DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.

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dpatters

Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #40 on: 7 Apr 2021, 02:22 pm »
It appears that the Jay's DAC is unavailable probably as a result of the devastating AKM fire, hope they can start making chips again soon.
The Jay’s DAC does use the AKM chipset.

Don P.

newzooreview

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #41 on: 7 Apr 2021, 02:33 pm »
I received my Holo May DAC (Kitsune Edition) a couple of weeks ago. My well broken-in Benchmark DAC3 was sounding terrific, but the Holo May has gone farther in every respect. More separation and space, more bass texture, more detail, terrific timbre, and even lower glare (very non-fatiguing with even more detail). It's about halfway through Kitsune Audio's recommended 500-hour break in, and it has been shifting a bit since a couple of weeks ago, balancing out a bit and opening up with more space and detail. Very very happy with it.

rodge827

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #42 on: 7 Apr 2021, 03:43 pm »
So you don't believe a 0.1x can beat a 2.1x sig?

Hmmm I don’t like to use words like beat, trounce, crush, etc when comparing audio gear. As noted I have never listened to the AN 0.1x so maybe? Dunno? There are so many variables that come into play and everyone has their own “flavor”‘of sound they prefer...kinda like “how do you want your coffee?”  I’ve owned and listened to many DACs with all kinds of chips (not every but a lot) and to my ears a highly modified ANK 2.1sig AD1865 gets it right. YMMV

SET Man

Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #43 on: 8 Apr 2021, 03:32 am »
Hey!

     I still use a DAC kit that I got off eBay for $40 back in 2006 based on Philip TDA1543 chip. I built case for it, some bypass caps added and I power it with 12V SLA batteries. The whole thing probably cost me $80-120 I think.The output from the chip is directly drive my pre-amp. It is a very simple DAC and it just sound a lot like my turntable set up actually.

    Anyway, crazy that there are so many DACs out there. Many of them comes and goes, like "flavor of the month" don't they? There seems to be a new way of making the same data on CDs sound better every years.

Buddy

kmmd

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #44 on: 8 Apr 2021, 06:07 pm »
I received my Holo May DAC (Kitsune Edition) a couple of weeks ago. My well broken-in Benchmark DAC3 was sounding terrific, but the Holo May has gone farther in every respect. More separation and space, more bass texture, more detail, terrific timbre, and even lower glare (very non-fatiguing with even more detail). It's about halfway through Kitsune Audio's recommended 500-hour break in, and it has been shifting a bit since a couple of weeks ago, balancing out a bit and opening up with more space and detail. Very very happy with it.

I’m another Holo May KTE owner as well.  I received mine in January and experienced the same as yourself.  Instruments and vocals have such presence, separation, dispersion, detail, attack and decay.  On some recordings, you will hear the resonance and character of the wood of the guitar after the string pluck.  Heck I even replaced my VAC avatar due to this DAC.  Also, please don’t forget to feed your DAC’s with a good streamer/music server.  Happy listening!

mresseguie

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #45 on: 9 Apr 2021, 12:43 am »
I'm adding this account here in part because some of you mentioned Holo Audio DACs (and because I'm the OP -  :lol: )

About 10 days ago, three of us (audiophools) visited an audiophile friend in an out of the way home in northern Taiwan. This friend lives alone and buys pretty much whatever gear he wishes (within his budget) and piles it up in three different groupings of gear. He really needs a bigger living room! Anyway, he bought a used Holo Audio Spring 2 which he and an audio engineer friend of his very heavily modified with new clocks, Nichicon caps, new power supply, maybe better opamps(?), upgraded silver connectors and silver connecting wires, Siltech XLR cables and PC, and upgraded feet. I think that's a complete list. I have no idea how much money he spent on all the upgrades nor how much more they might cost if they were done in the US. I'd never heard any of the Holo DACs before, so I have no way of knowing how much better it sounds compared to its pre-modded condition, nor do I know how it might compare to a May DAC.

To this get together, I took my SW1X DAC III+ NOS tube DAC with my Analog Research-Technology Legato USB-SPDIF Asynchronous Converter and Triode Wire Labs PC and RCA cables. Both his modded DAC and my DAC were patched into his preamplifier for a comparison. [As you might notice, thanks to different cabling and power cord differences, this wasn't exactly an apples to apples comparison.] The source was his laptop and his music - much of which is unfamiliar to me. Some of the tracks were DSD files, some Redbook, some Hi-Res 96KHz. My DAC does not play DSD, so sometimes the same song was played twice in different formats - once as DSD into his DAC and once as Redbook or Hi-Res into mine. [I know. That's not a direct comparison. I'm just trying to make you aware of the situation.]

Anyway, the three other participants (host and 2 other audiophiles) conferred back and forth with some input from me over a three-hour listening session. Our collective assessment was that my DAC sounded better than his heavily modded and better-connected Spring 2 (2-plus??), but that there wasn't a huge difference. Personally, I felt my SW1X DAC reproduced the resonance from a guitar and piano better than his DAC, but the majority of the music didn't emphasize individual acoustic instruments. I guess my take away is that a very heavily modified Spring 2 sounds pretty darned good, though I'm not going to rush out to buy a 2nd hand Spring 2 in order to modify the bejeezus out of it. Someday, I'd be interested in listening to a May DAC if the opportunity ever presented itself.

Edit: Ha! I just noticed this little sentence on the AR-T website: "In order to avoid costly compromises, needed to accommodate multiple sampling rates, the Legato operates only at 44.1 kHz." I'll have to pass that along to the guys at the get together.


kmmd

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #46 on: 9 Apr 2021, 11:13 am »
Thanks for sharing your impressions, but I thought that this was a thread about SS DAC’s and not uncontrolled shootouts with a tubed one (even though I love TS 5687’s).  I’m also quite happy that I didn’t purchase a single-boxed discontinued DAC or use a laptop as a source.

newzooreview

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #47 on: 9 Apr 2021, 01:26 pm »
Also, please don’t forget to feed your DAC’s with a good streamer/music server.  Happy listening!

I'm currently using an Allo DigiOne Signature going into a Denafrips Gaia. The Gaia is connected by Stealth Audio Varadig coaxial cable to the Holo May KTE DAC. The DAC takes no more than 3 seconds to lock onto the signal when switching sampling rates, which is fairly quick given its exacting PLL. I will try a Pi2AES via I2S directly and through the Gaia once the DAC breaks in. I heard a big shift today at almost 400 hours, so the 500-hour minimum recommended by Kitsune seems reasonable.

Regarding the head-to-head comparison of a homebrew altered Holo Spring DAC to something else, it's hard to make much of that. Swapping some parts doesn't necessarily make the DAC better and could make it worse. The Holo Spring is not the same as the May, and the Holo May Kitsune Edition has parts upgrades that are developed by the US distributer in coordination with the DAC's engineer. Some of the upgraded parts are hand-selected through testing for tighter tolerances and others are proprietary, in-house parts meant to improve things where Holo's engineer knows there could be a bit of refinement. I'm not saying that a third party couldn't improve the Spring with parts upgrades, it's just a complete outlier compared to the widespread experience with Holo May Kitsune Edition that has dozens and dozens of professional and amateur reviews going back nearly a year now.

mresseguie

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #48 on: 9 Apr 2021, 04:09 pm »
Thanks for sharing your impressions, but I thought that this was a thread about SS DAC’s and not uncontrolled shootouts with a tubed one (even though I love TS 5687’s).  I’m also quite happy that I didn’t purchase a single-boxed discontinued DAC or use a laptop as a source.

You're correct. This thread began because I was trying to suss out <in my mind> whether I wanted to buy a standalone SS DAC for a secondary system. I'm still somewhat undecided, but I'm leaning toward not buying one in the near future. I only brought up the shootout because it involved a Holo DAC.

BTW, Nice to see you post. I appreciate your input on more than just audio.  :thumb:

Michael

kmmd

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #49 on: 9 Apr 2021, 04:59 pm »
Thanks Michael.  Yes, I just stick my head in every now and then here or in the Audiogon forums.  It’s tough trying to compare these DAC’s, and you kinda have to go in ear unheard.  I think it’s so system dependent and what your preferences are.  The Holo Audio May KTE seemed safe given all the reviews, and it measures well too.

Not much to say about COVID, but you’re very safe in Taiwan where everything was done properly.  We’ll see how B117 spreads here in the States.  I am worried that the numbers here are artificially lower due to previous testing centers converting to vaccination only centers, younger infected people not seeking a test and opening too quickly.

Ken

Jon L

Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #50 on: 10 Apr 2021, 10:11 pm »
Thanks for sharing your impressions, but I thought that this was a thread about SS DAC’s and not uncontrolled shootouts with a tubed one (even though I love TS 5687’s).

Not just a "tubed" DAC, but even tube-rectified, no oversampling, no digital filtering, using the ancient TDA1541 DAC chip.  It's as if the designer did everything possible to rebuke the "all DAC's sound the same" challenge  :green:  I'm sure many like this presentation.

mresseguie

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #51 on: 10 Apr 2021, 10:45 pm »
Not just a "tubed" DAC, but even tube-rectified, no oversampling, no digital filtering, using the ancient TDA1541 DAC chip.  It's as if the designer did everything possible to rebuke the "all DAC's sound the same" challenge  :green:  I'm sure many like this presentation.

I sure do8)

kmmd

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #52 on: 11 Apr 2021, 01:15 pm »
Not just a "tubed" DAC, but even tube-rectified, no oversampling, no digital filtering, using the ancient TDA1541 DAC chip.  It's as if the designer did everything possible to rebuke the "all DAC's sound the same" challenge  :green:  I'm sure many like this presentation.

Thanks Jon.  I think that you’re missing my point.  The OP posted about DAC’s in the “All Solid State” circle then brings up a shootout between a discontinued SS DAC with a tubed one. That is all. 

Michael, what DAC are you using in your secondary system?  I’ve got an Audiolab 8000 CD used as a transport and 8000 DAX in mine along with a Schiit Yggy in the bedroom.  The Audiolab has a warmer and not as detailed presentation.

mresseguie

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Re: DACs, DACs, and More DACs! Let's talk about DACs.
« Reply #53 on: 11 Apr 2021, 02:39 pm »
Thanks Jon.  I think that you’re missing my point.  The OP posted about DAC’s in the “All Solid State” circle then brings up a shootout between a discontinued SS DAC with a tubed one. That is all. 

Michael, what DAC are you using in your secondary system?  I’ve got an Audiolab 8000 CD used as a transport and 8000 DAX in mine along with a Schiit Yggy in the bedroom.  The Audiolab has a warmer and not as detailed presentation.

Ken,

I've got two standalone SS DACs - my dB Audiolabs Tranquility SE with a TDA1543 chip in Oregon, and a Sabaj D5 in Taiwan. The dB Audiolabs DAC has been pulling headphone duty in my office while the D5 is my 'vacation' system DAC.

My original thinking when I began this thread was that I might wish to replace my Tranquility DAC with a newer breed of SS DAC if the bang for buck is great enough. At this point, I'll probably keep the Tranquility where it is with my HP amp. It's a fine little warm sounding DAC that causes no harm and no fatigue. However, there are two pairs of new headphones (Audeze LCD2 and Sennheiser HD800) sitting in my living room waiting for me to open them up and begin using them. Depending on how they sound, I may move forward with a new DAC.

I've got a Nuprime IDA-16 integrated in our master bedroom, and I will take delivery of a Nuprime Omni A-300 integrated amp/DAC in the next week or so. The A-300 replaces my little IDA-8 amp which accompanied me on many adventures until I cleverly gave it to my son.  :duh: I'm hoping I'll like the A-300 as much as the IDA-8. If not, I'll buy another IDA-8 and sell the A-300.