I can chime here too if you don’t mind. I’m using a AM III SE. previously I was using a Audio Note Kits 4.1LE DAC with the AD1865 chip, and I have two dacs in my house right now. The AM and a heavily modded MHDT Orchid with TDA1541A.
I’m holding off on a full comparison until I get about two more weeks on the AM and pop in a SR blue fuse (since I have a upgraded fuse in the Orchid)
The AM and Orchid are both better than the ANK IMHO. The ANK is super smooth to a trade off of some micro detail and air. My ANK has Audio Note copper caps which some say are too laid back. For some this might be perfect, so very system dependent. I’m using a Line Magnetic 518ia SET amp with Omega Super 6 XRS speakers.
I absolutely do not mind, and enthusiastically encourage it!
Did that heavily modded Orchid come to you by way of Grannyring by any chance?
I suspect your ANK DAC is more or less similar to my SW1X DAC III STD unit. Mine has whatever Slawa chose as 'standard' caps. I'm too lazy to go downstairs to see which they are. My other DAC - a dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE - uses the TDA1543; has Jupiter Cu caps, and is not tubed. The Tranquility really opened my ears to what NOS DACs can do for a system's sound. One year later I treated myself to the SW1X DAC - wow, wow, wow
. I like NOS DACs!
$2600 for the AM SE III places it midway between my two DACs. Hmm....HMM...says the guy in Oregon where EVERYONE is in lockdown. What is an addict to do?
Last week, I decided that should I live through this nasty *&^%$#@! viral epidemic that I would treat myself to some really sweet audio gear. [Not that my current gear isn't sweet, but you likely understand my thinking.] You only live once.
Do I buy another DAC, integrated amplifier or speakers? I'm sure I won't keep it a secret once I finally decide. You're welcome to try to influence my decision.