Pros: excellent base for upgrading Excellent service from Ryan !
Cons: none, not sure the Line In is that useful
I bought this DAC-preamp and after several attempts made the following changes to it for an amazing result:
Installed 5670 Raytheon Windmill getter tube
upgraded diodes to Schottky Diode 11DQ10
Changed the output coupling caps to Sanyo Oscon 47uF
opamp for tube to LT1364 or metal version of LM4562.
The biggest gain came from opamp then the diodes. Do not underestimate the diode upgrade.
I own a lot of HIFI equipment and have tested this modded version with STUDER A68 Amps and Infinity 9A speakers. The result is outstanding and the sound is precise and like liquid ! plenty of bass and despite the higher value of coupling caps, no loss of highs.
There are better DACs on the market like the new DAC-01 with SMD components but the opamps can not be changed as easily as well as the diodes which are SMD. I think the DAC stage of the tube magic might not be the best but with the above mods, the overal result is AMAZING. The D1 has now become a very high class preamp that I use with my modded Behringer scr2496 and the DAC stage holds its own without of course competing with the modded Behringer. The only drawback of this combination is that the output of the Behringer is very high and one tends to have a very loud sound right at the begining of the volume potentiometer.
HAVE FUN !
- Changed the main opamp to Burson discrete opamp. Quality is above any IC and by far. The only shortcoming seems to come from voltage either from the resistors lowering too much the voltage supplied to the DIP8 socket or maybe a shortcoming of the powersupply (I am not advanced enough in the field to correct this). However I have found one way around it, noticed that by taking away the opamp for headphone section the clipping I could hear when volume was past 12oclock have reduced, therefore I managed to solder the most recent audio IC from TI OPA2209 onto a dip socket (had no SOIC adapter at hand!) and now the clipping is only at 2 oclock (way above my listening needs) and headphone quality is better than with the canned version of LM4562 or OPA627.
- Changed to the OSCON 47uF coupling caps for Roederstein 47uF gold Caps. The bass is endless and trebles are not cut off, barely mellowed. Do not have enough space to put a similar MPK inside :)
Now the Maverick is connected to my PC with TOSLINK cable (24/96 upsampling) and I use ADAM A7X Studio monitors. The sound is truely near perfection, it is as good, sometimes I even better than my main system with Infinity 9A speakers and STUDER A68 power amps. For a total cost of about 1600 USD, this is the highest quality I can imagine to achieve in a sound system within a reasonable budget but by putting the money where is should be, even 96kb/s MP3 sound quite good when going through this setup.