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Posts by project86

I'm always hesitant to use such generalizations - devices using Sabre chips can sound wildly different, as can those with AKM DAC chips. There are good and bad examples of each.
It's an interesting discussion for sure. When I first got the Auralic Taurus in for review back in the day, their brand was not very well known at all. They had a few products overseas in their home market like the Ark MX DAC and the Bugatti headphone amp, which seem to be the precursors to the Vega and Taurus. Somehow they went from a fairly unknown brand to something of a household name in audiophile circles. How did they make this transformation? There's no easy...
I've had good luck with slot loading drives, with no scratching that I can see. There's usually a soft layer of something that looks like felt or similar material lining the slot entrance, so unless you are really forceful with shoving the disc in there, it should be fine.  
  I feel it is quite good - not easily improved unless you spring for a really nice DDC. For example my Stello U3 does not improve anything, and may actually make it worse. My Resonessence Concero used as a USB to SPDIF converter sounds very slightly different (due to their proprietary digital filter perhaps?) but not necessarily any better. I have to use my Audiophileo 1 with PurePower, or the new Singxer SU-1, to find a small improvement. Honestly it's not really worth...
  Not that I necessarily recommend taking the Taobao route (it has ups and downs for sure) but I do need to point out the Cayin DAC and amp both have voltage selection switches around back. So this particular concern is a non-issue. 
No, I can't say anything further at the moment. Sorry!
Sorry I haven't heard the Hilo in a long time. The Matrix X-Sabre is about to be superseded with an upgaded model coming very soon, so I'm not sure I'd buy the original new at this point. But a used one makes sense, it's still a great DAC. Matrix is a little more exciting, rich midrange and some emphasis down low. The NuPrime is neutral to a fault so the rest of your system better be ready for that. 
  It's very different than the iHA-6. I've got one here to mess with and just last night was rolling tubes. It uses 12AU7's on the input stage and EL84's for driver tubes, plus a single 12DT5 for rectification. Stock sound is somewhat lush, euphonic, forgiving and fun if somewhat laid back and lacking ultimate resolution. Midrange is particularly nice, more engaging than the matter-of-fact iHA-6 with its neutral presentation.  Stock tubes are "Cayin" branded 12AU7 which...
  Personally I'd much rather listen to the Cayin combo. Hugo is brilliant in terms of detail retrieval but not so musically engaging imho. And the HD800 in the mix only exasperates it. The Cayin in Solid State mode with the Linear filter is fairly neutral, vaguely similar to Hugo but less resolving and also less obnoxious.  Adding just the Cayin amp will drive the HD800 better than your Hugo but the flavor will be largely the same.
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