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #20 on: 25 Aug 2019, 12:57 am »
I am not big on the bling factor of audio gear but I think at that price you may want to consider a nicer face plate and buttons.  You will sell more of them.  It would also be nice if you could order one with XLR's.  My system is fully balanced, including my Luxman DAC which I would eventually like to replace with something more SOTA.  MY system just sounds better fully balanced.

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #21 on: 25 Aug 2019, 01:28 am »
I am not big on the bling factor of audio gear but I think at that price you may want to consider a nicer face plate and buttons.  You will sell more of them.  It would also be nice if you could order one with XLR's.  My system is fully balanced, including my Luxman DAC which I would eventually like to replace with something more SOTA.  MY system just sounds better fully balanced.

The faceplate is machined 8mm aircraft aluminum, anodized.  Costs me more than $100 each.  You want me to spend $200 or more for a faceplate?  This would add about $500 to the cost.  Most companies use 4-6X multiplier.

If you want fully balanced, my Overdrive SX is hard to beat.  Only a couple of DACs compete with it.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #22 on: 25 Aug 2019, 01:40 am »
The faceplate is machined 8mm aircraft aluminum, anodized.  Costs me more than $100 each.  You want me to spend $200 or more for a faceplate?  This would add about $500 to the cost.  Most companies use 4-6X multiplier.

If you want fully balanced, my Overdrive SX is hard to beat.  Only a couple of DACs compete with it.

I am not complaining about the face plate but I know a lot of people take into account of how gear looks.  McIntosh sells a lot of gear just on looks alone. :D

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #23 on: 25 Aug 2019, 05:30 pm »
I am not complaining about the face plate but I know a lot of people take into account of how gear looks.  McIntosh sells a lot of gear just on looks alone. :D

I don't want it to be ugly, but my products are all about sound quality first.  I'm not about audio jewelry.

The pushbuttons are heavy-duty for extended use and low resistance for the AC power.  Unlike many DACs, there is no power usage until it is turned-on.  The regulators don't waste much power either, even though there are 11 of them.  Runs much cooler than my Overdrive SX.  Much Greener.  Also, the power button is on the front panel rather than on the back like many DACs.  My cost on the pushbuttons is $14 compared to $2 for other manufacturers.  The standard buttons are plastic, but there are aluminum ones that no one stocks.

Steve N.
« Last Edit: 25 Aug 2019, 06:35 pm by audioengr »

richidoo

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #24 on: 25 Aug 2019, 09:08 pm »
I don't want it to be ugly

Too late.  :P   j/k

Screams 70s style! Having grown up in the 70s, I love the red and gray buttons and Mattel-ish industrial-chic style. I was a little shocked when I first saw it, but it quickly grew on me and now I think it looks pretty cool. Maybe millennials are finally ready for some 70s vintage look; they sure like their vintage 60s and 80s styles.

So the SPDIF with SynchroMesh is intended to be the primary/best input in your view?

XMOS usb?

Is this internal synchromesh implementation just as effective as the external Synchromesh product?  I have Sonos with terrible jitter, I'd like to be able to use that for main transport without an additional jitter removing device between Sonos and DAC, like all my previous DACs.

Does the synchromesh filter affect the data stream coming from USB and ethernet inputs?
Thanks

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #25 on: 26 Aug 2019, 04:59 pm »
Too late.  :P   j/k

Screams 70s style! Having grown up in the 70s, I love the red and gray buttons and Mattel-ish industrial-chic style. I was a little shocked when I first saw it, but it quickly grew on me and now I think it looks pretty cool. Maybe millennials are finally ready for some 70s vintage look; they sure like their vintage 60s and 80s styles.

So the SPDIF with SynchroMesh is intended to be the primary/best input in your view?

Both inputs are equivalent.

Quote
XMOS usb?

Yes.

Quote
Is this internal synchromesh implementation just as effective as the external Synchromesh product?

Should be even better because there is no S/PDIF conversion or cable involved.  Just I2S output.

Quote
I have Sonos with terrible jitter, I'd like to be able to use that for main transport without an additional jitter removing device between Sonos and DAC, like all my previous DACs.

Should do the trick.

Quote
Does the synchromesh filter affect the data stream coming from USB and ethernet inputs?
Thanks

No, these are bit-perfect and low jitter. Not routed through the SM like the S/PDIF is.

Steve N.
« Last Edit: 26 Aug 2019, 09:32 pm by audioengr »

Brucemck

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 291
Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #26 on: 2 Sep 2019, 06:27 pm »
SPDIF and USB only .... no Ethernet as per first post in this thread?

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #27 on: 2 Sep 2019, 07:40 pm »
SPDIF and USB only .... no Ethernet as per first post in this thread?

(USB*S/PDIF) + (Ethernet*S/PDIF)

Norman Tracy

  • Industry Participant
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    • Audio Crafters Guild
Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #28 on: 2 Sep 2019, 09:10 pm »
Earlier in this thread some opinions were expressed to the effect that Empirical Audio's styling is lacking. I was too busy at the time to comment, now with a lazy holiday afternoon and this thread popping up here are my opinions.

I have always appreciated the clean minimalist form follows function look of Empirical Audio's products. I would even argue given their name minimalist is the logical choice. Among industrial design professionals and educators the contribution of Dieter Rams to the field is quite literally the stuff of legends. So when I say Empirical Audio's styling reminds me of Rams iconic designs for Braun that is one of the highest compliments I have in the area of product design.



https://www.core77.com/posts/24768/a-history-of-braun-design-part-3-audio-products-24768



https://youtu.be/ncw3f4jgNP4

It is accepted that Apple looked to Rams for many of its designs.






audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #29 on: 4 Sep 2019, 08:53 pm »
I've had some feedback from a good customer and I decided to redesign the front panel per his advice.  It looks more elegant now and less bold.  I like it.  When I get the new proto panels, I will post pictures here.

On another thread I was criticized for using shipping companies and selling an unnecessary product because these create CO2 and therefore unnecessarily add to Global Warming.  I responded by saying that humans need culture to thrive and my products are small and light, so they share the shipping with a LOT of other cargo, making their footprint small.  In the future, my products will create even smaller carbon footprint as the power system transitions to renewables and transportation converts to electric.  I personally have already made this transition.

In addition, this new DAC consumes significantly less power than my Overdrive SX DAC.  This is by design.  I want it to be as green as possible and create the smallest carbon footprint.  This is the responsible thing to do.

Steve N.

andrewd01

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 33
Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #30 on: 12 Nov 2019, 10:05 pm »
Hi Steve,

I like everything about the look of the unit, except the word PRAT in massive letters!  Could be embarrassing to explain to friends!

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/prat

I would prefer understated branding, perhaps a simple Empirical Audio DAC engraved in 8 point font.

Good luck with the project.


Edit: I see you got similar feedback from another customer, looking forward to seeing the new design.


audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #31 on: 13 Nov 2019, 02:20 am »
New version:





Steve N.

path73

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 31
Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #32 on: 19 Nov 2019, 09:19 pm »
Why not include the word "DAC" on the front plate?
At least the function of the unit would be explicitly stated.

"SOTAPRAT", could be just about anything (source, amp, reclocker, DAB receiver, ...) and I'm not sure PRAT is the only area where Steve's products shine.

I always tend to stay away from qualifiers like "SOTA" or "New" or "Latest", since these are time related and are a bit self-evident. No one is going to bring out a new product which is not trying to be state of the art art.

Why not something more easy on the ears, e.g.
simply "DAC" or if SOTA is really required "SOTA DAC" or more spot on would be "statement DAC" or to stay in automobile racing spirit "pace DAC" or "pacer DAC" or "carve DAC"?

Just my 2 cts. By the way, I am really interested in this new product!
/path

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #33 on: 21 Nov 2019, 07:06 pm »
This product is SOTA is several areas, but mostly the voltage regulators, which have only become available this year.  Without these, I would not have this product.  The D/A chip is newer than my Overdrive, but still fairly old.  Chosen because of the great SQ.  The Ethernet interface and XMOS interface are also very new in my product line and excellent performers.

I was actually reluctant to put too much on the front panel.  I have had complaints in the past about "Empirical Audio" on the front panel.  I mostly want it to look a bit sculpted.

Steve N.

ketcham

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #34 on: 22 Nov 2019, 12:18 am »
The Faceplate is fine.  Great actually.  For the footprint, price and what it offers, it will be popular.


I.Greyhound Fan

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #35 on: 22 Nov 2019, 01:20 am »
I like the new face plate.  Still not a fan of the red and white buttons though but that's just me.  I prefer symmetry and would prefer silver or black buttons.  Wish I could hear one as I may be replacing my Luxman DA-06 DAC sometime in the next year after I probably buy a pair of Fyne Audio 702's or 502sp's.

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #36 on: 23 Nov 2019, 05:50 pm »
I like the new face plate.  Still not a fan of the red and white buttons though but that's just me.  I prefer symmetry and would prefer silver or black buttons.  Wish I could hear one as I may be replacing my Luxman DA-06 DAC sometime in the next year after I probably buy a pair of Fyne Audio 702's or 502sp's.

Grey and black buttons are an option.  It's actually a grey and red button, not white.  I just wanted it to be obvious which was the power.  It is labeled on the panel though, so they could both be black if that is preferred.

audioengr

Re: SOTAPRAT DAC updates
« Reply #37 on: 28 Nov 2019, 12:40 am »
Today I had a breakthrough on a vexing problem I have been fighting for a month.  The source code for my state machine to program the D/A chip had a filename that was too long so the simulator was rejecting it.  Simulating well now.  Should be able to test all sample-rates in about 2-3 weeks when I get the new programming socket and put the new state machine chip on the board.  Then on to testing DSD functionality.  The plan is to support only 64X DSD mode. I would have to add a manual switch to select 128X mode and I don't want any more switches.