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Lavry black initial impressions

post #1 of 287
Thread Starter 
I was fortunate enough to get a Lavry Black unit form the first production batch and I picked it up yesterday.



The LB is a DAC with digital XLR, coax, and optical inputs. It also has an integrated headphone amplifier and comes with a digitally controlled analog volume control. This volume control is not a single chip solution like the PGA2311A from TI but built from discrete components. The same is true for the analog output stages. No integrated op-amps here but all discrete.

It uses the AD1955 flagship DAC from Analog Devices and support S/PDIF and AES input with 16/24 bits from 44.1Khz to 96Khz in crystal and narrow clock mode. It also has a somehwat unusual wide mode that syncs to frequencies in the range of 30-200Khz. So I suppose you could say that it supports 24/192Khz but according to the material on his WEB site Mr. Lavry is not a big fan of operating in 24/192 mode.

Sound:
I have to admit, I had never heard a Lavry DAC before and must say this is different than anything I have heard so far. I had a couple of people listen to it on headphones and they all pretty much responded with the same attribute. This DAC is smooth! It is somehow very detailed without exaggerating the highs.

Compared to my Bryston SP1.7 I can drive my Harbeth Monitor 40s at lower level while still getting a lot of detail. I tried the headphone output with the Super.fi Pro 5 (low impedance), Etymotic er-4s, and my HD600. It drives them all with ease and the sound is ... smoooth. In fact the Etymotic can be a bit etchy but on this amp even the er-4s sound sweet. It does not have the dryness that some other professional DACs in this class demonstrate. At this point I would probably summarize the sound as refined.

I tried the distortion detection test on this web site with the ER-4S and on the first try scored my best result so far.

http://www.klippel.de/aura/instructions.html

I also checked the well known udial.wav test clip. The LB renders this clip perfectly with a black background at full output and no siren sounds whatsoever.

I have been listening to it for about 8 hours now with a cross section of music from my library and seem to enjoy it a lot. While I had planned this unit as a replacement for my Earmax Pro I will leave it to also drive my main speakers for now.

Cheers

Thomas
post #2 of 287
Thanks for the impressions but shouldn't this be in the dedicated source forum?
post #3 of 287
Very cool, the first real-life pic I've seen of this unit. Too bad you don't live around here, I'd be beating down your door to take a listen
post #4 of 287
Thread Starter 
I don't really know where it belongs. If the admins feel dedicated source is more appropriate please feel free to move it there.

@iron-Dreamer

If I would be living close you'd be very welcome.

Cheers

Thomas
post #5 of 287
Thank you very much for your insight, Thomas.

How would you charaterize the quality of the headphone amp? Is it on par with the likes of lower-mid-range beauties like the Gilmore Lite/ RSA Hornet?

Also, what is the pricing and worldwide availability of this DAC? I'm very interested in a DAC for around $1000 US.
post #6 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by applebook
Thank you very much for your insight, Thomas.

How would you charaterize the quality of the headphone amp? Is it on par with the likes of lower-mid-range beauties like the Gilmore Lite/ RSA Hornet?

Also, what is the pricing and worldwide availability of this DAC? I'm very interested in a DAC for around $1000 US.
Its priced at $975 and just just began shipping...finally (in the US anyway)
post #7 of 287
Thread Starter 
I personally do not have a lot of experience with many different headphone amps. I am basically trying to mirror the sound that I am getting with my large monitor speakers that are equalized pretty flat in my room. I have an Echo Indigo for my laptop and an Earmax Pro for my stationary system.

The Echo Indigo is a great compromise for portability but it is a bit bright and dry.

The Earmax has tube sound which I liked for some time but recently I became more aware of the noise and how much detail gets lost. The Klippel test is not just a humbling experience for your ears it is also a pretty good indicator of system resolution.

My scores on the LB are 15db better than what I can do on the Earmax and 6db better than what I can reproducably do on the Indigo. The sound is now much closer to my main system. In this process, it seems, my main system also got a bit better when using the LB as the DAC.

I have no idea about worldwide availability but from Vancouver I would just make a day trip to Bainbridge Island :-)

Cheers

Thomas
post #8 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by grandenigma1
Its priced at $975 and just just began shipping...finally (in the US anyway)
Hmmm...the retail is exactly the same as another certain popular, highly acclaimed DAC...I wonder why

Bel Canto, Apogee (unlikely), Benchmark, Lavry, or RME? Choices, choices...
post #9 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by applebook
Hmmm...the retail is exactly the same as another certain popular, highly acclaimed DAC...I wonder why

Bel Canto, Apogee (unlikely), Benchmark, Lavry, or RME? Choices, choices...
hmmm indeed

and I lied before... mine cost me $976 all said and done
post #10 of 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by applebook
Hmmm...the retail is exactly the same as another certain popular, highly acclaimed DAC...I wonder why

Bel Canto, Apogee (unlikely), Benchmark, Lavry, or RME? Choices, choices...
The similar prices are a bit deceiving. I'm not familiar with the Apogee, but the Bel Canto, Benchmark, and RME use off the shelf parts, while the Lavry Black uses a custom ASIC, FPGA, or microcontroller to implement their jitter rejection scheme. Add in the discrete pot and analog stage, and it's quite a value for the amount of engineering you get. Not that I'm saying it sounds better -- that remains to be evaluated -- just that the price is surprisingly low for the meat inside.
post #11 of 287
Are you sure that's the case with the RME products? I've only recently learned about them and am told that they're excellent products. Retail on their DAC is only $900 CAD.
post #12 of 287
Read what I said again. I didn't say anything negative about RME products. I'm sure they're excellent. However, the level of engineering in the Lavry products is quite impressive for the price.
post #13 of 287
more pictures will never hurt
im highly interested in this dac; going to either buy this or the dac1...
will you post pics of the back of this dac? thanks
post #14 of 287
Thread Starter 
I took more pictures.





Woodgy is right. A lot of engineering and components went into this DAC. The sound also starts to grow on me.

Cheers

Thomas
post #15 of 287
Thomas,

This is a great topic.

I ordered mine couple days ago.


Marry Christmas to all of you here!

Edison
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