Author Topic: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...  (Read 22068 times)

Offline richidoo

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2012, 06:50:23 PM »
Thank God he spared us the green slime!  :rofl:

Nice cookout instead... Thanks Carl, Christine and Luke for hosting the G2G, cooking and entertaining.

My favorite DAC was Shane's Antelope Zodiac Gold with Volticus power supply. That thing is seriously awesome. It is very intense but still sounds natural and very refined. bigfish has one of these too. Wicked! I'd be interested to see how it wears over a longer period.

I also liked Carl's Buffalo2 DAC with passive transformer output (I built that one for him.) It has an extremely natural sounding tone that I love on acoustic instruments. It does not attack you with treble detail, bass punch, "big sound" or any other enhancement, but all the detail you could want is there if you point your attention to it. If you want the big picture you just zoom out and it doesn't follow you. You don't have to exert any energy in defense.     After hearing the other super-DACs in comparison to the Buffalo, I want to experiment with active output stages to try to increase the drive and presence a little while preserving the natural timbre of the chip and transformer. I think there is more on the table from this chip.

The PSAudio had a big sound, plump but very enjoyable. I'd like to listen to some familiar music on it to learn more about its character.

I liked the EE DAC. It has good clarity and presence in the upper frequencies and midrange. The Sabre32's naturalness of the timbre was evident. Highs a little forward for me, but it's subtle and might be just caps? The bass was not as clear as the highs but it is musical and lends to the overall good feeling. Like Dave said, swapping in some ICs that cost more than the DAC improved the bass noticeably. I think this DAC is an excellent value, and a good improvement over the 1st version. I don't know how much of the improvement is due to Bill's upgrade opamps, but it's a very nice sound.

The AMD didn't do much for me. Everyone else loved it, so sue me.  :rofl:  The NOS mode sounded boring to me. The oversampling mode was much better to my ears, more life. But even that didn't do for me what the Antelope did, nor did it feel as genuine and natural timbre as the Sabres. It was probably the best overall well rounded player, with minimal faults, but also no particularly memorable traits. That reason alone explains why it is so popular. Shane said "like butter!" Again, I'd want to listen to some solo harpsichord, or big band jazz or Fennel marches on it to peek under the skirt. Shit that nobody else would want to hear.  :rofl:

I wish I could have stayed later and heard each of these great DACs in more detail. It was a truly happening vibe with lots of love in the air. Happy kitties, music, baby, friends, cookies, weather, very memorable. Thanks!
Rich
"If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer." - Confucius

Offline richidoo

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2012, 06:57:44 PM »
If the gallery worked, I'd upload some pictures...   :-P

I guess I'll have to attach them. But in two years they will disappear!  #-o

« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 07:05:29 PM by richidoo »
"If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer." - Confucius

Offline Barry (NJ)

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #47 on: April 01, 2012, 07:45:40 PM »
If the gallery worked, I'd upload some pictures...   :-P

I guess I'll have to attach them. But in two years they will disappear!  #-o



Rich, get a Flickr account, or some other photo hosting service, and then you can just embed the images with the img tags ;)
So much media, so little time...

Offline stereofool

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #48 on: April 02, 2012, 03:58:56 AM »
First, thanks to Carl & Christine for opening their house, to us, once again. It was really great to see you guys again!!!

The good news...all of the DAC's sounded very good. The bad news...price of admission keeps increasing  :(.

Carl & I wound up going back down and listening to the DAC's with more concentration, and a couple of specific tracks that I drug off of a flash drive.

My current DAC (PS Audio DACIII) was far surpassed this evening. I heard details, articulation, soundstage and space, in those tracks, which I have never heard before.

I liked what I heard from all of the DACs...so it boils down to a matter of degrees and personal 'sonic' preferences, as to which one would be a best choice.

EE Minimax: With/without tube...threw a spacious soundstage, articulated details well, good treble and midrange, but seemed to have somewhat bloated bass.

AMR: This is a great sounding DAC (non-oversampling setting)...very articulate, very wide soundstage, nice smooth sound, good performance across the audible spectrum. In it's oversampling mode...still sounded very good, but to my ears had a bit of 'digital' tizziness that would fatigue my ears, fairly quickly.

Antelope w Voltikus: Another great sounding DAC...very wide soundstage, great detail and articulation, great performance across the audible spectrum. The one aspect that would possibly make hours of listening less enjoyable, was its more forward presentation...kind of in-your-face!

Carl's Buffalo II per Richidoo: I think that I prefered this DAC, marginally...it had a spacious soundstage, good detail, and performed well across the spectrum. Over all the above, I felt that this one gave a 'smoother' more naturally musical presentation, and I feel that I could listen to it for hours at a time, without fatigue.

Good to see all who showed up today...I look forward to our next time.
Steve
Have you ever noticed.... Anyone going slower than you is an idiot...and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

Offline Bill O'Connell

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #49 on: April 02, 2012, 05:51:47 AM »
For what it is worth, the 2604/827 combo is known for big phat bass and lower midrange grunt.

 The OPA2107/OPA627 combo is the more articulate and tauter bass recommend. :thumb:
Bill O'Connell,
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"If your playing more than 3 chords your just showing off"  John Lee Hooker

Offline mfsoa

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #50 on: April 02, 2012, 06:08:17 AM »
Quote
For what it is worth, the 2604/827 combo is known for big phat bass and lower midrange grunt.

 The OPA2107/OPA627 combo is the more articulate and tauter bass recommend.

I only have the original DAC and haven't heard the 2604 so this is a guess:  For me, the 627 had a much phatter bass w/ more midrange grunt than the 827, used in the SS position, so I'm guessing that your description of the sound, esp if it affects both tube and SS outs, is more due to the 2604 vs 2107 than the 827 vs. 627.

Bill, have you tried the 2107/827? I'm using this now to good effect in my system.

-Mike

Offline Bill O'Connell

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #51 on: April 02, 2012, 06:40:46 AM »
Mike,
 I haven't as I've been using the Dexa discrete's for the past 10 days or so trying to get a handle on their sonic signature.
 The moment I threw them in my first though was analog top end. :thumb:
Bill O'Connell,
Morningstar Audio/Eastern Electric distributor for North America
847-255-1150
"If your playing more than 3 chords your just showing off"  John Lee Hooker

Offline Carlman

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #52 on: April 02, 2012, 07:29:59 AM »
Just a quick disclaimer... My room is not perfect. (yes, even after all the effort) There is a bit of a peak or resonance that makes all bass get a little boomy or wooly at times.. I am addressing that soon... not sure how.

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline machinehead

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2012, 09:30:39 AM »
Nice! Sounds like it was fun. What speakers are those?
M
Its cool ndude.

Offline Carlman

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2012, 12:48:36 PM »
Good question... I should've listed my system up front...
I'm using Piega C8 Limited's with external crossovers designed by Rick Craig.  
Preamp is a Belles 21A with the cap upgrade he offers.
Amp is a McIntosh MC402.
Cabling was JPS Superconductor 3 IC's and JPS power cords for the most part... Otherwise, I was using Black Sand's top PC's.
Transport is a small PC with an Atom motherboard;
Digital output was a USB -> SPDIF Hiface (the direct plug-in kind)
Room size is about 15x28, lots of treatment.
-Carl
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 07:37:02 PM by Carlman »
I really enjoy listening to music.

Bigfish8

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2012, 06:13:10 PM »
Guys:

I am disappointed I was unable to make it to the G2G yesterday.  We did not get back to Raleigh until 6:30.  It sounds like I missed a really good time!

jianghai

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2012, 09:42:21 PM »
Yeah sounds like a great time, wish I could have been there!

Offline djdube525

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #57 on: April 03, 2012, 02:23:00 AM »
AMR: This is a great sounding DAC (non-oversampling setting)...very articulate, very wide soundstage, nice smooth sound, good performance across the audible spectrum. In it's oversampling mode...still sounded very good, but to my ears had a bit of 'digital' tizziness that would fatigue my ears, fairly quickly.

Phew... I wasn't the only one (digital tizziness). I thought I was going crazy. Well, I guess I still could be...  :lol:

Offline Carlman

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #58 on: April 03, 2012, 08:28:20 AM »
I finally have everything back together in the soundroom... Now I can use everything again! woohoo!  I even hooked up an OTA digital HD tuner.  :)

I also swapped tubes from black plates to gray plates.  That cleaned up the bass a little and opened the upper mids a bit.  A little cleaner sounding overall in fact.  Would've been a better tube for comparing... but I ran out of time trying to get that sort of thing right.  The tubes I used were good, just not as good as the new ones. 

Ken and Jianghai, you missed a good time.  I enjoyed not being overly stressed about the comparison.  I had worried about it too much.  It was a lot more casual than I had planned which made it easier to enjoy. :)

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline rollo

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Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #59 on: April 25, 2012, 07:19:53 AM »
  Very interesting findings men. Thanks. Sounds like all had a good time.
   

charles
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