Author Topic: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...  (Read 26876 times)

Offline Carlman

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2012, 04:53:23 PM »
Bill, whatever DAC or DAC's get here I can compare.. probably fun to hear both iterations side by side.  I have some other tubes that would work also.  6dj8's and 12ax7's... not sure which it uses... but i have some of both... and whatever I don't have, someone else will have.  As to opamps, smooth and laid back works well for me.

I plan to group these DAC's in 'families'... chip technology and price will be leading factors.  So, group A might be 5,k DAC's, group B might be Saber DAC's, Group C, older technology.. just don't know yet... DAC's are officially coming in, though...

I'd like to have the Berkely from Rich, the Oracle from Mike or Tim.  Right now, I for sure have:
3 DAC's from Shane,
2 DAC's from me,
Rich's Berkely?
EE Minimax Plus (Dave), and ..... ??

That's 7 already.  So, 2 more is probably enough... but we could do 5 more and have 4 A-B-C comparisons... that's a LOT of comparing though.. more than I think I've ever done... which is likely going to be too much.  It can be done if everyone is really interested and stays focused.

I do plan on having 'cheat sheets' printed for this meet where you'll have some standard categories to rate... so, doing the comparison and collecting the results will be easier than usual.

Any help with the administrative side is appreciated. :)

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline satfrat

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 438
  • Keep your socks on,,,,,,,,,, RED SOX!
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2012, 08:44:50 PM »
What do you think Robin? Will it be to much with that Mullard tube in there for the Health Freak aka 2.37 minute of fame guy? :rofl:

Dunno Bill, guess we'll just have to wait and see what Dave thinks. He always has the stock tube to fall back on. I will say after the results of my 1st demo opportunity I had with the original EE Dac that also had a 50's Mullard (totally overpowered my system with a too much of a good thing feeling), it came as a complete surprise to me that the Plus with the Mullard you so graciously sent me worked so well in system,,,,, too well actually.  :duh :lol: :thumb:

Cheers,
Robin
Butler 3150 amps, Sunfire Theater Grand 4 processor, Mhdt Havana w/Vitamin Q cap bypass, HTPC, Empirical Off-Ramp 3 w/Ultraclock & Hynes PS, Odyssey Audio Lorelei's, Usher X-616's, Ridge Street Audio Poiema!!! IC/SC, BPT & UberBuss power conditioners

djdube525

  • Guest
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2012, 02:45:23 AM »

I don't understand Fed-Ex's need for a signature delivery Dave. I have the slip right here clearly showing that I checked off the No Signature Required box as you had requested.

Cheers,
Robin

No worries whatsoever Robin! Life's too short to worry about a little delay. :)

Offline Inscrutable

  • Certifiable
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2012, 02:47:31 AM »
Well, if we are into cheap and old I can help with that!  :lol:
Have the RAM modded LiteDAC-Ah if we care. Just going to be totally outclassed by these other beauties. My deal on an Oppo 95 fell through, so not sure if I'll have that or not.
That said I am happy just dealing with the good stuff without a direct comparison to older/cheaper and glaring reinforcement of how much better it really is ... having the AMR over here was illuminating/disappointing enough  :(
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 02:58:18 AM by Inscrutable »

Offline stereofool

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 453
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2012, 05:39:14 PM »
Carl,

Are we still on for April 1, and what time??

Anything that you want us to bring?
Steve
Have you ever noticed.... Anyone going slower than you is an idiot...and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11138
  • covfefe
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2012, 06:03:15 PM »
Sorry, but the Berkeley Alpha DAC won't arrive here in time for the G2G.

I'm not buying it, just swapping with a friend so he can audition my Buffalo 2.

Offline Carlman

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2012, 04:48:48 AM »
We are definitely on for tomorrow. 
What time? Starts at 2:30, ends when it's over.
I'll be working out the logistics of swapping tonight so it is efficient tomorrow.
What would really help:
If you can bring 1 or 2 30-second snippets of songs you like on a USB drive for the A/B/C DAC comparisons. 

Right now I know for sure I have:
The 3 DAC's Shane mentioned earlier,
The 'Custom' that Rich made me
The Eastern Electric Plus which Dave is bringing. 
Oracle?
Others?

I can leave out my Scott Nixon DAC or add it in if someone wants it specifically compared.

I should've done a poll to see what people wanted to hear... oh, hindsight... sigh. ;)

Please email or PM me with any DAC's you are bringing, with their link and/or specs so I can add it to our comparison sheet.

Thanks,
Carl
I really enjoy listening to music.

Online mdconnelly

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 1382
  • new ways to dream...
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2012, 08:06:54 AM »
I can be by early (2:30-4pm or so) but unfortunately, have family to deal with after that.   I'd be glad to bring the Oracle by for that time if it would help.  It would just need to be on the early listen list.

Carl, let me know your thoughts.  Either way, I'll see you Sunday afternoon!

Offline Carlman

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2012, 12:44:28 PM »
I'm planning to cook burgers and brats.  My backup plan is to order take-out.

So, here is my recommended list:
Chips
Potato salad
Pasta salad
Green leafy salad
Quinoa
Drinks... Beer, wine, fruit punch, etc.
Dessert item(s) ?

I'm not saying you need to bring any of this... nor do I know how many are coming... so, don't feel obligated and don't worry about bringing enough, I'm sure there will be plenty.

Thanks and looking forward to it.. should be big fun! :)

-C

PS Mike,  I'll let you know later tonight/tomorrow morning if I'll have everything ready to compare early-on in the day.


I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11138
  • covfefe
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2012, 01:39:49 PM »
Big fun!
 :yay2:

I'll being the insalata, with my son's homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Online mdconnelly

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 1382
  • new ways to dream...
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2012, 02:10:44 PM »
No worries Carl!   My problem is that my family (kids, their families & grandkids) decided to call for a last minute cookout.  I explained I have far more important things to do  :rofl: but you can imagine how that goes.  And, to be honest, I haven't seen the grandkids in a few weeks - they've probably already doubled in size again.

In any event, I hope to make it by for a while in the afternoon.  I'll bring some  :beer:

lonewolfny42

  • Guest
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2012, 01:18:28 PM »
Drinks... Beer, wine, fruit punch, etc.

Hmmmm.....I wonder if Carl will be making that special GREEN SHAKE for everyone today ?  :?

Offline Carlman

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2012, 05:43:43 PM »
We had a nice little gathering today and had the 'cream of the crop' of DAC's to audition.  Thanks to everyone for working with me to compare what we could.  

We ended up with 5 DAC's to compare:

Shane brought the 3 mentioned earlier:
1) PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC (PWD) MKII
2) Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) DP-777 DAC with remote switchable 16 bit NOS DAC or 24bit high rez DAC
3) Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold DAC with Voltikus power supply

I had:
The Buffalo DAC with special output transformer that Rich built for me.

Dave brought:
The EE Minimax Plus DAC with dual OPA2604's and single OPA827's on Brown Dog adaptors.  (We listened in SS mode without a tube for most of our listening.)

There wasn't a bad DAC in the bunch.

For me, I love how the Buffalo that Rich put together sounds..  I like the liquidity and rich tone of its sound.  There is intimacy, good punch, and detail.  It's the kind of DAC you listen to for a little while and say, 'yeah, that's nice'.. then after a while, you can't stop.  All the details are there, just not splashy at all, kind of laid back but not rolled off.

I was also a bit surprised at how much I liked the Anteloupe/Zodiac/Voltastica DAC.  Very beautiful presentation with lots of air and a space in the soundstage.  It seemed to interpret bits as music quite well, especially in the mids and highs.. but felt a little lean in the midbass compared to the others.

The AMR is a nice blend of detail and the loveliness of music.  In today's comparison it missed a little impact (punch?) for me, maybe because I'm used to that in the Buffalo.  It is a near perfect DAC.  So, it is a nitpick.  But, at its cost, I don't expect much compromise.  It is musical and non fatiguing. Detailed and a little lush sounding.

The EE is the surprise value of the group.  For a fourth or fifth the price of some of the other DAC's, it really held its own.  The midbass and deep bass were excellent like the Sabre DAC has proven to do well in both.  The differences were more in the mids and highs.  There was nothing 'wrong' with it... just the other DAC's had a little more meat or resolution in those areas.  I didn't notice much 'etch' or 'digititis' in this version, pretty musical.  It's an excellent DAC, you can't go wrong with it.  I did try this DAC with a tube in it towards the end of the night and I honestly don't hear much of a difference with it in or out.  

That's what I remember for now.  If others chime in with their thoughts, it might remind me of stuff I forgot.

-C

PS, no green smoothies this time!  I had one for breakfast, though. ;)
I really enjoy listening to music.

djdube525

  • Guest
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2012, 06:09:41 PM »
I apologize for heading on out without saying bye to you Carl. I went outside looking for you and Rich, and y'all must have snuck on in and went back downstairs. In any event, thank you so much for the invite! I got a chance to hear some fantastic DACs. I even made the remark that the bad thing (also good) thing about these comparisons, is you end up nit picking the equipment, and at the end of the day, I would be more than happy with all of these.

One tidbit I found interesting. The AMR in non over sampling mode sounded wonderful - in fact I liked it the most... I could see myself listening to music all day to that set-up. However, when switched to over sampling mode... I would put it at the bottom of the pack. That may sound harsh... I think it's a testament to all the DACs being fantastic.

The EE MiniMax also changed quite a bit with the source cable swap. When paired with the Superconductor 3s, the bottom end tightened up a bit as compared to the other cable (ultra conductor 2s?). Nice little guy... especially when you factor in price.


Offline allenzachary

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
Re: April 1st: Carl's DAC comparison get together...
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2012, 06:34:42 PM »
Wish I could have been there.  Instead, I was in Savannah, GA attending a wedding with my wife.  It was my first trip to Savannah.  What a great place to visit!

My question is how did/would the DACs compare with vinyl?